Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The cold, the rainbow, and the ugly...

It had been quite some time since I had wet a line in search of rainbows. The obvious excuses come to mind like work and grad school but my job teaching affords me the opportunity to fish on the weekends. I had been very busy working on the house and being a good husband. Any way I found a chance to sneak down to the current river which I had been putting off because it would turn out to be a solo trip. I had dabbled with the idea of running out and doing some trout fishing but I did not want to go that far by myself. The current river access point Vat Tan (mis-pronounced to not give away vital info) is around two hours and forty five minutes away from my house. That is haul by any means and it is a pretty secluded location which has made me leary about venturing down there by my self.

I finally found an opportunity and the courage to brave below freezing temps and very windy conditions to fish Vat Tan. My buddy Will had been making a few trips down there by himself and catching some nice rainbows and a couple of elusive browns on streamers. I ran to bass pro and bought a few tying supplies and set my self to the task of tying a slump buster like pattern. I tied my flies on a Tuesday night and planned to fish Wednesday morning. The Saturday before i had made my first solo trip down there and caught a few nice rainbows. I will add a post for this trip but I am too excited about this post and I loaded the pictures for this post so here is the Wednesday trip. I tied to leechy looking slump buster patterns the night before and headed down to montauk.

I arrived earlier than my previous solo trip at around eight o'clock and wadered up to fish the freezing river. I fished my heart out for around an hour and a half until I finally walked back to the entrance and began to fish the river from the beginning. I was very cold and frustrated at this point so i tied on my freshly tied slump buster with added flash(why not will you know I love flash) and I proceeded to swing it through and past the riffles to little drop pools. Right passed the first water fall i hooked up to an very nice rainbow who fought rather valiently despite the cold temperature. I let out a couple of victory oh yeahs because i was so excited to feel the weight of a rainbow trout.

After I had broken the seal I ran into a hot streak and caught four more on my leechy hand tied slump buster. I made my way back to the car to eat some lunch and made a few casts right before the car in the deep plunge pool after the first water fall. i hooked up to a smaller trout than I had been catching but when I brought it in close i found that something was trailing behind the fish. When I finally landed the rainbow I had discovered a number 6 rubber legs fly with line coming from the anus of the trout. At this point i was truly boggled and decided that the trout had eaten the rubber leg fly then excreted it to swallow the nymph which was ran on a six inch trailer. I cut the line at the fishes anus and proceeded to revive him before letting the fish swim free.

I took this as a sign to grab a bite at my car and warm up a little. After i ate I decided to try my luck once again and fished my way towards a downed tree which was produced some rather nice rainbows earlier. i casted up river in front of a small indention in the stream and swung my fly into a slower pocket when a had hooked another rainbow but another trout went for my fly at the same time and cut the line right in front of the other hooked fish. Wished I would have tied a dropper rig at that point. I switched to a dry fly which is my attempt at a renegade and I pin point casted it onto a rising trout. after the battle a went after another riser and landed the largest trout of the day. i tied on my slump buster and caught a couple more to end the day. I decided to leave around 2 which was fine by me because i was cold and the urge to land some pretty amazing trout had been sated. In all it was the best day I have had so far on the current and I was glad I braved the challenging winds and freezing temperatures. i believe the word bum will come to a few peoples mind but to me any weather or condition is a good time to catch trout. man i really love catching trout on three weight rods.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


So I haven't added any updates in a long while because I have been burning the candle at both ends. Sadly enough I have found little time to hit the water. In fact I have been putting off my updates due to some impromptu solo trips. I will be adding posts relating to the last montauk trip of the summer, the group wild trout outing, a couple of local lakes, and one solo trip to Tan Vat. I have been very busy tonight learning how to Goethe slump buster and replacing many flies that were destroyed by ravenous trout from the current river or misplaced in trees and rocks. I am very excited about this new pattern especially because it is so dominant. Wish me luck I depart for a colder more trouty environment in the am. I hope I can get to sleep as visions of browns, streamers, and rainbows dance in my head.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Reddington

