Friday, March 27, 2015

I'm Bringing Spin fishin' Back!

I just realized before posting this that this is my first spring fishing trip. Let's make this spring a good one, folks! 

On Sunday we decided to hit davis pond, which we now decided to call, “Walter Pond.” It was pretty windy so I decided against taking my fly rod and only took the spinning rod. I knew that using the spin rod would make it easier.

Upon getting there I went to some topwater lures. A popper, a torpedo, and a jiter bug. No interest, which surprised me because they were all over the small popper . After that I switched to some ratl traps and crankbaits. Still, no takers. Jeremy decided to try some top water as well and he wasn’t having any luck either. A bit later Walter arrived and he started fishing with a senko.  We have had a lot of success with a green senko here so it didn’t surprise me to see Walter be the first to catch a fish. A bit later Jeremy switched over to the green senko and he caught a couple so what else could I do but follow their lead.

A bit later I got into my first bass. It was a nice skinny looking fish with a big head which made me think it was a post-spawn bass. A bit later I switched spots, cast into the cattails and caught a second bass. Now it was all coming together. Every few casts was a strike or a fish.

During one of my casts I tossed the senko into the cattails, it dropped and I had a fish on. This one felt a little heavier and when I pulled it to shore I realized it was a fatty. When I lifted it out of the water I realized it was a female with a belly full of eggs. I  took a couple of pictures and made sure she was swimming well before she left.

Towards the end of the night the wind had blown all the slime away and the water was super clear. We could see all kinds of panfish swimming the shallows and chasing our big lures which had hooks  which were way too big for a panfish mouth. And on top of that the wind died down which would have been great for fly fishing!  Oh well, next time I won’t leave home without it!

Total fish: 5 Largemouth Bass

Monday, March 23, 2015

Stevies Fish!

This trip took place last tuesday. This time I did not forget my cahills I was ready to slay the pans and bass. I had a larger green frog popper that I tied on and went to work. The first few pops got strikes but after a while, the fish stopped strking so I changed up to a black wooley bugger, no takers.

Jeremy had brought along his girlfriends brother Stevie. Stevie had never caught a fish before so our goal was to get him into some fish. The problem was that from one day to another, the slime on top of the water covered more of the surface of the pond including the area against the cattails that we usually fish.  After every cast we had to clean off our cahills because they would get covered with slime. 

The fishing in general was slower but on top of that, the gills refused to eat our cahills. Normally the fishing hole seems to be easier to fish with a spinning rod but not even Jeremy was having any luck on the spinning rod. 

I kept trying on the fly rod and caught a few strikes but no solid takes. I looked at the water which was about 75% covered in moss in the place that we usually fish and tied to figure out what was wrong. Then it dawned on me, what if I dropped the cahill right in the clear spots with no moss, and this proved to be the ticket.  I caught my first and second panfish and then called Stevie over to give it a try. Sure enough after about 5 tries he got into his first fish ever on the fly rod. He ended up loving the fly rod and ended up using Jeremys fly rod the rest of the time he was out there. 
At the end of the night I used one of Jeremys spinning rods to see if I could gent into a quick bass and on my third cast I got into a bass! That was a great way to end to a great day. Learning a bit more about panfish behavior and how to fish for them, getting Stevie into his first fish on the fly and a little bass to cap off the night… good times! 

This was also the last winter fishing trip which means that a seasonal totals report is on its way!

Total fish: 6 panfish + 1 Largemouth Bass = 7 fish

Fly fishing Grand Children!

As winter winds down, one thing we noticed at Davis pond was more slime on the water. Even though it was only a week earlier that I had simply slayed the bluegills, that week made a huge difference.
These his trip took place last Monday.  

Jeremy brought both his spinning rod and fly rod and I, of course, only brought along Excalibur. When I arrived Jeremy had just caught his first bass. He was eager to fish with his fly rod so I quickly hooked him up with a light cahill. I had stopped by big 5 earlier that day and purchased some more light cahills so I didn’t think anything of it. Then it happened… I realized that I forgot the 2 packs of cahills I bought earlier that day! And unfortunately I only had the one cahill that I tied on for Jeremy. No worries though, I figured I would just look for something similar. Unfortunately I didn’t have anything that looked like a cahill so instead I went with a green popper with black spots that looked like a frog. 

