Friday, September 26, 2014

Landing Trout From The Driftboat

This past Friday my son-in-law B.T. and I got to fish the Caney Fork river in the eastern part of Tennessee. David our guide had been trying to work a day around the generation schedule that would enable us to land numerous trout during an afternoon outing. We were not disappointed, B.T. and I stayed busy all evening landing some colorful rainbow, browns and some beautiful brook trout just getting their fall colors.

I seldom get to fish with B.T. anymore because of his heavy work schedule; so getting to fish with him again on the Caney brought back some fond memories. This is the river that actually got me into trout fishing with B.T. right after he and Jenny got married. It only took landing one trout that first outing to get me hooked, and I have been obsessed ever since.

The only disappointment of the trip for me was my camera, which didn’t have my 512 Sandisk in when I started to shoot pictures. I wish I could share the beauty of the float, but leaving the sandisk at home eliminated all the images.

To complete the post with all the images and fishing from the drift boat, which is awesome to fish from check out David’s excellent account of the outing?   

Friday, September 19, 2014

President Carter a Fly Fisherman??

Cathey and I and our good friends Clyde and Gloria decided to make a trip to Plains Georgia this past weekend to attend Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school class. He usually conducts a class a few times a month at his small church just off the main highway going through Plains. He is still a very active former President at age 90.
This picture was taken just outside the church right after the service was concluded. There was quite a line of individuals waiting to have their picture taken with Mr. Jimmy as some call him there in Plains. Its not everyday one gets to shake the hand of a former President. We all felt really honored to be in his presence.
Maranatha Baptist Church is packed on Sundays when the former President is in attendance.

Family home where Mr. Jimmy spent his early years
Air condition in the winter and plenty of heat in the summer
Chicken House
Family store ran by Mr. Jimmy’s father
Main Street of Plains with all the stores restored to their original state. President Carter helped restore all the buildings with generous donations over the years.
One of the many freestone streams located in the mountains of Ellijay Georgia where the former President and his wife own a cabin. He still fly fishes in the area and he stills ties his own flies. I asked to see some of his flies in one of the stores we visited but I was told by the individual behind the counter that all his flies are auctioned off and not on display. Most of his flies go at auction for as much as 200.00 or more and all the money goes to the needy in the community of Plains.
Mr. Jimmy is also an accomplished woodworker, in fact he has built a lot of the furniture that is in their modest ranch style home in Plains.  He and Rosalynn are still active in Habitat for Humanity, which helps individuals in need of shelter because of natural disasters.
I will end this post by saying after meeting the former President, I feel there is still hope for all of use older guys who feel we may be over the hill; at 90 this man is truly remarkable!!!



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Working my Micro Light Spinning Rod to The Max!!

For those of you who haven’t try fishing a micro light spinning rod then you are missing out on some fantastic ultra light action. I have been using these type rods for years, when I use them to land crappie and bluegill some ten years ago. Of course that was before I started using the fly rod, which all you know has taken precedence over all my other reels and rods.

I have to admit there are times through that I stray away from the fly rod, and this past week was one of those times. I decided to use my micro light spinning rods to go after some of the channel and blue catfish on Smith my home lake. Fishing the rock walls during the late summer and into the fall can be an excellent time to land some quality catfish. The catfish on Smith tend to feed early and late in the evening, so my trip this past week was a daylight outing fishing nothing but the rock walls tight lining at depths of 20 to 30 feet down.
Find a rock wall like the above image and most of time you find catfish, especially if the wall holds a muscadine vine, the catfish devour those when they are in season.
A healthy channel cat using my 7 ½ ft. micro light.
My 7 ½ ft. micro light spinning rod paired with the Pflueger President XT spinning reel which spools 4 to 6 lb. test line. Today I was using my 6 lb. test extra spool which came with the reel. The balance on this combo parallels the balance I go for on my fly rod combos, super light and sensitive.
Gulp catfish chunks split into and served up on a size 12 true turn hook; I know most everyone fishes for catfish using heavier equipment, but I prefer the challenge and fight that this fish will give one using an inferior combo, and in this case the micro light works to perfection for me. In fact it is the closet I can get to my fly rod on trips like today.
Every once in a while a spot will nail the gulp chunk which is another challenge for the micro light that it passes. I ended the morning with 5 catfish all basically the same size of my post image and the one spot. The spot got its freedom, but the catfish were not so lucky. My wife and I seldom eat fried meals, but we make an exception when it comes to fresh catfish fillets.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Bluegill Spawn is Over For This Year

