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.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fluctuating Water Levels Produce Tough Fishing Conditions

My son Jason and I left at daylight this morning to fish Ryan Creek on beautiful Smith Lake. This is the first time I have been back on the lake since the last of June when I developed a leak in my boat. The leak isn’t repaired but the boat is fishable. We were battling fluctuating water levels on the lake due to the annual draw down this time of the year. When the generators are running the fish go super deep and develop lock jaw. That was the case today, but I really didn’t mind, because it gave me and Jason a chance to spend some fishing time together.
A really outstanding point in the spring, but really tough this time of year when the water is falling---we worked it with the Boogle Bugs with no takes
11” Spot after the sun came up on the black Boogle, Jason did get the bend in the 5 wt. even with this small spot, I really admire these fish
Numerous lots are being cleared to make way for more floating docks. This area where this dock will be placed will cover one of my honey holes.

Jason landed this bluegill right before we left the lake for home; yes I did dress this fish, because I expect another trip in a few days that will add to this meal. Dad came up short today!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Two Fishing Rods That Mimics the Fly Rod And The Tenkara

I really enjoy sharing products with you guys that I find from time to time either on the net or by simply talking with other fishermen. While visiting the Academy Sports in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago I came across what I consider the perfect fishing pole to start a youngster out fishing.

The B & M Little Jewel 10' Freshwater Ready Rig Panfish Rod is extremely light and easy for even a 4 year old or up to handle. In fact this rod could be the training rod for future Tenkara fishermen. My Grandson will be using the one I bought for him when he comes to visit in October. It comes with the line, float and sinker already attached to the end of the rod. I did keep the float, but I replaced the line with 4 lb. test, instead of the 8 lb. test which came with the rod. A small bluegill will produce quite a bend in this medium light action rod; at 13.00 this rod is a bargain.  I can’t wait for Bryson to give this Little Jewel a try when he comes to visit.

Micro Light spinning rods are my second favorite fishing rod next to my fly rods. Before I got back into fly fishing some years ago, the micro light spinning rod was my go to light action rod to fish for crappie and bluegill. I have three micro lights in the 7 ½ ft. lengths that I use to fish for crappie in the spring. Using these rods actually mimics a fly rod in many ways, because of the lightness and of course the length. All the rods I owe are matched with small spinning reels spooled with 4 lb. test line.

For me this is the ultimate in ultra light fishing with a spinning rod; but to get even more micro light extreme Daiwa sell the Daiwa Spinmatic C UltraLight 8 ft. Spinning Rod, which is my other product I want to share with you. This rod gets one even closer to the fly rod again because of the lightness and more length. Imagine using this rod landing bluegill, crappie and even trout.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Good Road Trip is a Great Way to Spend the Day

My fishing trips have taken a hit here lately with my wife and I helping our daughter and husband out with the grandchildren and the newborn. I took a break from the baby sitting with my wife last week and spent the week in Mississippi visiting my brother. We didn’t do any fishing but made a couple of road trips that proved to be very productive.  One of the days involved selling my brothers older bass boat, and traveling to the Mississippi Tennessee line to purchase a 1985 Bass Tracker TX in great condition. It needs some minor work before he puts it on the water, but it will prove much safer than what he had. Thursday the day before I left for home we decided we would make a trip to our old home place where we were raised as boys.  Going back to these places always brings back some fond memories. We also paid a visit to our Great Great Grandfathers cemetery; which is located at his old home place now isolated in a wooded area in Choctaw county Mississippi. I did a post about the cemetery sometime back, but I wanted to share some new photos of our restoration work in the cemetery.
We finally located all the pieces of the headstone of our GG Grandfather, which shows his birth 1800—1874—74 years is a remarkable age to survive in that day and time
This is a concrete slab placed over the grave with a long inscription engraved in the top part ---the slab was 4” thick and has broken over the years
James’s wife Mary is buried beside him with a 4” concrete slab covering her grave with an inscription as well---1808—1874---66 years of age at her death
Placing treated 4 X 4’s around the cemetery will ensure it stays in tact, for years to come. My brothers son will take care of the cemetery after we are gone.
I thought it would be appropriate to make a sign indicating the name of the cemetery.
This is one of four other graves with rock headstones and footstones with no names on them buried to the left of James Trussell’s grave. We know this is not any of the children, because I have accounted for all of them when I did the research for our family tree. 

My brother’s Badboy proved to be the way to reach the cemetery and haul all the posts and equipment we needed to restore it. We have found out that one can go on a great road trip with this vehicle; an enjoyable day for both of us.



Sunday, July 27, 2014

What Characteristics Determines a Good Fishing Partner?

This is a follow up post from my “To Fish With or Without Someone” post. Today I thought I would discuss the following characteristics that I think makes a good fishing partner. I realize this may not be that important to some of you guys, but for me as I get older it is something that I tend to focus on when I fishing with someone else. So I will start with the one I consider the most important for me:

 I really enjoy fishing with someone who loves the sport as much as I do.

 I prefer to fish with fly fishermen, this is especially true if I am fishing from my boat or fishing from the boat of another individual. It really makes it difficult if the individual in the boat with you is bait casting and you are trying to fly fish. The speed difference is tremendous between the bait casting reel verses the fly reel.

 A fishing partner with a good personality can go a long way in determining weather or not you have an enjoyable trip.

 Someone who is very knowledgeable of the sport and is willing to share information about the sport as well.

 Fishing etiquette, by that I mean someone who is not selfless in sharing fishing space on a stream or fishing from a boat; if you are fishing in the front of the boat leave water for your partner to land fish as well. I always try to share any productive spot I am fishing with my fishing partner, especially if that individual isn’t landing fish; an example of what I am referring to is my last fishing trip on Walker County Lake this year:

 Ivan one my fishing buddies was fishing with me that morning. He decided to fish the west side of the lake in his little aluminum boat and I decided to fish the east side of the lake in my Pelican. We both knew that the spawn was coming to a close, so we needed all the advantage we could muster. I found spawning bluegill first and wanted to share my find with him, especially after learning he had not landed any big bull bluegills. I pulled his aluminum boat to the spot and he was able to land some super size gills from the spot as well.

 Over the years I have fished with lots of individuals who I consider great fishing partners, but there are a few I would have left behind.