On my first few pops I got my first strikes so it was very promising. On about my tenth pop, A bass came up and devoured my popper and the fight was on. It was a nice little 2 lb bass which I was able to reel in but broke my tippet when I got it to shore.  It fell on the ground and when I went to pick it up it flopped back into the water with my only green popper in its mouth. Since I didn’t get it to hand, I don’t count it as on official catch. I did manage to catch a smaller bass on a yellow popper but that popper didn’t get nearly as much attention as the green one did. 

Jeremy, fished with the cahill and brought many panfish to hand and at one point taught his buddies Jeff and Roger  how to pick panfish out of the pond with the fly rod. So even though his instructions on fly casting were poor, they were able to catch their first fish on the fly rod. And wouldn’t you know it, they loved it so much, they were both fighting over the fly rod! I ended up adding to  Jeremys instructions in order to show Roger how to catch panfish better. While doing that, I caught a couple more panfish but didn't get any pictures of them. He caught a couple more after that as well. 

I was just happy because my protégé was teaching others about fly fishing… fly fishing grand children! Lol 

Total fish:  1 Largemouth bass + 2 Panfish = 3 fish

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Slaying the Gills!

I am pretty much caught up with my backed up fishing trips. The trip I will be discussing took place on March 11th

Jeremy and I decided to give Davis pond a try last wedenesday. As usual I loaded up Excalibur, a box of flies and took the drive out to Davis. I arrived around 4pm, tied on a light cahill which is what I had luck on the week before. 

Sure enough, I hammered those blue gills right away. Some were tiny, others were a nice hand size. Every other cast was a bite or a fish.  Now I am from the camp that calls all panfish blue gills but I think there are only bluegills and perch in that pond and I caught both of them. 
A little later, my fly protégé Jeremy came around and I taught him exactly how to catch the bluegills. After a few casts, Jeremy caught his first bluegill on the fly rod! And after that a second and a third. He was ecstatic and I couldn’t be more proud!

I continued to fish and ended the day with 14 panfish. What a great day of fishing at this new fishing hole. 

Total fish: 14 Bluegills

Monday, March 16, 2015

First Fish of the year!

February 26 was a good day. It was a quick after work trip but it was fruitful.

For those of you that follow me regularly, you know that this year I have committed myself to learning more about fly fishing by fly fishing more; what a concept. Specifically, that means that most of the time when I am out fishing, I will be taking my fly rod instead of my spinning rod and putting myself in positions where I have no other option but to fly fish more. After this trip, this decision has been completely justified. 

This was a last minute trip that I almost canceled because of work. As it turns out work ended up not getting in the way so I called up Jeremy and our trip was back on. This was before daylight savings time so we had about 2 hours to fish. 

We arrived at a park pond in Davis that I will refer to as “Davis pond,” at about 4:30. I assembled my 6 wt and went to work testing areas of the pond that looked fishy. It is a small pond so the walk around the pond wasn’t too bad. I finally found an area close to an island surrounded by cattails at the center where there seems to be a steep drop off into deeper water. 

So while others were fishing the main body of the pond, I went to work on this drop off with a black wooley bugger… no takers. After a while I started noticing mosquitoes landing on top of the water. I quickly looked through the flies I had on me and the closest thing I could find to a mosquito looking pattern was a light cahill.  I gave it a try and no takers as it sat on top of the water… but then it sank. After a few seconds, I had a taker! A few moments later I brought the first fish of the year to hand, a small bluegill. 

At one point, Jeremy, who I am teaching to fly fish decided he wanted to give the fly a try. He took my fly rod and after a brief casting tutorial, tried to catch fish on the fly. Meanwhile, he hands me his fishing rod, a small 5 foot rod with 2 lb test line on it. It was rigged up with a texas rigged worm. I moved out of the way to give him room to cast and took the 5 foot rod. In my first cast I tossed the worm into cattails and as it bumped off of the cattails and hit the water, a bass took it in its mouth and I reeled the fish in! A nice 1 ½ - 2 lb fish. 
I continued to cast and ended up moving down to the main body of the pond. At one point I stated noticing the fish were surface feeding so I tossed my light cahill in that area. One fish ended up breaking off my fly so I tied on another and continued. I finally got one taker and brought in my third fish of the day, a nice little bass at about a pound. After that another fish broke my fly off and at that point it was too dark to tie on another. I ended the day having caught the only 3 fish of the day and all on the fly! 

