Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Envision It

We've all been there. You're out on the water with a buddy and he's struggling. The person knows how to fish. It's not knowledge that's the problem. The issue is familiarity with this water and how to fish it on this type of day. You want them help them out and offer tips but when is the right time? There is always an awkwardness to these situations. How will they take your advice? Do they even want it? 

I am really bad at assuming things. You share fishing stories with friends and you get an idea of what level they are as an angler.  Many times I just assume other fishermen know more or at least what I know. On this day your drift had to be just right. I tried to explain it and show what I was talking about. I then realized fishermen have very vivid ideas of what they can't see. When I cast a nymph into a run that falls into a plunge pool I can envision it going down in the water and appearing out of the white bubbles. Slowly getting tossed around the current and drifting over the rocky bottom. I can even see the lies of where fish are and how they are behaving towards my fly. In reality I can't see any of this. Most of the time I can only see my indicator and a blurry stream bottom. The things I envision in my head help greatly though. These visions can get the best of me. Like when a fish under the brush just sits there as my nymph drifts by. In my mind I can see it slowly moving from side to side and avoiding my offerings. To everyone else and in reality all you see is a bunch of water going by some submerged brush. The thought of that fish and the hope of catching it gets so intense it is almost like watching a show in your head. How can you teach this or even explain it properly to another person who doesn't think this way? Even if you're reading this right now you might be thinking I'm insane. It truly is how I fish and I can't see me fishing any other way. 

I could tell my buddy wasn't thinking this way when we spotted some fish in the water and he kept moving his indicator right over them. His indicator was in the proper position but the current was moving so fast his fly was way downstream. He also would hold his indicator there thinking his fly was directly underneath it.  When in reality it was downstream probably just 6inches under the surface.  I tried to explain that he needed to cast upstream so the fly could dive and be at the depth of the fish by the time the indicator got to them. He attempted the cast but his actions verified we weren't on the same page. When he cast upstream he couldn't imagine the fly going under then slowly drifting down depending on the current and pull of his leader. I wonder if it just comes down to what kind of learner you are. I am a very visual learner. Most of the sports and things I have learned were by watching others.

I enjoy reading books too but I've always had a better understanding by physically trying what I want to learn. There are many theories about imagining what you want to happen then trying to do it. I think most fishermen do the same thing. It kills us to imagine a big bass right behind some submerged logs and not even get a bite. In our mind we can see the bass there just waiting to ambush our popper. The bass in our mind attacks but all we experience is dead water. There are times when it does seem you get a little of both. Your mind sees the fish and a fish does strike but the behavior and fish are nothing compared to what you imagined. Did you will the fish to hit? Who knows?  

Maybe the fishing is never what you envision in your head but it's really great when the fishing is better than you could have imagined.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Utah Bound

Picture via Microsoft Clip Art

In a few weeks my family will be taking an adventure to Utah. I wish I could say the reason was for fishing but that would be false. We're actually going for my wife's family reunion. I'm hoping to sneak in fishing when I can. We'll be spending some time in Park City and Ogden. I'd like to check out Ogden Canyon, The Weber and The Provo. I have been annoying authors from other blogs that are headquartered in UT. Special thanks to:

I hope I can fish with some of these folks while I'm out there. My wife is getting sick of me showing her maps and places I think we should check out. My reasons aren't just because there's fishing close by. Really they're not. There's a lot to fish for: muskie, pike, trout, carp, grayling and even salmon in certain areas. To say I'm eager to get out there is a severe understatement.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fishing When There's Lightning

Most of us have done it. You are fishing and hear a storm coming then wait until the last minute to finally leave. It seems every year there are one or two storms that have a ridiculous amount of lightning. I decided to research which states have the most fatal lightning strikes.
Graphic is from Noaa.gov
The top 5 states for Fatal Lightning strikes are:
  1. Florida
  2. Colorado
  3. Texas
  4. North Carolina
  5. Georgia
    I'm not sure how many people would have guessed CO as being in the top 5. If you think of the strikes based on surface area. North Carolina and Florida are pretty dangerous. Even though these statistics are over a 9yr period it's alarming that my own state is in double digits. That's 2 deaths a year from lightning strikes. I could not find out what scenarios surrounded these strikes. Were people struck golfing, hunting, fishing etc..?
I tried to find evidence that the chances of getting struck by lightning go up if you're carrying a fishing rod. I couldn't find any evidence stating you are more likely to be hit. What I did find over an over was the fact that lightning usually seeks out the highest object in an area. So if you're fishing in a boat or on a lake with low banks you probably are a good candidate. My whole goal with this post is to encourage you to be safe and avoid lightning altogether if possible.

