Saturday, October 29, 2011
With no fishing plans this weekend due to work obligations I decided to sit down at the tying desk Friday evening and play around with some larger bucktail streamers. Since getting interested in muskies this fall I've discovered some really cool fly patterns and decided to play around with a few of those basic ideas. I didn't really have the materials needed to make the flies muskie sized so I scaled back a little and tied them on the largest hook I had available which was a 2/0 Mustad. With that size hook I had to keep the flies to around 6-8 inches to keep the proportions looking correct.
I used the basic pattern from Brad Bohens "Hang Time" fly to build the bodies , reversed bucktail..marabou...flash and hackles. Each one got just a little better and by the time the third fly was complete I actually didn't think it looked too bad.
These look nothing like his finished fly (not that much talent here!) but I wouldn't be afraid to loop one on and throw it for some browns on my local rivers , especially if the water was high and murky where the fish weren't real picky!
Sometime in the middle of tying the third fly my wife walked in and took one look at the tying desk and inquired if I was tying Halloween flies? At first I didn't understand , then when I stepped back and looked again her comment made sense. Take a look for yourself...has kind of a Halloweenish (is that a word??) feel to it doesn't it?
So there you have it , my Halloween edition of "Bugs from the Bench".
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I spent this past weekend with my wife and a couple of our good friends at Eagle Horse Ranch just outside of Collins , Missouri . This wasn't set up as a fishing trip, but a trip so that the others could ride some Ozark Highland trails on their horses. It just so happened that the horse ranch my wife and our good friends chose to camp at was within an hours drive of the Niangua River, so Joe and I took advantage of it on Saturday with a daylong fishing trip. The rest of the time was spent just relaxing around camp , I even managed to get a few flies tied one afternoon. We ate too much...drank too much...stayed up late around big crackling campfires and just had a hell of a good time. I didn't take very many pictures but here's a few to give you an idea of the weekends events....
Thursday, October 20, 2011
It was heavily overcast and spitting rain when I awoke for the second time and rolled out of bed on Tuesday morning. The clock read 6:00am and my planned departure time of 5:00 was just a nice thought that was passing through my still awakening brain. The sound of rain being driven against my bedroom window when the alarm jolted my being was enough to warrant a change in the itinerary. The wind was still howling at about 25 mph but at least the rain had slackened off enough that I wouldn't need to white knuckle the steering wheel for the 3 hour drive ahead.
I threw a few last minute items in the truck and Joe and I were on the road by 6:30 , headed South to spend a couple days playing around with some of Missouri's resident little wild rainbows and maybe get in a little brown trout action on Missouri's famed Taneycomo tailwater as well. The drive down was uneventful , if you dismiss the fleecing I endured at the gas station along the way. We pulled into our first destination to skies that were still overcast and a strong North wind gusting but no sign of any recent precip and none threatening. A perfect fall day , the first time since spring where a jacket and stocking cap were much appreciated in blocking the cool blustery winds. I packed a light lunch to be eaten streamside and then Joe and I headed downstream to where I planned to stop and slowly work my way back upstream.
This little stream is a real jewel and it appeared as though I might have the stretch I was on to myself , which recently is getting harder to do. I always enjoy my time here and while the fish I catch are generally small , if you go into it with the right attitude there are trophies to be found in every pool. Even the most diminutive of trout can bring a smile to my face that some might reserve for specimens much larger. It's all about perspective and recently I've decided that size isn't neccessarily a required criteria to determine if a fish is a trophy or not.
Joe and I fished our way upstream , catching several small rainbows out of about every likely looking hole we stopped at. While small in size these fish are some of the prettiest little wild rainbows you'll find anywhere and each one holds your gaze longer than the last as you take in their stunning beauty.
The day couldn't have been any better , the crisp smell of fall in the air and a beautiful wild trout stream to explore with my best friend , life is good. We shared a quick lunch streamside and somehow even the normally scorned pre-packaged sandwich seemed perfect on this day.
