Monday, September 29, 2008

Pleasant Suprise...

I fished the pond by my house this weekend, not expecting much. We've had a good ammount of rain and the water was high and stained. I saw some interesting things, I haven't seen before while fishing. First off, when I walked to the waters edge, I saw a huge bird dive into the water. It was a osprey. I have never seen them at this pond. I thought it was a fluke thing, but it hung out for awhile, circling the pond and hanging out on trees. I hope it has a nest there. Down by the spillway I also saw a behavior I haven't seen before. There was water running down the spillway from the overflow of the pond. There were small fish trying to swim up the spill way. They would go about 10ft then slide down. I couldn't tell exactly how many there were, but I'd say at least a hundred. I can only imagine the fish are waiting in the deeper water for the fish to get tired. I will probably check it out again on Tuesday. The fishing was great. I first tried using a craw pattern I tied. I had a few hits, but no fish. I switched to an ant pattern. That made a huge difference. I had a hit or fish on almost every cast. None of the fish were huge, they averaged 4-5inches. What they lacked in quality they made up with in quantity. I didn't count how many were caught, but I know it had to be over 20fish. That was in a span of under an hour. I was too lazy to take pictures, honestly none of the fish were really worth taking a picture of. A few I thought about tossing back in still on the line and using for bait. I'm interested to see if that osprey is going to hang around.

Monday, September 22, 2008

TU New River Trip 08

Arriving at the Campground
This was my first fishing trip with the Trout Unlimited group, also known as Triangle Fly Fishers. The campground we stayed at was just outside of Galax, VA. The excitement on Friday to get to the river and start fishing was ridiculous. Its been a long time since I have been camping. I also have not really went on a trip targeting a specific fish. I was eager to see how my flies would perform. I carpooled up with some friends and we had a guide lesson that afternoon. We came to the campsite and were greeted with this view.The scenery was beautiful and the water looked really clear and very fishy. We started setting up camp as fast as we could. While setting up camp we talked to some people who had come the day before. They said they caught 8 fish each. This made us scramble even faster to set up camp and get out on the water. There wasn't much structure in the water except for on the banks.I worked my way downstream, casting towards rocks and other places I thought a fish would be. The wading was interesting to say the least. The current wasn't strong but there was a lot of silt. When you stepped in it, sometimes you would sink, and it was a spooky feeling. I realized within the first 5min of wading that I should have brought my chest waders. I had issues getting to the banks because there was a deep section that had to be crossed to get there.

My buddy Preston caught a fish after his first few minutes of fishing. I figured it was only a matter of time before I hooked up. I tried many different flies but was unsuccessful catching anything. The guide lesson was starting soon and I figured I would catch something then. After the guide told us the basics he sent us out on the water and instructed us on places that might hold fish. No one was catching anything. The fish really seemed to be inactive. There weren't any rises except for the occasional fish splash. You could see small mayflies maybe a size 20 or 18 flying off the surface. Fish weren't even hitting those. It was a strange day. The water and weather looked so good but the fish weren't cooperating. The guide said the weather temperature had dropped considerably that week, and the fish might be put off. It was nearly 20 degrees cooler than just the weekend before. We ended the day a little disappointed but were glad we had a couple more days to fish.

The Ledges
The next morning I was eager to catch something. There was a place nicknamed the ledges we heard about that was supposed to have great fishing. We gathered our things and headed there. The view was spectacular when we arrived. If there were fish anywhere in the river it had to be here.We all split up and headed different directions. I headed towards some weed beds that had to have bass in them. I decided to go with a black bunny fly I tied. On the third cast, I was pulling in my slack line, when I had a bend in the rod and a fish on. I was surprised at first that a fish was there, and I had a lot of line out. Then I did something that is a problem I seem to have. I always seem to want to play fish on the reel. You rarely have to do this. So what happened is I had the slack line in taught in my right hand, I released it to start reeling it in with the reel. When I had all the slack line reeled in the fish was off. Most likely when I released the slack line with my hand it popped the hook. I was mad at myself but excited at the same time. I had caught a fish, and did it on a fly I tied. The day was looking up. I worked my way around the weed beds and always had to pause for a minute or so to enjoy the view.I continued to work the weed beds, I could see fish swimming here and there, but I was unable to hook up with any. Preston started to have some success on a popper he was fishing. I tried several different flies including a popper. I didn't catch a thing. I worked my way to the other side of the river. I came to a sandy pool that was about 100ft across. There were huge carp circling in the pool. I figured if I wanted to catch a carp, this would be my best chance. I tied on a small crayfish patter and threw toward the back end of the pool towards a weed bed. I worked my fly to where I thought a carp would pass, then my line went taught and I had a fish on. I was confused because I didn't see any fish in the vicinity. I reeled the fish in closer, and it looked like a bass, but not a smallmouth. To my surprise, it was a largemouth. I've never heard of people catching them in the New. I was happy to finally get the skunk off for the day. The fishing improved some. I decided to work towards a rocky section.There were lots of pools that had fish but none were eager to hit any flies. One of the people we were fishing with had success on minnow patterns. I tied on a white bugger and saw some small fish chasing and nipping at it but nothing was killing it. I started to work runs in between pools and around rocks. I finally hooked up with a smallie big enough to bend my rod. It was no monster by any means, but it at least gave me a fight for about a minute.It ended up being the biggest smallie of the trip for me. I caught a nice bluegill later in the day but that was it. It was a fun day of fishing, but everyone had hoped for bigger fish and more activity.

