Friday, July 27, 2012

Ramblings and such.

I caught this smallmouth bass a few evenings ago.  It rained yesterday for the first time in ages.  I may head out this evening and see if the current has picked up.

I'm sure folks are sort of tired when viewing smallmouth pics on my blog.  It used to be that I landed more panfish than bass.  I've been thinking about challenging myself to catch 100 panfish.  I got the idea from fellow blogger Bill Trussell.  He's working towards catching 100 bluegills.  I'm gonna try to catch crappie, pumpkinseed, warmouth etc.

I bought a couple of Sear, Roebucks & Co. reprint catalogs from 1900 and 1909.  Not only were bamboo fishing rods sold but steel rods, too.  I did notice a "Pocket Fly Rod" which is a 9 piece fly rod.  In relation to the prices of spinning rods, the fly rods and reels were just about the same price.  If you have the chance, you have got to read those catalogs because there is so much that you wouldn't think would be available at that time.

Rubber bass lures were listed in the catalog - mainly frog and cricket patterns for about 60 cents.  Baseballs are still about the same price though.  Sears had so many buildings, it's own post office, train and fire brigade.

Sears, Roebuck catered to the inner city and folks on the farm.  Obviously, if you couldn't get it at the local merchant, you ordered it from Sears and Roebuck or similar mail-order businesses.  Just imagine ordering a rod and waiting for it - who knows how long - could've been 4 - 6 weeks.

Now, most of us have the local fly shop or sporting goods store.  You would think that we might be a bit spoiled when it comes to the selection of sporting goods brands or items.  But if you look at some old Sears catalogs, you could pretty much get most of what you needed - football spikes, atheletic supporters - even stage tights!!  When I was growing up in British Columbia, we didn't have fly shops.  Even when I moved to Arkansas, they were just opening up.  I remember the Woodsman at Central Mall in Fort Smith, AR - it's still there.  But when they opened, there was a lot of fly fishing equipment and a good selection of trout flies.  That amazed me.  I used to have to tie my own flies and viewing all the different kinds of flies astounded me.

Duane Hada was a guide on the White for Trout and waded for smallmouth on Crooked Creek.  I think he moved back there after opening and managing The Woodsman.  He and my father started up the fly fishing club in Fort Smith.  For a while, my father was club president.

Anyway, A new Cabela's opens in a week or two.  Academy opened year before last.  I can also run down to the fly shop.  I'm not sure if I could wait for items to arrive from Sear and Roebuck.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Enjoying the day out - fly fishing or spin rod.

I'll show some photos of fish that I recently caught but with waters getting lower and me not floating to deeper waters, all I've got is some small fish.  That's OK because I am going to enjoy my outings.  As I've been posting about how I enjoy wading small streams.  I've been watching YouTube videos about creek fishing.  There are a specific set of videos from some guys in Ohio fishing creeks.  They catch small to medium bass with a few nice large ones thrown in here and there.  These guys use ultra-lights to land bass, bream and catfish.  They don't wear fancy attire or use high dollar equipment.  These young men are excited and proud of their fish no matter what is reeled in. I have developed an attitude of enjoying the day out.  It took years but my I changed my approach to my outings.

Folks who were watching those YouTube videos of those guys fishing creeks were posting comments about how they weren't catching real fish because of the bass were mostly small.  You never know what size fish you may find in a small stream.  I have become enthusiastic when landing my fish.  For years, I waded local streams, even those that are widely popular and known to have good populations of smallmouth and other species of fish.  I finally found a stretch of water that I can call my own.  Not to mention, I have honed my fly fishing skills and become more patience and educated about streams.  

If I go out to the stream expecting to catch a lot of fish, I'm gonna be tense.  I have got to go in expecting to have a positive day no matter what because each outing is a learning experience.  In watching these videos on YouTube, these guys wade different streams with success.  Earlier in the year, I hit different waters but settled in on my honey hole.  I have got to get out of my comfort zone and that will be the true test of my change in positive attitude, lol.

Sometimes, in pursuing fish, I forget that it's not a measure of who I am or provide security of manhood within my circle of friends.  I used to try and impress my father but don't care too much anymore about it.  He knows I'm good.  I know I'm good - I mean, how many pics can I put on Facebook!

