Monday, April 28, 2014

Henley's First Flight

Henley's dad Nate, is a charter pilot, and this past Friday Nate and his mom (my daughter) took him on his first flight.  It was a short hop from Charleston to Hilton Head, SC and back, with a quick stop in between to have some dinner.   Here is is ready for the flight.

Here's Henley enjoying the flight..........

Now that I have shared that with you, here's a teaser for my next post.......I not only helped Douglas with the competition he organized this past Saturday, I fished in it, too!   It seems they were one man short, and because everyone fishes in pairs, I filled in and managed to do fairly well given that I was unprepared mentally and using a rules conforming leader unlike any I have used in the past except on the rare occasions when I have fished Doug's set up.

It was a blast actually, and I will tell you all about it in the next day or so.  BTW - Doug did a stellar job.

Sharpen your hooks!     

Friday, April 25, 2014

An Afternoon with Douglas

It's been a while since Doug and I have fished together, so I headed out to PA to fish with him on Tuesday afternoon to hit a few limestone creeks.  As usual, it was a day full of fishing and conversation.  We covered lots of water and lots of topics, most of them fishing related but some just about life in general.  We had a great time, caught fish, got wet from intermittent rain showers and I even got Doug to fish a dry using my 2 weight!  Most of the time he practiced his comp style nymphing, as he is getting ready for a competition this Saturday sanctioned, by Trout Legend and organized by Douglas himself. Here he is practicing his craft on Tuesday.

I fished dries almost exclusively, having only fished nymphs since the first of the year. Douglas fished a 10 foot 3 weight, and as usual did very well. He caught most of his fish on Walt's Worms and Quill Nymphs (we recently made a tying video on this one). In last 14 months, Doug has steadily improved his technique and mental focus on the river, and has become quite adept at fishing the two nymph rig he favors so much - the set up conforms to to competition rules.  I tease about the dry fly fishing; the reality is that he does quite well fishing dries, and dry dropper rigs. I did well fishing a dark Caribou Caddis #16.

We had a good afternoon on the water all around, and he is well-prepared for Saturday's comp.  Look for our report on it early next week.  Tim Flagler will also be filming the event so you can look forward to seeing exactly what takes place when a group of anglers get together for a day on the water to test their skills against one another.

Sharpen your hooks!        

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Only Caught One Today

I managed to get out late this afternoon and although there were lots of Hendricksons, Stoneflies and caddis hatching, very few fish were rising to them. Vinnie found a pod of fish rising down river from me, and he caught a bunch of fish on emergers, but the water I was working was pretty quiet. Just when I decided to head down stream, a fish rose along the rocky bank across from me.  A few minutes later, it rose again, so I cut off the nymph I was fishing, added a fresh piece of 5X tippet to my leader, and tied on a size #12 Hendrickson Usual.  After taking a cast away from my target to make sure my leader and fly would land on the water properly, I cast the fly so it landed about 2 feet above where I last saw the fish rise.  The fly drifted maybe a foot before the fish pounced on it.  After a good tussle, I netted this amazing wild brown trout.

After this quick photo op, I dropped the net back down with the fish facing into the current and it swam out of my net and quickly disappeared in the dark depths of the run.  Check out the size of the tail on this beast.

Sharpen our hooks.              

Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tying the Tungsten Torpedo

This nymph pattern was introduced to me by Doug Freemann last year, on one of our many outings, on a PA limestone creek.   The fly was created by Kevin Compton of Performance Flies, for competitive fly fishing, but its an effective fly fished off the end of any anglers leader.  Is it effective?  I've been with Doug when he has had banner days fishing this fly in tandem with another nymph, with this fly out catching the other by a wide margin.  It is typically tied in sizes #12 to #18 - Douglas tends to fish them in the #14-16 range, depending on the depth and speed of the water. He adds that he likes to fish them when the water is off-color; or when Baetis are active, he'll fish them in smaller sizes.


Hook: Hanak H230BL size 12.

Bead: Gold tungsten 3.2mm.

Thread: Olive Benecchi, 12/0.

Tail: Medium Pardo Coq de Leon, 4-5 fibers.

Rib: Gold wire .004-inch.

Abdomen: Black Sulky Sliver Metallic thread.

Collar: Jan Siman peacock dubbing.

Click on any of the highlighted words above to get to Kevin's website, for the materials used here, and on many other flies.

Thanks again to Tim and Joan Flagler for another great job producing this video.