On the way back to the car Preston and I were walking up a trail from the river and as we got near his SUV, we heard growling. It slowly got louder the closer we got to his car. The growling sounded menacing and didn't give you a warm and fuzzy feeling. I walked around the left side of the car and a dog came out from under it, suprising me but it seemed to not be intimidated. It wagged it's tail twice then went right back under the car. We then heard the growling again. I figured maybe the dog was hurt or possibly was having puppies and was using the car as a layer or den. Preston walked closer to the car and yelled, trying to scare the dogs out from under the car. The growling grew louder and it sounded like it was coming from another part of the car. I looked under the vehicle and saw two dogs. I kept calling them trying to get them to come out but all they kept doing was growling and not moving. Preston and I kind of looked at each other and were trying to figure out what to do. Neither of us wanted to get bit, and we were in the middle of no where. Rabies is a real thing and it does cross your mind when you find an animal acting weird. Preston decided to grab a stick off a tree, and I was like "what are you gonna do with that?" He said "I'm going to scare them out." I told him instantly that the last thing you want to do is poke a pissed off dog with a stick. We were in a predicament though, we had to leave, we could get some other people to help us, but what could they really do? We were out of cell phone service so if one of us got bit we couldn't even call for help, so do we take the chance and try to get attacked? Plus if they attack one of us, can the other person, get the dogs off? Even if they didn't attack us, neither of us, wanted to get bit. I devised a plan, which wasn't my favorite, but I thought it was our best course of action. I told Preston to take the stick and walk around the car, keep it between him and the bottom of the car, open the door, and get in. Give me 5min to walk down the trail, I don't want the dogs running out from under the car then chase me. He agreed that was probably the best idea and made his way towards the car. The growling and barking became really intense. Preston worked his way around the wheel well, then went to open his door, it seemed like it took an eternity for him to get in the car. I watched and prayed as he made his way threw the door. He slid in the drivers seat and closed the door. I was relieved, UNTIL... I hear a loud honk and his engine start. I kind of nervously laughed and started running towards the river. I wasn't going to wait until the dogs came out and ran towards me. While I was running, I kept thinking, I said "WAIT 5MIN!!!" I made it to the river, luckily with no dogs chasing me. I listened to hear for Preston's car. Through the forest you heard a loud screeching sounding like a dog being hurt. I figured the dogs didn't move and he started to go forward and now one was pinned under the car. Then the screeching stopped. I wanted to walk back up the trail and look, but I was afraid dogs would be waiting for me, and if they weren't hurt before, now they probably were. Then I heard screeching again, I figured he must have run them over this time. I waited about a minute then heard a car coming down the trail. I ran up to the window and said "did you run them over?" Preston said he didn't but there were 3 dogs, not just 2. I got in the car, and as we made our way back, we saw 4! dogs in the road waiting for us. We had left some stuff on the ground while trying to figure out what we were going to do to get in the car. The dogs had knocked it all around. One carried Preston's hat down the road. Preston yelled at the dogs, and it dropped his hat, they finally ran off as we drove out. Preston and I looked at each other, and just thought, how strange was that? We talked about how when we told the story, no one would ever believe how scary or intense it was. When we got back to camp, we were right, when we told the story, everyone just looked at us like, that wouldn't have been that bad. I guess it is one of those you had to be there stories. I would never want to be there again.

