Posts tagged: Heartwell Park Lake

MAN FROM U.F.V.

By , January 14, 2012 10:22 pm

As sobering as the thought is, I’m actually old enough to remember the original Man from U.N.C.L.E. television series.

I loved the intrigue, gadgetry and action of that series.

OK, let’s be honest, I mostly loved the gadgetry, but I know I wasn’t the only kid who ruined his good Sunday’s-best black pants running around setting booby traps for his siblings and scaling walls with crude, homemade spy gear while trying to act cool and sophisticated like the suave Napoleon Solo.

Of course, as I got older, James Bond movies became the must-see Saturday matinee event followed by a fondness for the Get Smart television series.

And naturally, I also developed a taste for the Mission Impossible series.

So you see, it really isn’t too hard to understand how I might have developed a passion for the heavily gadget-oriented sport of fly-fishing coupled with the espionage-like nature of exercising that passion in the most unlikely of public places.

Urban fly fishing could be considered a subtle yet sophisticated form of intelligence gathering…only, as it relates to fish rather than fiends bent on world domination, though more than once I have had to endure the conspiracy theory ranting of a bass fisherman after I released a Carp taken on a fly at an urban lake.

Instead of the men from UNCLE, we could be known as the men from UFV – Urban Fly Ventures.

 

Yeah, OK, so the roll-off-the-tongue smoothness of the acronym needs a little work.

But, in all honesty, as much as I may have wanted to aspire to the cool factor of guys like Illya Kuryakin, I seem to have been blessed more along the likes of Maxwell Smart as far as grace and savoir faire go.

I try, but genetics don’t lie.

Sure, I may show up at a park or urban fishing hole and I may look like I know what I’m doing, but there are times when the inescapable creeps through and I know I’m just a geek, more like “Q” than the graceful “007”.

 

The other day for example, I showed up at a local park to exploit the hour of free time I had while my beautiful bride attended a music rehearsal.

I grabbed my 5-weight and neck lanyard and started tying on an olive woolly bugger while making my way across the grass.

Nothing new there.

Half way across the grass though, my right foot slid and I looked down to see that I had gracefully stepped in a pile of…duck stuffing.

A quick glance to my left and then my right confirmed that no one had observed my mis-step so with a little urban version of a boot scoot boogie I continued on.

The sun was already setting and the temp was dropping fast so I hit this little lake hard. The only other fisher-folk were a couple who both were flinging those life-size soft bait blue-gill imitations halfway across the water and then hauling them back with high speed intensity.

I smiled to myself and in my best British accent muttered a paraphrase from Sun Tzu’s Art of War about knowing the enemy being the key to success.

I made my first cast… and hung up on the same tree branch that has eaten many of my flies over the years.

Another quick glance to the left and then to the right confirmed that I was still not being observed so with a quick tug I snapped the two-pound test tippet as easily as JB dispatching a villain.

After tying on yet another olive wooly bugger and shifting my casting position slightly to the right. I cast again…and again…and again.

Finally, with only about fifteen minutes to go before I had to go pick up my spouse (I would have said 007 minutes but you wouldn’t have believed me) I saw my line stop ever so slightly during the retrieve and felt the tiniest of resistance.

I set the hook and, sure enough, I had tied on to a fish.

My line peeled off my reel and zigged and zagged across the water. I realized that what ever it was, it seemed rather large and definitely feisty. My first impression was that I had hooked onto a Carp. This was confirmed when a large bronze back appeared about ten yards out a few moments later.

I played the fish as gently as I could, all the while wishing I had used heavier tippet. It seemed like I was getting the upper hand. I wished I hadn’t left my net in the car. I allowed myself the luxury of looking for a suitable landing spot.

And then, with one quick lunge, it was gone.

Fish gone. Fly gone. Line hanging limp and useless at the end of my rod.

 

I stood there and stared.

