Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nice Fish Philosophy

This is an interesting take on why people fly fish. It's not a new philosophy but I feel the way it was explained is done very well. Enjoy.

Fly Fishing is a Joke from Henry Harrison on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Low Water and the Haw River

Usually when I visit the Haw it is running at about 150cfs or above. This morning it was under 100. It allowed me to check out places I never had access to before. There is an island that I always figured if I could just get to the other side the fishing was probably great. The light was still pretty low and it was hard to see in the water but it was so low wading was pretty easy. That's not normal for this river. I was able to get to the other side and slowly make my way around the island. The view looked just as good as I expected.The pools looked like perfect places for bass to lurk. I tried to be as stealthy as possible when approaching pools. With the light of the morning I couldn't quite see in the water. I cast into a calm pool expecting a huge explosion any second. There was a little nibble but not the explosive take I was hoping for. The next pool had to hold a bass. Unfortunately it was the same scenario. Pool after pool seemed to hold plenty of sunfish but no bass. The water looked great but I guess wasn't great habitat for bass.It got a little frustrating but it was hard to be annoyed with the weather being perfect. I saw my first Haw River bald eagle and plenty of osprey. Even though the bass weren't too active the sunfish sure were. I tried to use big flies but that didn't deter the sunfish.I'm going to come back this fall and see if I can get some pictures of the birds diving into the water for fish. The day was pretty ho-hum fishing wise. I did get into a tussle with two bass but after a few seconds they came off. With fall quickly approaching and the leaves starting to change color the days on the Haw are only going to get better.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I was told recently that there was a coupon in the latest Orvis catalog for 12 free flies. I couldn't find the coupon and resorted to sending out an e-mail to all my fishing buddies to point out where exactly the coupon was. Sure enough on Page 67 of the late summer catalog there is a page that states if you bring this to your local Orvis dealer you in fact get a dozen flies. I was really excited about this and started calling friends and began shopping to sort out what flies I'd choose. It was then that my wife finally said you are obsessed with fly fishing. If I would have known better I would have just kept quiet. But I insisted on an explanation of how she felt I was obsessed.

First off she pointed out what most people call driving I call looking for fishable water. We can't go anywhere with out me peering over the bank of a road or rubber necking at a farm pond we're passing. She always fears we're going to die in the mountains because it's fishable water overload. The next thing she pointed out is the comment I make every time I see these waters. "I should have brought my fishing pole". She noticed lately I haven't been saying that as often and that led to the next part of incriminating evidence.

My car looks like I'm trying to drive around a mobile fly shop. At anytime I am prepared to catch trout, salmon or a 300lb grouper. I usually always have two rods in my car as well as probably 100 flies. Some cars have the scent of pine or vanilla, my car has the distinct smell of wet wading boots. It is amazing how I can find anything in the back of my car. It's a wagon so the back is just a pile of fishing gear. I have maybe four fly boxes and they are kind of organized. Two are for trout and the other two are for Bass and larger fish. When you open these boxes however you better not do it during a strong breeze. There's no telling what flies have come loose and are just waiting to escape.

My wife then went on to point out the new decor of the house. In my daughters room and recently in our room there is an obvious fishing theme trying to take over. Above our bed is a poster of Traditional Trout Flies of the Southern Appalachians. Is that strange? By our washer and dryer there is tying materials. There's enough in there to tie maybe 10,000 flies. Whenever I tie it looks as though a cat has ran free through a bird aviary. Then she pointed out the most obvious.

The computer, my bookmarks are filled with 90% fishing related things. I have a fishing blog and am following 20 or so other blogs. They don't really range in topic, most if not all are about fishing. It made me really start to think about things. Ok I admit it, maybe I am a little obsessed. But is there anything much better to be obsessed about?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Time Well Spent

I've been trying to save my money lately. Buying lunch can really add up so I've been trying to either bring my lunch or just not eat. Fishing seems to distract me just enough so I can get through the day and not think about my stomach. The work pond hasn't had very good fishing lately. I tried the usual popper that at least gets some lookers. I had a few fish swim up but they just hung behind the fly and never committed. I switched flies a few times but nothing seemed to do the trick until I put on a Chernobyl Ant. There were 3 bass cruising by shore. This is the best time to catch a fish. The competition seems to trigger the instinct in the fish and they race to the fly. I caught one of the feisty bass instantly. On my next cast I had a bluegill come up from the depths and hammer the fly. The next two casts were the same. This specimen in particular I thought was beautiful. The fish looked really healthy. There are some catfish that cruise the pond and hang out near the surface. I dropped the ant maybe a foot in front of the fish's nose. It hit the fly but spit it right away. It would be pretty cool to catch a catfish on a surface fly. All the players were out today. I saw a huge carp while working the banks on the other side. I think my lunch's are going to be well spent.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Couple of Firsts

