May 30, 2009

May 27, 2009

The Progression of an Angler

Our latest family outing found us at the Woods Ranch, up Cedar Canyon. Conner began the day with the Little Tikes rod. Connor was quite patient as he waited for the "She Shes" to come bite his line. But one can only take so much mundane repetition before the desire for more sets in.

Connor quickly found the light and picked up a fly rod. Although his back cast has some room for improvement, he is a zen master at mending the line. He attempted multiple rod twitch and retrieve techniques, but the fish had lock-jaw this afternoon. While his mother still chooses the barbaric technique of metal and trebles, Connor is well on his way to becoming a dry fly purist.

May 23, 2009

Fatty-McFatty and Friends

I went back to "Big Fish" Lake and had a fun evening. When I was pulling up to my destination, it looked like it was snowing. I stepped out of my truck and there was a cloud of midges by the thousands. This picture doesn't even come close to the masses of bugs in the air, but this is what they looked like.

I spoke with a couple from Nevada about the fishing. They only caught one so far and had been there all day. They said when the wind dies down, the bugs start clouding up. The water was boiling with rising trout. As I rig up my XP 5 for nymping, the wind picked back up. I wade out to the edge where shallow water meets deep and cast out my offering. After a few un-noticed casts, my indicator dropped and I set the hook. After a small struggle, I land the fish at the top of this post. It was fat and lumpy. I catch another sizable fish before the midges started clouding up again.

I rigged up my DC SigV 3 with a #18 para-adams and began casting to the rising trout. I get a few bumps, but no solid hook-ups. I walk over to where I was a couple weeks ago and try it there, but nothing. Below the dam, there was a lot more water running out then last time. I had a fish rush my indicator, but no other action.

I went back to my truck and grabbed the 3wt and again cast to the rising trout. I ended up catching over a half dozen 8" rainbows and one cutt. It was a test to see the small fly and wait for one to sip it down. I finished the evening with the nymph rig and caught one more feisty rainbow. When I got it in, there was a tangle of line coming out of its mouth. I took a couple pictures and then dislodged the hook from its mouth. The other line was deep in its throat. I cut away as much line as I could and set it free. It swam off fine, hopefully it'll make it.

May 15, 2009

Many Firsts on 2nd Creek

Craig and I made it to 2nd Creek tonight. We planned to go last week, but Craig had some last minute work to complete. Last year around this time, 2nd Creek had perfect clarity and flows. The road was rough getting in and snow drifts threatened a long hike to the stream. When we arrived to the stream, it was higher then we'd hoped and a little off-color. The wind howled through the pines as I started rigging up my XP 5. These fish aren't very big and the 3wt is so much nicer for these little creeks, so I changed paths and opted for the DC SigV 3wt. Craig rigged up the Rx7 3wt I built for him last year.

I rigged a #14 Grumpy Frumpy with a lime-green belly. Below that I had a #16 copper CJ. Within the first couple pools, I had a small Brown rise to my offering. This is the first fish I've caught on a Grumpy Frumpy. I hope to have many more this summer.

After loosing the dropper to some under-water hazard, I fished with the dry for awhile. Below one of the many beaver ponds that line this creek, I tyed on a red with black wire rib chironomid. This fly worked well a few weeks ago on the back side of Stoner Moutain. I was able to coax a small Brookie from the depths. This is the first Brookie I can remember catching on this creek.

Above the beaver dam, there is a deep pool with a slow riffle down the middle. The first cast into the pool is met with a feisty Cutbow. After some bursts of speed and a few aerials, the fish comes to hand.

I catch a few more fish with the red/black chironmid before sacrificing it to the river Gods. After many failed attempts to find another winning combination, Craig and I hike back down the creek below where we started. I decided to try yet another fly I've never seen action on, a San Juan Worm. I've heard of the magical abilities the SJW has to attract fish, but I was yet to believe. Below a #14 red CJ, I placed a bright pink SJW. But a failed cast dislodged the worm. After a couple more pools and a couple more lost worms, I question the myth of the SJW. But I tie on another SWJ and cast it to a likely riffle next to a solo willow bush. My indicator drops and I set the hook. It is a 11+ Brown with anger issues. I get it to the bank and reach for my camera, but I let too much slack in the line and the fish unbuttoned. Shit, I didn't get my first fish on a SJW documented. But soon after, I catch another willing participant and snap a quick shot before it swims away.

After my third fish on a SJW in one spectacular run, I chase after Craig to share my findings and a couple SJWs. I bring a couple more to hand before I meet back up with Craig and head to the truck to go home. Although we hit 2nd Creek before it was in its prime, we were able to have a fun day in the wilds of the 2nd Creek drainage.

May 11, 2009

Ghetto to Jimmy-rigged

I've had the same float tube since 1997. My parents and I split the cost for my Christmas present that year. I caught my biggest Walleye in it on Utah Lake near the Bubble-up. I spent countless hours at the inlet side of Jordenelle fishing for various species of fish. I stepped out of it when I broke my first Sage rod. And I caught my first Wiper in it.

This year, while preparing my gear for the coming season, I noticed a disheartening scene. The guts of this beast is a large inner-tube that has been cut allowing for the "U" shape. The edges of the inner-tube have been folded in on itself and glued. For the last 11+ years, this seam had held. But as I inspected it, I noticed a gaping hole. I hastily repaired the seam with Auqaseal in preparation for my next outing. I was excited to try out my $40 Force Fins I found on classifies.

