Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Is it Winter?

This has been the warmest winter in memory. Christmas Eve I was fishing in my shorts for gills using poppers.

Over the weekend it was so warm I was able to wet wade a brookie stream. It felt strange to not have to break out my waders in late December.
The water was high but the fish were very active. 
I can't recall ever seeing rainbows with such pretty red stripes on them. All of the bows over 6inches had this. The coloring was beautiful and the picture doesn't do the color justice. The high water made the fish move to calmer pools. One pool in particular had a brookie hanging out in about 4inches of water. This wild brookie was the largest I had seen in quite some time. I thought maybe something was wrong with the fish because of how out in the open it was. I cast my nymph behind and to the right. I went to pull the flies up to make another cast and the fish turned and chased the flies almost hitting them as they came out of the water. I thought maybe I missed my chance, I cast near the fish again. I didn't see the take but I knew where my flies were and saw the fish make a slash. I set the hook and my line instantly wrapped around a downed limb. I was using 6x and tried to free the line without snapping it. I was able to untangle the line by taking the limb out of the water. 
The fish wasn't that colorful but it was really good size for this stream. These fish must be really confused usually the sides of this stream are lined with ice around now. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Last Kayak Trip Of The Year

I'm pretty sure yesterday was my last kayak trip of the year. I soaked up as much as I could yesterday with the nice weather. The fishing was decent and there is something about paddling a kayak that makes you feel good. If the fish aren't biting you can just paddle around and enjoy the scenery.
The high barely reached 70 yesterday and the water was just above 60 degrees. The usual highs will start getting into the 50's now and being out in the open lake with a cold wind isn't attractive to me. I guess I'll get my fly tying stuff out and see what patterns I can come up with for next year.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Flounder And Bluefish

Surf fishing is tough. There's no place to sit, full exposure from the sun, biting flies, and the wind can be relentless. Even with the negative things it can also be very rewarding. You never know what you're going to catch. When you get a tug on the line it could be a five inch pinfish or a six foot black tip shark. I've surf fished many times and only caught a sunburn. Today was a good day where the wind was right and the fish cooperated.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Neuse River Float

Tried floating the Neuse for the first time. The fishing wasn't that great but the paddling was excellent.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Trying the ActionHat

There's an angler I've been following recently called RexDelRay. His videos are pretty good and this one in particular caught my attention.

Rex is starting a brand called LiveLive and also offering gear that can be used with GoPro style cameras. I thought the ActionHat looked very interesting.
I ordered one the hats and I hope to have a review of it soon. I can see this working a lot better than the head strap.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Geekpro Trout Video

This is some video I took on my last trout fishing trip. I apologize for the jerky footage. I'm still trying to figure out a fixed point for the Geekpro Camera. This trip I tried attaching the camera to my wader strap. Later I used the camera on a collapsing pole. Neither setups were ideal.
Let me know what you think of the video. Do you like the music or could you do with out it?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Trout and Good Luck

Last weekend was my first trout trip of fall. With the high barely reaching 60 it didn't feel like fall. I caught several fish mostly on soft hackles. The Piscifun reel worked great.
While fishing I dropped my camera in the water and didn't pull up my sleeve far enough when I tried to retrieve it. My sleeve was soaked and even after several attempts to squeeze the water out it stayed wet. I tried to block that arm from the wind the best I could but after about an hour I couldn't take it anymore, I was freezing. I got back to the car all I could think about is getting inside and starting the heater and drying off. The reel was hard to unseat with my cold hands. It finally gave way and popped off the rod. As I saw it fall I didn't want it to hit the ground so I put my boot under it. The reel bounced off the boot and slid under the car. It was just out of reach and I figured I would get it after I removed my waders. Nature called once my gear was off and after relieving myself I totally forgot about the reel. I didn't notice the reel was gone until I got home. I sent an email to a friend that lives near the river I fished letting him know about the reel. The odds of him finding it were pretty slim. Then I got this message the next day.

"You must be living right. Went right over after reading your message and found the reel!"

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Chumming For Carp is Crap

I'm not sure if it's a coincidence or just a copycat thing but in the last week I have watched two popular videos of people chumming to catch carp. In both videos the angler and I struggle to use the term angler in this example throws several pieces of bread then uses bread on a hook or a fly that looks like a hunk of bread. I was amazed to see in both videos comments like "clever" and "awesome catch!" I don't know why but it really annoyed me. First off say what you want but chumming to catch anything is crap outside of fishing for saltwater fish. The only reason I can condone that is because the ocean is vast. It's not a small pond where you can see the other bank from where you're standing. Second what challenge is it to throw a ton of one thing in the water then throw something that looks similar and have a fish eat it? That's clever?

