Friday, July 13, 2018

Dodging floaters.

Last summer, I hit up a stream thinking that since school had just begun, that floaters would more than likely be done for the season. Boy, was I wrong. I've seen a lot of folks on this stream and although it wasn't crazy busy with just recreational floaters, there were a lot of kayak anglers too. Most fisherman bypassed the same areas and fished the same spots. Kind of interesting how almost all the anglers got out of their kayaks to wade about a 10 yard stretch of water that never yields anything - and after totally skipping about a 60 yard stretch of stream that I almost always catch smallmouth bass.

 Get it? - This was late last summer. Luckily, we received a lot of late July and early August rains that brought the Smallies out of their hiding holes. And as usual, I tied on my trusted "Shucker" streamer and caught some fish. Fortunately, it seemed that all the "party floaters" had gone back to school or college or work and I did meet quite a few kayakers. Some had their dogs and others had to be pulled off of timber at the same log jam. One guy mentioned that he had been fly fishing just as long as he'd been married - HA HA.

 Typically, I do my best to avoid floaters and for good cause - the one time I actually decided to scout some waters I'd been eyeballing for ages, it would seem that almost a whole school just kept floating by and I just could not wade fish that section of the stream - which is in fact also a party river in which you've either got to fish early or late during the summer vacation months. I did catch a few fish that day. My best fish (pictured above) was in that 60 yard stretch of stream all the anglers skipped.

As you can tell, this fly has been hit hard.  It's my "Shucker" streamer.  I use this fly more than any other pattern.  You can find tying instructions here.

Tight Lines.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Echo Bad Ass Glass Review "Echo BAG"

My father and I were supposed to have a guided float an Ozark stream - one that used to have very little traffic.  With little rain over the preceding weeks, the creek had dropped too much for a guide boat and from my understanding, the smallmouth bass had recently been hit hard.  It was offered that we could go on an intensive wade for Smallies but it was going to be around 100 F and my knee and foot had issues.  That and my father is almost 70 - I didn't say anything to him but was afraid the heat and humidity would be too much for him on an all day outing.

After having conversations the night before with several local fishing guides and one being a good friend and trusted source, we decided to hit up the trout in a boat.  We had the opportunity for a guided float on the Buffalo River but that entailed waking up well before the rooster for a drive and fighting floatillas on a hot and steamy river with a lower CFS than recent spring guide trips.

(Dad enjoying the view from the front)

With my father not retiring, we haven't really spent much time on the water and wanted to maximize our opportunity for smallmouth bass.  Over the years, we fished for trout plenty of times and I wanted to show him how much I cared for and missed him living about 3 or 4 hours away.  So, I saddle up and paid for our first guide trip.  Although, he did pay for the lodge and tipped our guide.

I brought my Fenwick FF78-6 and Echo BAG 608.  I knew well beforehand that the creek might not be high enough for floating.  And that the Fenwick and Echo Bad Ass Glass would be sufficient enough for Smallies or trout.

Up late and wondering if we were going to land any fish, we met up at the shop around 7:45 and chatted it up with some guides.  My father likes to fish tailwaters and prefers being on the stream at sun up and not loading into a boat at 8:30.  I too am used to hitting the trout early on before the activity drops off before lunch time.  I'll chase Smallies all day though!

We jetted up about 200 yards from the ramp.  An eagle was watching us from the shoals!  I figured we were going to cast streamers or throw articulated flies.  NOPE.  Drifted nymphs all day.  We both had a fish on withing several casts - we had many doubles that day.  We probably caught about 13 or so at the same time.  THAT GUIDE PUT US ON THE FISH.  After 8 hours of great fishing with could cover and a few rain drops, we were tuckered out.  I broke in my Echo Bad Ass Glass properly.

Echo BAG Review

This rod is faster than the other new and vintage fiberglass rods that I do own.  To me, it feels like a 5 weight rod but will act like a 6 when need be.  It's not rigid and it will bend over like an Eagle Claw Featherlight but it's tough.  I had on a 2 or 3 pounder but played it like a smallmouth bass and didn't net it.  As I only drifted nymphs, I will do a review on casting streamers and catching some Smallies.  The recovery rate on this rod is great.  You definitely feel it load and it's tough.  That rod is spunky fighter - great recovery and sensitivity.  You don't necessarily need to slow your cast down as you do with older (and some new) glass.  If you miss a strike, you can get your line back out quicker (thus the nickname Quickshot).  The rod feels solid - unlike those 5/6 and 7/8 CGR's I landed a few Brown Trout on a few years back.  The back bone in this rod makes you feel assured you can handle to fight.

Not so good things about the ECHO BAG - Alignment dots don't line up on bottom blank.  Inside the blanks seem uneven in hue and clarity as if the blanks are dirty on the inside.  Up close, for $279 it looks like a budget rod (cheap looking rubber windcheck and I coulda done better making thread wraps on one of the guides.  Low grade cork with lots of filler.  Also, some light pitting on a thread wrap and tiny almost unnoticeable bumps in the finish on one of the blanks) BUT it feels like a million bucks.

