As I was fishing today at Ralph Clark Park Lake, an older gentleman walked up to me to ask me what I was doing (Like you can’t tell that I’m fishing). The thought crossed my mind, “How many fish have I missed out on, because I love talking to people so much”.
I’ve met so many fisherman, and usually as I walk past them, I shoot out a quick hello attached to something like “Any bites”. The normal response that I get is silence or a dirty look. Not in all situations, some of the people that I’ve met have been nice, and at times have even given some good fishing advice. Yet the majority of the times it seems to be people coming up to me, and I end up talking with them for about 30 minutes or so.
For example on this last trip out, I was only able to set aside about 2 hours to fish. Of those two hours I would say that about 1 1/2 hours were spent talking to people.
The first conversation was with a guy out fishing with his kid, and he looked like he had no idea what he was doing. I showed him how to rig up some Powerbait on a treble hook (as I mashed his barbs down, explaining the importance of doing it). By the time I had left, his son had caught his first fish, and the dad was one happy camper.
My second conversation was with an older Mexican guy that I spoke with en Espanol. He asked me what kind of fishing I was doing. So I explained to him what Fly Fishing was, and let him cast my rod for about 10 minutes. Hopefully adding one new person to the Fly Fishing Community!
Finally I moved on, and had a chance to wet my line. After about 10 minutes I was into an nice little stocker Rainbow Trout, that I had caught on a Bead Head Woolly Bugger. Immediately after, a guy who had been tossing around a Swim Bait (Trout Imitation) that had to weigh over a pound walked up to me and asked “What ya throwin”? I showed him my fly rod, as he continued to explain to me that he had no idea you could use a Fly Rod anywhere other than on a Trout Stream.
While I walked back to the car, he followed me as I showed him pictures of the different species that I catch on a fly rod. So I guess it’s a trade off, I may lose some time fishing, but every time I’m out I get to meet some really interesting person.
It guess that’s why we call it Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!
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Court Dates, Hospital Visits, Long Work Days, the list goes on and on.
That sentence to preface the fact that I’ve been holding onto this great Urban fly Venturing story without the opportunity to actually sit down and get to write about it.
So here goes nothing.
About a month ago in between all that was swirling around me, I found myself with a Monday Morning free from anything on my calendar. It was just waiting there with a big empty circled space, waiting for me to write FISHING in all capital letters.
So guess what it did, that’s right I went FISHING.
Now my only regret is that I cannot share this location with you guys, due to a secret fishing spot swap. All that I’m aloud to say is that it’s a reservoir up in North Orange County, California.
This place definitely lived up to all the hype, and the back and forth emails about how big the Bluegills and Red Ear Sunfish are.
As I backed my truck up to the dead end dirt road. I pulled out my Okuma Guide Series 5 Weight Rod and SLV Fly reel. I laced them up with fly line and grabbed my streamer box.
That’s right I said streamers! Accord to the email bragging, my Hopper Dropper set up was better left in the truck.
I slid down the steep embankment of gravel onto an old cement boat launch, and cast out about 30 feet in front of me. Slowly stripping in line, checking the clear water for any signs of movement.
Strip, Strip, Strip, and all of the sudden I could see a striking flash right by my Minnow imitation. But for some reason there was no strike. This happened about 5 times, and I finally begrudgingly decide to change flies.
I pulled out a Rust colored Bead Head Flash-A-Bugger and started working the fly a little slower letting it sink farther to the bottom with a sudden jerk to imitate a Crayfish or leech moving across the gravel.
This time the flash went straight for my fly, and I was hooked into what I thought was a decent sized Largemouth Bass. But after getting the line within about 15 feet where I was standing, I could see that I was hooked into one of the largest Panfish that I’ve ever caught.
I pulled out my measuring net to land the fish, and picked it up to admire my catch.
Believe it or not (I have the pictures to prove it). I had just caught a 14 inch Red Ear Sunfish! That’s Right, 14 INCHES!
I sat there for a moment with a silly grin on my face, and then snapped back to reality. I still had the fish in hand, so back into the water he went.
Without skipping a beat I moved 10 feet down the bank and cast out. Smack another fish on the line. Then another, and another, and another.