Well another spawning bluegill fishing season has come and gone without me reaching my quest of landing fifty super size bluegill during the spawn. I can be somewhat content knowing I landed some nice bull gills this year that gave my 3 and 4 weight fly rods quite a workout.

This season added a few more poppers, as if I needed more flies, to my collection including the Barr Nunn popper. This was the popper that proved that color really makes a difference at times during the spawn. I will be back in action for another season next year, and hopefully reach my goal. I ended this season 23 short of my goal.   

This colorful Pumpkinseed sunfish was one of the last gills I brought to hand for this season----looking forward to next spring!!



Saturday, August 30, 2014

When are Enough Flies and Poppers Enough??

I have found that fly fisherman who fish for all species of fish, regardless of warm water or coldwater have an abundance of flies in their fly boxes. If you are not one of these individuals then I would consider you in the minority. All my fly fishing buddies including me have enough flies and poppers to last season after season. So the question is why do need so many poppers and flies, and of course the answer is to land lots of fish.

I realize that if one is fishing for trout, the hatch comes into play a lot of times which dictates a certain size and style pattern that matches the hatch. Trout fishermen have to be a bit more creative with the fly pattern and of course the presentation to get a take. Assuming no hatch is visible and your buddy is slaying the trout with this tiny little nymph or dry he has perfected, and you are struggling to land even one trout, hence a few more patterns to add to the fly box. 

Fly fishing for warm water species such as bluegill, bass and even crappie usually requires some poppers and nymphs and that is all one needs to have success especially during the spawn. There are times and they are rare for me when certain color poppers will attract a hit better than the popper my buddy is using, but most of time any type popper will trigger a hit.

So my point is, could we as fly fishermen have success on our favorite stream or lake using what you would consider your top six dries and top six nymphs on any given outing? The same question could apply for the warm water species as well, could a few poppers and nymphs land you an abundance of bluegills and bass.

So here are my top dries, nymphs, poppers and warm water nymphs for a season, what is your top pick?

My top six dries for a season, how could any trout fisherman be without the Adams and of course Alan’sBomber
My top six nymphs including  David’s Knapp’s Seal Leech and of course the famous Zebra Midge
Poppers and terrestrials are among my top six warm water flies. These six flies should get hits when fishing for bluegill or even bass anywhere in the U.S.
My top six warm water nymphs has to include my favorite the Gant in black and yellow.
I truly believe I could fish a season or more with these flies and poppers I have feature here; but am I willing to get up all my flies and poppers I have in my boxes yet------NO!! 




Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Got to Remember I’m Not Thirty Five Anymore

I had planned on making a trip to the tailrace Friday and fish for some of the nice stocker trout shipped from Missouri on Thursday. The Missouri trout are larger than the ones the tailrace gets from Dale Hollow out of Tennessee; but my plans got sidetracked by a pull tendon in the calf of my right leg, which occurred at the gym three weeks ago. My doctor informed me that I had to stay off the leg as much as possible and no more uphill treadmill walking for at least 3 weeks. I’m taking medication and using ice packs for the swelling, which comes and goes, depending on the amount of standing or walking I am doing. He told me that I got to remember I’m not thirty five anymore. So wading and standing for 3 or 4 hours on the tailrace is out for a while. At least I can look forward to some great tailrace fall fishing soon.

