May 30, 2008

Agent Smith was right...

...though not the first...to compare us to (label us as?) a virus. Though malice may not be man's motivation for destruction, nature and consequence are equally ambivilent to intent.


Every decision you make matters. This weekend I am flying west to check in with my waders model. Perhaps if I cared a little more about life, I'd just send a letter.


Read Olivia Judson's piece on extinction from this week. Makes me wish I had a better way with words. Loosely pertaining to fishing;


"Certainly, we’re having an impact. For example, fishing in the northwestern Atlantic has caused population collapses in several species of great sharks — including bull sharks, blacktips, dusky sharks, hammerheads. Since 1972, scalloped hammerhead shark populations off the coast of North Carolina have fallen by 98 percent; dusky sharks, bull sharks and smooth hammerhead populations have fallen by 99 percent. By comparison, blacktips are doing well: their population fell by only 93 percent.
The population crashes have had a big knock-on effect. The vanished sharks fed on skates and rays, which have seen their populations grow by a factor of ten. Cownose rays now number 40 million, up from 4 million in 1972. These animals feed on scallops and clams; the increase in their numbers recently caused the collapse of North Carolina’s bay scallop fishery. And this isn’t even a problem we can blame on climate change."


Also related to fishing, hit Default Pool for the first time in a week last night. Brian nabbed one stockie, and I came away with a 3" chub (no jokes, please). Had a bruiser nose up to (litterally, nouch his nose to) my soft-hackle hare's ear, brown ehc, gray ehc, yellow sallie, several mayfly imitations, and even a cricket. All were refused. I'll admit, the first few times, it was pure exhiliration...but after 90 minutes of trying to change his mind, I was just frustrated. Especially when he completely left the water to chase something within 2' of my fly...for the third time.


Missed a couple smaller fish. By the time I couldn't see my parachute iso (biggest, ugliest mayfly in my box), Brian had stopped fishing already and my wrists were covered in mosquito bites. Sadly, the trout streak had ended.

May 27, 2008

"Hey Un'il-L'Ed, wanna go fissin?"


She's too cute, it's true.

May 21, 2008

Streaks

Not in my underwear (hopefully).

Saturday was the last time I haven't been fishing. Before that...? I think it was the previous Saturday. At a minimum, I have been fishing 10 of the last 11 days, and caught trout each time out. Many (most?) of those days have been two-outing days, usually with some lunch-break sunnys and bass and afternoon/evening trout.

This is what life should be.

Hopped back in my car last night after a couple hours at the creek and found I had a visitor trying to find it's way back out. No wonder the trout have been all over the Yellow Sallys. I hadn't seen any of these guys on the stream, but I tied one on for something new, and they have definitely been interested...I'd say about half my trout this week have come on the Sally. I had no idea they were here. Sometimes you just get lucky.

May 15, 2008

Limiting your fishing to catch and kill is the only way to fish ethically

At least, so say several European countries, Switzerland being the latest to join. Germany and Scandanavian countries have similar policies or, at the least, wideheld sentiments.

Is their logic fuzzy or flawless?

Primary motive being to decrease the suffering of animals (I can see that, it's cruel to trick an animal into chomping a piece of metal and making it fight for it's life only for your own pleasure...of course, I can live with that), they rebutt arguments about the conservation implications that mandatory killing of anything you catch will reduce overall fishing pressure.

OK. Maybe. Even probably. But at what cost? You remove conservation-minded anglers (who practice primarily catch and release) from the equation. I've always felt experiencing the outdoors breeds desire to protect it. By discouraging those likely to be conservation-minded from participating in the sport, aren't you potentially discouraging conservation? I know, it sounds like a little bit of a reach, but seriously, think about it: Are you conservation minded? How did you become so?

The idea behind proper fisheries management (in my opinion, and with regard to recreational fishing) should be to minimize mortalities with proper catch-and-release. While I highly doubt forbidding C&R will result in extirpiration (although it could) directly, in the long run we (they) could be sacraficing a tie between conservtion and recreation to be more ethical to wildlife.

What's more ethical to you, protecting a few individuals from a species from short-term harm, or the entire species from extinction?

Fly, Spin, Bait...encroach...

Went back to the stream last night...old man in tow. The original plan had been to troll the lake for rainbows. I thought maybe the stream would be a better idea, because:

-the wind is always an unknown on the lake, and it was gusting fairly well yesterday afternoon
-I hadn't been to the lake in over a month, and just didn't know the trout situation out there
-the canoe is uncomfortable enough with one person...almost unbearable with two...especially when I'm rowing
-I knew the stream had plenty of stockies
-I knew the hatches and spinner falls were getting thick
-I hadn't seen another person on my default stretch of the stream since April
-and of course, I wanted to throw flies at browns I could see more than drag lures across a lake over rainbows I couldn't see

I had thought maybe I could convince Dear Old Dad (DOD) to try out the 3wt as well...but he would have none of that.

