Monday, November 9, 2009

Watauga DH and White Buggers

That's really all you need to have a good time on a DH stream. I was turned on to white buggers by a friend that I fish the Neuse with. I never was a beleiver of using Wooly Buggers. I decided to try them a few times on a DH stream and now they are a must have in my fly box. The day on the Watauga was one of those perfect days you can script out but rarely get. No crowds, sections of river all to myself and plenty of fish. The water was gin clear flowing at a perfect rate, the fish were feisty and eager. On my second cast I was hooked with a nice brookie. Sometimes that is a bad omen, if you catch a fish that quickly it's usually your only fish. I figured I'd try this section on the other side of a huge pool I was working. While ducking under a log I managed to soak my pack. Right after I remembered my cell phone was in the pack. It was wet but not drenched, the screen still had a display and it seemed to have survived. I took some more pictures through out the day and caught some beautiful brookies. They didn't have much fight in them, but what they lacked in vigure they made up for in displaying various fall colors. They had and orange tint to them with bright white stricking lines on their fins. One brook was probably the prettiest I've ever caught, obviously displaying spawning colors. I took a picture but it seems my wet cell phone was messed up enough that the pictures didn't take. I was able to get a pick of a nice brook before the dunking.I fished for about 2hrs and it was one of the most productive days I've ever had. I caught nearly 20 fish and at least missed that many. The last fish I caught was on a dry and that was icing on the cake. The water was so clear you could see the trout swimming and how they behaved as they chased a bugger. It was one of those days you dream about. Experiences like this keep you coming back and make up for the ho-hum skunk days.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mitchell River

I've heard about the Mitchell River many times but have never fished it. The reports were always so so. The reputation for the river was that it was beautiful but poached heavily. The stocking for delayed harvest was Oct 3, with only 2-3 days of fishing pressure some friends and I figured we had a good chance at a lot of fish. We headed to the river with mixed expectations, if the fishing was bad we'd head to Stone Mtn. The fishing was supposed to be better there and the fisherman I went up with had more experience on that water. My friends favorite spot was pretty vacant and only showing one parked car. As we got our gear together more cars were showing up. I was told this river can be crowded. We worked our way upstream from the parking area. The river was very scenic, there is a farm that surrounds the river and gives you a very rural feeling. The water was very pretty and clear but low.

We started fishing at about 9am and it was very slow. For a river that was stocked a few days beforehand it seemed to be lacking fish. I worked different sections, fast runs, slow runs, slack water. No hits not even a darting shadow from my poor wading. The slow fishing was making us all lean towards leaning leaving and going to Stone. Just before we made the commitment to leave one fisherman with us found a consistent run. I dropped in downstream of the run and my other friend worked the one just above me. They turned out to be the best places to fish for the day. The issue with the fish seemed to be depth, they were holding really low in the water. The flies that seemed to work best were bead headed pheasant tail nymphs and copper johns. There were definite zones where if you cast too far or too short you weren't catching a fish. If you cast in the 5ft zone and the fly was at the right depth you caught a fish every time. It was a little strange to go from no fish to a fish every couple minutes. Some fish were back to back and my friend and I often had fish on at the same time or one right after another. When the fishing slowed the solution was to switch flies. Though my buddies caught small mouth I was only able to catch trout and a small chub. Being perfectly happy with that, I worked the run until it couldn't produce any longer. I had caught at least 7 fish out of the same run and missed or had on at least that many. It was probably one of the best producing spots I've ever fished. The other areas of the river continued to be slow.

We did find a spot where fish fed on the back side of the bank, behind a tree. They were hitting the surface and looked to be taking bugs. I made one of my best casts of the day by bouncing my caddis off the tree and instantly the fish behind the trunk charged and nailed it. I believe this fish had been caught before, instead of heading towards the surface or faster water, it smashed its face along the bottom, rubbing against rocks, obviously trying to dislodge the hook. It was a fat brookie, obviously feasting off of bugs that fell in the water from the tree. At the back of the run another fish was rising steadily. I through the same caddis in its vicinity and had my second brookie. That is my favorite kind of fly fishing. Seeing a trout rise, making a good cast and hooking the fish.