The great thing about the Triangle Fly Fishers club is there are plenty of people to fish with. Recently I was contacted about fishing the Eno with a member who hadn't done well there. We talked the night before and I informed him that he is definitely going to catch sunfish. It's almost impossible not too. I could tell there was some doubt in his voice. It's amazing how much the river has changed in just a couple months. The brush is so high and thick the river and trails are hidden. It just started to rain literally as I was parking the car. We gathered are gear and scrambled down a steep bank into the river. It's not hard to find fish on the Eno. Cast towards any structure along the bank and you're sure to get some action.That was pretty much my only advice. It took longer than I thought but with in five min Greg had his first Eno sunfish on.The both of us continued to catch panfish while there was a light rain. When the rain stopped the fish became less aggressive. I noticed most of my casts had to be right against cover. If the fly didn't land with in 6inches of structure usually I didn't get a hit. Submerged roots and trees are common along the banks. These locations are full of fish. It was in one of these places where I caught a fish that looked a little strange to me. I've been trying to catch a Roanoke ever since I started fishing the Eno. The coloring of this fish didn't match a Roanokes but the body was stockier and a little different then the average bluegill and sunfish. I think this fish is a warmouth which would be the first one I've ever caught on the Eno. In one section I caught 3 of them. I didn't catch another one the rest of the day.

It was a normal Eno trip. 7-10 sunfish and always some surprise. That's what makes the Eno really fun. You never know what you're gonna get.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend In Boone, NC

My mother in law is visiting form Utah and this weekend the family headed up to Boone for some fun. The goal this weekend was to try a section of trout water I have never fished before. It was a wild section that a buddy had told me about. Supposedly it was hardly ever fished and had pretty easy access. My brother in law Russ hardly ever gets out on fishing adventures with me. Fortunately he was able to sneak away early in the morning and we were off to chuck some feathers.

On the way up to the creek we noticed the water was very low. The area around Boone has not received very much rain. The rivers and creeks were the lowest I had ever seen them. Watching the creek get smaller and smaller as we gained altitude did not make me optimistic about our day. Some of the sections almost looked dry. After some navigating we found our location geared up and started rock hopping. I hiked up and got my first good look at the creek.I'm not a huge fan of low pocket water fishing. You have to be very stealthy and you really only get one or two casts at a pool. That's if you don't spook the fish first. Many pools were too shallow to hold any fish at all. This made the fishing even more difficult. Russ and I were almost racing to pools. What ended up happening is we would take turns at some of the better ones. There were some surprises. I found one pool that was right out of a dream. I've been hearing a lot about pink flies working in wild water. I decided to try a fly called Eggi Wan Kenobi.There was a rock in front of me that looked like a good spot to hold a fish. I cast over the rock and saw what looked to be a 15inch trout. That trout would be decent on any water but in this creek that was a monster. It moseyed over and sucked in the fly. I set the hook saw a few flashes and the fish breached and just snapped the fly off. It was my fault. After seeing the low water I tied a horrible knot figuring most of the fish I'd catch would be six inches at most. I quickly tied on another Eggi and cast into the pool again. There was no action and Russ was closing in. I cast at the far side of the pool where I was sure there was a fish. My line jerked and I set the hook. A short fight later I was landing my first wild trout in this creek.It was decent size considering the creek we were fishing.The day went on pretty much the same. Skip any water that wasn't eight inches deep and cautiously fish pools. There were some pools that made you just enjoy how perfect they were. The way the moss covered rocks were laid out. The water slowly falling from the head of the pool then flowing through the rocks but slow enough to mirror the surroundings.It's beauty like this that makes you happy to just be there. Fishing is secondary.Even with pools like this the fishing was slow. I spooked a lot more fish than I caught. It was nice to know about this creek. I'll be coming back again. The water levels can only get better. Some sections were one log jam or moved rock from having the flow of water stopped.

The next day the family went to Tweetsie and I had fun with my family going on some of the rides.My daughter seemed to dig the go cart ride. At Tweetsie we have to ride the carousel. It's one of my wife's faves as well as my daughter.I can't wait until my baby is old enough to go fishing with me. She loves the outdoors and it's only a matter of time.