I had been admiring my friend Chris's 8.6 ft Reddington CT when he purchased a very nice sage rod and reel so needless to say he was in the market to sell his old rod. I have been meaning to expand my very small fly rod collection so I quickly inquired about the CT. I tried the rod out at my favorite old pond on a chilly late September morning. I was pleased to land four fish in the process of the rod trial. The rod performed spectacularly and I was able to back hand and side cast very far and with ease. The CT excelled in the overhanging forest which dots the shoreline of this lake and I was able to fish the small but extremely productive cove in a much more productive manner.
I continued to fish away from the honey hole and tree choked cove and found an area where I could put the rod through some long casting paces. I was happy to have a longer 3 wt that I could cast farther and more accurately, yet I would still have the feel of a light fly rod which I must say is addicting. I have found it very hard to graduate to a heavier rod but i will be acquiring a bigger stick soon for bigger trout and rougher water.
I began to target the rising bg's around the shore, which I could happily do for hours. I switched to a secret blue gill killer I had purchased from TJ hargroves a couple of days before. I should take this opportunity to explain the environment of this shady looking fly shop. I arrived at the shop one Saturday morning to my surprise the shop was a very old house right on Manchester road. I opened the door to a cacophony of raised and grizzled voices from the old timers who every Saturday right at opening time swarm the fly tying table which is messier and more cluttered then the disaster in my house. They were arguing about technology which quickly changed into a argument concerning hackle. I must say I love this place because i will take every opportunity i have to look at things I won't buy but I love to listen to the guys haze and poke fun of each other.

The shop has a very homey atmosphere and provides daily coffee and in the winter there is a crock pot of chili or some soup like substance. Nothing against feather craft but if I'm going to drop a large sum of money on flies or fly fishing gear I want to feel like I am at home. This place is amazing in every sense of the word because it is covered in gear in no apparent organization or order. I think Hargrove just crams things where ever there is room and you know what I admire that because the other shops are very sterile and organized or are setup to make you spend more money by highlighting special buys. I am not trying to push the fly shop on any one but it is important to know that they are a small independent shop that is not short on character. Any ways back to the fly fishing...

I placed a cast next to a sunken log which and twitched the small bead head fly with a black chenille body and black legs. The image of the log erupted into a red ear which broke the surface with my fly in his mouth and I set the hook and had a great fight on my hands. I had a great time with this rod and i could not help but agree with Will about the rods ability to cast like butter.

A new rod on an old pond

I have been behind in my posts due to a full work schedule and final exams at Webster or what Will refers to as bladders (long but funny story) and haven't had time to fish either. I have been fishing a small lake, where I used to live and have been pleasantly surprised by a second spawn of long ear sunfish and blue gills.

I have made this spot my go to choice for inner city warm water fishing and I must say the shore action has been out of this world. I plan to float tube it soon to try and track down some hog size bass that are literally never fished on past the shore access.
These recent trips have produced fish on all my top water flies including hoppers which seem to dominate the fishing here. I have also used a bass popper that the fish attack with an aggression have not seen in a long time.
Actually most of the top water strikes are brutal with fish slashing the surface to engulf the fly. Bill thanks for following my blog and the popper I use is a white and green concave face with a black tail section with big white legs. The fish here love it and I was surprised due to its rather large size. I also use an odd pink and white hopper which is also very large and the natural tan hopper in a size 12 which is a killer here. I really adore this small lake it is so amazing and is 10 to 15 minutes from my house. I feel like I'm in a completely different world when i fish this place and I can't wait to fish for bigger bass and the carp that prowl the back water of the lake.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The long lost lake

I was on my way to Busch wildlife one day after work, but I was dreading the drive out there and the future commute on the way home. I was taking a different way and drove by a neighborhood that I was familiar with. I began to think and remembered that my cousin in law's family still lived in the area. I immediately envisioned the small lake that belonged to the residents of this community. I decided to make a rash decision and quickly ducked into the neighborhood. I called my cousin to get permission to fish the water, and I began to remember how beautiful the lake was even though it is nestled on the out skirts of the city.

I assembled my rod and quickly got down to business, as I approached the waterline I could see some large black watery shapes on the surface. I began to see all sorts of cruising blue gills on the surface and tied on a small hopper. I began to catch fish left and right, and the first three or four fish fit neatly in the palm of my hand. I found a very small cove that had a medium sized stick up in the middle of it. I placed a cast right next to the structure and gave the little hopper a twitch. The surface erupted in a violent flash as a very decent blue gill began to strip line off my reel. I landed the fish and was pleasantly surprised to have caught such a decent blue gill so close to home in a lake that I have written off for at least a good five years. I placed a cast in the same place and with the same surface strike had another decent pan fish on, which I slid onto my reel because I am still new to fly fishing and it is nice to reminisce. I quickly landed a very strong and very nice looking red ear, which I photographed and released back into the murky depths.

