Saturday, May 20, 2023

Importance of Baromator Reading When Fishing

 One of my favorite times of the day is my afternoon coffee time spent in the swing on our back porch. While sitting there, I can watch the different species of birds that visit my bird feeders and listen to the rambling sound of my two rock fountains nearby. The birds feed freely at the feeders 10 to 12 feet from the swing. It's a time to reflect on the weeks events, from various chores to fishing trips on Tuesday's and Thursday's. 

Sitting here this afternoon, I wondered why Jason and I didn't land fish at daylight this morning. We were fishing in some of the familiar places I fish, but there was no activity at all. Even the streamer couldn't arouse an interest in a hit. As the morning wore on, I started eliminating the two main negative factors that keep fish from hitting: high barometric pressure and cool fronts. The positive factors that make this lake one of the best in the south were there which are water quality, excellent oxygen levels due to the heavy boat traffic, an abundance of bait fish in the form of shad, and tiny freshwater shrimp in the creviisis of the underwater rock formations through out the lake and last lots of structure; so what was the problem? Two hours into our trip and no fish to show for our effort. On mornings like we were experiencing one must be willing to change flies, color poppers, line tippet, and rod weights to cast lighter flies. Patience is essential in weather you land fish or go home skunked. Luckily for both of us, the fish decided to turn on about an hour before we left at 10 AM. Why did the fish turn on for about an hour? We figured the barometric pressure had risen and the air temp had warm some. The barometric pressure was the main factor. I used to have a baromator years ago but lost it. Rest assured; I will be replacing the one I lost. 

The lake was super clear making it a must to fish a greater distance from the banks. Overcast skies helped at times to keep the fish from seeing the boat.
After a long dry spell, this Spotted Bass inhaled a blue Boogle Bug popper, the first fish of the morning for me. The male bass would be the only bass I would land for the morning. It made me aware of its 16-inch length. 
Jason' Spotted Bass would be the only one he would touch for the morning shortly after I landed my bass. A white Boogle Bug popper got the attention of the bass. Cathey and I were glad  Jason got to spend a few weeks with us and was able to work in a couple of fishing trips on Smith Lake! 
Landing the Spotted Bass 

We landed a number of super size bluegills that would produce a nice meal. 
The wool shirt tells you it was still cool when Jason hooked this gill using his new Greys Streamflex 4-wt. Fly rod. Greys Streamflex fly rods are manufactured in Alnwick, England. The Greys Streamflex is one of the lightness fly rods I've fished with, and the best part is it is priced reasonably at 375.00
Surprisingly we notice this Barn Owl in this cave area on one of the rock wall banks we were fishing. Jason was surprised he got to take the picture that close. 
It flew to the other side of the cave as we got closer. Jason thinks it would be nesting somewhere near one of the ledges on the cave wall. 
Finally, it had enough of our company so, it took flight and flew across the lake. Seeing the Barn Owl was a first for both of us, which made us realize that sometimes there are other ways to enjoy a day on the lake. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Fly Fishing in The Wind

 I've often said that the two worse enemies of a fly fisherman are the sun and the wind. That is one of the reasons why I like to fish during the daylight hours and on into the mid-morning. Once you have fished all the shaded areas, getting a hit, especially on top, becomes difficult. If you are dealing with wind, don't bother to fish dries or poppers, but you can fish subsurface flies such as nymphs and streamers, which I used on the Sipsey Tailrace this morning. As I entered the gorge, I noticed a slight breeze and a feeling of being lonesome, " I WAS THE ONLY FLY FISHERMAN THERE!" A first for me, which gave me my choice of which pocket holes I would try first. 

This trout was the first I landed in one of the pocket holes above the steps at Access 6. Notice I am wearing gloves now; most of the time, I am on the water. I have had two small cancerous growths removed from both hands this year. All those years in the sun have caught up with me. My gloves were wet because I didn't want to handle a trout with a dry glove. The gill plate and fins on this trout had some color, unusual for a stock trout. 

I always fish the Sipsey now using a wading staff because of this type of surface one encounters when fishing here. 
I had 30 minutes by myself before guys started showing up to join me. I would see five other individuals fishing before I left. This stretch of surface rock can be challenging to navigate because of the slim covered surface of the stones. One misstep, and you fall. I have seen guys take a fall because they get in a hurry trying to move from one spot to the next. 

