Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dawn till Dusk

Yesterday was a last hurrah of sorts for my sabbatical.  I have gotten to fish a lot this last month, and Wednesday I planned to fish from dawn till dusk.  My buddy Matt joined me for the day, and we started off with a hike to this stream.

The water was moonshine clear and made for some extremely spooky fish.

Rock with marbling 

Matt getting his cast on

The scenery was awesome and the fishing was ok.  We both landed five or so fish.  The fish below was the biggest of mine.  

All the fish brought to hand were tiny. I did see some bigger fish, and hooked up with one that might have been 8 inches or so, but either the fish were small, or only the little idiots where dumb enough to eat our flies.  We used caddis, ants, stimulators, hairs ear birds nest, and hoppers.

A little trib.  Looked like brookie water

Mouth of the trib where I took a dip.  

After hiking upstream and fishing the gorgeous water, we decided to hit up the pig trough that is the Davidson on the way home.  I had caught about 5 fish, and Matt had caught 1 as the light began to lessen, and the crowds dissipated.  In a determined mood, I turned to Matt and told him I wanted one more fish for my sabbatical, then headed upstream a few yards.  About 10 minutes later, I landed this skinny 18 inch rainbow.  Thank you Jesus!

Did I mention I fish pantless? 

I handed my rod to Matt after he snapped the picture above, and told him to use it since the two flies I had on seemed to be producing.  After a few strikes and 15 minutes, Matt hooked into a nice one.  It probably took 10 minutes to land, and he played the fish like a pro on that 6x tippett.  

Behold!  The Fatty 22 inch bow.

After this, we decided we should just leave.  Even though we had another 30-45 minutes of light left, it seemed fitting to walk away with our last casts leading to bent rods.  We were both fired up about Matt's fish.  I did a silly jig and hollered. There was some personal satisfaction from tying the fly he landed the fish on, and I get stoked seeing any friend lock into a trophy fish.  I mean, off course some carnal part of me wanted to catch the biggest fish,  but the wiser part of me knows that on this day, it was more exciting and rewarding to see Matt land his fist big trout.  

Thank you Davidson river, for giving us common folk our free "private like" stream (where there is never any privacy). 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quick Trip

CT is my sugardaddy.  He drove me and Winston up to a stream today that I have never fished.  He and Winston played in the water, and I fished.  I only took 5 or 6 flies, a spool of tippet, and my rod.  In retrospect, I should have taken atleast some gink, a strike indicator, and a camera.  I had low expectations for this stream, but probably brought 20 fish to hand and missed more.  It was a small wild stream, with lots of pocket water, and the fish seemed eager to take dries.  I used a foam bettle and a foam yellow sallie most of the time.  I also hooked a 16 inch rainbow that I fought a while and didn't land.  This must have been a stocker from way down stream, because he was much larger than the others, and i finally hooked him on the 5th time he hit me fly.  No big wild fish is going to give me that many chances.  I caught mostly rainbows, some around 10 inches.  I'll definitely be headed back up there for some more thorough fishing.

I'll leave you with a picture of CT and Winston floating the Broad River with me this past Saturday.  I took a sweet little dog too.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Carpless in Cackalacky

My first stab at carp fishing left my hands fish slime free.  My buddy heath and I saw some tailing fish, but poor water clarity made sight fishing extra tough.  I hope to stick one and decide for myself if fly fishing for carp is a fad or as awesome as people say it is.  That, or I'm going to invent a way to noodle cats on the fly, and start the next alt fly fishing genre.  I'll tie flies that look like a human hand, and use a 14 weight rod to jam them in a cat fish hole.  Off course the rod and line will cost a bazillion dollars, compared to the $0 of equipment needed for true noodling.  It's kind of like the $20 zebco and a dough ball for carp versus the overpriced fly outfits people stalk carp with.  It's gettin dumb, and I'm mildly participating.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Rook Rakes

Charles Terry was nick named "The Rook" by a certain unstable lunatic known as "Murf" back in the late 90's.  Yesterday, only his second day on the water, Charles "The Rook" Terry had an impressive showing as a fly fishing rookie. He landed 6 fish on the Davidson yesterday morning, and lost a few others.
The Rook with a 15inch rainbow, and a bad photographer

He landed this one with a EH caddis.

The fishing was pretty good that morning, and if I wouldn't have lost the two flies that were producing, it would have been better. The red midge, HE bird's nest, and EH caddis, produced fish.  After a couple of hours, I switched from a dry dropper to a light double nymph rig, and my results quickly improved.  I landed 7 or 8 fish, most being in the 15-18 inch range.  The water was very low (50cfs), but cool.  A storm chased us off the river around 12:30, and didn't let up for a couple of hours, so we took off earlier than expected.

We saw some HUGE golden stones in the parking lot.  Probably size #2.
You can't tell from the photo, but their bellies where gold


Monday, June 20, 2011

Bronze Back

Fished the Broad for a couple of hours today right in the heat of the day.

The fish above is one of the bigger fish I've caught on the Broad.  I hooked him under a ledge, and he ran hard back under the same ledge mid-fight.  I had to do work to get him back out from under the rock. Those fish are STRONG. That 14incher doubled my 7 weight over.  Pound for pound, smallies pull the hardest.  I can't imagine trying to land a big one that's been foul hooked in the tail. 

