Monday, March 2, 2015

Musky Thawing Out

The streams and rivers of Virginia have been locked up with ice from old man winter.  Which has given me some time to focus on my wife as her Birthday and Valentines day hit close together in mid February.  In the past two weeks Lynchburg has received close to 20 inches of snow, broke an all time low temp record as -11, and froze a couple rivers up completely which I have never seen.  Luckily we received a couple days in the mid 30's and low 40's which seems like a heat wave and allowed me some time on the river chasing Mr. Musky.  Decided to be safe and chose a section of river that has a dam behind it that would ensure we would not run into any ice.


I moved two musky early on in the float.  One was beast.  I bombed a cast, strip, strip, strip, tight line, set the hook, "Am I hung on a log?".  Slowly rose the musky to the surface, she head shook a couple times and threw the fly. Tough getting a good hook set on a musky from a distance.  Got a good look at her though and she was one of the bigger muskies I have seen in person.  A really knee shaker. This was the fly that got it done for the day.


It was a cold day to be out on the river with the temps being around 20 when we put in and reaching a balmy 30 degrees for the day.  The sun being out helped too.


One of the keys for musky fishing is not focusing on catching a musky, but enjoying good company and having a good time being on the river.  Whenever I float with Dave, we bring a grill, take a mid day break on a sand bar, grill and few burgers, and rest our casting and rowing arms.




Also helps to bring some coffee and a hand warmer for the cold days.


If you take a step back and soak in the scenery you will be amazed at some of God's creatures you will spot.  Beavers, muskrats, a few hawks, and an eagle were out.  Got a blurred photo of the eagle.


At the end of a long day of floating and bombing a 450 grain line and a wet deer, we were treated to a sunset at the take out.


Beats a warm day indoors in my opinion.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Virginia Snow

Well Virginia got it's, what is becoming, yearly snow storm.  Holly enjoyed the snow.  She sits by the window whimpering cause she wants to be out in the snow 24/7. Here is a couple pictures of her enjoying the snow yesterday.
 

 



 
I enjoyed sitting inside with the fireplace going tying up a musky fly.


 
What I did not enjoy is having to shovel out the jeep every 10 feet this morning after a night of another 10 inches of powdery snow to get to work.  My jeep can handle the wet piled high snow, but the tires just spin on an unplowed street of powdery snow.  


Stay warm!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Over Engineering Fly Fishing

Fly fishing tends to get the stigma of being a complicated, difficult art to learn and it tends to deter a lot of fishermen from getting into the sport.  Why yes, fly fishing can be considered an art form and there are several different aspects that can make fly fishing challenging.  It is difficult to learn casting techniques, fly tying can be a tough plunge to take, there is an array of different lines, leaders, rods, and reels, and about a million different opinions on each of these topics.  However, fly fishing can be very simple as well.  Trout fishing is the bread and butter of fly fishing.  I am amazed at how many people in Virginia I run into that say "I have always wanted to fly fish for brook trout, but it all seems confusing and expensive".  One can make fly fishing both confusing and expensive, but there is really no need to.

I remember when I first got into brook trout fishing and I was always looking up new patterns and flies to try.  It did not take long to learn that fly fishermen seem to over complicate fly fishing.  Fact is, I have never seen a massive hatch on our Virginia brook trout waters where the fish get keyed on a specific hatch.  Tailwater fly fishing and big river trout fly fishing can get a little more complicated then brook trout fishing as the brown trout can and do get keyed into certain hatch.  However, the trout in the headwaters of these small streams cannot afford to be picky due to their high metabolism and need for constant eating to survive.  It is more about fly placement and stealth then fly selection.  I only tie two patterns for brook trout now days and they have served me well. 



One day when I was in a fly shop a 15 to 17 year old teenager came into the fly shop and asked "can you show me what flies work good for catching natives?".  To which the fly shop owner replied, "sure, but first what kind of fly rod are you using to catch those brook trout?".  I shook my head and immediately knew where this conversation was going.  The kid was using a $30 Eagle Claw fly rod and the owner immediately said, "this here is what you want to catch those trout with, let me string this rod up so you can test it out" as he grabbed a couple hundred dollar 3 wt from the rack.  I understand that the fly shop needs to make a profit, but the irony amazes me.  Sure, a 2.2 oz St. Croix Legend Elite 3 wt is a heck of a fly rod to throw for brook trout, but the Eagle Claw fiberglass 4 wt will do just as good throwing a dry 5 feet up a plunge pool (side note, those Eagle Claw Fiberglass rods are a steal and a heck of fly rod to abuse on a small stream if you can get past the bright yellow rod).  Over complicating the sport is a common thing that is seen in the fly fishing industry.  Just look at the latest gear and accessories at the fly shows.



When it comes down to it, fly fishing is a simple sport that the angler likes to over complicate and over engineer.  The way I started fly fishing was on Georgia ponds for bluegill and bass.  A hand me down 8 wt with a straight 10 lb mono line to a small woolly bugger or popper.  Simplicity.  While fly fishing for musky and striper tend to complicate things slightly more then pursuing brook trout, it is still the same principle.  While I do like the challenge of these different fish species, I still enjoy getting out on a small stream, casting a stimulator into a slow moving pool, and watching a little brookie sip the fly.  Fly fishing is only as difficult as one makes it.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Recent Outing and Restocking

Made it out this past weekend for some musky.  Fished one section that was slammed with musky fishermen.  About halfway through the day I decided to leave and check out another location I heard about.  It is very promising and plan on revisiting it soon. 


Also got in some tying to restock my musky box.  It's a heart breaker when you lose one of these flies, especially one you caught a musky on before <insert tear drops>


Monday, January 26, 2015

Some Fly Tying

Been continuing to work on building up more striper fly arsenal for the spring run on the Potomac.  Slowly but surely getting there.



Took a break tonight though and tied up a musky fly.  Will probably get out this weekend to chase those musky again.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

2015 Musky Skunk Off

It has been two long years since my last musky was caught.  I swear that catching a musky on the first outing ever for musky is a curse.  Yes, I caught a musky on my first trip, but I paid dearly for it with a two year streak of nothing to show for but a sore shoulder.  I have put in a couple ten's of thousands of casts in my 10 wt.  There has been plenty of follows, a few eats, but zero musky landed.

Yesterday I finally broke that curse.  It was a blue bird sky kind of day and the warmest day in the past two weeks of this cold winter.  The guys I was floating with thought the musky action would be plentiful with many follows.  We were very wrong.  It an uneventful float for the most part.  My friend had one good follow to the boat and the fish turned on the fly during the figure eight four times, but could not get his jaws around the fly.  He peeled off after a few failed attempts to eat.  For the next five hours we did not see another fish.  As we were stones throw from the take out, we were working the last section of pool before calling it a day.  I cast up towards the bank and was having a good time talking to my friends when in mid retrieve I felt a tug on the fly line.  I looked at my fly to see a good sized musky sitting vertical in the water with my fly in it's mouth.  I gave a poor poor hook set but somehow the 9/0 hook stuck.







Hopefully it isn't another two years before I catch the next one.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cold Day's Fly Tying

It's been very cold here in Virginia for the past week.  So much so that I've heard you cannot even put in on the local striper lakes due to ice on the boat ramps.  Luckily the temps look to rise at the end of this week and I'll hopefully get a little fishing in this weekend.  Lately I've been preparing for an April-May trip in NNK Virginia to chase some ocean stripers.  Been tying up some big heavy weighted flies.