Monday, March 29, 2010

Triangle Fly Fishers

I was at the monthly TFF meeting tonight and talking with a few people I realized just how many different people I have met and fished with. I would never have met these people with out the existence of TFF. This next post will highlight some of the people I have fished with because of Triangle Fly Fishers.

Jim Burchette
The first time I went Striper fishing I had no idea what I was doing. Jim was happy to have a Striper Virgin on his boat. He welcomed me and assured me that we were going to have an epic day. The fishing wasn't the best but the company on the boat couldn't have been much better. The other fisherman sharing the deck with me was Ed Mgee. Jim and Ed had me laughing the whole trip. I'm using that as excuse to why I only caught one fish. I'll never forget Jim's generosity of sharing his boat and knowledge of Stripers with me. Seeing the spawning activity, all the boats in the water, and Jim sitting for hours then getting up for 10min and catching a fish in seconds is something I'll never forget.

Dave Maeda
Dave is probably the only person I know that could probably fish in a mud puddle and still catch something. He has extensive fishing knowledge and if you ask him a question he'll be happy to share it with you for a great length of time. His fly box doesn't look like your average joes. Dave's flies are neatly packed and seem to be put in a particular order. The flies are specially positioned by size, color and pattern. I've only fished with Dave a few times and all of them have been fun. On the Haw I forgot extra leaders and tippet and was too prideful to ask anyone for some. Dave would have none of it and insisted on giving me one of his furled leaders. That still is one of the best leaders I have ever used.

John Eichorn
Anyone who can make breakfast five feet away from a hornets nest is cool in my book. John was one of the first people that really made me feel welcome in the club. I first really got to know John on a TFF Small Mouth trip on the New River. The fishing consisted of wading 10miles and casting about 5000 times for 3 days to catch 4 fish. It was John's hospitality and presence around the campfire that reminded me, the fun of fishing trips isn't always about the fishing.

Sam Costello
The first time I fished with Sam was on the Eno. What I noticed right away was his enthusiasm. It was contagious and I couldn't help but have a good time around him. We were hunting Roanoke Bass on one of Sam's favorite haunts. We caught a lot of fish that day and it was fitting that Sam caught the lone Roanoke.

John Barnhardt
John and I fished for white bass on a section that was new to the both of us. In the beginning we didn't catch much but passed the time as fisherman often do having good conversations, dodging thorny briar bushes and keeping our balance while wading. It was one of those fishing days where you talked about a lot of things but can't really remember what any of them were later. We stumbled on to a really good hole and caught quite a few bass.

Mike Poe
If you want to know all there is about water skiing Mike is your man. Also if you are ever in his house don't make the mistake I made and call a custom room he has a "BBQ Area". Unless you want to hear a lot of yelling and gnashing of teeth. It's GRILLING AREA. Mike, Preston and I survived a Smallie trip of exhausting wading, wild dogs, seemingly fish less water and even someone dying within a few 100yds of where we were camping.

John Leraas and Martin Mayonette
You can get a pretty good impression of some one by sitting in a car with them for three hours. Sometimes you meet someone and you know they are just genuinely a nice person. That's the impression I got from John and Martin. We fished a stretch of Wilson Creek on a chilly rainy day in January. John Laaras is an awesome fisherman. Both times we have fished together in about 5min he had a fish on the line. He's one of those people who is humble but has the knowledge and skill to be formidable on any water he fishes. I look forward to many more fishing trips with these guys.

Jim Coveny and Paul Parks
Jim work at Great Outdoor Provision. Unfortunately he's the only one that knows a Wooly Bugger from a Pheasant Tail there. Paul is a great guy who I've fished with a few times and his company is always a pleasure. Jim, Paul and I hit the Mitchell on a over cast weekday and tore it up. We found a few runs that had stocked DH fish just stacked and willing to hit almost anything.

