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Tight Lines!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fly Tying Class

Having been an avid fisherman for my entire life, obviously I have tinkered with making my own baits over the years.  I've had a few successes and more than my fair share that failed.  I generally fish for warm water species, but ironically my best lures have been flies which are traditionally used for trout fishing.  Obviously, they are used for more than just trout, but that is the image most people conjur up when they hear someone talking a bout fly fishing.

I've never been a "fly tyer" per se; however, I did many years ago tie a couple patterns which were surprisingly successful.  One I called a black gnat. It actually was similar to what is considered a black gnat  pattern today, only it was missing the red tail and was nothing more than wrapped thread and some hackle from a black feather I found in the yard.  It was ugly, it was disproportionate, it was deadly on pan fish.  The bluegill in the local "lake" loved it!  In fact, they destroyed it...literally.  My success led me to try another pattern, only larger for the bass.

Here things took an odd turn.  I decided to make a streamer so I snatched up a pink feather duster, and used a split shot for a head and basically made some pink concoction of feathers and thread which in my eyes was a perfect offering for our local bass.  It was completed with a full married feather sticking out behind the hook and the hackle was more like marabou, but none the less there it was.

I headed back to the lake and started working it and happened across some bass bedding down.  THEY KILLED IT!  It was amazing how well they hit it.  It was not until years later that I actually thought about why they were so aggressive.  Being it was a light pink color, and reds are the first colors to fade in water (around 10 feet or so) I assume it took on a slightly pinkish hued gray color to the fish since I was in about 6 - 10 feet of water.  Mix that with the body shape of waving marabou and a full married feather at the back; add being stripped in on the fly line and I can only imagine it was being treated as a hostile crayfish attacking their nests.  So, the bass ate it to protect their brood.  What a huge success!

My first three wooly-bugger patterns.
Fast forward to last Tuesday, and a more formal attempt at fly tying.  I signed up for a fly tying class at a local outfitter, Tangent Outdoors.  Our first class was a great mix of basic concepts and techniques mixed with a few variations of one of the best multi-species flies that I know of and have fished, the wooly-bugger.

Personal flare on an age old concept.
So I know I am no pro, but to be honest, even if the flies don't look "perfect" they will still catch fish - and tying is a blast.  I never imagined I would like it as much as I do.  After the class, and a few days of down time I decided to play around with a couple different patterns using the same principles we learned for the buggers.  My renditions are certainly unique, and yes, that is a peacock herl on the grub shaped version on the left.  I wanted to give it a different look beyond the normal marabou and thought using the herl would be a good way to add a distinct tail as well as adding flash around the body.  The second was just a "skinny" bugger you could say.

Tonight, we had class number two, and things got smaller...we were working on nymphs.  I apologize for the poor job photographing these but it is late and I'm tired.  Plus, lets be honest...a great shot of a rookies fly isn't going to make it look much better anyway, lol.  We did learn a lot, and I feel much more capable after only two classes.  We finish the level 1 classes next week, then I should be on to the more advanced class tying larger bass and musky flies!   Yeah, I'm just a little stoked about that!

Left two are basically the same technique with different positioning, fly three was an introduction to using dubbing and the last, and in my opinion best by far, is a "soft hackle" version with a dubbing body as well.
 If you are interested in fly tying, or taking a guided trip on the New River, I highly suggest contacting Tangent Outdoors.  They flat out know their stuff and seem to genuinely care about your success both immediately and long term.  Great people and a great product, hard to go wrong...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mystery Tackle Box

So,  often times we anglers get tons of offers spammed to us, and being we are mostly men and are very susceptible to buying anything shiny we tend to "take advantage" of those offers.  Our wives seem to think we are crazy and that the "deal" we got wasn't really that good.  BUT if we had not taken advantage of that offer we would not have that one lure that's way in the back of the box that we might have to use one day... jeeze come on!

Anyway, I ran across a cool little deal which I think may be worth while.  It's called the "Mystery Tackle Box".  Basically, you subscribe at $15 a month and they send you some assortment of lures.  Some may be good, some may suck, and some may be really odd like this Dahlberg Diver Frog that was part of this months package.  Very cool looking, but... odd lol.  Anywho, you can get the first month for like $5 and try it out.  Here is a shot of what all I got this month:

I have not used any yet but here's my impression on each right out of the box.

Dahlberg Diver Frog:  Probably made to catch more fishermen than fish, but could be a good large mouth lure?

Baby Ubershad:  This guys looks like a hit.  Perfect size for our small mouth and with the swimming tail a slightly different look than all of the other "flukes" on the market.

Sidewinder:  A good sinking worm like a Senko but more of the zipper style and has internal rattles.  I think this guy may be great for cool days and anywhere you would use a shakey head  or senko. 

