Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Stealth Bomber Bass Killer

In my last post I mentioned the Stealth Bomber Fly but soon realized that I had failed to add any pics of this fly in the mouth of a bass or any instruction on how to tie this little wonder bug.  So with the purpose of getting a few bass pics with the fly in the mouth, I took an hour off and hit the local pond.  They are not the biggest fish I have seen hooked with this fly but with the hour I had to fish in the heat of the afternoon, they ain't a bad catch.
From what I can gather, the Stealth Bomber fly pattern was created by Kent over at who I come to find out was a native of my area of SC.  Gotta love the local boys.  On his website you will get one of the best in-depth descriptions of not only how to tie up this bad boy but also how to cut the pattern for the foam as well as how to fish it.  This site came in especially handy for me since the first few hook sets I tried while fishing this fly very nearly ended up with the hook being neatly set in my right eye.  I soon learned that a strip set is best despite the automatic reaction most of us have to raise the rod tip.

Anyway, click over and check it out, especially the PDF on how to tie this fly.  Great fly Kent and thanks again to Kev for getting me hooked on this fly.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tying Flies And Catching Bass

Despite the pressures of work and household duties I did manage to get a few hours at the vise the other evening and discovered something about myself.  I believe that I am the slowest fly tier there is.  In just less than two hours I only managed to tie up a pitiful six flies.  That's right, SIX.  Granted that there were a few other distractions present and I was not fully concentrating on the task at hand but still, It was a disgraceful showing.
So what was so complicated that it took me so much time to make six flies?  Truth is the flies were not that complicated, I am just that slow.  First up was the bass and bream killer known as the Stealth Bomber.  I picked up a few materials to create this little effective bug at the Fly Fishing Show in NC this year and later got some instruction from Kevin.  I tied a few up in white to augment my box and then a few more in black.  I have to admit that I had to consult the instructions a few times during the first tie job - my memory for specifics of each fly is a bit hazy and I tend more often than not to just wing it.
Of course even when I have the directions and material lists in front of me I also tend to substitute my own material at hand for the recommended materials.  In fact that is how I do most everything.  I guess that deep down I just think I'm smarter than the expert.  More often than not I come to find out that the expert is called an expert for a reason but when it comes to my own flies that I am going to fish, I don't really care.  They are mine so the Bombers you see are not the recommended way to tie them up but for me they still work just as well.
Next up was a foam popper, the inspiration of which came from an old bass book from the 70's.  Of coarse they used a different foam back then and the eyes where painted on but what they lacked I filled in.  This little guy is actually not so much a popper as it is a skimmer.  When played on the water, it dives just a few inches under the surface and then pops back into the film.  Tied in on a #10 or #12 hopper hook, this little guy is a true and tested bream killer.  I do however recommend (as you will read about later) that it is tied in something other than white.  For some reason the bass and Bream around me shy away from white unless it is streaking through the water.
So how did these flies do on the water?  This morning I hit the pond to test them out and the black Stealth Bombers worked great and got a lot of attention.  I was excited to even get a few tailing fins as eager bass tracked it in on a faster - frog swimming - retrieves.  The white Bombers were snubbed and I found myself wondering why I even bother with them.
The small poppers got a little action with the bream and once again I found that white is a very unpopular color choice.  Green and especially black seem to work the best.
As the hours passed I fell back on the good old Woolly Buggers and rabbit strip streamers and hooked into a few bass.
Overall it was a morning well spent even if it took me so long to tie those flies up.  One things for sure, I would never make it as an expert tier.  How those guys whip out dozens upon dozens of flies in as many minutes as it takes me to set up my vise I'll never know.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Panfish Are Just Fun!