Brian Thomas
Brian has invited me on several occasions to fish with him. We were going to fish together for Striper last year but ended up on different boats. This year we got together to chase some white bass on the Eno. The fishing was pretty slow but we made the most of the day with humorous chats and the occasional fish here and there. Brian was one of the first people I met that made me realize there are people out there that are just as obsessed about fly fishing as I am. It's also fun to have as much fun talking about our kids as we do fishing. I'm sure Brian and I will have many more fish stories to be a part of.

Preston Mcqueen
Some people you're lucky enough to call your friend. That's how I feel about Preston. He is a great example of what a gentleman, father and friend should be. He is one of the most generous people I have ever met. He never complains about donating his time to TFF and other activities. Preston and I have never really had an amazing fishing day. I still never turn down a chance to wet a line with him.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

DH Fish

I made a commitment to myself to start a new style of fishing reports this year. I'm going to try to hide the exact location to where I recently fished. The reason for this is I've noticed great fishing water is over populated as it is. The internet already provides all the information most people need to find most of the decent fishing locations. Even though I've made this decision in this next report I'm revealing everything. Mainly because these places are no secret.

Stone Mountain
My friend Bill and I took a week day off to head up to Stone Mountain and try our luck. This was my first time fishing there. From what Bill informed me on weekends you can rarely find a good spot to fish. This place is the closest trout water to most of mainly populated cities in North Carolina. On the way to the DH section we got our first glimpse of the creek. It looked like most of the trout streams I've fished. When we reached a parking area there was one other vehicle and we could see some people in the water.

I set up my line with something I've only used one other time. It was an indicator that pretty much resembles and works like a bobber. I scrambled into the water and tried to find the best sections to fish.

Basically every section looks like it can hold fish. The creek is full of runs and pools that probably after a good stocking hold a fish. I stepped in at a run where I figured there had to be at least one fish.It only took a few casts to land my first little rainbow. It didn't seem to want to leave me just yet after releasing it. It stayed by my wading boots for a few minutes.

I was able to catch more fish through out the day. They made me work for them but with the right cast and a good drift most of the time you'd catch a fish.

In a few hours the creek went from a private place of solitude to a competition of who can get to the best fishing hole the quickest. When I lived in Boone I never noticed how crowded DH streams were. Living in Raleigh only really allows me to fish on weekends so I get a taste of how the DH normally is. I'll just be blunt, weekend fishing DH streams sucks. I guess DH streams are the first choice for trout fisherman looking for a quick fix. The result is combat fishing.

Watauga DH

Over the weekend I fished the Watuaga DH. This picture shows about the farthest distance I was from another fisherman. When I first got to the stream I was the only one in the water. Within 20 minutes looking both ways up and downstream there were other fisherman. I really don't understand why there are so many. Around Boone there is like 100 miles of trout water. March is off limits for fisherman to fish hatchery supported trout waters. This makes Delayed Harvest streams fished even harder.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Persistance Pays Off

The last couple times I went looking for white bass have not been that productive. Today started out the same. I went fishing with a guy I've never been with before and we were trying a stretch of river that was new to the both of us. We bush whacked and searched holes and nice runs that looked fishy. Before getting in the water I did see what looked to be bluegill running into deeper water from my shadow. This was a lot more encouraging then my last few trips to this river. The last time I came there was no sign of life. We continued to hike and wade until we came to a section where the water came around a bend and made a deep eddy. I figured there had to be fish there. The access to the water was sketchy. I had to watch my balance on a sandy steep hillside, try not to snag the trees on either side of me and above all not fall off the small cliff into the water. I made a successful cast and started to strip my line. My white fly stood out in the dark black water. Then a silver silhouette came from the depths and started to follow my fly. A quick silver flash and a line strip later I had my first bass of the day. It was bigger than any I had caught previously. I tried to get a movie of me releasing it but the fish dropped out of my hands before I got the camera in position. I figured well it's ok I'll catch more. As time went on I started to wonder. The wading and hunting continued with no more hits or any sign that the day was gonna get better. We had fished for almost an hour and my 1 fish was all we had to show for it. The thought to try a another place altogether was brought up but fortunately for us we pressed on.