That afternoon I got out to one of my favorite sections. It looked a lot different from my last visit. The trail was totally over grown and there was no sign it even existed. I figured this was a good thing. Hopefully less people had fished there. I had to bush wack and slide under some briers and brush. I came to the edge of the river and just stared into the crystal clear water. The first fish I could see were the schools of chub that are common in the summer. As I watched longer I noticed in this one pool right in front of me there were sunfish, trout and even a smallmouth bass. I tried my best to move slowly and try to rig my line up but I spooked most of the fish in the pool. I waded out into the river and tried the sections that are usually productive. I caught a beautiful sunfish right away. Softhackles seem to work the best on this river. I think it's because of the heavy caddis population. Even the Eggi Juan Kenobi didn't work as good as your average run of the mill softhackle. The fishing was slow but I was able to manage one trout. I was happy trout survived this hot summer. Russ told me the water temperatures had been pretty warm. This brown bolted out of my hands and didn't seem fatigued at all.It was a great weekend. There was some quality time with the family spent cooking together and having fun at Tweetsie. Then there was time for fishing and Russ was able to get out with me. The fishing was definitely quality over quantity.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Fishing Days that Suck

Since my last experience on the Haw was so fun I was antsy to get back. It was really hot but I decided to chance it. The goal was to use only really big flies. I have a frog popper that's a size 1. I tied that bad boy on and let it fly in the dying light. The piranha aka sunfish were heavily interested and made stabs at the fly literally as it hit the water. The frog was so big there was no way they could take it under. I spooked a few bass and started to work the usual sections when.....

vvvvvvvvvvvVVVVVVVVVvvvvvvvvvvvv this giant bug started flying around me. I couldn't tell what it was but it was big and circling me like a buzzard. I swatted at it and it finally left me. I crossed a section that leads to an old abandoned mill and worked rocky ledges and banks. vvvvvvvVVVVVVVVVVvvvvvvvvvv the damn bug was back again. I started casting figuring it would shoo the bug away but it was relentless. It would go away giving me about 3min of un-harassed fishing time then I'd hear like the Jaws movie theme only with buzzing. vvv vvv vvv vvv VVVVVVVVVVVVVV. I actually hit the bug with my hands a few times and it didn't seem to phase it one bit. It was annoying me so much that I was more worried about it then my back cast and I got hung up in trees behind me a few times. Nothing more fun than untangling your line from a tree and swatting at a giant bug at the same time. The fishing was still slow and I decided to work my way back to where I started the whole time fighting off whatever this thing was.

As I got to the section that flowed downstream of the mill I noticed something strange. The water looked higher and muddy, it was some sort of discharge. This mill is old and abandoned could someone have been messing around and released water some how? I didn't have time to figure it out the water was rising fast and if I didn't make a decision soon I was gonna be stuck on an island with mr buzzy. Stupidly I kind of just jumped in the water and hauled a$$ across it. It was above my knees and took me off guard at first. When I went across this section earlier the water was barely above my sock line. It was filled with mud and the bottom was invisible. My hustling and ruckus I think scared away my buddy. I came back to where I started and thought about calling it a night. Then I tried to be optimistic, watching the muddy flow go into the main current I had an idea. I wonder if this stirred up some food and fish are going to start stacking up. I tied on a dark streamer leach pattern and cast my line out. I was concentrating hard on where I was casting and feeling intently for any tension in the line. The water had risen considerably. vvvvvvvvvvvVVVVVVVVVVvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv The stupid thing was back! I tried casting and swatting at the same time and caught my line in a tree again. I was able to get it out then during my next cast, unbelievably, the bug actually ticked my line in the air actually moving it some. The insect was un-phased. That was it, I was calling it a night. I left the river disgruntled and happy to leave the flying bastard. My car was parked on a paved section maybe 100yds from where I put in. I was pondering the night and amazed at how different this experience was then the one a couple days before.

vvvvvvvvvVVVVVVVVVvvvvvv! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! OK now this is personal! This bug followed me all the way to my car! Now I was gonna kind of hold still and wait for this thing to land on me because it was gonna die. But no, it was smart enough to just bounce off my hat or do short fly by's. I finally was over it and as I took off my gear and threw it in the back of my car the beast hit my hat and grazed off my face. I just got in my car and the bug slammed against the winsheild and stuck there I guess mocking me thinking, wussy. It was the first time I was able to take a good look at it. It was a 2inch long horse fly. The thing had followed and harassed me probably for a whole mile of fishing.