Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Shirts, Pants, Hats, Shoes the Works to go Sun Free

As I get older I have become more aware of the damage the sun can have on your skin. When I was younger I would fish all day wearing a short sleeve shirt, shorts, flip flops, and a cap. The sun would blister me the first couple of outings but after that my skin was so brown I hardly ever got sunburn the rest of the season. I was lucky I didn’t contract Melanoma in those early years. Now days I battle the suns rays by wearing a long sleeve shirt, long pants, vented hat, vented shoes, and finger exposed sun gloves. All these products are listed below, with links to the website.
 

 





 
 
 

 


I wear all these products when I am on the water. I am a sticker for a good hat, and this hat has to be my favorite of all I wear.


Friday, April 29, 2016

The Orange Nymph?

I wanted to fish the Sipsey yesterday before the rains that afternoon. Generation was scheduled at 3PM so that gave me about 3 hours to wet a fly. Never think especially on the Sipsey that you’re going to land trout on the same pattern day in and day out there; yesterday proved that statement correct. I went through numerous nymph patterns with no success. After exhausting my options I tied on an orange nymph Alan of Small Stream Reflections had mailed me sometime back. I kept trying to figure out what this pattern duplicated in the insect world while I was casting it. After I got home I googled orange nymphs and found the Milkweed Assassin Bug. Strange I didn’t see any such bug while I was fishing but this little orange nymph proved a winner today.
The Milkweed Bug and the Red Ant
  The third cast in a slow run produced this healthy rainbow using Alan’s orange bug.
There must be a clan of these damaged gill plate trout in the Sipsey, or I am landing the same trout every time I fish this place.
Super clear fast water pouring into small pockets held the trout below; the orange bug continued to work its magic.
Never overlook any fly in the box; high sticking the little orange bug worked in the small pockets. Who knows what pattern will be hot on my next outing here.  
 
  
 

 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Putting a Dent in my Bluegill Quest

I started by bluegill quest this past Tuesday with early morning temps in the mid forties, quite chilly. Overcast skies kept the temperature cool most of the morning, but it didn’t affect the bluegill bite. I had the lake to myself for a couple of hours, which is always a plus when fishing Walker County Lake. As I have told you guys numerous times this is one of the most pressured small lakes in the state. My plan was to fish the east side of the lake where there is no access for bank fisherman. I know where most of the spawning beds are located year in and out on this lake; today held no surprises for me. What did surprise me was most all the spawning beds were void of fish. At my first stop I counted close to 40 beds, after I landed 3 nice bluegills.
The sweet spot on this bank was located near the fallen log lying in the water. The bluegills had clean out close to 40 spawning beds to the right and left of the log.
The first gill of the morning, which nailed an Orvis size 12 legless tiny popper; the 3 weight got a workout.
This fish loved this little popper, the very next cast produce another strong fish which hung my little popper and the fish in a tangle mess of underwater brush; so much for that popper. Wouldn’t you know it that was the only one in the fly box, another trip to Orvis?
Another group of gills were located at the end of this moss pad in deeper water; again lots of spawning beds but only a few bluegills left to fish for. The live bait guys did a great job plucking each and every bluegill out of their beds.
The Bar Nunn popper got the attention of this bull after my little Orvis popper bite the dust. I was able to land a number of bluegill from the moss pad area that someone actually left for me. As I moved from spawning beds to spawning beds I felt like I was cleaning up what was left of this spawn.
This guy was having a time landing catfish using chicken livers as bait. In fact he was hauling one in when I snapped this picture. He had 7 or 8 rigs all hanging over the edge of the boat.
I left all my water at the house so I had to make a trip to the bait shop and purchase a couple of bottles. As I was leaving the shop I noticed this lady painting a beautiful scene of the point area in the distance. She told me she had finished a number of paintings of the lake this past year.
The Pelican now has a padded seat as opposed to that hard plastic seat I use for a couple of years. This is the 10 ft. version and will handle two fly fishermen really well-------as long as my line is down on the water and their line is up in the air or vice versa---I think you guys know what I am talking about!!
These are the best of the best for a very successful morning; these 10 will put a dent in my quest. I added 8 more that kept me filleting bluegill for a couple of hours after I got home. I will go after the big bulls on Smith Lake next week. I am now 40 away from my 50 quest; could this be my year to make it???


