Largemouth Bass Lineup

Largemouth Bass Lineup

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ever Have An Outing Such As This One???

I managed to run out yesterday and hit the Monocacy for a few hours in the evening.  Last time it rained here in Maryland, at least near my house, was Sunday.  The weather was nice and cool.  It was actually in the low 80s.  Shocking for August.  A full moon was on its way.  Everything was lining up perfectly.  It was going to be a splendid trip.  Here is the kicker though...I had a terrible fucking time.  Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.  My camera stopped working, the line was a mess, my casting was off, I missed a ton of fish, the water was high and dirty, the leader kept twisting blah, blah, blah.  You get the point.  I stopped having fun after a while.  I have always said when that happens, it is time to pack it in.  Well I didn't.  I decided to push the envelope and as such more shit continued to happen.  I was determined to stay until dark which I did but I didn't enjoy it.  Not one bit.  No sir....not one bit.  I should have left but I didn't.  I managed to land a total of 21 fish.  Two were smallmouth, two were red eyed rocks, one was a fall fish and the rest were long ears.  I used the Monocacy Bumble Bee primarily.  Still rocking the Eagle Claw Featherlight.  I can't stop.  I love it.  Anyways, I did manage to land probably the biggest red eyed rock I have ever caught.  It was a great fish as you will see from the photo...oh yeah the fucking camera broke!  Well there it is folks.  21 fish landed, not a single damn photo taken and I had a miserable time.  Whatever!  I need to somehow redeem myself in the very near future!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mr. Brown Meet Mr. Fiberglass

I got a wild hair up my butt on Wednesday and decided to head out and chase some browns.  I typically don't fish for the T word in general let alone in the middle of August.  I am a die hard warm water fly fisherman.  However, there is something to be said for fishing for the T word.  What lead me to them and Mr. Brown on Wednesday was Mother Nature.  I hate her!  She hates me!  Every stinking time I have several days off, it seems like it rains.  That happened on Tuesday.  It rained like crazy and the rivers were blown out.  I was not letting her get the best of me again on my days off.  On a whim and with a hair up my butt, I grabbed my 3/4 Featherlight and headed out the door.

After a 40 minute ride, I ended up at Morgan's Run.  I have been fishing this stream since I started fly fishing back in 1994.  It is small and has a very low hold over rate.  The water gets very low in the summer months.  It is stocked with browns and rainbows throughout the year and is catch and release.  Because it is one of only a handful of trout streams in the area, and is easy to access, it sees a lot of fishing pressure.  I mean a lot.  The fishermen range from fly fishermen to spin fishermen to people throwing bait (illegally).  As such, those that survive and become hold overs have quite the IQ.

I scouted the area and settled on the pool below the bridge as a likely spot to land something.  I know from past experience that there are always trout in this pool.  I wasn't disappointed.  As I stalked along the bank, I could see several decent size browns holding in the pool.  Sweet.  Time to go to work.  I started out throwing a psycho nymph in purple.  I had gotten some of these to try out a few months back.  Almost immediately I started seeing follows from some of the browns.  I did manage to land a few sunfish here and there but I was not here for them.  So no luck on the nymph...time to switch.  I decided to go with a hopper. Why not right?  It is after all summer time.  I picked out a brown and threw the fly right in his feeding lane.  Perfect drift.  A turn.  A follow.  A rise to inspect.  A gulp of the fly and a rip of the fly right out of his mouth.  You have got to be kidding me!  I couldn't believe I did that.  What the hell is wrong with me?  I continued throwing the hopper but they would not have anything to do with it.  Time to switch again.  Rooting through the terrestrial box, I picked out a black and red ant I had tied up like two years ago.  Again I was banking on the whole summer time bug thing.  Still zeroing in on the brown I hooked using the hopper, I threw it back up in his feeding lane.  It drifted down and he didn't even budge. Go figure.  However, just before I was going to stripe the fly in and cast out again, I observed another brown move over to inspect the fly.  Turning, he rose quickly and slammed the fly.  YES!  Almost immediately, Mr.  Brown went airborne.  I quickly put him on the reel and the fight was on.  Given the time of year, August, the fight didn't last long.  That was fine with me.  I didn't want to hurt Mr. Brown anyways.  I landed him and managed to get the camera out.  A push on the power button revealed...anybody, anybody.....that's right it was dead.  You have got to be kidding me!!!  My first brown on glass and no photo op?  He measured out at a cool 13 inches.  Not great but not bad given the time of year.  I would not complain over that one.  I was thrilled.  Sadly, though that was the only trout I landed that day.  I did manage to land a total of 10 sunfish but as I stated, I wasn't there for them.