I went on upstream of my friend and did some reconnaissance. When you go fishing sometimes you come to certain spots where you just know there is fish there. It's not a feeling or a sixth sense specifically but rather an intuition. The spot I encountered had a deep run going between trees that had fallen and been positioned by high current to frame a picture perfect pool. I cast my line in expecting to catch a fish. Even with that expectation I was surprised to see a silver bullet chasing my fly from the depths. As the fly came towards the surface I noticed it was actually two fish following the fly. This is what I had been searching for a school of bass. I kept getting picks at my fly from different fish and seeing silver flashes like tinfoil reflectors under the water. Finally one of them was tugging on my line.

This was bigger than the fish I caught earlier in the day. I was able to catch a couple more then I went and got John to come up and try his luck. I went upstream a little further. There was a similar looking pool that I knew had to have fish. I sent my line in and caught a really nice fish. This was the type of bass I had heard stories about. 15inch 2-3lb slab.

I called over to John who was still having no luck. Had him cast to where I figured the fish would be. Instantly he had a fish on. What was funny is that it was a sunfish. Quickly he got it off his line and cast again. Again an instant strike and again another sunfish. It was actually comical. I asked for him to let me try again, I made a cast and then had a sunfish on myself. Gladly, those were the last sunfish of the day. The next cast John made caught his first white bass.

In that same hole was the mother load. Cast after cast we hooked really nice size bass and even a couple times had a double going. The action stayed fast and furious and we started to get cocky and felt we could throw anything and catch fish. Right about that time the fishing slowed considerably. When it was all said and done we figured between the two of us we caught at least 20 fish just in that one hole.

I can't think of a better way to end the day. The weather, water, fishing and company were great.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hunt for White Bass Part 2

Went hunting for white bass again with a friend. We tried a creek he had done well on a couple years ago. You'd think with spots like thisthat we would tear it up. That wasn't the case. We covered a lot of water but the fishing was pretty rough. Everyone we talked to was having a slow day. Even the bait chuckers. It was still fun to find fish here and there. My buddy caught a nice bass. There was one sections that seemed to have a few fish. I messed around with my camera and took this video.
It was a fun day even though we didn't get the white bass we were hoping for. From the information I gathered by talking to other fisherman it's hit or miss. You either catch a ton or nothing. That would make you appreciate the really good days. I'm hoping to visit this stream again before the bass run is over.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fishing at Lunch

The thing I love about where I work is that I can fish at lunch. The ponds aren't big but they provide a nice get away from the rat race. Today was extra special because the winter has kept the fishing pretty slow in these ponds. After a few casts today, I knew not only the weather was heating up.I didn't see any surface activity but minnows huddled in the shallows. A few strips past them and this bass was produced. I caught a couple more bass then made my way to the other side of the pond. After almost getting my back cast stacked up and getting my fly caught on my back, I ducked and was able to sling it over my head. While taking up the slack line and starting my first strip I felt resistance. I lifted my rod and saw a big silver shape silouhette under the water. It looked like a really big bass but didn't fight like one. The fish made a few runs and gave a pretty good tug on my 4wt. When I got the fish near the surface I could tell it was a crappie. Pretty good size too.This is probably one of the largest I have caught so far. I went back to work re-energized and looking forward to warmer weather and even better fishing. No sign of the carp today. I'll be targeting them this year.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Local Ponds

