Southwest Fly Fishing has recently become one of my favorite Fly Fishing Publications.
It can be wonderful and awe inspiring to read about far away lands that hold fish I most likely will never have the blessing to catch.
However, sometimes it’s refreshing to read about locale that I can actually drive to, and hits just close enough to home for me to wet a line.
Every issue I find myself marking down another location on my “Fly Fishing Wish List Map”, or remembering a time when I visited it as a young child and dreaming about how many fish it could possibly hold.
This magazine has everything that you need to search out new water. Proven Techniques, Best Time of Year, Accomadations, and most of all the hope of seeing fly anglers that look just like you holding up fish that you just might be able to catch.
Another great feature of this magazine is the website. Are you looking for useful information on a certain stretch of water? No problem just type it in the “issue search” and whala there it is, all that you could ever hope to read about on that specific place you are just itching to fish.
Southwest Fly Fishing is in my opinion pure gold, and a wonderful example of what a Fly Fishing Magazine should look like.
Man-oh-man has it been a wacky series of storms and crummy fishing weather here in SoCal. But there finally seems to be an end in sight and the itch to fish is turning into a raging burn, if you know what I mean.
Now, it’s not like we haven’t tried. Over the last several weekends my fishing buddy, Sean and I have hit assorted local waters both separately and together with little to show for our efforts.
This Sunday however, the dry streak finally broke in a most unexpected way. Sean was down for the count with some kind of intestinal bug and I had several things to attend to all day Saturday and most of Sunday morning. But late Sunday afternoon while out on some errands with my beautiful bride she just happened to mention that she wouldn’t object too much if we happened to stop by one of the local lakes and perhaps…fished a little. (Sorry guys, she’s all mine).
Anyway, after bringing the car back into the proper lane and apologizing to the guy in the silver SUV who now had Starbucks all over the inside of his windshield, I made a quick adjustment to our itinerary and had us over at Legg Lake in no time at all.
The fact that we immediately found a parking space right near the start of the path leading to my favorite spot only served to confirm, in my mind, that I had chosen wisely.
It wasn’t until I opened the back of our vehicle that I realized that I had only one fly rod in the car and since my wife had made it fairly clear that she was willing to go fishing on the condition that she could practice her fly casting, it seemed like an obvious conclusion that I wasn’t going to be.
Fortunately, long time readers will recall, I vowed way back in July during our trip to Connecticut that I would ALWAYS have a plan “B”. Sure enough, tucked down under a couple of duffels sat an unremarkable black case in which I just happened to have my trusty Penfishingrods.com collapsible Goliath model rod and matching reel. (For which I paid full price and do not receive endorsement reimbursement for mentioning, by way of full disclosure).
It was a beautiful moment.
So, after rigging the 5-weight up with an olive wooly bugger for the Mrs. we headed down to the water. When we got down to the lake it was blatantly clear that the burn I mentioned earlier was an epidemic. I hadn’t seen so many fishermen at Legg for weeks.
These guys were fishing hard. Most had multiple rigs with dark colored plastic worms and oversized swimbaits dominating the menu. One guy had a backpack set up with at least six baitcasting poles pointing heaven ward. From a distance he looked like a walking cell tower. The atmosphere was cordial but intense.
We picked a spot where I had success catching everything from Bluegill to Carp to Bass to Trout. I reviewed some technique with my wife and stepped a few yards away with the Penrod and a tiny single-hooked trout-patterned lure. She worked on her backcast while I gently shouted encouragement and suggestions her way (keyword: Gently. Think domestic tranquility. Also remember I don’t like our couch as a sleeping platform).
All the while I just sort of plinked around with my rig. After one particularly well executed cast on the fly rod I was praising my Beloved when I felt the telltale twitch of a hit on the little lure.
I set the hook and the battle was on.
As is made abundantly clear on their website, the key to success with a Penrod is maintaining a loose drag and being patient.
My wife noticed the splashing fish but not that I was tied on to it. She excitedly pointed at it and suggested that I cast toward all the commotion. I gently explained that I was actually the reason the fish was acting so strangely.