I found myself catching fish after fish and after I changed to a rather large pink and white hopper, I began to catch some pretty nice looking bg's. I know I shouldn't have felt this way but on a couple of good fish, I was hopping that they would spit the hook. I had to hoist every fish up a good three to four feet onto the bank but I decided this was a great problem to have. I left the non stop action of the cove and began to pick off cruisers near the shore. I worked my way down to the rock dam and fished my way into the corner of the lake. I entered an area that is relatively shallow and threw my big popper in the bend in between the shore and the dam. I looked down at my phone and saw that my hopper was no where to be seen and there were ripples on the water. After what seemed like minutes I reacted and set the hook to immediately gave the fish the line that it so desperately needed as the he began to take a very strong run. I worked the fish for a little while and brought up a bass which at that moment looked like a whale. I was so happy to land this guy because he was very dark green and very bassy. I have been on a hunt for bass and this is largest bass I have brought to hand on a fly rod.

The best thing about this place is that it is hemmed in by trees. The steep shoreline and dense trees make the casting interesting to say the least. The lake is amazing because there is very little fishable shoreline and a large amount of water. It is very tempting all of the islands and coves that are just out of casting range. In the end I am very happy to have rediscovered this lake and I cant wait to explore its depths and unlock its secrets. I hope to get into the water and target some bigger bg's and crappie. The icing on the cake for me would be to track down some larger bass in the many coves and brush piles that dot the father end of the lake.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fishing in the city

Being that I am a transplant from California, I usually associate cities with traffic, smog, and too much competition over public land for outdoor activities. While I keep pushing my wife to move to a remote location in Colorado, Oregon, or Montana I find myself at peace with living in the STL. I can easily fish three bodies of water near my work and at least that many from my home. I find solace in the fact that I can get away from the stress and madness of my life and unwind on any number of waterways and inpoundments that Missouri has to offer.

I made my way to forest park to fish until dark and in the hopes of landing a few bg's and bass. I worked the shoreline near the shallow end of the lake and fished a small hopper. I quickly began missing hit after hit of rising fish trying to fit the hopper into their rather small mouths. Finally I found a blue gill with a large enough mouth to take the hopper. I caught a couple more bg's that were pretty small and that fit in the palm of hand. I had a blast fishing the hopper and I even tempted a small bass that fought very handsomely on the end of my 3 wt fly rod. All in all it was a great way to end the day, I can hardly wait till this lake is filled with trout. On the ride home I caught myself dreaming about cold weather and fat trout and how excited I would be to fish them without a 3 or 4 hour drive.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just another pond

I drove out to my in laws in anticipation of a road trip to Montauk State park with the guys(Will and Chris) and waited rather impatiently for the next morning. I decided it would be a good idea to pregame, so I headed to one of the many ponds that dot the area in which my folks live. I usually skip this one pond in particular because while it is not widely known it is very visible to highway traffic. I decided to fish this little pond because of the open banks which turned out to be a very nice perk. I quickly tied on a little hopper and began to tempt some fish into a tasty morsel. I became impatient so I retied a very nice looking olive woolly bugger and yes Will it did have flash. I soon found myself fighting a very healthy long ear around nine inches. I must have fallen into some amazing fishing time warp because within a thirty minute span I had landed four more long ears and a very nice blue gill. I worked the bank around the pond till I came to a small cove that was choked with weeds and massive cattails.

