One of the U.K.’s biggest Carp “Two Tone” dies and not only does he get stuffed and donated to the Natural History Museum. He also gets a plaque at the lake where he resided, getting big and fat off of bait all those years. Man, they treat those Carp good in Europe! I guess things are just a little different over there.
This week has been crazy thus far. Work is picking up; we’re getting all of our stuff packed to move; family issues are running rampant, and I needed to get out and fish. Fly Fishing is the one thing in my life that can take my mind off of anything. As soon as I pick up the rod I step into a different world, and nothing but catching fish and enjoying nature matters.
I arrived at the park and the water was flat. The temperature was starting to rise and I could see the shad hitting the surface, as Little Bass chased them around the lake. I’m not sure how the little Shad got there and how they sustain every year, but there they are! (I have netted a few and caught a couple on little dry flies).
I tied on a small white Flash-A-Bugger with a trailing White Mysis Shrimp Imitation. My imitations of the Shad seem to drive the Largemouth Bass wild every time. I throw a cast as far out into the middle of the lake as I can, and start an extremely fast twiching retrieve.
Now this tactic only seems to work for me in the late Summer through late Fall, the rest of the year I can cast until my arm falls off (usually without one hit). I usually will catch a small Bass on about every 5-10 casts and on good days I feel bites on every cast.
At first I thought, well it must be the flash fooling the fish. So I tried other colors, Black, Olive, Purple, Yellow, Rust, with only a few bites. Then I thought, well maybe it’s the color, and I tied on the same white Woolly Bugger and Mysis Shrimp without any flash tied in. Guess what? NO BITES! Okay so now I am thoroughly convinced it is the color and the flash imitating one of these little shad running for it’s life.
On this day the Bass were relatively small anywhere from 5-12 Inches, but I have caught big Bass on this rig.
I especially remember one morning being out just after the sun had come up. I tied up my rig, cast into the center of the lake , and started stripping vigorously. Just as I was about to pick up my fly and recast, a huge Bass came flying out of the water attacking my fly like a Great White Shark after a seal. He was hooked and the fight began. I chased the bass around the lake for about 10 minutes and when he finally was close enough to lip I bent down hands shaking, and with one more shake of his giant head my fly came loose and hit me square in the forehead. I pulled the fly of my skin to find that he had totally bent out the hook and by the looks of the Bass he was pushing 8-10 pounds (that is one big park lake Bass)!
Hopefully next time I get a monster like that there will be a photo to follow, and smiles for days!
Never underestimate how closely you are being watched.
That warning is especially true if kids are around. Sure, they might not LOOK like they are paying attention, but you had better quickly drop any misguided illusions that they aren’t.
If you’re doubtful, try this little experiment: Say something derogatory about something like a particular brand of product when the kids are within earshot and then go shopping with them.
Deliberately put the aforementioned item in your shopping cart and watch what happens.
You are being watched.
Now, the upshot to this is that through careful mentoring and guidance, you can instill your love of the outdoors and fishing and such into those same malleable kids who would unwittingly pass along any disparaging remarks you made about the neighbor during dinner one night to that very same neighbor during your annual summer block party.
Since you are being watched, I say – use it to your advantage
Case in point: our God-daughter has heard me talk long and lovingly about fishing since she was old enough to understand the meaning of the word. By carefully encouraging her and coaching her on the virtues of fishing (there are some!) she naturally now wants to go fishing with her Uncle Dan. I have even given her a pink Barbie pole and tackle box just to let her know that fishing can be chic and stylish. I carefully and deliberately model my behavior and speak enthusiastically about the “benefits” of things like hooking yourself, and getting spined and stepping in duck droppings and using porta-potties that are long overdue for emptying and…well, you get the picture and, as far as my God-daughter is concerned, all those things are part of fishing and are somehow part of the fun – though sometimes she is not quite sure if I truly understand the definition of “fun”.
Nevertheless, she likes fishing and always wants to know if I still like fishing even after a fishless expedition.
I know I am being watched.
So a couple of weekends ago, I had an opportunity to once again expand my God-daughter’s idea of what constitutes “fun” when it comes to fishing.
