GLASS ACT

By , April 13, 2011 11:55 pm

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’.

 

“SOUTHWEST FLY FISHING” MAGAZINE

By , March 31, 2011 11:55 pm

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.

PLAN “B”

By , March 29, 2011 6:55 am

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’.

Follow Up

(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.)

BASS SPAWNING HABITS

By , March 25, 2011 10:26 pm

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.

 

Bass Spawning Habits North American Fishing Club.

 

FOLLOWING THE ROAD NORTH

By , March 24, 2011 11:12 pm

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?

MID-CITY MIRAGE

By , December 28, 2010 8:19 pm

So the other day, after a rather complicated and slightly stressful two-and-a half hour surgery, we were just getting underway to our next appointment when we drove past a rather large park in Garden Grove.

In the middle of this park there is a very large, flat, grassy area. Now, a heavy downpour had just stopped so this grassy area was pretty well flooded and actually looked like a decent sized pond.

In fact, if I weren’t familiar with this particular park from previous visits, I might have thought that it was a pond and would have excitedly added it to my list of places to explore as potential urban fishing spots.

Just as I caught this little trick of weather in the corner of my eye, a rickety, dented and rusting gardener’s truck chugged out of a side street in front of me and forced me to focus on the task and challenge of bringing an eight-ton rolling hospital to an abrupt slow down on a partially flooded and rain slick road,

“What is that guy doing?” My wife asked but without the same hint of malice that I was harboring for Mr. Gardener at that moment.

“Attempting suicide.” I shot back.

“No, over there.” She said while pointing toward the park, apparently unflustered by our near brush with catastrophe. (That partially explains why she is such a good surgeon — she’s unflappable.)

Secure that we would not have a 1972 Chevy pick-up truck as a new hood ornament, I glanced over to where she was pointing and saw a man spey casting on the same little psuedo-pond that I had been admiring just seconds ago.

“Oh, that. He’s spey casting.” I replied. “And from the looks of it he’s got a Mirage reel from Orvis…”

“What’s that? How can you tell all that from 100 feet away?”

I paused.

Gifts like that don’t just get handed out every day: My wife was asking ME to tell her about spey casting and equipment…

(as they say on Facebook; OMG!)

… Long story, short. That flung open wide the door for a whole discussion (OK let’s be honest – pontificating) on the art of spey casting and perhaps even allowed for the hint of a seed to be planted regarding potential upcoming birthday gifts and such.

Ah, I love this addiction called urban fly-fishin’.

PIER PRESSURE AT BOULDER BAY

By , December 21, 2010 11:47 pm

Most of you already know that Big Bear Lake is where my beautiful bride and I escape to when we are short on time but long on needing to get away fast.

Big Bear fills the bill in a whole lotta ways as far as being a true source of re-creation for us with the schedule we generally have to keep.

But, we don’t get up there as much during the winter because we’ve gotten snowed in a couple of times and things get a little testy when we have to call our clients and try to explain that we have to re-schedule their appointments because we are hunkered down in the cabin (…with the fireplace roaring away…and hot chocolate simmering on the stove … and the radio playing softly in the background…) trapped behind glistening snow drifts which won’t be plowed until at least the next day.

Anyway, the weather has been kinda wet and crummy the last few days and the streets are filled with insane holiday shoppers zipping about from mall to mall and the fishing has been just plain lousy so I’ve been spending a little time hunkered down in the  “man cave” cleaning up some of the files on my computer. While looking through some picture files, I came across some shots I had taken a couple of months back during one of our get-aways to Big Bear.

The last time I wrote about Big Bear Lake, it was to let you know that there is a new fly fishing shop up there on the Fawnskin side. And while I was waxing poetic about being able to walk into a shop and instantly revert to “kid in a candy store” status, I forgot to mention that there have been some big changes up there on the lake itself.

The biggest change is, of course, the building of the new dam. The venerable and aesthetically pleasing arched dam that has served so well for so long just doesn’t meet current seismic or traffic load requirements so a new dam is being built just downstream.

(As an aside: There is nothing like the sound of solid granite being dynamited to get your heart beat into the aerobic workout range really quickly – especially when you forgot what time it was scheduled to happen.)

When completed sometime next year, the dam and re-routed road way will have improved traffic flow for motorists driving the “front way” into Big Bear and better water regulation capabilities for water users down the hill.

Since the area immediately adjacent to the dam is already closed to boat traffic, I’m not sure what effect it will have on fishing. I suspect that the shoreline around the dam will become much more pleasant to fish as you will not have vehicles rumbling past quite so close to your head.

Another change to the Lake is at the park over in Boulder Bay.

I like Boulder Bay. I have spent many a pleasant early morning flyfishing there while enjoying my morning coffee and watching the sunlight play on the rocks as it rises in the sky.

If you position yourself just right, “the modern world” sort of melts away and there is an ageless beauty to the Bay that can be described well enough but can really only be experienced to fully understand it.

Apparently, lots of people like Boulder Bay as it is rumored to be the most photographed place on the Lake. In any event, the park there has been upgraded with new picnic tables, a gazebo, improved walking paths and…a fishing pier.

Now, I’m not so sure how I feel about a utilitarian metal and recycled plastic structure jutting out into the middle of this beautiful Bay but the last time we drove over there, there it was.

It will most certainly up the number of photographs taken of the Bay as it allows you to get out and away from the shoreline and closer to those picturesque boulders that every kid wants to climb on and every tourist wants to photograph.

There are signs posted on the pier warning against overhead casting but, then again, there are signs on every pier I have ever been on that warn against overhead casting. Officially, that pretty much puts a damper on fly fishing unless you happen to be an exceptional roll caster or maybe a spey caster.

But, as with most such things related to the urban fishing mindset, a careful consideration of the situation may find me out there some early morning in the not-too-distant future testing heretofore unreachable sections of the Bay with a nice black or olive wooly bugger… I’ll even have a level place to set my coffee cup down should I hook on to a nice, fat trout.

Hmmm, I guess I just took a little mental trip up to my favorite get-away.

I feel better already.

I love this addiction called urban fly-fishin’.

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