Posts tagged: Urban Fly Fishing

GIFT OF GAB

By , January 19, 2013 10:14 pm

Gift of Gab

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!

What A Way, To End The Day

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!

SPRING FORWARD

By , March 14, 2012 11:54 pm

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.

 

WEEKEND CREEKIN’

By , February 21, 2012 10:04 pm

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!

 

CLEARLY THANKFUL

By , December 2, 2011 9:10 pm

I like Thanksgiving. I like everything that it represents and I like the “vibe” about the day.

I even like the crazy, post-Thanksgiving “pizza” my wife makes using all the left-overs.

Thanksgiving day is, in my mind, still the official kickoff of the Holiday season despite what the Big Box retailers try to pass off on us as they set up their fake Christmas trees in the same aisle as the halloween decorations… in mid-September.

Weather-wise, Thanksgiving is all over the map in SoCal. It has been cold, and rainy, cloudy and gray, and Sunny and mild from year-to-year.

A couple of years ago, my fishin’ buddy, Sean and I were stymied by thin, nearly invisible sheets of ice on one of the mountain streams we tried fish on Thanksgiving morning. This year, we fished in tee-shirts as we snuck away from the home hearths early Thursday morning before the rest of our respective households rolled out of bed.

We only had a very narrow time slot in which to fish so we planned on hitting one local park where Cal Fish & Game was supposed to have planted Trout a few days prior. When we got there, the place was nearly empty. As we paused at the top of a small rise to finish tying on our chosen flies, we both noticed that the water was a sickly, very artificial, blue-green color.

That’s usually not a good sign for productive fishing.

Now, lots of urban lakes and ponds get the dye treatment to help cut down on algal growth and aquatic weeds especially when the days have been sunny and the temps mild to warm. However, over the years, we have noticed a pattern associate with these dye treatments and developed an unofficial color scale to determine our potential success rate.

The color of the water we were looking at ranked about a “2”.

Nevertheless, we headed down the slope, ducked a couple of errant Frisbees from an early morning Frisbee Golf foursome who clearly weren’t warmed up yet and started fishing.

Our efforts were rewarded without so much as a half-hearted nibble.

Sean engaged an early morning walker/fellow angler in conversation and learned that the lake probably had not been planted and that nobody had caught much of anything over the last few days, which explained why the gentleman was walking and not fishing.

That was enough for us to switch to plan “B” and within a few minutes we were on our way to another local park about fifteen minutes away.

In contrast to the last lake, the water at our next stop was crystal clear. So much so that is was like looking through glass. With our polarized sunglasses, we could see every detail of the bottom and, unfortunately every Bass within twenty-five feet of the shoreline.

As always, we fished hard, crept along as stealthily as possible, switched tactics and flies frequently and covered the entire lake.

The long and short of it though was that every Bass we could see, could also see us. Urban fish don’t get to be the size these Bass were by being stupid. Sean did manage to get one fish to follow a wooly bugger twitched over a weed bed but the subsequent strike was half-hearted at best and didn’t result in a hook set. I too could only muster one weak lunge at my streamer but it too did not result in a solid bite. We were in essentially the same dilemma that Flats fisherman face all the time.

Now, a lot of guys would just shake their head and consider the day a failure. Despite the disappointing fishing, I felt like we had been given a unique Thanksgiving Day gift. You see, there were only two other anglers at this park and one of them was a stationary bait fisherman. Sean and I got to cover the entire perimeter of the lake and, due to the unusual clarity of the water, we got to map out every inch of underwater structure to about twenty-five feet out. We now have the knowledge of where there are weed bed edges, where there are rock piles, where there are trenches and potholes, where somebody tossed in an old Christmas tree and where aerator pipelines run. We also got to map out the spawning beds from earlier in the year and we got to note underwater corridors that the spooked Bass were using to flee when our shadows fell on the water. Come the Spring we will know exactly where to concentrate our efforts.

Besides that, we were outside, in shirtsleeves, in late November, enjoying the fresh air, the quietness, the beauty of the changing leaves, the chance to fish and the opportunity to learn a whole lot of useful things for another day. I even snagged a soft plastic salamander imitation once hidden amongst the thick lily pads but now clearly visible.

