Monday, July 28, 2014

Like A Badge of Honor

If somebody had told me that this weekend would turn out the way it did, I would have stayed home. After having to cancel on my fishing buddies on a bass fishing trip on Friday, we set up an impromptu trip to the same spot on Saturday afternoon.  

1 of 3 small bass
I made some new fishing buddies on a facebook page that I co moderate along with four other guys. Two of them, Charles and Lalo, invited me to a secret spot that they call “the pits.”  Saturday was at about 106 degrees so we waited until about 6:30 to hit the fishing hole. We arrived and I was pretty impressed with the Pits. The place was a large pond/ small lake that looked to be about 20 ft deep with very steep banks. There was about a 7 foot drop from where we were to the water.  Along the banks you can see a bunch of bass hanging out holding at about 5-7 feet down. 

Lalo drew first blood with a River to Sea minnow. But that was all the bites he would have on that minnow.  A bit later Charles got into another one with a minnow imitation. Then all went silent for them and my turn came. I went through a bunch of different lures before trying a green and silver cast master that I had.  I ended up catching three small before it got too dark to fish. Charles caught one more and then we went home. 

my 1st kitty of the day
The next day we woke up extra early for what was expected to be an epic fishing trip/ tournament and in one way it truly was. The fishing crew was composed of Charles, Lalo, Alex, Rafel, and me. We had set up this fishing tournament a week before. 

This spot belongs to Alex and Lalo and is considered sacred to them. They have pictures of HUGE stripers, bass, and catfish that they catch at this spot so all of us were excited for the potential. We went to two different spots. At the first one Rafael nailed four small cats before any of us had even set up our poles.  Alex ended up getting into one small striper and I caught my first cat before busting out my fly rod and showing Rafael a little bit about fly casting. I purchased some bass bugs and was tossing them out but there were no takers. 

1st carp of the year
We ended up switching to a new spot to try for catfish. I put my fly rod away and set up one rod with a bobber and the other with a bottom feeding rig for catfish. Now remember, this was a tournament between moderators from our facebook group so the deal was to catch size or numbers. Nobody was really getting into any size but I ended up taking off with the numbers. Both my panfish set up and my catfish set up caught catfish. I also ended up with one carp which is my first of the year. 

The numbers ended up as follows: 
Lalo: 1                                                                                                                                                 
Alex: 3
Charles: 6
Rafael: 7
And the winner with a combined total of 9 fish: ME!

My prize: a hook in the F*%$#ing thumb!

Grand prize!
And he's okay!
This happened when I picked up a rattle trap out of Charles’  truck bed and it got stuck on something. I lifted, one hok got stuck, the other went straight into my thumb. One trip to the ER, a Tetanus shot and $400 later, I’m A-ok! I guess this happens to all fisherman at some point, kind of like a right of passage or a badge of honor for all fishermen. Play along so I don’t feel like an idiot, folks! Lol. 

In the comments, feel free to share stories of times when you hooked yourselves!

Total fish count: 3 Largemouth bass + 1 Carp + 8 catfish = 12 fish

Alex and Lalo's Secret Spot

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nothing But Little Guys

I left the house at about 530 and arrived at the bee hive at 6:00. I figured a couple of hours after work would be enough to get the monkey off my back. I didn’t want to have to buy bait and haul around all of my lures so I only brought  Excalibur, my 6 wt and a few boxes full of flies. Plus lately I have been challenging myself to only take my fly rod and force myself to learn. 

I had not been to the beehive since early spring so I was pretty excited to nail some panfish. The feeder canal looked as shallow as last time I was there but I think this is due to them doing digging upstream last year. I tied on a frog colored panfish popper and went to work. 

I popped that sucker around for a good while but had absolutely no takers. I don’t know if I mentioned this in the past but the beehive named itself because there are tons of bees hanging around in that area. I was excited a while back when I found some foam bee patterns to use here. This was my first time using them and I was utterly disappointed. No takers on the bees at all.

Then I went with a royal humpy in orange but there were no takers on that one either. I tied on a march brown because I figured it looked like a mosquito and that brought my first baby bluegill to hand. Not much of a fish but I’ve caught smaller!

Then came a whole collection of flies from cahills, poppers, wooley buggers, wooley worms, Sarges Crappie flies, and san juan worms before catching a small largemouth bass on a foam hopper pattern. 

I continued my carousel of flies but for whatever reason they weren’t taking what I was giving them. I ended up packing up at about 8:20 and headed home but not before a cool shot with the car and Excalibur. 

Well, I still have a lot of research to do to crack the code on the beehive with the fly. It is a killer spot with the old worm and bobber but with flies, it seems to be a bit harder. Luckily I am up for the challenge. 