Sharpen your hooks!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

This Will Bug You

When I was out fishing late last week, there was little action fishing-wise, but that didn't mean there was nothing to fascinate me.  I know, it doesn't take much to draw my attention to something; my fishing friends tell me I'm easily distracted.  Anyway, the air had that late winter, early spring feel to it; not really warm but not chilly either.  The river was vodka clear and flowing at normal levels for this time of the year.  I stood in a long, flat pool whose bottom varied from sandy in spots, to gravel, to small cobble stones, with scattered large boulders that diverted the current and created surface eddies that could drive an angler crazy when a trout decided to feed in the middle of one.

It was mostly breezy, but on the rare occasions when the wind stopped for a few minutes, the early black stoneflies came out of the streamside shrubbery and filled the air over the river.  There were hundreds of them flying about clumsily, as is their style.  So I watched them, casually at first, and then I focused on the females as they dropped down to the water to touch the light colored egg sac attached to their abdomens on the water surface.  Some would skitter along, leaving a wake, and the surface tension would pull the eggs off before they would gain some height and mix with the others flitting about.  Others would drop almost straight down, abdomen first, so the egg sac would penetrate the surface before immediately flying back up, and the surface tension would pull the eggs off - when the light was right, I could see the tiny, light-colored ball of eggs slowly fall through the water towards the bottom and out of sight.  I completely forgot I was fishing as I watched stonefly after stonefly repeat their ritual, each one with their own nuanced maneuvers, to insure the next generation of their species would drift gently to the bug nursery among the gravel lining the streambed.


This morning while making my coffee, I spotted a dark mayfly on the kitchen window over the sink, minding its own business.  Of course, I had to make it my business to go out on the deck, grab it, and bring it inside and drop it on the cutting board under the spotlight.  It was a beautiful Dark Quill Gordon/Brown Dun male - Ameletus ludens - size #14.  It must have motored up from Sawmill Creek just down the street, drawn to my window to be admired by the old man that lives inside.

How do we know this is a Dark Quill Gordon?  It has two tails, a dark brown body, it's a size #14, the hindwing has a spur on it's fore edge just above the thorax, and it hatched in April. Pretty cool stuff, don't you think?   

So there you have it, sometimes its good to be bugged.

Sharpen your hooks.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Yin and Yang

As I write this, I have all the windows open to the warmth of the evening, and the frogs in the pond are chirping loudly.  It's hard to believe that a month or so ago we had temperatures in the teens at night and plenty of snow still blanketed the ground.  Now, in early April, the daffodils are in full bloom on the hillsides and the forsythia is just about ready to blossom into bright yellow and signal the coming of the first major mayfly hatch, the Hendrickson.

After taking care of a million things unrelated to fishing today, I finally headed out to the South Branch about mid-afternoon to wet a line.  The air temperature was in the upper 70's, high thin clouds muted the sun, and a pretty brisk breeze blew intermittently and seemingly only when I was in the middle of good drift with my nymph.  The water was 58 degrees, clear, and at a perfect early season level.  It was a beautiful day to be on the river, and I was hoping this might be the first day this year I would get to fish dries and take some trout on the top. 

Nature had other ideas, as is sometimes the case when the weather turns quickly, literally overnight, from cool to quite warm.  There were no insects hatching, I could see trout holding on the bottom in some runs, but they tended to hold steady.  Rarely did I see a fish move sideways or turn as they do when taking drifting insects from the water column.  I fished a brown and yellow LaFontaine caddis pupa deep, and in two hours caught two fish and moved two others.  It was wonderful to be out on the water -it would have been great if only the fish took thought it was wonderful, too.  That's fishing -  great weather, poor fishing.  No complaints.

And now for another Henley update.  The little man is doing great, as are his mom and dad.  He starting to smile and roll's only a matter of time before that rattle will be the cork handle of a fly rod.

  Sharpen your hooks!         

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fishing Report.........

I fished Sunday, wrote a decent report here on my adventure that included the weather, river, birds, bugs and the catching of a number of rainbow trout.  I fished with Tim Flagler, he caught fish.  It was a good day on the water all around.  Everything was caught on subsurface flies.

I wrote about it, edited the thing, and I thought I published it.  I have been very busy, didn't check it like I usually do an hour or so later, and low and behold........

It has disappeared.

Ghosts, there are ghosts in my hard drive, and maybe even at Google.  It's also possible there may have been some user error involved.  That is a good possibility given my schedule lately.

Sorry about that.  I'll just have to fish again.....................

Sunday, April 6, 2014

One Fly or Two - Food for Thought

Here's an interesting article by John Juracek of Blue Ribbon Flies, with his take on fishing one or two flies at a time.  I typically fish only one fly at a time, rarely fishing two, and only when nymphing.     

Link: One Fly or Two?

