Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fly fishing for fun.

I've had a poor to mediocre beginning to my fly fishing hobby this year. Sure, I've caught a couple of really large bteam and some small to medium size bass but I was expecting more. Last year, I was spoiled. I hit the bass well - every weekend, I was landing decent number of spots and am smallies.

Sometimes while I'm fishing, I do get stressed or worked up. Yesterday was different. Instead of wading, I took the kayak out. I caught a few fish, watched from my kayak as some jets take off and landed. It was a bit windy but nice and sunny. I left the lake relaxed and satisfied. Sure, the fish were small and the wind blew me around the lake but it was somehow pleasurable as I basked in the sun.

My priorities have changed a bit this year. It's probably the gas prices but I'm not planning in running to Missouri and fish two days a week. I've been doing some painting and spring cleaning, bought a new riding mower and have been hanging off with the family on the weekends. I've been hunting new food joints and coffee houses, perusing new coffee blends and even cutting back on the calories.

I may be a bit burnt out on fishing but it may be a good thing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Smallmouth bass foam fly pattern - hopper - bluegill

I'm sure there's a bluegill out there that can take this puppy in it's mouth.  And I am more than certain and smallmouth bass somewhere has a hankerin' for a large foam hopper.  I am going to copy this pattern (for the most part) while throwing in a custom bit in here and there.  I used to tie something similar to this and the Double Decker Hopper (Orvis?).  I loves my hoppers - heck, I love my top water patterns.

I am beginning to think that foam is still a mystery to most fly tyers.  I am sure they tie in feathers with the foam and possibly they may actually tie a fly made of all foam mostly for bluegills.  With the groups I have joined or been a part of online, a few of the same folks keep popping up.  And I am more than certain there have to be a few thousand fly fishers AT THE LEAST that fly fish for warm water species and even less than that number fish specifically and only for warm water species.  With all the catalogs floating around and the number of outdoor shops increasing over the past 5 or so years, I believe the number of fly fishers or folks to have attempted it to be in the millions.  Yet, it seems to me that most fly fishers and fly tyers are still reserved.  There is that section in the local fly shop with bass and bluegill bugs but it would also seem that most of the guys who come in there are buying trout flies or white bass patterns and fly tying patterns.  I wade just about every crick and stream in this area and I rarely see another fly fisherman - RARELY.  So, that is why I promote warm water fly fishing and fly tying.

I bought some flies last Friday at the local fly shop.  These were really productive flies with which I was landing spotted bass.  The owner's son asked me if it was trout - I said, No.  He then asked where I went and I told him, "Ancient Chinese Secret".  I'm not about to share my spots, lol - but I am more than happy to expound upon those seemingly progressive patterns our flyfishing forefathers gave us.

Sure, you can find a foam fly swap on the occasional forum but folks don't flock to them such as the Smallmouth swap of the Midge swap.  Even the occasional bluegill swap can raise dead fly tyer.

In a way, and I think some of you readers will disagree, I am progressive in the way I tie flies and perhaps fly fish (or where I fish).  I'm far from the best tyer but I like to think outside the box.  Foam flies aren't new. They aren't that old either.  Perhaps, when we fish, it should be like that guy who fishes for pocket water jsut to land those little trout.  I do the same for bass.  We kind of have to think outside the norm such as drifting flies in a long current.  In fishing pocket water, we have to position ourselves in a certain manner as to fish a certain way - we have to look for that odd spot in a precarious area.  It's not like we wade and sight fish.  We have to think a bit and use our heads more than we usually do.

One reason I tie foam flies is because I'm a bit tired of tying flies out of bits of feathers and chenille.  I like top water and naturally, I use foam.  It can be manipulated more and it seems I can be more creative with it than if I was using dubbing, etc.  PLUS, I have fished a lot of "not-so-nice" streams where you have to find "pocket water" or that certain hole.  Perhaps, the water flow has to be just right after a rain.  I would spend hours on a lousy stream in the middle of town just to land a large Pumpkinseed.  I do think it's awesome to fish a stream folks don't dare think about twice and yank out a quality fish.  To me, part of the hunt is the enjoyment and my hunts usually involve small to medium size streams.  I don't know why but it's what I like.

