Thursday, December 29, 2011

Czech, Polish, Spanish, French, and Euro Nymphing

I didn't know all of these "Euro" nymphing styles where so different until I listened to the Itinerant Angler October 25, 2010 podcast episode.  It's worth a listen.  Randy Hanner of Fly Fishing Team USA explains the unique differences in the varies Euro techniques (some styles that use 20 - 30 foot leaders) and the international competitive fly fishing scene.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hot of the Bench

My lady gave me an intermediate fly tying class for Christmas at Davidson River Outfitters.  I have already had 3 of the 4 classes, and it has helped sharpen my skills whether the flies below indicate that or not.

I used my first epoxy in the class. Before, I'd been intimidated to crack open the epoxy at the house for some reason.  I also got the first real good instruction on using my rotary vise.  Lou, the teacher,  has also  taught me easier ways to work with biots, deer hair, partridge, rubber legs, and a number of other materials. My first fly tying class was at a local fly shop my senior year in college at App State.  It only took me 12 years to seek further help.

Flies pictured from bottom to top: BWO loop wind emerger, black fly larvae, egg, my version of a yellow submarine BH soft hackle, copper johns, and 2 sheepfly's.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


This is my chest pack, full of flies, tippet, leaders, split shot, indicators, tools, and home to the tether that holds my landing net.  This is where it hangs in my garage.  This is where it stayed all day yesterday as I fished at the Davidson.

I met my boy Matt at the fly shop, convinced him he didn't need to buy many flies at all because I tied up some trout candy the night before, and we headed to the river.  Shortly after, I realized my bag was an hour and a half away, and I was equipped with my rod, leader, a used piece of yarn indicator, and 1 size 16 boss hog stone fly.  Crap. We made the quick trip back to the shop, and I bought 3 midges, 1 egg, a superman prince, and a Bill's provider.  I ganked 3 18 inch strands of 6x flouro tippet from Matt, and we hit the water with a tiny arsenal of flies and a challenge to land some fish on them.

It rained off and on all day, and the fishing really picked up the last hour of light with the water staining up.  It was a challenge landing some of the larger fish with out a net, and a lost one over 20 inches.  Probably landed 15 or so over the course of the day, and left satisfied having only lost 2 flies and having one piece of tippet to spare.

Wesather: upper fifties, rainy, 130-200 cfs.

Monday, December 19, 2011

December on the D

Fished the Davidson near the hatchery from 10-3.  The river was flooded out about 2 weeks ago (3000cfs vs. the 100cfs I fished today), and the river looked a little different. Some logs were gone, and some new logs now cross the river.  The fish were holding in different places as well.  I'm not certain if this was due to the flood, or just colder temperatures. It took an hour to land the first fish, a large brook trout.

The Davidson is a unique stream, and I believe most of the browns and rainbows are stream born, but these brook trout either swim up stream after being stocked on the lower Davidson to make the fertile grounds of the hatchery their home, or are hatchery escapees.  

The fishing was never hot, but I managed 10 fish over the course of the day.  The temperature was in the upper 40's for the high, and was in the upper twenties early that morning. Sunny to partly cloudy through out the day. 

I picked up this fish, and a number of others, on a size 16 boss hog stonefly. I love that fly.  I cycled through midges and eggs picking up fish on small carolina egg. I fished 3 flys at once at times, but mostly fished the stone and a dropper.

I was a poor photographer today, and missed photo on two nice rainbows. I am heading back in two days, and the forcast is for rain and warmer temperatures.  Sounds like conditions may be better then.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 365

This is the 365th day of Bows and Browns.  It started with a family trip to Birmingham,  a dislike of football and shopping, some free time, and Wi-Fi. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lamson Konic Review

I have had the opportunity to fish this 4wt Lamson Konic 3 times in the last 3 weeks.  I'm diggin it. It's Lamson's least expensive reel, but I quickly understood why Lamson has a stellar reputation.    It seems to balance well with the Scott A3 8.5 4 weight I am fishing it on.  It just feels right. It is a true mid-large arbor reel, and picks up line quickly.  The drag is fine tunable, and when I pull line of the reel, the spool moves and stops easily on command.  It doesn't take a strong tug to get it going, nor does it continue to spin after I've stopped pulling. It reacts proportionally to the power I put into it.
Fishing primarily small streams in WNC, a reel has never been a huge priority to me when fishing for trout.  However, if you have a fish 16 inches or larger on, the reel suddenly becomes important. This reel gives me confidence handling big fish, and has already worked 4 fish over the 16 inch range well. 

As always, I didn't spend full retail on this piece of equipment. I caught it at a going out of business sale for $99 instead of $125. It's the best reel I've ever owned. It out performs the Ross Flyrise I have ($100 reatil, I paid $80) and the Reddington Redfly 2 ($80, and a gift). I do like both the Flyrise and Redfly 2, but I think the Lamson and is worth the extra.

