The Further Adventures of a Wildlife Enthusiast, Amateur Fly Fisherman, and Bird Lover.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tying flies, Teaching Fish, Learning How.

The last week has been ripe with fishing!!!  I started out the week by helping my good friend David Joel DiGiacomo learn how to Fly Fish and subsequently having him hook up his first Trout!  It was a beautiful North Jersey day, hot sun, cool breeze, and the Musconetcong River was flowing high.  The water temperature was noticeably colder than a few days before, so I figured the fish would be more active.  I was right!  We straightened out some casting and presentation issues with Joel's new Redington Fly Combo which he got a decent deal on at Ramsey Outdoors.  Got Joel used to the stop at the top of the stroke then showed him how to see and create the leading loop for better casting.  He took to it fairly fast!!!  Maybe he has a good teacher or maybe he's a phenom; I know it took me a few weeks of tree snags and losing flies to even see that loop!  A few casts in, he pulls out this bad boy Brookie! 
A great first Trout on the fly!  He caught it on a Yellow Stonefly, I believe.  Now, I've seen a lot of novice Fly fishermen hook up then loose the fish; especially when the transition from Spinning Reels to Fly is very recent.  I talked him through the adrenaline.  He was trying to wrench the fish in like he was Bass fishing and I didn't want him to lose his first fish.  "Ease up, don't grab the rod!  One hand on the handle, let the rod and reel do the work." I said.  Feisty as these Trout are, you can't just haul 'em in.  9 out of 10 times that's how you lose the fish or, worse yet, your only working fly.  He took the advice as it came and was a really quick learner.  This is what was instrumental in getting that fish in for this lovely shot which is Pic of the Day for 6/8 on one of my favorite blogs Tight Lined Tales of a Fly Fisherman.
  This week also began my new Fly Tying adventures!  I got a Targus Kit from Dick's Sporting Goods.  50$ and a decent package of materials plus, a DVD.  The vice has already crapped out, but that's to be expected for such a great price.  I took to the San Juan and segmented worm patterns really well.  They are relatively easy to make and you can color them how ever you want!  Here's a few examples; all tied by me.

So, I tied a few flies, then it was time to try them out!  I grabbed my cohort Benjamin Tharp and told him I'd show him how to catch Trout on the Fly if he accompanied me to the river.  Ben is an avid and knowledgeable Angler, but not the most refined.  The adjustment to Fly Fishing took him a bit as well.  I gave him a Copper John, size 18 and a Strike Indicator.  He went to work in the foam, watching for the suck, and trying to time the hook set.  After a few misses, he finally hooked in to one and he now knows the power of the Fly!!!

Nice Rainbow on his first Fly!  After that he went on to catch a bunch more Trout including our first ever Double Hook-Up on Brown Trout.  Ben and I have been fishing together many years and when we are both on our game at the Pond, we land a lot of double catches.  Bass, Crappie, Sunnies even, but never on these finicky bastard Trouts.  That day, we must have gone in with some good karma!

That was an excellent day as well.  I'm sad to report that none of my Worms worked.  The only success I had was on my first Leggy Bugger.  The legs were long when I started, but the fish didn't want anything to do with it!  I decided to clip the legs shorter right then and there and it started a world of pain for the resident Rock Basses!  I'm glad at least one of my flies works!
All pictures taken by me on iPhone4 unless otherwise credited.  Underwater pics courtesy of Lifeproof cases.  Next Blog: I'll review the ups and downs of the Lifeproof iPhone Case, the Targus Fly Tying Kit. As always:
Thanx for reading, Stay Tuned, and Tight Lines!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Trout Tricks and the Guy who Taught 'em to me!