I should point out here that the section of stream I fish is SMALL. It's no mountain brookie stream (though not much further up it looks like one), but it's widest pools are maybe 30' across, with most of it's width at 20' or under, and made up of very broken pocket water. It isn't somewhere that you can comfortably "share a pool."

Naturally, when we got there around 4, a car was already parked in MY parking spot. That was fine, though, there's a good mile of stream that's (fairly) easily accessible, and I have no problem sharing (to an extent). As we were rigging up, another car arrived carrying a single angler, and the two people fishing the Default Pool were displaced headed home for some supper. 1 for 2...good trade for us.

As the new guy was still over Default Pool, DOD and I headed upstream. I was at the next "large" pool up, and was seeing fish; about a dozen 6-8-ers and at least 2 12+ inch fish. Had 1 rise (from one of the larger fish) and a couple chases on my soft-hackle, but couldn't get a commitment (a bit sunny and early in the afternoon for the caddis). I made my way a couple hundred yards back downstream to DOD (who was fishing a small spoon at a promising-looking-but-typically-devoid-of-fish section downstream of a nice riffle) to coax him up to the pool for a try at one of the lunkers. About half-way through our conversation, new guy shows up on the opposite bank asking how our luck has been. A simple "Nothing yet here" reply and we headed back upstream again.

As we approached the pool and I started giving DOD the lay of the land, I was handed the spinning rod. I tried to get him to make a few casts first, but DOD, bless his heart, wouldn't have it.

Cross-stream and back, couple small chasers.

Across and downstream swing, couple small chasers.

Upstream from below the pool and back down through it, bingo, hit by a little guy.

Reapeat...BINGO...GOOD FISH! Had a 15-16" fish on DOD's rig. I actually felt a bit guilty, but as Dads generally are, he seemed happy to watch it happen (and in this pool, you can see every move the fish makes, so watching can be almost as exhilarating as catching). Of course, as I brought the fish to hand, I started to feel a bit wary, as the new guy had followed us up to the pool on the opposite bank and was witness to this very nice fish.

Let me explain why it bothered me a little to catch such a beauty (albeit ugly due to completely chewed fins) in front of another angler. You see, when it comes right down to it, I'm selfish. Due to it's ease of access (like I've said before, I don't even need to change my shoes after work to fish it), I'll be fishing this stretch as often as 4 or 5 afternoons a week, conditions permitting, through the end of the season. By then, I will have made the fish so wary of my presence, my fly selection and presentation will have to be perfect, which is a good thing...honing skills is important. It also makes it more rewarding, even if I am repeatedly catching the same group of fish. Over the course of the season, I may end up taking home 1 or 2 fish. But I know, if an angler after meat sees me bring in something nice then let it go, they'll have no problem coming back and pounding the area until they get a full meal, and the fish I was hoping to catch a few more times (as it both strengthens its muscles and becomes more selective) over the course of the year, will end up on his plate. Yes, it is 100% selfish. Yes, I am ok with that.

So, as New Guy (from here on, referred to as Potential Threat To My Trout, PTTMT) continues upstream, the trout is returned to the pool. We make a few more casts around the area, DOD with the spin, me with the fly, but by now we have put the fish down, and we head back downstream. Default Pool is now free, and slurps and boils abound. But before I tie on my GG, I stop to pick up some trash...Mepps packages...probably left by PTTMT or his predecessors. The gnat gets some strikes and I bring one fish to hand while DOD is watching, wary of spooking the pool with his spin gear. I tell him to hop in, there's plenty of room here for us both. I decide it's time for a fly change, and while rigging up, PTTMT, now PITAB, or PAIN IN THE ASSSS BAITER, shows up with a can o' worms and a penchant for occupying the already occupied pool. At least an inquiry as to if, or even where, we would or wouldn't mind him setting up would have been appreciated. Instead, all he's interested in is how the action is. I am annoyed.

My intent was to swing the soft-hackle (now that the caddis were showing up) across-and-down. However, since PITAB is standing on the bank 20' downstream of me and casting up-and-across to drift his 'crawler, this plan immediately changes to relocating...downstream a quarter-mile to the next "big" pool. I tell DOD I'll meet him down here. As I pass by, PITAB asks if I want to try his spot (he had just nabbed a small brown...quick release style). Not wanting to get into it with DOD there, a simple "No thanks" and a scowl was my reply.