I'm going fishing today, it's about time!  I look forward to putting up a report here for once.....

Sharpen your hooks!

Friday, April 4, 2014

We Will Run

My daughter Megan, who lives in Boston, sent this wonderful video to me today.  And since both of us work in Boston (I "commute" there from NJ), I'm sharing it with you all.

Send your good vibes to this great American city on April 21, 2014.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Golf Borrows Marketing Strategy from Fly-Fishing Industry

"In an effort to bring more subscribers into the sport of golf, professionals working in cooperation with the Euro-American Golf Association are proposing changes that will revolutionize how golf is played around the globe. “We simply wish to make the game of golf more user friendly and give folks new to the sport a more timely feeling of real accomplishment. And we’re borrowing practices from another popular sport—fly-fishing—to accomplish that mission, ” explained Lamare Purkevelle, President of the EUGA. 

The best golfers today, not just the pros, enjoyed a long and involved learning curve that honed their skills. “Reaching a score of par, or under par, requires years of practice—both on the driving range, and on the golf course itself, “ said Antonio DeValenzo, an Italian pro-golfer who is trying to convince colleagues that this is the best move for the sport. “We want to bring in more people---ladies, gentlemen and kids. “There’s no reason that a person who picks up a club for the first time shouldn’t be able to hit par on their second time on a golf course. And why should anyone wait to hit the golf accomplishment of a lifetime---a Hole in One,” Antonio added while sipping a glass of Henri Jayer, Richebourg 1987. 

The changes are driven by the golf equipment industry, which hopes to boost sales of the best golf clubs and putters on the market. Moreover, the recession has severely impacted golf country club memberships. The clubs are striving to fill empty slots. “Just look at the fly-fishing industry, how they boosted sales. The sport is now user-friendly, catering to prospective buyers who want to catch a trophy fish on a fly on their first time out. Most people don’t want a learning curve---they want a photo holding up a big fish. And they want it now, not in 10 years,” said Jeremiah Provolone, a fly-fisherman who won an award for catching no fewer than 50 trout in one day on “flies” using fly-fishing tackle. And he’s been at it for only three months.

Provolone, 16 years-old and who hopes to become a pro-golfer within two years, is helping prepare the new golf game proposals that he hopes will make first time players---and even pros---smile. “If you can make it happen with fishing flies, you can make it happen with golf balls,” he said. “My dad bought me my first fly pole and tied a big giant thing on the line. It looked like a big lizard or something with a big round metal head. But he told me it was an insect. The guy who tossed it over the side of the boat made my dreams come true!”

First, the size of the putting green hole is being changed from the standard 4.25-inch diameter to a 4-foot diameter hole. DeValenzo argues that the change allows a first-time golfer to get a Hole-in One. “He’ll tell a hundred friends, including his wife, to buy a set of clubs once that happens.” Golf historians explain that the 4.25-inch standard was originated at Musselburgh (now a 9-hole municipal course on the Levenhall Links near Edinburgh, Scotland). The first hole-cutter was invented there, in 1829. “It’s elitist, it’s wrong and it discourages players new to the sport. The 4-foot hole makes much more sense,” DeValenzo argued.

Second, the tee-off will be moved up 400 feet on a par 5 green, 350 feet on a par 4, and 300 feet on a par 3. “We want players on the green in one stroke,” DeValenzo explained. “We want players to relish their sport, and to feel good about their accomplishments with the game of golf.”

Third, the Mulligan — a free shot sometimes given a golfer in informal play when the previous shot was poorly played—will be enhanced so as to not discourage players, or embarrass them in front of players who may have 30-40 years experience with the game. “We’re proposing that if a player requests a Mulligan, the ball can be moved on to the green itself. But the Mulligan will be granted only if a licensed Caddy is used, paid in advance. The Caddy will be responsible for placing the ball on the green no closer than three-inches from the hole. “We hope to open up and expand the whole Caddy industry. The Mulligan change will provide a windfall for many individuals who prefer not to work a 9-5 job. Their fees are expected to rise 500%,” Provolone said. “One fellow that I know who has been working packing Mozzarella di Bufala cheese for a living already gave notice to quit his job. He wants to become a “Golf Bum.”

Many will argue that the game of golf can no longer be called “the game of golf.” But it IS golf, the new and improved golf, the user-friendly golf, the “feel good about yourself” golf. And that’s what the world needs---we all need to feel good! So, let’s go golfin’!"

Via: Mike Valla - Author, angler, fly tyer....and ball buster. 

Ernest Schwiebert on Opening Day

From the late Mr. Schwiebert, memories of opening days past.....

Good luck and have fun.