New things popping off as my learning of the Flies increases.  Of course, this week's lesson came from an old fisherman, on the river, seemingly happy to just be there to share the knowledge with other fishermen.  I had seen him several times before at Saxton Falls and had passing exchanges, pleasantries, what fly was hot, and the fish's depth, but had never fished with him.  When I got to the Dam, he was all the way in the corner fishing the foam.  It was a hot and humid day, so I figured the fish would be deep.  I began to fish towards the far bank where there is a deep cut.  It was working, but not. As you can see, this Smallie is foul hooked!
Wrong species, foul hooked, it wasn't looking like it was gonna be a good day for me.  I kept on flogging that trench and adding to my frustration with Sunnies, Smallies, and Chubs.  Billy, the old fisherman who everybody calls Mike, must have noticed my frustration and mercifully called me over.  He asked what I was using.  I had size 20 Copper John.
He chuckled and said "well, at least you've got the right nymph on."  He said where I went wrong was my spot choice.  On a hot humid day the Trout will not be eating aggressively.  If they're low, they're going to stay there and not expend energy.  The fish that stay in and around the foam will be more active because this is where the oxygen is most plentiful.  "Put a strike indicator on..." he said "Even though they're (Trout) more active here its still just gonna be a small suck on the Nymph."  I know what this "small suck" looks like on the surface, but haven't had too much luck timing a less aggressive take underwater. As I'm thinking this, Billy chimes in like he was hearing my thoughts; "The timing is tough, but once you learn to see it and get it down, you'll be hitting fish all day!"  He motioned me over to where he'd been catching fish and the advice he gave rang like a bell. "When that strike indicator does anything that doesn't look like it's flowing with the current, set the hook.  Its not always a fish, but when it is, you'll know it."  This, as it turns out, was the most helpful and important advice of the day!  I knuckled up, started rolling a short line into the foam and letting it get spit out into the flow.  Billy was laughing, unbeknownst to me, at at least 4 strikes that I had missed.  I mean, they weren't even strikes.  It seemed as though the indicator would just pause in the flow for a split second.  Billy said "That's your cue!" A few more attempts and then I made it happen!
Brown Trout
Brown Trout!!!  The first one on the fly this year.  I caught 8 fish that day, mostly Browns.  A few Rainbows, but it seemed like the Brookies were M.I.A. I can confidently say that without the sagely advice of my new pal Billy, I would not have caught a fish that day.  All in all, a great day on the water and the message here is: put your time in and don't be afraid to listen to an old pro on the water. You'll be surprised at what you might learn and also how that advice can improve your Fly game!!!
Rainbow Trout

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I'm a Fisherman!

So, It's been a hot minute since I've posted a blog.  The reasons for this have been many.  The winter, school, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  NO MORE EXCUSES!!!  I'm going to discipline myself and WILL be blogging after all of my fishing adventures, which on a good week, is everyday!  Ive been in touch with many bloggers and fishermen and have been learning what it takes to make a good fishing blog!  I'm still a Bird Nerd and Wildlife Nut, but fishing is where I'm a Viking!!!  Plus, I love that shit!!!  I wanna say thanks to Troutrageous, PileCast, The Fiberglass Manifesto, Owl Jones and Tattooed Angler for being excellent role models to me in my foray into Fish Blogging and Fly Fishing!  It's Memorial Day this weekend so let me say Thank You to the Brothers I've served with and give loving memory to those who came before and have made the ultimate sacrifice.  You Are Not Forgotten!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Catfish on a Fly?