Total Fish: 1 bluegill + 1 largemouth bass = 2 fish

Monday, July 21, 2014

When the Drought Hits Home

I got home from work at 7PM Last Tuesday and decided that I was going fishing. The closest fishing hole to me is Cache creek, about a 10 minute drive. I grabbed Excalibur (6wt.) and shot for the creek before the sun went down. 
For those of you that don’t remember, Cache creek is the place where I SLAYED the green sunfish and where I caught my first smallmouth bass on the fly. AS you may recall there is a deeper pond where the big boys hang so that was to be my first spot, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to find.
It was gone! That stretch of Cache creek has been reduced to a 4 foot deep ditch without a big smallie in sight.  And the worst part is that the spot where I caught my first smallie is now bone dry. 
This part of the creek no longer exists.

I took a couple of pictures of where the pond used to be and the little bit that is left. Its very sad. A beaver was still hanging around swimming and I wonder if he sensed that his home would soon become a casualty of the drought.

I went ahead and fished what remained of the pond. There was no interest in the hopper pattern or the popper. With single swings my fly reached across the entire pond. I wondered if the shallowness and narrowness of the pond put the big fish in danger for predators or if they were hiding somewhere in the cattails. 
  I tied on a black wooley bugger and after a bit I brought my first green sunfish to hand. I really wanted to try a new fly that I bought at sportsman’s warehouse. I didn’t get a name for it but it has a black body, a pink tail and a tiny propeller on the top.  It did attract the attention of one green sunfish and then I switched back to a popper and finished the day.  

On the walk up to my car a sheriff stopped me, let me know that this was private property and I was trespassing, which is weird because last time I was there the sheriff told me I was fine to fish there. I guess it doesn’t matter because within a couple of months, this creek like many others, will be gone.
Total fish: 2 Green sunfish

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Field Trip with Mark

There are few things as great as exploring new fly fishing spots.  However one of those things is exploring new fly fishing spots with good friends. I met up with Mark from Northern California trout at his home and after a quick stop at Cooks for the good luck coffee, we hit the road to a secret spot. 

As I often say, one of the main things I love about fly fishing is the areas are beautiful. Meandering creeks in lush green valleys, this is my idea of paradise. We arrived at this picturesque place and immediately went to work. It was the kind of creek that is better fished with a 3 or 4 wt like Mark’s new “3” which is very impressive and makes me want a 3 wt even more!

 While the creek was beautiful, There wasn’t much fish action taking place. They weren’t surface feeding and nothing was hitting our flies so after an hour we headed to Upper Blue lake.

Mark took me on a little field trip up highway 88 which is basically paradise. Creeks, lakes and mountains galore! 

I took so many pictures I figured I would just post a bunch to let you guys join in on the fun.

We arrived there and set up our rods to soak some powerbait. Mark tossed one line in and before he could even set up his second rod he brought his first fish to hand.  A few minutes later he brought the second fish to hand.

It took me a little longer but after a while I brought my first trout to hand as well. The trout seemed to like Marks power bait more than mine so he limited out before I did. 

While I reeled in and put the last fish on the stringer, My other rod was bouncing and sure enough I had fish on so I had to release the little guy. 

All together we caught 12 fish with the two released. We finished just in time for a rain storm which was strange (for me) to see but mark said it was normal for that area.  

As always, I had a great time fishing with Mark and I hope to do it again.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sometimes it is a Must!

When you have to fish, you have to fish!  Last Friday after getting out of work, I had to fish! I took my fly rod and went out to Central Putah creek in Davis. I was eager to try my dam spot and what would you know..,. my damn spot was taken!  A bunch of kids who were swimming and fishing at the same time. I ended up going to another spot and this kid was there fishing alone. Turns out he was with the swimming kids. He asked if I was fly fishing and I too the time to teach him a little bit about the ol fly rod and even let him try out my fly rod. He was pretty impressed.

I went to spot number two and ended up catching one baby smallmouth bass, but that was it for the day.He ended up flopping away before I can take a picture  Right after the kids left, I went over to the dam to give it a try but it was dead. Kids must have scared my fish away. 

Saturday my dad and I went out for some striper on the sac again. The bite seemed slow at first but it picked up as the day advanced.  At about my third cast I had a bite and I’m not really sure what happened, but my line snapped.  I had to tie another leader on but was back on the water in minutes. First striper was pops and it was a small one. I came second with my first little guy.  At about my fourth cast I got a bite, and ended up pulling in another line. Turns out it was my other line so I pulled it in by hand and realized my weight and hook were still on.  What’s cooler than that is that there was a small striper still on the line! 

I did end up taking my fly rod but as you can see in the picture there isn’t much space to cast here. Either way, I did my best and threw out some streamers, some black wooley buggers and some poppers. No takers. 

I ended up catching shaker after shaker on my spinning rod but no keepers. The biggest of the night were two fifteen inchers and a sixteen incher. I also ended up catching a 12 inch channel catfish. I hoped to catch at least a couple more cats or a keeper size striper but it didn’t happen so I released him. Pops ended up catching 2 stripers, which made it a 13 fish day.  Not a bad time but still searching for those keepers! 

Total Fish: 1 Smallmouth bass + 1 Catfish + 10 Stripers = 12 fish