So, when it comes down to selecting or tying foam flies, don't be hesitant.  After all, you never know what a fish will hit.  And you can always expand your selection of flies.  Foam is cheap and goes far.  You can manipulate it and use your imagination to create awesome patterns you never once thought of tying.

In a way, fly fishing is a bit fundamentalist or traditionalist but at the same time, this sport is undergoing some transitions and changes such as Spey casting and heck, I guess even the selling of smallmouth or warm water species fly rods.  More and more companies are making rods and reels - and it would seem a lot of those have grass roots beginnnings.

So, as we go out to the nearest stream or water, let's think about being progressive in the way we fish.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spots still available for fly swap.

I still have 11 spots open for my foam fly swap. Read the previous post for information.

Email me at if you're interested.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fly swap!!!! Hosting a swap. Warm water fly swap.

I am hosting my first blog fly swap. You don't have to be on Blogger or sign up with an account. You can be just a reader or whomever.  I've hosted before on flytying forum and Yahoo groups and MSN. This is for anyone interested. First timers or novices. FOAM flies only . . . or mostly foam. This swap is for 12 folks. The first 11 folks who notify me will be signed up along with me as the swapmeister.

Here are the instructions.
1. Tie one dozen of a mostly foam fly - custom or traditional.
2. You must tie 12 flies to swap with other tyers.
 3. If you can, tag them with your name or online ID or email so that other tiers know who made them.
4. Send return postage so I can send your new flies back to you.
5. Send them to an address I give you when you sign up.
6. When signing up, if possible, let me know the name of your fly.

My email is

I will take photos of all the flies and list them on my blog with your ID. I now have to think of a pattern myself.

Fly fishing for spotted bass. Foam fly patterns-recipes-bass

I think that spotted bass are the most finicky of all the bass. Sure, it can hammer a bass bug but it can also slirp a hopper like a smallmouth or trout.  And it can be just as picky as a trout or bluegill. 

You might say that a largemouth bass has the same characteristics. However, being that the spotted bass is generally smaller and in my opinion, more numerous in streams than lakes and that it spends a lot of time in the riffles or on the edges and when most active, it warms itself in shallow areas near riffles and currents, it is more cautious because it has to be.  I have drifted nymphs to small "Spots" in the current.  Even then, they suck and spit so fast.  Sometimes, it's like they tip-toe over to the fly and take a nibble or stare at it sideways like a puppy dog cocking it's ears.

Smallmouth bass and spotted bass are more like each other than the Spot to the Largemouth bass.  Sure, all bass are similar in many ways but when it comes to streams, the Spotted Bass seems to acquire a Smallmouth Bass mentality.  "They" say smallmouth bass prefer habitat similar to that of a trout.  For the most part, I tend to agree.  I would say that it also applies to spotted bass too.  I guess the general ideal setting for smallmouth is a semi-fast current flowing over gravel in a clear to semi-clear stream with pools here and there for them to sit in with rocks for them to sit behind and a few slower spots on the edges.  There is no doubt that the smallmouth does hang out in areas such as a largemouth - as all bass and fish use structure for shelter and hunting.  BUT, I do think that small spotted bass tend to hang out in a possibly dingier setting.  The larger spotted bass hang out in deeper pools waiting for dinner to come along.  Smaller "Spots" tend to hang out under things and on the edges on currents and riffles.  Such as, deep pools and slow sheltered shoals.

I fish to spotted bass such as for smallmouth bass.  Yesterday, I used hoppers and crawdad patterns to land a bunch of spotted bass which sat in a deep pool along a swift current.  The hoppers were drifted and the Crazydad was jigged a bit but placed more strategically in front of the bass.  Standing where I could see the bass (this place was stacked and my buddy had taken more than a few over a couple of days) I played to them with many patterns.  Most flies I tried where tasted and slashed at and what seemed to be just nosed at like a dolphin.  They would even slirp my hoppers many times and I couldn't set the hook.  Coming out of a very short winter's nap and with the water still about mid 50's and they seem very timid right now.

Far from being a guide and more along the lines of borderline outdoor enthousiast and fishing nut, I'm always learning about fly fishing for and trying to share my knowledge.  One thing is for sure, those frustrating Spots like to stare at flies.

