Sunday, April 28, 2013
Right after lunch, I took the kids to the Lake to try fishing today. I caught a few bluegill and this LMB - it inhaled a pink grub I tied up a while back and I hooked it square on the roof of its mouth. The entire time we were out there, we were surrounded by swarms of gnats that seemed to want to live in our cranial orifices. Noe pointed out a few times that she could see the cloud of bugs flying around my head - that is until they sensed her being a carbon dioxide emitted mammal also. By the end of our short stay, the bugs had us thinking it would be best to wear dust masks and mosquito netting - and not to mention the start of the rains. Tough day of fishing...
Seeing the copious amounts of uneducated carp (dumb to the way of the fly) yesterday inspired me to catch up on a planned project that I have had on the shelf for a while - the custom milk crate fishing basket. I already have a Boardfisher basket, but the tube configuration on it is not optimum for how I want to fish on a SUP (oh - the carp fishing would have me on the Starboard Blend - remember the post from yesterday at Beavercreek Reservoir?). I will put three rod tubes on this crate - all screwed down to a chopping board that I got permission to cut up. One will be straight up for holding a net/gaff/third rod, and the other two will lean out opposing sides at between 45 to 60 degrees to support trolling while paddling. I will also put two Mighty Mounts will backing plates on the non-chopping block braced side and a third on the chopping board side - for cameras, GPS and other smaller gear. I'll also be drilling in a few drain holes for good measure. I have to get two more backing plates and another Mighty Mount as well as some good stainless screws and nuts for the rod tubes. Other than that, the new crate should be done by this weekend! I can just see it now - getting dragged around by golden bonefish... ahh yes, that's the next goal
Despite all that blah-blah-blah I just wrote on my last post, getting skunked still stinks. When we got back, Marlon and I decided that we should hit ole' reliable and hook into some Lake Newport fighting fish!!! We tied on some of our popper frogs and hook into everything from crappie, small large mouth bass (I love that oxymoron), and the omnipresent bluegill. My final tally - 1 crappie, 12 bluegill and 1 LMB. Marlon had 2 LMBs and 1 HUGE BLUEGILL - this thing was almost as big as his head is round!!! I taught Marlon how to better cast the flyline instead of swinging it out and he did great! So I went out fishing three times on Saturday - not a bad way to spend a 70 degree, ridiculously sunny day.
After lunch, we loaded up the truck with La's SUP and the kayak and headed over to Fairfax Reservoir. We thought the lake was Beaverdam Creek, but when we asked some of the other people at the dock, they corrected us (nicely of course). As usual, the kids lounged out on their kayak chairs, La buzzed around on her SUP (very nice form now) and I got to paddle the kids and the food/drinks around (but I like doing that). I think I can really use a flats pole at place like this - in fact as we were dragging the drag chain going downwind I saw TONS of carp (I think they were spawning) and all I could see in my head was me flycasting to bonefish back on Diego Garcia... I think I have found my new favorite paddling spot!!! I left my 5wt in the truck, so I was casting with my Nissin Seiryu rod - I managed to hook one carp after a very long time and it broke off in the blink of an eye. That's fishing! Next time I'll bring the Starboard 11'2" decked out for fishing and those carp will be MINE!!! AHH - AHH - AHH - AHH - AHHHHHH!!!! We bumped into a guy shooting the carp with a bow and arrow - looked like tons of fun! I told him to go down a little bit further and he'd be shooting them in a "barrel". He said thanks and asked if I ate carp because he had 10 in the boat - I said thanks but I only eat saltwater fish. Noe then asked "Can he release the fish if he shoots them with an arrow?" and I said "No - they are dead at that point". Since we have been catching and releasing everything when we go fishing, the kids have come to think that happens all the time. Noe then said "I don't want to do that kind of fishing because then the fish are dead!". Lesson learned here - take notes because this is free - make the most of where you live and be a happy person. We have lived in some pretty cool places by the sea and have loved it - now we live inland, but you can find really cool things anywhere, just open your eyes and look!
