Monday, March 19, 2018

What About Bob?

With a trip forthcoming I needed to test some equipment.  Throughout the week I was texting my usual fishing buddies to see if they wanted to join me on the weekend to fish a local creek.  None were available.  I no longer fish alone at least not freestone rivers no matter the size especially ones that require you to hike far away from your vehicle.  If no one could make it during the weekend, I was going to avoid the crowds and fish sometime during the week.  I thought long and hard about who else I knew that could join me.  Then I thought what about Bob?
Knowing now that he is retired I figured he'd be able to head out in a workday.  I called him and he was game.  Weather forecasts indicated that we are going to get some weather midweek so we if we wanted to make this happen it would have to be today.  For me, this outing wouldn't be serious fishing adventure only a casual trip to test my new Orvis 6 foot 2 weight, a new Patagonia sweet pack vest but more importantly to check one of waders for leaks and to make sure I could trust my new rubber soled Redington boots.  I manged a number of dinks all beautifully painted.  The same for Bob.   The gear held up fine.
We'd estimated that we hiked 1.5 miles in before heading out and calling it a day.  Along the way I noticed several mushroom.  None of which I could identify as safe and edible so I left them alone.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Just Copy Whatever Luc is Doing

For five years now I've been fishing with Luc, in that time I've learned a lot from him. It may sound like I'm kissing his ass but he could be one of the best fishermen I've met. So one thing I've learned is whenever I'm struggling the best thing to do is do whatever Luc is doing.
I asked a earlier this week if I could borrow one his rods for an upcoming trip.  He said no problem.  Last night I got a text asking if I wanted to fish his lake.  Naturally I responded "You Bet."  I arrived at his house before 7am.
On the short drive to the launch ramp Luc let me know bass are already on beds and a tournament was held yesterday.  With water clarity at 20 feet these fish will have been hammered by gear anglers.  Secretly, even before I was told that I didn't expect much for today.  Later Luc told me he was thinking the same thing.  Our hope would be to get a few pre-spawn bass still aggressively chasing.  And after a few hours without much action, I thought it would just be one of those days.  Luc though was on early with his first fish.  He'd sporadically get bite here and there.  Landing some and losing a couple.  I had started with some experimental flies but when I wasn't getting any fish I swapped out to bluegill imitation similar to what Luc was fishing.
It wasn't long after that I was hit like a freight train while in mid-sentence while chatting with Luc.  After hours of mindless stripping it came as quite a surprise.  After a several minute fight and with Luc moving the boat toward deeper water and away from the structure of the docks, I finally landed my personal best catfish.  Eight pounds of slimy goodness.
Well not to be outdone, Luc, within less than 20 minutes, was on his cat.  His 11 pounds.
I believe it was the same dock while Luc was now changing out his now beat-up fly did I manage a nice fat pre-spawn bass.  Four pounds.  I don't think I've had a bass this size since Luc guided my buddy Koji last summer.
Again Luc would not be upstaged on his boat and not long after landing my fish he managed another bass besting mine by a pound.  We moved closer to the launch ramp and fished two more areas.  There, both of us caught some pretty lethargic bass that at first felt like a dead branch before revealing themselves as some pretty decent bass, close to three pounds before calling it a day.  All in all a fine day especially since both of us didn't have high hopes.

Another Shot At The Bay

March 14, 2018
I had to take my folks to LAX early Wednesday so I had a few hours to kill before I could head home without dealing with traffic.  So asked Jacob if he wanted to hit up King's for a few hours.  He told me he was in but that morning I received a text from him if we should go or not as it was raining where he lived.  It was raining in OC as well so I checked the weather in Redondo and it wasn't raining and it not was forecasted to rain until late afternoon.  I gave him the option to back out.  I wasn't too jazzed anyhow as it was not going to be good anyways.  No matter, whether he bailed or not, I'd be fishing just to kill time.  He texted back after a few minutes that he's in.  Once on the road I realized traffic to LAX was going to make me late and I texted him as such.  No worries as he was having the same issue with trying to get through downtown.  We didn't get the parking lot until 30 minutes after our planned time.  I decided early in the week that we'd stay in the bay.  I didn't want to venture to the outer wall as I didn't want to waste a sea-sickness patch on another shitty day.  So we armed ourselves with light rods and lines.  Early Jacob was on his first hook up.  Nothing of significance.. for the morning he had 3 bass and 2 lost.  I had 2 lost and one to hand.
It was my time to treat for lunch and it was time for Sanuki No sato.

Travel Day: Heading Home

February 20, 2018
We woke up, packed our stuff, cleaned the timeshare before headed home.  It was a tough trip and like any fishing trip we can't control the weather.  Had we'd been there a week earlier the river would have been much better and we wouldn't have had to divert our plans toward Pyramid.   On the way back we stopped by at Hot Creek to break up the long drive and do a little bit of dry fly fishing before ending our trip officially.
I wanted to try out my new Orvis 8 foot 4 weight.  Fish were plentiful and stacked along the river.  We only would fish a short period just to get it out of the system.  Fish were rising by the time we arrived around 10am.
Easy fishing for mix of dinks bows and browns for the next 45 minutes to an hour until we gave up and headed home for the long drive back to the real world.