I am so pissed I didn't get a photo of my first trout on glass.  Only after I released the fish did I remember I had my iPhone in the car which has a decent camera on it.  Retrieving that, I managed to snap some photos of the stream itself.  It really is a beautiful stream but from the photos you can tell just how small and low it is.  I can't wait to get out again and chase some browns with that fiberglass rod.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Houston.....we have an addiction!

Fly boxes.  A must have when fly fishing.  They have come along way since I started fly fishing 18 years ago.  They now come in all shapes, sizes, configurations, waterproof, not waterproof, plastic, wood, metal, expensive, cheap...well you get the idea.  I have always used boxes that have multiple compartments in them but without lids.  I always figured it made life easier to sort the flies and have access to them.  Plus they were and continue to be cheap.  A big plus in this household where the wife watches what I buy like a hawk watches a field mouse.  Always ready to pounce.  I do have three boxes with separate compartments in them with each one having a lid.  I like them but they aren't waterproof.

So two things happened in the past year that made me realize I might need to upgrade my fly boxes.  First was last September while I was at Harman's with Greg.  I tried to cross the stream and ended up going for a swim.  You might remember the post but if not you can read it here.  Every stinking fly became soaked.  Actually soaked would be a gross understatement.  I could and did literally pour water out of each box.  Many a fly hook rusted that day.  Second was at Harman's again, hey maybe there is a theme here, and I started noticing everyone else's fly boxes.  They were better and they were waterproof.   In fact Team New Jersey's own Paul commented on my boxes by saying "Oh I see you have the spill and cry boxes."  After looking at them, I realized he was right.  One slip of the hand, one missed step on a rock while the box is open,  one shiver and all those flies would hit the water.  They would be washed down stream and there wouldn't be a thing I could do about it.

Upon returning from Harman's I started buying fly boxes.  I may have gone a bit overboard though.  I only recently started changing out boxes and filling the new ones.  I actually have more boxes then I need now.  Just don't tell Melissa as I will get bitched at and she will insist she was right.  While I was buying them she kept saying "do you really need that many?"  Naturally I had to say YES!  So I went on a spending spree and bought many a box.  I bought boxes from Hatches Magazine, Cabelas, Scientific Anglers, and Umpqua. I made sure they were all waterproof.  I bought them all in various sizes and configurations so I can see what works and what doesn't.

With so many boxes, I naturally need more flies...........

Friday, August 17, 2012

No Top Water Action Yesterday!

I got out last night for about an hour of fishing.  What a tough hour it was.  I struggled big time.  In my last post, I explained how the river turns a chocolate brown after it rains.  Well after Ian and I left on Tuesday, it rained hard.  I mean it poured buckets.  We had a lighting strike near our house that took out our Comcast box.  Figures.  Second time in the last year that has happened.  The point here is that it was a bad storm.  Anyways, I really wanted to do some more fishing before I headed back to work.  I packed the wife and half the kids up and headed out to, wait for it.........the Monocacy River.  Shocker I know.  I love this river.  It really is my home water.  I fish it as much as I can.

We arrived at the river and it looked fine.  A little fast maybe but good to go.  I suited up which really means I put my wading boots on.  I love wet wading in the Summer.  I usually wear a shirt, shorts and wading boots.  Add my Orvis hat and my trusty new T.F.M. sun mask and I am ready to hit the water.  As seems to be the norm now, I decided to rock it old school by using the Eagle Claw Featherlight.  I would later regret this decision.