It was a morning to be thankful indeed.

I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’.

A LIGHT (BULB) IN THE DARK

By , November 16, 2011 6:25 am

The dictionary defines a paradox as a statement or concept that contains conflicting or apparently conflicting ideas.

Now, my fishin’ buddy, Sean and I have certainly recognized, and maybe even reveled just a little bit, in the fact that urban fly fishing qualifies as a paradox.

We’re OK with the common perception that fly rods somehow just don’t work in urban waters.

We have grown accustomed to the odd looks, strange questions, or the guy who walks up to us and plants himself next to us so he can give us long-winded explanations as to why flyfishing doesn’t work – even as we are pulling in Bass and Bluegill.

We’ve gotten used to the packs of kids running up to us and staring, the dogs on retractable leashes barking and snapping at our flies, the stroller joggers observing our back casts and yelling in that protective parent way to warn us that they are behind us with a child.

We already plan on giving away wooly buggers and short pieces of tippet in a somewhat self-serving act of charity that buys us a little peace and quiet and we are always on the watch for nefarious characters in the same way that our Alaskan wilderness counterparts always keep an eye out for grizzlies.

Yet, given the realities of our work schedules, our finances, our time commitments and the alternative, i.e., flyfishing only very occasionally, we have opted to adjust to the circumstances and be urban flyfishers.

To that end, we are always looking for new ways to engage, enjoy or enhance our chosen obsession.

Sometimes, paradoxically, new ways even find us.

Consider what happened to my fishin’ buddy, Sean, recently:

A few months ago Sean made an impromptu decision to stop at a small urban pond on the way home from the office to blow off a considerable amount of steam acquired after a particularly grueling business meeting.

As he stood there, in the dark, muttering and grumbling to himself and hurling a Krystal Bugger into the inky blackness, a couple of things happened:

One, his blood pressure began to drop back into the normal range;

Two, he began to catch fish and;

Three, he experienced a heightened sense of awareness that he had not felt before while flyfishing.

Now, I’m not talking about a sense of awareness like, “Oh crap, I’m standing by myself dressed in slacks, shirt and tie in the dark in a (hopefully) deserted urban park griping out loud to myself and waving a very expensive stick in the air… and no one knows where I am.”

No, I’m talking about a “gettin’ into the zone”—that heightened sense of awareness regarding the feel of the unfurling fly line on the back cast, the heightened sense of feeling that same line slide through the guides in a smooth forward cast and even the heightened sense of hearing for the subtle plop of the fly as it lands in the dark forty feet out in front.

Yeah, in that impromptu moment, Sean discovered flyfishing at night.

And therein lies part of the paradox.

Flyfishing is all about catching fish, for sure, but it is also an art form and as such, there are elements to it that one might consider “active meditation”.

I’m not going all mystical or anything. But almost every flyfisherman I know takes a subtle pleasure watching his or her line form a perfect tight loop and then lay out on the surface of the water in a perfect, straight line.

Almost every flyfisherman I know delights in watching for that subtle dimple in the surface as a trout or a wary urban carp quietly sips the carefully presented fly.

And almost every flyfisherman I know breaks into a smile when droplets of water shower in every direction and sparkle in the sun like a million diamonds as the line tightens from a solid hook set.

So, what happens when darkness seems to render all those simple pleasures null?

Well, paradoxically, new types of awareness kick in and new pleasures with our obsession reveal themselves.

Flyfishing in the dark becomes more about feel and movement. It becomes more about perfecting skills that may have grown a little sloppy and it becomes more about appreciating familiar realms in a whole new way.

Case in point: A couple of weeks ago, Sean and I made arrangements to hit a local park where he has had pretty good luck catching Carp and Bass after dark since his epiphany about night fly fishing.

We drove to the target spot and parked under a street light about two hundred yards away from the water’s edge.

The air was mild and still so we only donned light windbreakers and the bare minimum amount of gear. I opted for a lanyard rig and Sean grabbed a small waist pack. We clipped on our nets and we both put on LED headlamps over our TU ball caps.