When it was all said and done, I had caught about 13 Sunfish over 11 Inches.
Now that’s a good day fishing. I don’t care who you are, or where you live.
My Time for fishing was up.
So away I went. Back to the meetings, Hospital Visits, and Court Dates. But for a moment, just a moment. I was able to get away from it all, and focus my mind on only one thing.
And that’s why we call it Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!
Smallmouth Bass have, over the past year become my favorite fish to catch on a fly rod.
Unfortunately Southern California is not really known for it’s Smallie destinations.
So the majority of my time is filled with Urban Fly Fishing for Largemouth Bass. They’re fun, they’re, ferocious, and they’re a very interesting fish in their own right.
But, there’s just something about catching their closely related cousin on the other end of a fly line , that makes my heart beat just a little faster!
Now there are a couple Smallmouth opportunities within 2-3 hours of where I live, and when I’m in the area you had better believe that I’m taking the opportunity to fish these waters.
I recently had one such day up on Big Bear Lake.
It was hot, windy, and in the afternoon. Which aren’t really the best conditions to be fishing.
We had just missed the spawn and the fish were coming off their beds, beginning a slow decent back to the deep water that they normally reside in.
So we put on the Sinking tip Fly Line and got into our kayaks to scope out any fish that were still holding in less than 10 feet of water.
It was slim pickins with only a few in sight, so we decided to change direction for the shoreline near a small drop off.
After about 5-10 minutes, I spotted a large Bass holding at the back end of a weed line in about 7 feet of water. It was skimming the bottom with it’s tail up and nose combing the vegetation.
So I tied on a Rust Colored Weighted Bead Head size 10 Flash-A-Bugger and after two casts and a couple of nervous twitches from the fish, he turned on my fly and I set the hook!
The fight was on, and this Bronzeback wasn’t about to give up anytime soon. With 5x Tippet on, I was careful not to put too much pressure on him. I have had my line snapped by a good shake of the head by many decent sized Bass.
After about 10 minutes of my reel screaming and a few jumps that made me think I was going to loose this beautiful fish, he was in my (measuring) net, all 19 & 1/2 inches of him.
The Lip Scale weighed him in at just under 4 pounds. That right there was the largest Smallmouth Bass I had ever, and probably will ever catch!
Which is a very good Smallie considering that the lake record is just over 5 pounds.
It doesn’t get much better than that, and that’s why we call it
Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!
For me Urban Fly Fishing has never really been about catching fish.
It’s about the challenge. The Casting, The presentation, and well I guess it’s a little about catching fish.
Urban Fly Fishing has been the one activity in my life that has allowed my brain to completely focus in on what is going on at that exact moment.
It’s Peaceful, Serene, Relaxing. It’s just simply Fly Fishing, and that’s what makes it so special for me.
Every moment anticipating the next strike. Trying to figure out what the fish wants. It’s like a Chess Match that takes me outside the world that I currently reside in.
I had such a moment in Big Bear over Memorial Day Weekend with my fishing buddy Dan.
We had a chance to get away from the wives to get in a few casts over at Boulder Bay.
The Sun was starting to set over the mountains and the water glistening, as fish unloading on bugs skimming the surface.
Every cast produced a fish, and many to our surprise were decent sized Black Crappies. Or as a buddy of mine so affectionately refers to them “Stubbies”.
Beautiful fish, Beautiful Surroundings, and a Fly Rod. What more could a fisherman ask for.
It was truly one of those great life experiences.
I just pray that my next Fly Fishing “Adventure” is filled with such excitement.
That’s why we call it Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!
Okay confession time. This is my number one biggest question of all time ”Why do we ever fall back?”. I’m Just saying, let’s just spring forward for the last time and leave time alone!
I feel it coming, my one bipolar day of 2012. Saturday I’m freaking out feeling claustrophobic, and thinking Winter is never going to end .
I’m just saying, I don’t think I’m the only person that hates the fact that it’s dark by 4pm in December.
Then all of the sudden, I wake up on Sunday and it’s light until 6:30pm. That’s when I find myself thinking about packing my fishing clothes and my 5 Weight into the back seat of my truck so that I can hit the local pond as soon as the clock strikes 5pm.
