Sunday, June 29, 2014

Smally Outing

The river dropped to the high 10,000's and I couldn't take it anymore.  I shot out a few emails and got a bite from EB who said he had some things to do but that he'd meet me at the ramp.

I probably should have called him before I left because as it happened he followed me out to the river and showed up only 15 minutes after I got there.  So it was two cars instead of one...Good thing this is 'merica and we have unlimited fossil fuels at our disposal.  Or not.

I rowed and EB worked the water.  The wind howled and the river raged.  The water was lapping high on the bank which is great because my prop doesn't smash into as much stuff but it's bad because the fish have more water and it takes a lot more looking to find them.

We found a few bait fish showers and anchored up to work the area.  We rowed and pitched at wood on the bank.  We headed to the bucket to see if there was a wolfpack crushing minnows.

All of this didn't pay off very well.

I'd read yesterday that somebody (that was not swimming) leapt off a bridge upstream.  It's always a little unnerving to be on water where they are looking for a body.  It's even more unnerving when you see a mass of gray pink jammed up under a sweeper.  We checked it out anyway.

What could have been a ruined day and call to the sheriff ended up to be a 4' long paddlefish, dead.

I've never seen one before so it was pretty cool even if it was dead.  It was also not the bridge jumper which was also nice.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


The way it works is this...

You show up early and wait.

I don't even tie my fly on until I am on the bank...waiting.

Some folks pre-fish the hex hatch, dragging nymphs or swinging streamers or testing their hex patterns to see how they look, how they float. 

I don't.

I wait.

When a 9 inch brown slashes for a beetle, or a sulpher spinner, I don't cast.  I wait.

I've come to witness the emergence and (subsequent trout feeding frenzy) of the largest mayfly on our continent (maybe the world?)  Actually, I am not at all interested in the emergence and hatch of these mayflies.  I have come to see the largest trout specimens in this river, EAT these mayflies, on top, loudly...

It's worth it to wait. 

You get to see green, go gray, go black.  You get to see swallows skimming, bats diving, redwing blackbirds roosting (or maybe it's nesting).

Waiting makes the first mosquito an event that signals that the buff needs to be pulled up a little higher.  It also signals the beginning of things that happen after dark.  Mosquitoes and Hexagenia mayflies share a clock.  They hatch and really get humming at the same time.  If you aren't getting the blood drained out of your neck, knuckles and scalp (through your hip mesh trucker hat), you need to wait.

Tonight I waited, through the swallows, the bats, the redwing blackbirds and the mosquitos. 
And then, a lone trout rose to a mayfly I couldn't see.  I cast my fly, hooked the fish and released it.

I was tired of waiting.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

After Dark

I got a call from the local Simms rep, TF. 

He wanted to talk about art, design, logos and such. 

I'd met him once or twice before but I didn't really know him that well.  We decided to meet over some browns rising to hexagenias and then grab a beer and talk after.

TF confessed to me that though he's been able to do a fair amount of fishing (in addition to hustling his wares), but he had not yet ventured out to play the after dark hex game. 

As luck would have it, a few bugs showed, one slurped, TF dropped a fly on it's head and it ate. 

Check that one off your list. 

It was over before it began and we retired back to his place to drink beer and talk shop. 
You want a moral to the story??
Here's the message:

It seems that night fishing with somebody you don't know that well is a brilliant idea.  For one thing, if you propose night fishing and they accept....well, you've just fast tracked the screening process.

Turns out that TF is a hell of a nice guy and can put a fly where it needs to go too.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Next Gen

My 7 year old daughter running the casting deck...No single person on earth understands how cool this is to me.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Right Fly

When the wind kicks up from the west or northwest, the night fishing on my shallow water bay is poor.  I assume it's a combination of midges not hatching, fish getting pushed around by the waves and turbidity....but those are just a few of the guesses I make as I stand crotch deep in the inky water trying to keep the waves from filling my stripping basket and feeling nothing eating my fly.

I have been casting the same unweighted deceiver in this bay for so long now that it's automatic.  Tonight though, I reconsidered.  The fly doesn't sink much and the waves were rolling pretty good for this size lake.  I considered getting a little deeper so I clicked on the headlamp and fingered through the tiny box of flies I had stashed in my wader pocket.

I uncovered a crystal chenille wrapped, bead chain eyed, marabou tail fly that seemed to be just the the solution for the questions in my head.

A quick loop knot and I tested my theory.  It certainly wasn't fast and furious but 4 or 5 bass later and I felt like I had figured something out.

I couldn't wait to get home and tell my 10 year old daughter about the night.
The right fly...was tied by her.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ride the Lightning

Despite the dark blue and purple clouds in the sky, I saw a hole, an opportunity, on the doppler radar and scurried out to take advantage of the window.  I waded in and began casting with my eyes on the flashes of lightning moving closer. 

I suggested to a couple of young girls in an inflatable raft, 200 yards down the shoreline, that they should consider getting out of the water (and thankfully they listened, even though they were of an age where they could have just as easily flipped me the bird).  I snuck in 4 or 5 whities before things got spooky and planted my feet on dry land.  I walked back to the truck and exchanged the switch rod for my camera.  I tried to take some decent lightning photos with a delayed shutter but they all turned out poorly. 

When the first drops of rain started to settle in I piled into the cab of my truck and headed for home.

I could only drive 15 mph. 

My windshield wipers were defeated by the downpour.