I choose a five-weight while Sean chose an eight-weight rig. He was clearly more optimistic then me but, then again, he had caught one of the largest Carp he had ever taken on a fly in this park after dark.

We tied on rather large, flashy buggers in the cone of light thrown off by the streetlight then headed across the wide expanse of grass.

My first impression, as we stood there waiting for our eyes to adjust to the darkness, was with the peacefulness of the situation. During the day, this park is loaded with runners and bicycle riders and kids on skateboards and an endless variety of dogs and dog-walkers. Now it was still and calm and a slight ground fog rose from the damp grass.

The water was glassy smooth and reflected the three-quarter moon, the treetops and the lights from nearby businesses. Near the edges, where the water was shallow, little wisps of mist also rose up and blurred the normally sharp concrete lip of the pond. We stood near the edge for a long time waiting and listening. Occasionally we would hear a faint splash but mostly we heard snippets of lively conversation and distant laughter bouncing out of the row of restaurants across the normally busy street.

When we decided to move. It was slowly and deliberately, almost reluctantly, as if we each did not want to break the spell of the moment. Our walking roused a mixed flock of sleeping ducks and mud hens who protested with soft quacks and grunts and moved en masse just far enough away for us to no longer be considered a threat according to some streetwise avian formula we couldn’t figure out.

Then in our usual fashion, we split to the left and the right and began fishing.

My first casts were pathetic, limp tangles of fly line. I kept misjudging the timing of my back cast.

Was I really that dependant on sight for my casting technique?

I shook my head and muttered to myself and was thankful that Sean couldn’t see the mess I had created. Then I took a deep breath and regrouped.

The words of a pilot friend of mine came to mind: “You can always count on your basic training, if you’ve been properly trained in the basics.”

So, I took a deep breath, pulled a couple of yards of line off my reel, gathered it in loose coils with my off hand, positioned my grip on the cork the way I had been taught and actually closed my eyes.

This time, when I made my cast, I could feel the rod load on the back cast, I could actually hear the line move through the air with a soft, smooth whooshing sound, I could tell that the forward cast was smooth and straight and I heard the fly land with a clean plopping sound just like an Olympic high-diver making a clean splash on a 9.9 dive.

I was in the “zone”.

With each subsequent cast, I worried less and less about technique and began to enjoy the moment more and more.

I marveled at the way the ripples of my casts made the reflection of the moon shimmer and sparkle on the water. I delighted in the peace and freedom of being alone in the moment even though we were in reality only a few hundred yards away from thousands of people. I took pleasure in “hearing” my line form a perfect tight loop on each cast. I smiled at the millions of starry diamonds that formed in the moonlight when I made a hard hook set and the droplets of water showered away from my line in every direction. And I laughed out loud each time I saw Sean’s headlamp snap on from across the pond because I knew he was playfully taunting me with a visual cue that he had landed yet another fish

And that’s when it occurred to me, in one of those great paradoxical moments, that I had to step into the dark before I could see the light as to why I love this addiction called urban flyfishin’.

 

SLOW DOWN! YOU MOVE TOO FAST

By , June 7, 2011 6:27 am

If you consider yourself an urban angler, then you know the almost giddy urgency that hits the gut and the head (and occasionally, the bladder, if traffic has been particularly gnarly) once you finally shift the vehicle into “Park” and strike out across the blacktop toward a chosen target water.

I know I’m definitely guilty of that approach. In fact, my fishing buddy, Sean and I have gotten it down to a science to where we can assemble our four-piece 5-weights, tie on new leader material and have flies selected and secured to the tippet in the time it takes us to go from car to water’s edge.

I’m not bragging, I’m just sayin’. The “urban” part of our chosen obsession sometimes leads us to do things with the proverbial “New York minute” mindset.

Recently however, there was a post on the OrvisNews.com blog that caused me to pause and even reconsider my “assault”
mentality. The article offered some very valid and timely tips regarding taking a moment to actually use our God-given senses to assess and evaluate our target fishing area before “flinging the string” – even if it is a location we have fished many, many times before.

