Thursday, June 27, 2013

Resort Bluegill

Never underestimate the pond at your resort, especially in Florida. I finally found some time to fish the pond at our resort and found it loaded with bluegill.   I also spied a few bass and carp but failed to hook any. Not a bad way to end a day though

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Castles & Fairytales

After surviving a 14hr day in 95 degree heat with 6 kids under the age of seven we can absolutely say that we did the magic kingdom. Is it wrong to look at the greenish waters surrounding the park and wonder if there are monster bass lurking just under the surface?
Tonight its another park and then some fishing at the resort pond, swimming with the kids, and a little beer and barbecuing to finish it off. Not a bad way to spend a day.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Vacation Fun

Nothing more than a quick post as I finish a great day with the fam. Fireworks tonight!   Who doesn't love a big explosion or two?   I'll let you guess where we are.
Might even get some fishing in later this week.

Monday, June 17, 2013

One More Happy Customer

Just a quick post to share how one faithful follower of my art used my recent painting to surprise his dad on fathers day. To all the other fathers out there - hope you had a relaxing day.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Big Bass - Pond Fishing - And I Break My Fly Rod!

In my book there is only one good reason to get up early this time of year.  Of course there are many other reasons I DO get up early such as work and chores around the house but the only one I really get excited about is FISHING!
This past Friday I awoke early to go with my buddy - Marty - to a local private pond on a beautiful working farm.  I have heard him tell of massive fish and plenty of them in this pond so I was fairly excited.  As fish stories go, I was still a bit skeptical but hopeful that the pond lived up to his bragging.  After my first five casts and three fish to show for it I was a true believer.  Either we had hit this pond at precisely the right time or this was truly one of the best ponds I have been to.
  The ecosystem in this large pond was perfect.  Beautiful sunfish of all sizes and species, a wide range of bass sizes all of which look healthy (besides one that looked like a turtle had used him for a chew toy), and enough bait-fish and aquatic bugs to keep the whole food chain rolling.
  Taking one of my favorite graphite rods - the one built by Marty - I strung up my Abel Fly Reel and went to work.  Quickly I learned that I was quite under prepared for the size of fish in this pond.  My  hooks and inch and a half streamers where not tempting enough for to many large fish but the mid sized fish were killing them.
  After hearing a large splash I looked over to see that Marty wasn't exaggerating about this pond one bit.  After a bit of a fight on his custom built spin rig he hauled up on shore one of the biggest 5lb bass I have ever seen.  He had hooked this bad boy just past the gill so it bled a little but after a quick hook extraction - I literately stuck my whole hand down its throat to remove the hook! - we released it back into the pond where it quickly swam away.
  Tossing a 7in Sinko worm he had hooked into a bass most guys would chalk up as a bass of the year for them.  Then he returned to casting and after less than twenty minutes he did it again!  Another hawg on the line (a 5lb'er) and another hero shot to show for it.  Quickly I realized that I was out-gunned on this trip.  I was catching what would normally be respectable size bass but compared to the fish he was hauling in my fish would be considered bait.
  Undaunted, I continued fishing and hooked into a whole lot of fish.  Finally I hooked into a very nice crappie making my day a small slam - Bass- sunfish - and a crappie on the fly rod.
Moving down the shore I tried to cast again and heard a snap.  Thinking that I had hit the fly on the graphite, I tried to cast again and heard an even worse snap.  I had broken my favorite Graphite 7w rod!!  Luckily Marty had come prepared and brought a second spin outfit.  With a little disappointment at having to retire my fly rod and Abel Reel, I picked up the spin rig and went to work.
  By the time I had broken my rod, Marty had hooked into three record bass and I had the bait covered.  Unfortunately the heat of the day was on the rise and the fishing began to slowly die off. I hooked into some great fish and Marty was still catching fish but the sizes where noticeably decreasing.
  One fish I hooked into on the decline was a good sized bass with about a three inch gash taken from its back.  It looked as if something had taken a machete to it so of course I had to take a picture.  Not having any massive toothed creatures in a pond like this, quickly ruling out northern species like a pike, the only option was that a big turtle was trying to have a large meal of bass.  The fish was still very strong but I was not sure he would survive.  A cut like that is hard to recover from.
At about nine thirty we packed it in.  We had both caught many large fish - his being slightly bigger - but it was still one of the best ponds I have ever been to.  On the drive back I lamented on the loss of my rod he had built for me and he came up with a great outlook on the situation.  'Now you have a great excuse to build yourself a new one.'
After dwelling on it a bit - all of two seconds - I knew he was right.  Securing his expertise and promise to help me find the right blanks and get me started, I knew another project was on the way that I had to somehow explain to the wife.  As it is I have about forty other irons in the fire so building a rod might be one project too much but I figured what the heck.  You only go around once, why not live it to the fullest and learn a little on the way.
  For this Friday it was a a great way to end a week.  and with the fishing bug satisfied I can now start another week.  After that its a few family trips across the nation.  With any luck I will be able to do a little more fishing along the way.
(This is the last fish caught on my 7w - nicknamed the Flying Dutchman)  Not a bad way to end a career.  Fair thee well old friend - you have caught many fish in your short 5 year life.  From cutthroats in Idaho to the bass of the south, well done... well done....