   I had a few hours between dropping the kidos off at school and having to leave for work so I tossed my 4 W in the back of the car and headed out to do a little panfish angling on the fly.  Small poppers, spiders, and inchworms were the weapons of choice and as the sun began to heat up the pond, the fish responded in kind.
 I think panfishing is so fun because they always take stuff off the top.  rarely if ever are you going to test your line strength on these fish (though I have landed a few that could have easily filled a standard sized skillet) but you are never going to be disappointed with their takes of stuff off the top.
   I once read an old article on 'fly fishing in the south' from a magazine dated around 1910 (I enjoy reading how the old timers did it back then mainly because they knew how to tell a good fish story) and although it primarily focused on the 'Black Bass' it did have a little to say on the good times of tossing flies to all-to-eager sunfish, bluegills, and bream.  It went on to say that if an angler was so inclined, he could easily line a stringer with 30-40 of these fish in less than an hour and feed the family well that night.
   Back then they would have scoffed at the idea of catch and release primarily because food was never something you threw away.  In fact I imagine if you would have asked about their catch and release views they would have looked at you for a long minute and say something to the effect that 'occationaly one got off the hook but with a good set you can easily bring them in.'
   Part of that is true today; a good hook-set will easily lead to more fish but most fly anglers today are strong advocates of catch and release instead of the classic 'stringer of fish.'  The reason I suspect is that cleaning these fish is tedious at best, food is easily retrieved at a local grocery store instead of the pond, and most of us believe in the sustainability of our local waters.  Of course all that is a bit high minded to some and it doesn't stop some corn fishers from raping my favorite pond of big bass and bream by the bucket full, but I digress.
   Don't get me wrong, I would never pull a bugger out of a big bass's mouth in favor of hooking a bluegill and I would always choose a trout water over a bream pond if the two were side by side but for a few hours to kill and no time to head to the mountains, fishing for these little (and sometimes skillet sized) panfish is non stop action at its finest.  All fly fisherman can agree that any fish that consistently takes dry flies off the top is a worthy and fun species to catch.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Been A Long Time - This Is A Big Post!!

It has been far to long since my last post.  Actually it has been far to long since I have done a painting, thought about trout, or for that matter, done anything on the web besides checking Email.  The reasons are many including family emergencies, a whole lot of traveling, an art show I did that took a large chunk of time, and probably most of all a complete relapse into laziness.  So to jump-start my interest in the web I knew that I had to do a decent painting to get back into the game.  I have had some decent luck with bird lately and my experience with fish... well you know how that has gone.  So I finally decided to combine the two with the only bird worthy to pluck large rainbows from mountain lakes - The American Bald Eagle.
As always, I started off with a detailed sketch and worked in color as I go.  I have been asked how I get the ideas for paintings and in this day and age it is quite easy.  The web is a great source for color photos and reference material to work from.  It is however quite difficult to find the right composition I want so I end up finding a number of photos and drawing inspiration from them all.
I call this work:

"Fishing Master"
Watercolor on Paper
11in. x 14in.
For Sale

I also thought that I would give you a quick photo montage of my activities of the past weeks.  It is the least I could do for my absence from the blogging community.
First thing was a trip to the beach with the family and a few friends.  We got rained on one night really hard but the kids and I loved it.  The raccoon that stole my sausage from a cooler five feet from where my wife was washing the camping dishes also loved it....  We had grits for breakfast the next morning.
I tried for about ten minutes to surf fish but my heart wasn't in it and I soon found myself looking for shells with the kids and hassling a few horseshoe crabs that we came across at low tide.  When I go home I did however manage to hook a few sunfish.
Next was a few days of hunting for turkey.  What you see is exactly what I saw the entire time I was hunting.  Lots of trees and no turkeys.
I squeezed in a few hours of fishing for sunfish here and there..... again.1
I also did an art show in the town of Pendleton SC and managed to get my name a picture in the Greenville Paper.  It wasn't a huge success but I did manage to sell a few paintings and come out ahead.  Since it fell on Masters weekend as well as Easter, the show was not as well attended as I would have hoped for.
One thing I did get was an nomination for best in show.  I of course didn't win anything but it was just nice to be noticed for my first show.

I also received a whole lot of feedback from other artists at the show who were surprised that this was my first showing.  They had great things to say about my collection of art and seemed to really appreciate it.  Overall the experience was an encouragement for me and my art and I hope to find time to try another showing sometime in the not to near future.

I also got some time to do some bass fishing on a fly rod.  No biggies but It was still fun to wet a fly.
And last but not least is my book.  Okay, its not really my book but my name is in the credits and my art is scattered throughout.  I am also unable to read a lick of it because it is entirely in Spanish (I wish now I would have payed more attention in school) but I am still excited to have my work finally in print.
The book is on carp -barbel- fishing around Spain and it comes fro a fellow blogger from across the pond.  You can check out his blog at Barbos con Mosca for your own copy of the book.  His publisher was kind enough to send me a few copies for myself and a few close friends but if you want one then you will have to look to him.  If you have time, at least stop by his site and check how they do it over the pond.  He has some great pics and great advise if you have a translate option  on your computer.
I did do a whole lot more in my blogging absence but most of it was mundane or personal and would bore you to death so I'll end on a high note.  I think was the longest I have gone in three years without posting or checking blogs.  It was good to have the down time but now it feels good to be back at it.  I hope you survived reading this post and if you didn't then your not reading this anyway