29 January 2012

Fort Parker Prep

Busy, busy, and more busy describes this weekend most accurately.  However, some of the business was in preparation for our upcoming trip to Lake Springfield at Fort Parker State Park.  With Fort Parker's facebook post, "Trout Clinic went really well.  Big thanks to the Mexia Bass Club and Sponsers [sic]...Lake Spring will be open to the public at 5pm Jan 29th 2012," I just had to get ready.

I checked the weather, and originally, Cody and I were heading out to the Lake on Monday, but with the winds forecasted between 15-20 mph, partly sunny with a high of 66 v. Wednesday's winds forecasted between 5-10 mph, mostly sunny with a high of 70, we decided to postpone our little excursion until Wednesday afternoon.

I am taking Diane Blair's Tuesday night 'Spinning Deer Hair' tying class at Bass Pro Shops in Garland.  Last week, we learned to tye Mike Verduin's Mouse.  I tied another one up in anticipation of teasing and catching some Bass. All-in-all we have accomplished a lot for our little after-work jaunt.

New camera from Cody, my surprise Valentine's gift, early, so I can take pictures and video--Check!

New mouse to add to bass collection--Check! 

New waders so I won't freeze to death--Check!

New strap-mount, rod holder for my float tube--Check!

New replacement wading boots from Simms--on their way!

Wednesday afternoon can not get here too soon, because it will be FishOn! the fly for sure--a fantastic way to begin February.  Whoop!

22 January 2012

The First Red River Rendezvous

After planning and excellent promotion, the Red River Fly Fishers decided to host a winter fly tying event for the North Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma fly tyers.  Fellow tyers congregated at Bonham State Park's Group Barracks beginning Friday afternoon and staying until Sunday noon.  Some chose to stay in one of the Group Barracks' cabins, while others camped in their RVs or tents at the Hackberry Hollow Camping Area.  Cody towed the Zoom, and I towed the Mitzi, in the hopes we would get to fish Bonham SP Lake (which was lower than we'd like, even for a skiff).

Tyers brought their benches, materials, wares, clever ideas, and plenty of food to share with one another graciously.  Guests could learn fly casting from one of many CCIs present and test out rods with Rick Pope of Temple Fork Outfitters.  An informal, but detailed presentation with maps on striper fishing Lake Texoma captivated many attendees' attention.  Mostly, approximately 80 tyers did what they do best, shared--their materials, ideas, patterns, and passion of tying with one another.  Many chose an afternoon of fun and hilarity at Bonham's Homestead Winery's wine tasting.

Food.  Oh my, the food was fabulous and flowed a-plenty.  Everyone brought their best recipes and dishes to share with everyone--three and four helpings worth per person, including Fred and his Jambalaya.  Honestly, we are glad that these rendezvous don't happen too often, because we would gain about 10 pounds--eating and sitting and tying and sitting and eating and tying, oh my.

Saturday evening the Red River crew hosted both an open-raffle and raffles for three rods--a TFO 5#  Professional, a Switch Rod, an Inspire Fly Rod, and a wine basket from the Homestead Winery.  Steve Kimple entertained the crowd in singing around a roaring bonfire, while some continued to tye flies late in to the evening.

Sunday morning, tyers were treated to a light breakfast and began packing up their benches until the next event.  In a most generous act, the Red River Fly Fishers made the decision to forego the fly raffle (and any profits they would have made), and asked instead, that tyers donate their flies to the 2012 Fly-A-Thon collection tub I had placed in front of my tying bench.  Tyers, as they most often do, did not hold back.  The Fly-A-Thon tub runneth over.

As Cody and I made our way back home, we talked about how  impressed we were with this Rendezvous and  found it really difficult to believe that this was just their first event.  On Jerry's way home, he stopped by the park office and booked Bonham SP for 18-20 January 2013 for the 1st Annual Red River Rendezvous, a must for all fly tyers of whatever experience!

16 January 2012

First Fly Fishing Geocache Hidden

Returning to a favorite little fishing spot, I hid my first geocache; officially, it is a Letterbox Hybrid.  I have found several types of geocaches, and seeing the cache contained within, I knew I wanted to expand more cache items for the fly fisher.

"Letterboxing is an intriguing pastime combining map-reading skills and artistic ability with delightful 'treasure-hunts' in beautiful, scenic places" (http://www.letterboxing.org).  Letterboxes trade stamp impressions, expecting no additional cache.  It is my hope that the discoverers with their found posts will attract the attention of other fly fishers.  In this I am reaching out to two groups--those expecting to trade rubber stamp impressions, and those expecting to trade swag specific to a purpose, instead of the general type of items traded, and if so desired, they can use their trade immediately.

