Thursday, July 31, 2014

New glass rod for smallmouth bass.

Well, I bought another glass rod.  A classic, I guess you could say.  Or, it's becoming a classic.  I've seen a lot of these on ebay and folks buying them up and pairing them with old Martin reels or such.  The Eagle Claw Featherlight was a blast to cast in the yard.  It loaded very well and seems to be light and easy to cast but we'll see after 5 hours on the water.

It's a 6'6" rod which is a 4/5 weight.  While the older models have a medallion on the handle that show it's made in the USA, the newer rods are made in China.  I can't wait to take this rod on the water. 

On another note, I was asked why I blog.  Guess it's because I like to share things.  Not everyone has access to panfish or smallmouth.  Or even, warm water species.  When I started blogging back in 02. There were very few bloggers much less folks chasing warmwater species.  Fly fishing has exploded over the past 5-10 years.  Or so it seems to me.  The sport seems to be growing quickly on a grassroots level.  And so, it goes with glass rods.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pat's Rubber Legs - nymphing for bass.

Today was a tough one.  At first.  It took me a while to figure out what the bass would hit.  This is a stonefly imitation but I guess you could make it work as a hellgrammite or nymph of some sort for smallmouth bass.

I spent almost 2 hours cursing at the water.  I lost 2 nice bass on a foam hopper and streamer.  The fish were short striking and being "Looky Lou's".  I tried streamers, hoppers, buggers and crawdads.  Nothing worked.  I pulled flies out of their mouths when setting the hooks.  They would come up and slowly close their mouths on the flies.  I've been in this situation before.  But never been successful at tying on a fly and turning the key to and opening the floodgate like today.

I tied on Pat's Rubber Legs and went to town.  I've drifted nymphs before such as the Colorado Or Bitch Creek Nymph but they never had been as effective as this pattern.  I would say that today has been the most productive day in the water since April 2013.

While I didn't land any monsters, there were very many bass caught today.  I would drift the nymph into a pool, snag a fish and then release it.  Then, drift again and have another smallmouth bass tag the fly hard.  Over and over.  I caught 8 juvenile bass out of one pool and about that many or more out of another.  That's not counting the riffles and runs.  And, I caught some huge rock bass too.

I lost count of bass (not including rock bass) after 20.  All were caught on Pat's Rubber Legs.  That fly blew my mind.  This is the first time I tied that fly on.  I found some Rubber Legs or Pickles as they are also called.   Cheap too.  I would tie them up but for .89 each, I'm gonna buy some black and some brown ones.  The high for tomorrow is only 70.  That has to be a record low for July.  And rain too.  Or else, I would head back out on the water.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Foam hoppers for smallmouth bass.

Just posting some foam hoppers that I'm gonna throw at some smallmouth bass this fall or possibly sooner.

This is the Double Chubby.  

A nice Los Alamos Ant.

And we all know this pattern.

I'm gonna try to get out this week - if the heat drops a bit.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Spotted Bass and Euphemisms.

This spot is about a foot and a half at it's deepest and the pool runs about 15 feet long.  This is just a portion of the pool with some decent riffles.  The creek angles in at the top which flows in at just under an inch.  This stream is typically shallow with pools located through the "headwaters" of where a very small crik flows into it.  Throughout the first several miles, you will find spotted bass and panfish.  Smallmouth can be found once the stream flows past the edge of the mountain and into farmland where it widens out and limestone isn't present as much as pebble and mud.  But there are spotted bass located throughout this watershed.  Fishing the smaller creeks of this watershed and others, I find that spotted bass can be down right picky.  Very finicky, in fact.  Every now and then, I can land some pretty good ones when the water is up and has a constant flow for a week or two.

I'm reading an article from Eastern Fly Fishing - Fall 2005.  I kept it tucked away because it's the first fly fishing article I ever read about spotted bass.  It is about the Black Warrior River in AL.  Most specifically, the three forks; Sipsey, Mulberry and Locust.  I'll elaborate more on is article at a later date.

I have always said that spotted bass are picky and tough to catch in streams.  Throughout the year, I just don't think they are as aggressive as smallmouth bass.  In the article I'm reading, the author states that the Alabama spotted bass are notoriously picky, at times exhibiting the behavior of brown trout.  Jeff Cupp goes on to mention that no other bass is as likely to cause you to lose your religion.  Many a fly fisher has been driven into creative fits of profanity and euphemism.

In fishing a lot of smaller Ozark creeks, I have found that it was easier to land spotted bass on nymphs and smaller flies than streamers and larger flies such as crawdads.  I remember on afternoon on a small creek which you could find scads of spotted bass due to it being a tributary of a lake and I fished the most southern part, I threw everything at them and finally tied on a sow bug.  It was custom tied with flashing on the casing.  I started drifting in the riffles as it flowed out of a large pool. There were spotted bass hanging out in there right at the edge of the shade.  I started catching them left and right.  They weren't very sizeable but I figured them out.  On later trips out on this stream, I started casting a size 8 yellow chenille streamer with ginger hackle and yellow mallard flank wing.  Those spotted bass tore it up.  The thing is, as small as these streams are, these bass see and hear you coming from a mile away.  So, presentation is everything.  I did find that during pre-spawn and when the water hit 60-65, they would hit zonkers when the water was up a bit.  I have caught them on Clousers, Buggers, etc.  But on these small and seemingly fragile creeks, you've got to have a gentle approach and presentation AND offering.

It would seem that damsel nymphs could be the answer to landing more Spots.  But, you'll have to wait until I write again.  Tight lines.

*Black Warrior River, AL; Jeff Cupp, Eastern Fly Fishing - Fall 2005

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Approaching a small stream.