I made my way on to the river and immediately started throwing a size 10 Fire Tiger.  I didn't catch shit.  The water was too fast for poppers and muddy.  WTF?  I was pissed.  As soon as the top water action had heated up, it disappeared.  Here it is in the middle of August and I am only getting around to top water action.  I have only had one day of it.  The reason being is the rain.  Hard to fish top water flies when the river is high, muddy and fast.  Damn it!  I switched to a white and black Road Kill and promptly hooked up with a long ear.  Nothing after that guy.  I switched to a white and gray Clouser with silver flash and started stripping it in fast.  I started landing smallies here and there.  Nothing of any size that is for sure.  I was struggling but hey at least I was out on the water and catching fish here and there.  In the end, I landed 1 long ear and 5 smallies.  I also caught myself a number of times.  I had a very hard time throwing those Clousers on that 7 foot 5/6.  Maybe my casting sucks (I would not doubt it), maybe the line was light (it was a trout line), maybe the rod was too light ( it is a Featherlight) but I struggled to get that Clouser out there.  It was rough.  In the end I gave up as the fish just weren't that interested and the wife and kid were bored.  We decided to go out to dinner instead.  Glad I only went into the water up to my thigh.

Just two days ago this little area was dry

Hopefully you can see the color well here 

Better photo of the color of the river currently 

Small smallie but hey whatever 

Underwater photo of a smallie 

Last photo before the camera batteries died 

Two photos of the boy and I that Melissa took

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fishing Report from 08/14/2012

I had arranged a fishing trip with my neighbor and long time friend Ian.  He doesn't get out much do to family obligations so I have, of course, been pestering him to get out this year with me.  We arranged to head to the Monocacy River on Tuesday.  So what happens on rains.  Of course, it rains.  I am positive now that Mother Nature hates me.  I got from Ian saying it had rained.  A quick check outside revealed wet ground and a wet road.  Why o why Mother Nature do you do this to me???  The Monocacy River has a lot of sediment and as such becomes a river of chocolate colored mud after it rains.  Therefore, it is unfishable right after it rains most of the time.  I decided that I would not be beaten by Mother Nature this time.  Scotty and I hopped in the SUV and headed off to check the water conditions.  Upon arrival, I was stunned.  Amazed really.  It clearly did not rain as hard as I had thought it had.  The river was low but clear.  I could see the bottom all the way across it.  Good stuff!  I sent Ian a text explaining the conditions.  He called me shortly there after and said he was ready to go.  We fished from about 2 in the afternoon until dark.  We had a great day on the water.  Ian is a die hard popper fan and was throwing the Fish Foolin' Frog and Popper Smurf.  He did well and ended the day with around 50 fish of which 8 were smallies.  I started out throwing the chartreuse Panfish Persuader.  After about 50 or so fish, it had had it.  I decided to switch to the Fire Tiger in size 10 and again did really well.  I landed 52 long ears, 2 bluegills, 2 warmouth, 1 red eyed rock and 9 smallies.  Yes I count the fish.  I do this for my log book and in an effort to monitor the conditions of the river.

It was so nice to have some top water action.  Finally!  I have been waiting all year for this time.  As of late, because of the rain, the top water action has been very slow to nonexistent.  This was the first outing of the year in which top water was the shit.  I have so missed those explosive strikes.  It never ceases to amaze me at how hard some of the fish smash the fly.  You always think you have a huge fish based upon the strike only to reel in some little tiny guy.  Well it doesn't really matter to me though as a fish is a fish is a fish.  They all count in my book and they are all fun to catch regardless of the size.

Ian is a Giant!  He makes everything look small

Hungry little guy 

Made for Panfish...loved by all! 

Trying out the new under water camera 

My only red eye of the day.  If you look closely, you can see the orange legs in his mouth 

Everyone loves the Firetiger! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Look What Arrived In The Mail Yesterday....