Now, regular readers already know that due to the somewhat dubious nature of the various “swims” (as the Brits say) we often choose to fish, we are constantly watching for things like drug deals, drive-bys, enraged Rottweilers, gang initiations, guys dealing with the aftermath of alleged alien abduction, kids looking to score some “free” gear… the usual urban stuff … however, since reading the OrvisNews article, I’ve taken to considering how excessive attention to those non-fishing realities may have caused us to hit the water a little too abruptly and a little too anxiously resulting in fewer fish.

Thus, with that fresh insight in mind, I have taken the liberty of copying below the checklist from the OrvisNews.com article (with my own commentary) in the hopes that learning to “surveil before we flail” will ultimately make us all better urban anglers.

So, assuming you have made it across the lot, soccer field, railroad tracks, chain link or other assorted obstacles typically associated with urban fishing and assuming you have already taken in to account the aforementioned scenarios, also consider the following BEFORE making that first cast, no matter how tempting things first look:

1. Do you see any fish rising?

Sure, you may be on urban water but fish are fish and if you watch carefully, depending on time of day and season, you will see fish rising along the banks, in quiet spots and under overhanging brush. That info alone may help you in your choice of fly and/or tactic for the day

2. Can you spot any fish holding or moving?

Several of the locations we regularly hit require an approach from a hill or steep bank or other elevated vantage point. Consider stopping and watching for a moment before racing as quickly as possible to water’s edge. Polarized glasses really prove their worth in these situations. Observing fish from above and from a distance may alter your approach angle and give you that little edge you need to make the day a success rather than a wash.

3. Are there insects on the water? In the air? Crawling in the streamside vegetation?

Again, fish are still fish no matter the zip code and trout, panfish and bass will still hit insects hovering above or blowing into an urban pond with the same vigor that
their wild cousins do in other settings. Now, it’s not as important to matchthe hatch in the urban setting but an abundance of insects in and around the water might tip your decision toward choosing the ant and hopper imitations over the nymph and bugger choices, making for a totally different experience on water you may have fished a dozen times before.

4. How is the water clarity?

If you can see them, they can see you and heavily pressured urban fish will hunker down quickly if they feel any threat. Consider staying well back from the bank, if
possible, to avoid having your shadow fall on the water.  Use wind chop and ripples to your advantage. Though rarely practiced in the urban setting, mostly because you’re likely to be mistaken for a sniper or pervert, keeping a low profile can give you an advantage with spooky fish. Finally, learn how clarity affects fish vision. Talk to the local fly guys. Ask them what is working for the current conditions, and then buy a few of those patterns from them.

5. Is the water higher or lower than normal?

Urban lakes and ponds are generally rather shallow and even small fluctuations in water depth can change the desirability or accessibility of various structure that certain fish would otherwise choose. Don’t automatically assume the usual spots will work if you notice (keyword: notice) a change in water level. However, definitely use low water levels to examine exposed areas. Note structure and shape that was once and will soon be underwater again. Take pictures if you can. We recently spoke to a non-fishing gentleman who lived near a local pond and volunteered that he had observed a deep channel in one part of that particular pond when it was once drained for maintenance. That little nugget alone has helped us pull sizeable fish out of there on several occasions.

6. Can you identify likely holding spots—behind current breaks, near structure, below riffles, etc.?

In other words, “think before you blindly plink”.

7. Do you need to get in the water, or can you fish from shore?

Not typically legal, or medically desirable in many urban waters but in a few locations it really could make a difference in the success of your day. Refer back to the UFV article “Tortilla Flats” for an example.

8. Is there a good place to get in the water that will avoid spooking fish and position you well to cast to likely fish-holding spots?

See comment above.

9. Are there any wading hazards you’ll need to avoid?

Forget wading hazards, in the urban fishing setting, you always need to be aware of potential hazards: broken bottles, rusty pipes sticking up, pop-up sprinkler heads, used hypodermic needles, dead ducks filled with the gas of decomposition ready to explode at the slightest nudge, discarded monofilament that will wrap around
your boots…If you haven’t been paying attention so far consider yourself very, very blessed and consider changing your ignorant ways.