Click for more on letterboxing.  Interested in finding and using the cache?  Click for a fly fishing cache.

15 January 2012

Fly Fishing & Geocaching

I sit all day long at work.  I sit in the car for a long commute.  I sit to tye flies and to build rods.  I sit to do needlepoint, and I sit when I read.  A majority of my time is spent sitting, so I have decided to do something about it.

Cottonwood Campsite
Lake View Container
After having a curiosity and a two year interest, I am taking up geocaching.  However, with the exception of a few that interest the history side of me, they will be caches that are near bodies of water where other geocaching fly-fishermen could seek the treasure and then fish.  I have had four finds, three of which relate to bodies of water, and I left behind something for the fly fisher.

If you know any good sites, let me know.
Lake View Cache

12 January 2012

Fly Fishing Ebbs and Flows

What an up-and-down week in my fly fishing world it has been, and it is only Wednesday!

Saturday--Up:  I found the ever elusive IGFA 1kg/2.2lb class tippet for which I had been searching for the past six months, and Float and Fish marked it half off the regular price (I mean, afterall, what idiot really wants this tippet?)!

Sunday--Up:  I found a Rio 1# line for the 1# rod I wish to build this year, and  Dos Amigos Fly Anglers had it marked at half off the regular price.
              Down:  I have no 1# rod to build.

Monday--Up:  We received the Mud Hole 2012 catalog, and lo and behold, our untouched photo submission shared the front cover honors!  This was a really fun and completely unexpected and unannounced surprise.
                Down:  We received the Jan/Feb 2012 IGFA magazine/newsletter,  and I immediately turned to the World Records section.  Scanning through it I became very, very disheartened that no Bluefin Trevally in 2kg/4.4lb light class tippet was awarded.  However, I was relieved when I looked at all the records published to see that they occurred between March - August 2011.  Hopefully, the September-December 2011 World Records will be published in the March/April 2012 magazine, seeing as Cody and I have no idea how IGFA informs an angler of their certified world record catch.
                 Up:  Dallas Fly Fishers held their first meeting of 2012, and we started the year off with Rick Pope as our guest speaker!  The first 10 days of the fishing season for Cody and I has begun really, really well!

Tuesday--Up:  Cody visited Tailwaters and purchased my 1# TFO Finesse blank; Thank you Rick Pope and Tailwaters; Thank you!
               Down:  I can not find a true 1# reel.  I like the looks and weight of Abel's Trout Light reel Dark Green (yes, Bart, I said Abel), but I am not certain about not having an easily accessible drag.  For me, the drag will be important, because I intend to take this 1# out to catch bass of reasonable size, so this 1# set-up will be used for more than just stocker Trout and baby Bluegill.  I carried out on-line research of the Lamson LiteSpeed reel, but it weighs .7 oz more than the Trout Light, and the Lamson has an "unbalanced" or "harsh, rugged" look about it when paired with the delicacy of this rod.  Part of this is my quirkiness or penchant that all my rods and reels have a theme to them.  (My purple reel is used only for my 9# rod, which is tied with purple threads; my gold reel is used only for my 8# rod, which is tied with gold threads, and so it goes for each of my rods and their coordinating reels, of which no two reels are the same color--2# Grey Mist, 4# Copper, 5# Pink, 6# OD Green, 6# Black, 7# Blood Red, 8# Gold, 9# Purple, & 10# Silver.)  Thus, I can not devise my thread wrapping scheme, thread colors, guide colors, nor a name for this 1#.  It will come, and I will figure it out, but it isn't coming together as quickly as I would like.

Wednesday--Down:  I can not find a Ross CLA 1 Copper spool, and I have asked many fly shops,  phoned Ross Reels, and laboriously delved through e-bay's offerings.  I fish my 4# with a Rio Gold WF4F as often as I fish it with a Sharkskin 150 grain sinking line.  I tire of cutting the backing and a little of each fly line every time I want to switch out the lines.  Ross discontinued the Copper CLA 1 spool, and it seems that no one has one.  Now, there are a plethora of CLA 1.5 copper spools, and why this is, I do not know.
                    Down:  I am going to have to "settle" for a wader that does not fit 100%, including the top-end, high dollar models.  Even this girl does not understand how the fly fishing producers create Women's waders, and I like to shop, and I like clothes and shoes!

Eventually, everything will sort itself out or it won't.  Either way, I will find what works for me, but in the meantime, I thoroughly understand the song, "Everybody's working for the weekend!"  I hope yours is wonderful!