I went to the platform above the Chain Bridge this morning to try my luck at catching some Hickory and American Shad while they are still around. Instead of shad, I caught this White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni). I lost about 10+ flies and if it wasn't a snag, my backcast was caught on a tree - pretty frustrating. For the short time I have been flyfishing, I never knew why people would carry their tippet spools on the exterior of their vest/packs/lanyards - but now I have been enlightened. Anyways - the shad flies I was casting did get a few 'pecks'. I maybe have another month to figure this out. I am fascinated by the timelessness of catching Shad on the Potomac - the colonists did it during the Revolution with this fish playing a huge part in changing the nature of how people viewed governing bodies (the colonial army may have starved without shad at some of it's lowest points). And it isn't a stretch of the imagination to think of how the Native Americans celebrated this annual event by spending days on the river catching and smoking shad. If you have kids, live in the Washington Metro Area and want said kids to learn how to fish - there is an event at Fletcher's Cove this coming Saturday. I'm volunteering on Friday to help stock the C&O Canal - and to pick the experts' minds on how to properly cast and attract the Shad (because I'll be damned if I am going to be shad skunked!!!!). Anyways - anyways... I am happy that I caught a different species - White Sucker Fish.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Marlon and I decided to try our luck again this afternoon. We also decided to try out the poppers we made this past Winter. We setup our seiryu and keiryu (reel-less flyrods softer and stiffer than tenkara rods respectively) rods and had a blast watching the bluegill, largemouth bass and crappie explode on the poppers!!! Best action ever at the old fishing hole!!! I got three bluegill to hand and a LMB. I had about 10 other strikes and Marlon got excited seeing the fish stalk the multicolored poppers. I did lose one (tippet broke at the flyline knot) and we watched as the fish kept randomly attacking the popper for the rest of the afternoon. I am going make some more of these, but I'll try to get some even smaller ones made up - most of the splashing came from the smaller, more aggressive fish that attacked the fly multiple times, but just couldn't get the fly in it's mouth.
The rest of our Sunday in Annapolis was pretty varied. We had brunch with our friends Trevor and Sam. While there we admired the boats tied up in the marina. Then we hit Sandy Point to get our wide open water fix. La took out the Naish Glide for a bit and I took turns fishing with the kids. As you can see, we caught our share of Ulva lactuca - sea lettuce. Can't you see the excitement in the kids' expressions!!!???!!! I don't think I'll ever catch a fish at this place...
I haven't posted in a few days - I'll slap up a few late posts... On Sunday we went to Annapolis to try and sell more water gear that we aren't currently using. The Naish board and the C4 paddle sold - I brought the kayak paddles back with me. I did manage to walk around a bit this time and I saw three boards that I had to walk away from (or risk buying them) - an old Naish Hybrid windsurfer, the Gaastra formula board in the picture and a Cabrihna kite racing board. If you are looking to sell a SUP, this is the place to do it - I had the Glide and La's board tied up to the truck and got asked more than a couple of times if I was selling them. If you are trying to buy a SUP, good luck - so was everybody else. We talked with the people around us trying to sell their stuff - I hate to stereo type but windsurfers are probably the smartest of the water people - takes a lot more dedication and understanding to be a good windsurfer. Anyone can surf and anyone and all their cousins can SUP, but the good windsurfers - far and few between - this swap meet always brings them out of hiding and into one place. Good times!
Saturday, April 20, 2013
I was going to drive to the Chain Bridge and walk the C&O Trail to try my luck against some Shad, but the wind was way up and the bed was too warm. I did take a look at the Lake and the wind was blowing in a favorable direction for the kids and I to cast some flies. I caught 1 crappie, 12 bluegill and 3 bass. Marlon caught 1 bluegill and an awesome large mouth bass. I say awesome because Marlon sight casted to one he saw and worked the fly - he had to do it several times but he eventually got the bass to take the fly - he waited a second to make sure the fly was in the bass's mouth and WHACK - when he set the fly, the fight ensued!!! He kept the rod tip up and got the fish to shore!!! That was the best part of it all for me - watching Marlon focus and accomplish his objective!!!! That's fishing!
