While fishing it’s common to catch a fly in a tree, but I never would have thought there are fish for me to catch there!! This is what my wife noticed as we were walking along a local river enjoying the warm spring day. I have absolutely no idea how this would have gotten up there. Based on the size and time of the year it’s a stocked trout that was caught no more than 9 days ago.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I have gone through maybe a dozen fly boxes. I want something small and with some character. I only carry around 5 patterns at best so I don’t need anything crazy. If I can’t catch something with one of those 5 patterns then it’s not the fish it’s my presentation, or lack thereof.
I searched the internet and came up with a few options. The first option is a four compartment box made out of maple. I don’t really like the hinge on it but it’s something I can live with, and is my current “in use” box.
The next is one I was recently turned onto by a fellow Tenkara Angler. I like the leather hinge in this much better but it’s a bit deep for my liking to carry in my pack. I think this one will hold the two Tenkara style flies I use and tie.
The last option isn’t much of a fly box, it’s more of a fly container. It’s round and would work in my pack but i’m going to use it keep a stack of flies I recently tie. So ultimately the last two will end up on my fly tying bench.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
I got out today for a couple hours this morning to try a new section of a local river. Even though it’s a Sunday it was quiet, perhaps the 40 degree weather kept people away. I walked upstream a short ways to a pool that had a slack area on the other side and a strong current in-between. I knew with my Tenkara rod that would be a good place to try. Any other fly fisherman that attempted that pool would have their line swept away in the current. I made a cast to the head of the area and let it drift down with no line on the water. I made another cast and this time did some twitching and still nothing. I made a third cast and felt the line tighten. A small brown trout took my Ishigaki Kebari fly and before he knew what happened, he was in the net.
I saw another fish dart away as I pulled the brown to me so I fished upstream some more and gave that fish a few moments to relax before I went after him. I had no takers further upstream so I slowly made my way back down and fished that same area again. Two casts later and this time a rainbow had fallen to the Kebari fly.
Now if I could only find a brook trout I’d have the first Trout slam of 2013. I moved downstream a ways to a slow moving pool and found what looked to be a brown trout rising on the other side of the river. The river in this section is around 30’ wide. There was no way I was going to reach him with 12’ of line on my Tenkara rod. Instead I sat and watched him for awhile then walked back to my car and headed home. Sometimes just watching a fish rise is equally as good as catching it.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
I have a training session all week that is scheduled around the presenter, who is in the central time zone. That means I get AT LEAST an hour of fishing before I have to be home to login. I rolled out of bed and into my car this morning for 45 minutes of no wind fishing. I started off with the Hornberg that was clinging to life from a few days ago. It lasted one fish. Same technique as the previous two days and another rainbow was in the net. The hook actually snapped off at the eye. So it looks like i’ve got to sit down at the vice and turn out a few Hornbergs.
After I removed the remnants from the fish and my net I tied on an Amano Kebari. I really like the light/white color of flies in this body of water because I can see them better. It was to quick on the draw a few times and pulled the fly right out of the trouts mouth. I had another one hooked that danced off, perhaps I hadn’t set the hook hard enough. As time was running down I was able to get one more taker. The rainbow jumped four or five times trying to throw the hook, but ended up in the net. He was an acrobatic little bugger. I bid him farewell and told him i’d see him tomorrow. I waded back to shore got in my car and logged in for class.
Monday, April 8, 2013
My wife went to a baby shower for a friends wife, so we had a few hours to ourselves. What to do what to do….?? I know let’s go fishing! He recently bought an Orvis Helios 2 rod and decided it was time to break it in. Being one to never turn down a fishing trip, I thought it was a good idea as well. We arrived at the river in the mid morning. He had an intense look in his eye that today was the day of the first trout on the rod. He put his son in a hiking backpack, put on the waders and off we went. Since fishing with a 40lb kid on your back CAN be difficult I gave him the easy spots and told him i’d be his net man. I told him about my Hornberg success so he tied one on and cast out. Almost instantly he broke off. D’oh!
We walked downstream a bit to a few rising fish and he was able to land his first trout on the new rod. It was a rainbow that had a lot of fight in him. The fish was still pulling as I ran through the woods to get to him to net the fish.
We then decided to scout another area downstream. After a few casts with the same technique as Saturday I was able to hook into a little rainbow. I caught him on an Amano Kebari.
The bent over rod must have been a calling card to those nearby because 3 people came down and fished the exact area I was fishing. Another example of horrible fishing etiquette. It was around lunch time so we packed up and went home. I knew i’d get back out to that spot during the week when there was less of a chance of running into anyone.
Saturday I visited a local river for some trout fishing. The weather wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t that bad. When I put on the waders it was 21 degrees with a steady 10mph wind, with gusts up over 20mph. In recent weeks I have had a few conversations about flies. Tenkara flies, Western flies, and the cross over of the two. I had decided that a Hornberg fly is one of the best western version of a Tenkara fly. The Hornberg can be fished on the surface or subsurface with movement.
After a few minutes standing by the river to plan my attack and watch for fish I saw a few rises by a log jam. I cast across the river and guided the fly around the fallen wood and paused it near the deep pool. I saw a flash come out from the abyss but he didn’t like the presentation.
Presentation is the most important thing in fishing so I changed my game plan to see what would work. I let it drift on surface around the front of the log, then when it got to the deep pool i’d pull the fly and drag it subsurface. Once it was pulled a foot or two i’d let it dead drift to the back log and repeat. That did the trick, I saw the fish come out from the log and take the fly.