Most anglers have done this sort of thing at one time or another. We don't brag about it because chumming is something a toddler can do. Glorifying it insults those that go out of their way to catch a carp by properly fishing for them. Catching them with techniques that require stealth, great presentation and most of all skill. I know I can't be the only one that feels this way. Feel free to chime in even if you don't agree.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Quick Bass

I got out for a couple hours on the local lake. The wind was roaring and there was a serious chop on the water. I found a cove protected from the wind and managed a fish.

Caught this bass a few days later.

Monday, October 12, 2015

More $10 Fly Lines

So many reels, so little line. Fly line is expensive. Many times I want a sinking version of a similar floating weight I already have. The problem is this line will be used one or two times a year. I'd love to buy $70 Rio line every time I needed it but I can't justify that. The shop Discount Fishing Denver sells Scientific Anglers seconds. This allows anyone to get various types of line and not spend a fortune. Each line is around $10 and it doesn't matter if the line is floating, sinking, weight forwarded or double tapered. The fly line isn't shipped with any factory packaging. Usually it arrives like this.
My cat really wanted to be a part of this post.
 The shop is nice enough to tag the end of the fly line that attaches to your backing. Every time I've called the shop their service has been great. If you're in the market for a fly line I highly recommend trying these out. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Smallie Snacks

I've seen the crittermite fly before but never tried tying it. I was not convinced the tails made a difference when it comes to catching fish. I read a post recently on forum I follow where an angler caught some decent smallies. Sure enough the fly in the fishes mouth was a version of the crittermite.

I tried tying the same version but with a small twist. Instead of dumbbell eyes I'm trying tungsten heads. I think they give the fly a good look.
The flies are a work in progress and I'm still experimenting. In my eyes the flies look great but it's what the fish think that matters.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cheap Reel

My 5wt reel had an issue where the spool came off from time to time when I stripped line. At first it only happened once or twice a fishing trip. More recently it was happening every 10 casts. I couldn't stand it anymore and decided to retire it. While looking for a replacement I didn't want to spend a ton, because usually the fish I catch on my 5wt rod don't require a good reel. I rarely fight fish on the reel itself.

I found the Piscifun Reel on Amazon. I don't normally look for fly fishing gear on Amazon and the name of this reel sounded stupid. What kept my attention was the design of the reel and the reviews. The majority of the reviews gave it 5 stars. For $35 I decided to try it out.
This reel definitely looks fancy out of the box. The finish is like most machined designs. The drag system is basic about what I expected. The reel is very light and the action when reeling line is fluid. The reel should handle a few drops but if you stumbled and fell with your weight on it I think it could bend. 
When I used the reel a few times I found it doesn't like dirt. You're going to need to make sure you keep your line clean. This reel will definitely require more service than the one I had before. Even with the cons this reel is better than the previous one and it's a great replacement. It would be a nice spare reel to leave in you car. Just in case you hit the river and forget something. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Allen Fly Fishing Combo

I've been on the lookout for a new 8wt for quite some time. I really just needed the rod and didn't want to spend over $150. While surfing different deals I kept coming back to Allen Fly Fishing. I tried a couple Allen rods at the last fly fishing show. To be honest I didn't really think they were that special but the price point of their 8wt combo package was too good to pass up. I decided to pull the trigger and give the combo a shot. The Prelude combo included a 8wt reel lined with backing and fly line. With a $150 price tag I didn't expect much but when the rod arrived I was impressed by the case alone. It was very nice and seems like it could handle a lot of punishment. The reel came in a neoprene case and the quality of the rod was fantastic.
The blanks have a beautiful finish. they look black at first glance but as your turn them in the light they have a green sheen to them.
The reel is very light weight and the drag seems very smooth. I've used it a few times and I'm very happy with it. The line seems to be decent. I'm not sure what kind it is but I'd compare it to Scientific Anglers.
When I'm fishing from my kayak I need a rod that can cast big flies effortlessly. This combo fits that solution perfectly. I can cast poppers or large heavy flies with ease. I was using the rod when I caught a decent bass in this video. It's the footage around minute 3 and at the end of the video when you just see me casting. You can tell from the video that it's not taking me much effort to cast near the weeds. If you're looking for a great value in a rod combo I definitely recommend checking out Allen Fly Fishing. Their customer service is very good as well. 

