Thursday, June 28, 2012

First Heatwave of Summer

Looks like the first big heatwave of the summer is starting today and going through Monday atleast.  Friday is expected to be 100 degrees.  With the waters in VA already low and the heat, it's best to leave the brookies alone for a while.  If you hook one, the chances of it dying are high.  It'll be better to hit the smallies or tailwaters this weekend.  For me I will be spending it at the pool and maybe even hitting a pond or two.

Take care and hopefully a cool rainy weekend is near or else it'll be a long summer for me going without bluelines!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fattie Goes on a Hike

On my last outing, the hike back to the Jeep had me out of breath and winded.  It was not much of a hike at all!  Realizing how out of shape I am in, I have started running this previous week.  It was brutal.  So on Saturday I decided to hit the SNP and do some fishing to reward myself, but ended up involving a whole lot more hiking then I had intended.  Did around 7 to 8 miles of hiking (Not really a lot for most people but like I said, I'm out of shape).  This was mainly due to it being a new stream to me and my location got confusing with the trail winding and intersecting other trails.  Ended up fishing the wrong branch for a good ways before I figured out where I went wrong.  But it was a gorgeous day and the brookies were hitting.  Here are the pictures:

This will wake you up in the morning!

Cool Newt

Caught a lot of these little guys.  Good sign that the new broad come out strong.

I fished a 30 ft long pool and got nothing from the back of the pool.  Worked my way up to the front of the pool and still not even a rise.  Made a cast up to the very front corner of the pool and big brookie exploded on my fly.  Set the hook and he covered every inch of that pool frantically.  Best fight on my 2wt so far!  So far my PB for a wild brook trout. It's every bit of 11 inches.  Still waiting to get one that's 12+.

Hand shot for size of the big brookie
I did spook one that was 15 or 16 inches.  Looked like a beaver or otter swimming it was so big.  I'll be back and I know where he lives!

I'll end with a random guy riding a horse on the highway!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pre Trip Awesomeness

Was debating on whether to fish on Saturday some big water (Smith River or a smallie river) or go up and fish the SNP.  Was leaning towards the bigger water since its been in the 90's and lack of rain, but checked the forecast and saw 50% chance of rain Friday.  I pray it pours Friday and fills the brookie streams up.  Looks like Saturday I'll be SNP bound!  Plus I need the extra exercise that bluelining involves.  I have started running this week because if I keep going down the road I'm going down, I won't be able to haul my fat butt up the mountain for brookies later down the road......

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

#12 Black Beetle

Here is a simple black beetle pattern that I've been tying.  I really like this pattern because it takes 5 minutes for me to tie and it floats like a cork.  I use just regular craft foam, black pearl chennille, and rubber legs.

Tie in the foam strip all the way to the back of hook.  Then wrap the foam around the hook to give it a segmented look and tie off a little over the halfway point of the hook.  Then bring the foam all the way to the eye of the hook and tie it down good.
Next you are going to tie in your chennille first, followed by your rubber legs.  You can have four legs or six legs, I just do four because it is faster and I do not think the fish really count the legs. 

Then you are going to wrap the chennille up to the eye of the hook.  Tie it down and then take the thread back to where the segmented body stops.  Fold the foam back over the chennille and tie down.  You are going to want to use lots of thread wraps for this and they apply a generous amount of head cement or even super glue.
 You can add some white bucktail for a wing before you fold back the foam, but I choose to leave it simple.  Catches the heck of fish.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Jumping Bows

After a nice cookout with the fiancee's family to celebrate father's day, I decided to hit up a little wild bow stream while heading back to the burg.  This stream has been impressing me lately, these rainbows have been eating good!  They were slamming the stimi and putting a smile on my face all evening.  

This pool was particularly nice to me.  Caught three out of here and missed five other rises.

After catching this guy I decided to call it a day.

On the hike out I saw this.  Any ideas on what it was?
Not a bad evening for only getting out for an hour and a half.  Next Saturday though I'm planning on hitting the brookie streams all day long!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Evening Bluegill

I've always had a soft spot for big gills.  I am a brookie guy, but every once in a while I find myself enjoying evenings at the local pond casting flies to bluegills.

Hard to beat an evening like this at the pond.  Just relaxing and leisurely watching the permit of the freshwater inhale topwater terrestrials. 

Also got to witness one of VA's pretty sunsets.

Nice way to cap off the end of a work day and begin my weekend!

