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.
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.
What do you do when you have a couple hours to fish while your wife goes to a Christmas Party?
Well I don’t know about you, but I’m hittin’ the salt. Last Sunday I pulled up to my little spot on Naples, and not a swimmer or another fisherman in sight. Yes! This must be my lucky day. Not to mention the 85 degree weather and not even a rustle from the wind.
I pulled out my Okuma 8 weight hoping to get into some Flatfish. Maybe a couple of Sole, Halibut, or maybe even a few Turbot. But the one thing I have learned over the last two years or so, is never think that you have Fly Fishing all planned out.
I stepped into the warm water and my feet sunk into the sand, suddenly I had this warm feeling that I was home (I guess a little So Cal just runs in my blood). I threw out a couple of casts with a Two Tone White and Orange Clouser Deep Minnow and on about the fourth cast was my first fish of the day (a small Lizardfish). Not bad, not what I was hoping for. But I’ll take what I can get. Anthing is better than going home with a Skunk stinking up the car.
After a while and a few Lizardfish I started noticing these strange colored things all around the shoreline. Curiosity got the better of me, and I dropped my net into the water and pulled out what looked liked a colorful version of something you sneeze into a tissue. So, I snapped a quick pic and let it go. Back to fishing and another one of these Sea Slugs right at my feet, and another, and another what the heck is up with all these things. They were literally covering the beach. I counted about 50 before it got too dark for me to see the bottom.
Back to fishing and a few more Lizardfish. I decided to start throwing around a boat that was docked up next to me, and I’m glad I did. First Cast and my line went tight. Was I stuck on the Eel grass, no it’s fighting back. I set the drag, and the first thing that went into my mind was finally a Halibut and a big one at that. The fish turned and started coming straight for me, was it a Leapheard Shark. I started walking back stripping in line as fast as I could. Then the biggest Sand Bass I’ve ever seen was at my feet, and with one shake of it’s head it was gone forever. UHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
I stood there for a minute contemplating what went wrong. I pulled my line out of the water, the fly was still there, the hook wasn’t bent out, and I just lost the biggest Bass that I will probably ever have the chance to catch. What a day!
I decided to cut my fly and take a couple of pics before I headed home. I hopped in the truck and had to slam on the brakes as soon as I hit the corner. Blue and Red lights everywhere. What’s going on? I rolled down the window and the Police Officers were too busy to even look my way. Well, this was the only way out.
So, I pulled back into the parking lot and got back in the water. I guess I was supposed to fish a little while longer. I got into a conversation with a paddle boarder about a few good spots to fish and caught two more Lizardfish.
After the Cops left and the lights faded. I got back into the car, enjoyed driving by all the Christmas Lights. On the way home I reflected on the last couple of hours. What a great time! Not at all what I was expecting, but still a great couple of hours Urban Fly Venturing!
Have you ever been out fishing fast water (let’s say something like Kern River) and you were having the worst time trying to get your fly down to the bottom where the Big Bass and Trout want it?
I have, and trying to add Split Shot or using Sinking Lines can mean all the hassle in the world. Here is a quick solution that I learned from a Guy Fishing an Urban Park Lake about a year ago. Tie on a Bullet Sinker (Cone Head Weight) in front of your Woolly Bugger or Crayfish imitation, just like the conventional guys use. It gives the fly a really nice jigging action that Bass and Big Trout can’t resist.
I especially love this method when site fishing to feeding Carp. It can be extremely effective and gets that fly down in the strike zone fast. Just make sure that if you fish this rig to keep a big open loop, and not to cast the fly anywhere close to your head.
I figured this out the hard way down in the salt at Seal Beach. My Fishing buddy and Co-Author Dan Z and I were fishing the SGR River Outlet (against the wind). One cast a little too close and whack a nice little knot in the back of my head for about a week. All joking and pain aside, try this setup on the next outing and I don’t think you will be disappointed.
I would start out with a 1/16 or 1/8 ounce weight, to keep from cracking your skull on the first cast!
The last couple of weeks haved been some of the most trying times in my life. Personal issues running rampant, work is non stop at what is supposed to be the slowest time of the year, and the ear ache of the century. What more can I say, it’s been tough!
I remember thinking to myself “I wonder, how can I get some time away from the daily grind?” That’s right! What was I thinking? All I need is a little Urban Fly Fishing. Sometimes you just have to pick up your gear and leave the world behind.
So I locked the doors to my truck and left it all in the parking lot of Chantry Flats for some adventure in the local San Gabriel Mountains.
The air was crisp, the sound of the creek was filling my ears, and my hands were still warm from my daily caffeine fix. Away I ran. Barreling down the Santa Anita Creek Trail with my 3 weight in hand, ready to hit the stream with full force. I tied on a size 16 Stimulator with a dropper Prince Nymph and the fish didn’t even know what hit them.
It was amazing, for hours it seamed like every cast produced a fish. One, Two, Three, Ten, Twenty, Thirty, I lost count. Not even an hour on the stream and the battery on my camera was already running low from flash, after flash, after flash.
Was I dreaming? Is this real? I has to sit down, and take it all in with a few deep breathes. What just happened? Suddenly I could not think about anything butRainbow Trout, where was the next one hiding? Would this keep up, could I really catch a fish on every cast for more than a couple of hours? So many questions running through my head. What was I doing different? Where is the hatch?
All these questions mixed in with one profound thought “ Thank you Randall Kaufmann”!
It was amazing! I have caught a lot of fish on Santa Anita Creek over the last couple of years, but never had a day that came even close to this. After 4 hours of hiking from hole to hole and fish after fish. I decided to call it quits.
As I made my way back up the canyon to the parking lot (the only part of Santa Anita Canyon that is not to my liking) I just remember sitting down on the edge of the trail for a minute and thinking “Thank You GOD”. This was exactly what I needed!!!
Fall (Autumn) call it what you may, it remains my arch nemesis. What kind of season is this? We have to fall back on time, and lose so many precious daylight hours. But the worst is the wind (let’s just say that I would never be able to survive in Chicago). I despise it, loath it, and I hate it with a passion!
Not wanting to sucumb to my internal instics and put all of my fishing gear away for the season. I headed out this last Saturday morning to get in a little Urban Park Fly Fishing. The whole drive to the park I just kept thinking to myself that I cannot stand the wind and trying to convince myself to head back home and hit the snooze button for a few hours. But, I am a Fly Fisherman at the deepest portions of my heart and the urge to fish won over.
Let’s just say that I’m glad that I listened to that little Fishing Voice in my head.
The Green Sunfish showed up in full action, and I got to hone a new Fly Fishing Skill. The Sunfish get weary about this time of year, and the littlest movement or shadow of any kind spooks the living daylights out of them. So you have to fish the hole under the concrete bank that they hide in, and then set that hook as soon as they poke their head out for a peak.
I tied on my “Fenner Bugger Special” a small heavily weighted Woolly Bugger that works a lot like a bass jig to lure my quarry out of hiding, and lure them out I did. Within about 2 hours I had caught more than I could count, and lost even more than that.
So, I guess the moral of the story is for me to stop being such a baby about the wind, and get out there to do some fall fishin. But, I’m just sayin the wind sucks.
I’m so glad I grew up, and have spent so much of my life in Southern California. Just a couple of months of this crappy weather and it’s back to good ol’ Sunny So Cal.