Last Fishing Day: Pyramid

February 19, 2018
Ill prepared for Pyramid we spent the previous night scrambling.  We spent the night running from shop to shop gathering info, a step stool and tying material.  We spent much of the evening tying flies and luckily my buddy had a spare sinking line in his gear bag.  I swapped my 6 weight floating line with an outbound short 230 grain head.  The line was cracked and not in good condition but I had left my appropriate lines and rods at home thinking we wouldn't be fishing the lake.
Scene reminiscent of the end of Terminator
Woke up early and miscalculated the driving time.  We wanted to be set up just before sunrise.  We were going to miss that window.
It took us longer than we anticipated and when we got to the water we decided to try a beach we were told would be a good area for stripping streamers.  It was COLD.  I don't think I've ever been so cold.  With every strip of the flyline, frost would accumulate at your finger Which was a first for me.  With that of course your guides would also ice over.
Haven't never been there I had no clue of I was even far enough into the lake to be reaching the drop off.  I didn't want to go any further than where the handle of my step stool be submerged in water.  If that happened that would mean I'd have to put my hands in water to retrieve it which I did not want to do.  After a hour or so here at this beach it was time to hit the most productive part of the lake, Pelican Point.  It definitely was popular, it seemed all the anglers were here.  Fishermen from my left and right were getting on fish.  Of course they were properly rigged with heavy rods.  All I had was a 6 weight and some fives.  My fishing partner managed one in the 20 inch class while I was at the truck re-rigging my five weight with an indicator set up as I was watching everyone catching using this method.  This was pointless with this rod and eventually went back to the sinking line.
I had enough around lunch.  Without being properly outfitted and the fact it was beyond cold I was over it.  We moved toward town and spent the remaining day fishing the Truckee without any better luck.

Day Three: Decisions, Decisions

February 18, 2018
Serious winds blew all the emerging BWOs onto the banks.
Weather reports indicated a serious storm coming in with winds up to 29mph.  With such conditions, fly fishing was going to be next to impossible.   The debate was to hit up the river or the lake.  The lake fishes well in nasty conditions but, my thinking was with 29mph winds whats the point?  You won't be able to cast.  On top of that we didn't come prepared.  Wrong rod, lines, indicators, and no ladders.  Of course any decisions we made would likely be the wrong one.  We didn't bother setting the alarm and when we woke we took our time before heading into town to get some intel from sporting goods stores.
Scheel's, World's Largest Sporting Goods Store
We made our rounds to every shop we could think of: Sierra Trading Post, Sportsman's Warehouse, and Scheel's.  It was after lunch and we debating even bothering if we should even be fishing this day.  Perhaps this would simply be a recon trip of the river but after think about it if we were on the water we'd want to fish so he bought our Nevada licenses.  We got some info and decided to fish the river in hopes of finding some shelter from the wind.  I can say about the people in Reno, they are open with information unlike California where anglers, fly shops guard their fishing spots like its their daughter's virginity.   I guess with this many anglers it maybe wise.  Reno on the otherhand it seemed even random people overhearing us would give use such useful information including driving directions.  It was quite a shock to the system.
We fished the river but had no luck whatsoever.  The storm was making it way to us and hit us while fishing.  It was time to give up and call it a day.
We stopped by the Reno Fly Shop and Orvis to get info on any recent reports.  Of course they told us the Lake fished well this day.  We looked at each other and said that figures.  So we extended this trip one day to fish the Lake.  Again both shops were extremely helpful and generous with info.  We headed to Walmart to buy a couple step stools and headed home.  After a quick meal at In 'N' Out we tied a few flies with material bought at both shops.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Day Two: California Side

February 17, 2018
We decided to fish the California side on the first day.  It was cold and weather was starting to come in.  After taking the scenic route around Lake Tahoe, we headed to Ace Hardware for some intel and for my buddy to buy his fishing license.  It would not be not long before we were heading to the water.  There we would be met with rising fish.  Hampered by a slight breeze causing difficult casts and drifts, we were unable to entice any fish to take our offerings in the slow featureless water.
At around noon we headed back to the truck for lunch.  After which we rerigged with nymphs and tried our luck upstream towards more turbulent waters.  First to hook up was my buddy with fish in the 18-20 inch class but lost him at the hands while he was fumbling to get his net.  In no time I was hooked up as well but with a much smaller fish.  I would lose another one as well that was similar in size.  After fishing several hours with no fish we moved onto another section.  With light falling fast I managed my second fish of the day, a mountain whitefish, before calling it for the day.

