Monday, June 29, 2020

Summer Bulls

Summer Bulls


We all come to a point throughout our piscatorial pursuits where we begin to define favorites.  Be it, favorite waters or fly rods, the list can become large.  That being said, I have become drawn to 2 specific fish. Both are from different ends of the fly fishing spectrum, but are equals in my book.  The first is a "buttered-up" brown trout.  Any size will do.  The 2nd is a spawning mature male bluegill. The latter of which are fascinating to me.  





Found in quiet places like the one pictured above, you will often visit them and never even see but a few fly fishermen sharing the water.  Likewise, you will seldom see them caught by anybody but fly fishermen.




There are few fish that attain the coloring of a male bluegill in spawning attire.  From bright blue to teal, bright reds and purples and endless variations of copper and olives.  They are individual pieces of art.



Once they reach an inch across the shoulders and near 10" in length, they become a different fish. 




Even the way they rise to a fly is individual in nature.  Some will rise with the tell-tale panfish "Glick", which leaves nothing but a small bubble on the surface of the water. 

Others will roll on your fly resembling a 3lb largemouth bass, while some will slam your fly like a 15lb bluefish hitting a surface popper in the surf.  




All however,  have one thing in common.....once you lift your rod, they all fight like they are 2 pounds heavier, leaving you to second-guess what is on the end of your line until they begin their tell-tale 90 degree arching runs. 




Each season I marvel at them.  Each season I can't wait for the 3 week period to arrive.  The big bulls are not always easy to locate even during the spawn, and even harder to find after. They are to me, one of the prettiest fish found anywhere and fight beyond their size.  I am often left wondering why they are practically shunned by fly fishermen. Sadly associated with the edge dwelling dinks which are the target of beginning fishermen.  Many fly fishermen dismiss them and never even see what a mature bluegill looks like when brought to hand.




Give it a try....but be carefull.  

When a Summer Bull like this completely engulfs a #2 Gurgling Wog?  You may find yourself eyeing up those hazy, humid summer evenings a tad bit differently in the future.  

Your grass may never get cut.  

Friday, June 26, 2020

1st Day Of Summer 2020

1st day of Summer in the tube


Saturday morning in the Cumberland. wind was gone, water was glass and not a soul to be seen.





Bass were plentiful, but not huge.  Get your bug even close however, and the takes were aggressive.




The Gills were looking "up", with very few small fish hooked at all.  Flies of the day were the X-Gurgler with barred-yellow legs and standard light version of the Foam-Butt Caddis.






The bulls are nicely colored-up, with the larger fish all coming on the FBC.

A nice way to ring in the summer, as the heat climbs on the local trout waters.



Sunday, May 31, 2020

Bass Reflections

Bass Reflections


Saturday night I was able to check a local pond with hopes of the Gills being lit up.  What I found, was after 3 hrs of having the entire pond to myself, not a single Gill rose to a fly.  The bass however, especially the 1/2 pounders, were attacking everything that moved.





Partial to a Blonde Foam-Butt Caddis, I lost count of how many fish attacked it.  


Foam-Butt Caddis





They were looking up for certain, with rises often coming almost the second the fly hit the water.




Not a lot of size, but the strikes were so dramatic they often had me laughing out loud.  An absolute blast on the water.  It was non-stop action, until a managed to break off my fly on a  lily pad flower only to realize it had gotten too dark to tie another one on.  

Pure fun!

  

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Spring Colors

SPRING COLORS


With restrictions lifting and holiday weekend weather cooperating,  I was finally able to put the float-tube on the water.  The bulls are beginning to host the beds, but the best is still yet to come.  





The fish are beginning to color up.  I give things 2 more weeks and the colors will be at their peak.




The larger bulls were able to be teased up with a smaller offering like the X-Gurgler, but not yet willing to chase a Wog, hair bug or even a Foam Butt Caddis. The white legged gurgler was the fly of the day.


Tying the X-Gurgler


The day gave up a dozen or so Bulls, with a handful of smaller fish thrown in,  and three decent bass all of which were tight to the bank in structure.  



It felt good to step into the fins and kick through some lily pads. 


Monday, April 13, 2020

Tying Through Isolation

Tying Through Isolation


Trout Season has begun, but thanks to Covid and the Peoples Republic of New Jersey even the parks, lakes and streams are closed.  Spring has arrived, the birds are back along with mild weather, and I'm not allowed out without a mask and gloves.  


SO.....no better time than now to spend some time at the Regal.  The task at hand...restocking needy patterns and tying up a few variations of some long time patterns I have been wanting to try out.



Starting with a new version of the Biot & Ice larva.  

Hook:  #14 Caddis Emerger
Thread:  170 Black Danville
Abdomen:  Natural Hares Ear
Rib:  Fine Gold Wire
Shellback:  Rust-Brown Biot
Thorax:  Peacock Ice Dub
Bead: Gold



 Next the Little Black Tac.  A smaller darker variation of the TC2 nymph.

Hook:  #16 Caddis Emerger
Thread:  Black 170 Danville
Rib:  Fine Gold Wire
Abdomen:   Pale Olive Hareline
Wingcase:  Rust-Brown Biot
Thorax:  Olive Ice-Dub
Hackle:  Furnace Hen Palmered through thorax
Head:  Touch of Black Ice-Dub behind a black bead



And last but not least, The REC.  The only variation being a black collar of Ice-Dub instead of Olive.

