Sunday, August 19, 2012

Brown Trout for Me Bum

I picked up a couple of uber girly bar stools at a yard sell for the back porch.  They were your standard bar stools that had been painted and monogrammed pink, purple, and other various colors by two sisters for a debutant activity.  I started sanding all the estrogen off the stools and turned them into trout themed deck decor.

Brown trout skin patterned stools.

buttery brown fade base

halo base coat


black gloss legs on stool


Come on in, set a spell.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Stuck a Carp

It was just like you plan it.  Walk into a mud flat, peek over the bushes and see 3 or 4 carp in skinny water. Make one cast to the big fish while his dorsal is out of the water. Perfect cast, and the fish makes a b-lline for the fly, eats, hook set, fish on.  Water slashing wildly, rod bent, drag off. Broken hook.

Tied on a vintage Black Pool Brittish made hook
It was a 1x strong hook. Maybe it was my fault for poor hook selection.  I tied this fly a week or two ago, and it's maiden cast stuck my first carp, and that carp was a strong 5 pounder. Everything was perfect...but the hook.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Scientific Anglers Mastery Series Review

GPX line on Scott A3 4wt
Scientific Anglers Mastery Series fly line are my all time favorite lines. I have fished the SA Mastery "Trout" series as well as the Mastery "GPX" series and recommend them over other lines for the East Coast small stream fishing I do.  Simply put, they do what you want them to do. The GPX is a half weight heavier, helping you to load faster action rods.

I've fished Rio Trout taper, SA Shark Skin, and SA Head Start and feel that the SA Mastery Lines out performed them all. It's a little easier to explain why I don't like the lines mentioned above than it is to tell you why I like the Mastery Series.

The SA Headstart just performed like a cheap line. Not Wal-Mart cheap, but too cheap to put on any rod that retails over $150. At $50 bucks, spend the extra $20 and get the real deal. The SA Shark Skin was too expensive and noisy.  It did shoot through the guides well, but unless I'm double hauling on a bone fish flat, I don't need that speed, especially on a North Carolina trout stream.  The grooves in the line, which decrease friction, also collect micro debris in the line, essentially creating more drag and slowing the line down over time.  The Rio Trout taper is the most comparable, but I still feel like the SA Mastery is a bit more supple and sensitive. The Rio did do well with distance and wind on big Colorado rivers.

I also have a SA Mastery Bass line on a Reddington 9.5 ft 7wt Cross Water.  I use this rod for small mouth, carp, and redfish.  I don't fish for redfish and carp often, so I got this inexpensive Reddington stick to fill a need for a heavier rod.  This rod is heavy, and with work, I can cast it far and true, it just takes some muscle.  I think this boasts well for the SA bass line, helping the Cross Water to perform out of it's league.

The rods and lines fished on them with my grade:

Scott Voyager 8ft 4wt: SA Trout (A); SA Sharkskin (C+); Headstart (C-)
Scott G 7.5 ft 4wt: SA Trout (A+), Headstart (C)
Scott A3 8.5 4wt: SA GPX (A+)
St. Croix Imperial 9 ft 5wt:  Rio Trout Taper (B)

Headstart on SA English made reel and Scott G

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Extra Terrestrials in the Back Country

It's the height of terrestrial season, and in Western North Carolina that typically means a strange combination of low water, skittish trout, sporadic fishing, and a chance of taking a big fish on a big dry.  Matt Sloan and I hiked into the South Mills River, a stream that is large and remote for NC standards in some sections. My first back packing slash fly fishing trip was on this stream when I was 11 years old.  With dreams of fishing the back country as a much more experienced angler filled my imagination with wild river-monster brown trout, the fishing turned out to be similar to that of my child hood; little wild trout on caddis flies.  Pretty straight forward dry fly fishing produced the most consistent results, and no river monsters were slapping in my net.

The water temp was 68 degrees in the late afternoon and the water was a little off color.  The temperature was 64 in the morning, and the morning fishing was better as well.  I hoped to nail a bruiser in the High Falls pool, but a 10 inch brown chasing my streamer was the closest i got.

Matt fishing High Falls hole
Granted, August isn't prime trout season, and we were fishing during a full moon, but the fishing was mediocre to be on part of a back country stream that receives relatively little pressure. After unsuccessfully trying to solve the riddle of what fly combo would be the hot ticket, I followed Matt's lead and fished a caddis or a trude, and enjoyed catching opportunistic wild trout on the dry much like I did when I was 11.  The mystery of each new piece of water, and watching trout slam dries was pretty stinkin' fun.  I missed more than I landed, and Matt landed more than I touched.

little S. Mills bow

"Monster" brown trout of the back country

Orange spots on wild brown trout

WNC is a temperate rain forrest, and it definitely looks and feels like a jungle this time of year.  Our rugged unmarked trail and camp site were tight, green, and damp.

camp site

vegetation choked trail
After packing out, I was inspired to fish the Davidson down stream of the hatchery, prospecting the stream like a typical wild stream instead of the pressured fishery "D" tactics I usually employ.  A black foam pmx with a birds ear hairs nest dropped of the back was my tandem rig of choice. The fish below ate the birds nest on the swing, and surprised me for this finicky stream at 4:15 in the afternoon in August.

good surprise

15 minutes later my terrestrial gets slammed on a pocket seam in a tiny eddy behind a rock. I managed to set the hook beneath a tight canopy of trees and do work to keep this fish out of a log jam below and from running under a rock ledge to my left on the delicate 6x tippet. I am fortunate enough to land the fish of the trip rather quickly.

Extra Terrestrial afternoon snack

After hiking in a few miles and camping out in the back county, the kind wild fish I was looking for was in a piece of water I had driven by countless times in my 20 plus years of fishing this area.  It goes to further my recent discovery that some of the best fishing is not that far off the beaten path after all.