Ugly Otter:  This guy could easily be a replacement for the brush hogs we all through in the deep brush.  I think this will have a slower fall and should flutter the appendages great on the fall.

4/0 Mustad EWG Hooks:  I think we all know this type of hook, and the brand Mustad.  May not be something new and exciting; but definitely a solid hook.

Now once I get the change to try these fellers out this spring, maybe I'll touch back on them and see how they really fared...

Fishing License

Whoo hooo!  After way to many years I have finally stepped up and done what I should have done years ago... got my life time license!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A new year...

Well, if anyone actually reads this they will see that A: Either I didn't fish any more last year or B: I didn't record it.  Honestly, I didn't fish much; but I didn't blog any.  I never seem to get to fish as much as I would like, but often times there are other things going on, and fall was especially busy last year so the fishing suffered.

BUT -- It's a new year, and the new year means a new dedication to fishing more than last year... just like every year lol.  Hopefully this year things work out a little better.  On a good note, I finally had enough money to spare to get my lifetime license!  SO WORTH THE MONEY!  260 bucks spent, but now I never have to buy another state license!  To me, that's freaking epic.  Maybe later I'll spend another 260 for the trout license?  IDK... Probably, lol.

Speaking of trout, I plan on taking a fly tying class in a few weeks from Tangent Outfitters in Pembroke VA.  They do some great guide work and the cost for the tying class is so cheap (and it includes the materials) that you can't go wrong.  I'll try to remember to talk about it on here in case someone happens to stumble on this site.  The store itself has a pretty good selection of lures.  They have stuff for everything from native trout to musky!  And the cool part is most of it is known to be good stuff for the river and local lakes.  So you don't see a ton of junk like you do in most tackle shops. 

In fact, a friend and I are contemplating doing a guided trip for Musky... if that happens then I really hope to post some great pics!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Epic Wind Storm!

So, this is a little behind; but Friday Cody (the nephew) and I went out to work on a few bass and then shoot for some stripers.  It was amazingly hot, so we figured the fishing would be interesting at best, and certainly were not expecting too much until after dark.

We headed to Claytor after I got home from work and were on the water fishing by 7.  We were fishing the main body working some deeper structure where we hoped the bass to be holding out and where I found them last weekend.  We were struggling so we opted to get the skunks off the boat with a couple of gills pretty quick.  Then went back to work.

Cody ended up working a 6" motor oil colored worm, while I was working the same black and chartreuse jig and a small swim bait.  I did miss a couple bits and a very aggressive bass who came off the shoreline and attacked the swimbait three times, and I just COULD NOT get a hook in that fishes mouth... Shortly later Cody missed on a good deep hit off his worm.  It was starting to cool down and darken up when things got... Interesting...

So I knew there were a couple of storms heading our way and expected to ride out one storm around midnight, if accuweathers forcast held true, then fish after that until the next set came in then head out.  Well, I got a couple texts ... "Bad storm coming this way" from Cody's mom, and "Apparently there are some very severe storms coming through, please be careful".  Well these warnings and handy to have, and having a smart phone I popped up a weather map and saw ALL of WV covered with storms; but I couldn't get the maps to animate...

A couple mins later, Cody's getting more texts and my wife CALLS.  She seldom calls when I'm fishing unless somethings up... so I answer and she says "You might wanna get off the water now...the trees are blowing sideways."  At about the same time I got another text from Cody's mom saying that it just hit there, "OMG". 

Needless to say, we strapped things down and headed to the dock.  WIDE OPEN.  A few mins later Cody's girlfriend who lives about 1/3 of the way between the lake and our homes said they just got hammered.  We get close to the docks (heading from uplake to the public ramp, we were at the last turn where all the cliffs are.) and we can see some clouds rolling in...they look unhappy...

We make it to the cove and start quickly towards the docs, probably exceeding the no wake speed but I wanted to get up and out of the water before this storm hit and judging by the clouds moving over head its getting close.  We get to the doc, Cody holds the boat over and I hop up and start up towards the truck and I hear it coming.  I look back and there's a wall of debris, dust, leaves, water, I don't know what all coming our way and BOOM it hits.  Trees are cracking, limbs falling and I'm in the middle of the woods heading to the truck!  I am about to hop in, and suddenly its dark.  Powers out.  I had just installed some LED lights on the trailer so I turn them on and head back to the water to get the boat.

Tree limbs are everywhere!  Dust and gravel is flying all over the place, twigs and leaves are flying by and stuff is falling all around.  I get back to the road to go down to the water and there two trees down.  On partially blocking the road the other had fully blocked it, but someone already moved it.  So I go past and try to back down to the water.  Mind you all this happened in literally a matter of minutes... MAYBE THREE from the time it started... I started to back in the trailer and was too far to the right and got my tires in some dirt.  Fearing rain to start, I pulled back up and kept having to work up and back to finally get the trailer lined up and not hit the doc.  The problem was I'm used to backing up using my mirrors; but with everything going on, I couldn't hardly see the doc - so I had to look over my shoulder to back up.  Thank goodness I installed the LED lights or I wouldn't have been able to see anything...