Lost Kayaker
That night we were told there was a kayaker who never checked into a boat landing. He was two hours late. The kayaker was a older man and they were worried about him, since it was getting dark, and pretty cold. The air temp was dropper rapidly with the sun. It was getting into the 50's and on the river it would be pitch black and cold. A perfect situation for hypothermia. While sitting around the campfire we saw police cars scanning the river with spotlights, we had a fire truck drive into our campsite, and blast a spotlight across the river. The rescue teams were hoping the man got out of the river and just went home. No one remembered seeing anyone go by. That night you could hear people searching and yelling in the forest. I couldn't help but feel sympathetic for that mans family. I couldn't understand why the search vehicles stayed around our campsite so much. I figured if the guy was late, he would have been long gone past our section of the river.

Next Morning
The next morning we woke up and were kind of in a funky mood. The fishing hadn't been that great and we had to leave in the afternoon. We heard some bad news about the lost kayaker, he was found about a 5min walk up stream of our campground. This really bothered me, I couldn't help but wonder if I walked up the stream last night, would I have seen the guy, and maybe he would have been still alive. The man was not wearing a life jacket and was found at a place where they dredge silt out of the water. I couldn't help but think about how freaky it would be to be in the dark freezing and wet on the river.

I tried to get the whole thing off my mind and focus on fishing. There was a damn that supposedly had good fishing, we headed that way not expecting much. The fishing area near the dam, had a lot of rocks and structure. It definitely looked like smallmouth habitat.I saw some rocks with logs around and made a bee line to it. I fished pools on the way. I decided to go with a firetiger popper. There was a nice section with a run of water and a ledge of rocks on each side. The wading was a little treacherous. The rocks were sharp and not as slippery as other places, but I was tired of trying to keep my balance. I came to a decent casting spot and launched my fly into the run. I finally saw what I had been waiting for the whole trip. A shadow came up from the depths and hammered the fly. I was so surprised I set the hook way too late. My adrenaline definitely rose and now I was really excited about how this day was going to turn out. I cast a few more times into the run, and again a shadow came up, this time, followed the fly a few feet then sucked it in. I missed the fish some how, I'm not sure if it was slack in my line, or if I reacted a little too fast and pulled the fly out of its mouth. After that, the fishing slowed down. No one was catching much, I waded over to a shady section. I saw something out of the corner of my eye, and when I looked there was a otter cruising passed me. It must not have seen me right away because it was only about 10ft away. That kind of made my day. I love seeing wildlife, and an otter is rare for me. A few minutes later I had my first fish. It came on a helgramite pattern that I had as a dropper off of my popper. The fish was only about 6inches. I didn't get anything else for the rest of the day. The other flies I heard that worked ok were a black cheynobal ant, and a Murray's helgramite. We left the river, reminiscing about the trip and not looking forward to the drive home. All in all it was a great trip.This was one of the few times I had more fun outside of the water talking to people around the campfire than I did fishing. I look forward to more TU trips and more smallie fishing. I have an idea of what flies work and I really want to see if that was just a fluke my bunny fly worked or if it is a great bass fly. The weather is turning into trout weather so I'm not sure I'll find out until next year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Smallie Flies

The small mouth trip is just two days away, I've been working the last few nights on my arsenal. I tied most of these flies, and I'm not really sure how well they will work. I know the white/red clouser works because I caught a fish on it last time. The others are experimental patterns. These flies are a mixture of stuff I tied and store bought flies. Out of the ones I tied I am really impressed with the crawfish looking fly on the left. I tied that with a rabbit strip and dubbing, I think it looks pretty good. I'm eager to try it and see how it works. I also like the black bunny fly with the red accent around the eyes and back. Hopefully all of these flies will catch something.

This weekend I will be fishing with my Trout Unlimited club on the New River. It's my first outing with the club. There is a great bunch of guys going, so this should be a really fun trip. I'm taking my good camera, so I'm not sure how many fishing pictures there will be, but there should be plenty of scenery pics. I will have a full report Sunday night or Monday.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Some info on Ike

Here are some pics taken from space of Ike. Pictures were retrieved from on Sept 12, 2008.This Sept. 10 picture of Hurricane Ike was downlinked by the crew of the International Space Station, flying 220 statute miles above Earth.This image provided by NASA shows Hurricane Ike, still a Category 4 storm on the morning of Sept. 4, 2008 when this photo was taken from the International Space Station's vantage point of 220 miles above the Earth.

Right now Ike is a category 2 and is still just coming into contact with the coast.

One of the funniest videos I've seen....

Any person who has ever done tech support in their life can relate to this.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Post Hanna and Pre Baby...