On a side note, I hog tied another small mouth.  Some how on the hook set, I wrapped a loop around the fish and behind its pectoral fins. The leader above the fly got hooked around the bend of the hook, and I pulled the fish in in girth hitch style.  That was a first for me.

The water color and level were perfect, low and clear (600cfs). I caught 3 smallies and a couple of blue gill.  I caught all the small mouth on the red fish crab fly pictured above, fished like a streamer (or crawdad). 

I forgot how pretty those little blue gill are. 

All only 30 minutes from home, and I didn't even have to use my car and gas money.  Thanks CT.  

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rain Driven- Missed Opportunites

After fishing Wednesday, a big storm chased me all the way home. That night before I went to sleep, I checked the flows of the Davidson to see what the storm did to it.  It went from 60cfs to 200cfs in about 3 hours.  The promise of high off colored water, and the chance of catching some big fish on 4x tippet was all I needed to coax gas money out of my wallet and hit up the D the following day.  However...

The water was gin clear and back down to 90 cfs when I got there.  Probably a little cooler, but still pretty low.  Not to mention the hatchery section was the most crowded I had EVER seen it.  Picture, if you will, one of my missed opportunities.  I am down stream of the hatchery bridge, I look up stream and see atleast 10 fishermen, 3 of which where dangling their fly lines over the bridge ON TOP of another fishermen.  I missed the chance to capture this kodak moment on the cannon elph.  It would have been a classic.  I was dying laughing as the dude in the water being fished over looked up  at the idiots above him, dumbstruck.  Fishing etiquette on the D is a little different, but really!!?  The hatchery area was a circus. I caught of couple of fish there in an hour or so, nicely asked a kid to stop illegally throwing his night crawler baited spinning rod into the river, then left the zoo for some solitude.

I found a pretty stretch of water on a stream that was new to me, and I had it all to my lonesome for a solid four hours.  Never saw another person. 
Aside from the missed strikes, my second missed opportunity was another missed picture.  I pulled a nice 14 inch brown from the hole above on a 30 yard cast with a dry fly.  It was by no means my biggest fish of the last couple of months, but it was by far my favorite fish.  Any hook set with that much line on the water is gratifying.  I landed the fish but botched the photo op.  I was very careful to leave fish (in the net) in the water as I placed my rod on the mossy bank, and dug my camera out of its home without dropping it in the river (side note: I dropped my blackberry in the river Wednesday and am happy to report it is fully functional after it's 1 minute bath and subsequent blow drying). As I go for the shot, finger on the button, the fish slipped out of my hand.  Sorry.  A fishing blog with no fish pictures is like a hockey game without a fight...what's the point?  That was a special fish, and deserved a photo.  

I was having too much fun fishing to do the dance of stopping to photograph the fish I caught.  All in all, I probably only caught 8 or 9 fish.  The two biggest coming from the hatchery section on the D.  I fished different combinations of ants most of the day, having most success on a size 8 foam ant, and a size 16 dubbing ant in the film.  I also caught fish on a H.E. bird's nest.  

My time alone on the smaller stream was one of the most enjoyable days of fishing I have had in a long time.  The water held some nice fish, some that rose to my ant unscathed due to missed hook sets.   There was a pleasant breeze, the twittering forest was green with ferns and moss, and it probably never got above 75 degrees.  Summer in WNC is awesome, and a great opportunity to leave the crowds and get lost in His creation. Do it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mixed Bag

Got out for a little bit today before and after a visit to my Grandma's in Hendo.  I fished two different streams.  The first was the stream mentioned in Wild Bows in April.  I fished it first, between 9am and 11:30 in the morning.  It was in the upper 60's. The caddis I tied in my previous post produced.  I caught about 12 fish, and 5 where on the caddis larva.  The others where on a red copper john.  I missed as many fish as I landed, and had another break me off.

Silly bow couldn't resist my new fly

Turned over some rocks and found the caddis pupa below, all in rock cases.  Green instead of white like the fatty ones I found in the stick casings.

A pupa and half of a rock casing that I broke open.

A big stonefly.  My buddy Heath said is was some sort of roach stone.

After my visit to my grandma's, I decided to visit the creek on our family's land.  When I was 13, I caught an 18 inch rainbow on a roostertail the same day my cousins caught a red eye bass and bream in the same spot.   

a picture of me fly fishing at age 12 or so (1989ish) on a little stream in WNC.

My family leases the bottom land to a sod farmer, and between the silt, sod herbacides and corn feild pesticides, I assumed the few trout that used to inhabit that steam are long gone.  I was pleased to catch a little rainbow in the exact same spot I landed that big rainbow over 20 years ago.

this is the old family barn and sod field adjacent to the stream.
Maybe, just maybe, the stream will make a roaring comeback! Doubtful.  Irrigation, farming, and run off seem destined to win.  In my dreams, it will be my own stretch of private trout water full of massive wild bows and browns.  I'll sleep well with those dreams.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fatty Caddis Larva

Fatty tuna is called Toro in the sushi world.  Big fat creamy caddis larva burrowed in their stick casings under a few rocks last week in a little stream; a.k.a., trout toro. I couldn't believe how big and juicy they were. Sir Mix-A-Lot would have gone bonkers over them. They were approaching grub like status. Came home and tied up some, but I havn't got to fish them yet. Tried to test them Saturday, but a storm turned the little stream into chocolate milk soon after we made our first casts.

