Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Warm water bite is on

My friend Mike and I spent some time on the West Branch of the Susquehanna this Memorial Day weekend. Saturday when we went out on his boat, it was a great day of fishing. The water was crystal clear and was running about 68 degrees.  The water was a little up from the average flows but it was great for fishing.  You could see to the bottom in 7' of water with no problems.  Actually we could see several large smallies just swimming along the bottom.  Mike had some outstanding fish.  He was using either spinner baits or tubes.  One of the crazy, exciting moments was when we had the fantastic double.  We both hooked up at the same time.  As we were bringing in our fish, both fish danced on the water side by side at the same time!  It was awesome to see that. 

I didn't have the quantity he had but I liked the results of some of the new patterns.  The Stoned Claw Crazy did well to bring several to hand.  We were catching several smallies and we got into some really big red eyes, rock bass, or whatever other names you have for these fish.  I was using the brown and also tried a new color, orange/brown. 

I got some fish on the modified clouser. I extend the body with a bead chain body.  I have some flash and arctic fox at the end of the bead chain. 

I had tied up a few of this new pattern.  It is basically rabbit strips, flashabou, craft fur head, and pheasant feather for the cheek.  I used a worm hook.  It does good for getting in and around weeds.  Not that it is completely weedless but it did well being fished around thick stuff.  I also got a positive response from the fish!  Here is one of the rock bass that attacked this new pattern.  My problem I had with this pattern is that I lost a couple due to the fact that I forgot to check my tippet and knots often.  With dragging it in and around the thick stuff the line got weak and I lost them.  I know for sure that I will be tying up more of this pattern! 

On Monday morning we went out at first light and fished till about 10:00 before we headed home for the weekend.  There was a haze or fog cover and cloudy when we first started but when the sun burned through the fog, it was clear blue skies.  The high pressure that moved in had the fish reacting sluggish.  Mike was picking up several fish on tubes.  He mentioned that he could hardly feel the bite on several of his fish, which was totally opposite of Saturday's fishing experience.  I have heard of guys saying the bite was soft but this was just crazy.  I felt like I was trout fishing, as I got a lot of refusals and short strikes on all the patterns I used. 

Here was one of Mike's nice bass from this morning.  The way it was going for me, I thought I was going to get skunked.  Luckily, I brought out the "Ice Magic" and it ended the drought.  Here was my lone bass for Monday.  It wasn't very big but it put on a great fight.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fly on the run

I was invited to participate in the Fly On The Run annual fund raiser event again this year. This event is a fund raiser for Lancaster County Career & Technology Center (LCCTC). This is a great school for kids to learn a specific trade. This is a two day event. The evening before the fishing day, there is an awesome meal that is made by the student and hosted by the student. This event allows the students real life experience in the specialties of hosting, pastries, restaurant planning, and lots of other positions. Tonight they served Lobster tail, prime rib,and lots of other great food. The desserts were out of this world! Here was one of the cake pieces. The fish image on top was all hand done with white and regular chocolate. It was on each piece. And it was very delicious.

There is an auction that is of all kinds of donated items.  one of the items was a cake made by the students. Everything on the cake is edible. Here is the item I donated.  It is a wooden 4"x6" wooden fly box.  I put in some of the chain gang nymphs (Hares Ear, Copper John, Stonefly, and two new patterns: Prince and Royal Prince) and my favorite caddis dry fly which works great on the Lititz Run, the Opal Caddis.  I also put in a Stoned Claw Crazy, a new sculpin pattern, and the Wooly Skull. This box raised $150 for future scholarships given to some of the students.

There are browns, brookies, and rainbows in this Lititz Run. This creek is a stream restoration success. It is a spring creek that was a really warm water because of thermal pollution and also suffered a lot of chemical pollution. Donegal Trout Unlimited and others put a lot of time and effort into cleaning it up and is now a first rate stream. The bug life had disappeared but in the last couple years have seen lots of bug life return. There are now several caddis varieties, a cahill hatch, and tricos.

