Friday, February 28, 2014
Last year, I had a run in with a property owner. Initially, it wasn't the property owner that had the issue with me fishing behind her house. Since moving to the area, I had been fishing this stream for 14 years. There were no issues. It was pasture land when I first began fishing at the location on this stream. Then a golf course and houses were built on it. The golf course ran off the anglers but we fished at another spot not too far down from the golf course.
Since some of the homes were built on this stream, I had talked or said hello to the property owners. However, a lady saw me behind her home and let her neighbor and fellow church member know she wasn't fond of it. The gentleman she told lives next to the bridge where I parked and accessed the stream. The bridge had been closed since about 1996 or 98. I honestly think I drove over it once before it closed though. It was built in 1910 - I think. After I had seen the lady step out on her patio and re-enter the house, I saw people on the bridge prairie dogging like they were looking for something. Not to much later, I exited the stream and the gentleman living next to the bridge was waiting on me. He said that his neighbor was so scared of me fishing behind her house that she was too scared to come out. And. that she wanted him to call the cops on me. I told him that it was crazy and I had every right to be there. He then said I was trespassing on his land because he owned the whole road now that the bridge as closed. Then he told me that the land I walked through (the ditch) to access the stream represented by his realtor son and he was going to call the owner about me trespassing. I told him I make calls every year and that I was fishing legal and that I didn't even fish on his neighbor lady's side of the stream. He said he had my name and tag number. I asked him my name and of course he didn't know it. He then proceeded to say that he calls the cops all the time when people access the stream there because if his grandkids are out there swimming or fishing that when other folks mix with them, it just ain't right.
I mentioned that I would just access the stream from the highway. He said his realtor son also owned the golf course on the stream at the highway and it was trespassing and he would call the cops. I was polite the whole time. Honest. I figured he may have had some issues with anglers and we could work things out. I took his phone number and he mentioned he would speak to his neighbor.
I went to speak to one of his neighbors that I'd spoken to in the past. I guess he moved and his house was being renovated and going up for sale. I went to speak with the lady neighbor with issues but she didn't come to the door. She had security cameras everywhere. I then went next door and the neighbors said I could be back there and it turns out the lady with issues didn't even want her next door neighbors in the stream behind her house and had let it be known in the past. Then I asked if there were issues at the bridge because the gentleman told me about them. They were pretty skeptical.
I called the stream biologist and he said I accessed the stream legally. The game wardens told me the same thing on the phone. The county said I parked legally and that the gentleman did not own the road and I wasn't trespassing. The county road dept. also said that the fence the gentleman extended from his yard to the base of the bridge was illegal. AND, that they were taking some of his front yard to build a new bridge and she was familiar with him.
So, I spoke with the gentleman several times on the phone and it turns out he never had a problem until his lady neighbor had issues with me. I reminded him that in the past, I had waved and said hello to him and his wife many times as I parked as the bridge to fish. On that day his neighbor had issues, he blew up on me and tried to scare me away. His lady neighbor has issues. He told me she gets scared easy and is paranoid.
Fish and game says I do need permission to fish there because those neighbors own to the middle of the stream. I technically had permission and can go back but would have to tiptoe around a certain property. Fish and game says to park on the other side of the stream and access there. Quite frankly, I'm not certain about keeping my bond with that stream. Not all the lots on the stream have been sold and I would have to ask them or they would freak out or eventually have issues with people down at the new bridge. It's a great spot but I can acces about a mile down from there or head another direction at an access about 300 yards north.
The gentleman says he spoke with his lady neighbor and she was not happy that I spoke with her neighbors and just about blew her top and partly because she has issue with them on the stream too. I really wish that the gentleman had approached me in a respectful manner instead of trying to run me off and threatening to call the law and accusing me of trespassing and that his other family member is a member of the local law enforcement.
I spoke with a local outdoor writer about the possibility of writing an article about respecting anglers and property owners respecting each other. Didn't happen. I would try to fish there again. In speaking with a local warden and then the sherriff's dept. about accessing the stream, I let them know the lady neighbor may call the cops on me - even if I didn't fish on her property. But, I just can't bring myself to fish with peeping Toms learing at me from behind curtains and waiting for me to slip up.