When I landed this trout, the wind had started blowing so hard I almost lost my hat; the hat strip had saved it from blowing across the tailrace. I was to the point I would wait for a pause in the 20 mph wind gust and make a cast, and even then, I had difficulty placing the nymph. 

I arrived at eight and left by ten. I found the parking lot empty when I walk back to my truck. I kept telling myself I would land a few more trout, but it would not happen. The wind had taken over and killed the bite for the morning. 

Guys, I can't end this post without showing you a few video clips of Bryson, our oldest Grandson playing in last Sunday's Flag Football game. 
His team and his Brother Cash's team will be in the playoffs next Sunday, so guess where Pops
 and Meme will be?
Cash finding an open receiver and throwing a touchdown pass--great footwork and concentration!  

Monday, April 17, 2023

Fishing the Clouser Minnow

Jeff and I started the morning with five of our six combos rigged with different size poppers ready to fish the nook areas of Ryan Creek on Smith Lake. I committed last season to use the streamer much more this year, so I had my 6-wt nine ft. rigged to cast streamers. 

I landed the first bass of the morning close to the launch, near some floating boat piers. The female nailed a blue Boggle Bug popper. This would be the only bass I would land for the rest of the morning on a popper. 

The lake was half a foot above the full pool, which is 510. I've often said that every minute counts when you are fishing daylight hours on Smith. Why? Because the bite shuts down around 11 O'clock, especially if you are fishing on top. 

After the top action slowed, it was time for me to give a few of my streamers a try. I started with Devil Dog streamer, then the Crawfish, and finally, the trusted Clouser Silver Minnow. The winner of the three was the Clouser Minnow. I wanted the bass to hit the Devil Dog and the Crawfish streamers because of the attraction feature, but sometimes the fish know more about what they like to eat than you do. 

The Clouser streamer I was using was the three-inch version with the barbell eyes and an ample supply of bucktail, giving it the added weight to sink faster. I used my 5/6 Gloomis reel loaded with a bass bug fly line, which helps cast a weighted streamer easier than a standard fly line. I also added a nine ft. intermediate sink-tip leader to aid in getting the streamer down. 

I like this version of the Clouser because it has a significant amount of bucktail. All Clouser Minnow streamers are unlike the original in 1987, tied by Bob Clouser. In other words, there are many variations of the Clouser in size and color today. 
My first Spotted Bass of the morning that inhaled the Clouser at a depth of eight feet. All the bites occurred at least 6 to 8 ft. from the banks. The hit on the streamer varied most of the morning. Some of the Bass would nip hit, and some would make me think I hook the streamer on brush or rock; regardless of the feel, I set the hook. 
This fatty hit the Clouser on a point entering into a nook area. This female put up quite a fight. 

This bass was my best streamer catch of the morning. This fish made numerous runs trying to break free of the size 2 Clouser hook. I was glad I was using my six-wt; otherwise, I could have lost this fish. Little did I know I would get broken off on my next encounter with another bass and lose my only Clouser Streamer! 

I didn't land another bass the rest of the morning, showing me that once you find a fly pattern that produces, have more than one ready to replace it. Rest assured; I will tie on the Clouser when the top action slows now! 

I will be using Field Edge Handmade Clouser Silver Minnows on my next outing. You can check out their website by clicking on the link on my blog. 

Thursday, April 6, 2023

A Challenge Landing a Carp

 Guys, I had to share a catch of a lifetime regarding landing Carp. I was fishing for bluegill on Walker County Lake this morning using my 7 1/2 ft. two weiight flyrod rigged with a tiny Bream Bug. I was casting the small popper next to the weed beds when this Carp just sucked the fly under like all the bluegill had been hitting all morning. The minute I set the hook, I knew the fish was enormous from the feel of the headshakes. I thought it was a largemouth bass, but after noticing how it raced to deep water, I knew it was a giant catfish. I was wrong guessing on both accounts; it was the largest Carp I had ever landed on any lake. 