And then, whatever illusions of sophistication and coolness I may have had went right out the window. Without the slightest glance to the left or to the right, I spontaneously broke out in the “unhappy fisherman” dance, which, unfortunately resembles a cross between the gyrations of a street corner sign-twirler, the jerky motions of a pan-handling meth-addict and the overly dramatic arm motions of a televangeist all rolled into one. Throw in a barrage of a Tourette’s Syndrome-like nonsensical words and …well, you get the picture.

Unfortunately, so did the couple walking down the meandering pathway a few yards away – all on their cell phone cameras.

Curse you, modern technology and YouTube.

You know, I might have to rethink my stand on cool spy-wear gadgetry.

But in any event…I love this addiction called urban flyfishin’.

OH, THAT’S WHY

By , August 3, 2011 11:58 am

One of the most common questions we, as urban flyfishers, get from our non-fishing friends is: “why?”

 Why do we fish tiny ponds in overcrowded, noisy parks in the middle of the city?

 Why do we venture out amongst the homeless, seedy or just plain crazy? (The three are NOT necessarily one and the same – don’t rush to judgment here).

 Why do we get up way too early, creep around long after dark and fish with one eye always on the look out for gangbangers, thieves or unsympathetic cops?

 Why do we not even think twice about squeezing through holes in fences, crawling through storm drains or scaling locked wrought iron gates to pursue our passion?

Why do we have fighting knives fastened rapid-deployment style to our pack straps yet carry giveaway food bars and pocket-size editions of the gospel of John within those same packs?

Why the heck would we be willing to tolerate all this stuff that seems so very foreign to the traditional concept of fly fishing?

Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words:

 That’s why.

I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’

NIGHT BRINGS THE BITE

By , June 27, 2011 11:39 am

Fly Fishing at night is definitely a whole new beast for me to learn to conquer. There have been knotted up leaders and a different kind of knot on the back of my head. Flies lost in astonishing numbers from trees and fish alike.

The first couple of times out felt like the most frustrating time I’ve ever spent fishing, not just fly fishing I’m talking freaking fishing in general!

I remember going home the first night, and stating to my wife just as I walked in the door “I’m never trying that again”.

Yet just a few days later, I found myself back in the dark, headlamp on, and more clothing than I needed to keep the mosquitoes away.

On the second night things started to turn around. I started feeling the fly on the back cast, and I had only hit one tree. After a couple of hookups, but no fish to net. I sat down on the bench and started to contemplate what I was doing wrong.

I started to realize that the fish were hitting a lot harder. I needed to set the hook with more authority and get the fish to the net as quick as possible.

The next night I brought my 6 weight, beefed up to a 3x tapered leader, tied on a heavier BH Flash a Bugger, and started working the fly just a little slower than usual.

One cast and I had a 2 pound Largemouth Bass on the other end of the line. So many things started flooding to my head. Why had I been sleeping every night for all these years? Was this a dream? Was I really starting to get the hang of this Urban Fly Fishing at night thing.

After dodging a couple of drunk teenagers, a homeless man sleeping on the bench, and a few hundred sleeping ducks (Apparently Urban Fly Fishing at night has just as many dangers as it daytime counterpart).

I cast out a couple more times to a new spot with no luck. Then a Thud. I stopped my fly for a split second, and all of the sudden the line started flying out of my hand. I set the hook and the fish changed direction. I started the chase running from one end of the pond to the other like a mad man (which I’m sure the drunk teenagers got a real kick out of).

After about 5 minutes. I pulled the fish to the net (at least what of him would fit). Flicked on my headlamp and could not believe my eyes. It was a 20 plus inch Bass (not hard to figure out as my net’s only 20 inches). I grabbed my phone to snap a quick pic, and pulled out the lip scale. The fish weighed in at just over 5 pounds!

This was my best Bass in a long, long, long time. I was shaking uncontrollably. I didn’t want to let go, but I remembered that I had to get this fish back in the water as soon as possible. I set him gently in, and “whack” a flip of the tail to my face and this big boy had a little retribution.

I sat there for a moment breaking down my gear, just taking it all in.

As I walked (maybe even skipped a little, wait did I just write that?) back to the Urban Fly Mobile, I was starting to enjoy this, as Dan says

“Addiction called Urban Night Fishin”!

 

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