Truckee Trip Day One: Travel Day

February 16, 2018
This Truckee trip has been booked for a few months now.  As we counted down to start of our trip we anxiously tied flies and kept up on fishing reports.  Springlike conditions were the norm and reports of skwala hatches were becoming commonplace.  We began filling our fly boxes with appropriate imitations.  As time approached the weather changed and a storm was coming in.
First day was for the most part a travel day.  We did manage a quick session on the Owens just before we ran out of light.  It was more of a casting sessions than a fishing outing.  I was able to try out my new Orvis Superfine Carbon 8 foot 4 weight.  Once we ran out of light we were back on the road towards Reno.
We made it to our timeshare in Genoa and after unpacking and settling down I whipped up a simple steak salad for dinner before heading to bed.  

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Kaiser Tribute

For months now I've tried to finish this tribute to Kaiser. Overwhelmed and not sure exactly what I wanted to add and how I wanted to edited it, I started and deleted more than a few attempts. Then I just held off on completing it out of frustration. Last night I realized today would have been his birthday and decided I would complete it for this day. Not sure if this really how I wanted it to turn out but this is what I put together. Kaiser would have been 10 today.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Skunks Off 2018

Luc has come back from his peacock bass Amazon trip.  He invited me to the lake so that he could return my GoPro to me that he took with him to Brazil.  Unfortunately he never did use it so I don't have any fishing footage to edit for him.  He did say that Mikey Wier was part of his group and he did alot of filming so Luc didn't even bother.
This years we are having another warm California winter with temps at Canyon in the mid 80s.  Water temps almost 60 degrees.  Luc was on relatively early with a handful of 2 to 3 pounders.  I had a couple strikes early as well but failed to connect with any.  We are fishing heavy full sinking lines.  Using traditional bass master style hook setting methods is not ideal as it requires you to fight the water resistance of the heavy flyline while lifting your rod.  Of course if you are programed innately to set the hook this way like I am it is hard to change.  When fishing deep sinking lines it is best to hold your rod and pull straight back not changing the rod angle.  Think about it like someone bearhugging you and you elbow them in the stomach to get them off.  I had this in mind when the first few fish struck my fly but I half assed both methods trying to correct myself in mid strike. If you err, you must commit to it and not try to correct it in mid form like I was trying to do.
Eventually I switched to a smaller fly, a Cheech's Low Fat Minnow by Curtis Fry as it more closely resembling the size of the typical shad in Canyon.  Eventually I had a strike and while I half assed the hook set again, I managed to get this one hooked, mostly because the bass inhaled the fly.  So he did 98% of the work.  Nonetheless I managed my first fish of the year after four outings.  It was a small bass maybe if I'm generous, a pound in weight.
Luc managed a handful of healthy fat fish and lost at the boat one that was in the 4-5 pound class.  So now that I've manged to wipe the skunk off the year, it would be nice to finally get a decent one for the year.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

2018 Season Not Starting Out So Well

I took Jacob out to fish King Harbor for a few hours but it ended up as a bust.  We didn't even get a strike.  Initially we tried the outer wall when that failed to produce we switched to lighter rods and fished the inside.  Yet that did not prove any better.  Beyond slow.  My 2018 season has not been kind to me so far.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Still No Fish For 2018

Just after New Years, I fished with Luc on his home waters and after about 40 minutes we were kicked off the lake.  Luc had forgotten to register his boat and thought that he had a grace period to do so.  Given the option to take a citation or leave we chose the later.  The start of 2018 did not go so well.  Sunday we decided to day trip it to a sierra river to see if I could get my first fish of the year.
 It didn't happen.  There was only one fish caught among the two of us and it wasn't mine.  We fished a stretch of water we never fished and most if not all the water was water we preferred not to fish.  It was either too fast, too slow or too deep. 
The highlight of the day was finding a fantastic Mexican restaurant with superb carnitas both in torta and taco form.  So it wasn't all bad.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Last Chance to Advantage of the 2017 Fishing License: Day Three

December 29
We debated whether to stay the night or just head home to avoid the New Years traffic.  Having already paid for the room for the night and convinced the owners weren't going to give us a refund we decided to spend the night at the roach motel and fish until noon.
Started early to beat the crowds and managed to reach an area close to hole we managed the nice buck and hen.  Morning was cold in the 30s and fishing was slow although I did mange a few fish in the foot long range early.
We fished Big Bend and on the first two casts I managed another pair of 12 inchers at the head of the hole but did not produce any more fish.  By this time we were coming close to noon, our deadline.  We fished a few holes on the way back to the truck.  On the last hole, Chul and I fished it together,  He took the head I took the tail.  After several drifters I heard him reeling his line in and say "I'm done."  Just when he finished his sentence, my bobber dunked and I set the hook.   It ended up being the best fish of the trip.  After he helped me land the buck, he started ripping line out and gave the hole another shot.  It was not long before he too was on a nice hen.
After that it was time to head home after a instant ramen lunch at the truck.  And so concluded my 2017 fishing season.