After that fish I moved away from the log jam because with the catch and release of that fish I spooked anything near it. I was unable to catch anymore fish at that location. I jumped in my car and headed up stream. That’s where it all came together. I waded to a new section of the river I had never fished before. Since the water was low and clear I could see from a safe distance a few fish in a deeper pool. Using the same pull and drift technique I was able to catch my 2nd fish of the day. It was a feisty rainbow.
At about that time two kids came nearby and started to fish in the general vicinity with spinning gear and a few moments later a worm fisherman came and setup on the other side of me. I’m big on fishing etiquette and this was a COMPLETE breach of fishing etiquette. I will let it slide from the kids because they were young and wanted to fish, I was about to surrender the pool to them and ask if they wanted to try and fish Tenkara until I saw a worm fisherman approach with his bucket. I am not a fishing snob nor do I think taking trout is wrong. I do think that people should at least leave some fish in the river so the kids can catch fish and have some fun. The more fun kids have the more fishermen we have for the future.
Over the next hour or two I caught 6 more fish to everyone else’s one, unfortunately I couldn’t take pictures because I didn’t have much room to walk or wade to take them. Eventually everyone left and I was alone at the river again. With numb feet I slowly made my way back to the car. As I drove off I saw the kids come back and i’m sure they caught there fair share of fish and had a good old time. Not a bad day at all. The only downside was that I went into the day with two Hornbergs and came out with 1/2 of a Hornberg. One of the flies was completely mangled and the second was roughed up a bit.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
No it’s not the name of a new species of trout. Actually I take that back, it is a new species of trout. It’s the carved out of wood species. I was lucky enough to have a fellow Tenkara angler carve me this. He’s new to carving and he has a real talent for it. It’s all by his eye. Tell him what style or design you want and POOF it appears out of a chunk of wood. The eyes are magnets and it’s purpose is to practice casting. The inside of the mouth has a spot for flies that are tied from an old pin. The trout weighs similar to an average trout so the sensation and rod reaction is similar to landing a real fish. Anyone can buy those plastic casting tools, but not everyone can have their very own hand carved wooden trout to cast and pull in. Now that the snow has melted I can get out and practice, but until then here are some pictures of it on my desk.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Yesterday a friend and I got out to do some fishing. We had this plan in the works since the new year. Originally we were going to drive to Orvis to pick up his new Helios 2 rod and reel and fish on the way back. He chose to order his rod and reel package and we were just going to fish all day.
We decided to meet at the Chesterfield Gorge parking area at 6:30 am. I packed my car the night before so I could just roll out of bed and into my car, that’s pretty much what happened. I was on the road at 5:00 am because I wanted to stop to get some food and I needed gas. The drive took both of us just over an hour. Once I got off the Northampton exit and drove farther north through the hill towns I noticed a substantial drop in temperature. The weather in the lower valley was in the 50s for a week, I misjudge the weather in the hill towns tremendously. I didn’t bring a jacket because of the warms temps so I had to make due with an orange fleece from Cabela’s that was in my car. What a terrible color choice of clothing to fish with, the fish can see you from a mile away. One always wants to wear drab or bland colors. I did have a wool sweater underneath, which is what I planned to wear. When we pulled into the parking lot we noticed a foot of snow and a 22 degree morning waiting for us. We suited up and walked down the ice covered trail. There is 9 miles from the Chesterfield Gorge parking lot to the Knightville Dam, all of which is a catch and release area of the East Branch of the Westfield River.
The water was gin clear and we decided to walk a couple miles to the entrance of the Gilbert Bliss State Forest gate and fish upstream. When we broke off the trail and came upon the water it was a glorious site. Something about a flowing river makes everything in the world stop. So many sights, sounds, and smells to take in it overwhelms the senses. I chose to walk down 100’ or so from Sean and fish a deep pool between two rocks that drew my attention. I waded out on the rock and fished behind a large rock and in the deep pool. I didn’t see a fish spook and I didn’t get any hits. I walked back up to Sean and we started to fish upstream. We fished every nook and cranny of those few miles and didn’t see or catch a fish.
Once we got to the gorge we decided to walk down much farther and fish back upstream. We walked another 6 miles down and fished upstream until an access point. We saw lots of great fishable water without a fin in sight. There was 1 particular area of fast water that looked great to me. In the summer it might be a fantastic spot, in the winter not so much. I attacked the pool with the stealth of a mountain lion.
At that point and time the sun really came out and the temps picked up. I’d say it was around 40, so off came the top layer. I moved upriver to the head of that fast water to see if I could entice a trout of some sort, but could not. I thought if there was a trout in that pool the fast water would make them have to react fast instead of inspecting my fly and catching any improper presentation. Yes these are the things that run through my head while trying to catch fish.
After walking and hiking through the snow for 15 miles we didn’t find any evidence of fish. At that point we talked about our options to stay or fish another river. Since we both took it personal we decided to walk farther downstream. That didn’t help the fish catching situation though. We still saw zero fish and caught zero fish. To me the option of catching a fish was over and it turned into casting practice. I tried different methods and practiced my aiming. A few more miles down I collapsed the rod as we tried to maneuver up and over massive snow banks.
The snowbanks on the side of the river we were on were 6’ tall. I am a little over 6’ and I was a little taller than them. Across the river they were in the 7’ range. Sean waded across to fish the other side, poor guy couldn’t accept defeat, and it was a foot or so taller than him.
When it was all said and done we had walked and waded 20 miles. In those short 20 miles we saw zero fish and caught zero fish. We saw hundreds of stoneflies, but no fish. We didn’t even spook a fish. On the plus side those 20 miles were a great break-in period for my new LL Bean Grey Ghost wading boots.