08 January 2012

Leaving the San Juan River

Choosing Friday as a day to play, we forwent fishing.  (I can only be  cold for so long, and then, I just  can't.)  We checked out of Ayala's, visited Float and Fish for some goodies, and headed on our very first Geocache. While we didn't take anything, we did leave something a fly fisher would enjoy.  Had we found this cache the previous day, located at the Cottonwood Campground between Campground Run and Cottonwood Flats in the Baitwater section of the San Juan, we would have taken the Hot Hands Handwarmers!

I wanted to see Shiprock, so following the Reader's Digest The Most Scenic Drives in America, we went west and south through Farmington, viewed Shiprock, headed north to Colorado, visiting The San Juan Angler in Durango, drove east through Pagosa Springs and back down to Chama, New Mexico.  We really enjoyed our trip through the snow-laden mountains heading through Taos via a 10,500 altitude climb around Enchanted Circle, and reaching our destination, Eagle Nest Lake. 

Heading out of town, we visited Dos Amigos Anglers Fly Shop and met Wayne Thurber, a Texan from McKinney, who is now one of the two full-time partners.  We really enjoyed the shop, and I bought a 1# fly line for my future rod.  We saw the ice fishers on Eagle Nest Lake, saw the Cimarron River, frozen for most of the public access through Cimarron Canyon State Park and Philmont Scout Ranch, and decided that this is a "must" on our upcoming Summer 2012 Rocky Mountain Tour.  We stopped in Clayton, New Mexico and ate at the historic, 100 year plus old Eklund Hotel where they were finishing the celebration of New Mexico's Centennial.  We pushed hard and arrived home at midnight of this day.  Unfortunately, at 3:00 a.m., we learned that the Eklund's cuisine did not agree with us.  We rested, relaxed, and recooperated, and I prepared to return to work on Monday.  The San Juan River trip began the 2012 fishing year excellently, oh yeah!

06 January 2012

Day 3, San Juan River

From the dam down to the Crusher Hole the San Juan River is known as the "Quality Water."  This upper section is what we fished on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Wanting a change of pace, Jerome told us he would take us to the lower section of the San Juan River on Thursday.  Having never fished this 10 mile stretch, I thought it would be interesting to see.  After finishing the float, I had to ask what constitutes "quality water."  The only thing I could determine is that in the upper portion, only catch-and-release and single, barbless hooks are allowed, which typically means fly fishing only.  We did see and talk with spincasters on downstream, all of whom seemed very nice and were enjoying a fine day of fishing, just like us.  The other advantage we had fishing the "non-quality water" was, we were the only boat on the water all day long.  Being a fishing snob is disadvantageous.

Jerome began the day having Cody and I nymphing, and what a fine spot we hit.  Green egg patterns were the hot fly.  We hooked up five fish and netted three in the boat within the first fifteen minutes.  I finally consistently hook-set the way Jeremy kept telling me on Tuesday. While the day promised to be the warmest, a fine 51˚F, we hit a canyon shaded from the sun, and the temperatures plummeted to a nice 19˚F!  Yes, we were catching fish with ice in the guides; always the true test of winter fishing for trout.

Jerome worked really hard, and as a result, we caught fish in front of the lodge where we were staying, Ayala's.  We caught  fish below the bridge that  runs through town.  We streamer fished catching big, beautiful Brown Trout (I used my TFO 6'8" 2# rod with a tandem streamer set up, just for fun).  We fished in the light of the canyons and under overhanging willows.  The moon shone brightly in the clear, blue sky and followed us down river.  Cody boated six fish, and I boated eight.  Regardless of what the maps and fellow fly fishers say, all of the San Juan River is quality water, all of it.

04 January 2012

Day 2, San Juan River

The Texas Hole and a size 28 red larva dropper were the keys to  success for today, and with this set-up,  Rainbow Trout were at the end of our lines.  We fished with Jerome Gallegos, manager of The San Juan Angler fly shop in Durango, Colorado, who was very patient and willing to put up with our photograph antics, especially playing with the GoPro!

Again, nymphing was the fishing technique for the morning.  Cody caught more fish than me, but I at least reduced the numbers of lost fish due to the strip-set, thank goodness!  With warmer weather (morning temp was 25˚F; afternoon temp was 46˚F) and no wind at all, there was a larger crowd on the water (six boats working the Texas Hole at 10 a.m.), and the larger fish from Tuesday were staying away from all anglers' flies.  Cody ended up bringing 11 fish in the boat, and I netted seven.  I attempted the Trout Trifecta but fell one catch short.  I nymphed a beautiful Rainbow, became tired of nymphing, and switched to streamer fishing the GirlieBugger on my 2#.  Second cast, and it was Rainbow TroutOn!  Cody and I both dry fly fished the mayfly hatch at the pool across from the ET rock, but we came up nil and returned to nymphing.  We did manage to catch a couple of nice Browns below ET rock.

