So I decided to go back through the last year plus and put together a bunch of video that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with…. it is interesting to put so much fishing into 10 minutes but I think it lends some perspective to what has been a really fantastic stretch of fishing. Hope you enjoy!
Joe Reardon: He walked 18.
Larry: New league record!
Joe Reardon: Struck out 18.
Larry: Another new league record! In addition he hit the sportswriter, the public address announcer, the bull mascot twice…
So this past weekend Mr. Brownliner had the pleasure of chasing chrome with several very very accomplished anglers. To say that I was out of my league would be an honest assessment, but I did manage to catch5 or 6 nice steelies and most importantly learn quite a bit along the way.
The one thing that I have found about most talented fly fisherman is that if you are a willing and gracious student most are eager to teach and impart what they have learned to you. That is one of the beauties of our pursuit…. we are a relatively select group and knowledge is there if you are eager to consume it!
So as I glance into my fishing rear view mirror on the day I have to chuckle at myself a bit. I went trough several dozen flies, the majority of 3X tippet spool, 2 leaders, and the consumption of a few dozen choice expletives. The yield was 6 fish to hand, lost at least that many more, and another handful of nice sized suckers to put the cherry on my sundae. To a certain degree some of this is not so much being out fished, but outclassed…
There is something about watching a skilled nympher at his craft. The economy of motion…. the reading of the water…. the way the fly lands in the water…. where the fly lands in the water…. the drag free drift…. the smooth pick up….
Wash, Rinse, Repeat.
Admittedly, I catch fish…. some might say more than most. But there is something to be said about doing it with style and panache instead of brute force. Fly fishing is the sweet angling science. It is a dance with a surgically sharpened blade and a steady trained hand. So this is what happens when someone with a few good years under his belt fishes with a collective of over 80 years of fly fishing prowess!
Stark differences… they pay attention to the water… they hunt long before they cast. They spend more time with their fly in the water! Elementary I know, but if you spend 30% of your day with your fly out of the water tinkering and dealing with your self created mess then you are in all likely hood going to catch 30% less fish! They take their time…. nothing seems rushed or hurried. There is a zen like calm that seems to cover the entire process from stalk, to presentation, to hook up, to land…. Panache.
So what is the good news. Believe it or not, you can bend… wait even CHEAT time! You see, if you spend time with a good teacher you can learn in a relatively short period of time what took someone a lifetime to compile. No flux capacitor or Delorian necessary! Great Scott!!!!!
I am hoping for one or two more cracks at Chrome before the sand runs out of the hour glass till the fall. Hopefully I will take what I have learned and put it to good use!
Good Luck and Tight Lines
So I have a confession to make…. I used to hate nymphing. I dont’ know why to be honest. I know I did not like the chuck and duck casting and I think not being in touch with the fly was a bit of a difficult transition for me when it came to indicator fishing. Other than that, there just wasn’t much of it that touched my fly fishing soul.
Lately I seem to have had a change of heart. Perhaps I needed to start to enjoy the nuances of it? Perhaps I just needed to become better at it? After a winter of nymphing for trout I can honestly say I look forward to it. The subtle change in the drift, the line tip dipping suddenly, the tension and the head shake that you feel when you raise the rod tip. When water conditions are poor, the mystery of what is going on under the water is intriguing. Nothing against the visual nature of dry fy fishing or popper fishing for smallies, but there is a certain imagination required to extend your line down into the water and make assumptions about what it is doing as you make your presentation. Being that 90% of feeding is sub surface anyhow, I guess it makes sense to embrace all that happens below!
In many of the online forum’s you hear people say that they are only a dry fly person, or only a nymper….. I think to be a complete fisherman you have to be comfortable adapting to the situation. I am learning to take great pride in coming to a day of fishing being prepared to catch fish in whatever format the conditions dictate to me. I recently fished with my friend Tim who is an accomplished angler and his skill in understanding what his drift was doing was beautiful to watch. With much practice and attention to detail, I am hoping I will be there one day as well…. So for the time being, I am dedicating myself to becoming a total “nymph”omaniac!
Good Luck and Tight Lines!
So yesterday Bob and I woke up at the ass crack of Jack to head out for a day of winter trout. The weather report had indicated that we should be in the 40’s…. yeah… I wish I had a job where I could be wrong 85% of the time and still get paid! Luckily there was almost no wind because when you hit the stream at first light it is COLD! I think the fish thought so too because they were far from awake early.