Through a series of convoluted scheduling changes I was able to spend the afternoon at Downey Wilderness Park with her and our fishing gear. I hadn’t read of any recent fish plants so I knew the odds of actually catching anything there were already pretty slim but it was the place with the easiest access within the time frame we had.
With this information already in the back of my mind, I decided to put the emphasis on technique and style. I rigged her pole with a fairly heavy egg sinker and I let her pick the color of Power Bait (despite my dislike of bait-fishing). We settled on neon green which I dubbed “booger bait” much to my protégé’s delight. I baited her hook, pretended to lick the leftover “booger bait” from my fingers, again to her delight and disgust, then reviewed proper casting technique and finally just let her go for it.
Sure enough her first cast sailed halfway across the narrow section of the pond I had deliberately chosen and her confidence level soared. Anyone within earshot surely heard how amazing that first cast was. Then, after untangling the ensuing birds-nest and re-reviewing the intricacies of spinning reels in kidspeak, I set up shop next to her.
I intentionally choose the fly reel with yellow floating line and tied on a big, gaudy dry fly despite the slim chances of anything actually making a surface hit. I then made sure to make my first cast near to her line so that she could immediately brag that her casts were farther and better than mine.
Everything was going pretty much according to plan…then the mosquito fish showed up.
Now, I should have remembered from previous trips that in the eyes of a seven-year old, fish of any size are likely targets. So when a swarm of mosquito fish hustled up to the bank in front of us in the hopes of picking up some scraps of our lunch, suddenly the objects of our pursuit seemed all the more real and attainable – so real, in fact that the bait on the end of a certain Barbie pole rig lost some of its appeal and catching mosquito fish grew in importance.
So much so, that a certain young fisher-girl raced excitedly up and down the bank shouting out questions about mosquito fish as they alternately fled and followed her.
I answered a multitude of questions about mosquito fish. More questions than I knew I could be asked about mosquito fish. I made mosquito fish sound like the absolute best harbingers of big fish that one could come across.
And then it happened.
In the excitement of the moment, a certain young fisher-girl misjudged the uneven terrain between grass and concrete and within a split second was suddenly sitting in six inches of lake water.
The look that followed was a mixture of shock, mild fear, a little pain and embarrassment. I knew that I had to think up a positive spin on the situation and I had to think one up quick.
I knew that she wasn’t hurt and I knew from the way she was sitting that she wasn’t in any danger but I also knew that I only had one chance to save seven years of careful and deliberate work.
“Oh my gosh!” I blurted out. “ You did it. You actually did it. And year’s ahead of schedule even.”
The change in facial expression from near tears to puzzlement told me my ploy was working.
“You have accomplished in one afternoon what it takes some fisher-folk decades to do.”
“What did I do?” She asked with a slight whine and a little tremble in her voice while climbing slowly out of the water.
“You have learned the all-time greatest secret of fishing.”
“I fell in the water and got my shoes wet and my pants are dirty and …”
“Shhh.” I hissed, with a silencing wave of my arms and furtive glances about, “Don’t say another word or you’ll reverse everything. This is great! This is newsworthy. This is a proud day in fishing history. Come over here and I’ll take off your shoes in the special way so we don’t waste what just happened.”
Intrigued, my soggy fishing buddy dutifully squished her way over to me. Kneeling down, I gently removed one shoe, held it up ceremoniously and poured out the collected water from inside. I then did the same with the other shoe and also with each sock.
“You have now entered the Society of Tried and True Fisher-folk. Fish will forevermore fear you and your trusty Fishing Pole of Victory. You came to the park today thinking we were just going to have some fun, but you leave a full-fledged fisher-women. Congratulations.”
The smile on her face spoke volumes. Her posture straightened, her head lifted, her eyes sparkled. Her soggy pants didn’t seem to matter quite so much.
“Can we tell Mama? Can we tell Papa?”
“Oh, absolutely. In fact, we must tell them and we must document this great day with pictures. Go stand by your tackle box.”
And just as quickly as it began, the crisis was averted and we ended up spending another hour pleasantly moving around the lake chasing the ever elusive “monster fish that lurks in every pond where mosquito fish are found”.