I have really been blessed to live in such close proximity to Ponds. There is one in particular that I have taken for granted. I met with someone to give some fly fishing tips last weekend and in the hour of messing around I was able to hook a bass. The weather has warmed up some but I'd still say it's on the chilly side. This weekend was kind of a let down. I was going to Boone first then a storm changed my plans. Inches of rain dropped in the mtns and my brother in law told me the rivers were flooded to the point they were dangerous. Even in Raleigh there was quite a bit of rain. I was going to try for shad since my Boone trip was canceled but the rivers were too swollen. The rain subsided today and I decided to try my luck at the local pond. There was a chill in the air and I didn't have much time to fish. The places where you can fish in general seemed limited. There was dock type area that seemed to be the best place. I cast in my trusty white bugger and while retreiving I swore I saw a few flashes. Usually from a fish trying to hit the fly and just missing. On my second cast I slowed my retreival and was rewarded with a little brim. My expectations rose until people decided to come watch me fish.

I don't mind people watching but what I do mind is them letting their kids get in direct line with my back cast. I had to do some fancy manuvouring so I didn't get a bugger in the back of some kids heads. It started to become so annoying I called it a night. I have a hard time in those situations. Part of me wants to tell the kids to back off the other part wants me to be nice and hope the kids think what I'm doing is cool and will want to fly fish when they get the chance. Another option is talking to the parents and the last resort is letting one of my flies stick a kid in the head. That's one way they'll learn right?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Taking Another Shot at Tying

Usually I hate tying flies. Mostly because I'm not very good at it. It seems like a waste of time to spend 20 minutes on something that looks like a bundle of thread and feathers. I like to call that pattern the trash fly. That's usually where it ends up after I'm finished. I've started to keep those flies because sometimes they work.

This year I took another shot at fly tying. I wouldn't say I'm liking it. But what has been great is catching fish on flies I tie. I've been really into these white bugger patterns with dumbbell eyes. They've been really effective on crappie and they were the only thing I could catch white bass on so far. The best part is they aren't difficult to tie. I can tie one in under 8min. The most time consuming part is finding the right hackle. The saddle hackle I bought kind of sucks. I've realized I like thin hackle strips. The big fat ones make the flies look ugly. I can see where it would be effective with bigger hooks. I'm mostly using sz10 or smaller.

I use egg patterns quite a bit and I tried to tie some on my own. They seem simple enough. There are a ton of youtube movies on how to tie glo bug patterns. Even with the movies mine turn out looking more like a cotton ball then a trout egg. I think maybe they'll be more effective in some situations. The funny part is the size of the puff ball that ends up on my hook. Let's just say I'll have plenty of flies if I ever go steelhead or salmon fishing. After tying a few dozen flies I can see the value of a good vise. Mine has tightening knobs. These do the job but if you tie a lot the knobs start to wear on your hands. I may one day look into getting a renzetti rotary vise but it's not my highest priority right now.

This year so far my fishing experiences can be only described as efficient. Each trip I've gone on I haven't had the usual annoying things that plagued me the last few years. No reels dropping in the water, I've had all the flies I needed, haven't forgot any equipment. The fish have cooperated too.

I hope this trend continues.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Hunt for White Bass

A freind invited me to go in his boat on the Eno River. There were reports of a bass run that has been picking up. We got to the boat ramp at around 10am and we weren't the only ones enjoying the first 60 degree day in months. Trucks were lining up to put in the water and even after we had launched other trucks were getting in line. The river was pretty murky but you could still see several feet. The level of the water had dropped considerably from a few weeks prior. Signs of the high water stained the trees.

There were so many boats it was slow go finding a spot away from others. The fish finder pinged several times and we found a spot and made some casts towards shore. After a few several casts my buddy was able to hook up with a nice crappie. He continued to catch fish now and then. The key was to get the flies down to the bottom without getting them hung up. There were plenty of places to snag your line. The river was clogged with logs and submerged trunks. Eventually after trying several tactics I was able to catch a fat little bass. I didn't get many more fish after that. The fishing was pretty slow all day. We saw some other people using bait that seemed to catch fish consistantly. None of the fish were huge. It seems the run is just beginning and it will only get better. We called it a day and looked forward to more productive times on the Eno and warmer weather.