Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Fall Journey

A Fall Journey

Let me start by saying, this is not a fly fishing or tying post.  Nevertheless, it is about what ties me to fishing and my life in the outdoors.

I grew up with a Dad that loved bow hunting. Likewise, at the age of five having been given a small green and white 10lb fiberglass recurve bow from Bear Archery, I was forever tied to my Dads hip in front of our hay bales.  At 7 yrs old I was upgraded to a yellow 25lb Bear recurve and was shooting my Dads rebuilt cedar "shorts".  Or more definitively, my Dads broken arrows salvageable enough to allow me to still shoot them.  I would cheer whenever he broke an arrow, and to possess 3-4 matching arrows was like having my very own custom set.  I'm certain it was bittersweet for my Dad.  That little Bear recurve took many squirrels and groundhogs over the years.  They were good years.

At age 12, I went with my Dad for my birthday to Becky's Sporting Goods where he bought me a new wood Blackhawk Archery 58" 40# draw Scorpion recurve and a dozen new cedar arrows. A half dozen of which were with broadheads for hunting.  I would shoot my first deer with that bow that very same year. It was a doe and I was hunting with my Dad and Uncle on opening day 1975. Sadly, the bow was lost over the years, however the arrow I do still have, shown here in the antlers of the last archery deer I was able to share with my Dad.

My first Deer

Over the years I have been fortunate to take a good number of deer with a bow. Whitetails from a half dozen states, along with Washington State Blacktails and a couple elk.  Countless bows have come and gone, and archery and bow hunting always seemed like the most natural extension of myself in the woods.  It was a part of me.  

Why you ask, am I sharing all of this?  Well, about 15years ago, I began having trouble shooting the recurves and longbows that I loved so much.  So reluctantly I went back to a compound, which resolved most of the issue.  And then about 6 years ago I was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinsons, which explained many things over quite some time.  The past few years have been a struggle.....and the best outlet to the outdoors I have that allows me to deal with life, was being taken away.  It had been 3 years since I had taken a deer with a bow.  Something that was an event every year of my life until then.  It was looking like I would have to hang up the bow and go to a crossbow which would allow me to remain in the archery woods. 

 Not wanting to give up yet, and not wanting to let this %$#@$!!%^&! disease win, I decided to give it one more season.  The result of that took me away from the stream and the blog for the better part of 2 months. Over that 2 month period I missed 2 opportunities at buck that nearly broke me. I came minutes away from hanging things up.  

But on November 10th......44 years after my first deer, it came together.  I was able to make a perfect 25yd shot on a quartering away doe with another Bear Archery bow, dropping her in only a few steps.  My Mom and Dad were with me in spirit and for a moment I was 12 years old again and getting a congratulatory hug from them both.  


Parkinsons....Loses for one more year.

Now.....time to check on the water. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

A Morning Walk

A morning walk around a small pond

Often....there is no better way to clear your mind, than a casual walk around still water with a fly rod in hand.

A few were brought to hand with the X-Gurgler

A few came up for the Foam-Butt Caddis

And a bunch of "Almost Pounders" were willing to chase around the Gurgling Wog in frog colors

On the water early, and off with the heat of the sun.

Hope you all had a great summer!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

August Heat and Frogs

Gurgling Frogs and Bass

A couple of hours to troll the banks in the August heat, seemed like the right time to tie on a frog.  One Gurgling Frog carried the night for a half dozen top-water crashing bass. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

A Day on the Water

Colored Up & Full Kype

Saturday was spent on the water & the fish cooperated dawn-to-dusk.

Most fish were taken on nymphs.  Three fish came up for a caddis dry, but honestly focused on nymphs for most of the day.

 The Rainbow above was on a #18 Ruby Midge, as did 6-8 others.  

The Ruby Midge 

The RP Starling wet took fish throughout the day, yet oddly they were all browns?

The RP Starling

The "Ralph's Little Pine" accounted for a couple during the heat of the day.

Ralph's Little Pine

The largest fish of the day was a 22" bow with a broom for a tail and huge kype.  A long fight and being alone precluded a pic but it ended the day in good fashion.  He took the "Little Crappie Fly" under an indicator.  

Little Crappie Fly

Fish took everything from dry flies, to wets, streamers and nymphs. A great day on water with not a soul in sight. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Blues & Kings In The Surf

Blues & Kings In The Surf

I fly fish 95% of my time on the water.  But in the surf, its all about casting the big rods.  

This year found the Bluefish and Kings plentiful.  Cocktail blues are fillets waiting to happen.  They were all over cut bunker.

Kingfish are quite possibly the best eating of all.  Bloodworm Fishbites were the ticket.

But the excitement of the trip was a 40+ inch span 50-60lb Cow-nosed Ray.  A 30 minute fight on an 8' medium action rod and 20lb line. The ray would be assisted back into the wash and I would be assisted towards a chair and a beer. 

No flies were harmed during this fishing trip.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Evening Colors

Evening Colors

At 95 degrees I figured to hunt the shaded bank until near sunset, then point the Cumberland towards the lily clusters in open water.  Expecting a few bass to show late, the activity was less than expected with only a few rises. The highlight being a 3-4lb fish the dogged hard in the weeds, than after clearing the weeds gave 3 good jump to show off and promptly spit my WOG back at me.

The Gills on the other hand lit up in size and color as the sun went lower.

I nice way to wrap up the day.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Morning WOG Report

Morning WOG Report

This morning brought mid 80's with a light wind.  The wind was substantial enough to push all of the algae to one side of the pond, making one half fishable for top water flies, and the other half a mess. 

The Black WOG proved to be the bug of choice.