We ended the long day with all of us catching a good amount of fish. I was spent, I felt like I had fished every inch of the river, I think I had. My only complaint about the fishing was these trout seemed to have no fight in them. Once they were hooked, even the larger trout gave a few shakes of the head but were always reeled in easily. There was no crazy runs or terrifying moments where a trout heads for submerged branches.

Overall it was a great experience. I'm not sure if I'll hurry back to the Mitchell but I'll definitely fish it again.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fish Log Sept 14

Fished the pond by my work and the ones close to my house. Bass are still holding shallow. I have gotten a few on the gully fish. I walked around the pond at work and saw a something that made me extremely happy . A CARP! It was cruising the shallows. I saw it again today and it was tailing pretty good. I threw a nice bead headed bugger at it. My line twitched, I wasn't sure if the fish was on. I put some tension on the line slightly the fish slants and then bolted. I think it spit the fly just as I was putting tension on the line. I didn't see the carp again and had to resort to catching feisty gills. I also with the help of Preston classified bluegill as the most agressive fish. I used to think bass were very agressive. It's been my personal experience that bass are pretty lazy. Trout are more aggresive than bass. Maybe bass are smarter, I don't know but they haven't been the easiest fish to catch this year. Especially the larger ones. The Smallie Trip is next weekend and I plan to have lots of pics for that report. I also hope to have a carp pic.

Another delemma I have is figuring out whether to fish a certain pond or not. The sign says the pond is for residents only and the fishing is catch and release. I fit one of those criteria. Usually something like this wouldn't bother me, I'd just fish and not care. But I know how I get when someone fish's the pond by my house and I can tell they are not a resident. The pond by my house is for residents only as well. I don't really get mad and tell them to leave but I kind of feel like they are taking advantage of me. It's strange, it's not my personal lake. I guess I just feel I pay to the HOA that maintains it so in a round about way it is mine. I'm explaining all this to justify why I'm feeling a little guilty about fishing this other pond. I may fish it again but not for awhile. I really do take posted places seriously. Trespassing is not only againts the law but it is disrespectful.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Strange Bass Behavior

Or maybe this is normal bass behavior and I've just never seen it before. The nights have been getting colder, but the daytime average temperature has been in the 80's. I went fishing at a local pond by my house at around 8am. I was trying the gulley fish for the first time. After the second cast I had a little bass on but he came off quickly. While I worked my way around shore I saw bass here and there, then as the sun rose higher in the sky and I could see further into the water I noticed something strange. I've seen bass hold close to shore, but never this close. The shoreline was outlined with boulders to protect it from erosion. The bass were literally in the crevices of the boulders. Sometimes there would be a small school of 5-6 bass in inches of water. Just enough to cover them. I can only imagine they were getting into the warm water. Later in the day I saw some cruising, at one time there was a school of 20. I cast my gulley to them and they scattered in all directions. I gave the gulley a twitch and I saw a shadow dart from the side to inhale it. It was my first fish on the gulley. I was surprised by the take, if I was further away I'm not sure I would have seen the fish take the fly. Or been in a good position to set the hook. I hunted more bass along the shoreline and had many more hits and misses. The fish just weren't super aggressive. The gulley might have been a little to big for them. Right before I left I saw some more bass cruising. I cast again and they disappeared. Made a twitch of the fly and a shadow slowly rose to the gully and GLUMP! The fish was caught. I'm looking forward to trying this fly some more. I can't say it works better than a popper or other flies. But I can see why it works. I also can't wait to try this pond again. It seems like the perfect place for my favorite type of fishing, sight fishing.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Eno Never Disappoints