Spotted bass.

Blogger is trouble and my phone is too. This is my third attempt at a post and I'm just gonna throw this pic up and say it was a productive day when through folks were throwing rocks and letting their dogs play in the stream.  Fish are still leery. My second attempt at a post was awesome but this will do.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yummy beer. Watching SEC Tournament

It's been so windy this week. And wouldn't you know it, the rain moved in today. I took some vacation time this week and was hoping to do some fishing. My kayak got blown off the water.  Water temps haven't warmed up much other than on the White River where the white bass are running.

I guess ideal temps for smallmouth are 65-80 degrees. I may have to hold out at least a month for good smallie action.

I am hoping to pick up some calorie soon. Hitting some new water is also on the agenda.  Lake Lexington is supposed to be loaded with bluegills. No water craft except those with paddles or trolling motors. Not much traffic on this state park lake. I am going to hit the far

side and weed beds. I am expecting to take some big stump knockers. I haven't been there in years. I will be taking the kayak to this lake.

White Bass/Sandies fly pattern - bass and panfish flies


Every Spring, I like to hit the White Bass/Sand Bass Run. I like the term Sandies but I guess we call them White Bass in Arkansas for some reason. One reason the white bass run is such a craze for anglers is the obvious, they are great fighters and willing to smash a bait or crawdad pattern.

I do think that Beaver Lake is an awesome place for catching white bass. There are several great locations around the lake or on local streams. No limit on white bass at Beaver Lake!! The obvious "go-to" pattern is a chartreuse Clouser. The Crazydad is another good pattern. I use the Clouser with sinking line. A 5 wgt. rod will provide for an excellent fight. Although, I did use my 8 wgt. last year and still had a good fight - partially due to the current.

The fly pattern shown above is obviously a Woolly Bugger. I generally tie this with a silver bead head but did not have the proper size. For white bass, I generally stick with a size 8 hook. This is a larger size for black bass but will probably suffice for Sandies.

The body is of silver chenille, chartruese hackle and marabou with a red head - tied with red thread instead of black. I usually build up the red thread behind the bead head for a nice blood or gill effect. I have also caught bream and crappie on this pattern. This is a quick, easy and inexpensive pattern to tie.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gurglers - black and red smallmouth assassins.

I have sold more of the black and red Gurglers than any other.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

RSS feeds - Feedly _ Fishing Through Life - Fly Fishing Fly Tying Obsessed

I used Feedly on my Android phone.  It's a nice RSS reader that puts it in a format close to that of Flipboard or Currents.  You can subscribe to a bloggers RSS feeds on Feedly and it adds it to the app so that you can read it in a certain chosen format.  I subscribed to Fly Fishing Through Life, Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Obsessed and South African Angler.  That way, I don't have to open the browser or open the Blogger app and dig around.  Feedly updates the feeds and provides the latest posting for blogs, websites, and more.

The Continuous Idiot. Clouser flies smallmouth bluegills

I came up with the title for this posting because it just plain seems like I'm an idiot for continuously hitting the same water time and again.  I have scoped out a lot of new water for later this year.  Today wasn't so bad because I had found some potentially productive spots.  But the one thing that kept running through my mind and has for the better part of my fly fishing hobby is what am I doing here on this stream and is what I am doing right?
Last year was kind of the exception.  I asked myself that question just a few times - even though I had started out catching bass last year in January as our first snow storm moved in.  Although, I had a feeling that it was going to be a good year, I did become bummed out in April.  I had only landed just a few bass.  I think the first bass was in March.  But at least, I was catching crappie too.

When I talk to folks or post on Facebook, Twitter or blog, I always mention that I am having to "bang" it out.  I say that because I supposedly live in a good region for stream fishing.  Sure, there's the Kings, Elk, and Illinois and a bit further is Crooked Creek and the Buffalo.  But you have to float those or know them by heart to land those nice ones.

I'm addicted to wading.  Sure, I'll take out the kayak but I absolutely love wading.  I have waded the Kings, Elk, Illinois, White (West, Middle and main branch) and countless small streams.  And it seems to me that someone can fish decently by wading and it's only at peak times throughout the year that a fisherman can do really well.  Especially, when he fishes just about every weekend at his favorite holes.

