Monday, March 31, 2014

In an Hours Time... And Something New...

This was Sunday just after noon. This was Sunday just after 2 pm. Saturday was mostly rain, but throw in the sleet and it just gets down right miserable. Oh - and another Fiberglass Manifesto loaner rod came in - the 580 Epic from Tight Lines (George M). This is going to be fun - timed perfectly with the water starting to warm up!!!

Second Rod Tube Sock Done

Now this rod tube is all safe and sound!!! The tube for this Ijuin Yomogi fly rod is actually fiberglass - who knows if the sock will help it not get damaged or not - either way, it's piece of mind. The yarn is a cotton/acrylic blend so the texture is a lot smoother than the first sock which was 100% wool. I'll have to experiment with different types of yarn to see what works best. I ended up knitting this sock twice - the first time the diameter was just a few stitches shy of producing the correct tension - so I 'tink'ed it (knitting spelled backwards = undoing your stitches). The first go around was all pau in the freetime of 4 days. The second time I got it done in 3 days. Now spring just has to get here so I can fish theses rods and test out the tube sock (protection against the truck back seat) theory.

Fly Fishing 101

I took the kids to the Orvis Shop in Leesburg on Friday afternoon. I found out that they were having a Fly Fishing 101 course on Sunday and it had two openings. I tried to call La to see if she was interested - but couldn't reach her, so I took the initiative and signed her and Marlon up. It was super cold and windy (this winter will not let go!!!) but the both of them stuck it out and were making nice loopy casts by the end of the lesson. They were in the second group (their first half of the morning was inside learning the parts and pieces, some knots and basics of flies; second half was outside casting) and when they started casting, the rain had stopped. By the time they finished, the sleet was dropping like bad debt and housing prices. At the end, Marlon was stoked and was able to rattle off the concepts and principles of flyfishing. I'm not quite sure where La stands - maybe will give it a swing every now and then when the kids and I drag her out with us... but I know Marlon can't wait to try out his new skills!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lawn Casting the Japanese 7'0" Fiberglass Fly Rods

I took the Japanese rods out to get more time in cast them before the Kabuto has to get mailed out to the next recipient (it is a Fiberglass Manifesto Loaner program rod) I lined the Kabuto 7033 with a RIO Perception WF3 - and wouldn't you know it, it cast it beautifully!!! I have cast four different lines on it now and it has handled them all perfectly!!! It is a rare rod that can cast several lines, but do to that well like it was made to cast each line specifically, that is one in a million - if I had to have only one flyrod, this Kabuto would be it (and I'm glad I don't have to own just one and can enjoy them all). That said, the Ijuin Yomogi is a completely different beast all together. As I said before - this is the slowest rod I have ever cast. I lined it up with a SA Supra DT3 and it forces you to slow down every part of the cast. In that process you feel the backcast load, the line unfurl after you stop the backcast, the rod reloading as the forward cast begins, and the stop rod flexing at the end of the forward cast and you see the line unfurl completely and land with no force whatsoever. With this rod, you will not punch 50' of line through a 10 knot headwind. You will not break the sound barrier either. But you aren't supposed to. You will enjoy developing an intuitive understanding of the cast, and if you are lucky enough to get a fish to play tug of war, you will smile like a little kid on Christmas - this is the definition of ultralight weight fiberglass fishing. These rods are just wonderful - despite their being the same length, having the same three pieces and the same line designator, they could not be any more different. They do share the fact that they are both works of art that are meant to be enjoyed out on the water catching fish!

Finished Tube Sock

As predicted, this project took a week. Fit the 5" diameter aluminum rod tube perfectly. There is enough excess on either end to protect the end caps on the tube. Early on I was planning on knitting much longer sock ends so I could tie an overhand knot to secure the sock over the tube. Instead, the fit was just right to ensure the sock will not move unless someone removes it - so with just 3" overhanging the tube end caps, there is enough padding that should a short fall, the tube should escape damage. Working with double point needles was not bad at all. I got used to it very quickly and it flowed well (unlike working with long straight needles) I've already started Tube Sock Number 2 - another week (but knitting is so therapeutic it doesn't feel like a chore at all)

First Outing with the Ijuin Yomogi 7'0" 3wt

This handsome rod came in the mail on Friday. It was the only flyrod I brought with us (Noe and I) on Saturday as I wanted to focus my attention on it. I have heard so much chatter over the web about it - I was excited to finally have one in my own two hands. After a couple of casts, I had a green sunfish inhale my fly - first fish on!!! Check out the bend on the rod - deep into the butt section!!! I LOVE ultralight weight Japanese fiberglass fly rods - nothing else feels like them! An interesting point, this is absolutely the softest/slowest action rod I have ever felt. In the past, if I had picked up a rod like this, I would have immediately put it back down and scoffed at it - wet noodle, no way this could cast a line or catch a fish. But those were my graphite days... subjected to the marketing hype of ultrafast carbon fiber stiffness, I took the advice of others and only looked to go faster. But I was battling wind and much stronger fish - graphite has it's place. Well for what conditions I fish in now, my eyes and mind are open to other alternatives. With this rod, just like with every progressively slower rod I have picked up in the last year or so, casting a line made my jaw drop!!! Exquisite feeling and equally well behaved slow, perfectly unfurling loops!!! It is very ironic that my casting is getting better as the choice of rod speed is getting slower and slower. And as the shad return to the Potomac here in the coming weeks, and as I break out the longer, stronger graphite rods to cast sinking line and weighted flies, my expectation is that my improved casting flows straight into the use of that equipment. I'll post more in the coming days, but catching 4 inch fish on this rod put the same smile in my face that 40 pound wahoo used to on 80 pound class standup trolling gear (which oh by the way is also fiberglass - Sea Striker Billfisher, dig through my old posts for more on that). I am looking forward to developing a more in depth understanding of this rod and the joys it promises!