What transpired next was the fish pulling my Pelican boat a hundred yards across the lake---which was actually in my favor. I knew if I could get the fish near shallow water, I would have a chance to land it. My little shorthanded bluegill net would never encompass the length of this fish. So I headed out with my little two weight in hand, bent to a U-shape for the entire ride across the lake, thinking my 5X tippet would pop any minute, but to my surprise, it completed the fight. So for the next 35 minutes, the Carp and I were having fond, at least I was, don't know about the Carp. Once we reached the launch, I knew I could get someone with a long handle net to net the fish. The caretaker's grandson was the help I needed. He was as excited as me when he finally laid it on the grass. He said he had never netted a fish. It was quite a thrill for the fly fishermen and grandson!

Moments like this morning make me thankful my Dad taught me how to use a fly rod all those years. The Carp weighed 8 1/2 lbs and was 27" long -----Tight-line guys!!

This little bluegill popper got the Carp's attention and stayed hooked in the upper part of its mouth for the duration of the fight. Tiny flies or poppers do catch big fish!

Friday, March 24, 2023

Landing Dale Hollow Trout

 Anyone who fishes for trout on the Sipsey Tailrace can recognize the Dale Hollow Trout. Most are in the 10" size, which was the size I landed this morning on the Sipsey. Mine you; I'm not complaining, trout is trout. I was using my three-wt. fly rod, which is the perfect fly rod to land this size trout.   

I knew precisely the hole I would fish, the nymph, and the technique I would use before I left the house. I have been watching videos all winter on fishing pressured waters and how to fish such waters. To say I was prepared was an understatement. 

I like it when a plan comes together, and everything worked my way for the two hours I fished the Sip this morning.

I forgot the number, either 8 or 9 of these beauties I landed. I stop taking pictures after this last image. There was no need to take a photo of the same size trout, image after image. I was not amazed that all the trout I landed came from one hole. This place became my honey hole for the morning. 

The water was high when I arrived at 9:30. Several fishermen were already on the water, and I was so lucky to fish in the area I chose while I was there. Why didn't I try other spots? When you consistently land trout in one location, why move to another site and leave the one place you know has trout? I was trying to learn a new technique, and to break my concentration would have interfered with MY PLAN!

I was just thankful that I finally got to fish the Sipsey for the first time since last year and had success. I lost as many trout this morning as I landed because of strike detection. I'm still learning. Today was a warm-up for landing larger trout in the future. 

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Filling Time

 What does one do during the winter months of the fly fishing season.? I have the tailrace to fish for trout during winter, but generation keeps those trips to a minimum. 

Charles and I spent Tuesday on Smith Lake, marking brush on some banks and the back of numerous nooks. We were using his GPS on his boat to know the location of the brush once the lake reached full pool, the last of April. 

Once the lake fills in early Spring, small bait fish will move into the tangled branches of all these brush piles. The bass and crappie will feed on the bait fish during Spring, Summer, and early fall; find the brush you find the fish. I've known where a lot of these spots are on Smith. Each year I find a few new ones in case someone else is fishing the same areas I'm fishing. Casting a popper in the vicinity of any submerged tree tops will get a reaction from a spotted bass or largemouth at daylight. Getting the fish away from the brush and in open water is a must if you want to touch it!  
The Clouser Marabou Minnows is one streamer that will get some attention from the crappie. The crawfish and leech streamers are streamers I've never tried on Smith. I will connect with some spotted bass and largemouth using both of these streamers. I hope to share a favorable report in the coming months. as to their progress.

Monday will be the only day next week suitable for fishing. The rest of the week is a wash with wind gusts and rain. The surface temp on the lake will be close to 50 degrees which is what it was this past Tuesday. I will be surprised if there will be any surface action, so streamers will be the fly pattern Charles and I will cast. 



Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Fly Rod or Spinning Reel


I remember my first experience using a rod/reel. It was a small Zebco push-button spin cast reel with a short rod. It was easy to push the button cast and watch the lure sail through the air and land in the water at no particular place. At that age, just getting the lure to land on the water spelled success. As I got older I graduated to the spinning reel and casting reels. I was entering high school when my Dad taught me how to use the fly rod. I look back now and realize the fly rod would have been my best method of landing fish at that time. I am playing catch-up now using the fly rod. 

Fly rod fishing and spinning reel fishing have seen advancements in reel and rod quality since my boyhood days. Spinning reels and fly reels are much lighter. The spinning reels reel smoother with the addition of ball bearings. Some spinning reels have as many as ten ball bearings now. Drag systems on the fly reels today are much stronger and will last longer. 

