Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New (old) things


New things keep us going - flies, rods, hooks, streams, people, just about anything.  But every once and a while I like to be reminded that even some of the things that seem new in the sport, aren't entirely so, even in a flowering sport like flyfishing, where available technology is rapidly increasing the scope of fish and water that we are able to target.

Mousing for trout is one of those areas within flyfishing that often seems like it's talked about like it's new and that not many people do it.  Field and Stream posted a video recently about mousing the Delaware, where they said, "You know, everybody goes up there to dry fly fish, few guys go up just to streamer fish, and nobody goes up there just to mouse."

Then I read a book I got from a relative, titled Along the Trout Stream and published in Birchwood, WI in 1979.  One chapter stood out to me, its title was "Night Fishing Browns."  Naturally, I was intrigued, this old timer is talking about fishing at night.  I like fishing at night, so of course I wondered what he had to say.  The author George Mattis describes his night-time forays into the trout streams of, I presume, Northern Wisconsin.  I'll share a few of his words here:

"In time one gets the feel of this sort of blind fishing, and he accepts the limitations of night casting with grace.  He becomes part of the night outdoors as he flushes nocturnal birds from their stream-side perches, bumps into large, flying insects, or disrupts a coon or muskrat in its nightly roaming...

"In fly fishing for browns in the dark of night, one will want to confine his efforts to rather limited waters with which he is familiar... this is no time for searching out new trout lairs...

"Two men fishing a stream side by side is not the ideal arrangement normally, but it can be tolerated and even appreciated when night fishing big holes on a wild grown stream where one might step into deep water or need help in landing a hefty fish.  There are some few anglers I know who still prowl the brown's lairs alone at night, but most, if they consider nocturnal fishing at all, prefer company...[my emphasis]

"...this casting into the blackness is hardly different from daytime casting.  One learns to "feel" the travel route of his fly and he has pretty much control over it even though he does not see it...

"I find small, white poppers just as effective as the miller moth fly under these conditions...  Then I have made crude imitations of a small mouse by tying deer hair on the shank of a long-shanked hook.  The top or brown part of the hair is cut off so that the lure is white or at least nearly so.  The tubular hair is buoyant and when the contrivance is retrieved over the water, there could be something here to suggest a swimming mouse."

"I have spent a few adventurous nights with an avid brown trout man who considers late night fly fishing from a canoe a normal angling adventure...  He ties and uses his own oversize flies, and when the night is right he battles several three to five pound lunkers to a standstill.  This angler is still at the youthful age where curiosity and experiment are a part of his fishing.

"Too many of us stream anglers accept the rules and methods as handed down to us from the long past.  We become staid to the point where we all fish alike.  It is quite refreshing to fish with some local loner who stumbles upon some unusual technique and knowledge that produces fish for him."

Monday, October 6, 2014

Some days


Some days you're waiting on the chick that loaded all three dryers (set on low heat) full of her underwear to take them out.  Some days you have all the work in the world that you need to do, without the coming weekend to do it on (wedding).  Some days you start reading for school at six a.m. and stop at eleven-thirty p.m.  And some days you need to go Barnes and Noble for internet because you STILL haven't gotten it set up at your new place, but you don't want to waste the money buying overpriced and over-hyped food at their cafĂ©.  On those days you just say effit, I'm buying a copy of the FlyFish Journal, and, even if it's the death of me, by God I'm going to read it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Work all day, fish all night

Sometimes, especially with the quickly shortening fall days, there just isn't time to throw hoppers and droppers during the day.  Sometimes, you just have to fish at night if you want to fish.  And most of the time, that is only a good thing.

A cast in the dark between what your peripheral vision tells you are the stream banks.  A strip just fast enough to make a wake on a lazy spring creek, with a slight hesitation before the next strip.  And then every so often you hear SLURP.


These are the fish taking out mice and frogs on a regular basis.  No jumping out of the water, no slashing at the fly, just calculated, efficient gulps.



Why do I think we're right?  While we were taking a break a frog croaked twice about ten feet down and across-stream of us, followed immediately by a not-insignificant sounding slurp.  Chris and I just looked at each other with wide eyes and knew that somebody just ate dinner.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

We went musky fishing



It's early in the first semester of your master's program, the work hasn't picked up yet, and your buddy asks you if you want to take a trip up north and musky fish for the weekend.  You know it's the best chance you've had yet to catch one, what do you do?  I said yes.  One night in the car and the other in a tent, camp-stove breakfasts, brats for dinner, and big, big flies all day.



Aggressive casts, aggressive strips, aggressive everything...


...including the fish.  We had six strikes, and zero follows.  These were not non-committal muskies.



and then Walter showed up
brats
The first day ended on a pretty exciting note.  We had two strikes less than three minutes apart, and this was on top of one caught, and another that was on just long enough to get a look at.  All contemplated properly around an end-of-day fire.


Breakfast boxers.  Photo by Nathan Jandl
Chorizo from the finest dogs in Mexico.  Photo by Nathan Jandl

waiting on the shuttle runners

Autumn inception.  Photo by Nathan Jandl

by-catch

First.  photo by Nathan Jandl

The ride home was celebratory, reflective, and punctuated with burgers.  In other words, all one could hope for.