This event is a one fly tournament. It is setup as a competition of teams of four. There are four session times to fish. Two rods are allowed during each session. We had a lot of rain on Monday and Tuesday. This allowed the stream to have a nice amount of water, which was nice because before this there was very little water in the Lititz Run.

I tried a new streamer design (Ice Magic) and did well with it. The wooly skull also did well and brought fish to hand. The new design of chain gang prince nymph also caught fish. I was really happy with how some of these new designs worked today. We had really good fishing for about forty five minutes and then the sun hit the water and it definitely slowed things down. It was bright blue bird skies. The weather was wonderful to be outside and enjoy the friendships of the guys on my team. The lunker award went to a 23.5" brown. There were a couple teams that just knocked em dead. They must have had some beats that had a ton of fish.

The event was well worth attending and was enjoyed by all. Last year they raised over $50,000 for the school and to provide kids with scholarships to further their education.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

This weekend I am really looking forward to. We always go to a friend's cabin. There are a bunch of kids and they have a blast hanging out and playing together. There is nothing like creating your own games and fun times in the mountains. They will also get some of the older kids to take them on golf cart rides. They take the carts out on the groomed paths around the cabin. This always seems to be one of the highlights from the weekend.

While the kids are doing their thing my friend and I head out to do some fishing. We often take his boat out on the Susquehanna river and do some bass fishing. I am always fly fishing and he spin casts. Last year we had an epic day bass of fishing. The water was rising. I don't think we ever caught so many smallies in the 15-18" range as we did that day. I would love to experience another day like that one! I will also head to Big Fishing Creek or Spring Creek to try and hit some of the mayfly hatches. This year my son said he would like to join me. So I hope to get him on his first trout on the fly rod. We may see the sulphurs and caddis on Spring or if the water comes down we may hit Fishing Creek. The green drakes are soon to arrive. They are also seeing some slate drakes, sulphurs, and tan caddis right now. This could lead to some exciting dry fly action.

If the water is still high on these creeks I may be doing some testing on some of my newer streamers that have done well in other locations. I am also anxious to try out some of my bass patterns.

Here is one of my newest ideas.  I haven't decided on an official name for this fly yet but I am thinking of "Ice Minnow", "Polar Express", or if you have a suggestion let me know.  I want to see if I get as good a response from some trout and would like to also test it on the bass to see if they like the looks of it.

I also have some sculpin patterns I want to try.  I have fished these a little but haven't received any feedback on them yet.  Others that have fished them have like them though.

I have a couple newer chain gang nymphs I would like to test.  Below are the prince and royal prince.  They have brought some to hand but need to continue testing these.  Also is a bead head chain gang stonefly pattern.  May have to see if I get any response from it as well. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bloop, Bloop.......Gulp!

I love top water bass fishing! Casting poppers and other top water flies to bass and sunnies is a blast. If you ever get the chance to do it, take the opportunity to do it.

Sometimes the strikes come right after the pop when you are letting it just sit there. This retrieve worked a little but I got more strikes when, after the cast and just letting all the rings disappear from the fly landing, to just slowly pulling the fly back to me. Then the big gulp would come. It is such a thrill to me to see their aggressive takes!  Water splashing every where as they come up to kill that popper that is bothering them. 

Today I had an all white popper drawing the strikes.  I caught several decent large mouths and I even had a few sunnies that joined in the action.  I didn't get anything monsterous, but anytime you can get the surface bite, it is really exciting. 

It was also thrilling to watch the bass feeding along the edges of the pond.  There would be a couple bass swimming about 4-5 feet from the bank.  This would push the minnows up to the edge with very little room to escape.  Then all of the sudden you would see big splashes as the bass would zoom into the shallow water to go for their next meal.  I wish my camera had a better zoom.  As I was watching this feeding action of the bass, a snake joined in.  As the minnows would be in the shallow, this snake would swim through and was attempting to snag his next meal.  It wasn't as successful but it was interesting to watch.