So, I beg to you readers out there who are riparian owners, please don't be judgemental of fishermen because we aren't all the same. Not all of us have a cooler of beer or drop litter. We aren't at all intersted about stealing construction equipment and supplies (another story). And to you anglers, respect landowners because it only takes one idiot to get an access shut down.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
I've been tying up more smallmouth bass flies for myself and ebay. I've got plans to catch a few largemouth on them too. I decided to bulk up my old gurgler pattern which is mainly estaz, 3 mm foam and legs. I want a larger presentation and something that will last all those strikes from all those fat panfish and smallmouth . . . and survive abuse from knocking against timber or a nasty back cast when I'm sitting in the kayak. I'm gonna be fishing new water and I want the fish to know something is knocking on the door.
I've got my new 8 wgt. from Allen Fly Fishing and I'm about to burst if I can't hit the water again soon. I'll give the rod a review whenever I land a fish or two.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Can you believe they sell khaki and gray wading shoes and sandals for fishing? Why not just a darker color? I don't want a light colored pair of wading sandals to be seen downstream byt the fish I am stalking. I bought a pair of Kamik Portage 2 sandals/shoes from Zappos. Since Cabela's sells Kamik products, I am familiar with the brand. Kamik products are made in either Canada or the US and come with a lifetime warranty. I used to wear my green Remington wading boots which I had bought 2 pair which were on sale at Bass Pro Shops ages ago. They aren't comfortable except when wearing waders. I was wearing my Adidas Kanadia shoes which were amazingly comfortable and could air dry and not become nasty or mildew. However, the material in the shoe fell apart because I've had them so long.
The Kamik Portage 2 is amazingly comfortable. I parked about 1/4 miles down from where I wanted to fish and walked on a sidewalk. I figured they wouldn't be flexible on the concrete or chafe my feet because they were dry. To the contrary. The only issue I had was that rocks entered the shoe and some wouldn't come out simply buy wading in the water or shaking my foot. I didn't want wading sandals because I didn't want to stub my toes or "portage" the stream and walk down stream and feel thorny vines on my toes or feet and trip because of weeds and such catching between my toes and sandal. I wanted something to protect my feet in and out of water AND that would last a long time. They are called portage shoes so that if you do portage a water vessel and carry the canoe or kayak, that your feet would be protected.
The other issue I had was that the cord locks wouldn't hold tight. One of them came loose pretty quickly. I didn't want to loose a shoe in the mud or come off in swift water. Who wants to be stuck with one shoe way down stream from his vehicle? I bought a 4 pack of cord locks from Walmart for .99 and they did very well. I did have to walk through the brush and brambles and timber and gravel bars left by recent flooding. That gravel slipped in to the shoe but all I had to do was slip it off and back on. My Adidas rarely let large rocks in but a lot of gravel. These shoes do have better grip than my Adidas too. And overall, I don't have sore heels. If you want to portect your feet, or you are floating a stream, I do recommend these portage shoes.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
I went out on Thursday - mainly I was trying to fit some time in between Olympic hockey games. Too bad the US lost to Canada again - both men and women. It was probably a bit too cold for wading - at least water temperatures were almost too bitter. It was almost 70 degrees which made the frigid water a bit more bearable in shorts and portage shoes. I didn't feel like squeezing into the waders that used to fit me and have a leak in the crotch that I can't seem to fix - it's in a seam.
I landed several spotted bass on my Shucker pattern (currently listed on ebay -http://www.ebay.com/usr/riverwalker74). Out of five people, myself and only one other caught fish. Yes, it was a crummy creek. One that has a lot of spotted bass but so many folks walking the banks and wading that the fish are very skittish and hard to catch.
And yet, there I was with my new Trout II reel from Allen. It seems a tad large for my TFO 5 wgt. but balanced well. I have abstained from spending a lot of money on a rod or reel because I mainly lolligag on streams for bass and panfish. I don't make long treks for trout and don't pack a travel case with rods for a trip to Canada. I bought a TFO Signature Series II because all my 5 wgt. rods are medium/heavy action GLoomis rods. I decided to spend a few bucks on a quality reel. Why? 1. I have somehow ruined click and pawl reel drags. 2. I want to be able to send it back for repairs or buy an extra spool to switch out between sink and float lines. 3. Reels made from aluminum cores last longer (at least with my use). 4. The gears and drag are protected from sand and tiny pebbles. 5. Allen sent the reel to me with right hand retrieve as requested because there is no way I could do it. Now that I look at it, I would be afraid to even attempt it.