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Two" Day Smallie Float

A two day float down a river in the middle of no where with a good friend, tent camping, and lots of smallies was just what the doctor ordered.  Unfortunately that is not exactly what I got.  It all began when my friend said we were going to float a section of river "X" that hardly gets any pressure and is chunked full of willing smallmouth bass.  He asked me if I have a canoe or kayak, which I don't, and he said it wasn't a problem and he had something I could borrow.  When I got there I found out what this something was......

It is basically a glorified pool toy.  I liked to call it my rubber dingy.  It was the nicest rubber dingy I've ever had the privilege of using and hopefully my last.  The funny think is it says it was a two person boat.

Now a person may wonder how I packed all my gear and myself into my rubber dingy.....well here is a first person shot of me rolling down the river in my dingy.

If you notice, you'll see the gear crammed in one end of the pool toy and myself crammed in the other with half of my body on top of the gear.  Not to mention have you ever tried paddling a dingy while laying awkwardly on your back?  It will real work out your forearms doing this weird maneuver.

But there were our two Cadillacs for the weekend.  We first had a wet half a mile hike because the section from the last access point to where the river deepens beyond 1 ft is a half a mile.  Now I know why no one fishes this section..... So there I am hiking the soggy mile while dragging my dingy along.  Keep in mind too my dingy was not cooperating for most of the hike and kept getting snagged and caught on rocks.

But we finally got to where the fishing started and it was prime smallie water.  Immediately we started catching one after another.  I had one pool where I went five fish for five straight cast.  I could tell we this section got very little pressure and I also experienced why.

So yes the fishing was amazing for day one and we brought over 200 fish to hand.  It was a great way to start the first day and the rubber dingy made the first leg of the trip okay!  I on the other hand did not fair so well... I use to get real bad migraine headaches back in high school, but haven't had one in over 4 years.  Well after fishing literally all day in the sun, doing my awkward forearm burning back paddle, and casting a 7 wt all day, I started to get a headache around 8 pm.  I was thinking "well my arm hasn't gone numb so it doesn't mean its my high school migraines."  Fast forward thirty minutes and my arm was numb, I couldn't see straight, and my head was killing me!  I quickly called it a night because a good night sleep is all you can do to get ride of a migraine.

So I want you to notice the camp site my friend picked. Notice anything that would make for a bad place to pitch a tent when you do not have an air mattress or memory foam to sleep on?  ROCKS!  And just not any kind of rocks, thousands of baseball sized rocks.  Something about those perfectly round baseball sized rocks to really grind into your side when your laying on them.  That sleeping bag did not buffer out any of the rough pain those rocks caused me all night long.

I woke up the next morning with no sleep, a headache still, and very gassy (my friend brought lots of baked beans for dinner that night and I was hungry).  The rocks made me feel like my back was hit by a caravan of semis.  I was not a "happy camper" (pun intended) and I told my friend I do not feel like fishing and I just want to get back.  He managed to talk me into fishing though so off we went in his kayak and my rubber dingy.

If you would notice, there will be no more pictures for the rest of this blog post.  Mister happy go lucky picture taker was adios on day two!  Did not take a single picture.

Now the second part of this river, my friend had never been on.  How I found this out was as we were approaching the first rapids for the day I asked him "how bad are these?" To which he said "I don't know, I've never had anyone willing to go on this part of the river with me."  Glad I could be the first buddy.  After 1 mile spaced out rapids and a three foot ledge we had to portage around, I found myself submerged in water in my dingy.  The bottom had a huge gash and there was no way my boat was going to make it with all my gear and me the remanding 3 miles.  Not to mention I still had a splitting headache and my stomach hurt (again I don't know if it was from the sun or the beans, I did about eat a whole can of baked beans).  So finally my friend said we are going to have to quit fishing and figure out how we are going to get through this float.  A quick look at the GPS and we figured out we were about a half mile from a bridge.  We decided we would try to get the dingy to the bridge, dump the dingy, all the gear, and me at the bridge (so glad when he included me! WOOHOO).  He would hall tail the rest of the three miles to the Jeep and then come pick me up.  I was sold when he said dump me and the dingy at the bridge!