** A year and a half later and I like the reel even more.  It has been durable, and the o-ring system to remove the spool is intriguingly simple. If you firmly push the spool out from the drag side of the reel, it slides right off. If you try to pull from the spindle side, its locked on tight. No buttons needed.  You can easily change right to left hand reel from there, and tighten the drag mechanism if needed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Trouthood Obesity

The following trout are obese. I allowed them to get some exercise by impaling themselves on my flies and freakin' out at the end of my line.  Just doing my part to crack down on over eating trout.
I think this female was full of eggs

Gut full of something

I fished the Davidson Friday. It was 28 degrees at sunrise, but by the time I arrived with me friends at 9 it was probably low 40's. The water was low and clear, at about 40cfs. The red midge, veiled egg, and a birds nest hairs ear all provided fish. 20 or more were brought to hand in about 5 hours of fishing. I had two browns on that where over twenty, but one spit the hook and the other broke me off. The joys of 7x tippet. I was glad to land more fish than lose in these low water conditions, because I have definitely had low water days where it was tough to keep them on.

Here is a red i found on the D. The browns are spawning.

The day for before I was able to get on a small wild stream for a bit.  With the cooler water, the fish seemed to be spread out in different parts of the stream and not all in the deeper runs. It was in the low fifties, mostly cloudy sky. Picked up fish on a big copper wire stonefly and a red copper john. Here are some pictures.

Charles the trout tickler 

View back towards the foothills

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ross Flycast reel review

I recently purchased a Ross Flycast reel for a 4 weight Scott A3 rod.  I own a Ross Flyrise that I am pleased with, and mistakenly thought I was buying the same reel in a different size.  The Flycast retails for around $80 where the Flyrise retails for close to $100.
Ross Flyrise

Ross Flycast

The Flycast is no where near the quality of the Flyrise in my opinion.  It doesn't reel as smoothly, it's made of cheaper material, and it looks cheap.  It was advertised as a mid-arbor reel, but seems like a run of the mill small fly reel.  I have been pleased with my Flyrise, and Ross customer service was excellent on a repair caused from a fall on the river, however, the Flycast is probably more comparable to Ross' entry level Flystart reel than the Flyrise.  The Flycast does not pair well with my Scott A3.  It feels kind of like having hub caps on a BMW.  I am going to sell the Ross Flycast, and have already purchased a Lamson Konic that I have yet to hold (20% off, $99)

 I rarely pay full price for anything, and bought the Flyrise on sale for $80 a year ago, and the Flycast for $50 off of ebay.  Honestly, for fifty bucks, it's not a bad reel, but I don't think it is worth $80. I think I would buy the Okuma Sierra reel before the Ross Flycast, and you can pick them up for around $50.  I'll let you know what I think of the Lamson Konic when I get to fish and review it.

Lamson Konic

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Best Catch Ever


The fam went for a quick fall hike after church.  I squeezed in 30 minutes of delayed harvest (stocked, catch and release this time of year) fishing just off the parking lot that we hiked from. Blair and I picked up some nice pictures along the way.

We hiked past some wild water on the way to our destination. I didn't fish it today, but we took some photos.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fresh Fall Fishing

I netted 2 hours on a little wild stream nearby Saturday.  It was 44 degrees in Shelby Saturday morning, but it was probably upper 50's in the mountains when my buddy Micah and I stepped in the water around 11:30am.  The stream was low and clear, the sky was a cloudless Carolina blue, and the leaves were already beginning to show their fall color.  As soon as my boot hit the river bed I stopped second guessing if this short time on the water would be worth the effort.  Just to stand in the stream, even without a fly rod, on this perfect fall day would have been worth it.

I spooked some fish walking too confidently in the first hole, before I realized just how low the water was. This hole has always been a numbers hole, but I have never caught a fish of note worthy size in it.  Today I saw two fish much bigger than I anticipated there. I still landed this nice bow and 2 others from the upper stretch of the hole despite my initial sloppy wading.

I fished a big stimulator with a red #16 bh copper john dropper.  I picked up 7 fish, and 2 of those were on the stimi.  The fish above was the first, and biggest fish of the day.  She took the bead head within my first 5 minutes on the water and was about 12 inches or more. Micah fished a double nymph rig, with a brown latex and natural cdc and wood duck soft hackled bh caddis larvae followed by a little #18 bh blue and silver pt.  I think he had more consistent action on the deeper runs with his set up, but it was hard to fish in the shallow runs due to its weight.