I realized years ago that learning to use the fly rod and spinning reel took patience, especially for the fly rod as opposed to the spinning reel. The spinning reel required less precision and technique to cast and retrieve. They can cast a variety of lures much further than a fly rod in certain situations such as fishing from a boat or when trying to reach a specific spot in a large body of water. Not all is perfect with the spinning reel: because of line tangles, in the form of the dreaded loop. This one fault can cause one to pull yards of line off the spool to remove the loop. A spinning reel offers less sensitivity than a fly rod. 

Some fly rods in the 6 to 7 ft. length weigh 2 ounces or less making them extremely sensitive to detect a hit from as small bluegill and trout. A fly rod allows for a more subtle and quiet presentation of the fly, which can be important when fishing in clear water or when targeting spooky fish. As with the spinning reel, not all is perfect with the fly rod. A fly rod requires more skill and technique to use effectively, which I can attest to when I first learned how to cast one. The casting and retrieve is something my grandchildren are still learning. Fly rods are generally limited to using flies or bugs to imitate insects, which will not give you the distance in casting a lure with a spinning reel. 

I still use my 7 1/2 ft. ultralight spinning reel combos to fish for crappie, but the fly rod is my main mode of fishing for the rest of my fishing days----looking forward to an early Spring!!

Saturday, January 14, 2023

The Curly Tail Streamer

 A streamer is a streamer but I discovered a somewhat variation of this fly this past week. The following video really got my attention, because I was not familiar with this type of streamer. 

I could see this streamer getting the attention of Smallmouth, Spotted Bass, and of course rainbow and browns. This streamer is not listed on any of the fly shops I have visited!!
I would appreciate any info concerning this particular streamer.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Fly Fishing Streamers

One of my New Year Resolutions for the coming year is to fish the streamer more on days when the top action has slowed. Fly fishing involves seeing a fish break the water surface and take a dry fly or popper which is the norm for most fly fishermen. Sub-surface flies are not the top choice for fly fishermen, because the visual aspect of seeing a bass, bluegill, or trout hit the fly or popper is missing. 

After watching a number of streamer videos I'm convinced I can land fish in the middle of the day when a lot of fish are less active. Patience and trying different retrieves is the key to getting a hit from a fish that has gone deep during mid-morning or mid-afternoon. 

Streamer fishing is not new to me, but as stated earlier in the intro of this post I can be lumped in with most fly fishermen who like to see the fish explode on a surface fly. Fish explode on sub-surface flies as well but we don't see it but we certainly feel the take. 

The largest Spotted Bass I have ever caught was taken using a Wooly Bugger streamer in November of 2021 fishing Ryan Creek on Smith Lake. You would think that fish would have convinced me to fish more streamers, but I was hooked on the surface poppers instead. All my fishing buddies are into the surface action, but I am slowly convincing them that we need to give the streamers a try for the coming season. 

I want to share some of the streamers I will be using for the coming season and I hope to report back in the Spring on their success. 

All these buggers are in sizes 6 and 8 with rubber legs which I feel will attract a hit more than the traditional bugger pattern. The size 8 is a great size to use for the trout on the tailrace. 
The Little Fort Leech in size 6 and the Near Nuff Crayfish size 6 top two flies would add some variety when the bugger slows. The last three are the Clouser Marabou Minnow size 6 is something I would try for the bass and the crappie. All these flies would be fished with a sink-tip poly leader. I was using this leader when I landed the big female Spotted Bass in November. I ordered all these streamers from Big Y Fly Shop for .89 a piece. I have ordered from this company before and was impressed with their quality and shipping. 

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Family Time

Christmas is the best time of the year for the Trussell family. Christmas this year for us will be in Tennessee witnessing some of the coldest temps we've experienced since 1985.

Family time at Jason's house in Greystone

The Grandchildren with Jason

Christmas gathering on the lake---B. T. and Bryson landed a few bass yards from Jason's house. 

