I brought my mom up to Big Bear a couple of weekends ago for her birthday. Snow was in the forecast and all I could think about on the way up was “Why did I promise not to go fishing this weekend”. We made it up to Angelus Oaks at about 11:00pm, when we suddenly had to get out of the truck and put snow chains on in the freezing cold. The 25 MPH drive up the hill was so worth it, as we watched the snow decend upon the mountain in a blanket of white.
The next morning I woke my little brother up to hit the hiking trail. It was a great hike and the scenery was brilliant. On the way back to the cabin, I stopped as cones and tape hit my field of vision on a little tributary that runs into the lake. We decided to stop and take a look (since it looked like a crime scene from television), and I was amazed to find literally 100′s of spawning Rainbow Trout swimming to and fro .
After a few moments of shock, I decided to get a closer look with my camera. We hit two more tributaries to find these signs posted just about every 10-20 feet.
I stopped a Police Officer passing by, and asked him why the signs where up along with so much caution tape. He proceeded to tell me that over the last couple of years, people would line these small waterways shoulder to shoulder harassing the Trout. He also said ”this was the most trout he had ever seen spawning up there” (which makes sense due to the Extremely high water levels).
I decided to go over to Boulder Bay to see the remodeling, that my co-author and fishing buddy Dan has been telling me so much about. I was shocked to find half the bay frozen over, and structure everywhere.
It looks like they just sunk the old gate and some of the construction equipment. You know where I’m going with this Pier+Structure=Great Fishing. I’m just itching to get back up there during the summer for a chance to fish this new spot!
The weather is changing, the Days are getting longer, and the Bass are starting to switch over from the Spawn.
I’ve been over to Heartwell a couple of times over the last week or so, with an hour or two to fish in between work and other commitments. From this experience I can tell you two things; the Sunsets in Southern California are amazing and the Bass are switching from the Spawn to attack mode.
The other day I strolled up from the parking lot to find a few of the regulars fishing the lake, along with a couple of guys I had never seen before. I did a quick walk around scoping for beding fish, and keeping an eye out for roaming Bluegill.
After spotting quite a few Panfish in the shallows and a few Males still guarding fry, I decided to throw a size 8 Minnow imitation with a 5x leader, since the fish are still a little skiddish from being fished so hard.
After a couple of casts I had a decent 1 1/2 Pound Male off a bed and a couple of Juvies sitting on structure.
I decide to move over to the other side of the lake and started talking to Juan (a regular Conventional Guy at the Lake), when I heard the all too familiar grunt of a Bass Guy setting the hook on a baitcaster. So we walked over to see what all the commotion was about, and the guy was hooting and hollering about being stuck on something (running back and forth trying to get his lure free).
We both noticed he was pulling in on a lot of line, and then it dawned on us that he had a Carp on the other end.
I sat there watching him as he struggled to bring the fish to the surface, realizing he was going to need my net. After about 15 minutes the mammoth beast was in the net (well only half of it would fit) and he had just caught about a 15 pound carp.
Not super long, but one of the thickest ones that I have ever seen, and with the yank of his lure he had foul hooking the fish in its fin. After a couple of glory shots the behemoth was back in the water, none the worse and I think that was the most excitement I’ve has watching a Conventional guy catch a fish!
“Sonrisa” is the Spanish word for smile. My dear Grandma would say it to me as she gently tried to awaken me each morning during my summer time stays at her little casita. She would softly shake the bed and say, “Sonrisa Mijito.” which was her way of saying, “Get up, son, it’s a great morning.” I obeyed out of respect for her but I rarely saw a reason back then to smile about getting up so early, especially during summer break.
As the years have passed though I have come to deeply appreciate the memory of my beloved “Abuelita”. I fondly recall her unwavering love for me and her love for the simple joys of life including a beautiful morning.
I thought of her as I got up with the sun this morning.
I’m not sure why I arose so early since I had not gone to bed until almost 3am. Nevertheless, I was up and ready to go at first light. I stumbled out into the kitchen, fired up the coffee maker and opened the back door for a look around. All was still and I noticed that the sky was clear and just turning into the lighter shades of blue indicating a beautiful day ahead.
I peeked back into the bedroom and listened to the regular, deep breathing of my wife and knew it would be several hours before she roused.
So, I quickly and quietly got dressed, gave her a quick kiss and whispered to her that I’d be back shortly, to which she mumbled back something sweet-sounding but incoherent.
Back in the kitchen, I pulled down the large travel mug, practically drained the entire pot of coffee in to it and slipped out into the crisp morning air. Even though it was early, there was no need for a jacket or even a heavy shirt.
I caught myself smiling.
As I backed out of the driveway I made some quick mental calculations. El Dorado Park just seemed like the right place and the right distance away for the time I had allotted so I headed west.
When I got there, there were the usual early morning walkers and bicycle riders but only one other angler at my first stop, Horseshoe Pond. I could see small Panfish working the reeds and I could see an occasional olive-backed “torpedo” busting through the schools of Bluegill causing a momentary boil of activity in the water. I rigged my new 4-wt with a small tan wooly bugger and began working the weed beds near the shore myself.
My first Bluegill was a feisty and determined male in full breeding color.
The other guy fishing on the opposite bank saw my immediate success and asked me if I would mind if he moved a little closer to where I was fishing. He was using a little spin casting rig with bait and bobber and was only casting out a few feet at most so I invited him on over. Since my primary goal for the morning was to try out some new gear, any fish I happened to land where icing on the cake.
After about an hour and a half, I was feeling pretty comfortable with the new gear so I decided to switch rigs and move over to the other side of the pond. I wanted to test a couple of theories I’ve been working on so I rigged up the penfishingrods set-up I mentioned in a previous post and began casting to an area I knew was frequented by Carp and Bass.