I got two of every color pictured.  Chartreuse, Dark Green, Olive and Orange.  Thank god!  We were getting low on our hackle.  So happy I found these and for a bargain price!  I feel so much better now that we have these.  They have nice long feathers with a great dye job.  With the hackle crisis in year two, prices have been outrageous and decent hackle has been hard to find.  With all the orders recently, we were nearing the end of some of our hackle.  I was starting to get a little nervous but I feel so much better now.  Time to crank out some poppers!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Putting A Bend In The Featherlight Rod

I took a quick look at the weather yesterday and noticed that I had a small window of opportunity to do some fishing before Mother Nature was going to put on another lighting show.  With my Eagle Claw Featherlight rod in hand and a new Road Kill color combo in the fly box, I hit the river.  The weather had been hot all day with temps hitting the 95 degree mark.  I swear it seems like it has rained a lot lately but I saw on the news the other night that half of the counties in Maryland are in drought conditions.  My county is not one of them which is great but I have a feeling it is coming.  I was hoping that the water would not be too low to be fished.  I was certainly hoping to catch some smallies.  My numbers have been pretty low this year as a result of not being able to get out much.  I think I have been having withdrawal symptoms from not getting enough smallie or bass thumb.  I needed a fix and I needed it soon.  Oh, to see an explosive top water strike!

I arrived on the river around 1530 hours or so.  A quick check at the boat ramp revealed that the water was low, but not too low, and clear.  Awesome!  I was stoked.  This was going to be only my fourth outing for smallies this year.  I had high hopes.  I entered the water and worked my way across the river to the rock wall on the other side.  Typically, I start here in this section and work my way down.  By far, this is my favorite section of the Monocacy River and where I spend most of my time fishing.  As such, I know it very well.  Usually when I fish with others, I put them in the good holes so they have the best chance to find, hook and even spook the fish.  Melissa has often said I should do some guiding.  This time, however, I had the whole river to myself.  Once I reached the half way mark in the river, I started my pursuit of the smallies by casting across to the rock wall.  Here is what I am referring to

I had used a purple Road Kill on the last outing and had done really well with it.  How does the old saying go....if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Well I didn't.  I managed to land some long ears, red eyed rocks and a lone bluegill in this stretch but no smallies.  I eventually lost the fly to something large that broke it off.  Well it was probably time to change to the new guy anyways.  Some fish porn for ya:

Quick break in the fishing report so that I can apologize for the photos.  Melissa got me a waterproof camera last year for Christmas.  I have had it out twice.  Between that and being a male (we don't read instructions), I have not had a chance to figure out how it works yet.  As such, my photos are a little blurry.  I now know where the macro setting is and will be using it in the future.  Back to the report.

I tied on the orange and black Road Kill and started working my way down stream.  This is a new color combo that I have been working on.  Everything is the same as the orange Road Kill but this guy has black hackle instead of just orange hackle.

 I managed to pick up my first smallie from a rock.  He was a little guy but hey they all count.  This river is not known for its smallie population.  We don't get the numbers or sizes other people in the Midwest or New England get.  Any smallie is a good smallie for me.

Well working my way down stream I managed to catch a warmouth, some more long ears as well as some red eyed rocks.

I do love the red eyed rocks and I am so happy to see them returning to this river.  It was polluted for years.  I am hoping they can recover.

I finally got a decent size smallie.  This guy, according to the ruler on my rod, went 13 inches.  A really good fish for this river.  He chased down and crushed the Road Kill.

I started hearing thunder and decided that it was time to turn around and work my way back up to the car.  I  decided to switch gears and tied on a Panfish Persuader in black and hot orange.  I really needed my top water fix.  I wasn't to be disappointed.  I did fairly well with it.  I managed to land more long ears and another smallie that inhaled it.  I missed more than I landed.  The water was so clear that you could see the fish coming up to grab the fly.  I am a little out of practice and therefore managed to rip the fly out of the water anticipating the strike.  I know better than that but it was been such a long time since I witnessed top water action that I was overeager.

Not too long after the last photo was taken I started to see lighting.  Being in the water waving a fiberglass rod scared the shit out of me so I beat feet back to the car.  All and all it was a great day of fishing.  Well really it was 2 and 1/2 hours but you know what I mean.  I landed 25 long ears, 4 red eyed rocks, 3 smallies, 1 warmouth and 1 bluegill.  Not too bad at all!  Looking forward to going next week.