Category: Sunfish

ME TIME

By , December 17, 2012 6:23 pm

ME TIME

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.

Colors Abound

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.

Behemoth

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!

Stripes

COMFORT FISHING

By , January 31, 2012 11:32 pm

Sometimes in the sport of Urban Fly Fishing, a little comfort goes a long way.

What I mean by comfort fishing is getting out to one of  your Honey Holes. A place where no matter what the conditions, you are going to catch something!

Lately the Winter Fishing Blues have got me dreaming of big bedding Largemouth Bass, although I don’t mind catching a Rainbow Trout or two as evident in my last post Timing is Everything.

 Micropterus salmoides of the Black Bass family is defintely the species closest to my Fly Fishing Heart.

Being the stubborn person that I am, I’ve been hitting the local Park Lakes in hopes of sneaking in a couple of fish before early spring.

However the fishing has been slow, and the couple of Bass that I’ve been able to get on the other end of the line are on let’s just say the “Small Side”.

So what is an Urban Bass Fly Fishing Fanatic to do?

I’ll tell you what I’m to do, head to a little stream Honey Hole in Northern Orange County that produces Green Sunfish all year long.

Okay they’re not Largemouth Bass, but they look similar and they are a ton of fun to catch.

I arrived at my Honey Hole dusting off my 3 weight and pulling out an assortment of Trout Flies.

A little size 16 Caddis with a dropper 18 Red Copper John tied on and I was off to the races. I’m talking fish, after fish, after fish!

After about an hour. I had pulled in over 40 Greenies and I decided I had all the comfort I needed.

Refreshed, I drove away already drifting off into thoughts of what the spring Bass Fishing of 2012 will have to offer.

I know the fish I caught were small, and most people want to see us catching some huge 10 pound Largemouth Bass out of Castaic Lake with Larry Kurosaki in the front of the boat.

Trust me, so would I!

But that’s just not us. We are just a couple of regular guys that love Fly Fishing, and love to catch fish no matter how big or small.

It’s just about the Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!

 

AS THE SEASON TURNS

By , October 29, 2011 11:12 pm

It’s that time of year. Fall is upon us. All of the sudden I need an extra cup of coffee to get up in the morning, and somehow I’ve gone from 24 to 65 years old within a matter of days. 

The shorter days mean less light, and less light means less time to fish. The only reason that I don’t fish at night during the cold season, is just as the name suggests it’s COLD!

Having been born and raised here in So Cal, I’m basically a wimp if the weather drops below 50 degrees.

But, I digress.

The point is that the warmwater species will start hunkering down. Their metabolisms will slow, they will pass up my flies, and I will start spending way too much time clean and organizing my fly gear.

Basically, the point is that I try to make the most of the time I have left. I’ve been hitting the closest body of water before work, after work, and just about any other 30 minute session that I can squeeze in.

This time on the water has really tested my skills as an angler. The fish have gotten selective, but under the right conditions the payoff can be nice.

I have literally caught more big “er” Sunfish in the last couple of weeks, than I have the whole rest of the year. I guess the little guys just can’t muster the energy to make a dash at my fly.

So don’t give in to your instincts and turn into a bear that hibernates the cold weather away. Or maybe even turn into a Fly Guy that only gets out when you can catch the Blueline. The local puddles still have a lot to offer, even on those cold and windy days.

The Brownline might be slowing down, but sometimes a little change in pace is all that we need to get our mind back in the game!

Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!

SQUEEZE PLAY

By , August 17, 2011 6:24 pm

I had an opportunity to squeeze in some early morning mid-week fishing recently and jumped at the chance as quickly as a bluegill on a wind-blown ant.

So, imagine my frustration when I pulled up to my chosen destination only to be confronted by two hundred or so high-school age cross-country runners as well as dozens and dozens of orange safety cones, yellow tape and a half dozen coaches barking orders and blowing chrome whistles.

Now, any normal person would have stayed in the car and headed over to the nearest regional park which was only about fifteen minutes away.

But the operative words here were: “squeeze” and “normal”.

I did not want to sacrifice even another fifteen minutes battling more SoCal commuter traffic than I had just taken on and I did not want to spend five dollars on admission to a place I was only going to be at for an hour or two at most.

So, I assessed.

I assessed and then modified my game plan so that, one way or another, I could fish.