During the winter months, I spend a lot of time reading fly fishing articles and watching fishing videos--this one really got my attention---enjoy----


Sunday, October 30, 2022

Fall Popper Action

 Fly fishing in the fall compared to fly fishing in the spring for warm water species is different when it comes to catch ratio. In the spring the fish are more active and move into the shallows to feed and get ready for the spawn. The fall brings cooler water temps, low water levels, and cold fronts that cause the fish to become dormant. This time of year tests your skills as a warm-water fly fisherman if you fish small bodies of water or large lakes. As the water cools the fish tend to move to deeper water causing one to work harder for a hit on surface flies and poppers. 

Friday's trip fishing Smith was planned before I ever left the house knowing I was going to fish on top using  Bea's popper in a size 8. This popper is not large but still got the attention of some of the spotted bass lingering near the walls. This bass slapped at the popper twice before it finally inhale it. I've noticed the hits are not as aggressive when the water temps are colder. Today the surface temps were ranging between 63 to 65 degrees. Patience is the key when fishing surface poppers on the water this cold. 
All the hits today occurred 7 to 8 ft. away from the walls; this area showed a depth of 40 ft. away from the wall. I like to fish in an area of water like this that is silky smooth. Moving the surface fly with a little twitch can at times get a reaction in the water this deep. 
The only bluegill of the morning which is unusual when the water temps are this cold. My four-weight 9 ft. was the only fly rod that got tested today. I will have my five-weight 9ft. spooled with a sink-tip line using a wooly bugger or a streamer for the next trip. It's hard to stray away from the top action knowing at any minute you might connect with a super size spotted bass. 
I will continue to fish Smith until the water temps fall below 60 degrees. After the season ends on the lake I will move to the tailrace and fish for the rainbow below the dam using my Euro Nymphing ten-foot fly rod. 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

My Second Hobby

 Aside from fly fishing my second hobby is spending time with our grandchildren and watching them play Flag Football and Soccer. This past Sunday evening Cathey and I enjoyed watching our grandsons play a couple of games of Flag Football. Both Grandsons are the quarterbacks of their teams. The following videos show Cash and Bryson in action.

Bryson and Cash can recognize tight pass coverage, which in turn affords them the open field to pick up yardage. 
Guys I can't end this post without showing you what my daughter calls getting ready for bed pic of Hallie---she is really growing!

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Fly Fishing the Hopper

 Guys, you've noticed it's been a while since I posted anything on my blog. Cathey and I have been busy helping our daughter's family with their new arrival. Last Thursday, Jenny gave birth to a beautiful eight-pound baby girl.  

Cathey and I are so proud of this little girl!!!

An updated picture of little Hallie at 6 months
We have kept a busy pace traveling from Jasper to Springhill, Tennessee, these past weeks. It was worth every mile we made to get to this precious little girl. Hallie Mae is 8 weeks old in this picture. I wanted to share an updated pic from the original post image. Her brothers and sister are CRAZY about this little girl!!!

We are back home for now but will return to Springhill next Sunday.  We will be staying 8 days with our daughter and children while B.T. is in California on a business trip. We're glad to be of service, especially when a newborn is too whole and spoil. 

I made a few fishing trips last week on Smith that I wanted to share with you guys. 
This past Thursday, Jeff and I fished Ryan Creek on Smith at daylight and landed some quality bass and bluegill. The bluegills were not hitting the poppers, so I tied on the hopper a fly that I hadn't fished this season. The reaction to this fly was some of the most aggressive hits I have seen this year. All the big bulls on this trip had the hopper lodged in their throat. In other words, they were hungry for an insect in the form of a brown grasshopper. They were hitting the hopper 20 to 30 feet from the rock walls. Moving the hopper slowly on the surface film got their attention. When you land this size bluegill using a 4 wt., you think it's bass; the fight is aggressive. Jeff and I agreed we could be in for one great fall fishing season!
What makes landing these big bulls so much fun to catch using the fly rod is the surge after surge they make trying to break off. There is a big difference when landing these fish spawning in shallow water instead of fishing for them in water depths of 20 to 30 ft. Simply put, the water depth is their friend when trying to break free. 
This was my first copper nose bluegill to ever land on Smith. Sorry I don't have a video showing the fight this fish put forth, but Jeff and I thought it was a spotted bass in the 12 to 14-inch range; to our surprise, it was this beauty!
Jeff started the morning off fishing under the lights near the many piers on the lake. We stopped at our first light at 5:30. As I moved in slowly to the light, we saw three quality bass feeding just under the submerged light next to the pier. It only took a couple of casts to get the attention of one of the larger bass. The fish moved slowly to the Boogle Bug popper and sucked in. After the take, the fish started heading for deep water and really didn't realize it was hooked until Jeff made contact with the fish. At that point, the fish had its way with the 4 wt. Jeff was using and broke off. 
The fish in this video is Jeff's redemption bass, smaller than the one he lost, but a quality largemouth. We will be back fishing this light in the coming weeks with a heavier-weight fly rod. Stay tuned!