I have some friends that are somewhat new to fly fishing and I've been filling them in for months on how great the Eno is. They decided to accompany me this morning to see if the reputation is deserved. I tried going to a place that I went a few weeks ago. I couldn't find it and after a few twists and turns we ended up on a section I've never fished before. The parking lot was small and the place didn't look like it see's too much action. I wasn't sure if that was good or not. Jen headed down stream, while Claudia and I worked our way upstream. It wasn't long before small fish started to play with the flies. We were using poppers and I imagine the fish were small or they were fisherman wary bass. The bass in the Eno have a skill of swimming ever so gently up to your fly and kiss it with the slightest touch. I had a few decent hits but I couldn't seem to hook anything. As we moved up stream I saw a spot that looked promising, made my cast and had a fish take the fly almost simultaneously with it hitting the water. The water was so clear I couldn't tell if it was a fish or what. It was a strange view, it almost looked like my fly was being dragged around beneath the surface by an invisible force. I set the hook and saw a nice green flash. I figured it was a roanoke I became excited and really tried to work the fish. As it swam in front of me I could see the big blue mark on it's gill. The signal of a bluegill. My mind had a hard time processing this, because this fish was bigger than any bluegill I have caught before. As it came closer it seemed to get even bigger, it didn't fight that much until it was about a leader length away. Then it was a project landing the fish. I really needed a net. I usually don't catch anything that requires a net in the Eno but this was an exception. I finally wrapped my hand around the fish's gut and pulled it out of the water. It was a thing of beauty.This was by far the biggest sunfish I had ever seen. It was a really healthy fish. This fish was wide as it was tall I did some research and found this fish is a red eared sunfish alos called a shellcracker. After releasing the fish I tried around the area where it was caught. Nothing else even sniffed my fly. Claudia and I decided to check on Jen.Right as we walked up Jen was pulling in a little sunfish. She had caught quite a few and found a honey hole. I had Claudia work the back of the hole to see if she would have luck there. It wasn't long until she had a sunfish of her own.The fishing slowed down a lot. The water seemed to get shallower. I decided to be a good samaritan and pull and old raft upstream that was deflated and draped over a tree. While dragging it back I kept asking myself why I picked it up. The raft was really heavy and waterlogged. We all had a really good time exploring the area and catching some fish. The Eno never disappoints. This is probably my favorite place to fish in the Raleigh area. I'm going to hit this river again in a different spot next month.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trying to Fish on Vacation...

My week of vacation first started out with me forgetting my pack at Lake Crabtree. I thought it was never going to see it again. I had to pick up my mother from the airport and the lake was on the way so I decided to swing by and see if I can get a miracle. Well god had one in store for me because as I walked to the waterfront I could see a blue through the grass of my fly box. I then saw my chest pack lying on the beach by the canoe launch. It was virtually out in the open and all of my gear was untouched. I decided to press my luck further and fish the same spot I had caught a catfish the day before. I lucked and hooked up with another cat using the same fly. I didn't have time to keep fishing I had to leave and pick up my mother, but it was a great day none the less.
I went to Galax, VA to visit family and was able to check out the Little River and Little Stoney Creek. My cousin owns some land by the Little River. It is a beautiful section and my cousin said there are plenty of smallies and rock bass.I got in the water and worked my way upstream. I had plenty of good chances and holes that looked promising but I didn't get any bites or see any action. Things got worse as a family decided to tube down the river right in next too me. I couldn't blame them, the day was amazing and if I could I have I would have done the same.

My mother, wife and I checked out Little Stoney the next day for a hike. Once we were a decent distance from the parking lot I started to work the water.This was short lived. After about 10 casts I heard a loud thunder clap and I knew my time was limited. We made haste and went back to the car. I pretty much realized when on vacation with family the fishing opportunities are hard to accomplish. Time with family is more important but I was happy to get the short amount of time that I did on the water. I hope to hit the Eno next and have a report of catching a Roanoke Bass.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Today was a good day...

The carp have been shy lately. I haven't seen them in the pond by work in a month or so. I tried my luck today and was able to catch some gills and little bass. The gills were decent size a little bigger than my hand.
The picture really doesn't do it justice. The color on the gills out of this pond are beautiful. I think it's because the water is really clear.

Later I met a friend at Crabtree Lake, I had never fished there before. The water looked really good and you could see rises in all direction. I went with a popper first but didn't have much luck. I decided to try a big bead headed brown bugger. I worked one section then went to a nice eddy. After a few cast I latched onto this guy.The take was pretty ferocious. The fly was only in the water for seconds before the fish hit it. I thought maybe it was a carp because it took line instantly. As I started to fight it more I realized it was a cat. The fish in this lake are supposedly unedible due to contamination from hazardous waste dumping in the past. I think this fish is a good indication the fish population might be bouncing back. It looks pretty healthy.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Elusive Roanoke Bass