From what I could discern from the layout of orange cones, the designated course for the runners appeared to follow the entire perimeter of the small body of water I had targeted and then seemed to disappear off into the surrounding hills before re-entering the park and looping around the lake again.

I figured that would mean a few moments of heavy foot traffic and then some relative peace followed by a steady stream of runners as the pack thinned and spread out according to the runner’s abilities and strategies.

Because of the proximity of the course to the water’s edge, I also figured out pretty quickly that fly-rodding was probably not gonna work so well. I already lose enough flies in bushes and low-hanging branches as it is, I didn’t particularly want to snag a lycra clad, eighty-five pound freshman in the middle of a race on the backcast.

So, I left my five–weight in the car and, instead, opted for my trusty Pen Rod Extreme with the MX-15 rear-drag spinning reel loaded with two-pound test.

I rigged up a tiny, clear bubble float with a size 16 treble suspended about eight-inches below it and baited the hook up with pink Powerbait crappie bits.

Then, with the rhythm of heavy breathing and running shoes pounding the dirt behind me, I start pulling out Bluegill like they were goin’ out of style.

Sure, it wasn’t exactly the most serene setting for fishin’…OK, it was anything but serene, but it sure was fun thanks to my day-saving, handy-dandy ultralight Pen Rod Extreme.

About an hour later, as the final runners wheezed across the finish line, I released the last of several dozen decent sized fish that, surprisingly, found pink crappie bits… irresistible.

So, while dozens of young people roamed post-race around the park looking pretty much worse for the wear — spittin’ and groaning and holding their sides and all, I gathered up my gear and felt pretty darn good considering the unexpected change in plans.

Like I said, it’s all about squeezing recreation into those free moments.

I love this addiction called urban “ultralight” fishin’.

CLEAR AS DAY

By , August 11, 2011 10:30 pm

I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting!

Okay let me back up a little here. I’ve been fishing in the San Gabriel Mountains since I was a little kid, and one of the places that I used to love to hike up to was Crystal Lake. The lake has been on lock down since late 2005 due to fires, then rain, then road damage, and now it’s open.

This place holds a special place in my heart. It’s where I caught my first Largemouth Bass as a young boy, and has always made me feel so far away from everything going on in the world.

So enough reminiscing, the point I’m trying to make is that I finally had the chance to make it back up there a couple of weeks ago.

I arrived early in the morning and the parking lot was still closed. So I parked on the side of the road, put my Adventure Pass in the rear view mirror, picked up my Okuma 9′ 5 weight and off I went to relive my childhood.

After about a 1/4 mile uphill hike,  I arrived heart racing to see if it still looked the same. As I turned the corner it was like 14 years just rolled back, and there I was 10 years old with fishing gear in hand.

After a couple minutes I remembered that I was there to fish. I tied on a size 12 Beadhead Olive Flash-A-Bugger and after about three casts I was on a fish. I set the hook, the fish fought for a second, and then it came off.

I stood there in shock were there still Bass in here? Plus it fought like a really good one. I sharpened my hook and made sure I had completely mashed down the barb. After my next cast, another hit and another fish off.

I repeated this process about 5 more times with 2 more flies. What was going on? Do these fish have holes in their mouths?

By this time the sun had started to come up, and I decided to switch to a Hopper Dropper Rig.

One cast and I had a decent sized Green Sunfish in hand. This thing fought like a fish 3 times it’s size, and I couldn’t believe the girth for the length of the fish. Well at least the fish were healthy and abundant.

After about 5 Small Bass, 15 Green Sunfish and 1 missed Catfish, I decided to call it a day. People were starting to show up with their dogs and kids. Throwing rocks in the water and scaring away all the fish.

I packed up my rod and reel and started to head out, and as I turned the corner I heard a rustling in the trees and decided to investigate!

There was a small Pack (that’s probably not the right word) of deer, eating acorns (the deer were eating the acorns not the other way around) and moving toward the lake to get a drink of water.

What a day. I am so excited to see this little Lake in such great condition and please if any of you make it up there, pick up your trash and practice catch and release only!

I want nothing more than if I have children, for them to someday be able to enjoy this great little piece of my childhood.

EL DORADO “PANFISH IN SPANISH”?

By , April 17, 2011 9:31 pm

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!