As they day wore on, I thought we would get warmer…. maybe a little but not really. Luckily however, the fish did and we managed a pretty good day of winter nymphing bringing 11 fish to hand between the two of us. At one point, Bob stepped out of the water to warm his feet and do some bank side spotting for me. He managed to put me on a nice Brown. He struck up a conversation with a few other “fly fisherman” while he was there. They were within ear shot so I could hear most of the conversation.
“Oh yeah, we had a 50 fish day a few months ago fishing upstream……. (with spin gear)”
“On our last trip to Alaska the indicators we used were sub-surface”
“So what is he doing down there flipping his line upstream after he casts?”
No mind you these dudes were decked out head to toe with $90 Tilley’s on their heads. I looked over to the next stretch of water and they were standing there with fly rods in the air, line stretched taught downstream…. not casting, just standing. I was intrigued to say the least. One guy lifted his rod and cast it. It looked like he was fishing with an oversized sucker spawn. Bob came back down to the stream and I asked him what they were doing. Apparently they were skewering 6 maggots onto a size 2 hook and waiting.
I couldn’t help but start to laugh. OK…. so you want to be in the club…I get it, so did I! But here’s the deal, if you want in the club you have to pay the entrance fee. Take the $10 you spent on bait and buy a damn book! Hell, get on the world wide web and read for free! But take the time to learn your craft.
We have all been new at one point or another. It is a question of how you embrace your “newbieness” that defines you! Put the Tilley in the closet until you learn how to cast, mend, set, fight, and land…. Then bust out the Tilley and you will look stylish and competent at the same time! Until then it makes you look like a poser and the maggots on your oversized hook make you look worse! Nobody wants to be regaled by tales of fishing prowess in Alaska by a dude who is standing in a stream with a taught fly line with six maggots on a bass hook. If you are just learning, great! Do so… ask, listen, learn, don’t posture. We were all given two ears and one mouth and from what I understand they should be used accordingly!
And by the way, same goes for you “experienced” anglers. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t learn something new if I ask a few questions, pay attention to others around me, and most importantly, LISTEN to what the river has to tell you. It can be the best teacher around if you are receptive to its lessons. The guy across the river got skunked yesterday but he was nice enough and polite and asked what we were doing to get on fish. I met him mid current and handed him a hand full of the flies that were working well and told him how we were managing our presentation. I hope next time I am on the skunk someone will extend the same consideration in my direction!
Yeah, I know some of you probably roll your eyes at me as I stand on my soap box but hey, It’s MY BLOG! So I have that luxury. If this is you, take my advice…. Do not pass go, do not collect $200…. make your way to your local fly shop, get a free casting lesson, buy a good book, sit down and read it. Come to the stream with a smile! Don’t get frustrated if you don’t catch fish in the first ten minutes and make an investment in learning something new! Most of all…. LEAVE THE MAGGOTS AT HOME!!!!!!
Good luck and Tight lines.
So I met my friend John at the river today for a bit of winter trout action. It had finally warmed up to the point where the mucus did not instantly freeze on inhale but still cold enough that the feeling in my feet did not return till half way home. The water was low and clear today and the fishing was a bit tough so we had to work for our fish today. Yes… yes…. I know… I have been a bit spoiled lately.
Today however was not without some adventure. To begin with, I decided to make a river crossing through a riffle that didn’t look all that fast or deep…. I think I miscalculated a bit because I was a half step away from being swept down a very cold river. (not my finest moment today). One of the things I love about fly fishing are the moments you get to laugh out loud at yourself… your miscues, flubs, near misses, and near victories. I hooked into a beautiful rainbow today and lost it mid-battle. I saw it and estimated it at 18″. I let out an expletive that was so loud I could hear 3 other anglers laughing at me down stream. I must admit… I laughed too.
On a high note today, I landed my largest trout to date, a beautiful 20.5″ brown with a nice fat belly. I had to try to net him 3 times before I could get the 20 plus inches of trout to fit into the 24″ net! He ran me across the river… down the river and then finally back to my net. At the end of the battle, my adrenaline was spiked so high that my hands were shaking and had trouble taking a decent photo…. or maybe that was the cold? 😉
So what would possess a rational and sane (most of the time) person to go fly fishing when it is 12 degrees out? Well that is a very good question and one I am not sure I have a complete answer to. I could tell you that I absolutely loved having the entire river to myself. I could tell you that I had a nasty case of cabin fever that needed to be addressed. I could also tell you that I had tied a bunch of new flies that were in need of some water as well. I could tell you that Bob inspired me with the 24 trout he brought to hand last week on an equally cold day. I could probably tell you a lot of things but the thing I probably should tell you is that I just love to fish.