Allen is having another great deal right now. If you buy $250 of Exterus Apparel you can get a Allen Heritage or Alluvian rod free. A $209 value.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Float Trip on the Dan River

A few club members and I did a float trip on the Dan River last weekend. We hired a guide and for many of us this was our first experience with one. The guides main background was with conventional tackle and he was up front about that before hand. What I suspected was that his knowledge of the river is really what we were paying for. The guides name was Gary from Froggy Waters Outdoors. he seemed to know the river like the back of his hand. Whenever he said "usually fish hold around here" someone in our group caught something. We all kind of questioned Gary's comment to our group before the float about us catching over 80 fish. It didn't take long before we realized we were going to make that mark and do even better. Of course it's not all about the catching and we made sure to enjoy the river and take in its scenery. 
It was a gorgeous day and even though the water was low the clarity was perfect. The river had various sections. Some were dead and silty with hardly any features. Others were rocky with ledges and looked similar to rivers you'd find at higher elevations.
The fish did cooperate and I had some luck with a new fly. I have been hearing a lot lately about a fly called the Kreelex Fly. It's supposed to be good for smallies and trout that are keying in on bait. This is what I tied up for the trip.
The flies worked pretty well. I wasn't sure if it was the fly or just the flash that was getting the fishes attention. 
Most of the fish were caught with the kreelex flies or crayfish patterns. The rest were caught using spinning gear. Mainly beetlespins.
Everyone had an awesome time and it was one of the best float trips I've ever been on. 
Gary definitely gave us plenty of time on the water. He was very patient and always made sure we were having a good time while also keeping us safe. 
I'm not sure how the day could have been any better. The weather and water were perfect and everyone caught fish. We are already talking about scheduling the next trip to this river.

Here is a video I made. I'm not really in love with the helmet cam view.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Kopec Travel

Some people are just lucky bastards. I've fished with Brian a few times and he is a really fun guy to be around. He lives a pretty exciting life and as of right now he's traveling the world and documenting his experiences. This is a pic that he took yesterday while swimming with humpback whales. 

Check out his blog and see what he's doing next. There's one thing for sure it won't be dull.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Bait Patterns

I spent a little time tonight tying bait patterns. These were tied with EP Fibers. I tried different profiles. A bluegill type profile and a thicker and thinner minnow type. I'm still learning how much material is needed for each pattern. A little goes along way.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Fly Fishing At The Beach

I tried my luck at the beach over the weekend. I found a ton of fiddler crabs plundering what they could before the tide came in. There was bait every where but I only managed to catch one small Jack Crevalle. Not the greatest video but it does give you a little moment of Zen.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Amazing Video

Many people ask me what the mountains of North Carolina look like. This video does a good job of showing the beauty of our mountains and forests.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

GeekPro Camera

I have been eyeing GoPro cameras for quite awhile. I just couldn't justify paying $300. I searched Amazon for a waterproof camera and stumbled upon the GeekPro.

 At first glance I thought maybe someone posted the wrong info. The camera looks exactly like a GoPro but it's under $70. After reading the description I became even more interested. The specs were almost exactly like a GoPro3. I figured this camera is still probably crap but all of the reviews gave it 5 stars and included video footage. I decided for that price it was worth trying. The camera comes with a water proof case and a bunch of different mounts. Any GoPro accessory will also fit this camera. I was really excited to see how this camera took underwater photos so I decided to try it while fishing recently. I'm pretty happy with the results. 

I took the camera out on the kayak Saturday. 

I tried mounting it with a pole in one of the rod holders. It's a work in progress but I think the quality is pretty good. The camera can record at 1080p at 30fpt, I record mostly all the video at 720fps. It uses less battery and runs at 60fps. The only drawback to the camera is the case. I think when the sun shines on the case it causes a yellow tint to form at times. One really cool feature of the camera is the WiFi function. You can use your cell phone as a remote and see what the camera is seeing from your phone. You can also start and stop recording from your phone.

I'll be using this camera quite a bit and I'll try to share more videos.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Bucket Mouth League

Frankenfly is doing something similar to what The Fiberglass Manifesto did last year with "TheYearOfTheBluegill." The new thing is called the BucketMouthLeague. I'm usually not into stuff like this but I have to admit the logo FrankenFly is having made up looks awesome. I'd really like to get it for my kayak.
First things first though. I need to start catching some largemouths. The hot weather lately has turned me off to fishing. Today was the first day we had that wasn't above 90 and super humid. It was just 90 and dry. I tried to make the most of the last few hours of daylight. There was a pond I hadn't fished much but it has always been decent each time I've visited. The first 30min was dead. I didn't have so much as a sniff on my fly. I really wanted to catch something on top water so I stuck with a popper. I could see minnows all over near the bank. There were so many the water quivered. I tried every retrieve I could think of but nothing seemed to elicit a strike. I came to a cement intake and decided to try something different. I cast near the structure and my fly landed on top of it. I pulled it off and the fly landed next to the intake. I started to jerk the fly with violent strips. I wanted the action to look really abnormal. Nothing like anything you'd see in nature. After my 5th strip the fly was gone and a green flash shimmered along the surface then disappeared into the dark water. It happened so fast by the time I set the hook the fish basically hooked itself. I could tell from the bend in the rod the fish was good size. Then it shot out of the water and shook its head. I gave the rod a few more good yanks to ensure the hook set was good. When I landed the fish I was wondering where the heck my fly went. 
I never get used to bass flies. Every time I use them I always think they are too large. This fly is a size 4 and you can see there is room to spare in this bass's mouth. The fish was very healthy and strong.
It swam away with ease after I released it. A few casts later I had another fish on. My retrieve seemed to make all the difference in the world. I had to really pop the fly and make a major disturbance to get any attention from the fish. It's the first time I've ever had that happen. A learning experience for sure. It was a great evening and I got my first fish for the Bucket Mouth League.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Kayak Hatch