Now, I’m not gonna lie to you and say that my little protracted battle was nowhere near as exciting as if I had been on a fly rod because frankly, it’s been a looong winter and I was just so happy to actually have a sizeable fish on that I could have been using a broomstick and wouldn’t have cared. So Purists, say what you will — I was fishin’!
Long story short, I’ll let the photo do the talking. It looks like it is gonna be a great Spring and Summer.
I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’.
(Got a phone call today from Michael Di Pippo, President & CEO of Penfishingrods.com. We had a brief but very cordial conversation during which he mentioned that in my previous post, Plan “B”, I did not give the correct e-mail address for his company and the fine products they offer.
Now, with all the scams and cheap knock off versions floating around out there, not giving our readers the correct info was a great disservice to all of you as well as to the REAL pen fishing rod guys who work so hard to offer the quality gear they do and who back it up with exceptional customer service – my sincere apologies.
As I mentioned before, my pen fishing rod is my constant travel companion, fits in my standard all day bag and is a reliable back up rod for those days when fly rodding isn’t gonna cut it.
So, with the mea culpa out of the way, let me suggest that you pay a quick visit to penfishingrods.com site and check out their products. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.)
We’ve been getting a lot of emails this week about Fly Fishing Bass during the spawn, starting the day after I published FIRST LIGHT OF DAWN, FIRST BASS OF THE YEAR. Here’s a great article from Norh American Fishing Club that talks about the spawning habits of Bass. Remember if you are fishing bedding Bass, get the fish back in the water ASAP. This will help to prevent other Bass from eating all of the newly hatched fry that the Male was guarding.
For those of you who haven’t been up to the San Gabriel River in a while. The north Fork Road has been closed at the first gate for a couple of years, due to sections of the road being washing out during the rainy season.
Just a couple of months ago the first couple few gates were opened, exposing us to about 2-3 miles of Trout water that has not been fishing for sometime. This is both a great opportunity and a great responsibility. What I mean is that it’s going to introduce Fly Fishermen to fish that have never been caught, but we have the responsibility to protect these fish and be responsible fishermen!
My day on this stretch of the SGR started off slow with a lot of scouting and not alot of fishing. Pushing back reeds and bushes, and walking up to the banks of the river crouched over like a 90 year old man out for a stroll in the park.
After much watching, it was time to start doing.
I picked out a size 18 Parachute Adams with a dropper Prince Nymph about 12 inches off. First cast and first missed fish. So I pulled my fly in, dried it of,f sharpened the hook (you can never be too sure), and cast my it back out in the riffle.
Another strike and another miss. This went on for about 20 casts, and I started to think to myself, “were these fish really to small to get hooked on a size 18″? They sure seemed to be hitting it hard enough to stay on. So I took off the dropper, and again a couple of casts and a couple of misses. Now I was started to get a little ticked.
It was at that moment that I realized that these were young naive fish that had never seen a fly, and I was probably trying to set the hook a little to fast for the way they were launching. I was just pulling it right out of their little mouths.
So I dried off my fly, put on a little more flotant, and walked up to the next hole on the run. Cast out into the riffle and hit (Sean wait to set the hook just a second) and I was on to my first fish. That little guy fought like a Smallmouth Bass in the Lower Kern River. Back and forth, and wow he was even putting a little bend in my 5 weight Okuma Guide Rod. Not bad for a little bitty Trout, and I could tell that this was going to be one good stretch of River.
I must have walking up about 1 1/2 miles on that stretch pulling at least a couple of fish out of every hole along the way. What beautiful colors, and for a couple of hours it was like the only purpose I had in life was to catch every last fish that I could. Just marveling at their amazing parr marks along the way.
Unfortunately even the best of days can be ruined in an instant, and that was just what happended as I peaked over the ridge on my way back to the car.
TRASH everywhere! you’ve got to be kidding me this place had barely been opened and already people were trashing it. So I grabbed a trash bag out of the car and filled it up until it was just about over flowing.
That is the exact reason why I’m always mentioning that we have to be good stewards of this beautiful resource, because some day I would love the honor of being able to take my Grand kids here to catch fish out of the same river that I grew up on.
Come on guys, if not us then WHO?
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