Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Injuring a Largemouth

Important information to remember! Not sure how accurate, but I'm all for being safe rather than sorry.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Fishing Report: AM 4/29

At 60 degrees and 1-5 mph winds, I couldn't have asked for a better morning to hit the water.

I've been anxiously planning on a trip out to Big Lake with my friend Josh Kennedy to try to catch some fin. A planned outing last week fell through, so I decided to scout it out. Here's the breakdown:

As you can see above, I made three main stops. The whole time I was watching for carp activity. I'm still on a mission to grab a carp, and I have seen them by the dozens wallowing in that northern lake this time of year.

The first little bit was exciting, with bluegill and what I think was a trout hitting my weighted soft-hackles. I kept switching it up, so didn't get many to the shore. Kept walking and casting as I went, eventually moving over to the eastern pond. 

That one is full of trash. Not going to lie. But visibility was great, and I hooked into a yearling bass. Saw surface activity and plenty of ducks. Ducks = duck forage is available. Duck forage = subsurface worms, etc. Subsurface worms = carp/cat/bluegill forage, THEREFORE... ducks = fish (in most cases.)

My heart didn't REALLY start beating until stop #3. The shore was some thirty feet from a path, then it was shallow reeds and weeds for another 20 feet, then the water. I watched the shallows longingly, wondering where the carp are, and if I would ever see any when all of a sudden SPLASH, GURGLE GURGLE, SPLASH, and there were fins everywhere.

Did I try to cast over those 20 feet of reeds and weeds? You bet your backside's barnacles I did. I got tangled up worse than a stutter, but I TRIED. 

Later I told my wife of my futile casts saying, "They were spawning, so they were kind of busy."

She said, "Would YOU want to eat if you were spawning?"

I had to admit, I understood their disinterest in forage. I vowed to catch them pre- or post-baby carp-making in the future. 

And I need to go out when I can wear something I can get wet in. My quest continues!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Boys Town Lake

My wife and I took advantage of a 45 degree+ overnight and a 65 degree day and went to the lake on the Boys Town Campus.

It was a beautiful day with a 10 mph breeze at our backs. The bluegill were biting and my wife smacked into a nice little LMB on regular tackle pretty early.

I kept having bluegill smack my double-soft hackle setup, but couldn't set the hook. The unweighted fly was pretty dull, so I figured that was the problem. But eventually it worked out!

There is only one thing better than catching some fish on the fly, and that's catching some fish with my wife. She is the most wonderful woman, and I think she's handling the stresses of life and motherhood quite well.

Love you, dear.

Now, a video of a cat catching a bird out of mid-air.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fishing update since last post...

.... the end.

No, really, it has been dead. We've been between 28 degrees and 35 degrees for what feels like two weeks. Action has slowed to a halt, but today is the start of a really warm run. Took the baby girl Eva out to the pond and got some nibbles, so that's promising.

Carter Lake on one of many frigid days
Many people might wonder why I put on my winter coat, then a quasi waterproof coat with a hood, then my fly vest, hunting gloves with the fingertips cut off, and no water protection on my legs in 30 degree weather with rain, snow and mist.

That's a great question. Why do we do it?

I think I did it a lot over the last two weeks to prove whether or not I could catch a fish in that kind of weather. Of course I didn't catch anything, but I got bites. And I saw the outdoors. I was miserable in many instances, but felt accomplished, and at least proved to myself that I tried.

Another HUGE blessing and reason why I love my new job is that I am 5 minutes away from favorite fishing holes. I eat lunch at my desk, then hit the water for a break. Frankly, I don't care if I don't catch anything. I get to take a break during the day and fish. That is fantastic. Hopefully I can get some lunch reports in like Dave.

Hope to take the wife out and scout some water this evening, then later this week. Then I can get some pictures on the board.

And by the way... how do I upload pictures to Picasa now? They don't work for me. Leave a comment if you've got any idea. Tight lines.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fishing Update: Cold Weather

The fishing was starting to heat up at the beginning of last week with 40-50 degree days, plus our first 50 degree overnight. I tied all kinds of soft-hackles and other good buggies.

Then a cold front rolled in and put things to a halt. We're still in the chill. Didn't stop me, though.

Monday evening at the beginning of the cold front I hit Carter Lake. Ended up pretty wet, but I kept my back to the drizzle and tossed a dual-fly combination with a bead-headed soft hackle first and a plain soft hackle about two feet away. (Still dreaming of blind-catching a carp, if possible.) I was specific in targeting bluegill.

