Friday, November 30, 2012

You Never Know......

It is so very true that as we get older the days pass by at greater and greater speed.  It seems like it was only yesterday that I spent a few hours on the South Branch fishing, yet it was a week ago!  Do any of you know how to slow things down, especially now that I am older and understand better how to use my time.....such is life.  Anyway, we did manage to get out and fish in between the holiday parties, and much needed yard work after the recent storm. 
I guess it was mid-afternoon when I arrived on the river.  The air was cool, and calm, the sky bright through hazy clouds.  The river was still somewhat low, clear, and very cold - 46 degrees F.  Shortly after I started fishing, I was into a nice rainbow of about 15 inches, which I landed after it made several leaps clear of the water.  It took a gray scud, and I thought this was going to be a good catching afternoon, but as is often the case when we get one early, I only managed to hook two more and lost both before I could get them to hand.  Regardless,  I did enjoy the afternoon on the water.  
Shortly after I arrived, Jim from Shannon's Fly Shop, showed up and began fishing the water just below me and we compared notes.  I fished a couple of patterns I do well with in the fall - switching from the scud, to a Pumpkinhead Midge, to a small Pheasant tail soft hackle.  The two I hooked after the first fish were on the Pumpkinhead Midge. Jim fished a scud and a RS2 for a bit, and then switched to other patterns, one of them being a small peach-colored poly egg that took this beauty. 
Rainbows everywhere seem to have a natural affinity for an egg pattern. And it didn't disappoint this day.  It gave Jim's Scott 8ft, 4-weight quite the test, as the rod was bent into a tight horseshoe several times as he inched the fish towards his net.

So that's the latest from this end of the pond.  I hope to get out at least one of the two days this weekend for a few hours, but time will tell.  There's still a lot of debris and a couple of large trees down on the homestead from the storm that need clearing and cutting before winter seriously rears it chilly head and throws snow on the works.
I also intend to fill you in this weekend on "the rest of the story", with respect to why and how I dub my thread wrong, courtesy of Bill N.
Stayed tuned and  sharpen your hooks.      

Friday, November 23, 2012

Parachute Adams - Size 22 With a Twist

I'm a little behind posting tying videos, so here's one from Tim Flagler, who ties a small parachute Adams.   This is a great pattern for the small Blue-winged Olives that hatch on most of our rivers, and it's a good searching pattern when prospecting, or when midges are present.  Tie some up and fish them.

I'm going to hit the stream in a little bit; we have to take advantage of the warm, sun filled day today, because the weatherman says that come tomorrow, winter will rear its cold head.

Sharpen you hooks.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all had a great day with family and friends.

It was a great time at the symposium this past weekend.  Spoke with a lot of friends and caught up with some of the tyers from other parts of the country and world.  I tied dozens of flies and gave away all but a half dozen or so, and my seminars were well-attended.  I also didn't buy a single thing, in fact, I didn't even look at any of the stuff vendors were selling as I really don't need anything after all these years.
But that didn't stop me from coming home with something new.  The guys from Regal finally got me to try their stainless vise on Sunday, which I have been reluctant to do after tying on my HMH vise for 30+ years.  I tied on it all day Sunday, and then was asked/told to take it home and try it out for a while.  So I did.  The jury is still out, but I do like the fact that it doesn't need to be adjusted, the jaws open and close with a simple squeeze, and it holds a hook very well.   I'm still tying with my HMH and alternating between the two.  Old habits die hard...........
In an upcoming post I'll fill you in on my friend Bill Ninke, who stopped by at the show and let me know (and demonstrated) that I dub my thread all wrong.  Yes, I dub wrong.....who knew?!  He also showed me how to tie the perfect nail knot.  That will have to wait though, as I couldn't explain it in words if I tried, but it does work.  Maybe we'll see a video of his technique in the future. 
All I know is that I always learn something new from Bill every time see him...and now I know I dub my thread wrong.  I'll explain when I'm not so tired, so I'll end in telling you Bill does make an interesting point, and now every time I dub my thread, I think about the error of my ways.  Thanks, Bill.  : ) 
That's it for me tonight. 
Sharpen your hooks. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Soft Hackle Feathers Anyone?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The International Fly Tying Symposium

The power is back on at the homestead, and we are gearing up and prepping our presentation for the big show this weekend.  I'm on the road til Friday, which may be good, as I have no distractions sitting here in a hotel room working on my presentation. It's being changed up - the focus being on making fly selection a more practical matter when it comes to fishing hatches.  Emphasis will also be placed on improving presentation without making it complicated, which it is contrary to what some folks will tell you.  The title?  Eastern Hatches, Practical Matches.
Whether you are a serious or not so serious fly tyer, or a fly fisherman who buys your flies, come on down to the Garden State Exhibit Center this weekend in Somerset, NJ.  There will be a whole bunch of tyers from all over the world showing their skills at the vise, seminars and presentations, fly fishing merchandise vendors, casting ponds to try rods out on, and generally a great bunch of folks with common interests.  The show hours are:         
Saturday 9-5
Sunday 9-4:30
For more information:  The International Fly Tying Symposium  
See you at the show.      