At the next pool, we both long-released a couple, and DOD brought a (supposed) small rainbow to the bank before it got off. I even scored my first chub of the season (hooray!). PITAB was gone by the time we headed back upstream, and we hit the other two pools shortly, netting one more small brown on the soft-hackle, before heading home.

All in all, it was a great afternoon with the old man. Unfortunately, a small portion of it was soured by another angler's lack of couth. Hey, I've been primarily a spin and bait fisher for nearly 20 years. I enjoy it still, and have nothing against anyone who does the same. But regardless of your style of fishing, a little courtesy for others is all I ask. And to PITAB...you're really kinda a douche. After hopping back into the pool with Pops and I, I'd be surprised if it wasn't your appearance that drove off the other two anglers that were there when you showed up. I suppose that's probably your game plan. I have no problem sharing the stream, I don't own it, but from now on, You just might want to watch yourself around my back-cast.

May 14, 2008

Suicidal Stockies...

They sure grow up fast.

I've been too busy working, traveling and, most importantly, fishing to spend much time on the ole blog; there's still a lot to be recapped...and a camera still in need of tech support.

Anyway, the default stream has been good to me over the past week. After scouting and sporadically fishing the "easy" pool since the beginning of the season, I finally started seeing trout there two weeks ago (holdovers? wilds?). Last week, the stocked fish showed up in numbers.

Granted, pellett fed fish straight from the hatchery arent my quarry of choice, but when you can be laying your line on the water, half an hour from work, without even needing to change your shoes...sometimes the default is hard to part with. Especially when the fish are on.

When they first showed up last week, they were dumb and hungry, as you might expect. Myself, being lazy, decided to leave the big fat beetle I had been using for panfish on the leader. They loved it. Rise to every cast, hookup every 3rd or 4th...hence "suicidal." Dozens of 6-8 inchers, and one 15" fish that pulled like he had been there longer than a couple days (though I'm sure he hadn't).

Fast forward to last night. Out of work at 6, straight to the stream to see what was going on, and due to a mishap while playing with some sunnys during lunch, my trusty beetle was gone. Good thing, because those stockies had already learned the game. They obviously aren't as discerning as wild fish, but they are becoming more selective.

I was greeted by swarms of black flies and brown spinners (no entomologist here, but I'd have to guess Ephemerella...Hendricksons? that's all anybody seems to be talking about this week). I didn't have any reliable brown mayfly patterns, so I did my best and went with a sulfer (darkest version I could find in my box). Bingo, close enough to at least make them look. Got a bunch of refusals, a couple of strikes, and one sorry looking, malformed humpback 6" brown before the air started to cool and the spinners started to give way.

CADDIS!

Sporadic, random, lonely, gray/brown caddis skimming up-current. But, much more notably...caddis-emergence-rises.

As they say, you can tell a lot by a rise form. By now, the fish were barely feeding at the surface at all. The activity was dominated by subsurface boils and leaping fish (caddis emerge with speed, and it takes speed to catch speed). So I finally had reason to try what I've been wanting to for a while. Soft hackle hares-ear. I had heard of the violent takes (akin to swinging streamers) associated with fishing caddis pupae imitations. I had hoped that this would help me detect strikes in the waining light. And despite not catching anything over 8", that's exactly what happened.

Drift it in the film, subtle take, no big deal. Swing it across the current, hard take, but better strike early the fish can feel the line. Let it sink and and then let the current lift it at the end of the drift, they literally chase it out of the water. Can't wait to do it again...tonight?

(BTW, first "trout" on a "fly" for '08 was last week on the beetle...being the truck had just dropped them off and I got them on a foam fly...I don't know if that counts, but either way, after yesterday, the legetimate trout-on-fly season is on for me)

May 1, 2008

This One's for the Gals

You know...all those gals that read the crap I spew on here (thanks sis). Anyway, moral of the story is, try fly fishing...bet you end up liking it more than you thought. (For the guys, get your girl to try it...though teaching her yourself might not be best for the relationship).


"Yup! With bright pink hats and manicured nails, I am self-admittedly a ‘girly-girl’. I’m simply a woman who likes to play in the water, rather than a diva or a feminist—a serious angler in touch with my feminine side, who spends all of my free time chasing fish in the hope that they, in turn, will chase my fly. You can be certain that there are more of us out there than you might think there are..."



Please, tell me where they are. All these young, beautiful, talented, accomplished, well-versed angler-women...they're not all on the west coast are they? (Tongue in cheek...I'm sure they're out here too...just haven't had the pleasure yet.)


The one disappointment from the article...


"As in Sex and the City (only without the sex and without the city), we giggle as we hike, discussing relationships and life..." [emphasis added]


That just completely ruined the fantasy.