Not to be outdone by this setback I decided I would do some sitting and fishing, which means casting from my boat on Smith Lake for some more bluegill to add to my quest. Fishing during late July, August, and September can be tough because of the drawdown that occurs during this time of year on the lake. The fish go deep and one has to have a lot of patience to land quality fish during this time.
This is one of my favorite spots to land bluegill early in the morning using the popper. As stated it is slow fishing this time of the year, because one has to let the popper set there for some time to entice a hit, but looking at this beautiful area often outweighs the hit. I love the huge rock formations on this lake.
Patience paid off with this bluegill that showed the rigors of the spawn, with a slim body and light color. The spawn takes a toll on the big bulls, during the spawn; they seldom eat anything, because they are too busy guarding the bed. The ferrous fight the fish puts up in the spring on the fly rod is not present now because of weight and strength loss during the spawn.
If one fishes cover during the drawdown, it is usually good for a bluegill or two. This old submerged tree didn’t disappoint.
The end results of short morning trip and a good meal for later on in the week. I never stay on the lake after 9 AM during this time of year because of the heat and horrible humidity. It gets worse as the day progresses causing one to have trouble breathing at times. Funny, during those three hours the tendon pull never enter my mine.--------Almost forgot I counted two in the cooler for the quest, I am now a long shot 27 away.




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fishing For Rainbow, Brook and Browns on the Caney Fork River

It has been four years since Jason and I fished the Caney Fork River in Cartridge Tennessee. We were not disappointed with the trip. The crystal clear river was in top form with a slight mist hovering over the water surface when we met David Perry our guide for the half day trip. We had planned a full day, but the weather played a major role in shortening the float.

The view from the drift boat right before we shoved off for the float down stream.
Jason broke the ice quickly with this nice brook trout close to the launch.
A healthy rainbow landed by Jason who by the way was given the front of the boat for the morning, courtesy of Dad. I have to say he beat me on numbers for this trip and even completed the grand slam with the brown added to the mix before we left the river. 
The scenery on this river is absolute stunning with the high rock walls and the rich green foliage.

Jason, getting a super bend in his 9 ft. 4 weight

The prize of the trip for me was this 23” brown I landed near the end of the float. I may never land another trout this large, and certainly not with the 4 wt using a 5X tippet.
What really made this trip special aside from the amount of trout landed was getting to fish with my son Jason. As I have stated before on some of my post, I seldom get to fish with Jason because of his work out in Sacramento. He will be back in Alabama again next spring and hopefully we can make another trip with David, who did a fantastic job of putting us on many trout throughout the morning. His knowledge of the river and his expertise in fly selection, and mending techniques were essential in us having a successful trip. 







Friday, August 15, 2014

Working on the Tail end of my Bluegill Quest

The last of August is the official end for my bluegill quest this season and at the rate I’m going I may not reach the number 50. I’ve had a few good distractions this year such as helping our daughter and son-in-law with our new grandson and some traveling with the wife. I used Thursday morning to renew the quest on Smith Lake using the yellow and gold size 18 Bar Nunn popper off the rock walls. It was like a fall morning with temps in the mid 50’s with a light jacket needed once I got on the water.

I landed numerous sun fish which is what we call these colorful bluegills down south. It would be nice to land some larger, but for some reason I have never landed any larger than this one.

This one gill will get counted along with another I landed off the walls using the Bar Nunn popper. Letting the popper set motionless for some time was what triggered the hit.
The bass was non existent off the walls, mainly because of all the generating being done on the lake at this time. The bluegills are slow but the bass are in lockdown. I did mange to land a small spot with the small popper off this wall and that was the end of the top action for bass fishing for the morning.
I landed numerous bluegill this morning with my 3 weight which was a lot of fun but only two was worthy of the count that puts me 29 away from my quest; fillets ready for the baking pan.
Baked fillets, bake fires with a toss green salad makes this trip worth getting up at 5 AM.