SATURDAY IN THE PARK

By , November 17, 2010 11:31 pm

One of my best friends when I was growing was a diehard fan of the rock group, Chicago. It may have had something to do with the fact that he was part of a drum and bugle corps and had a thing for horns or maybe he just liked their vibe. Either way, he always seemed to be playing their music whenever I dropped by his house to hang out.

Not that anyone really had to make much of an effort to hear a Chicago tune back then since they got a lot of airtime on the radio.

In any event, I can’t say that I was a diehard fan like him. I was struggling just to pick up the nuances of pre-algebra so it seemed like a waste of brain power to memorize concert dates and useless trivia about the kinds of foods various band member liked and so on and so on. Rather, I remained just an ordinary kid who liked some of their songs and would usually sing along to the ones I liked  — provided certain young ladies weren’t around.

Anyway, one of the Chicago songs that I liked (and still do) was, “Saturday in the Park”.

Now, I am just old enough to remember going to some of the parks around L.A. and seeing the balloon venders walking around with, what seemed like, hundreds of bright, helium balloons swaying in the breeze and I am also just old enough to remember the organ grinder guys standing near the merry-go-rounds cranking their tinny sounding hand organs and “singing Italian songs” while their little dressed up monkeys did tricks and then approached you with a tin cup to collect loose change.

I can also remember family outings in the park when we would by ice cream from the man selling it out of a little rolling cart and I remember playing baseball, rolling down the grassy hills just for fun and watching old men argue over Bocce ball and horseshoes. I can even remember rowing around one or two of the lakes – lakes that I now fish – in a rented rowboat with my Dad.

I guess you could say I like that old Chicago song, ‘cause I lived it, even if only for a brief (but happy) period in my young life.

So, you can probably already guess my serendipitous delight, when my fishing buddy, Sean and I encountered a “Saturday in the Park” scenario the other day when we shot over to Heartwell Park in Long Beach to fish the little pond there.

We both had had a very busy week and the weekend was fast slipping away. We both had also wanted to get in some late season fly fishin’ before the start of another equally busy week however morning obligations which then turned into a leisurely lunch with our beautiful brides meant we had to pick a place really close if we were going to get in any time at all on the water before dark.

Heartwell seemed like the obvious choice – not just because of where we were but also because my annual pass to El Dorado Park had just expired.

Sean had scoped Heartwell Park out a couple of weekends ago but despite the fact that I drive by it all the time, I had never actually been there. Upon arriving at the park, I was immediately (and nostalgically) charmed by the well-tended little pond, the trees, the thoughtfully placed benches and the meandering paths. As we rigged our fly rods up and walked towards the little pond, the lowering sun cast long shadows across the wide expanses of grass and also turned the pond water a rosy pink color. I noticed couples of all ages and description sauntering arm in arm along the paths around us talking and laughing. I noticed a young man playing his guitar off in the distance and a couple of kids dancing to the music in their heads. I also noticed a veritable smorgasbord of dog breeds parading past with their owners in tow as we worked our way around the concrete bank. It was a scene that I hadn’t seen in a long time — a real celebration.

Charmed as I was, I didn’t forget the purpose of our little expedition and I managed to hook onto a small Bass on my third or fourth cast while Sean tied on to a couple of sunfish straight away. We each continued pulling in small fish while curious families stopped to watch for a moment or two but then went back to whatever game or activity it was that they were involved in and left us to our fishing.

Eventually, a gentleman did approach Sean and, as fishermen are prone to do, they got to talking. They back and forthed about different places they had each fished and different techniques the had each used and then this generous stranger shared a little history about the pond we were standing at that he had garnered from watching it being drained and cleaned a few years ago.

He wished us well and continued with his late afternoon stroll. We immediately positioned ourselves to take advantage of this new-found intel and within moments Sean had hooked on to yet another fish. I was several yards away, working a corner under a large tree but when he threw his net on the ground, (sort of our unofficial signal for help), I laid my rod down and scooted over to where he was successfully bringing in a fat and sassy twelve-inch largemouth Bass who had fallen for the tried and try black wooly bugger pulled along at a fairly quick clip in short strips of line.

Now, with all of the excitement this fish generated from the two of us and with all the subsequent flash from Sean’s camera lighting up the twilight like fireworks you might have thought our afternoon in the park “was the fourth of July”.

Can you dig it?

I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’.

 

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