Mar 30, 2011

Tail Spin

I fished the tail water today, It was full of surprises, and left me in a tail spin. The flows jumped up more than double and the water was clear enough to spot and stalk.

With an empty parking lot and the sun shining high, I began a slow walk down the river staring at each holding zone looking for the hard target. I suddenly spotted three fish holding in single file, slightly offset.

Spanning their run with my whole leader, I gently tow it in to position to pick off the third one first, the one at the end of the run. I flick a small mend in the line to line things up and my tactic works. I fool the fish. Steering it clear of the remaining two I quickly remove the fly from the lip and recast. In trying to do the same thing to the second fish, I mess up slightly and the first one takes it. That spooks number two. Off to a great start with two fish in the first two casts. With more fish potentially laying in other nearby drifts I elect to walk on to spot another innocent specimen. A pretty large brown trout apparently looking for little green things. It Drank my fly and swam to my hand. In that order and about that quick.

I dunked the camera for a release shot.

As I walk up on a huge 90 degree bend in the river, I notice that the new flows had it lookin oh so sweet. This hole is so deep and big, Its possible to fish it all day and never leave. It requires multiple adjustments to the rig and the learning of complicated currents but the spot is just full of feeding fish. I stopped in there for a look and spotted about 10 fish feeding high in the column. Really active yet rather small Juvenal's but still ripe and ready for the taking.

I felt like having a little fun and pulled my indicator, removed the shot, gave er some grease and set er in there. A vicious glare disabled my vision for the first few seconds of the drift, allowing me time to mend and gather my thoughts. In my second attempt at this I see a fish freaking out on the other side of the river, all jumping and shaking, with a line attached to it. My line! The current had my flies three weeks from where I thought they were and this fish took my fly, felt a poke and freaked the heck out.

Knowing I didn't have a clean set, I thought I would hustle it in, then try again but do things right the next time. I had that little fish about 8 feet from me when I seen the ever famous giant predator trout, come up and attack the spastic little turd, over and over until it was free from the fly... NOW, did somebody just say, CURTAIN CLIMBER?!

That's what I was thinking and my leader went right to the teeth. Oh, right about the 3x I added 30 inches of 4x, topped with a Curtain Climber. I kissed the fly on the head and threw it where the previous trout had freaked out. Let it fall to the bottom and gave it a switch, followed by a slow, slow pull. I let it turn where I seen the attack from the monster and WHAM-O...

Not the monster that I seen come and try to eat my fry, but a good fish, with attitude, willing to chase my new favorite wiggle minnow.

One more decent fish took the streamer in the big 90. I added another couple feet fine tippet and some tiny bugs and went back to spot and stock. The remainder of the afternoon was to be expected, I walked a whole lot and had to work for each fish that pulled. I ran short on time as per usual, and decided to rig back up with the brown trout minnow and stomp it out. Locating chasing chasers the whole way.. Do me a favor, say it out loud! "CURTAIN CLIMBER"

Here's a few more shots culled from the video clips.
Right click-save as-save as desktop background? Nah... who wants a sexually mature brown trout laying on the bottom of the river on the screen all the time..

