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31
Aug

Fun with Bass Bugs


So I was experimenting with some bass bugs.  This pattern is a variation of the diver that Puglisi ties.  I am not sure if he was even the originator of the pattern, but that is where I saw it for the first time.  The major variation that I am tinkering with is actually the hook.  This is a hook that you would typically see used with a shad imitation that spin fisherman use.  It has a huge gap and keel to it.  My hook up ratio was amazing compared to my popper hooks and it really helps the fly to dive as it almost levers the nose down on each strip.

The other thing that is fun is that I used a small guitar pick as the mold for the foam pieces.  Not sure the fly is name worthy since it is a variation of an existing pattern, but I have given it one anyhow….

Say hello to the “Eddie Van Halen“…. aptly named because:

A. She was born from a guitar pick

B. When you strip her she goes “Diver Down”

C. and when you are in the vecinity of a bass, you end up with an “Eruption”

YES… YES… YES… I know it couldn’t be any more cheesy but I just couldn’t resist!

This fly worked amazingly well on my most recent trip to Presque Isle.  I will post a tying video shortly but it isn’t hard to figure out just by taking a look at it.

29
Aug

Poison Ivy Sucks!


So last week I went on a hike with my wife before heading off to Erie to fish. I must have brushed my shins against some poison ivy somewhere along the way.

After letting it marinate like a juicy steak for 3 days inside of a pair of waders…. well I am pretty well covered from head to toe. If there were a way to unzip my skin and step out of it I would!!!! Ughhhh…

Between that and starting a new job, I have not been on the water in a week and am having total withdrawl. My buddy Bob called me the other night to tell me that he caught 5 carp on the fly in about an hour and a half on our local creek. Nothing like rubbing salt in a poison ivy wound! 🙂

In all seriousness, I have started calling him the carp whisperer. He has invested a chunk of time this year to really paying attention and learning how to fish them. No one would ever mistake his casting stroke for Lefty Kreh, but he is a carp hunter extraordinaire! He has easily out fished me 5 to 1 and I am still perplexed sometimes at his uncanny ability to not only spot fish but to get them to eat.

That is the beauty of this sport. Just when you think you know a decent amount about something, you realize you have so much to learn!

Hope to be on the water soon.

Good Luck and Tight Lines!

23
Aug

Rain… Wind… and More Rain


Well I just arrived back from our Erie excursion.  Needless to say, we had a great trip!  The weather could have been a bit more cooperative as could the fish, but I am far from complaining.  I will say that it has been a great many years since I have consumed that many slim jim’s and beef jerkey in such a short period of time.  Holy sodium overload!

We arrived on Friday and went to check out the mouth of Walnut Creek just to see what was going on.  As you would expect we did not see any Steelhead, but then again it was dark so we didn’t really expect to!  We began our day on Saturday in Presque Isle Bay and hit some spots that a few friends were kind enough to share with us and we are kind enough not to repeat to anyone.  A front had moved in and the rain and wind were pretty much present from the get go but we made the best of it.  I caught one nice bass in the morning but the rest of the afternoon was pretty well shut down.

That evening we made a change in location to fish the opposite side of the bay.  Before doing so, was a mandatory stop at “Backyard Burger” which was followed closely by a mandatory stop to the bathroom.  Two days later, I am still not sure that my digestive track has recovered.

With the wind whipping up, there was a healthy chop but nothing too drastic to deal with.  Apparently the bass didn’t  seem to mind as we brought about 5 more to hand including this beauty.  Unfortunately, my staff photographer said that his union only permitted him to work an 8 hour fishing day and it was 5 minutes past his shift so I had to self photo this one.

The coolest part about the flurry of action was that I had designed a new fly that I was trying out for the first time and it worked like a charm!  I will post a tying video for it as soon as I get a few minutes to put it together but it had a really great action, much like a Dahlberg Diver, but much easier to tie.  Still working on a name for it….

Sunday proved to be a very tough day of fishing but fun never the less.  We spent most of our day with hoods over hats and trying to not get blown off of the water!  We did manage to find a few spots on the bay that had some cover but the fishing was far from prolific.  Then again it was late August, suspect weather, and…… I am still searching for my third fishing excuse.

We did manager to shoot a bunch of cool video as well which I will try to edit into something moderately entertaining for your viewing pleasure.  Believe it or not, this was our first fly fishing trip up to Erie for bass so we viewed this a a perfect recon trip for the spring when the action heats up.  On a gear note:

  • New Reddington CPX 8 Wt was fantastic and was throwing some beautiful loops considering the big ass fly and the high winds
  • Said Reddington CPX was making me smile until Bob hands me his Orvis Helios and says… try this…all I can say is WOW
  • Stripping guards are my fav and kept my index finger intact over thousands of strips… knuckle on my middle finger is not so luck as I burned it trying to catch up with a bass moving towards me in a hurry
  • Forever kudos to my Seattle Sombrero.  I managed to stay relatively dry all things considered
  • Loving my new polarized glasses with yellow lenses… perfect for low light conditions!

Most of all, I truly enjoyed three days of fishing with an outstanding friend….  can’t wait for the next time!

18
Aug

Erie Bound!