Hanna turned out to be just a big tropic storm. It dropped about 5 inches of rain on Raleigh. We didn't get much wind, that's a good thing. All of the trees are still standing around our house. Ike is still heading this way but it looks like the track is sending it off towards Texas. I feel bad for people in its path it has been increased to a Category 4, hurricane.
Now for some good news. It's FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!!!!!! My favorite time of year. I'm looking forward to being lazy and eating some buffalo chicken wings this Sunday. Who knows, I might even fish this afternoon.

Baby Gadgets
My mother bought my wife and I a device to hear the babies heart beat. The instruction manual said "we will hear amazing sounds, like the baby moving and heart beat." I've come to the conclusion that this device was made to make the parents of the baby go deaf. First off, don't ever use this device with other people around, you will be laughed at and talked about for months. You'll become that story people tell at Thanksgiving or when other people have kids. This device comes with a baby monitor type thing, a strap that holds it on and two pairs of head phones. Right away just listing those things, nothing about it sounds that high tech. My wife follows the directions and we put on the head phones hoping to hear the same type of heart beat we've heard at the Dr's office. We heard silence, then there was a small grumble. My wife and I looked at each other, then I put my hand on the monitor to push it closer to her stomach. BIG MISTAKE!!! All of a sudden blasting threw my head phones were these loud bass pounding noises. It was like having a front row seat to a thunderstorm being played over some blown out speakers, just loud enough to sound terrible and make you deaf. My wife didn't seem to be bothered by it as much, but I couldn't stand it. She kept moving the monitor without warning, causing me to go into these convulsions of grabbing my ears and yelling. I finally figured this device was made to torture parents. I couldn't take it any more and had to walk away. Kristin kept playing with it for awhile, she never did hear a heartbeat. She put it on her chest and we were both able to hear her hearbeat. Then it hit me, this is just a amplified stethoscope. To give it some credit, it said you can hear the baby from 21weeks-28. Kristin is just starting 21weeks. I still think the device is made by a foreign company who hates americans and wants to deafen the parents of american children. We will most likely try it again in a few weeks.

I realized yesterday, that I don't think I'm going to be into the girly baby clothes like my wife. She gets caught up in things sometimes. An example would be, she see's a really cute dress, I'll admit it was cute. It was for a baby 0-3months. When our baby is that age it is going to be Jan-March in Raleigh. Not really the warmest days for wearing a little dress. My wife seems to think the cuteness of the outfit out weighs the practical use of it. So this can be countered with a cute sweater or jacket.

Does that make any logical sense at all?

If the dress is so cute, why cover it up with a jacket? Then I look and she has like 3 of these dresses in her hand. Then comes the compromise of how much we are spending for these dresses we're going to cover up. I am such a sucker. First I say we have a $10 limit. If you've ever looked at baby clothes you know one thing is almost $10, even on sale. As more time went by she was able to talk me into more things, By the time we got to the counter my $10 limit had been blown away and the register diplayed $32.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Our First Hurricane

Well I knew it would happen eventually, but I was hoping later rather than sooner. I would have to experience a NC hurricane eventually. This is gonna be it. Hanna could turn into just a tropical storm but the latest word is that it's a category 1, with decent enough winds to cause destruction. The track has also headed further inland which means it's heading straight for Raleigh. Things could definately change, Hanna could break apart and just become a tropical storm. To be honest, the storm I'm worried about is the one coming behind Hanna. It's called Ike and from the looks of it, it's Hanna's pissed off big brother. It has a lot more intensity and stronger winds, It was just downgraded to a category 3 today. This thing is coming hard toward the east coast. I will update things as it gets closer plus pics of what's happening. I just got a video camera so I might add some videos too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gonna be a daddy...

I went with my wife today to find out the sex of our new baby. While the nurse was telling us what parts of the baby's anatomy was what, we patiently waited, while inside we were screaming, WHAT'S THE SEX!!!!? Of course the health of the baby is first priority. For the last 3 months we have been probed for info about if we were having a boy or a girl. You're asked all the questions, what's your gut feeling? What do you want? Of course you say you don't care, you just want a healthy baby. Inside though, you really do lean towards one or the other. I have always had a premonition I was going to have a girl. It happened in high school. I can't remember when or what I was doing, but from then on I always felt if I had a child it would be a girl. So I wasn't too suprised when the sonogram focused in and the nurse yelled, "It's a girl." The first feeling was glee, then panic. I know nothing about girls or how they are as little kids. Part of me was excited to experience that. My wife was happy as well, she felt god may give her a boy, just because she wants a girl. I joked with her about it, like god of all people would not want you to be happy? We left the Dr's office high on life and almost too happy to function.