The day was made all the better when I landed my personal best wild rainbow , a true twenty inch fish and what I would consider a real trophy from these waters. This little creek never ceases to amaze me and that fish made me stop and think how special these waters really are.
A stunning fish and I took the time to sit back and savor the moment after releasing her on her way.
When we arrived back at the truck it was time to hit the road and make tracks for our destination for the night , Table Rock State Park.
The remainder of the afternoon went quickly and after getting a basic camp set up we only had about an hour to fish below TR dam before the sun set over the hillside. They were running water as I'd expected so Joe and I just stood on the bank and I was able to land a few stocker bows from a couple of easily accessible spots.
I was hoping for water off conditions in the morning and the chance to chase a few brown trout around below the dam. We finished off the evening with a dinner of homemade vegetable soup and a couple of slices of bread and then sat around a fire until the cold winds blew the last glowing embers into submission.
The next morning , after making a quick pot of coffee for the thermos , camp was taken down and packed away in the truck. The temperature was hovering in the mid thirties and the wind was blowing out of the North , perfect weather once again. We headed below the dam with hopes for water off but instead found a strong two units online. Par for the course for me , it seems someone inside the dam doesn't want me to get any fishing in whenever I come down. I played around on a couple of small seams that I could hit from shore without wading and caught a few more rainbows but this wasn't the experience I was looking for.
If I couldn't sight fish to large browns as I'd hoped then I might as well be back on my wild trout stream where I felt more at home. Back in the truck and on the move again we traced our steps back to the same stream we had fished the day before. It was almost lunchtime when we arrived and our time was more limited than the previous day as we had the three hour drive home to factor into our afternoon. The weather conditions worked to our advantage once again and we didn't see any other anglers while we were on the water. As for the fishing , it couldn't have been any better , every little pool held another trophy.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
This past weekend found me staying home for a change opposed to my usual weekend of chasing one species or another of our finned friends around. Friday and Saturday the wife , dog and I went camping at a local state park and spent the majority of our time hiking or just relaxing at camp. We had a great time and I could have fished but the thirty mile per hour winds just weren't conducive to breaking out the flyrod. The remaining part of the weekend was utilized trying to catch up on that long list of chores that needs to get done around the house. I've been able to put most of these projects off all summer using the analogy that it was just too hot outside for that kind of work , now I've got about two weeks to get something accomplished before I change things up and break out the new seasonal excuse...it's too cold outside for that kind of work.
Tuesday was the day that I'd planned to hit the water , a friend and I were set to make a second trip back to Pomme de Terre and throw some big flies for muskie all day. As luck would have it , that damned four letter word "WORK" got in the way and Richard had to back out at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. I hadn't touched a flyrod all weekend and needed a fix of some sort to take the edge off my attitude towards life in general, so I decided to throw the gear in the truck and hit a few local spots with the fishhound.
We spent some time searching for feeding carp in a couple of my favorite spots and were totally skunked , didn't even see a fish. I'd have to say my seasons pretty much over for carp fishing here in the midwest.
After realizing the futility in continuing our search for carp we decided to hit a couple of small lakes and ponds in the same general area and throw some deer-hair divers for bass.
Except for two small fish landed ,a couple of boil-ups on my fly was the most excitement we were able to drum up. Not a stellar day of fishing by any figment of the imagination , actually the fishing was good but the catching really sucked.
In the grand scheme of things the beautiful fall weather and company of my best friend more than made up for what the fishing lacked.
We did a little hiking , exploring some new water for next year , and just took time out to enjoy being outdoors instead of couped up inside, as is often the case during our long midwest winters.
Add some good eats to the mix (Joes favorite part of a fishing trip!) and you're left with the recipe for a great day in my book.
I don't normally like to speak for anyone else but I'm pretty sure if you asked Joe how his day went... he'd answer with a smile almost as big as mine .
Here's to beautiful fall days and unconditional best friends!!