Good time on the agua.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Essay: Redfishing

Raccoons swim out of a marsh near Charleston, SC

Wound in the Salt

The marsh takes two deep breaths a day, and as it slowly begins to exhale its water back to the ocean, my hopes of hooking my first redfish trickle away with the tide.  Two hours earlier, my head was on a swivel, turning to tailing fish on my left then to   violent slashes of water on my right, chasing sight and sound.  This Charleston area grass flat is the only place I’ve ever fly cast to a red, and in this, my 6th attempt, the conditions are ripe.  As I wade in my first glimpse over the spartina grass reveals the shimmering orange, exposed body of a red fish rolling. 

My grandfathers old sixty percent poly Dickies make excellent wading pants, and the thin head of surface film rests just below the permanently pleated knee. The sun is high and slightly to my back, allowing me to see otherwise stealthy fish cruising the eighteen inches of water, nearly wakeless and undetectable from any other angle.  As one swims by 10 feet in front of me, I cast five feet ahead of its path, and it swims right by my pulsing metallic fly like it was a perfectly camouflaged, odorless fiddler crab, safely buried in the mud.  Moments later I see a large fish, tailing well out of range.  Do I move? What if I spook a fish near me that I haven’t seen?  Then the surface of the water rips and breaks behind my back.  Is it a school of mullet, or is it a red fish?  A small wake pushes my way, and a well placed fly is ignored again.  Desperate, I put on a spoon fly. No feathers, no fur.  Just mylar, metal and epoxy.  The unmistakable wake of a redfish meanders my way, then changes directions and stays out of range.  I begin to blind cast, stripping the spoon, pushing past ideals, exercising moral flexibility, feeling like a spin fisherman disguised as a fly guy.  I glance to the left, and silently and suddenly like a ghost, a tail slips out of the water 6 feet from me.  I notice that I’m shaking again, and the fly drops a foot from the tailing fish.  No wake. No spook. No take. 

I’m baffled, and I’m reminded of my teenage and college years when I was dependent on fly shop conversations to gain knowledge to improve my fishing skills on the trout streams of North Carolina.  It makes for a slow learning curve when you have more fishing knowledge than your buddies, you can’t afford a guide, and its trial and error on the stream.  The marsh is no stream, and I begin to wonder if my fresh water fly fishing even holds an ounce of transferable experience for chasing reds in shallow water.

The spartina snails cling to their pale masts as the grass silently stirs, pushed by a slight breeze.  The only sounds are fiddler crabs searching for high ground, the soft trickle of the rising tide, and the muted whir of traffic crossing the drawbridge. The rotting odor of marsh mud hangs heavy, laced with sweetness.  Frustrated, intrigued, and yet hopeful, I begin to cruise through marsh grass like a red fish; alert, looking and listening, with a heightened anticipation.  It’s a slow, stalking hunt. Time passes and the only bend my rod has felt is from a loading line.  The fish elude me, seemingly safe under the now thigh deep water that covers tails and masks wakes.  I taste the salt on my lips.  Four raccoons appear swimming out of the vastness of the marsh towards land, looking at me, wondering why I’m dumb enough to linger. I sigh with the marsh.

This is not the story of a trophy or the makings of a film.  It is, however, a common story. The fruitless hunt, that shapes and hones our senses, drawing us that much closer to a hook up next time. It’s the suicide sprint in basketball practice, or the humbling defeat on the field that sends you home looking for answers. It’s the effort that will make my first redfish to hand all the more sweet, rewarding, and exhilarating. Maybe it will be tomorrow. Yes. It will be tomorrow.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thanks Tropical Storm Lee

The Davidson water levels are up thanks to Lee.  Not up and muddy, but running a clear 100cfs as opposed to the 40cfs its been since late June.  I fished Friday with by buddy Ryan, and I failed to put him on a fish.  Sorry Ryan. Go back to your home in Colorado, and you will find it much easier to catch fish right now. So, I only feel a tinge of remorse since you'll be fishing the Arkansas river this time next week.  I managed about 10 fish during the morning session, but never found THE fly the fish were craving.  Regardless, it was nice to see more, and cooler,  water in the stream. I caught fish on h.e. birds nest, yellow split case midge, black fly larvae, red midge, a scrimp, and a brassie.

This was a fat 16 incher. I mean FAT.
We got some lunch and decided to leave the hatchery section and fish the lower D. It was fishing like a true wild stream on the mid 70's September afternoon.  I only caught 3 or 4 fish using a yellow sallie dry and a brassie dropper, but I missed a bunch.  Most of the fish were small, but I did have a nice brown break me off on the brassie.  I finished at this long slick tailout, with fish sipping midges all over the place.  I had to stealthily get out of the water, and try to cast ninja style through the brush from dry land to avoid putting the fish down from my wading waves.  I cast to a 16-18 inch rising brown a few times, but every time my delicately placed bow and arrow cast hit the water, he felt uncomfortable.  I want to go back to the magic hole in September at dusk, and land a wily big guy. Summer is over, and trout fishing we be getting better in the next few weeks. And I will not have to enjoy it.  Please!!! Go in my stead.