I called my mom on the west coast, it was only 7am there but I knew she'd want to be woken up for this information. She answered the phone at first sounding tired, then I think she realized why I'd be calling and what this call was about. I told her "start thinking about pink stuff." She was in disbelief but I could also hear the emotion and happiness in her voice. This is going to be a new adventure and she was excited to go on it with us. Now begins the obsession with girl baby clothes and outfits. I want to just sit back and watch for awhile, I'm still grasping that I'm going to have a daughter. Will she like fishing? What will she be into? Will she be the tomboy type, willing to camp and bait her own hook? Or will she be those prissy girls, afraid to get her clothes dirty and roll her eyes when you mention the great outdoors. I can't say how I'll react but the anticipation and eagerness to find out those things is overbearing.

There still is a ways to go before January. Kristin and I have a lot to decide on. She'll be finishing her student teaching and we'll really be re-evaluating our lives. Everything will be focused on the baby. The funniest thing is how we both think of how are cat is going to handle this. Our cat has been our baby for over 10yrs. How will she react? The other factors are baby stuff, we already have a new dresser, baby swing, gliding rocker, and we are inheriting a play pen, and crib from Kristin's friend. We feel fortunate to be getting this stuff for free, but feel the cramp of living in a small place. There's also family that is chomping at the bit to fly out and be there the second the baby is born. Our house isn't the most hospitable place. I'm sure all these things will work out.

Right now it's just time to enjoy the new discovery and take in what we're going to have to raise, carefor, support and love for the rest of our lives. A daughter.....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Smallies

I've been really eager to catch small mouth bass lately. I was told of a place near where my brother-in-law lives that has a good supply of them. This Labor Day, my wife and I headed up to Boone, to visit the family and get in some fishing. The weather was perfect. There has been some decent rains recently and the River level was at perfect depth. We weren't the only ones enjoying the river, there were canoers, kayakers and people tubing. We shuttled some friends to a put in and surveyed the water while they were getting ready. The scene made me antsy to get my fly rod out. We drove to anther put in and decided to start our fishing from there. The water was cool and clear, there were flowers blooming on the banks and insects buzzing around birds singing. Everyone was enjoying the day. Russell was able to catch a little sunfish right off the bat. We figured this had to be a sign for a great day. The ticket for him was a black ant. That fly was the fly of choice for the day, I was reluctant to tie on the same pattern. I went with a popper, white bugger, and hopper with a san juan dropper. I had no luck with any. Russell was doing well catching fish here and there. There was lots of cover on the banks, perfect for holding fish. The cast was usually done from the opposite side of the river with a presentation of a bug falling off the overhanging branches.
Russ, continued his good luck catching a red eye, then a few casts later, his first smallie of the day. I was happy for him but getting a little irritated. This was his fourth fish and I still had yet to catch one. We came to a section that was very calm and had pine trees towering over the water. I figured fish might wait for bugs to fall off the trees. I threw a popper near the bank and instantly had a strike. I missed the first few hits but later was able to manager a red eye. I was happy to get the skunk off for the day. I figured the fishing would pick up. We worked our way upstream but the fishing was slow. We saw a group of paddlers heading are way and knew they'd probably disrupt the water enough to spook any fish. I decided to head back downstream to the parking lot, for fun I tied on a clouser I made from a fly tying class I took a few months ago. I messed round swinging it in the current. I looked at a tree near a bank that had a eddy underneath baring its roots and creating good cover. I threw my clouser in there and swung it away from the pocket of water. To my surprise I had a hit. I kept thinking, "please be a smallie, please be a smallie." Sure enough it was. I can't describe to you the rush you feel when you catch a fish on a fly you tied. Especially in a situation where everything comes together. You pick the cover, throw the proper cast and your fly tricks the fish. It really makes fly fishing addicting. I was so proud of myself I had to take one more picture. God blessed me with that fish but decided to let that be my limit. The paddlers were splashing and causing a commotion anyways. We decided to head back and fished the parking area with no success. It was a great day. I think Smallie fishing will be my summer fishing when its too hot for trout. They are really fun to catch. The thing I found while fishing for them is you need to be on your game. They hit just as fast, if not faster that trout. If you have a lot of slack line in the water you will miss them for sure. Red eye, also known as rock bass are no slouches either. They hit flies with such ferocity you can't help but appreciate their intensity. They are small fish and must figure what ever they hit they have to kill fast, so when they hit your fly, usually half their body breaches the water. It was one of those perfect weekends, where Kristin and I had time to fish and spend time with family.