Here she is.

thread- 6/0 black
hook- #10 caddis pupa
abdomen- white antron dubbing, and some (ahhhemm)house hold thin latex
rib- copper wire
thorax- super bright black dubbing
head- black bead

I think I want to keep the rib sparse as seen on the second one, but lose the rubber legs.  I was pleased with the thin latex. It let's the dubbing and black thread peek through, giving it the translucent appearance the real ones have.  You can kinda see their guts.  Hopefully one day these will perform a beautiful metamorphosis into a zealous trout that impaled itself on my hook.  Sucka.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Stream

On new wild water, each new hole, run, riffle, or peice of pocket water has seeming potential.  And the first few cast into that new water leaves me filled with anticipation.  When you get an eat, it's hard not to smile, regardless of the size of the fish.  And when you get an eat, and the fish is ten inches or more, it's more rewarding than any 16 inch stocker or the like from the "trough" on the Davidson. And, chances are, only you (and your buddy if you came together) where around to see it.

I've fished two new wild streams recently that are very close to where I grew up.  In fact, they were closer to my child hood home than most of the streams I would fish when I still lived in Hendersonville. Both streams held wild trout.
My buddy Matt caught this guy (Matt is 6'4" and has large hands!).  

I also caught one of the most vividly colored wild browns I have ever laid eyes on.  It had a perfect red dot on it's adipose fin (the tiny fin on it's back between the dorsal fin and the tail).  I needed to get that fish back in the water quick, and couldn't snap a pic.  

The water was low, and the temp was in the upper 80's.  We caught fish on stimulators, tarantulas, caddis pupa, and a rubber legged flash back hairs ear.  Probably a 3-1 nymph to dry catch ratio. We where on the water about 3 and a half hours (12pm -3:330pm), and as always, it wasn't long enough.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Losing Streak Over- Smallies

Summer time.  Hot and dry equals good small mouth fishing and tough trout fishing.  Lot's of rain?  Small mouth rivers blow out and shut down, but the trout streams fish a lot better.  It's pretty convenient. 

I only landed one small mouth on the Broad today, but after going 0'fer the last 5 times out at the coast chasing redfish, it was nice to come home skunkless.  The weather man said it would be hot, but it didn't feel too bad.  I think the humidity was low.  I hooked two fish on a white and chartreuse clauser, and got zero eats on a damsel slider and a black articulated streamer.  That river was low, but still fairly muddy.  The Broad has a dam at Lake Lure, and a major tributary, the Green River, has a dam at Lake Adger.  These dam releases mess with the water levels and clarity downstream, which smallies greatly dislike.  They like consistant flows and water quality.

Look how screwy the water levels are even with no rain.

 It's still a beautiful river. It holds small mouth, large mouth, white bass, bluegill, and a few varietys of catfish.  Small mouth can bend a fly rod too.  That little guy above did a number on my 7wt.  The tug is the drug.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011


This is my spot behind Sullivan's Island. I can wade into the marsh in and in two minutes be casting towards tailing redfish.  The only problem.  I don't know what the heck I'm doing.

I did learn over the course of a week and 5 times on the water (about 10 hours total) that the high tide needs to be atleast 1.6 meters to be good here.  Fortunately, the tide was right for me 4 times out of five.  I would watch the tide come into the marsh grass, the fiddler crabs scurry to their holes, and then the mullet and redfish wakes would follow.  My first two times out, I drove myself mad wondering if the wakes I was seeing in the 10 inch deep water were caused by redfish or mullet.  The thrid day, I saw a wake so big there was no denying it was the wake of a redfish. And fourth and fith day, I was taunted by tailing redfish, less than 10 feet away at times.  I freaked out seeing redfish tailing so close, and fumbled to get a cast off. My flies landed in the "zone" but I don't know if they ever caught the attention of the foraging redfish.  

I just wanted one.  One redfish, on the flats, on the fly.  Even a small one.  I got to cast to some big ones, and no, not even a bite. They didn't eat my mud minnow fly, my crab fly, my gurgerler, or even my spoon fly presentations.  I mean, I thought redfish couldn't pass up a spoon fly?!  I am basically spin fishing at that point for crying out loud!  I need a teacher.  A yoda of fly fishing for red's to teach me to use the force.

It was beautiful in the marsh though.  I never knew you could find sober wilderness so close to the materialism of the beach.  Abundant wild life, nature in motion, and tailing red fish who's tails may have well be their middle finger directed toward me.  To the redfish in my spot, you are all safe in my presence, but back up is on the way, so get nervous. After seeing those tails waving slowly, glowing orange in the falling sun, I'm hooked like Barry Bonds to Balco "vitamins," and there seems to be no turning back.