"Sometimes, you just need to go downstairs and waggle a rod..."

Monday, May 29, 2017

First Trouts

I titled this post "First Trouts", not because I caught my first trouts ever, but because I caught my first trouts of the year. In fact, as I was fishing, I did some quick math in my head, and came to the realization that I am probably coming up on my one billionth trout caught. My math skills can be a little fuzzy at times, so I am not sure if my billionth trout will be caught in the next few months or in the year 2094, but for sure it will be caught...

But let's get back to the trouts I caught yesterday. Like I said earlier, it was my first trout trip of the year. My buddy, Bryon, whom is a fellow congregant at my church, was driving, and we peeled rubber about a millisecond after our Pastor said the final "Amen". We both scarfed down a Son of Baconator from Wendy's on our way to our favorite trout stream, and were in our hip boots by about 1PM.
Bryon at the helm of his trusty Suburban, right before we Baconated ourselves
The weather was weird all day. It was quite windy, but our expert casting prowess handled that easily. It was mostly sunny, but then some big ominous clouds would blow in every once in a while and cool the air off quite a bit. It didn't rain until we got a bit of drizzle on our way out to the truck at the end of the day. The following four pics all show the stream and Bryon. It's kind of a Where's Waldo type of thing...




One of the most interesting things we saw on the stream were some enormous turtles sunning themselves on some rocks on the far side of the stream. They were big enough that I assumed they were snapping turtles. Bryon didn't think so. Perhaps this pic can help somebody identify them.,,

Other than the pool where the giant turtles were, the fishing was great! We caught trout all day, and I also hauled in a couple of bass, a couple of chubs, and a bluegill. About 90% of the fish were caught on nymphs, and the rest on wooly buggers. Bryon's hot fly was an olive scud, size 14, and mine was a Spearfish Special, size 12. We both tried other flies throughout the day, but those two worked the best.
Spearfish Special
As far as gear goes, I was using a fairly new addition to my rod quiver, a vintage Scott Pow-R Ply 8' 5WT glass rod, paired with a Hardy 4000DD reel. The Scott rod handled the windy day with ease, it handled some big meaty buggers with aplomb, and it handled all the fish with a deft touch, Most of the trout I caught were browns, like this beautifully spotted 15" brute...
But I also caught three brook trout. I wanted to get a pic of the first brookie I caught with this new Scott rod, but I was having some issues, first with the camera and then with the fish. Oh well... The following are a series of three photos that capture my futility...


As you can see, I couldn't get the camera to focus correctly in the first photo. I must have pushed a button I shouldn't have. Once I did get the camera focused, the brookie had had enough, so he flopped out of my hand and back in the river. Even though the fish was gone, I thought the rod and reel made a nice pic, so I went ahead and snapped another. I didn't realize my boot was in the shot until I got home...

All in all, a great first trout trip of the year!

Gear used: Bryon used his trusty Phillipson 800 Series Johnson Profile 7'6" 6WT glass rod paired with his Cortland Vista M reel. As I mentioned, I fished with my Scott Pow-R Ply 8' 5WT glass rod and Hardy 4000DD reel. Both set-ups performed flawlessly.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Brawling Bluegills

I thought about calling this post "Monster Bluegills", but the term monster has become somewhat synonymous with "large", even though monsters come in all different shapes and sizes in real life. But to avoid confusion, I changed it to "Brawling Bluegills", so as not to disappoint my readers once the truth about the aforementioned bluegills' size comes out...

I haven't done a whole lot of fishing yet this year. The closest I have gotten to a trout has been when I drive over a small creek that purportedly has trout in it, on my way to my parents' house twice a week. The fishing I have done has been for panfish, and I have caught approximately 100 bluegills and one crappie. Oh, and a few feisty largemouth bass, as well. Most of these fish have been on the smaller side, but there have been a few bigger ones as well. I have found that, no matter the size, a bluegill fights with more than its fair share of tenacity, so I don't mind what size they are. Plus, I try to even the playing field a little by using light fiberglass fly rods while fishing for them.

A beautiful little 'gill
Which brings me to two of my most recent rod acquisitions. First up is my first Steffen rod. If you haven't heard of Steffen rods, don't feel bad. Mark and Tim Steffen roll their own blanks and build their own rods right here in the good ol' USA. Arizona, to be exact. Steffen rods have a reputation among fiberglass rod aficionados as being some of the nicest casting rods in existence. After a small sample size with my own new rod, I can agree! The rod I acquired is a 7'6" 3-piece 2/3wt rod. Since I don't own a 2wt line, I have only used it with a 3wt, and it is sweet! I was casting fairly large dries without problem, up to 50 feet or so. What a beautiful rod!

Next up was another sweet 3wt, a 7'2" 3-piece rod built by renowned glass rod builder Chris Barclay. Again I was able to cast large dries with ease, but this time I also used a size 10 bead-head wooly bugger, and it handled it effortlessly. Which is good, because that's the fly that was working. I fished for about a half hour, and must have caught 30 fish or more. None of them were huge, but they were all fun on the light glass rod.
My beautiful new Barclay rod.

One of these days, I am going to catch a trout. I don't know when. And I don't know where. But it will happen. Look for the cast-by-cast description of it here!