Had a great outing with friends yesterday. 
We hit the New River and it was one of the most enjoyable trips I've had in a long time. The water was perfect for wading. Not too deep or fast and the clarity was amazing.
Even with the kayak hatches every now and then the fishing was still good.
It was a rare day. Didn't lose any flies, no regrets for not trying a certain fly and I experimented many different types of ways to fish.  The results paid off.

This fish I caught right next to where we parked the car. The section had a ton of traffic from people tubing and kayaking. It was making it hard to cast and I just got tired of it. I walked back to the car and noticed a fish right near the bank. It took a few casts but the fish eventually couldn't resist. It ended up being my biggest fish of the day. This trip couldn't have gone much better. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Good Morning

I read an article recently that talked about how women are better fly fisherman then men. When I read the article I thought to myself this is crap. Just another ploy to get more women into the sport. This morning the Triangle Fly Fishers had a beginners fly fishing event and I decided to help out. There was a woman who came that had never fly fished let alone waded before. She mentioned fishing mostly lakes but it was hard to concentrate on what she was saying as I helped her untangle line from her rod. I'd like to think I'm a very patient un-judgmental person but I also come to a opinion when I first meet people. I figured I'd be spending most of the morning with this lady. 
The water looked great and as I talked to the group and as if on que a fish hit a few feet off the bank as I was telling them about not having to cast far. Half of the group stayed with me and the others went upstream. Since this lady had never caught a fish before with a fly rod I felt some pressure to get her something on the line. I decided I wasn't going to fish until she caught one. What came evidently clear with in the first 20min is women are better fly fishermen then men. They just seem to listen better and apply what you're telling them correctly. This lady had never cast a fly rod before and in 20min she was casting 20-30ft and caught her first fish.
She caught another fish with in minutes and I decided to move on to check on the others. Later I returned to watch how she had progressed. She was fishing under a tree with her husband, a seasoned fly fisherman. He was giving her pointers and every now and then I looked up to see her rod bent with a fish on the other end. I was still amazed at her progress with this being her first time. Near the end of the morning she was roll casting. I can't remember how long it took me to roll cast. I know each person is different but I've gone with 3 different women who never touched a fly rod before and all of them were casting and catching fish quickly on the first day. I'd love to say it was my tutelage but I know better. 

The rest of the morning was the usual for the Eno. Sunfish left and right and beautiful shadows along the trail.
This river is really a local treasure and it doesn't get the appreciation it deserves.
It has the features of a mountain stream but it's with in 15min of downtown Durham. Even though it's a State Park many people living in the area don't know it exists. While hiking the trail I came across this flower.
It was the first time I have ever seen a flower like this before and it only grew in one area of the trail that I could find. 

Out of all the hiking, teaching and exploring I managed to fish. I was even lucky enough to hook the elusive Roanoke Bass.
I'd say it was a good morning.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Beating The Heat

Last weekend we tried to escape the heat in Raleigh by heading to the mountains. The weather is always 10-15 degrees cooler there and I figured the kids could play in the creek to cool off. 
We spent our time splashing and rock hopping. 
My daughter was getting a little too adventurous. Her and a friend went way down the creek and started to get into situations where they weren't sure just how to climb back up. She has no fear and as much as I admire that it scares me at times. 
I've always been a fan of those blurred water fall images. I decided to try taking some. I kept playing with the shutter speed until I got something I liked.
I love how this waterfall turned out. The blur of the water is cool and I love how you can even make out the clear pool below. I got pretty lucky with this next shot.
The lighting was just right. I was using a rock as a tripod so I wasn't really sure how these pictures turned out until I got home.

The Boone, NC area is a great place if you love to hike. The Blue Ridge Parkway has so many trails I think it would take you a life time to try them all. One of my favorites is the Rough Ridge Trail. It is great for kids who like to climb things. The trail runs through almost a trench that's lined with vegetation and rocks.
The trees can provide some protection from the wind that can get quite strong. There are several over looks along the trail with some stunning views.
The sky always seems to look better here.
I never get tired of coming here and as the kids get older they seem to enjoy it more and more. It was pretty tiring hiking and playing most of the day but one afternoon I did get a chance to wet a line.
This is one of my favorite sections of river. I just seem to find peace here and there's plenty of room to cast and just enjoy the scenery. I watched birds skim insects off the surface and caught smallmouth and rock bass here and there.
I can't see how the weekend could have been much better.