So finally I get the boat down and loaded, were probably looking at about 7 or 8 mins now.  We take the truck up to the top and lock down the boat and get pelted again by dust and rocks.  We got things locked down and took off only to find the road looking like a tornado came through.  Cody got nailed in the head by a flying limb (which came from across the cove... which is a long trip) He was no worse for the wear, but then ended up getting dirt and gunk in his eye.  Lucky for him, his time spent working with metal lathes etc taught him how to get stuff out of your eye and he was able to get cleaned out quick and easy.  So were off... and apparently so was the storm...

We had light winds and few sprinkles afterwards, but the worst of the storm was gone... we had been out in the whole dang thing!  And I can tell you... I have NEVER seen anything come up on you so fast and so powerfully.  It was kind of scary to be couldn't see much of anything so we didn't know if there was a tornado or just wind or how bad it was going to get etc.  Apparently 80+ MPH winds and a number of small spin up tornadoes will do that.  Did we get hit by one?  I don't know.  I can say I personally did not see any funnels, but  I did see a bunch of dust devils in the parking lot so there was rotational winds of some sort.  But I cannot begin to say we were in a tornado.  I can say that a few miles away a classmate of mine was on the river fishing and personally saw a funnel cross the river below them... so, I know there were some around!

This is one of those times where if we had waited even a couple minutes longer we could have been in dire trouble... luckily I had told my wife my plans and she knew I was planning on waiting out the first storm of the night... and she as well as Cody's mom were both quick to let us know that more than just a normal storm was on the way and we were smart enough to listen and quickly get off the water.  The water is dangerous enough, add a storm and it can get very dangerous...add a storm like that and it can become fatal.  As an example, WDBJ 7 was reporting 5 missing boats on Lake Moomaw, and they weren't even sure how many people were in them... This is a great example of why it is so important to let people know what your doing, where your doing it at and what your plans are.  And even moreso to respect mother nature.  We got lucky.  Things could have been much much worse, we came out unscathed... not everyone did...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hot summer day

So my wife and I headed to Claytor for a short mid-day trip Sunday.  Mind you my wife seldom fishes, so shes generally on the back casting deck sunning, or reading, etc - just enjoying the water.  We got there at about 1pm and IT WAS HOT!  Like 90+ hot!  Surface water temp of about 86!

So we headed out of the public ramp amongst a slew of other boaters and jet skiers, knowing it was going to be busy and rough waters.  I had no idea how busy...

This was like memorial day busy!  I wanted to fish a location with stumps north of DeHaven that I had never focused on before so we headed up... holy cow.  I only have a 16 foot Skeeter and we were taking it slow but dear lord it beat the tar out of us.  We finally get to where I want to fish and the wakes are aggravating but the heat is worse.

Quickly I shed out of my shirt and my wife begins to sun bathe ... then get nauseous... which is a first.  Surprisingly, in the middle of all this heat, noise and sun we did see a HUGE Deer.  I'm guessing about five year old and his rack is going to be MASSIVE!  He already had at least 8 or 10 clean tines, and it looked like maybe a paddle on the left.  I'm guessing the spread was 20+ inches easy.  And he looked healthy!

Anyway, it was so hot and so rough that after maybe an hour or so of fishing the bank line (and finding Bass, although I only landed a gill) we headed further up the lake to escape the crowd and cool off.  So up to lighthouse bridge we go.  We round the corner, and realize we're not the only ones hanging out under the bridge...there's like 6 or more other boats doing the same.  We stopped for a bit, but it was even hot under the bridge!

Now if you haven't been under the bridge, its a LOW pass bridge, so low I broke my rear marker light on it once... So generally it's very cool -- NOT TODAY!  IT was still HOT!  We were aggravated from the sheer number of people, and cooking from the heat - so we headed back home.  And even in that short time, managed to get a decent sun burn.  I can only imagine what people got who were out all day...Sheesh!

Anywho - this is exactly why I love fishing mid-week -- I love the peaceful quiet lake.  The mirror finished surface, a slight mist rising, hearing the sound of nature - not the man made sounds that a busseling summer day brings....

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Earlier this year

I just ran across this pic that Bruce took on one of our trips earlier this year.  While the trip was not bad and we caught some nice fish, Bruce lost a bruiser largie... probably in the 20" class, 5+lbs.  She was a nice, nice fish...

We fished hard but only had minimal success...again everything came off white baits.  Seems to be a trend for us on Claytor anymore, lol.  Here's one of my keepers from early that morning.