Mar 17, 2011

Book Review Fish Like A Guide

"Fish like A Guide" by Fishing Hall of Fame Author George Douglas, This is a book that all anglers should read but serious anglers should take special attention to the urgency that a guide uses to catch fish because his/her job is on the line. If the above average angler reads this book and can find ways to involve the things that George Douglas discusses in his book, the angler will catch more fish in less time.. The content of the book is a lot like the title, Fish like a guide. I didn't take it as a "how to" book, nor did I mistake it for a book that the guides are reading. This one is for a serious angler who has built his/her confidence to the point that the word "urgent" comes to mind while fishing. If you are not exited about going fishing and casting flies, but cant hold still because you want a fish on your line, then I suggest you read George Douglas's book, "Fish like A Guide" and use the information found there, to catch more fish. The book has a great break down of how to condition for this mind set. You can pick up where you leave off as well as stop at any level with this mind set and use it to your own best advantage. The Introduction: Talks about what a real guide is and what a guide does. After reading the intro you will know why you opened the book. Preparation: A subject that is covered well and will explain how to prepare your mind as well as your gear, again to catch more fish, not just go and try. Where to: This chapter tells you how to select the best spot for the day, using the flow chart, hatch charts and word of mouth or lack there of. The Approach: In this chapter you will read how to approach the water its self, how to work a run and catch everything in it. Adjusting to Conditions: This chapter talks of how to adjust to the conditions that may limit you from having a good day on the water. Covering, water flows, weather, and the chances in the mind when things aren't as expected. Rules: These rules are talking more of the etiquette of a guide and how to look good as a professional. Keeping everyone fed and safe from bears. If you copy these things as an above average angler, your sure to look and smell like a guide, which doesn't have a whole lot to do with catching yourself another fish. Gear: This chapter covers all aspects of gear that a guide carries and how important those things either are, or are about to become. Explaining which items are suited for certain weather conditions and which items are "dead weight". At the same time talking about how the fish react to your clothing, and the importance of polarized glasses. Stop Loosing Fish: This chapter can help us all. I will name this chapter, most valuable in the contents of the book. It talks of how to set a hook correctly, all the way through a fight.. This must be adapted to your own style but the tips found in the book are gold to the right readers. The End Of The Day: This is the last chapter of the book and another valuable one. It covers those that happened during the day. Remembering each significant event. Those things, need replayed in the mind and carefully thought about at the end of a days fishing, weather they are bad or good. The chapter also mentions, how to process the thoughts, mistakes, and success of each day to better the next. George Douglas is the main squeeze over at KYPE magazine.... If you would like to read the magazine I have it running on the right side of my blog. It's free and there for you. If you would like a copy of the book, hit me on my email and I'll hook you up.

Mar 15, 2011

Fishing Blog Criteria

Where did everybody go?..

A question I had to ask after awaking from a lazy Sunday afternoon nap. About 2 o'clock, I woke up and everyone in the house had left. A quick phone call told me that I would be batchin it for the evening.

I stumbled in to the garage and seen a lonely little 4wt with bright shiny eyes and a nice little butt. I scooped er up in my arms and gently carried her to the bed. (of the pickup) I gently pulled out the line, and began to feed it through the guides. By the time I reached the last one, I could already see the drift and selected some flies.

Rod hanging out the back window, waders on, and boots laced up tight I hit the road for a whole 4 minutes to the local stream, where I found a river stained just to my liking and an unexpected bump in flow.

Thinking I could up the size of my tippet if I wanted and even go with a larger brighter fly, I decided to leave my rig as if I was fishing a cold winter day in clear water for lazy fish. Rigged with a very small golden stone and a 22 midge taking up the rear, all I had to do is add a little shot, snap some hard rolls in there, and I'll be darned if the third drift didn't yield a fighter of a youngen on the tiny bug.

It ate it out of the swift section of the seam and tried hard to beat me up with the traditional acrobatics of a rainbow trout.

I caught two more fish with loads of spunk from that section before moving up. I'm pretty exited about how much energy the fish have today and decide to play with that.

I didn't slice the water apart, but rather a quick stomp, targeting the shallow tailing's of each holding area looking for spunky fish hanging back in the faster riffles eating at a faster pace. With this, I leave the "heart" of the hole alone and don't cast to the most likely holding position's. This is all because I know I'll be walking back down the river to my truck as the sun is going down and I want to fish again, with a different rig...

I walked about 2 miles up the river spot fishing like Grandma mops the floor. Picking up all the fish I wanted along the way but at the same time, passing up all the good stuff .

As I reached the end of my wading road, I began to add weight and make more involved adjustments to my rig, also making casts that are more risky to looking it all. You may hear me talk of the circumstances as "hail Mary".

The "hail Mary" is when an angler risks his fly line, leader, flies, shot and indicator, by making dangerous casts near unforgiving obstacle, in order to obtain on last tug before a change in direction. This act, added one more fish on the stone fly nymph, but not too long after, I lost the whole shmole...

The sun is behind the hill and I can feel the evening spring chill in the air. Still thinking of active trout, I pulled my streamer box from my pack. Then I had to actually read the writing on my rod to make sure I was about to cast streamers with a light weight 4wt rod. Ignoring the facts I rigged a 3x leader to the poor thing and tied on some bunny junks. I tightened up my belt, gave my jacket a quick pull of the zipper, and proceeded to abuse my rod.

Hardly letting my walk slow to a stop, I kept my feet moving along with the tail of the fly. Slipping every cast in against the bank and wiggling it away, I could feel the anticipation of a large brownie ambushing it and making me work.