So the pool toy made the final trek to the bridge which the dingy, me, and all our gear was to stay until my friend was to return.  I was figuring this would at least take 3 I napped!  It was a very nice nap until I heard someone yell from on top of the bridge "HEY! You Jacob?"  Seeing as how I had no idea who this person was, I wanted to yell "Nope, never heard of him!" But I reckoned if he knew my name, he obviously wasn't out to get me.  Come to find out he was fishing a mile below the bridge and got to talking to my friend and gave him a lift to his truck.  He was just stopping by to let me know that my friend would be on his way shortly.  It's very refreshing to know there are still good people out there willing to help others for no personal gain.  My friend got there two hours early then I thought which meant I could hit the Sheetz in town for a cup of coffee and Motrin two hours early then I thought!

To conclude, I am very glad I went on the float!  I got to catch 200 smallies in one day and had a great memory with a good friend who I will go visit and fish with for many years to come.  I am glad to report that my migraine is officially gone and besides sore forearms and a sore back, all is well.  I learned several things in the float like 1) always bring an air mattress no matter how much it weighs and is a pain to lug around.  2) Bring sunscreen whenever your going to be outdoors for a long time.  3) Bring some sort of instant coffee and Motrin.  4) Pool toys are not supposed to be used for fishing floats!  My dingy was great glorified pool toy and held up against some great water.  I will shutter though ever time I walk past the inflatable boats in Dick Sporting Goods.....

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Benchmade Mini Griptilian Tanto Review

(Image is not mine, my camera takes crappy indoor pictures and couldn't get a good picture)

I have had this knife for about a month now and I really love it.  Thought I'd do a review on it and maybe even encourage others to do knife reviews.  The knife is a Benchmade Mini Griptilian Tanto with a half serrated blade.  Blade length is 2.91 in and opened length is 6.78 in.  This size to me is the perfect every day carry (EDC) knife.  I messed around with the full size Griptilian, and it was just too big to carry in your pocket every day comfortably.  The blade is made with 154cm stainless steel and comes out of the box shaving sharp (have a patch of hair missing on my arm to prove it).  Did a little research and from what I can tell, the 154cm steel is very good with holding an edge and strong.  The AXIS locking system too is something I really like about this knife.  When the latch is held back, the knife swings very smoothly, but when it is locked opened, it does not budge or wobble from side to side.  I don't think there is any worries about the lock failing when the blade is open nor worries about the blade wobbling around on you.  Very well designed.  The clip is reversible from the right to left side, but not from tip up to tip down carry.  Not a big deal with me because I never really use the clip.  It has a Valox handle which lives up it its name Griptilian and fits my hand nicely.  Overall the knife design is pretty impressive.

Now on to why I choose the tanto serrated blade.  The tanto blades get criticised a lot as well as serrated blades.  The reason why I wanted a tanto and a serrated is since it is an EDC, I like having a very diverse knife on me for ever situation.  With the tanto serrated blade, it gives me three different cutting surfaces.  The first surface is from the point all the way back to the first corner, which is good for piercing (hopefully non living things) and making fine cuts.  The second surface is from the first corner back to the serration, which is good for making cuts and is your standard surface you'd use for cutting.  The last surface would be the serration which is good for cutting rope and more hard to cut things that do not involve precision cutting.  I find that the blade is a very good all rounded blade which is what I look for in an EDC.

I've owned everything from SOG, Boker, Buck, Gerber, and more, but this is my first Benchmade knife and I am very impressed with it so far.  Another thing that is neat is the Benchmade knife sharpening warranty.  Basically if you every want your knife factory sharpened, just send it in to them and they will do it for you.  This knife will stay my EDC I think for a long time to come.  I probably won't take it out fishing bluelines or on a camping trip though due to the fact it's not suited for that, but that's where fixed blades come in.  Highly recommend it though for an EDC.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Textbook Dry Fly Day

This past Saturday I was able to hit a close by stream for the afternoon.  Got on the stream to today around 2 and fished till 5.  Even though I only fished for three hours, it was probably my best day brookie fishing so far this year.  All the trout I caught hammered my stimi. 

Another thing to note is a guy I know made me a net and I am in love!  I have a mesh net, but after one use I ditched it once and for all.  Difference with this net though is that he made me a ghost bag net and it is the way to go.  Less stress on the fish and less stress on me.  With the ghost bags, no flies getting stuck in the net.

Caught this guy on the first cast of the day.  First fish to go into my new net!

Giant Eastern Stonefly

This dark brookie was sweet lookin.

That's how you know it was a good day.

Thanks for reading!