I caught four LMB and one bluegill, all fingerlings. Of interesting note, they all hit the bead.

I have to admit, with this lake, I'm always glad to not dredge up a human thumb.

Nom Nom

Can you spot the fish?!

Thursday of this week, I hit the water up at Lake Cunningham at an old haunt from two years ago with no success. Placid water with occasional wind movement. It is right next to a levy, so the rain/drizzle/snow was coming straight down for most of the time. Beautiful, quiet site and a chance to practice casting.

I also had a chance to go to the "fishing store" (Bass Pro) with my daughters. My sister, Jennifer, she lives real close with her three daughters, so I picked up Leila, one of the twins. She has had a hard time going through the difficulties of not having a dad around. I figured she doesn't have a man to just take her out and do things with her, to show that they want her around. We had fun.

Eva, Ruth, Leila (left to right, respective) and a fat and sassy carp in the background.
My family will always be the second best catch ever. The first best will always be my sweetheart.

Tight lines everyone!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Catch Updates!

Had some time yesterday after a service call not 3 minutes from Carter Lake, so I hopped over and dropped a bead-head soft-hackle about 10 ft. off of shore. Didn't take long to feel bumps.

I'm trying to do better about my handling, so I kept this bad boy in the water for the photo. You can see the breast starting to brighten  and the purple hue setting in. I think this means he's a bull.

I've mentioned the bass fry at Carter Lake a couple of times. They stocked it fresh last year with different sizes. The largest I've caught in there was about 11 inches. This guy was maybe 3 inches. 4 tops. Loved him some tiny soft hackle, though.

Puts me at a Rainbow, a gill and one tiny LMB for the year so far!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

New Flies

I got a couple of hours of really good tying practice in. Watched a video from about carp flies that got me thinking, so I sat down for a while.

The softies on the bottom were more practice carp flies. The woolly was the first one I tied. The other top two were experiments. I'm sure something will eat them!

I went fishing during lunch hour twice this week. Carp were dolphining one day. Wind was up the next, so not a lot of surface activity. I just can't SEE them to cast to them! I'm casting blind! I won't give up, though. I'll just keep drooling over John Montana's Carp on the Fly, and envision myself as a successful carper. 

Project healing waters has been on my mind a lot lately. 

I still would love to volunteer for them, and will continue to find the closest organization. There really is healing that happens with fly tying/fly fishing.


It's late. 12:30 AM here. Waiting for the wonderful wife to get off work. Tight lines and sweet dreams, everyone.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

(First Fish Alert!) The Hybrid/Carp Carrot Attempts and an Added Suprise

John Montana over at Carp on the Fly did a great post on Carp Flies. He brought out some patterns that are a little beyond his normal soft-hackles that he swears by. Being bound and determined for some successful carping this year, I decided to sit at the bench and rig up some attempts. Not that they're great. Because they're not.

The first fly that really intrigued me was John's version of the Carp Carrot. It was a soft hackle with bead eyes and a sweet rubber tail.

The colors on this bug are fantastic. I judged the length of the tail as best as I could, and I can't match the stinger hook, but I tried. Also, string-bead eyes are hard to come by in my house.

That's the one that felt the best to tie, but the others were fun. I can't wait to get these in front of some carp. 

Tuesday afternoons are a great time because my wife is at work until 6, leaving me and the girls up to our own devices. 

We NEVER get to go out and do things, so I decided Tuesdays would be a go-to day for field trips. I'll take them fishing a lot, but it will also serve for zoo trips, outside play, etc. 

Today we went to an "actively fishing youth/elderly" pond called Benson Pond. I fished my 5w with the beadless fly at the very top right of the group picture. The girls took their little nets and played in the water while I watched for activity and blind-casted here and there.

Heading around the NW part of the pond, I was blind casting and felt a familiar tug. It felt good! I lifted the rod, and felt the fight begin. I figured it was a green sunfish, or a small hybrid. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, our first fish of the year:

I was so surprised to see a rainbow trout emerge! I forgot to break the barb while tying the fly, but I was able to get it smashed and back out the hook while the fish was in the water. 

It's interesting to note that the water is already starting to get too warm for them. This bad boy was sluggish after a short run. They aren't getting much food. I don't know how I feel about the trout stocking yet. It's kind of sad that they are bred and released only to be either harvested or die of oxygen starvation. Anyway, I let him go. Didn't realize the pond was stocked!

Thanks for some inspiration, John. I'm still looking for some fins!