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