It's been over a year since I was at the Eno River. At the last Trout Unlimited meeting I had the chance to met Sam who lives on the river. He told me about some locations where he caught Roanoke Bass. I've been trying to catch one of these fish for awhile. I was pleasantly surprised when Sam invited me to fish with him. I jumped at the chance and looked forward to it all week. We headed out on an overcast morning and the weather was great for August. The temperature wasn't that bad, maybe in the mid 80's. The Eno looked just how I remembered, pretty similar to a mountain stream but has a style all its own
Sam gave me coordinates to where the Roanoke's were supposed to be. We decided to try some water he hadn't fished much first. We worked pockets here and there and it wasn't long until we caught probably the most prevalent fish in the Eno.. Sunfish never get boring, when you think you've seen the prettiest one you'll catch one even better looking on the next cast. This river has to be the best sunfish river in North Carolina. It is great for beginners. The fish are feisty and they almost always hit top water poppers. The action is exciting. We found one pool were I found a pod of sunfish under a tree. I caught a fish on almost every cast. The strikes varied from a sip, inhaling, to a rocket launch accompanied by water and a glimpse of fins as your fly disappears. As we waded there were tons of dragon and damsel flies. Minnows jumped here and there, probably escaping roaming bass. While working some of the pockets that Sam recommended I wasn't able to catch a Roanoke. I decided to take some pics of him fishing because often when you go fishing you never get pictures of yourself.I went to tell him do some false casts so I could get some pics and in the middle of my comment....Fish On! After a few seconds Sam says "It's a Roanoke!". I couldn't believe it, I was just fishing in that same spot 5minutes before he got there. He was able to land the fish and show me what the fish looks like.This was a nice fish and you could tell it had been eating well. The fish looked just like the rock bass I've seen in Virginia. I was really excited and eager to catch my first Roanoke but it was not in the cards for me. I was still happy to catch sunfish. The experience made me eager to get back and go for the Roanoke again. Sam is great fishing partner and I look forward to fishing with him again. On the hike back upstream, Sam almost stepped on a moving rock.A good size snapping turtle. About the diameter of a basketball. Not something you'd want to annoy. That's the fun part about fishing you'll always see other wildlife, turtles, insects, birds you rarely see anywhere else. It's hard to come off the water after days like this.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Another Catfish on A Fly

Fished at a buddy's pond tonight. Caught a few gills and this guy on a san Juan worm. He gave a pretty good fight.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fishing in Boone

I guess I never will learn from past experiences. What I have learned recently is when I think something is not a good idea it probably isn't. An example, I had a reel that has a broken crank on it. I've been just using my palm or finger to reel in line. I decided to finally remedy this. I wanted to switch the line from one reel to another, so I started stripping it off, I got impatient and started just bundling the line all over the back of my car. While doing this I thought "this isn't a good idea", but kept doing it. Then after wards I looked at the birds nest of fly line and forgot about it. This weekend in Boone I wanted to go fishing but needed to put that line on my other reel. The ball of tangled fishing line was intimidating but I started to work at it. It was HORRIBLE! The whole time I fought with it I thought, how did I let the line get like this? and I should just cut the line here and start over. I spent an hour untangling and stripping one peice trough the mess of tangles. I would slowly get a few feet of line as a reward each time I removed a tangle. I did this for about an hour. I got all my gear together and made my way to the Watauga River. The river was stocked the week before and I was sure it had been poached plenty but had to have a few trout left.

When I got to the river and started to put on my gear I noticed my boot didn't look right. The front of the sole seemed to be coming off. These were my Korkers,less than a year old. The bottom front was coming off, this kept the felt sole from staying attached. This irritated me but I still figured I could walk with one felt sole and the rubber on the other boot. When I stepped in the water and slipped a little on the rubber sole side, I thought "this is a bad idea." I made my way carefully upstream, tap dancing here and there. I made a few casts untangled my leader which was way too long. I wanted to make sure I had plenty of tippet so I tied on about 10ft of it. I felt like such an idiot. Fishing with a 18ft leader. Talk about hard to cast with a dropper, it was ridiculous. I went with a caddis and a black stonefly as a dropper. The leader was so long I snagged the stonefly on the bottom every third cast. Combine this with me slipping and my REEL FALLING OFF, I was not a happy camper. Why does my reel always fall off? I used to make so much of a fuss about people paying a lot on equipment. Now I realize there is something to that. You might have spent a lot for a reel but I bet it doesn't FALL OFF while fishing. It's so annoying to do two false casts hear a PLOP! Then see your reel go down stream. While walking up to unsnag my stonefly I slipped and did something I haven't done in my illustrious fishing career. At least not since I've labeled myself as an adult. I started to slip and I was like this isn't good. Of course I slipped on the rubber sole side, I knew I was hitting the water but didn't know how this was gonna go. The water was about 3ft deep and half of my body went under. My head actually almost went in as well. This was the worst I have ever fallen while wading. The cold water shocked me and I cut my hand stopping myself on the sharp rocks. The whole ordeal made me want to just call it a day and pack up.