10. Are there any obstacles that you’ll need to avoid while fighting a fish?

I say consider this from a fish-on perspective, a back-casting perspective and sadly, a got-to-get-away-quick perspective. You are in an urban setting – it is a given
that there will be obstacles, including kids on scooters directly behind you. Plan accordingly. Should you tie in to a real fighter while fishing from the bank, most fellow anglers will follow “boat rules” and will reel in or raise their lines so you can pass beneath, especially because as an urban fly fisherman you are still an oddity and they want to see if you really can land something with a fly rod.  Also consider that many urban lakes have artificial structure in them, some intentionally placed there to improve habitat and some just there because certain folks somehow think it is fun to chuck stuff into the water. The first time a good bass breaks off by wrapping around a submerged shopping cart you’ll know what I mean.

And there you have it – ten tips to better angling courtesy Orvisnews.com and adjusted to the urban fly environment courtesy yours truly. Now, I know there are probably many more tips and considerations we could come up with if we really tried, The point however is basically the same one we all learned in grade school: “stop, look, listen, then go”. Ironically, in the realm of urban fly fishing that simple, time-tested advice can still keep us from getting hit by a bus but it can also make us much better anglers.

I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’.

KNOT SO FAST

By , May 10, 2011 10:59 pm

It is one of those sly ironies of the English language, not lost on those who fly fish, that the measurement for wind speed is a term labeled “knots”.

Technically, one knot is equal to 1.15 miles per hour, 6076 feet per hour or 1.687 feet per second. Not so technically, a knot is what forms in a flyfisherman’s… uh… undergarments when wind speed exceeds one’s ability to roll cast, double haul or side cast into it.

Sadly, knots are also what accumulate in my leader and gut in a quantity proportional to the wind speed.

Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that the hard-blowing Santa Ana wind that confronted my fishin’ buddy, Sean and me was a source of many knots this past Sunday as we tried to sneak in some quality fly fishing.

Not to say that we didn’t suspect that it was going to be hard going from the get go. The fact that every tree on the way to our first target lake was in motion was a pretty good tip off.

Now, in the days before wristwatch-sized anemometers and instant access to the Weather Channel via cell phone, folks relied on simple things like…trees uprooting in front of you or waves taller than the masts on your ship as tip offs to weather conditions. In fact, the whole idea behind the Beaufort Wind Speed Scale was one 19th century British Admiral’s attempt to standardize wind speed terminology using relatively consistent observable conditions rather than actual knots as the basis for an informative 0 – 12 scale, with zero being dead calm and force twelve being something like, “Duck! Mrs. O’Leary’s pig has learned to fly!”

That being the case then, Sunday afternoon found Sean and I trying to cast little black and olive feathers and chenille attached to tiny pieces of sharpened wire into a wind somewhere in the Force six possibly Force seven range on the Beaufort scale.

Add to that the fact that the Eucalyptus trees near where we were are “self-pruning” (which means large limbs randomly break off without warning in even milder breezes) and the 100-foot tall palm trees were losing their years-overdue-for-pruning dried fronds in this particular wind and you might get the idea that we were in what you might call a real flyfishing “adventure”– ah, good times.

Nevertheless, we gallantly attempted to salvage the afternoon and pitched weighted wooly buggers and Sean’s own shrimp pattern until our arms ached.

Finally, when it became oh-so-obvious that nothin’ was bitin’ and when most of the moisture had been evaporated from our bodies, we decided to call it quits.

Now, it may have just been the adrenaline dump still coursing though my veins from having a hypodermic-sharp size 8 hook repeatedly whizzing atypically close to my right ear or it could have been the sense of gratitude derived from not being crushed to death by a falling tree branch but I was pretty happy with the day – we got a ton of casting practice in under less than favorable conditions and we learned a little bit more about the wind patterns on the two lakes we tried to fish. Both things we will use to our advantage as the season progresses.

I love this addiction called urban flyfishin’.

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