In my humble opinion, one of the things that make someone an outstanding fisherman (which I one day aspire to be) is the ability to fish in all different kinds of conditions. Fly fishing is not nearly as challenging when all of the variables work in your favor… wind, temperature, barometric pressure, sun, etc….. But what happens when these things work against you? Some people pick up their spin rod. Some stay at home and bag the entire thing. These are the times I love to go fishing. It tests you in ways that easy days cannot and I think gives you a pretty good idea what you are made of.
My fly line was frozen for most of the day. My rod guides had to be cleared of ice every 5th drift. My feet and hands are still tingling as I type this blog entry. but you know what… 18 trout didn’t seem to care and that was fine by me 🙂 Next time it is really crappy out and you decide to go fishing anyhow, take a look along the river and don’t hesitate to wave. I promise I will wave back.
Good Luck and Tight Lines!
So bob and I headed to the Yough today… it was 19 degrees when we got there…. I have now broken two rod tips in 24 hours, ripped the bottoms of my Korkers, and am not sure if I still own all of my appendages. Bob hooked into a huge brown and lost it… I got skunked. Was it fun??? YOU BET!
We arrived at the parking lot to find one other car which is always a beautiful sight. It is not often when you have the entire river to yourself. Going to give it another go on Thursday, will keep you posted.
This is just a compilation of a few trips up to the Erie tribs this fall. Spielberg I am not, but hopefully you get the idea that we have been having a pretty darn good time!
So I recently spent a day chasing chrome on the storied tribs of Lake Erie. Anyone who has ever read my blog can attest to the fact that I could sooner impale myself with a 3/0 Clouser before I would line the sides of a stream with 100 other guys fighting for the same stretch of water…. Sorry… combat fishing just isn’t my thing! But I have to admit… I am so hooked! The sheer power and incredible beauty of these fish has me mesmerized. Visions of these chrome monsters float through my head and invade my dreams!
So Bob and I hopped into the “fishmobile” and made our way North. I casually glanced up at the temperature read out on his dash and it read a balmy 28 degrees. To be honest, I don’t think I had ever fished in the 20’s before. So what did I learn?
This is what happens to your rod guides which makes casting an interesting endeavor!
This is what happens to your waders….
And this is what happens to felt soles when you stand on a rock too long and the felt freezes to the rock.
So why you ask would anyone in their right mind stand in a frozen stream with frozen feet and frozen hands for hours at a time? I think the smile is pretty much all the explanation anyone would need!
Now it wouldn’t be a Mr. Brownliner post without some kind of rant so I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
Just a quick shout out to the jackass in the camo who felt it necessary to step one foot closer to me after every drift until he could see whether or not I had any ear wax….. Karma is a bitch and so are you. You are a hack of a fisherman and you bring shame to those of us that consider ourselves to be fly fisherman. There was plenty of stream to work with for all of us and the fact that I was catching fish and you were not had nothing to do with where I was standing! I hope you got close enough to learn something….
OK… I feel better now. 🙂
OK… yes… I know this is “Adventures in Brown Lining” but when my warm water fav’s go away what’s an addicted fly fisherman to do? Yes, despite all of my bitching and griping I finally bit the bullet and made a trip up to Erie to give Steelheading a shot. And yes…. I admit it! IT WAS FUN! I was lucky enough to get some great info from a friend and avoided the majority of the crowds and for most of the day, had the river pretty much to myself! (YES… hard to believe, I know!)
So what lessons did a steelhead rookie learn today? Hmmm… let me see…
- Fishing in 35 degree weather is pretty darn cold no matter how many layers one wears
- Most people who fish for steelhead are pretty lazy and don’t walk more than 50 yards from the bridge they parked their car under
- Big trout have sharp teeth
- Putting one’s finger in big trout’s mouth not the brightest idea
- Blood does not clot well when you are freezing your ass off (see lesson number 3)
- Wading in unfamiliar murky water when you can’t feel your feet requires a bit of caution
- Buyer be ware…. this is highly addictive!
At the end of the day…. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Would I stand in a pool with 10 other guys fighting for drifts??? Negative. But a day like today? Any time!