No way I was doing that though. I'm in Boone, I drove to far to just pack up after 10min of fishing. Plus I knew this is my normal scenario of learning things the hard way. I need to slow down take my time and be more careful. I worked my way fishing up stream going here and there. Eventually I came to a fast section where I caught a trout. It's the one in the picture at the top of the post. I've decided I'm not going to post pictures anymore of fish I catch. The reason being it is such a pain to get everything together. Unless I use a different camera it takes about 2min from fight to picture. I feel bad for the fish and this one I'm sure got away fine. It was just annoying to hold him and stress him longer than was needed. I kept fishing moving further upstream, that fish would be my only trout for the day.

The Watuaga is a strange river. I guess all rivers are similar, I'm just not used to fishing them. What's strange is how the fish species will change drastically with the seasons. In the spring, fall and winter months, the water is mostly trout water. You see suckers occasionally but you never see a large or small mouth bass, or blue gill and rock bass. In the summer every slack water pool seems to have rock bass in it. Where are these fish in the colder months? Do they migrate? I'm not really sure but it's fun to catch different fish. I caught a couple rock bass then came to a slow slack water section full of sediment and slow deep water. Definitely not trout water but perfect for gills and bass. I cast toward some foliage near the bank with a popper. Made a twitch and WHAM, fish on! The fish was large but I could tell it wasn't a trout by it's flash beneath the surface. As it came closer I saw a shimmer of the golden under belly, it was a beautiful sunfish. I'm not sure if it was a sunfish or some of the gill species that only inhabit the Appalachian. Either way it was one of the prettiest bluegill I have ever caught. I wanted to take a picture but after the last fiasco I decided to just let it loose. I think the fish was appreciative. It was a great day even with the disturbing beginning.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nice Links

Here are some nice links I found about setting up droppers and explanations on how fish see.,

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another Day at Pilot

Tried Pilot again last weekend. A buddy from work came with me. It was his first time climbing outside. He did really well. We did a lot of 5.6-5.7 routes. By about 11am the weather was getting so hot it sucked the life out of you. I also took about 5 falls off of a route I did cleanly last week. My husband is going to kill me. I was able to make it up, but really struggled about half way through. Here's a movie of me climbing Grandpa's Belay. The movie is titled wrong.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Climbing with Friends

My wife let me get away for the day to climb at Pilot Mountain. I think it's been a year since I've been here last. The weather was warm and humid but actually a pleasant day. The hike down to the wall was pleasant. The forecast called for a day in the 90's. There was a nice breeze and it pretty much stayed in the 80's.A friend was nice enough to show me some anchor techniques. We actually repelled off the anchor I tied. I was really proud of myself.After getting schooled it was time to get ready to climb. It's amazing how much stuff you pack in. The first routes we climbed were in the Little Amphitheatre section. We did Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, Place your Bets and Grandpa's Belay. The climbs were 5.6-5.7. Really fun to start the day.One of the cool things climbing is how you meet people We met another group climbing with a guide, and as what often happens we shared ropes. This helps you get more climbs in and it's fun to meet new people. We moved to another section called black rain. I started a route called, My Wife's Gonna Kill me.I was able to get up that, but I failed on a 5.9 route to the right called Black Rain. I took a nice 10ft drop and bruised my heel. I think the fall and the route kind of psyched me out. Definitely doable. I'm looking forward to trying it again next time. I only got really 4 climbs in, but I did them all cleanly. I found places to rest where I didn't hang on the rope. It was a really fun day.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bassin' on a Sunday Mornin'