Yes, you are being watched and if there is any lesson at all to this little story it is that we veteran fisher-folk can model positive behaviors and help the next generation (one that is generally becoming less and less attuned to the realm of nature that we so much enjoy) develop a keener, finer sense of the great outdoors…and maybe a sense of humor to boot.
However, should you doubt the conclusions drawn from this episode, Let me offer you a little proof from the other day: Just two weeks after the great “splash down”, my God-daughter enthusiastically invited herself to accompany me and my fishin’ buddy, Sean on an impromptu afternoon getaway at a local lake.
Once we arrived at our chosen lake, she happily cast away between us as we worked our way around the perimeter, never once shying away from the water’s edge. She even agreed to pose for a picture while lipping one of the small Bass Sean managed to pull out with one of his custom shrimp flies.
The three of us had a great summer afternoon enjoying the sun, the sounds of ducks and kids, the sparkle of the water and the occasional zing of a tightening line.
Yeah, I am being watched and hopefully I am making it clear that I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’.
I recently picked up the 3 Weight Double Taper version of Scientific Anglers Supra Fly Line for my Okuma 2/3 weight setup. I use this setup a lot for Trout Fishing in the local mountains. Fishing in our local San Gabriel, San Bernardino, and other mountain ranges requires a lot of short roll casts and a high floating line. After web research and my affinity to Scientific Angler line. I was led to the Supra Fly Line. This all purpose floating fly line has a nice and delicate front taper allowing for great fly turnover on short casts (which is essential in fishing dry flies on these small streams). Scientific Angler’s Advanced Shooting Technology allows for smooth casts and mends, and the Streamlined loop is always a plus in presenting to those spooky Trout. Overall the performance is great, and as always Scientific Anglers has met and exceeded my expectations.
My fishing buddy Dan and I recently set aside a saturday to explore Laguna Niguel Lake. I’m not sure why neither of us had ever made it there before. The temptation to explore was overwhelming and off we went.
We arrived Early at about 8:00 a.m. The clouds were thick and the lake was flat. There were only a few fishermen out on the lake and I had the feeling that it would be a good day.
We arrived with the full intention of Shore Fishing, but when we caught a view of the sign reading “All day boat rental $25″ plans changed. Now if you have been following our recent adventures, then you have probably realized that we are for lack of a better word “cheap”. We will usually avoid paying any kind of parking, entrance, other fees. Come to think of it, that’s probably why we had never been to this lake before.
But sometimes things change, and it was like the little boat tied up to the dock was calling our name. So the wallets opened and we loaded our stuff into the watercraft, ready to take on whatever this piece of water would throw our way.
I had heard many stories over the years that this Lake is a great Largemouth Bass Fishery, and was hoping to get at least one nice bucketmouth on the other end of the line. Well, the fish had other plans, and the day started out with just 2-3 bites and 0 fish landed. I was starting to smell a skunk.
As the temperature warmed, we made our way over to a cove on a shallow portion of the lake. We started to see a few Sunfish moving around and activity on the surface. That meant it was time for the Hopper/Dropper rig.
We made our way along the edge of the weed line, and all of the sudden my fly just disappeared. I set the hook and a fish was on the line. I pulled it out of the water to find a large Bluegill has smacked my Hopper and in all of the commotion a smaller one had taken the Dropper. This was my first double, and with closer inspection I realized the Bluegill I caught was a little monster.
In California the Sunfish tend to be stunted due to overpopulation, and catching a Bluegill this size doesn’t happen very often.
After that catch the Bluegill came out fighting, and we started landing fish on every cast. They were small, but when the Bass aren’t biting it makes for a great time.
As the sun rose to it’s peak and the hottest portion of the day had arrived. We decided to call it quites, and away we went. It was a great experience. It was my first time fly fishing from a boat, and it was extremely rewarding.
I’m so glad that we decided to rent that boat!
Mike Hart a so called “Pro Bass Fisherman” from Southern California was caught cheating in a Lake Mead Tournament, and banned for life from Fishing Competitions. Lead weights were found in 3 of the Largemouth Bass from his weigh in on the second to last day. After the weights were discovered, all 5 of his fish from the last day’s weigh in were cut open and found to also contain lead weights.
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