Forgot---one last note, I'm saving the trout fishing below the dam for cooler weather and the winter months---the season ends on the lake in November

Sunday, August 7, 2022

The Redworm and the Fly Rod

 Most fly fishermen will tell you they don't use live bait when fishing with a fly rod. I've never seen anyone using live bait fishing with the flyrod on the Sipsey. I have seen many individuals on the Sipsey using a spin cast fishing with redworms, corn, or crappie nibbles.  

Live bait works when artificial flies and lures will not produce. Just ask my daughter about the success of live bait fishing when she would go with me years ago and fish the many nooks on Smith for bluegill, catfish, and bass. She was more into live bait fishing than my son.

So many memories here, Jenny was a junior in high school when she landed the largest bluegill she ever caught fishing with me on Smith. She was using a cricket fishing with her 7 1/2 ft. micro-light combo. I've never been able to convert her to fly fishing. She still loves to fish the cricket for the bluegill when she has the time to go. Three children and another little girl on the way keep her occupied these days. 
At some point in one's fishing career, they usually land a fish they never forget. This was the case a couple of weeks ago when l landed this supersize Shellcraker or Redear as some would call this fish. What got the big females' attention along with the two quality size bulls was live bait. The live bait thing is something I've never tried using the fly rod on Smith. You might say that anything I try new when it comes to fishing is always a plan in advance for me and this type of fishing was no exception. First, I wanted to get as deep as possible using a sink-tip line and a tiny bb shot crimped onto my 5X tippet about 6" above the hook. I found it is best to tie a knot in the tippet 6 inches above the hook to keep the bb shot from slipping to the eye of the hook when casting a small redworm. The bigger worm was difficult to stay on the long shank hook. The long shank hook is best as opposed to the short shank because you can thread more of the worm onto the long shank hook. I found even with false casting the worm would stay in place. So, in reality, if you want to think of the live worm as a nymph you can, which gives you the feeling of fishing a soft nymph with a scent. On this particular morning, nothing was happening even a nymph fish slow wouldn't produce. The poppers never got any attention from the bass or bluegill. This time of year on Smtih the fishing is extremely slow due to the fast pull-down on the lake. Receding water on any body of water is not the ideal situation to catch fish!

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Versatile Caddis Fly

 When one thinks of the Caddis Fly they relate it to fly fishing for trout. I have fished this fly numerous times on the Sipsey mainly using it as an indicator fly. There were times when I would get a trout to inhale the Caddis while slow drifting a nymph under it. Which was a plus because I was trying to get the trout to take a smaller nymph drifting below. I use the traditional dry-dropper combo more now on the Sipsey because of the fishing pressure. I remember previous years fishing the Sipsey I never used the dry-dropper combo. I only fished a nymph using the various strike indicator on the market. 

On my last trip to the Sipsey, which was a bust for me, no trout touched; started me thinking of using this fly to fish for the giant bluegill on Smith Lake. So two weeks ago, I gave the fly a try casting it near the rock walls in Ryan Creek.

I was impressed with how the bluegills reacted to this fly. At times they would pull it under, and other times they would explode on it. I have written in a past post about how wary these fish can be in hitting a particular color or size popper. So when they are not hitting a popper consistently, it is good to have a backup fly that will get their attention. Enter the Caddis in size ten, but I think a size eight would be better. The extra body on the size eight wouldn't require me to use as much floatant and give the fish a bigger fly to see. Simple to use just cast it using a 3wt. with a 6X tippet and wait for the take while it sits motionless on the surface. I seldom ever move it after it touches the surface. Having success with the Caddis makes me want to give the Adams and the Wulff a try!