Jen decided to come along with me on a fishing expedition. I told her I wanted to work on just spotting fish. She had a little trouble with this before. When we got to the pond the water clarity was crystal clear. You could see fish in the shallows almost everywhere you looked. We were greeted by the usually big carp. Jen couldn't see it at first, I think because she had no idea the carp was the big. Once she spotted it, she couldn't stop commenting on how huge the fish was. I didn't go into for carp, that fish was pretty common if not on the small side. She was able to spot fish quickly and had no problem seeing them. This was the first time she was introduced to popper fishing. I think she really liked it, there's nothing like seeing fish methodically swim up to your popper then suck it in. I never get tired if it. The takes always very, little nips at the fly, inhaling it, or my personal fave, racing up from the depths and crushing the fly. I didn't have any of those takes today, but I did have a feisty bass come out from some moss. I caught another one almost identical to this one. Those were my fish for the day. I did have about 50 denials. Bass and gills just inspecting the fly then turning around. I think in a couple weeks they will be hitting the flies with no mercy. Jen was able to catch a few bluegill. Her skills are really improving. She still catch's the occasional tree fish, but who doesn't?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Got in some Boone Time

Last weekend was my wifes birthday. To celebrate she wanted to see her brother and sister in law in Boone. We had a great time with them and our neice and nephew. The weather was kind of icky. It rained off and on the three days we were there. I was able to get out on the water with my brother-in-law Russ. I've never fished at dark and we decided to give it a try. We armed ourselves with head lamps and headed to the Watauga River. The sun was going down behind the hills and the water looked still. When we first got there I thought I saw rises here and there but I was fooled by the current and rocks beneath the surface. I worked my way upstream while Russ when downstream. There were many bugs hatching at this time. I could only peg one of them for sure. A black caddis. I had that pattern in my box, tied it on and began to work the water. I love this river. You can make big long casts and don't have to worry about over hanging tree's or sneaking up on fish. After moving up at least half a mile I had not received even a sniff at my fly. I also did one of my trade mark moves. After making several casts....PLOP!!!!!!! My reel fell in the water and made it's way downstream. It of course went into a deep section where I had to start pulling up the line to get it back, the reel kindly kept feeding me line until I got all the way to the backing. So I had to put it back on my line cursing under my breath the whole time. Then wind the line back on the reel.

I decided to head dowstream and see where Russ was at. When I finally saw him downstream he was waving at me to come over. A sure sign the fishing was good where he was at. It was getting pretty dark now and the wading was becoming challenging. I could see pretty well above the water but beneath it all started to look the same. I started to see by feeling around with my feet. Not the best feeling in the world. I was wearing chest waders and this section of river has places easily 5ft. I made it over to Russ with no problems. He had caught 3 all ready and filled me in on where the fish were. They seemed to be stacking up against the bank and you could see them jumping in about a 25yd section of the stream. They were hitting pretty consistently about one jump or rise per minute. Russ was generous enough to give me the good spot while he worked downstream. I tried my black caddis which I was sure was going to make a killing. I still recieved nothing. Russ was using a blue winged olive about a size 14. I decided to try a fly I've never used. It was a goddard caddis. Looks similar to a yellow hammer. It was bashe though. I made a few casts and finally caught my first fish. A pretty rainbow about 10-11inches. Unfortunately it was my only fish for the night. I probably had more hits on my fly but it was so dark it was hard to see my line and impossible to see the fly. I turned on my head lamp and realized it gave me the visibility of only a couple feet. It was great for tying on flies but not the best for navigating. I tried a few more flies but didn't get a bump. We had planned to fish well into the dark but the situation started to seem more dangerous then fun. It was pitch black dark, the headlamps seemed to do nothing, a couple times I had to check to make sure it was still on. Throwing a fly by your face without sunglass's on in pitch black darkness doesn't seem that enticing. We called it a night and were amazed that once we came up out of the river it was a least twice as light. You could see a lot better and the light from the houses seemed to carry further. It was a fun experience and I'd like to do it again this summer. Maybe I'll be braver next time and actually fish well into the night. We'll see.