Hook:  #14 Caddis Emerger
Thread:  Black 170 Danville
Abdomen:  Creamy Olive Hareline
Rib:  Olive Micro-body glass
Wing:  Barred Wood Duck
Hackle: Wood-Duck CDC
Head:  Black Ice-Dub behind a gold bead


No huge changes. Just a few variations I wished I had through the last season a time or two.  


Tied with the hopes that soon I can actually step into water. Not sure who came to the conclusion that fly fishing wasn't socially distant enough?

Hope all are well and see you on the water soon.




Monday, March 9, 2020

Cabelas CGR 7/8 Review

Cabelas CGR 7/8 Review


It's been nearly 5 years since I purchased the CGR 7/8....and what I have found is a far cry from the "entry level" glass rod that some assume it to be.

I am hard on my warmwater gear.  Not purposefully....but retrieving 5lb clumps of pond algae, ripping bassbugs from shoreline brush, getting in and out if a float tube, etc....all lead to more abuse than my average trout rig. The end result is, cheaply made gear does not last. So I was skeptical when I read the reports of the Cabelas CGR glass rods back in 2015 and saw the prices dropping below $50.  What would I get for under $50?  Just how long will it last?

Well, here is what I found.


Initial Thoughts

I initially purchased the rod expecting much less.  On sale for $49 I planned on it being my "truck rod" for local hit and runs.  What arrived was a rod of much higher quality build than the price point suggested.  The blank was spotless, eyes were evenly wrapped and straight & the cork, while having filler seemed dense and very nicely shaped. It was not annoyingly soft, which for glass I tend to dislike in heavier line weights. The action, while still glass, was crisp and accurate in hand.  It seemed to me as more of a 7wt than 8wt, and early trips with several different lines proved that to be the case.  I eventually settled on an Orvis Hydros Warmwater 7wt and that's how things remained until this year.





Performance

On the water the rod quickly becomes an extension of your casting stroke.  The 7'6" length supports pinpoint presentations which for a tuber is essential.  Its light in hand for glass, and responsive...but make no mistake, its still glass.  It's not about to pick up and throw 40' of 8wt line with a 5" wet bunny leech into a 10mph wind.  Just saying.  But for those of us with a heart for glass, it is endearing. 

Over the years it has proven up to the task of ripping bass out of lily pads





The finesse of dropping flies into pocket water for those spring bull gills




The stamina for setting the hook on countless streaking pickerel.





And the forgiveness of glass to protect tippets and the paper-mouths of crappie.




This season marks the 5th for this little piece of glass. Yet even after all this time on the water yet another sale added to the rig.  I purchased an Orvis Clearwater WF7F line on clearance for $19.  And after 2 trips it is painfully obvious that I have found nirvana with this rod.  The line casts effortlessly, from #2 Hair bugs to #10 Crappie streamers.  Seems only fitting. 

Each season I try to talk myself into buying another warmwater rig, and sometimes do. I've cast them all, and own a few. Yet each time I head out for water, I grab this rod. Something must be wrong with me?

But back to my original comments above....after 5 seasons this $65 retail rod shows no worse for wear aside from a soiled grip.  No loose eyelets, positive spigot ferrules, no marks on the finish aside from very minor scuffs and a rock solid reel seat.  I have had rods upwards of $500 not make it that long, in that condition after being babied on trout streams.  That in itself speaks volumes in my book. 

 Well done Cabelas CGR.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Warmwater Box Refills

X-Gurglers


A handful of X-gurglers to refill the bin that was down to 2 tattered soldiers remaining.



New Buggers in my most used varieties, all #6.  Basic Black for leaches & Pumpkin Olive crayfish.

The box is about ready....come on spring!



Tuesday, March 3, 2020

TRIPLE SEVENS

Triple Sevens


With spring fast approaching and my warmwater boxes decimated from last season, it was time to restock.  Beginning with my top three patterns year-after-year.

7 of each?.....call me superstitious. 


The #2 Gurgling Frog, The #4 Gurgling Wog and the #6 Foam-Butt Caddis.

All tied on Gamakatsu Stingers.

Next up Spiders and a few favorite Hair Bugs.



Friday, January 10, 2020

JANUARY PICKEREL





January Pickerel

1st Warmwater fish of 2020


A mild two days on the calendar seemed like a great time to chase the resident geese off the local pond and see if anything was willing to take a fly.



It took a little prospecting, but eventually the marriage was made between pickerel and the Guinness Trout streamer.  


Tying the Guinness Trout



The CGR 7/8 rang in the New Year well





Rig was Orvis Warmwater WF7F, a 6-7wt Furlgirl 5' Mono furled leader and 6lb Stren Flourocast tippett.




Hammer-handles were taking the fly retrieved slow on the decent/pause....but very slight. The afternoon brought 1/2 dozen fish to hand, with 1 big fish pushing 20" breaking me off when landing.




1st warmwater fish of the year goes to the Pickerel

See you on the water!

Monday, January 6, 2020

1st Fish 2020!

1st Fish!

Ringing in the new year




With a mild break in the weather and a few days off, it was nice to get back on the water and put a little bend in some glass.




Netting the jewel of the day




A smoky Palomino in darkened winter colors


Hopes of a great New Year to all, both on the water and at the bench.