Sunday, April 14, 2013
La has 'adopted' my surf paddle to be her flatwater tool of choice. Wonder if that means I can get another Methane... Noe was paddling (and not listening to La coach her on proper paddling technique - typical Noe). Beautiful spring day!!!
Here is my latest effort in www.tenkarabum.com 's blue fly contest. This is a single strand of the contest blue yarn epoxied on to a tiny tanago hook. I went out to the lake 30 minutes before La and the kids came out to see what this fly could do. A lot more work to get any of the fish to notice it - in fact the line holder for the hook line (the hooks come snelled so I don't have to get frustrated tying them on) attracted more fish than the fly. I brought to hand this young LMB (he inhaled the fly), a young BG and I had another LMB in this size class come off before I got a hand on it. This was the most challenging flyfishing session yet (lots of fish, not many takers), but that certainly made it more fun!
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Surprise surprise - we went fishing down at the Lake (Newport) again. Marlon used his spinning gear and I brought the Nissin Fine Mode. The Bluegill were everywhere - pretty much the summer pattern minus all the lilypads. I did hook up with the resident Crappie again, and again it got off the hook (I hope I am not doing it permanent damage - or else I'll have to eat it). Marlon caught the big one of the day - Bull Bluegill - his only fish for the day. When he hooked into that one, I simultaneously hooked up with a decent sized Yellow Perch. I kept mine in the water to take Marlon's picture and help the kids land the big bruiser, but when I tried to land mine, it looked at me and broke off (brand new fly too). We stayed out a total of 2 and a half hours (nice sunny day) and by the end I had hooked up with 20 or so Bluegill. I am trying not to get jaded with these Lake Newport residents, but tomorrow I'll try to mix it up at another area lake so as to not burn out in the backyard. Maybe I'll try for some Shad down at Fletcher's Cove...
I get my seiryu/tenkara/keiryu rods and supplies from www.tenkarabum.com - and Chris S (proprietor) started a "Blue Fly" contest (check out his website for details). Anyways, I finally tied up a blue fly and used it yesterday. I caught 12 bluegills on the single "killer bug" with a red tail. I was using a Nissin Fine Mode Zoom rod - 14'6" with a number 3 level line. It was real windy too so the casting with this soft rod was challenging - but the action when a pugnacious BG took the fly was AWESOME!!! Not bonefish on 8wt A-W-E-S-O-M-E (epic awesome), but still a great time. Noe caught one on her own and Marlon came away with a 6 count. The crappie and LMBs were no where to be seen. Not sure if it was the wind or the rain we just had - we'll see later on today...
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Late afternoon walk to the Lake. Noe came with me, but it turns out she was avoiding homework - she fished for about 10 minutes then asked to stop and hung out to play with the Cherry Blossom petals. When I brought up a fish, she would come back so she could "feed" them some petals. I hooked up to the Crappie that lives by one of the rocks near the dock - three separate times I hooked into it and three times it came off the hook just as I was about to land it. The other fish caught today - 11 Bluegill and 6 LMBs. The LMBs turn into dead weight once hooked - the Bluegills fight like you just stole it's lunch money. Pound for pound these are one of the most spirited fish to catch - they have a bad rap for being too common, but I'll catch them (sight casting flies, no bait) day after day... if this gets old, I'm in trouble (3.5 hour drive to the beach...)
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
*No harm was caused to any of the fish caught today* that includes the four Bluegill and the six LMBs - despite the distressed look on that small bass Noe is holding. That's just good acting on both their behalfs. Among the lost fish and those that got spooked by the long shadows, I did get a Crappie to take the fly (red ant). When I tried to set the hook, the fly would just shoot out of its mouth - five times in a row. I won't complain though - catching is better than fishing which is better than freezing your butt off and not enjoying the outdoors. The kids tried to sell hotdog chunks to the locals, but they were on a diet (they didn't get a single bite, while my fly only approach was kinda making them upset and impatient). That's fishing...