Oddly enough, only one gill came to hand.  It was as if the water was void of them.  

About a dozen bass in all, but most of them pounders. Three decent fish did choose to chase the WOG though.

All-n-All a good morning.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

MAXIMA #$!&^$!! Tippet!


I seldom ever post negative on products. However, after 7.......again 7 Wogs broke off pulling them loose from lily pads & two bass well over 3 lbs broke off......and all at the knot?

So'long Maxima

I am the furthest thing from a gear snob. I build all of my warmwater leaders with standard Stren mono. And nearly all of my warm and cold water tippet is Stren Flourocast line.  Swear by it. Landed more 20"+ trout on 4lb Flourocast to begin to doubt it.  But I ran out of both 8 & 10lb on my last outing and could not find replacements. So while at Basspro I figured I would try the Maxima Ultragreen.  Having had good luck years ago with Chameleon for steelhead out west, I figured it would fill in nicely. 

I was wrong.

Thinking maybe the 10# was a bad spool...I switched to the 8#.  Same results.  
One things for certain.....I know what I will be using this winter to tie up Xmas decorations.

My usual warm-water leader and tippet 

This one miraculously held the knot.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Happy 4th!

A Happy and Safe 4th!

A Blustery Day in the Lily Pads

Blustery Day Bass

Wind and bass bugs are never a good mix, and even more so when basketball-sized pockets between lily pads are your target.  When the pockets were hit....thee bass were aggressive.  When they were missed....50% of the time you were fighting to retain your fly.  I arrived with WOGs.  I left with the one tied on my line about a dozen fish later.  The highlight was an honest 5lb plus fish on a green WOG.  It jumped 1/2 dozen times and let me get it 5ft from the bank....and then promptly broke me off with 10# tippet.  Not the best feeling in the moment, but the fight was fun as hell.  I will return with more WOGs!

Freshly Minted

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Crappie Night for the WOG

Crappie Night

Tonight Glenloch gave up no bass. Instead it offered up Crappie.  About a dozen of them, all nice slabs.  And all to the Gurgling Wog.

A dozen or so slabs later, I was still saying I should have kept the 1st one. They were chasing the Wog all over the lily pads.

The Wog, doing what it does best 

This.....is a pig of a Gill!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


There is something calming about a small pond in the early morning, just before direct sunlight changes the reflection and thermals begin to ripple the surface. The yellow of the lilies stand out in isolation as if painted by Picasso himself on a glass canvas. Watching for a few moments in order to take it all in, you begin to see small rises among the lily pad clusters. Than a run-and-chase on a bluegill bed by marauding pickerels catches your eye. Yet no sound aside from the songbirds scattered about and the gobble of a roosted turkey in the timber behind you.  As you begin to strip and extend line with false casts, the sound of the click-pawl reel feels both foreign and yet oddly perfect in the moment. Watching as the rings from your fly dissipate your mind is telling you to move the fly when suddenly it is gone in a boil.…...morning Bass.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Friday Networking

Fishing Creek PA

Not often does a full weekday to fish, perfect water conditions & perfect weather coincide with a good friend being free for the day.  Rare though it may be....yesterday, it happened.

Jim High-sticking

It wasn't planned, but given the day we took advantage of the opportunity.  Nymphing was the order of the day & the fish cooperated. March Brown patterns proved the most productive.

The Far-and-Fine reminded me of just why it has remained my favorite rod.

My most productive pattern was the RP Starling

The best kind of network

The best fish on the day went to Jim.  

This Bow won for the best run of the day when hooked as well. A 50 yard rocket downstream.

There are times when everything just comes together.  Yesterday was one of those times. 

Great fish & even better company.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Hunting the Clusters

Hunting the Clusters

Not a single gill this afternoon. 

All the bass were staged in the clusters and feeding aggressively.  Get the fly within 6" of a cluster and things would happen.  A foot away brought nothing.

The two flies on the day were the Blonde FBC.

The Blonde FBC is tied identical to the original below, with the substitution of Olive Centipede legs and Barred Ginger hackle. 

And the Gurgling Wog

Monday, June 10, 2019

Tying the Firecracker Popper

The Firecracker Popper / Diver

The Firecracker Popper has been in my box since early 1990's in this form or with similar materials.  It produces on every piece of warmwater haunt I have wet a line on. I refer to it as a "popper" due the fact that whether trimmed as a popper, slider or diver, the tying process remains the same. The original version was a popper.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

A Short Pond Walk

The CGR and X-Gurgler

With the evening landing me 5 minutes from a favorite pond, it only seemed right to take a walk around with the CGR and a few bugs.  

Tying on a #6 Black & White X-Gurgler, a 1/2 dozen fish were caught looking up around the lily clusters. Same fly all night. 

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Valley Creek Jewels 2019

The 1st Valley Creek Jewel of 2019

With 24hrs since the last thunderstorm, I thought the water in Valley Creek should be lower and hopefully clear.  It was settled down when I arrived at 7am but a tad bit off color. SO, the decision was to go with nymphs.  

The stream held to its reputation as being a fickle piece of water, causing me to repeatedly go back to my boxes.  In the end, a #16 Squirrels Nest is what brought all of my fish to hand.

Tying the Squirrels Nest Nymph

Upstream I was able to pull a matched pair on 2 consecutive casts just before the pool was attacked by a a pair of labs and a retrieval dummy.  I was hidden behind the near-side support wall, but they were fun to watch.

They both had nice color

I always enjoy visits to Valley

The wild browns are beautiful

Four fish on the morning isn't bad for water that can leave you wanting for a single fish on any given day.