The 5 stages of fly fishing . . . guessing I'm between 4 and 5.  Stage 5 being that you enjoy the outing whether you catch something or not.  Since losing access to 5 locations, I've been scouting new water    and fishing old spots.  I'm tired of trying to catch pigs and it's hard enough just trying to get back into an experience of enjoyment or fulfillment.  

Today, I fished a place I haven't waded in about a decade or so.  It's not a prime location and really isn't even a decent place unless the water is up.  It's a very shallow and silty limestone stream with very little substrate which is located in the Ozarks.  Casting is pretty challenging unless facing up or downstream.  Sometimes, you don't have a choice but to wade the slick stream because of cliffs and high banks.  

Since it is a small stream, the fish hear and see you coming from a mile away.  I would almost classify this place as a drainage ditch.  It's full of old scrap metal, cars and cans.  A subtle approach is necessary.  Even now in July, the fish seem very lackadaisical at approaching a fly.

There are pools and riffles and this place is beautiful BUT it's so darn tough to wade.  Farther down, the limestone has two or three foot holes and it's slicker than snot.  If you're not careful, it's a broken leg or twisted ankle.  Needless to say, folks do fish on this stream but mainly after it rains quite a bit.

The larger spotted bass dart quickly away as I try to quietly approach the pools.  If they couldn't find timber , they would go into the shallows and cram themselves under rocks.  I was used to drifting nymphs and dry flies on these streams but long ago, I mostly gave those flies up to chase smallmouth bass on other streams.  This is finesse fishing at it's finest.  It's all about the presentation on these tiny streams.

So, I'll cover the 5 stages of fly fishing shortly.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Killowaker - #throwdahoppa

This is my version of the Killowaker which I found in my The Fly Shop catalog.  I just added legs.  

Photo credit: The Fly Shop.  Size 4

I used a B200 size 10 hook from Allen Fly Fishing.  In the fall, I do well landing smallmouth bass on custom tied foam hoppers.  I'm always eager to try out new foam patterns.  Last weekend, I threw poppers and hoppers but only the bluegills wanted those flies.  In about a month or so, I'll be toting a box full of foamies.  I like to cast into riffles above pools.  I also will drift them at the tail outs and occasionally, I'll drift into the pools.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Crossing my fingers.

It seems that my luck never changes.  Bad luck.  I've spent tons to try and keep my teeth in good shape.  I was take to the dentist once when I was young.  Later in life, I find out my teeth are in terrible shape.  20 years after my first visit as an adult, I find that I may have to get partials.  And, that I have to see someone else on Monday about bone loss or loss of bone density.  It's kind of a shock to find out that I'm either gonna loose my teeth or possibly have all 6 of my root canals redone.  And then try to redo 7 of my many crowns.  At 40, I wasn't having a mid-life crisis but his puts me close.  I was en considering shutting down my fly fishing hobby because I don't have enough patience to approach water in the proper manner or open myself up to me opportunities.  All I know is this . . . I'm getting old, my right calf has atrophied a bit due to an existing knee issue . . . I'm getting flabby but not gaining weight.  I'm unhealthy all the way around.  Yet, I remember my old man going through his mid-life crisis through his early forties.  We had to move my, my sister and her husband moved in, then they had a kid they couldn't raise. . . His hair did start falling out, lol.  Luckily, mine is almost all gone.  I really do think that 50 is the new 40.  I've got a few life changes ahead of me.  How a I going to deal with it?  Yup, clumsily chasing smallies with the same fly and maybe a hopper or two.  At least that'll get me off the couch.  Don't need my teeth for fishing.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fiberglass fly rod on the scout.

Took the glass rod out again today.  Scouting new water again.  It's been an odd year.  Lots of smaller fish than I'm used to catching.  

Coulda done worse I guess.  The streams I waded didn't have much current and are low.  I did find some large spotted bass and smallmouth bass but they were tough.  Most fish were short striking.

I did find a pool of eager 10-12 inch smallmouth though.  They felt pretty darn good on the glass panfish rod. 

Seeing as how I've lost some prime spots lately, I guess I'm just glad to get out and enjoy the weather.  I recently read about the 5 stages of fly fishing.  I will post about them.  I think I may be about stage 5 which is enjoying the outing.  But I may be a 4 which is pursuing other species than your used to chasing.  Purple Crazy Dads and my Shucker pattern were successful but those large bass only seemed interested for a bit. When I play to fish, I use the typical buggers, Clousers, crawdads and poppers.  If I don't land one in around 30 minutes, I move on.  I prefer limestone streams or those with a smaller substrate with pebbles and small boulders with riffles and fallen timber or boulders with pools and runs.  I don't like dirty water which I encountered today.  

Tight lines.

Friday, July 4, 2014

#glassisnotdead - Panfish fly rod

I receive a glass rod from Phillip Butterfield at Average Joe's Fishing Poles.  It's a three piece, 3/4 wgt. 6'3" rod with a cedar grip.  It's the first glass rod that I've casted in ages.  And I Iove it.  The sensitivity reminds me of my ultra light Ugly Stik but so much better.  

I figured fighting panfish would feel like a million bucks but I hadn't thought of catching smallmouth bass on it too.

The guides are also blue.  Upon request, Phillip is now offering rods made from Blue Halo blanks.

I'm glad to be a part of the new interest and grass roots movement in glass rods.  I'm now looking to either purchase a 5 wgt glass rod or have another built.  I would head out to the river but there are loads of people out.  This rod makes the fight much more intense.  The tugs and shakes blow my mind.  When I had a smallmouth take my streamer as I drifted along a log at about 15 feet away, the fight was just amazing.  He pulled and tugged and stayed in the riffles.  The sensitivity made me giddy. I figured he was a larger smallie than he was playing.

Now, I can brag that I have a glass rod and have been playing fat panfish and Ozark smallmouth.

Tight lines, Josh.