So I can imagine most of you rolling your eyes wondering why this schmuck is going to fish Erie about a month or so too early????  Ah….. alas it is true, we are not going up for Steelhead.  (back to that in a moment)  We are heading up to Presque Isle for some late season bass and carp and I could not be any more psyched about it!  The thought of 3 solid days of fishing is making my blood boil with anticipation.  Sadly, I have not had a ton of time to be on the water lately and I think it is starting to effect my personality.  Ok, maybe I am an asshole anyhow but it is wearing on my never the less.  A wise man once told me the very best time to fish is when you can.

Back to Steelhead.  I am a virgin.  I have yet to go up to Erie or anywhere else for that matter for the Steelhead run.  Do I want to?  Absolutely!  The thought of those big strong steelie’s in such small water…. who wouldn’t?  But I have an issue.  I have seen the video, the pics, and heard the stories.   I refuse to fish in a line of anglers that looks more like a bunch of guys waiting in line for Skynnard tickets in camo than it does fishing.  I am sorry…… I like being able to work a stretch of water…. I like my solitude…. my escape from the crowded world…. that is part of the appeal of fishing for me.  I do not like green egg’s and ham!  I do not like them Sam I Am!!!  Ok… I will try it just once… but I can already tell you I am not going to like it!!!!  🙂

4
Aug

KEY Words


Wow….. FL Keys in August described in one  word.

HOT!

I am sweating right now just thinking about it.  Needless to say, the fish shared my sentiments.  We did not get skunked, but it was definitely hard work getting shots.  A few things for my to do list next time:

  1. After 5 years away from the salt, my strip strike most definitely needs work and practice
  2. After 5 years away from the salt, my 9 wt double haul needs work and practice
  3. After 5 years away from the salt, don’t let 5 years go by before your next trip!!!!!!

So on our first day in Marathon, my father and I paddled our yaks out onto the Jacktar Flat hoping for some afternoon shots.  Outside of one small cuda, I don’t think we saw a single fish, but it was a beautiful day and we at least got our feet wet.

Day two we spent the day on the water with our guide Barry Hoffman.  If anyone is looking for a very patient and experienced guide I highly recommend him!  He worked hard to get us on fish all day.  I would love to tell you about my perfectly placed cast right in the path of a feeding bonefish, or the redfish that I pulled out of his hiding place in the mangroves….  but alas I cannot tell a lie!  But I can however tell you about the 4 shots at tailing bones that I shorted, lined, and practically bonked on the head with my fly sending them speeding off to parts unknown.  I can also tell you about 3 shots at reds that had similar results… Ughhhh.   Yes, we each caught about 20 seatrout and had a beautiful day on the water but in the partnership that is guide and angler I did not hold up my end of the contract.

Day three we spent the morning working the flats from our kayaks and I could see in my father’s face (lifelong bass fisherman) that the idea of sweating his ass off in 2 feet of water with no action to be found was not his cup of tea.  We went in for lunch and I suggested that we do something that was a bit more his speed so we spent the afternoon on a drift boat fishing the reefs for yellow tail.  I would normally give you some caustic comments about that type of fishing but I actually had a good time.  I think part of it was that I had absolutely no expectations at all and the other was that I got to spend an afternoon on a boat with my dad!  The one interesting part of the day for me was it was the second time in a decade that I fished with conventional tackle.

The next morning was my last in the keys and I made the most of it.  I woke early and was fishing the canal behind our lodge for some juvenile tarpon that are resident there.  I started out with a shrimp pattern that I created for the trip and jumped two but did not land either.  Then they really started to feed up top so I switched to a gurgler and jumped three more, landing one.  (see above comment on improving my strip strike!!!!)  As luck would have it I of course landed the smallest of the five but left with a HUGE smile on my face as the fishing gods did not let me leave the Keys “tarponless”.

That day we drove back up to Boca Raton for a day and a half of bass fishing on the golf course ponds that my dad frequents.  I told him on our trip that he is a spoiled fisherman and I stand by that comment!  He fishes lakes and ponds that see virtually zero fishing pressure and chases fish that have a 12 month growing season.  (must be nice!)  We worked a few ponds with moderate success and dad being the rebel that he is decided we should sneak out onto the course and fish a pond that is off limits since it is on the fairway side.  JACKPOT!  We found some rock structure and for about 2 hours hooked into more bass than we could count.  None were huge but the majority slotted in between 1 and 3 lbs and it was great action.   Just as the bite subsided we were booted and left like two giggling kids that just got away with cutting class.

I left Florida with a red nose, cracked skin, a tired casting shoulder, and a great trip with my dad that I will always remember.  It was such a departure from my creek and stream fishing back home in Pennsylvania and a true test of my fishing skills.  Some I passed, some I failed, and that is what keeps you coming back the next time!

It had been over 20 years since my father and I had been on a true fishing trip together.  By the end of the trip I felt ashamed that I had let it go that long.  We are two different types of fisherman who chase fish in two very different ways but it has always been one of the bonds that have held father and son together.  We both had an amazing time and have committed to not allow another 20 years to mark the next venture.  As always….

Good Luck and Tight Lines!