Here are some tips from National Geographic:
The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000. The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000.
During a thunderstorm, each flash of cloud-to-ground lightning is a potential killer. The determining factor on whether a particular flash could be deadly depends on whether a person is in the path of the lightning discharge.
In addition to the visible flash that travels through the air, the current associated with the lightning discharge travels along the ground. Although some victims are struck directly by the main lightning stroke, many victims are struck as the current moves in and along the ground.
If your hair stands up in a storm, it could be a bad sign that positive charges are rising through you, reaching toward the negatively charged part of the storm. That's not a good sign! Your best bet is to get yourself immediately indoors.

If you can hear thunder, you are within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of a storm—and can be struck by lightning. Seek shelter and avoid situations in which you may be vulnerable.

 Use the 30-30 rule, when visibility is good and there is nothing obstructing your view of the thunderstorm. When you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If that time is 30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is within six miles (ten kilometers) of you and is dangerous. Seek shelter immediately.
People on or in or near water are among those most at risk during thunderstorms. Swimming is particularly dangerous, as not only do swimmers protrude from the water, presenting a potential channel for electrical discharge, but also because water is a good conductor of electricity.
Victims of lightning do not retain the charge and are not "electrified." It is safe to help them.
To find out more tips check out the National Geographic article "Flash Facts About Lightning."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

$10 Fly Lines

When a lot of blogs are telling you about the latest and greatest new thing I seem to always show how to buy stuff on the cheap. The newest thing I'd like to share is inexpensive fly lines. These lines are Scientific Angler seconds. They have a rough finish or the color is slightly faded. When I went red drum fishing a month ago my buddy was using one and loved it. He said he'll never buy another expensive line again. The lines come in different weight and types. The site selling these lines is called Discount Fishing Tackle, Inc.

Friday, June 7, 2013

April Vokey Has Some Competition

I can't believe it has taken this long. When I saw the fame April Vokey was getting I was waiting for copycats to come out of the woodwork. There were a few attempts here and there but it seemed no one committed to the whole "I'm an attractive woman and like to fly fish" niche. That was until I ran across Rebekka.
Picture from the site- Rebekka
Rebekka is the new spokeswoman for the magazine The New Fly Fisher
 Her site is kind of all over the place. There are wildlife pictures, obvious modeling shots, then genuine fishing pictures like this.
Picture from the site- Rebekka
It will be interesting to see how popular she gets.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The New Guys

Today I hosted a beginning fly fishing excursion on a local river. These are always a mixed bag of people. Some people have fished in the past and are just getting into it. Others have fly fished a couple times but aren't confident in their skills. Then you have people that have never picked up a fly rod in their life. The club really doesn't have a good fit for the last scenario. Honestly I have a hard time dealing with it, too.

When I go fishing and I'm away from my kids I want to fish, not hold a newbie's hand. With the title of the trip having "beginner" in the name it's hard to not provide some instruction. I'll admit I'm not the best person for this. This is usually what happens: I show how to rig a rod, tie a knot, what flies to use, maybe cast for a few minutes then basically leave the person to learn the rest on their own. I have been trying to work on my patience and become a better teacher. Today I did what I usually do and went off on my own. I caught fish and ended up getting a nice warmouth.
Eventually I walked back and hung with D. D had never fly fished before and had been in the same spot I left him an hour earlier. He was using the same fly and casting to the same stretch of water. I felt bad for not hanging with him more. I walked over and started to work with him. His cast was decent, definitely good enough to catch fish. Now all he had to learn was how to present his fly and what he should expect. We worked under the shade of a tree and I was giving him play by play of what fish were doing near his fly. There were many times a fish took his popper under and D didn't even see it. I kept yelling "He's got it! He's got it!" D usually would set the hook way too late. This was actually more motivating than frustrating. This guy was catching his first fish today if I have anything to say about it.

I have a theory about when beginners start fly fishing. Many times they think about so much it prevents them from catching fish. I felt if D could stop thinking about things his chances would improve. Instead of instructions I started telling him stories and I'd interrupt them all the time with the same line. "Throw in the shade as close as you can to the bank."

I could see D starting to loosen up. D's cast started getting better. He was being more patient and let his fly just sit on the water. Then it happened. He had the experience that starts every fly fisherman's addiction. The fly landed, D watched the fish slowly come up to the fly inspect it for a split second then suck it in. The gill pulled the popper under and I didn't have to say a word. D set the hook and the fish was on. I knew then that I had the wrong perspective on things. All those times I thought I was missing out on fishing because I was helping beginners wasn't right. 
Being a witness to D's first fish on a fly was better than any fishing I had that day.