I had all of the good slices of water untouched and free of flashes from previous fish, giving me the feeling of just getting there. As expected, not every fish was willing to give chase but in hope of that one I stayed focused.

While casting and walking my fly hooked a tree branch. I gave it a little wave and seen it come free but my line was over the branch. (ya know when you can lift it up and down because the branch is acting like a pulley)... I got it swinging back and forth and as soon as it cleared the backside of the branch, I gave it a little pop. Sending the fly about a foot ahead of the knot where my fly-line meets the leader. (insta-mend) I snapped the slack out of it and felt I was hooked on the bottom or something...

Not bottom at all! I set the hook two more times and began a crazy battle with a big brown, on a streamer, after sundown. (oh the life).

The fish spazzed out so bad with death rolls and tail stands, that it noosed itself around the head with an Indiana Jones style whip-knot. So my anchor point was on the side of its head, its was still freaking out so I had to slide it in quick to avoid leaving a permanent 3x tattoo around the things face..

"Hey fishie, you have something stuck in your tooth!"

Not every day that I get lucky enough to hook up on size 22 flies with 7x... a few on 5x with the stone, then jump to 3x and streamer up the leftovers..

I hope that meets the Fishing Blog Criteria.

Mar 11, 2011

Curtian Climber goes to Camp

I moved some of the curtain climbers body parts around to create a more realistic brown trout minnow and make it easier for others to tie. This is one of my best streamer patterns and one that is totally original of me. It would be considered crazy to leave this pattern behind in late spring and early summer.
After revising the pattern and building a little confidence, I have decided to submit this fly to Montana Fly Company for the fly designer contest in conjunction with Outdoor blogger network. I have tied my share of flies and the truth is, I don't get to share enough of them. I have sold very few flies and have never submitted a fly at a professional level.

The idea of The Curtain Climber came about when I was a young boy.

Playing on the river bank, in soggy tennis shoes, throwing rocks and catching frogs. I learned how to locate the water most likely to hold a for a frog. I then, quickly began to learn that all those little minnows in the frog water and small tributaries were really, little baby brown trout.

I would catch them in a minnow net, which I never left home without. Then, bring them home and put them in the family fish tank. I would marvel at the colors and their beauty for the entire two days of their lives. This is when I learned that room temperature will kill a trout. (need to add ice)

In that time, I could sit for hours and hours in ah, as they dart from one end of tank to the other... A hint of purple, then red, a flash of yellow, white and gold, would light the tank with each pass.

I'd drop little pieces of night crawlers culled from the back yard in to the tank and watch the little guys come up to investigate it, then zoom around behind it and ambush it. Displaying this is the way that they are programed.

As a youngster and even now, I can't resist trying to figure out, what's the smallest movement you can make, to get a house cat to attack a string? Do you have to shake it all around? Dangle it over its head and bounce up and down? Or just a simple twitch?

Perhaps, it depends on the cat..

As a fly rod found its way in to the palm of my hand, streamer fishing became part of the game.

I began to understand that a little brown trout would eventually get brave enough to venture towards uncharted waters... The possibilities are good, of its own father waiting at the mouth of the tributary, may well ambush the little fry. Making the little son a meal.

That very situation has given me the respect that I have for the Brown Trout today.

So as a young man, a childhood friends father would call us curtain climbers as we ran in and out of the house. He later explained that was a reference to a group of wild kittens playing in a house.

I think of this fly as a wild little cat, kid or fish, that is going about its daily business as an adolescent. Then simply gets eaten by a bigerrfish.

That's how it got the name Curtain Climber.

I would like thank to OBN for getting with Montana Fly Company to make this possible.

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Click on the logo's above and travel over to Montana Fly Company and OBN for some great flies, Fly tying material and enough outdoor blogs to choke a chicken.
Curtain Climber
Pattern and Instructions...

Hook- Traditional down eye, size 6 streamer hook.

Bead- 1/4 inch brass cone

Tail- Small amount of yellow marabou along with three strands of copper midge flash, figure 8 tied to each side of the shank, at the tail.

Weight- 20 wraps of .020 led wire.

Ribbing- Red wire

Under body- Simi-seal dub in Yukon brown or Yukon olive.

Wiggle strip- Charcoal grey Zonker strip

Head- The head is a two step process, 1- palmer three wraps of cross cut, black bunny strip, on the last third of the shank, leaving a space next to the bead for step 2-, two tight wraps of brown saddle hackle flaring backwards

Whip it!