 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Natchez Trace,Little Jewel,Branch Streams

I spent last weekend in Mississippi visiting my brother and his wife. Thank goodness this trip occurred before my fall at the gym on the following Monday.
My brother wanted to spend Saturday revising some of our boyhood places we fished in Choctaw County which is where we were born. We find as we get older we like going back in time and reliving those moments in our lives. Our main objective this trip was to connect with some of the streams we fished years ago and hopefully find new ones that could be fished with the fly rod. Sorry to say we didn’t find any small stream that a fly rod would work well on; so on to our backup plan which enabled us to use our low grade Tenkara rods. When I say low grade that doesn’t mean this rod is cheap in the form of performance but cheap in the wallet. We paid ten bucks each for our Little Jewel telescopic 10 ft. bream poles on clearance last year. These little light rods were the perfect match for the small streams we found throughout the afternoon.  
Fast water drops off into a nice pool here, which had numerous shiners that inhaled our wax worms. The Little Jewel was rigged with 4lb test line tagged with a trout indicator float and a bb shot above a tiny bream hook. We were hoping to land some colorful sun fish, but none were present in this pool.
The wax worm doubles as a wasp grub; making these shiners take notice. One big drawback to using wax worms is temperature, they need to be kept in the refrigerator when not being used; they die when exposed to warm temps for 4 to 5 hours.
Some of the roadways are lined with creek channels which overflow across the gavel roads during the rainy season.
Nice hole in the bend of Hamrick Branch, which is located right off the Natchez Trace Parkway; fun using the Little Jewel in this pool. Even small shiners can put a bend in this pole.
Another scenic stream off the Natchez Trace Parkway, which probably could have been fished with the fly rod, but at the end of the day I just choose to stay with my new found Tenkara.
This stream is located just off the parkway with easy access to its sandbars along its banks. Today’s road trip was not about landing a bunch of fish; it was more about time well spent exploring and finding future fishing streams along the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway. As we were headed back home we both agreed that today’s outing would have been an excellent field trip for young kids to get in touch with nature.   
Thanks to all you guys for giving me encouragement after my fall last week, the ankle is getting better.
 


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fishing Deep Slow Runs

Cold fronts, rain and high winds have kept me off the lakes for the past week so the Sipsey was my go to fishing fix. The deep runs of the Sipsey were my target for the afternoon trip. With my 9 ft. 3 weight Streamflex in hand I proceeded to wade up the gorge towards the deep channel of the Sipsey.  I was rigged with my dry dropper, in the form of an Adam with a size 18 Midge.  
Boulders and logs dot the bottom in this deep run providing an excellent ambush area for trout to feed.
A hungry midge feeder
Lots of patience and a slow drift was the key to get takes today. The trout were not interested in the dry and were hitting the midge light. At times the take was so light I missed the numerous hook sets.
The midge bite slowed so the beadhead nymph took over at the end of the trip. The partial gill plate didn’t stop this bow from attacking the nymph as it floated over a submerge log.
 
I am thankful I made this trip last week, because I had a mishap at the gym Monday that will keep me off the tailrace for sometime. I fell leaving the platform area where I walk on the treadmills. I wasn’t watching what I was doing and missed the last step on the platform and turned my angle and sprained my wrist; both are kind of black and blue. The trainer told me I would not be able to walk on the treadmill for weeks, so staying off this ankle is going to be a boring experience for me. He said the less walking I can do the faster the ankle will heal; really a stupid thing I did, but I have realize I need to pay closer attention to steps from now on.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Restoring Antique Furniture

Antiques have always fascinated Cathey and me. We started collecting antique furniture right after we were married, mainly because we couldn’t afford the high prices of new furniture at the time. We would visit flea markets and find a piece that needed some work and refinishing, bring it home and turn it into a treasure for our house. We were told early on by antique dealers if we changed the cosmetics of the pieces that it would decrease the value of the furniture. The decrease in value didn’t brother us because we wanted something that looked nice and could be restored close to its original appearance. At times we would find a gem in antique shops that needed work and get it at a reasonable price; which was the case of the chester drawers/chest of drawers we found in a Murfreesboro Tennessee antique shop back in December of 2015.
I knew this piece had age but didn’t realize the age range until I got it home and did some research through Google. Sorry I don’t have an image of the appearance of the chester drawers when we bought it. The structure of this piece was good, but the dark aged varnish, broken pieces of veneer on the top and drawer fronts, really turned customers off. This is what it looks like now after I sanded it back to its original wood at the time it was built.
Some work had to be done to get the drawers to fit back flush around the drawer rims, but that was minor compared to getting all the broken veneer off the piece.
Lots of wood species were used back in the early days of furniture building. Poplar, pine, ash, and maple were the woods that were used together most often to construct a piece of furniture in the early days. As is the case here in this piece, pine was used for the drawer fronts, and poplar was used for the top, sides, legs and drawers rims for this chester drawers. Walnut, oak, mahogany and cherry were seldom used together in construction of furniture in the early days.
I didn’t realize the beauty of the top until I removed all the dark varnish. It was solid popular in excellent condition, now back to its original appearance at construction.
What really attracted me to this chester drawers in the antique shop when I saw it were the joints used for the construction of the drawers? I knew these dovetail joints were used in early furniture construction, but didn’t realize they dated back to the late 1700’s. This is not your common dovetail joint which was commonly used throughout the 1800’s and even in today’s furniture construction. This dovetail joint was the first used in furniture construction back in colonial days; quite a find for fifty bucks!!!
Stay tune for its progress as stain and a finish is applied. 
 Image of the same type dovetail joint of a drawer constructed in 1700's

