Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Wednesday Night Crew June 23rd

I met up with the Crew from the Bear's den last night for another night of striper fishing. When I got to the designated spot, Seth, my Omni Stick informant (see post below) was already rigging up.
Looking out at the beach, the terns were diving and fish were popping. After years of reading about blitzing bass, I finally witnessed one. It wasn't a huge but the frothing water, busting fish and screeching birds got me fired up. I hustled through wadering up, strung up the rod, tied on a sand eel pattern, hit the beach running...
...and missed it.

Though bird continued to wheel above the water and occasionally dip down, no fish showed. We cast well past dark and then drove to a new spot on Buzzard's Bay. Again, blanked.

At least the weather was nice....damn.

The Cape

I called a Cape insider for some info on where to fish last Wednesday night. I was staying in Hyannis after a quick day of work on Nantucket. He recommended a spot for low tide, but as it turned out, I got there on a rising tide. The bugs pounded the hell out of me and I only landed one small schoolie. The good news: I have a dot on my map where fish are known to crash bait in shallow, shallow water on a low tide. I'll be back.

6/20 The Answer.

After fishing with the crew from the Bear's Den Flyshop on the Cape back in May, we were all standing around in the moonlight drinking beer that someone kindly brought and shared and I happened to ask what they used to get eyes to stick to a fly. One guy, Seth, said Omni-Stick. Having tried everything else, I googled it and found it on Amazon. I ordered two tubes and they stayed untouched on my tying desk until recently. On June 20th 2010, I opened the package, opened up a tube and changed my life. Just a dot will do it. It doesn't run, penetrate(too far) and sticks like a champ. I added a set of eyes to a couple BHD's and found that the eyes stick only to the outer layer of craft fur and the undulation is virtually unaffected. I caught 4 fish, ripped the fly through weeds all of the usual hazards of fly fishing and the eyes stayed on.

Go Get Some.

6/20 Father's Day...

Father's day. I took my girls to the state park for an evening of outside adventure.
I wanted to cast a new rod I bought and also test a new fly tying product (more to come on this point in a future post) . I stumbled across this little inflow, waded out and caught 2 smallmouth and 1 largemouth in 15 minutes. The fishing came to a halt when my three year old decided she had to pee. Not wanting to leave the fishing...I had her wade out waist deep and taught her to pee underwater. Funniest thing ever. She giggled the rest of the night.

6/20 Cork Dust

I decided to customize my two hander. After fishing a Burkheimer, the baseball bat handle of my Croix screamed for refinement. Custom Grip, Custom Lathe.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

West Coast Steelhead

From all I've heard and read, the west coast steelhead experience is one of quality and not necessarily quantity. The water runs clear and the fish strong though the days on the water are often uninterrupted by fish. With one day to fish on one of Oregon's steelhead rivers, I anticipated spending time with my brother T and his friend Nate, holding a two handed rod on a river big enough to actually warrant it's use and taking in the scenery from a land I last visited when I was 8 years old. To be truthful, I didn't expect to catch a fish.
My family and I arrived at PDX at 11:10 PM and pulled into my brother's driveway at midnight. After a few drinks and some catching up, the clock said 2:30 AM and we had a 4:00 AM start time scheduled with Nate. 1 hour of sleep later, we gulped some coffee and jumped into Nate's truck (drift boat in tow) to the river. We launched and made a short run in the boat downstream. Being the kind of guys that T and Nate are, they offered me the first shot at the first run. Nate handed me a tube fly and they explained the rigging process while I followed their directions. After sliding the tube fly up the leader and tying a loop in the leader to loop-to-loop to the #4 owner hook, I bailed over the side of the boat and did my best to direct the fly to a nearby seam. After about 15 minutes of casting and stepping down the run, my line came tight to a series of hard head shakes. My connection lasted only a second or two before the line slackened and I reeled my fly in to find the hook bent open.
Ecstatic that I had actually come in contact with a fish, I continued to fish the next hour and a half with the thought that I might actually catch something. And, as it turns out, I did. I was following my brother down a nice run when the smooth swing of my fly was intercepted by a 26-27" steelhead. This one made it to the net.
Finding that it was a hatchery steelhead (no adipose) the fish was thumped and continued the day in Nate's boat. My brother then added a 12 pound Chinook salmon (a Springer, as it's known locally for it's choice of season to enter the river). This fish joined the steelhead in Nate's boat. Lunch was graciously provided by Nate as was all of the rowing. Before the day ended I had another grab just as I was lifting to re-cast. I got the thrill of a couple of good head shakes before the fish came unpinned.

The day was beyond compare. All of the hard work, planning and gear were provided by my bro and Nate. The weather was perfect, the river beautiful. I knew when we left the takeout that I had been exceedingly fortunate to have experienced as much as I did with only 1 day on the water. My heartfelt thanks to T and Nate for making it happen and to the fish gods for smiling down. As T explained it, 1 for 3 ain't bad when fishing steelhead on the swung fly in Oregon.

After fishing, T and I joined the rest of our families at a rented house on Netart's Bay. The salmon and steelhead were grilled for dinner that night (last night). This morning we all took a trip down to the beach and dug a pile of clams before returning to the house for a Salmon Egg Bake breakfast. As I am writing this the others ate Salmon Fish sandwiches and I think there is still some fish left over.