I gave myself five minutes before I would pack up and head home.
No sooner had I said to myself, “OK, last cast,” when my rod doubled over and some 30 yards of line peeled of my reel in mere seconds.
Whatever was on the other end zigged and zagged across the middle of the pond and the fight was on. The little PenRod performed admirably, to say the least, and I was having a great time just trying to outmaneuver the fish on the other end.
Unfortunately…or maybe not so, the fish shook off after a few moments. Either way, I was seriously content though my heart was pounding, my hands were shaking and the zing from the drag still echoed in my ears.
I caught myself smiling again.
I reeled my little ultra-light lure in and touched up the hook with my little hook hone before tossing a few more casts across a narrow outlet of the little pond. After a couple of casts I decided to pitch it back to the same spot where I had just hooked up.
Sure enough, another strike, almost as exciting as the first. That one too, shook off after a few moments but, again, it did not matter nearly as much as I expected it would.
However, this time when I reeled in, I knew I would have to get back to the reality of the day and the errands that still needed to be run and the office tasks that still needed to be completed and so on and so on but for just that brief little while I was on holiday and life was just grand, as they say…and I smiled all the way home.
I love this addiction called urban flyfishin’
Let me start off by saying that I do know “El Dorado” does not mean Panfish in Spanish (I was trying to be witty). But anyway I made it over to El Dorado Park Lakes the other day for my long overdue reunion with the El Do Panfish that seem to love my flies.
I don’t know what it is? I go to lakes all over So Cal (and even other states) and usually catch all kinds of Bass. Yet it seems that the ones at El Dorado just want nothing to do with me. Good thing this is UrbanFlyVentures and we don’t shy away from catching all species of fish, so I downsized and the magnets (I mean flies) started bringing in the fish.
Now I’ve caught Bluegills that were so tiny, they made me question why & how in the world they got caught on a fly bigger than their mouth. But the saucers here can be large and in charge!
The fly of the day seemed to be a size 14 Mysis Shrimp from The Trout Spot, and the fish were just falling all over it. It seemed like the fly barely even had time to hit the water before bang, and I had another fish on.
After about 2 hours I had literally pulled in about 50 fish (and 5 species at that)!
Those are the kind of days that seem to make me addicted to Urban Fly Fishing. You feel like you can walk up to any portion of the lake (it doesn’t matter what fly you have on) and catch fish all day long, until your arm hurts so bad from casting you just decide to go home.
I need days like that, especially coming out of the Winter (or as I like to call it the yearly fishing Armageddon)!
Well and wouldn’t you know it, I even stumbled across a couple of little Largemouth along the way, not big (trust me the big bass are in there) but a Bass is a Bass is a Bass!
We don’t have cable TV at our house. We just roll ol’ school in the media department and use a pair of rabbit ears (plus converter box) to pick up the stations that are out there for free.
I’m not anti-cable or anything like that. I’m just … frugal.
A lot of people tell me that they couldn’t imagine life without cable/satellite or not being able to watch such and such show every week – I gotta say, in all humility, it hasn’t been an issue.
Now, having said that, when my wife and I travel we definitely take advantage of the in-room cable and the enormous flat screens with surround sound and we thoroughly enjoy episodes of shows we don’t otherwise catch.
We’ll often end up staying awake far, far too late watching some of the crazier “reality shows” that are out there like the one about the dog trainer or the one about the guy who intentionally signs on to do some dirty job or the one about people finding new homes in other countries or the one about people finding valuable treasures amid junk.
That last one, the one about finding hidden treasures, that one really intrigues me. We’ve been to enough homes around the county to know that one man’s junk is truly another man’s treasure.
We have seen some pretty amazing stuff.
I’m not one to judge, so there is no criticism here, I’m just sayin’ that there is no end to what people will collect, display, hoard or accumulate whether by design or default.
So the other day, we were out seeing a client – actually his pet potbelly pig — and I was just sort of chatting with him (the client, not the pig) as we concluded business and, somehow, the topic of fishing came up. Well, one thread of conversation led to another and before long I mentioned that I do a lot of flyfishing. He told me he never really tried flyfishing but he thought it looked interesting. Then he told me to hold on a second and disappeared into an outbuilding that he said was once a smokehouse/meat locker/butchering shed but hadn’t been used as such since 1971.
When he re-remerged he was holding two brick-colored cardboard tubes with the Fenwick label on one end. He said that they belonged to his grandfather and they ought to go to someone who could truly appreciate them ‘cause all they were doing at his house was collecting dust. Despite my objections, he pressed them into my hands and made me promise to actually use them… like that’s gonna be a problem.
When we finally finished our appointments for the day (one of the longest days on record, by the way) and our mobile veterinary hospital was safely docked and carefully cleaned and I was officially off the clock, I carefully unpacked them – a total Indiana Jones moment for me if there ever was one. Both rods were in near new condition down to the original prices tags ($24.95). After pulling the info off the butt section of each one, I hit the Internet (just a little ironic). It only took a while but eventually I was pretty confident that what I had in my possession were two pre-1960 eight-and- a-half foot, 7-wt or 8-wt fiberglass fly rods.
Further research showed that the guys who use fiberglass rods really love ‘em. I sort of got the impression that they are like the guys who still drive 1964 Chevy Impalas or the guys who still listen to oldies on AM radio…or like the guys who still use rabbit ears to watch TV.
So, after reading all the glowing reports … I naturally, went fishing.
And…it was pretty darn amazing… like driving a ’64 Impala…listenin’ to oldies on AM…adjusting the rabbit ears to get the best picture…
I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’.
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