I do think that terminal tackle does have an edge over the finesse of fly fishing with all those vibrating, clanking, and rattling lures or yummy finesse baits.  Which is why I think that landing bass on a fly rod is special and can take talent.  I also think that it is the rare talent that folks can land fish as once used to be.  Every now and then I see big stringers, usually crappie or white bass but it is rare that folks are pulling out stringers of bass these days.

There for a few weekends, I was landing about 10 bass which were small to medium size.  For the most part, I fish what is considered a protected bass stream.  Plus, if I fish in Arkansas, bass have to be a certain size and you can only keep two - especially if you are in on a Ozark Quality bass stream.

If it wasn't for panfish, I would probably have put my rods away a long time ago.  I have been fly fishing in the Ozarks for about 14 years.  Most of the streams are tough to access unless you have a canoe or kayak. There are a few prime streams here in Northwest Arkansas but further out into the Ozarks of Arkansas and Missouri, you can find some pretty decent stream fishing such as Eleven Point, Mulberry, and some other streams in MO.

Maybe I don't know what I am doing but sometimes, it makes sense.  Every now and again, I can pull bass out with a crawdad and I can land them on a custom fly I threw together the day before.  When it comes to bass bugging, it seems you need decent water for a productive evening.  I found a small lake managed by AGFC that has tons of lily pads, fallen logs and rotted trees and cover.  It's a great crappie fishing lake but can be very productive around the north end.  I have bass bugged on just about every lake here in NWA and it's just like smallmouth fishing.  Not every stream is going to be great.  So, I move on this year to two lakes I have not fished in.

I may be rambling on here but it seems like to find that ideal water, I have had to hammer it out - hit the water wading or paddling.  I haven't had any glorious moments like some of these outdoors writers where he goes out with his dad every fall in Minnesota to land amazing smallmouth bass.  I kind of related to a story John Gierach wrote about going out for trout on pond but instead, landed bluegills that day - and enjoying it.

I don't go out for trout because the waters nearby are overcrowded and I think that most of the fly fishers who go there glorify it too much and try to keep up with the Jones' with their fancy waders and over-priced rods.  I think it's funny to see a guy come out in Orvis boots, waders, jacket, hat and rod to fish trout in on a trout stocked stream that is over-managed by the AGFC and over-hyped by the state advertising folks.  Bull Shoals seems to be the way to go for that type of dress and glorification.

That's why I can't stand fly fishing clubs (I'm gonna step on a few toes) because (from my experience) you've got a group mostly made up of bunch of very-well-to-do folks (usually folks that support Trout Unlimited or the Sierra Club) who talk up fly fishing (mostly trout fishing) like it's next to godliness and that bass and panfish come as an afterthought and would only do it on local well known spots after loading up their fly boxes with bass bugs from the local fly shop.  If they do tie flies, it's usually in a traditional manner and not made creatively or unique.  And lord knows they wouldn't hit a small stream with all their buddies for a load of Pumpkin Seeds and Suckers.  It's always a pissing contest too.

So, when it comes to fly fishing, I do wade just about every stream around and am happy to have anything take my fly.  I enjoy taking out my kayak too.  But when it comes down to it, I'm always wondering if I'm an idiot for doing what I do.  I guess it comes down to comparing yourself with the other guys or making goals and challenges and maybe not achieving them.

My father enjoys fly fishing for trout more than bass and panfish.  He tried to teach me about fishing for bass and bream but all he knew outside of trout fishing was bass bugging in his friends pirvate stocked ponds.  He was afraid to catch small fish too.  He didn't even understand how to catch smallmouth.  And these things even I have achieved.  Even though I still think I'm an idiot for fishing the same waters and expecting the same results, I have taught my dad a thing or two about warm water fly fishing.  Not to mention, he's shopping for a canoe or kayak now.

I may not be the best and I may not be the worst but I can catch fish all year.  They may not be the best fish nor the toughest fighter but this idiot doesn't mind it.  Take the year in stride.  Don't go out every weekend.  Lord knows I'm a tad bit burnt out.  You can stress yourself out expecting big things every time you go out.  And it will come to a point where you'll think your an idiot because you expect to land big ones every time you go out.