As I waited for Kyle to meet me at the Chevron in Toquerville, I prayed my tube would hold its air. As we arrived to our destination, I was pleased to find the tube still inflated. I really enjoy the Force Fins; with my chicken-legs, any help I can get is a blessing. About 20 minutes into the quest, I noticed a particular sound and saw bubbles from the problem area. I fished for a few more minutes and headed back to the truck before I was left with a soggy mess of nylon fabric.
I had little hope of saving this artifact of my fishing experiences. I threw the tube onto my office floor and forgot about it.

Yesterday, while on break from work, I stopped at the local Hurst-Ace Hardware to look at their meager, but welcomed supply of fishing gear. I went the the adhesive section to explore another option for sealing the problem seam. I saw Plyabond and it looked promising. But I've used it before and didn't want to expose my senses to that smell. Just before leaving, I decided to look in the Clearance section. As I sifted through the pistol grip covers, antler mounts, and bait hooks, I saw what looked like a raft. I picked it up to find it wasn't a raft, but a replacement float tube bladder! I looked through the selection of 3 or 4 shapes and sizes and tried to pick one that was closest to what I needed. I found one that looked OK and couldn't find the price. At the bottom of the bin, I found an unopened package containing the same model. I left the store $10 lighter and a hope for the resurrection of the old tube

After a lot of shifting and prodding, I was able to fit the bladder into the tube shell and fully inflate the vessel. I was amazed it worked. The only problem is the inflation stem is about 4 inches off from where the old bladder's stem was located. But with a little ingenuity, I think I can make it work. The bonus is that the replacement bladder is about 25% of the weight of the old inner-tube and the package included a replacement back support too!

May 9, 2009

Fishing in the Wind

I finally got out to fish. I planned to go to 2nd creek with my father-in-law, but last minute changes left me with a full day hall pass. Not to let it go to waste, I decided to go to Big-Fish lake and see if I could catch some trout that were rumored to be cruising the shallows. The lake was white caps, but that wasn't about to stop me. I found a cove protected from the wind (same place Jed and I went last year) and decided to start off with my DC FT7 with a sink-tip line with duel seal leeches. The sun was high and the catching was low...not a strike. A couple guys from SG rolled up and stopped just down the shore from me. One hooked up right away with a small fish under an indicator.
I could see a bunch of fish hanging in a small pool below the trickle coming out of the dam. I switched to my XP 5 and tyed on a para- adams in hope I could make one good cast and get a strike. No such luck, so I went back to the lake. I wasn't sure if I could make long enough casts with the 5 in the whipping wind, but I rigged up with a 14 Red CJ and 18 Zebra Midge below the smallest Thingamabobber I had. I was able to cast far enough out I should be in fishy water. I went along a drop off and fished for about 15 minutes before moving to the other side of the cove.
After a few fruitless casts, I changed my indicator to a size larger and next cast...pluump, my indicator pops under but I was too late. I switched back to the smaller one and started to catch 10" rainbows. It was nice to keep me busy until the big boys come out to play. About 4-5 fish later, I hook into something with a little weight. I could see the dark shadow swimming back and forth as I tried to get it to surrender. I grab my camera as it gets closer, but I put it back in my pocket. The rainbow, although large, has a snagle-tooth of a mouth and I wasn't going to put it through more humiliation then its already gone through.

I catch another large trout in the same general area within a minute. After a few minutes, I bring a healthy Rainbow to hand. About five minutes later, I see a trout rush the shore and I cast to the right of it about four feet. My indicator drops under immediately. Although this rainbow was the size of the last, I bring it to hand without incident. Could I have caught the same fish twice?
I continue to catch fish along the shore. What started as a slow day is now picking up. I switch my dropper midge to a pink scud and leave the producing red CJ to catch fish. For some reason, without a dropper, I wasn't producing strikes.
Soon after switching to the scud, I hook into a pig! Line screams off my reel and there's no sign of letting up. Nearly to my backing, I am able to turn the fish back to me. After I yoyo the fish back to me, I land it and pull out the camera for the only shot it would give me before it swam away. It was a large cut-bow without pectoral fins. Not the most beautiful fish of the day, but the hardest fighting bar-none.

I catch a few more decent sized fish before heading back to my truck for a snack. I pick up a few more fish after eating, but I couldn't seem to get back on the roll I was on earlier in the day. I switch back to my DC FT7 and throw a large Sex-dungeonish creation into the depths of hell. I immediately hook into a beast, but as fast as it came, it was gone. Dark pushes me off the water. I watch the last light hide behind the hills as I put my gear away. Three missed deer and a spilt cup of warm Gatorade, I'm home.

May 2, 2009

Backyard Dinosaur

While watering the fruit trees in the backyard, Katy spotted a Horny Toad. We put him in a box and planned to keep him as a pet. I Googled how to take care of it, but it seems like these guys don't fair well in captivity. Rather then spend hard-earned fly-gear money on a heat rock and ants, I decided to take a few shots and let him (or her) go back into the wilds of our backyard. I've been studying how to take better pictures. Fly Art Studio has some great tutorials on how to take good pictures, even if all you have is a point-and-shoot camera. I finally found a use for the $5 tripod I purchased from Staples. I've been looking for a Gorillapod around town, but I think I will be ordering one on-line soon.