Apparently this year the fish feel it too, the bite has flipped on and the Bass are showing
well. I even scoped a few starting to take up Real Estate.
You know what I’m talking about. That’s right you were thinking it too “BED FISHING”.
Only a few more weeks and the Bass will be so ticked at each other, they will want to destroy anything I put near their face.
If sight fishing for bedding Bass doesn’t get your heart beating just a little faster, you had better check your pulse.
It has to be my number one favorite time of the year to fish. I mean come on it’s not every day a PIG Female swims up 2 feet from where you’re standing while she is literally daring you to chuck a fly in her direction.
Now, I know someone is going to email me or leave a comment about how I’m the worst person in the world for fishing bedding Bass, and that I should join PETA and leave everything I own to my cats.
But come on people we’re Urban Bass Fishing mostly Park Lakes here. It’s not like this is the Golden Trout Wilderness or anything.
Now I’m not saying this as an excuse for anyone to go out and abuse these fish. If you catch one, get it back in the water right away. Especially if it’s a male so that he can get back to the fry that he’s most likely guarding.
We as Fly Fisherman have a responsibility to set the example. Don’t throw anything on the ground, treat the fish with respect so that someone else can catch it, and for goodness sake mash down your barbs!
I’m just going to put this out there. If I see someone with a bucket taking Bass or someone with a treble hook and a sinker trying to snag a 5 pounder, you will get caught.
I do know the Park Rangers very well, yes I do have them on speed dial, and yes you will get one big ticket!
So get out enjoy one of the best times of the year to fish for Bass, and let’s respect this resource so that our children’s children can be blogging about it.
Thanks to a tip from a fellow Urban Fisherman, I got to hit a new Urban Body of water this past Saturday.
I’ve learned over the last few years that if you are willing to put in the time and explore some of our local Urban waterways, you will be surprised and sometimes flat out shocked at what you find.
After about 30 minutes of walking down banks, climbing rocks, and pushing my way through stock piles of bushes I found myself at the edge of a serene little stream in the middle of Riverside County.
I may have been in the center of the city, but I felt miles away from anyone else in the world. As I explored my way down the bank, I spotted a school of Mosquito Fish, a Read Ear Slider, and a couple of beautiful White Egrets stocking the shallows for their next meal.
After stumbling on a deep hole where the water slowed around a corner, I pulled out my 3 weight, tied on a Micro Flash – a -Bugger, and cast as close up to the opposite bank as I could.
A couple of casts and no fish. I moved just a little farther down, and found another hole, and as I approached I realized I was going to have to start using a Roll Cast or I would be spending more time picking my flies out of the brush behind me than fishing.
1st Cast into this new hole and strip, strip, strip, when all of the sudden something came darting out of the shallow lunging for my fly. Out of excitement I pulled the fly right out it’s mouth. Trying to calm myself down, I got down on my knees, and cast into the same spot.
As soon as the fly hit the water “SMACK!”. I was into a small Largemouth Bass leaping into the air and fighting with all it’s might.
A small fish, but a real prize after a fight like that.
I hit a few more holes with the same results, a lot of small fish with a ferocious nature that I’d noever seen before.
As I was tying on a new fly, I realized that I could see some of the Bass swimming back and forth taking what looked like some kind of Damselfly Nymph.
While I was staring intently into the water I realized I could see a couple of fish hugging the bottom that looked just a little different. A similar profile to the Bass but a much darker color.
I cast a large Nymph into the line of one of these fish, and the strike was so quick I didn’t even see the fish take it. I set the hook and the fish took me straight into the over hanging branches.
Before I could maneuver my way out this mess, the fish was off. I tried a second time, but to no avail. I guess whatever this species was it would have to wait until next time to be caught.
As I climbed my way out of the brush and thicket, I almost stepped on what looked like a Garter Snake. I must have jumped 3 feet in the air and away from it, thinking the snake was a Rattler.
With my heart thumping in my chest I made it to the edge of the little community that I had parked in. I grabbed a seat on a bench near by, reflecting on my wonderful fishing experience while taking the rocks and dirt out of my shoes.
It just goes to show you that a little UFV always pays off. Sometime we catch fish and sometimes we don’t, but it’s the experience that matters the most.
Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!
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