We ended the night with some casting lessons in a parking lot. Since then, Jeremy received a Cabelas wind river Combo as a birthday present and he is already talking about buying a float tube in the future. I think we have a new fly fisher on our hands, folks! Haha another believer in the gospel of fly fishing! 

Total Fish: 2 Largemouth bass + 1 bluegill = 3 Fish

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Impromptu Delta Trip

This fishing trip was on February 16th. It began with what was supposed to be a quick trip to the pits and turned into a day of fishing at the Delta.

After gassing up and buying beer, we were off to Prospect Slough in the California Delta. Even though I live in Northern California, I don’t frequent the Delta. Perhaps I should do so more often, maybe I will this year.
I must admit, this was one of those special trips where I did not plan on bringing my fly rod, only a spinning rod. We hit Prospect Slough at about 2pm. My buddy had caught a nice striper out there a day earlier so we figured we would give it a try. This specific spot is a canal with a strip of land that seems to splint the canal in two and one side has a pump on it. We call this spot, “The Rocks,” due to the rock piles on both sides. The side with the pump has a current and the other doesn’t.

We found an older gentleman on the pump side who told us he had been fishing since earlier that day and hadn’t even had bites. Not a good sign but we decided to give it a try anyway. Especially since he told us he watched a guy pull out a 10 lb striper out of there the day before. A story is enough to keep me fishing for the day!
Pump side

down stream looking toward pumps

further downstream
I started on one side (pump side) and tossed everything from a rattle Trap, Swim Baits, jigs, spinner baits, poppers, etc. Nothing, not even a bite. My Buddy Charles ended up getting a couple of bumps on some lures he was fishing but no solid take downs.
non-pump side
Another winner from Sierra Nevada

We both switched to the other side (non Pump side) and went to work. There were some fish jumping on the other side but also no takers. We met some other guys who showed us a couple of cats they had caught but they said that was earlier in the day. Once again, we got skunked but we got to fish and enjoy the beautiful winter day and drink some cold beer. No complaints here.

Total Fish: 0

Friday, March 6, 2015

Return to Green River Feb. 13th

 This trip took place on Friday, February 13th. Although my buddies bailed on me, it was way too great of a sunny winter day to waste indoors. Instead I decided to head to Green River (Putah creek West) and try for some of their trophy rainbows.

As you might recall, the last time I went out there with Mark from Northern California Trout we got the ol skunk but I swore to figure out the combination to this creek. I can honestly say I gave it a great effort.
right hand view
in front of me
I arrived at around 9am and the banks of the green were already littered with fly fisherman. I went to my first spot. This spot is close to the dam which I figure would attract more fish. It looks easy to fish since the water kind of bottlenecks in one area and then flows through.  I threw a few flies and also got some caught in the bushes.
left hand view and dam

 If you didn’t know, Putah creek is the type of place where you are forced to improve your roll casts.
Left hand view
right hand view
A bit later I went to the second spot of the day. The time I was here with Mark, we met a guy that had a specific way of fishing one hole that is pretty deep, wide and slow. He fished it like you would fish a regular bobber: about 3 feet of leader underneath the strike indicator and wait for a bite. Unfortunately for me, this didn’t work.

In front of me

The Riffle
Spot number 3 was also a familiar spot with a great looking riffle. Last time I was here I cast at this area and had no luck. Yet the spot looks so fishy, I figured I would try it again. So I cast various flies at the riffle and let them drift in different directions with no takers. At one point I pulled out a mosquito pattern that I picked up at a fly shop and tossed it out under an indicator. Even though this fly was a dry fly, after hitting the fast paced water, it went under.  A few casts later I felt something and so I set my hook and sure enough I had a fish on my 2 lb tippet! I pulled him in and as I reached for my net, snap! He broke that 2 lb tippet and then he was gone. 

Even though I lost the fish, It was great having the sensation of a putah creek trout on the end of my line. Aside from that it was a gorgeous mid-winters day in California and I was out at the fishing hole during the week. Life was good. The perfect end to the Day was a burger and beer at Plainfield Station. 

As I have said before, Every fishing hole is like a lock and your job as a fisherman is to figure out the combination. Last time I was here I failed, this time I didn’t land the fish but I inched closer by finding a fly they would take.  I’m getting closer to cracking the code and when I do, it will be glorious!

Total Fish: 0

Winter day in California