On Monday I hit up a creek I've never fished before. It was right off highway 321. This creek was recommended by our friend Jasyn who fish's it regularly. I headed up in the morning, there was a slight rain. I could tell the creek had swelled but it wasn't raging. It was really beautiful, it reminded me of a few other's I enjoy fishing. I found a place to park and got my gear ready. The recommended fly was a beetle. I only had one beetle pattern and I just wasn't feeling beetles today with the rain. I decided to find a middle ground, I used a black ant pattern with a foam body. I put in a copper john as a trailer. I've never had much luck on copper johns. Today was no exception. When I first came to the water I caught a fish on maybe my 3rd cast. It was a pretty little 8inch brown. The fish couldn't have been in water deaper than 4 inches. Even at the depth the fish was invisible to the eye. The water was so shallow and narrow that casting was more of just flicking the rod then releasing any line. I almost was using just leader. I continues to work pools and runs until I found a little deeper water. Deep meaning the average was 8-12inches. I didn't get any more hits on the ant or john. I looked around at what was flying. Didn't see much, I did see a huge dobson fly that had just hatched. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a little yellow stone fly fluttering. I remembered hearing someone say, in the mountains always use yellow. I put on a yellow soft hackle. This produced a fish in the next couple casts. It was another brown about 6inches. That would be the last fish of the day. I wanted to fish more but I had some other obligations to attend too. It was a great day of fishing, I'll definately be back to check out this creek.

I didn't take too many pictures this weekend. Mostly because of the weather the rain scared me from breaking out my camera. On Monday it was so rainy I spent most of the day inside, I did spend sometime trying to capture a indigo bunting that frequently hit Russ and Amy's feeder. Those birds are SUPER shy. I did get some pics but they are of the bird far away. You can tell how blue it is. They are beautiful and seem to be territorial. The best opportunities to get pictures was when the bird was chasing others away from the feeder. If they see you at all, they are gone. They seem to know when you've gone in the house, because I was outside for like an hour and the bird hit the feeder twice both times to chase off a bird. When I lifted my camera or focused the bird was gone. I didn't see the bird again for 40min, then when I went in the house within 5min the bird was back. Frustrating. It was a great weekend and we look forward to going up again soon. I will try to get more pics then.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Local Pond

I decided to try my luck at the pond by my house. I haven't fished it since late march. There is some new construction being done around the pond and the water level has been drained some. I'm not sure why this is done, but this is the second year they have done this. I fished a drainage section I recently go to and was able to hook up with this little guy.I don't catch catfish very often. I caught this one on a damselfly pattern. Basically a beadheaded olive bugger. I think the spawning season is coming close for the catfish. This makes them really agressive. I was also able to catch a small crappie. It hit a blue and white clouser I tied for stripers. The fish wasn't much bigger than the fly. I was going for bass and running the fly close to shore. The crappie pounced on it. Both fish were caught less than 3ft from shore. I'm starting to think that most fish are caught in this distance. They do hangout in open water but more often then not hang out close to shore. I'm going to test this theory more this summer.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

First time for Striper

I went up with the Raleigh TU to do some striper fishing this weekend. A buddy was nice enough to let me use his boat. Preston let me use his rod and helped me tie some clousers the night before. I would be useless without that guy. The wife actually let me free the day before mother's day. I decided to make the most of it. I carpooled with another TU member and made a new friend on the way to the river. The anticipation was high and everyone was ready for a crazy day. Some people had came up a few day early. They said the fishing was ok not the best. I couldn't wait to get in the water. We put in and were off to a place called "the big rock". It's a common spot up at Weldon. Jim was the capt on the boat and decided we should anchor by the little river first. We cast for a while with no luck but we did see one striper rise about 5 ft from the boat. It was a pretty good size and if that was supposed to be a small one, I couldn't wait to catch one. The day went on and no one on the boat was having much luck. Jim had been fishing a few days prior so he let Ed and I fish. We tried various casts and different retrieves, not even a bump. It was rough watching the bait casters catch fish as we'd drift past them. They weren't doing it consistently but you'd see someone with a fish on here and there. In between fishing we enjoyed the view and conversation. We were lucky enough to spot a bald eagle. After what seemed to be 10,000 casts I had a fish on. It was a nice striper. We couldn't get the camera to work in time to take a decent pic. Jim said "don't worry you'll just have to catch another one." From how many casts it took me to catch that one, I knew it was gonna be no small task. All day long the water exploded with spawning activity. I've never seen this before and it is a spectacle. A ball of fish rises to the surface, it looks like pirahna swarming around a carcass. What is in fact happening is a female is coming up and the males are surrounding her. They are veracious in their intensity. The water literally boils and their is just flashes of fins and fish jumping. Then they disappear and you'd never know they were there. Every time Jim got up to try his hand at fishing he would hook a striper. I guess it goes to show you, it really is the fisherman and not the rod, reel or fly. Ed picked up a few stripers but I was stuck on my lone one. We decided to call it a day when the weather looked threatening. It was a good call to, while parking the boat lighting shot across the sk in a way I've never seen before. First it was right in front of us then seemed to brans further and further and further. It had to be the longest lightning strike I've seen in my life. Lasted about 5 seconds. The thunder was twice as long. The rain started to pelt us at that point. The boats were loaded and we were on to Fraziers to discuss the reports from the other boats. Only a few had stellar days. The fly of the day seemed to be a blue and white clouser. It was a great experience and I can't wait to do it again. I was really lucky to be paired up with some excellent fisherman. They were great company as well. If you're going to be stuck on a boat with someone for 6hrs, better be someone you can get along with.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Climbing at Table Rock

