I’m sorry… Shameful…. I know… but I couldn’t help myself…. Yes it is the potential world record for the SMALLEST Cuda ever caught on the fly!
I was going through my photo’s and found this from my honeymoon in Jamaica. I spent weeks telling my wife about the glory of salt water fly fishing. I showed her all of my specialized (code for “did you really need to buy that?”) salt water gear. She could hardly control her giggles when after a day of chucking lead the only thing I could scare up was this cuda that was smaller than most blue gills from the pond back home.
Now don’t get me wrong. I had a blast. I saw some amazing things that day. I have fond memories of the island foliage in full bloom.
I distinctly remember the visual distraction of Mrs. Brownliner in her bikini throwing off the timing of my casting. Yes dear… the tailing loop was all your fault!
But mostly I remember the amazing zen like feeling of being on the water with the tropical sun beating down on us as I scoured the shallows for fish with a huge grin on my face. These days, Mrs Brownliner is preparing the nest for two new arrivals at home so it might be a while before the flats will see my reflection again, but it never hurts to take a stroll down amnesia lane…. soon enough…. soon enough….
Good Luck and Tight Lines,
When I was a young teen, my father took me on a fishing trip to Raystown Lake in central PA. The trip was a striper trip and we went with some cousins and their friends. The weather was beautiful and the lake looked to be in great shape. What we did not know at the time was that it was the year of locusts (17 year) and prolific does not even come close to describing what we saw. I shit you not… thousands and thousands of huge bugs dive bombing into the drink. They would buzz on the surface unable to escape until a fish came up and gulped them down or they drowned sinking to the bottom to a similar fate.
We threw everything in the box at the stripers with not even a strike on either boat. At this point in my life I had never picked up a fly rod so please excuse my trip back into a different era of fishing. As day two of no action wore on, my dad had to make a stop at the marina and use the facilities. I sat there watching the locusts buzzing on the surface near the dock. Just then a huge carp just came up and inhaled it. It looked like a Dyson moving across the surface sucking up every huge morsel in it’s path. A grin spread across my face.
My father was walking back up the dock as I was taking the minnow bucket out of our boat and dumping it into the lake… “What the hell are you doing????” he barked. I looked up at him and asked him if he wanted to beat water or go catch some fish. With that I took the empty minnow bucket and ran up the grass hand picking locusts off the tree’s and the shrubs and depositing them into my now empty minnow bucket. When the bucket was buzzing like a Hitachi Magic Wand, I made my way back to the boat. As we idled out I tied a floating jig head on to each of our spinning rods. My dad just looked at me asking if I was going to clue him in.
When we told our cousins what we were doing they scoffed at us….. “We didn’t come all the way to Raystown to catch CARP!” OK… we said… catch you later. My dad and I pulled off into a cove and hooked a locust onto the jig and let it drift. It didn’t take long. The V wakes coming at the bug here hysterical. It was like an outtake from the movie “Jaws”. I have no idea how many carp we caught that day, but it was a ton and we had a BLAST! By the way, my cousins went home fishless and unhappy.
So what’s the lesson you ask? No, it is not about the virtue of the much maligned carp. Nor is it about judging a trip by the number of fish you catch. The lesson I learned is that sometimes you have to take what the conditions are willing to yield.
Last night on the creek was a perfect example. The water was stained and the clouds had shut off any site fishing so chasing carp was a pretty tall order. After an hour I realized the futility of what I was doing and figured I’d change up. It turns out I had a pretty good night with some very eager and game smallies and a nice Sauger. Some of you might disagree but I try to keep multiple game plans in my pocket so regardless of what happens when you hit the water there is always fun to be had!
So… what would you have done? Continue to chase your intended quarry? Or go with what the conditions presented? Curious to know.
Good Luck and Tight Lines!
So I FINALLY got out on the creek yesterday. It had been close to a month since I had seen my favorite carp waters and was itching to get at it. I only had a few hours, but it didn’t matter to me. I was just happy to be on the water. I showed up at about 6:30PM and suited up as quickly as I could. I could see CW off in the distance landing a fish so I was optimistic right off the bat.
As he approached I doubled over laughing. Dude!!! That is about as “red neck” as it gets! He just grinned at me and said, “yeah… I know.”
So I might as well just spit it out now… I got totally skunked. Normally that really doesn’t bother me but after not seeing my creek for a month it did sting a bit. Especially after CW landed this beautiful Cat!
We fished into the darkness but the bite just shut off. The only thing that crossed our path were a pair of huge beavers. These are the times in life that I crave more “me” time. More time on the water… more time to reflect. More time to match wits with a worthy adversary. More time with good friends.
Life works in funny ways sometimes. Sometimes it gives you what you want, sometimes it gives you what you need. Sometimes it just tests you to see what your made of. Yeah… I got skunked. That should be the worst thing that happened to me 🙂
Good Luck and Tight Lines
Big thanks to John Hayes, the outdoor writer at the Post Gazette for shedding some light on fly fishing for carp!
Hopefully our good friend Mr. Big Lips will get a bit of much deserved respect!
So last night I met a few friends to hit the white fly hatch. Tim dropped me a message and we set our meeting time for 6:00PM. After fiddling with my fly boxes (which I do often) and making sure I had all my gear, I took a look at the clock which read 2:30PM… Hmmmm… what to do?
I figured hell, that’s plenty of time to get in some brown lining on my local creek before we meet up. I kissed my wife as she rolled here eyes at me and headed out. Summer always brings such a conflict for me. The temperatures have been ungodly hot and the humidity is off the charts. Stepping into a pair of chest waders is like boiling yourself from the inside. Wet wading sounds like the logical choice until you google a few stories about micro-bacterial infections, chemical burns, and trips to the emergency room. I think I’ll just sweat…. and sweat I did. I had to move my glasses down to the tip of my nose so they would stop fogging up. Yeah, it was frigging hot.
We had just had some rain so the water was still pretty off color but I did manage to jump two nice smallies which both managed to spit the hook out faster than my 10th grade girl friend and this bad boy who I am still not sure how he opened his mouth wide enough to eat my fly
So we finally made it to the creek with a few hours of daylight still intact and we suited up. I decided to once again put on my soaking wet waders despite our decent hike to the spot we were going to fish. Two words… SWAMP Ass… While we were in the car I had given the guys a few pencil poppers that I had tied for the Allegheny and totally forgot to put any in my box because I figured they would be a bit large for the occasion. Sean tied his on for shits and giggles. What ensued was pretty cool. He had fish literally knocking each other out of the way trying to eat this thing. He landed fish after chunky fish as Tim and I pretty much beat water.
As nightfall set in the hatch started to go off and it was pretty darn cool. It was near blizzard conditions and smallies started sipping our dry flies amidst the white chaos. I busted one really nice fish off and landed a few others that put up some nice battles. Anyone who has eve fished with me knows the one thing I never forget is my camera. I reached into my pocket to snap some pics of the thousands of white flies filling the air and the bass that were kind enough to cooperate and of course it was nowhere to be found. Unhappy is an understatement but I guess I can’t complain. I was fishing with good friend, good fish, and good karma.
I came home to Mrs. Brownliner who was still rolling her eyes at me wondering what would possess a grown man to want to stand in a cloud of bugs in the dark waving a fly rod for 8 hours. The only thing I could say was, “honey… It’s the white fly hatch!” insert eye roll here.
Good Luck and Tight Lines,