 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Testing The Furled Leader

Today I was back on the Sipsey to continue evaluating the furled leader. It passed the test last week as I used it high sticking pocket water. The main characteristic of the leader that really got my attention was its low memory. Once you remove it from the package and give it a slight stretch it is ready to fish without any coiling as opposed to a mono leader. I also noticed that I could control the placement of the tippet much better with this leader mainly because of the added weight of the strands that make up the leader. Also the grey color of the leader helps me know exactly where my tippet was during the drift through the pocket water; superb leader for high sticking.

For today’s trip I wanted to see how it would react when nymphing and dries were added to the mix. I arrived late today and had a couple of hours to give it a try. With no hatch occurring I decided to wade into position and let a nymph drift through a small run I hadn’t fish since last year. I was using a size 14 beadhead nymph and begin working it through the run. What I notice almost immediately was how much slower the drift was with this leader. The light 6X tippet stayed in front of the furled throughout the drift. Very little mending was needed, because I was just letting the leader/tippet drift with the current. As I made cast after cast I would set the leader/tippet in position at the top of the run and the rest of the way it was on its own drift. I did notice at times the furled would overtake the tippet and fly in the fast sections of the run, but after a quick mend it would correct itself and continue the drift.
Today was one of those outings that caused me to try numerous nymph patterns until I finally connected with a bow. This was my nymph trout for the day that help prove that this unconventional drift method really worked. Two others trout were missed that helped boost my confidence level.
 
I moved to another area of the tailrace to cast the leader using a dry fly. There was a small midge hatch occurring in a shaded deep run close to the opposite bank. The trout were surface feeding, but not what I would call aggressively. The midges were tiny so I tied on a size 20 Renegade. The white hackle on the Renegade helped me see the tiny fly much better. I was downstream from the hatch activity and casting up stream into the feeding zone. In other words I wanted to see how the leader performed on a downstream drift coming back to me. As I made numerous cast up stream, I kept noticing how light the tiny little fly would touch the water. As the fly touched the water I would watch as the dry would float back above the leader/tippet without any mending, this I liked. The takes was always close to the spot where the trout were feeding. Using a 4 ½ ft. tippet enable me to get the fly in the feeding area without the furled leader being notice; I was spot casting. I discovered this technique while watching videos from Jonathan Barnes, who uses the furled leader for all his fly fishing techniques. This downstream drift was my favorite technique I tried today and is one I will continue to use on future trips.


This rainbow along with others landed and lost were all brought to the net using the downstream technique. I let this rainbow have the Renegade, which was deep in its throat. I hope it will survive to fight another day.   
 

Monday, March 28, 2016

High Sticking in Pocket Water

I wanted to try my new furled leader out today, so no generating and off I went to the Sipsey. I forgot it was a holiday weekend, so that explained all the vehicles in the parking area and on the side of the road for a weekday. This didn’t discourage me, because I knew exactly what I was going to do; use the high sticking method on some of the pocket water I normally fish with a mono leader mending technique. 

The video below shows some of the trout I landed using the High Sticking technique in this one particular hole which is about 5 ft. deep. A couple of boulders on both sides of the hole caused fast current in the seam and at the end of the hole a swirl of back current creates the pocket. By starting the nymph drifting at the mouth of the hole, through the middle and into the back swirl; I got the maximum attention of the trout, which were settled in a depth of 4 to 4 ½ ft. I was using a 6 ft. furled leader with 5 ft. of 6X tippet, the tippet was the part of the leader that got the work. The water was super clear, so the lighter tippet made for more action.

P.S. I am using a new program call Handbrake to increase the volume on my videos now, it works great and I hope this is an improvement from my volume in the filleting video.
I'll use today’s trip as another learning experience in my quest to become a better trout fisherman!!