I should have turned around because the spot called for an expert cast without any room for error. I hung my next three casts into the cattails and the aquatic foliage that ringed the cove. I gave it one more try and placed the olive bugger a foot from the opposite bank, within seconds I was rewarded with a giant swirl next to the bank. I had hooked a great fish and it began taking line rather quickly, I soon decided that I was in over my head because I had failed to see that there was no where to land the fish. The weeds and cattails ringed this area of the pond so I lifted my rod over shrubbery and I threaded the needle through many other obstacles. Just when I thought I was ready to land this thug of a pan fish i was faced with an overhanging tree that I had to cross to safely land the fish. I got on my hands and knees while fighting the fish and put a leg into the water to side step the twisted tree. Finally I was able to lift the fish into the weed free bank and brought the fish to hand. I sat down and replayed the epic battle through my head, this fish had fought valiantly and i marvelled at the size of this fish. This was the biggest fish I had ever caught on my fly rod and I must say it was an amazing battle on my three weight. After all was said and done I had caught a couple small bass and around six or seven very decent long ears and hefty blue gills.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Montauk the final frontier for trout(in Missouri)

After the second fail at Meramac I raked my brain and begged local fly shop proprietors for information on good trout areas for the newly initiated fly fisherman. I was directed toward a few choice waters and my research was confirmed by many local industry professionals who pointed us toward Monatuk state park. I have always wanted to fish this area because it is far larger then Meramac Springs and More importantly less crowded. This trip started very early at the place where our trips always do which happened to be at Dunkin doughnuts. We left the city around 3:30 and made the long journey passed Meramac Springs out towards Salem and eventually passed it to the park.
The stream unfolded out of the fog as if out of a dream, shrouded in mist and revealing itself little by little. We waded around and found a good spot to start and saw a few spincasters reeling in fish left and right. This trip was Begining to resemble the failed attempts at Meramac, oh no. This was rectified after a few hours we tied on some of my home made glow bugs and started to hook fish. I did not say land fish because I lost three or four rather nice looking trout right before I tried to bring them to hand. i must say that I am truly obsessed with trout in the overall scheme of freshwater fly fishing. I know they get a lot of publicity but I have loved trout ever since I was young guy out there in the mountains of Southern California. I finally brought one of these beauties to hand and marvelled at the sheer strength of these trout which were no bigger then seven or eight inches long. After this Willl and I were fully intune with fishing the mighty glow bug and catching trout that seemed uncatchable. I had a great day and caught a few nice trout and Will finally caught his first trout. He is officially becoming converted to what is reffered to as a trout bum.
We fished so hard and so long that we neglected food and water for more then seven or eight hours and we barely made it to Wills car which was in and out of air conditioning. During the ride home I slipped in and out of a choma like state and could keep myself awake. I think that this was more heat induced and by the time we arrived home I definatley had a fishing hang over. Great conversations and great fishing what more can a guy want out of life.

Mermac the sure thing...

Will called me and set up a quick road trip for some localish trout. He was anxious to fish Mermac Springs after I raved about the trout there and how they literally jump onto your stinger, I told him it was a sure thing and we would be done fishing within a few hours. let me clarify that I have been fishing Mermac Springs for years now and consider my self as knowledgeable about the trout as a local. Well I have fished there with a spinning set up using small jigs that I have tied myself, and have never thought that the fishing would be that different with fly tackle. Boy was I wrong.
Will and I met at Dunken donuts which I decided to to not partake in because I am on a rather strict eating regiment. long story short I eat healthier now and feel better so I try to avoid temptation when I can. Don't worry I make a huge exception for local indigenous adult beverages. We made the quick drive to St. James and arrived just as the alarm sounded the beginning of the fishing day. I decided to start with my spinning rod because this was my third or fourth time with fly tackle. I caught a few fish early on and decided to start keeping them because I love fresh trout. I decided to release a decent fish because I wanted to keep fishing. Will had trouble and could not buy a strike and I wondered to my self what was wrong. We would find out later that trout at Meramac get hammered by every fisherman in St. Louis so they are very shy about taking a fly. We left around ten in the morning and I tried to rescue the day by taking Will to an access point down river that I have caught a good number of bass and panfish.
We got into the warm water spring and this time I was equipped with my fly rod and was a little nervous to say the least. I watched will pull in some beautiful looking greens and longears and that helped me to practice my cast and just get the fly to the fish. After we traveled down a large dog leg bend i found a very shallow slack water pool on the left hand side of the river. I began to catch blue gill after blue gill and a small crappie. On our way back up river Will spotted a decent Gar and he tried to talk it into to eating his fly. I was borrowing a TSW (or Tylers secret weapon) which I failed at casting toward the Gar. Will egged me on and the next cast was spot on right in front of the fish and it opened up its gruesome looking jaw to take the fly. I hesitated not believing that the fish had taken the fly, so I set the hook and tried to land this salami with fins. The fight was on and midway through Will rather smartly asked me if I had Gar gloves. I thought about it and said, " what the hell man you know me enough to know that I did not pack chain mail gloves for unhooking sharks and other saw toothed fish". Thankfully Will took charge and tried to unhook the gar but grabbed the leader which snapped as the torpedo like gar tried to death roll. Oh well I was extremely happy with that result because it ended with out Will or I being impaled by this very angry fish. Long story short we renamed the fly the secret Gar weapon because we have never known a gar to hit a fly. I did my research and found out that Tyler happened to be a nine year old fly tying prodigy that was fully sponsored by fine outfitters such as simms. This has become a running joke which usually pisses me off because I am frustrated by this kids success. Anyways it was a great day to be on the water. This trip was a turning point for me because i am now fully converted to to all things fly fishing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The first of many firsts