I have had Lamson, Scientific Anglers, Cortland, Shakespeare, White River and GLoomis reels. All of them do a good job but let's face it, reels aren't just for holding line. I just bought an 8 wgt. from Allen Fly Fishing (allenflyfishing.com) and want to match it with their Alhpa III which is a priced at $145. After thinking about how many times I will be using it compared to the many more times I wade with my 5 wgt., the Cabela's WR3 reel which matches perfectly in weight and color (only $30) will do just fine.
Sometimes, quality does matter - or maybe the right gear can make for a comfortable and enjoyable outing whether the fish are biting or not.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
This is a pattern from the Spring issue of Fly Tyer Magazine. This is conceived by Jay "Fishy" Fullum. He has written several books including "Fly Tying with Common Household Materials" - http://www.theanglingbookstore.com/flytyingwithcommonhouseholdmaterials.aspx . I used to have Fishy's Flies which has simple and easy to understand illustrations and instructions. I tied the crawfish pattern and tore up the panfish with it. So, in the spirit of Jay's tying, we will use something other than traditional tying materials - well, it's foam anyways. The yellow striped bug was tied by @pixrob on Instagram.
The materials call for 3 cylinders of Rainy's Float Foam. Of which, I only had very large cylinders. And of course, I justs had to tie this pattern when @pixrob posted it. I drove to Barnes & Nobles and found that it hadn't come in yet. I had my friend send me the tying instructions and proceeded to improvise the pattern.
I am using a thicker foam from Hobby Lobby. You can find some foam materials at Walmart that are thicker than 2 or 3mm foam. It's a cross. I do use my foam cutter or just use my scissors to make a meatier body. I am using Tiemco 8089 size 10 and may even use size 6.
It took me 5 attempts to get this pattern down. Cut your foam to extend over the bend and up to the eye.
Make a slit about 3 or 4 mm long.
Slide the foam strip through the slit and tie in the body so that the black stripe is pulled through ahead of the tie-in point. You may consider exentedin the tail a tiny bit more than I did here. You'll create body segments at shown. Other than when tying in the tail end, don't try to make tight wraps. The hook shank will be resting inside the foam. I always make 6 wraps of foam on each segment.
Make several half-hitches on the top segment and add eyes. I spread Zap-a-Gap on the sides and top of the body and add the eyes. You do not have to put glue on the body but I like how it makes the finished product look. The fly will become harder though. I want the stripe to stay in place and the eyes to have a good base. If you need to apply glue into the bottom gap. I don't though - not on this pattern though.
I even use door hangers which can be found at Walmart for $1.
I am very excited to find a new foam pattern that looks great and seems that will be very effective for bass and panfish - more specifically, smallmouth bass! Let me know if you have any comments and remember - the credit goes to Jay "Fishy" Fullum.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
It's been a few months and I've been tying up flies for my smallmouth fly boxes. As usual, I've loaded them up with terrestrials and heavy flies. I've got some bluegill patterns tied up too. The Juicy Foam Fly will be doing a lot of work for me as well as the Seek & Destroy. I've been tying up some Panfish Charleys for crappie too.
I noticed that there will be a few more accesses to some streams that I like to fish and a few I haven't waded yet. It makes me excited to go out for panfish on small streams. It is so relazing to me when I can cast a light rod and catch fiesty bluegills and pumpkinseeds with the occasional bass tugging the line. I especially enjoy not having to navigate deep or swift water. Some of these streams are absolutely beautiful. I also found that while I can no longer go one way, I can go back downstream where the occasional smallmouth bass can be found.
While I've been hitting larger streams, I've been missing out on the smaller creeks and haven't been landing as many panfish as I have in the past. I have had a lot of success landing smallmouth over the past few years and am ready to chang things up. My spring location has been virtually halted and I have found another place to try out.
My go-to pond may have recovered from an algae bloom from upstream construction and highway expansion. Newly placed boulders and large rocks now line what was a muddy bank. That will provide some new cover and structure for fish. I just ordered some Boogle Bugs and cannot wait for this winter weater to go away!!
I'm a lot more comfortable just chasing panfish instead of having to land smallmouth bass. I've finally come to terms that I may actually be a pretty decent fly fisherman and am comfortable just tying on something for bluegills or having a day just for panfish. I used to get ticked off if I didn't land a bass or have a good spring. To tell you the truth, I haven't been smallmouth skunked since about 2011. I've proven myself to my Instagram and Facebook followers - not to mention friends, family and the guys at the fly shop. So, I feel it's time to relax and enjoy each outing more than I probably would have in the past.