Monday, May 21, 2012
First up is my all time favorite books by my favorite author; Ernest Hemingway. I have read nearly everything he has ever written including dispatches to the Toronto Star newspaper when he was just starting out. A few of those early writings were even laced with fly fishing the great north woods. The Sun Also Rises also has a bit of fishing but its mostly about Spain, Bullfights, and a group of ex-pats that go to party. Great read! and if you don't get it all in the first read then read it again... I have 4-5 times... I'm fairly dense.
If you haven't read any Robert Louis Stevenson then you are one depraved individual. What kid doesn't like pirates right? Anything by him is money.
Then there is the few that go along with him like James F Cooper or Jack London, both of which are great authors even if Cooper can be a bit long winded. I would also say you are safe with anything that Mark Twain penned. As a kid that spent a whole lot of time on the banks of the Mississippi, his book Life On The Mississippi opened up a whole new world for me when it came to understanding what this country was like back when Samuel Clemons was a riverboat captain. Roughing It wasn't that bad either.
Bartrum is another more dry account of exploring this country before it was made a country and might be interesting to Southerns but L & C would be the most notable and easy to find choice.
If you have read any two of these book that I have mentioned then you might notice a theme. I like books that feature individuals with drive and determination. The heroes, be them real or fiction, sport courage and a willingness to do what needs to be done. You wont catch me reading the Notebook - though I hear its a good book its just not for me - but I have been known to pick up Walden from time to time, but then again there is a man sporting a sort of self sufficiency I hold in great respect.
If you don't make a pilgrimage to hunt those wild Russian trout that eat duck as an entree - Or if you do and need a good book for the plane ride - read at least one good book this summer. And no, The Orvis Fly Tying Recipe book does not count even if it is well illustrated.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
First off I know what you are thinking, "That isn't a new fly. I have a dozen poppers like that in my box already." And that's just what I thought until I fished it and discovered that this fly is no popper. I had made it to be a bluegill popper but boss , this bug don't pop. It swims and it triggers bass to bite.
At first I was disheartened by this discovery since I was originality going for a popper. I proceeded to coat the first few flies with a floatant but that soon wore off and as soon as that popper became a torpedo the bass where on it like a fat man in a donut factory. I have been out to various ponds since that day and the dowel fly has been a top producer on every outing.
My last trip yielded me a nice 3 lb bass that took the fly like a cheetah running down a juking, jumping north African gazelle. After a sporting fight that tested the limits a bass can jump once hooked, I landed the him and resolved to give this fly a name. What I came up with as a no brainier and a tribute to the junk I got in the corners of my garage just waiting to be used.
To tie your own Scrapyard Plug use your own imagination - or try and follow these instructions. It isn't a hard fly to make but then again the best flies never are.
1 - Take a standard wooden dowel from any hardware store cut it down to usable sizes for your hook. I used a #10-#8 popper hook and a 1/4 in wooden dowel. You want the dowel to be no longer than from the eye of the hook to even with the point of the hook If the dowel is shorter then that will work even better.
2 - Using a hand saw or a band saw, cut a slip in your dowel just deep enough to place the hook shank. This is the most difficult part since the dowel is so small. I used a pliers to hold the dowel and then took them to the band saw. A piece of advise is not try to use your fingers to hold the dowel. You will discover that the saw is sharp and will bite like a barracuda. Trust me.... it hurts so use pliers.
3 - Next take the wooden dowel and secure it to the hook shank using super glue. Do not try and use head cement. Supper glue is much stronger and will hold the wood to the metal longer than anything else. I didn't use any wraps of thread before securing the dowel and have had NO problems with loose dowels on the hook.
4 - After the glue has dried - an hour just to be safe - I shaped the back of the dowel in a downward slope. I used a power tool for this but you can use a carving knife or sander. Another word of warning... Just be careful because again, the fly is small and your fingers will be close to the workings. A wooden dowel is a hard wood and is difficult to work in small sections.
5 - Once the shaping is complete then its on to decoration. You do this just as you would any popper. I took mine out back and spray painted them green, red, and light blue but its up to you. In my opinion you can never go wrong with red. Bass just seem to love it. After the paint dries then add the feathers. I also added rubber legs but have since cut all of them off. Being a subsurface fly the legs twisted the fly in the water and honestly I got more strikes without them. I know stick to a standard 2-3 trailing tail feathers and a few wrapped around the back 1/3rd of the hook. Keep it simple....stupid.
I know that there is nothing 'new' in the fly fishing world when it comes to fly creation so I consider this a re-discovered recipe. I discovered this more than likely the same way it might have been discovered back in the day - completely by accident. It works and that's all I care about. Enjoy!
Thursday, May 10, 2012
|My first hook-up with a Yellowstone Cutthroat|
|My Dad and Me on a hike|
|The proud angler and his catch|
|Fishing with my bro in Northern California|
The places we went were the mountains of Northern California, Yosemite, Oregon, Utah, The Blackhills of the Dakotas, Wyoming, and one of my favorites - Yellowstone NP. Regardless of the destination, nearly every place we went, fish and water were close by. Besides the Coleman camping equipment, the fishing poles and swim suits were always a must have on any trip.
|Camping in SC|
Nowadays my family and I aren't cruising the back country roads of the Rocky Mountains looking for camp grounds on rest stop road maps but we are covering a good deal of prime beach camping as well as Smoky Mountain sites. When my kids grow up I hope they remember those trip with as much fondness as I do.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
last post I mentioned that I had made a handful of bass bugs out of a spare wooden dowel I had laying around the garage. During my entire four day trip I had thought about these little bugs and could not wait to get them in the water and see how they performed. Some might say that obsessing over a few bass bugs for any amount of time is unhealthy but you need to remember that any guy that spends hours upon hours casting to illusive fish without the slightest hint of a bite might be already unhinged. So obsessing over the homemade bugs is normal in a sort of sick way.
Anyway, as soon as I got home I dashed out to test these little guys until the family returned from school. As you can see, the bugs killed them. The very first cast with the green bug you see below hooked into a good looking bass and the pictures tell the rest of the story.
After some of the bass fishing seemed to die off I headed to an area of shallow water known for big bluegill. The smaller gills stayed away but a good number of the larger ones where more than happy to take these flies.
titled Improvising Poppers. I will try in the future to perfect this bug by reducing the line twist while keeping the semi-subsurface action this fly has. Who knows, I might actually even post a true instructional step by step on how to create this simple bug.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Dremel and did a bit more shaping before I took them over to the vice and attached the # 8 hooks. After that it was back out to get spray painted them back in to get all the feathers and legs attached. I was half expecting to test them out this weekend but once again work gets in the way. Hopefully next week I will be able to test them out.
On the flip side, if my 100% home made poppers completely fail to catch fish then it is that much more of a realization that the fish just might be smarter than me. That sort of knowledge hurts.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
It had been quite a while since I painted a fish so I cracked the watercolors and artists pad of premium paper to paint up a quality version of the bream I have been catching a whole lot of lately - the Pumpkinseed Sunfish.
As I finished up the final touches on my work I thought back on the trout trip I was suppose to have taken and the little girl that had needed me. It didn't take half a second to realize that I wouldn't have traded that morning with my girl for an entire week of chasing trout. Those are the memories we carry long into our lives.
8.5" X 13"
Watercolor On Paper