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Abstract Trout Watercolor

Picking up the paints today I decided to go a completely different direction than normal and do an abstract Trout.  Using the brightest colors available and sharp contrasts I came up with a decorative trout with hints of all three of the main types of trout we all fish for.
First sketching this trout with an acid free artists pen I made the conciseness decision to rough it up a bit. I wanted the finished trout to have a lot of rough edges and an overall unrefined look.  I also tried to capture the designs of a Brook Trout, the idea of a Rainbow, and the spots of the Brown Trout.
After the sketch I went to work dropping in the color and working fast to blend the water and pigments before they dried.
Adding a rough fram of black pigment also helped to give this painting a nice look.  You wont ever find a trout like this on the river but it sure would brighten the decor of your room.

Abstract Trout
-  Size  -  7in X 17in
-  Medium - Watercolor On Paper
-  For Sale

Friday, June 7, 2013

Pedaling Oregon To Carolina!!

  I picked up road biking about two years ago as an alternative to running.  I have never been a big fan of running for fun but riding a bike for 30+ miles, now that is form of exercise I can get into.  I actually feel like I am getting somewhere.  I can see a whole lot more of the countryside and occasionally have the thrill of cruising down a steep hill going over 35mph on a bike.
  So when my wife came home from work a few weeks ago and told me about three brothers that were embarking on a coast to coast summer road biking trip I instantly was enthralled.  And  since I have this platform to share their story I thought it only natural to add this for you all to see and possibly follow.
Calling themselves The Band Of Biking Brothers you can click over to their blogspot site HERE and give them your words of encouragement.  The brothers are the sons of a co-worker of hers and thanks to this internet age they have decided to post their adventure on a blog.  As a guy that is envious of epic adventures like Shackleton in Antarctica or Teddy Roosevelt paddling an unknown river in the Amazon, you can bet that I am going to follow these boys every step of the way.
  Not only is this the kind of journey I love to read about, it also serves for inspiration for me to get on the bike more often.  A year ago I toyed with the idea of doing the tour of Iowa called Ragbrai.  Unable to get my schedule together (or my body in shape) that fizzled but recently I have been looking at a far less ambitious ride.  Biking from the mountains of Carolina down to Charleston SC is a good 2-3day ride well within my ability's and time frame.  Who knows, maybe after my crazy summer is over and the cooler fall weather comes on I will take the inspiration these brothers have given me and launch on my own journey.
Good Luck Boys.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tenkara Fly

 It has been far to long since I have posted any Tenkara related stuff so with a morning free to sketch I worked up a little Tenkara illustration.  I have been working on a project that has involved a whole lot of Tenkara research and illustrations so it just seemed like the right thing to do a post about.

While doing research and sketching out illustration ideas I inevitably went back though my logs and past artwork to get inspiration.  With that in mind I decided to share a few of those with you along with a few recent Tenkara outings.

A few weeks ago I took the Tenkara rod up to the smokies but completely struck out.  I believe that it could have been the first and only time the fish failed to bite while using the Tenkara rod.  At the very least I have always been able to hook into a young trout or bluegill in a days worth of fishing but alas it was not to be.
When I got home however I took that Tenkara rod back out and with the kids in tow, we were able to redeem it with a bunch of large sunfish.  The kids love its easy use and simplistic nature and for a day on a local pond, you just cant beat handing them a Tenkara rod and watching them hook into fish.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The B.C.S. Fly Fishing Slam?

No, its not the BCS you might be thinking of but instead its the Bass Crappie, Sunfishing slam.  Not spectacular as grand slams go but still a good time.
   The last week or so has kept me fairly busy but that doesn't mean I haven't had time to break away every so often to do a little pond fishing.  Taking my kids to some local ponds we were lucky enough to hit them at the right times and at the right temperatures.  The bass and bluegills have been aggressive and eager to bit and I even managed to sneak in a crappie or two with the fly rod.
Unfortunately the ponds that are close to the house never hold very big fish but that doesn't make hooking into an eager bass any less exciting for me or the kids.  While I was casting my 6w, I strung up the Tenkara rod for the kids.  A few sunfish later and they are just as happy to be tossing in rocks to see the splashes.

Hooking into some eager bass, a few dozen sunfish, and a crappie or two in a few short hours might not be a true grand slam but it does relieve that itch to catch fish.  It also has the added benefit of entertaining the kids for an afternoon while creating memories that will last for a lot longer.