This past summer 2011, I began fly fishing.  I have always loved spinner or spin-reel fishing and had thought about fly fishing as "old man's fishing".  I always knew Trout were finicky fish with particular eating habits and I would always say to my fishing buddies "bah, the Trout fuss too much." I must mention that I had never caught a Trout in my life, so the point was just blind prejudice.  One of my good friends finally convinced me a few weeks before Opening Day 2011to join him at the Musconetcong River for my introduction into fly fishing.  He warned me to not expect a catch on my first time out but, me being who I am, I would and did try my damnedest to get a fish on a fly on my first outing.  I didn't get a fish.  My first fish on a fly would not come until a week or two later and that still was not a Trout.  The first one turned out to be a Blue Gill. I was very surprised by this because I had always been under the impression that Fly fishing was for Trout only and that other fish liked other fishing styles.  Little did I know, fish don't care.  Blue Gills and other Sunnies, Crappies, Small Mouth and small Largemouth Bass were also attracted to the flies.  Over the next few weeks I learned alot about streams, bugs, fish, and how to read the water; I also bought my first fly rod and reel.  In everything I was told about fly fishing, Catfish were never mentioned.  Soon after I got my rod, some flies, and some knot tying savvy, I headed out to the very same spot where I'd had my first taste of fly fishing.  I put on a bead-head 10 size Woolybugger, black and blueish sparkly tinsel.  I proceeded to catch a Largemouth Bass and a few Sunnies.  No Trout were hitting, even though I could see them darting all around the area.  As I'm about to call it quits, I get the idea in my head to cast the fly up-stream from the submerged boulder I was fishing around.  Hopefully, this would drift the Bugger into a sinking flume on the far side of the rock and drag it low and underneath.  It worked; the fly got sucked right under.  As I'm hauling the Woolybugger out from under the rock, I felt a tap.  I kept going and saw the bait come from under rock.  No sooner than I put eyes on the bait, there came a brown/yellow flash.  I choked up on the pole and set the hook.  This fish ran hard for a few minutes until I was able to get him close and in the net.  It was a brown Catfish!  I went back to my friends with the story and some pics and they could not believe it!  I don't know if it is because you don't fly fish for Catfish or because its such and oddity but, I'm proud to say I'm the only guy I know who has caught a Catfish on a fly rig and its still early in my fly fishing adventures!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cabin Fever!

So, Winter has its icy grip on land and lake alike. I long to be outdoors. Hearing the stream running beneath me, the birds and their chatter. There is one saving grace in this dreary time and that is my bird feeder. To date I've been visited by 3 different species of Sparrow, Dark eyed Juncos, and Tufted Titmouses.  Also, the Squirrels but, they're always around.  The Cardinals showed up just recently but are not yet accustomed to my presence at the window. This is the slow time of year for wildlife and fishing in the Northeast. Can't chase Frogs or Salamanders. The birding is fairly poor except for my feeder and the few Raptors that stick it out in the cold.  The Squirrels do provide some laughs with their antics.  Chasing each other off, taking turns jumping at the feeder and failing. This is also a good time for preparation. I'm scheduling my "expeditions" and fishing trips for 2012 as well as making sure I have the knowledge of gear, tactics, and wildlife to make the coming season a success! Stay Tuned!

Dark eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

White-Throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia alpicollis)

Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turn to snow: an Image poem

Lush green density
In its Autumn
Wans to yellow
You can taste the smell of leaves,
Giving over their nutrients
For next years' progeny.

The wind is now
Crisp and viscous.
That once lazy breeze
Picked up its pace
Between the Willows' limbs
Packed up its place
Amongst the Lily pads
And shuffled off.

Its only good bye:
The missing heat, the biting void of temperature.

One timely denizen dares to dwell there.
A tiny, microscopically spiny transient
Whose clarity depends on prism's refracting light,
Clearly invisible or some sense that's not sight
Were it not for it's great numbers
Were it not for it's mass disbursement.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thoughts on "My Life as a Turkey" by Joe Hutto, aired by PBS.

"My Life as a Turkey" on PBS is PHENOMENAL!!! It asks the basic human question "Who's really the Turkey here?" All jokes aside, big UPS to PBS, the Author, Naturalist, and Turkey Mom Joe Hutto, and the Turkeys!!!! Joe's experience raising the wild Turkeys from chicks seemed to have a deep and very human impact on the way he perceives Nature and the Human world. An amazing look at Nature from the inside. The Turkeys gave Joe an access to and understanding of the natural world that I can only describe as "Mowgliesque". Yes, I just made that word up. I hope you can understand what I mean. If you don't, watch "My Life as a Turkey" on PBS and you will! -Bird Nerd, OUT!