I matched the rod to an Allen ATS and Cabela's base 6 wgt line.  I feel like better line needs to be used or perhaps a heavier line.  Maybe, 6 wgt line will be sufficient with streamers - at least for me.

Tight Lines.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Help Keep Our Streams Clean

Easily coil and control waste leader and tipped materials, keeps mono from creeping out of your pocket and into the environment.

Photo is from Smith Creek site.

"I see way to much fishing line on the riverbank and I got so tired of re-stuffing spent leaders and tippets back into my vest pocket that I finally designed a tool to make them stay put. The Trash Fish is simple, slim and fits in my pocket. It's great having a eco and user friendly tool that people love."
Wayne Smith – Smith Creek

Check out their video on how to utilize this tool.  Spread the news.  I would say this tool is not just for fly fisherman.


Monday, February 13, 2017

My Top Smallmouth Bass Flies

Caught on Chartruese Woolly Bugger.

Pat's Rubber Legs - A must have because it mimics Hellgrammites and nymphs such as the March Brown that hatch here.  Maybe it's the rubber legs but Smallies love it.  Size 10 - 4.

Crazy Dad - Purple, orange, green, brown - WHICHEVER.  I mainly use purple and orange.  I've never done well with other crawdad patterns. 

Boogle Bug - Any of them.  If Smallies won't hit them the something else will hammer it.  I drift them or pop them - whatever, I never use the same presentation - although, drifting with small twiches does seem to do best for me.

Woolly Buggers - black or olive.  Everybody knows this pattern was created for Smallmouth Bass.

Clouser - A "no brainer".  I use white or chartreuse - mainly size 8.  Sometimes, I use  "store bought" but I also tie them with chartreuse Coon hair.

Panfish Charley -  Size 8 and only in Chartreuse.  I started catching Spotted Bass on this one at the local pond and next thing you know - a winter Smallie tagged it.

Foam Terrestrials - Good times.  I love tossing terrestrials - especially when Smallies are skittish. 
The Shucker/Sculpin - My "go-to" pattern.  A good streamer.  I've had folks mention that it does look like a Sculpin.  I have caught MANY Smallies on this streamer.
Everyone has their own methods or preferences of fishing.  I usually start out with the Shucker.  If they aren't hitting my streamer, I drift Pat's Rubber Legs.  If the Smallies won't take anything else, I drift terrestrials.  Then I move on and try the other patterns.  I mainly wade and fish water rarely over 4 - 5 feet deep and use floating line.  I sight fish A LOT which means that when it is really slow, I will toss the same fly at the same fish for an hour and play with it until I finally land it.  I'm not floating for 8 hours and covering a lot of water.  When it gets really hot and humid, I try not to cover too much distance.  I have even resorted to buying a Life Straw - went out too far on a day with almost 90% humidity.  It was only 83 but a storm front was moving in and it just drained me.  I ran out of water, baked my head and had to find shade and soaked in deep pools.

Always let people know where you are going to be fishing, hiking, biking, etc.  I'll get into gear later.

Let me know if you have any questions.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Fly Tying Instructions - Brown Evazote Hopper

So, here's another lovely hopper pattern.  This pattern is similar to my "Juicy Foam Fly" (yes, i know - not the best name but it catches fish) - so, I am certain this will be productive for you.  I have caught a few Bluegills and Pumpkin Seeds on this hopper.


  • River Road Creations Chernobyl Cutter - OR - a pair of scissors.
  • size 8 hook - I use the 2XL dry fly hooks from Cabela's
  • EVAZOTE foam
  • 2 mm foam
  • Rubber legs
  • Antron yarn
  • Zap-a-Gap
  • Marker or stick-on eyes

1. Cut out Evazote foam with cutter or scissors.

2. Cut a slit with razorblade or scissors.  Make sure not to cut up to far - you may need to stage your foam along the shank to gauge length of cut.  As you can see, you will need to put adhesive along the shank.

3. Lay down several layers of thread.  With 1mm or so of foam sticking out over the bend of the hook, secure body at the point of the hook.

4. Wind thread near front of hook.  Bend back the head and make a wrap to gauge head and to softly mark with thread the placement of the wing.

5. Let the head unravel and make several wraps at the point you gauged your head to be secured at a later time.

6. OPTIONAL - Tie in yarn.  Make sure you have enough to reach the butt of the fly when folded back.

7. DO THIS IF YOU ARE NOT USING A YARN WING.  From the 2mm foam, use the cutter to make a wing.

8. With 2 mm of foam pointing over the "tie-in" point for your body (step 3) secure wing with several wraps.  Trim wing.

9. Form head and secure with several wraps.

10.  Secure legs - top set of legs should be a little shorter then the bottom set.

11. Make several half-hitches around body and legs.  Or, wind thread back to shank and make several whip finishes.

12. Put adhesive along the slit and thread wraps.

13.  Put on the eyes.
14. FISH

Let me know if you have any questions.