Climb was on 04/24/2009

This is a belated post. We did this climb a couple weeks ago. I just wanted to post some pictures and give a report. My brother-in-law Russ has been trying to get me to climb at table rock for some time now. I was happy we finaly got a chance to get in a multi-pitch climb there. A friend named Jasyn met us and Russ's younger brother Ryan was visting and made the accent as well. The weather was perfect and we decided to do the route Hidden Cracks. It was a four pitch climb with varying difficulties. The first pitch was 5.7, second 5.4, third 5.7, and forth 5.6.
Russ took the lead on the first pitch. He had never climbed this route before so that was a pretty brave task. Even though a route says a certain rating it can proove to be difficult. He seemed to do it with little effort.Ryan went up second. I climbed up after him draggin the second rope. I had never done this before and feeling the weight of the rope was a little odd. I had to clip into various gear placement spots during the climb. I turned a corner and was greeted with a huge drop off with some serious exposure. It did rattle me at first, I just stared at the rock and chugged along. At one point there seemed to be no hand holds. That is my worst nightmare. I reached around and eventually made a move trusting my feet. The foot holds were great. I was so eager to get to the top of the first pitch I went past a few gear placements where I needed to clip the trailing rope. This caused me to go back and clip the rope in. I swore that made the climb twice as hard. As I reached the top of the first pitch I saw Ryan. He decided this was a good place to trim his toenails.Russ cleaned the belay station and we waited for Jasyn to make his way up.Here's me testing my anchor. Not the smartest thing in the world to do, and one of the main reasons Russ did not let me lead a climb that day. The only thing holding me in this picture is some rope material. There was probably no chance of real danger by, but why test it?
As we looked down we could see Jasyn climbing his way up, Ryan got some good shots.We all made it with no problems up the first pitch. I don't have any picturs of the second pitch but it was a ho-hum 5.4. The views were pretty but we scampered up that pretty rapidly. The next 5.6 pitch had a interesting beginning. As we get to the top of the second pitch and are looking around at the 3rd Jasyn asks Russ where do we go? Russ thought this was pretty funny after explaining explicedly before we climbed this route that he had never done this before. You could tell Jasyn wasn't worried, but you could also tell he wasn't too sure where to go. The only bolt you could see was reached by crossing a suspect ledge. Your anchor point was 30ft or so behind you. This means if you fell you were dangling over about a 100ft cliff. Thank god it wasn't windy. Needless to say Russ wasn't leading this pitch. Jasyn did it, and he handled it like a pro. He complained of lichen and rotten rocks but still handled it with no problems. I followed second after Jasyn. The route was beautiful, great holds and awesome views. You can see the ledge you have to walk across with this picture. Ryan is making his way to the bolt.Here's more pics of Ryan making his accent.Russ decided to shoot a self portrait while waiting to climb himself.We all survived the third pitch. The last pitch was a 5.6. It was a great route. The only bad part is Jasyn and I climbed last. That wouldn't have been so bad, but I was resting my butt on about 3inches of ledge. I had to stay that way for about an hour.Russ took the lead again and handled it with poise. Russ is really good at making you feel calm and safe. He always seems to know what he's doing, and if he doesn't he's good at faking it. We all made it to the summit safely and had a wonderful day. I can't wait to go to table rock again. There are so many routes there and different types of climbs you could climb there for a month and probably not do them all.