After having some drinks Will asked me if I would join him at a secret pond just out side of St. Louis. Seriously who could say no to a secret pond with hopes of catching ping pong paddle sized panfish. I could not, so we met at the pond just in time to see the sun sun come up over the small pond. i brought my spinning rod as a back up but decided to be adventurous and start with my nine foot five weight fly rod.

It was my first time fishing a fly setup and needless to say it was a fruitless and rocky start. I asked multiple questions to get my bearings and continued working out the kinks of getting the fly on the water to the fish. I watched will pull in a nice bass and a few chunky sunfish. I was chomping at the bit to hook some fish, so i quickly switched to my spinning outfit and shortly tied into a decent sunfish. This fish was tough looking the kind of body builder look that sunfish get when they are super healthy and get that meat bulge on top of their heads. We moved around the pond and caught a few more before venturing down to a small stream that had been blown out by night time rain showers. I caught a really cool long ear out of a little pool and will caught a creek chub near a very large blown down tree. The stream was bordered by lush trees on both sides and in one area part of a dead tree formed a portal that showed a blue sky flecked with wispy clouds. Altogether it was a fun time talking and getting to know each other and more importantly discussing future fishing trips.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A brief history

This is my first excursion into the wide world of blogging, and with that in mind I will begin to jot down the highlights and experiences of my new found love with fly fishing and everything else that has to do with the outdoors. I have been pestering my wife Ashley for some time now to help me find a friend that shared the same fondness for the outdoors and other man like activities. I have a few great friends but their only fault is that they do not share a passion of hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping that is truly ingrained in my life.
Finally after what seemed like an eternity Ashley informed me that she had run into a co-worker who happened to have a husband who was fisherman. Interestingly enough he was in the market for another fishing buddy(what angler worth his salt isn't) and Ashley arranged a meeting at a local and may I add shady looking drinking establishment in South County. The bar was worse than I could have imagined, it was Karaoke night and every one in the joint looked like they could have been related. Holding a conversation was incredibly difficult because the karaoke noise made me feel like I was trapped inside of a sub woofer. The conversation quickly unraveled into a short history of our lives as fisherman and ended with an impromptu fishing trip. I was ill prepared for this trip which would have me up at four am which would normally be a small inconvenience but I had been celebrating the end of summer school at my place of work. Lets just say the next morning was interesting yet I had a blast on the water with my new friend Will. Little did I know that this chance meeting would evolve into an absolute obsession with fly fishing which would test the boundaries of my fishing expertise and wallet.
Maybe the word love is not strong enough, some might say I have a wild obsession with all things that swim in the water and live in the woods. I guess the blame can fall squarely on the shoulders of my father and his father for that matter. Ever since I was strong enough to hold a stick I have been fishing and thinking about fishing and enjoying the wonders of wildlife. I was born and raised in a small city in Los Angeles California and I wondered through life with as much ambition as any other fishing or hunting bum. I was given the chance to attend college in Missouri and I quickly jumped at the chance to broaden my horizons in education as well as life experiences. I soon fell in love with the city of St. Louis because it was a fairly manageable city with actual seasons, and farm land and unspoiled country side a quick thirty to forty minutes away. I was hooked and began exploring the new waters and gaining friendships that materialized into hunting opportunities. All of this has led me to my current quest to understand, appreciate, and eventually become somewhat successful in the art that is fly fishing. The following posts will chronicle my adventures and more importantly the crazy misadventures that my friends and i will undoubtedly find ourselves wrapped up in.