I made many interesting observations for the day--places that were just teeming with fish yesterday were void of fish today; fish stock piled behind large boulders and snubbed flies; Brown trout were more sluggish in the quicker waters but aggressively chased one another, including the one that tried to eat a small Rainbow Cody had hooked.  We caught two small trout that are a Steelhead and Rainbow crossbreed, and two small Browns contained large, thumbprint spots below their lateral lines.  All-in-all, it was another great day on the water.

03 January 2012

Day 1, San Juan River

Cody and I awoke to a robust morning temperature of 18˚F!  Fortunately, we weren't meeting our guide,  Jeremy Nolan of Heads Up Flyfishing, until 9 a.m., so that gave the clear blue, sunshiny day a chance to warm up.  Plus, we were not wading, but floating the river from Jeremy's drift boat.

We put in at the Texas Hole, and believe it or not (because we surely didn't, and we saw it for ourselves), there was only one car in the parking lot.  There was only one person on the water, and this was about 9:30 a.m.
We set out with the river pretty much to ourselves for at least an hour-and-a-half.  Cody's hook-set was spot on which yielded a number of nice trout in the boat.  I kept losing fish, because I was strip-setting, a big no-no when it comes to catching trout.  Eventually, I got my hook-set going and was able to put fish in the boat, too.

In the morning, we nymphed with egg patterns and midge droppers; Cody's midge was red, and mine  was green.  We caught more Brown Trout, and so Jeremy used an eye dropper to see what the Brownies were eating.  Lots of big scuds, a red worm, and midges.  After a nice streamside lunch, we switched to streamers with a mayfly dropper, and my hook rate increased dramatically.  I tried dry fly fishing to two trout languishing on top, but they so pointedly ignored my Parachute Adams and Griffith's Gnat, that they didn't border on being rude; they were very rude fish.  No more dry flies for the remainder of the day, and back to nymphing it was.

We hit some fantastic banks and caught fish, including one egg-laying female.  (The egg imitation patterns  are really some good flies when compared with the real thing.)  The sun dropped behind the snow-covered mountains and temperatures dropped.  We finished the day quickly after that and took out at the Crusher Hole.

For the day, I hooked up with 12 fish and landed six in the boat, while  Cody hooked up with 16 and landed 12 in the boat.  We don't know who we are fishing with tomorrow, but we're looking forward to some re-dos, and hitting the productive spots again.

02 January 2012

Traveling to the San Juan

The San Juan is my favorite trout fishery, and with my vacation working out the way it did, Cody and I decided to spend the New Year on the San Juan River guided by The San Juan Angler out of Durango, Colorado.  We decided to take the scenic route, traveling up U.S. Hwy 84 to U.S. Hwy 64 and over to Navajo Dam.  We visited the High Desert Angler in Santa Fe and bought our fishing licenses, and a new Rio 2# line, and a new Ross Evolution green reel, and flies, flies, and flies.  This was a first-time visit to Santa Fe for me, and I really like the town, especially since their petroleum prices were $2.72/gallon!  Cody and I could kick ourselves for not bringing our ski and snowboard gear, but we'll be better prepared next time.  Here are shots from some of the wonderful scenery we drove through, today.  Tomorrow, hopefully, there's plenty of trout pictures to share, especially a 25" Brown Trout!

01 January 2012

Happy Fishingly New Year

Well, another fishing year begins.

Having and believing in very few superstitions, I am about to change my routine.  I have always been on the water the first day of a new year, because I believed I had to catch a fish on the first day to bring me good fishing fortune for the year.  Instead, Cody and I are going to travel to my favorite trout fishery, the San Juan River.  So, we are headed to a fine fishing destination on the first day of the year, so I think that counts for creating fishing good fortune.

I enjoyed 2011.  I accomplished several goals in 2011, and some went unfinished.  Some will rollover to 2012's goals, like catching a ShareLunker, and some will be incomplete, catching an Indo-Pacific Permit.  I  achieved winning a fly fishing related contest, creating a successful new fly pattern, and getting my picture in a fly fishing related publication.  I attempted setting an IGFA record in light class tippet,  which  is still pending.  I did not catch a ShareLunker, place in a bass tournament, nor did I catch a beautiful Indo-Pacific Permit, but that is okay.  The missing Permit gives good credence to returning to the saltwaters again one day.

For 2012, my goals are:  Catch a ShareLunker, Place in a Bass Tournament, Break an existing IGFA Record, Build a 1# and 3# Rod, Learn to Tye Good Deer Hair Flies, Add Three New Species to my Species List, and Expand Our Blog to 50 Followers.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful 2012 and catches the fish of your dreams.  Happy New Year!
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