You don't need a big stream with big fish to enjoy yourself.  Part of the enjoyment of the outing is exploration.  There are usually lots of small local streams nearby.  Why not step into a creek and see what happens.

I've got some flies for sale.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Small streams - drought and low water.

It's not a great picture but it's a good bass.  I'm wondering if anyone out there knows or has any info on tagging fish.  The fish I've been catching in MO have a silver marking on the top edge of the gill - if you look closely.  It seems natural.  Not all of them have that spot.  The smallmouth I've been landing in AR don't seem to have that marking.  MDC tags fish with an actual tag that can be removed and turned in for cash.

I caught this guy last week in the heat of 90 degrees at about 8:45 pm.  The stream is running low and I'm gonna leave the fish alone until we get some rain.  I saw a picture in the paper of War Eagle Creek near the mill.  I didn't recognize it at first because the stream was so low.  It's a trickle but I know that fishing can be good at certain points when water is low.

You can take advantage of fish not being able to find cover or hide in hole and riffles.  You will need to be stealthy.  I like to take advantage of small streams or when larger streams or rivers become low.  This is because I can see the fish and the bottom of the stream.  I can also see how the cover looks below the water line.

I'm not a fan of big streams because I can't necessarily sight fish.  I don't like casting into really deep riffles as I float by and hope a fish lies within them.  Sure, you can learn the nuances of a large stream or river but my preference is wading.  I have fished in the Illinois River but never with great success.  I can fish small streams and pull decent numbers of fish.

Hope we get more rain soon!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Yup, you got it. More smallmouth bass.

I caught this smallmouth bass on Friday of last week on a Wooly Bugger.  Saturday morning wasn't very productive but I did land 17 bass in two outings lasting about 4 hours altogether.  I've been fishing a small stream and it holds a lot of small to medium bass.  There are some large smallmouth here and there but you've got to hit the main river for those guys.  They are hiding in the large pools which have become a rarity on this stream.

I may have to give my honey hole a rest.  Due to the obvious lack of rain, the water is receding rapidly.  Fish don't have deep holes to rest in.  There are the odd deep spots every quarter mile or so now.  Even the larger bass are moving about in about 8 inches of water as they look for a place to rest or hunt.  The riffles are virtually non-existent and the weeds and rocks have become hiding places along the banks.  With large amounts of bass in this stretch of the stream, it's hard not to scare them at this point.  Even with stealthy wading, bass which usually group together in about 2 or 3 feet of water are meandering into some pretty clear and shallow water.  Funny thing is that top-water action has been almost non-existent the past few trips out.

At this point, I'm going to find fish some deep spots and leave most of the stream alone.  Those poor fellas need a break from this drought.  Wooly Buggers, crawdad patterns, and Clousers have been my go-to flies.  Last week before I went out of town, I landed 4 nice smallmouth bass all in the same hole.  That hole is now a slow and low riffle.  At this point of the drought, the stream is so low that fish are becoming stranded in certain portions of the stream.  Whereas, in the Spring when the water was higher, the fish were moving throughout a larger portion of the creek.  Bass were coming out of the deep holes and hanging out in smaller holes and medium to deep riffles to feed.  Stealthy wading and soft casting is the key.  On this stream, I find that bass are now less active in the morning and as the stream warms back up, smallmouth are more to grab a bit to eat.  Soft strikes and quickly yet while being subtle will hit a fly or pounce lightly while evading the hook.

So, if you are fishing smaller streams or creeks right now, good luck.  Stealthy wading and soft casting to those of you hunting smallmouth during this drought.  If we're lucky, maybe it will rain.  

More photos to come!  Sold 11 sets of flies this week!  18 sets of flies week before last.  I'll list some more on ebay in the next day or so.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Smallmouth on the fly video. Warm water fly fishing.

It's not much.  I made this last fall and it's hard to film and land a fish on a fly rod, lol.  I went out this weekend and landed 17 smallmouth bass.  I'll be posting that info with pics tomorrow.  I'm busy slouching on the couch as the Greek salad my wife made for dinner digests.

You can buy some of my flies here.