Tuesday, May 22, 2018

First Cast Since Being Back in 'Merica

May 20, 2018
The reports from the Far East trip are forthcoming.  I have not forgotten.  Stayed tuned.  Until then a report from Sunday from one of our locals.
I've been back here in the States for a week now and I'm still recovering from jet lag.  In fact I only got a couple hours of sleep the night before.  I received a text in the morning from my buddy asking me when I'll be arriving at his house.  I texted him back that I had to cancel I felt like shit.  After tossing and turning for a while I called him back and told him I'm in I'll be leaving at 7am.
This once great creek was devastated from the drought.  When we checked it out during those lean years it was completely devoid of fish and all the fishing holes had been blown out.  We checked the lower section as I was in no real condition to make a strenuous hike to the more productive upper stretches.  Water was thin and holding water was sparse.  Despite this we both managed a fish within this section but as we continued to hike up the creek became less fishable and I cursed myself for not pushing through hiking to the upper stretches.  After bushwacking our way through we climbed to the trail and made our way to the better portions of the river.
Once there it seemed every hole produce multiple fish and even some quality local editions.  Although not as quality as years past but quality no less.  It is nice to see that the fish survived the harsh dry years and are now thriving.  Several dinks were among the "larger" models which gave us hope that later generations will continue to thrive.
All my fish were caught using a hackle hair caddis in tan-ish colors ranging from size 14 to 10.  I didn't keep track but I must have had over 20 fish to hand.  We ended our fishing excursion at 12:30 and were back at the truck by 1:30 just as we had originally planned.  With a fog coming into the valley it was a nice cool hike and provided a natural air conditioning. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Unfinished Business Trip Preview

Last year I took an impromptu trip to both Taiwan and Japan.  While there I had the opportunity to fish for a few native species, I managed a few and lost a few opportunities.  In Japan I added to my species list both amago and iwana but never did get my suzuki.  I also never had a chance to fish for the iconic yamame.  While in Taiwan I was completely skunked and lost two opportunities for Indo-pacific tarpon.  Also a planned trip for Taiwanese mahseer was canceled as rain was in the forecast.

This year I planned to finish what I came to do last year.  My primary objectives are Taiwanese mahseer, yamame and suzuki.  Secondary objectives would be maruta, snakehead and any other native fish I might run into.

The trip didn't start well when I woke up before 6am for a 6:45am shuttle ride to LAX.  I was still lying in bed going over some emails when the phone rang.  I didn't recognize the number so I just let it go.  Who the hell calls at 6:10 in the morning?  A few minutes later I hear a knock at the door.  I go to the window to see a SUV parked in front of the house.  So I open the door and it's the shuttle driver.  I say "you're early."  He swings his arm gesturing and says "let's go!"  What the F?  I haven't even started to get ready.  No shower.  No shave.  I'm not even dressed.  I tell him give me a minute.  So I rush to get dressed, brush my teeth and put water in my hair to flatten out the mess that's going on there and leave.  All my luggage and carry-on were prepared near the door.  So I walked out a few minutes later very annoyed that I was rushed out the door 20 minutes early!  To say I was pissed would be an understatement.  No shower for a 14 hour flight plus the several hours I would have to wait it our in the airport and the time it takes for immigration and baggage claim would mean I'd be without a shower for close to 24 hours.  That was not a good start to my trip.

The trip is yet to finish and I hopefully have some more fishing objectives to meet.  Reports forthcoming when I have the time and more importantly the energy to write them.

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.