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Day....A Brief Report

First, we still have no power as of now.  We are in our third week of dark time and hoping for the best.........tonight perhaps?  I'd ask the shadow, but there none with out some kind of light.
I did fish yesterday, for about three hours into the darkness I am so getting used to spending time in.  The weather was beautiful for November; low 60's, clear and calm.  The river was at a good level but slightly off color, kind of milky really, not that after rain fall turbidity but more like man-made, perhaps from storm related work.  Not a problem though, just being on the water in a T-shirt was enough for me.
I did okay, after going hitless in the first half of the outing.  I wound up hooking 4 fish and landing none, at least technically speaking - 2 LDR's, and 2 fish I got to the net, but when they saw the thing they panicked, turned and bolted, and I slept.  Some might count these, but I don't.   Shit happens.  All 4 fish fought very well, some leaping several times clear of the water.  Very cool stuff.  Two fish took a Pumpkinhead midge, 1 took a brown Serendipity, and the other a gray Caribou caddis.  Getting one to take a top water fly is always fun, particularly when you set the hook and it rips line off your reel as it heads for the Atlantic Ocean. 
On another note for you non-fly tyers, Shannon's Fly Shop in Califon has Pumpkinhead Midges.  Lenny there showed them to me, and although they are a more streamlined version of my fly, they should work as well.  They lack the wing bud, and the tail is woodduck fibers.  Nice ties.
Lastly, we are in the home stretch and looking forward to the International Fly Tying Symposium this coming weekend.  If you are in the area, please come to the show and stop by my table and say hi.  I'll be doing seminars both days as well.  For more info, click on the link to the right.
Sharpen your hooks!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

.....Life Goes On

It's been 13 days and we still have no power here at the homestead.  We got tired of living with others, so yesterday we borrowed a 9000W generator from a friend that has power now, and our friend and electrician Andy Miller hooked it up to our service.  The furnace works, hot water, fridge, lights - just no stove or microwave oven.  We are powered and living at home again!  We're doing fine, just a little inconvenienced.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the One Fly Angler of the Year Contest that preceded the 2012 NJ State TU Council Banquet.  It was a nice afternoon and lots of guys showed to watch and cheer on the contestants from the bank of the river.  In the end, during the final round, with a minute to go, one of the three anglers hooked and landed a beautiful brown trout of about 17 inches long.  It was the only fish of the round, and again, just as last year, Angelo Conti pulled it out at the last minute, literally!    Congrats to the two-time winner.
The banquet last night was fun with good food, and great conversation. The winner of the fly tying contest was Pete Romano, and again this year, Bart Lombardo won the fly casting contest.  Congrats to Pete and Bart.  And finally, as the keynote speaker, I poked some fun at all of us fly fishers and then spoke about some of my history of getting into hot water for fishing when I was supposed to be elsewhere, which segued into how Trout Unlimited came along, chapters sprouted and brought us all together to share days like we had yesterday - a few precious hours with like-minded folks away from the daily rigors and stresses of our regular lives.  For me, and I think for all of us there last night, it is one of the most fulfilling parts of our lives - the fishing, the meetings, the conservation activities, the friends.  I may not have power, but I had a great day and evening thanks to Trout Unlimited.  Slainte!
And now, I am going fishing.  It's 62 degrees, sunny and the river is calling.  Report later.
Sharpen your hooks!                 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Still No Power - Life Goes On

We are still in the dark at the homestead, but thanks to generous friends with a generator and lots of space, we have been keeping warm and showered.  Our road is still a mess with lots of trees still to be removed, but our house went untouched this time around, and we only lost one tree up back on the hill.  Some of our friends were not so lucky with trees on their homes or roof damage from high winds.  My office got power back early this morning, so I spent the day in the office getting caught up and returning the back-log of phone calls.  No complaints here, everyone is safe, and after last year's disaster I'll gladly take the no power headaches we currently have.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to those less fortunate.
Mr. Q did manage to get out today on the South Branch of the Raritan River, and had some luck on our Pumpkinhead Midge.  This is a great Autumn-Winter pattern that continues to earn it's place in our fly box.  Here's the tying video for those of you unfamiliar with the pattern.

Hook: #16 - 20 1x long nymph
Thread: 6/0 Olive Danville
Bead: 2mm orange tungsten
Tail and Abdomen: Pheasant tail dyed brown
Rib: Copper wire
Wing bud: Clear zelon
Thorax: Peacock herl

And finally, for those of you that prefer lake fishing, here's this year's trout stocking schedule for Hunterdon County lakes and ponds, beginning on November 19.  Click on the link here for more info and the locations to be stocked: Hunterdon County NJ Trout Stocking      
Sharpen your hooks!