Fishing Contest - Noe versus Daddy-O

Marlon had a science project to work on Saturday morning. I took Noe to Four Mile Run to make sure Marlon had a chance to focus. To entice her to fish hard, I challenged her to a fishing contest. We only had to take out a few birds nest accidents - a good sign she is getting better at casting and retrieving. I caught 15+. She caught 10 and actually removed the hook from a majority of those. I announced at the end of the outing that Noe was the winner (although we both won with the awesome together time)!

Monday, March 17, 2014

This is Why I Took Up Knitting in the First Place

What to do on a snowed in day? I'm making some "Tube Socks" for my fly rod tubes. These will help protect the tubes from scratches while the tubes are in the truck (headed back and forth from fishing) This is actually the main reason I thought about taking up knitting. I have high expectations from these socks. This is my first time using double point needles. They were intimidating at first, but after the first couple of rows are in place, the knitting becomes clearer to see. The only issue is this is not a fast process - in this case especially switching needles every 6 stitches. This tube sock will be 5 inches in perimeter to fit one of the smaller rod tubes I have (which is also one of the more vulnerable to dings and scratches) - and only 24 stitches per row (6 stitches per needle). I should be finished with it in about a week. I'll post more when it is finished. Knitting is as calming as it gets. Fishing, especially sight casting, gets my adrenaline way up - not like big wave surfing up, but pretty close. It's nice to have a fall back activity that lowers the blood pressure.

It Just Keeps Going On and On and On....

Snow. Again. Another 6+ inches. I think I'm done with snow - thanks! Even the kids are done with snow - they only played for an hour in the snow (instead of several hours like last time). I'm ready for Summer now...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Noe's Art

The schools here in the Reston area in Northern Virginia had an art exhibit at a gallery in the Lake Anne area. We spent the afternoon looking at all the pieces of work. Noe had two pieces on display - her clay iguana was the first. And another up at the local grocery store. It was really neat to see her pieces up on display. The really cool thing about taking in the exhibit was watching La - a super proud mom and it really showed!!! Lots of other cool art also (but Noe's was the best)!

Marlon and Noe's First Fishing Trip for 2014

I dragged Marlon and Noe out to 4 Mile Run today. We brought it all!!! Tenkara rods, spinning rods and a couple of fly rods. Noe said she wanted to use spinning gear and Marlon said he was in for his new tenkara rod. Noe used Gulp Crickets and was slamming the door on the bluegs and greenies. She certainly takes after her Mom (very vocal when she lands a fish). Noe did get some big ones. Marlon chose the harder route and cast the fly. He picked off several sunnies - mostly greens - surgical strikes of fishing prowess!!! We saw a bunch of large mouth bass swimming around, but we weren't able to hook up with one. With the kiddoroosters fishing, I ended up tending to their needs more than fishing. They are both getting better - only three bird's nests between the two of them for the entire three hours we were out there. Man these waders make my butt look ginormous!!! Or how's this one "I used photoshop to make my butt look huge". I did break out the Steffen 8'0" 4/5wt. Paired it with a Creek 2 lined with a RIO Perception WF5. If you've never cast a Steffen, they are the epitome of practical casting. If I had to catch fish for sustenance, I wouldn't fool around with anything else. With this rod I can feel when I make a perfect cast and when I make a mistake. I am not a great caster, but I aspire to become one - and being able to know what a great cast is by feel is an important step towards getting better. The camera battery died before I brought out the Steffen, so no pictures of that rod (yet - when the smallmouth start coming out, this rod will be out in force). Sushi??? Not from this body of water... Fishing - yes. Catch and release - of course. Dinner - no way...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Butt Kicking Mud Wrestling Carp

I had an appointment to get the oil changed in the truck this morning. Well - on the way back home, I just happen to pass a well known carp hole. Since I was in the area... I figured I should let my inner redneck shineYou can see the mud puffs in the middle of this pictures. There are carp feeding at the upstream end (left side) of the puffs. Yeah you - I got your number!!! Lots of people use the C&O Trail as a part of their running path. Little do they know that there are a bunch of mud wrestling beasts just hanging out waiting to kick some butt! Well - I got my butt kicked - but I was using a tenkara rod to even up the odds. I got the carp to take the Montana Hybrid fly (awesome fly by the way - google it if you are interested) and as I set the hook, I started looking for a place to get down the embankment... should have thought about that before I cast the fly. I got the fish turned a couple of times and they it bolted and took the tippet with it. I lost a good fly - the carp got a new "lip piercing". You win some, you lose some! I walked around a bit looking for more carp - they were there - I'll have to come back with a 6 wt (so I can use 2X tippet and win the wrestling match). This was the first time I had been to the Lock 7 area when the leaves were not filled in. You could see all the accesses to the other cuts. I tried walking through some of the brush last year and got hit by poison "something growing in the weeds" - I had flashbacks of the bad itchy scratchies. I just got hypochondriatic heebee jeebees...