The past two weeks have been a lot of fun. Low water plenty of wading, and making old and new friends on the river.
Its back to the simple pleasures, water around your legs and introducing newcomers and/or relative novices to the pleasures of fly fishing. We have spent so much time on high water locked into chasing big fish this season, its been a pleasure to see the shock and joy of someone catching a trout on fly for the first time.
And then it happening again, and again. And then you ease away from your novice and let them do it all by themselves. Hard to beat that sort of fun. And the White River is that sort of river, where on your first morning you can catch 10-20-30 trout.
Newcomers to fly fishing get a lot of positive reinfocement when they do things right courtesy of the high trout per mile counts on the White River. And unlike many other waters your not going to get punished too brutally when you get it wrong. Mistakes happen its part of the learning curve.
Get a good drift, with the right setup and you are going to catch fish. Learning how to mend your line and extend your drift, detect a take on an indicator nymphing rig, and how to hook and control a fish on fly is something you learn through experience. Its like learning golf casting a fly rod is like driving from a tee, but the rest is the short game. Its about feel and touch and the more you do it the better you get.
A low water wading trip will give you lots of those experiences. We have been variously indicator nymphing, swinging soft hackles and during the quiet part of the afternoon tossing woolly buggers to great effect.
As a guide the hardest thing is explaining not all river systems are like this.
MODERN digital point and shoot cameras are a godsend for fly fishers capturing memories, easily quickly and at phenomenal quality, in a light and easy to carry package. Heck not only are they capable of taking the spills, stumbles and splashes of everyday fly fishing they can even shoot stunning pictures underwater.
But what the brains haven’t come up with is an extra pair of hands to hold and control the fish for the solo fly fisher. If you are like me most of the time you are fishing solor, even when you have a fishing buddy along. It might be fine dragging him off his spot for a trophy but taking shots of “everyday” pretty fish is another matter. And Bec has given orders that I’m to shoot pics of every pretty fish as inspiration for her watercolors.
So here’s a few shooting tips for fly fishers carrying point and shoots along and want some quality pics for inspiration back home. (more…)
I CAN’T think of a more quintessential mid-west fly fishing experience than a truck, a cooler, some poppers and a farm pond. To the fevered imagination of this Aussie its about as American as a drift boats, cowboys hats, cutthroats and the Rockies.
Perhaps its just John Gierach’s reveries on the subject that make me think that way. But on the other hand there is a certain goodfiness about leaving high faluting trout water, just to go screwing around in dirty brown water after lowbrow species.
Strip off the pretentions along with your vented multi-pocketed tech-shirts, your lanyards and tech vests, leave the goretex and polartec at home. Pull on a t-shirt, turn up a country station loud, slide into some flip flops, get some cowshit between your toes.
A pocket full of poppers and a handful of Clousers, a spool of tippet and some nippers and pliers and your good to go.
It had been a while since I’d done the farm pond thing, and I needed the change. We’d had to put off invitation after invitation from Joey all summer, not any longer. This was a family outing as it should be, with Bec, Crystal and Lynsey along for the fun.
Click on the pics for larger views.
JUMP onto the Reel Aid website now to get your ticket for the Benefit Concert in Memphis on August 7. It should be a great evening’s entertainment for a great cause.
Reel Aid is a Benefit Concert for 3 charities, Reel Recovery, Casting for Recovery, and Project Healing Waters. All three charities offer fly fishing retreats at no cost to its participants. These weekend retreats incorporate counseling, educational services and the sport of fly-fishing to promote mental and physical healing.
The goal is to raise money that is then allocated to be used in TN, MS, AR and MO to bring free fly fishing retreats to our area, for our men and women who are battling cancer or our military who are rehabilitating to attend.
Reel Aid Benefit Concert features live entertainment by four great bands, a silent auction, a raffle, and food and beverages available for purchase.
April Vokey gets it. Thanks to our new mate for some kind words in her blog.
She is right though it takes a special kind of crazy to pack up and relocate thousands of miles from friends and family. Its another sort of crazy to give up civilian life and chase salmonids with this sort of obsessive singlemindedness, and try and earn a living from it.
I guess its why we hit it off so quickly and well. Though I have to say there are friends of mine all over the world going to read “intelligent sense of humor” in her description of myself and go “can’t be the same guy” LOL.
Life is short, live it well, work your butt off for the things that are important and try and ignore the trivialities.
Fish every chance you can get.
We are working on some ladies fly fishing workshops through the Mountain River Fly Shop on October 10th and 11th. April is also going to be manning our booth at Conclave tying flies and selling her flygal gear will also be at the FFF Conclave in Mountain Home on Oct 2, 3, 4.
We will be unveiling full details on the class Monday, including pricing on the Mountain River Journal.
I had two Texans Nathan and his son Nolan on the water yesterday, for Nathan’s first time fly fishing. Nolan, who is 6, had been with Clint Wilkinson’s wife Danielle for his first fly rod outing on Dry Run Creek the previous day. Nolan is a great kid with a serious passion for the outdoors, he’s got a super-inquisitive nature, and he’s going to be a redhot hunter/fisher but the time he gets old and gray like myself.
Nathan picked it up incredibly easily, so much so it wasn’t till mid-afternoon I even realised it was his first time, I thought he’s been fly fishing for a couple of years. (more…)
ROBERT Hime was seriously due for a nice brown. So yesterday’s early start paid off with this nice 20″ brown, which fell to a Whitlock Deep Shad, fished on 25′ of Rio T-11 tungsten sinking line.
I started fishing with Robert several years ago on Beaver _ his son Mason has been in Coach Hunt’s fly fishing club at Fayetteville High and had inspired Robert to pick up the lond wand too. He subsequently joined me over here for a couple of trips, including a memorable tangle with a seriously big brown at CaneIsland on high water last year.
So we went early and banged the banks yesterday looking for a big fish, we had some shots and swipes and a bunch of follows, plus several smaller fish, but it was finally Robert’s Day
IF the topic of polarised sunglasses has ever come up in conversation, you have probably heard me grouching over the lack of choices for those of us with less than 20/20 vision. If you are one of us and are serious about your sightfishing then you have heard many time sunglass retailers and optometrists etc telling you “Oh no that frame doesn’t come in Rx. We can’t do wraps like that”.
Thank the Good Lord for Kaenon putting it on the line and making 8.8 base wraps like my new Kaenon Kore in prescription. I have to thank Arty Hargrove and Jon Sherrell at Kaenon who got me sorted. My opinion guys: After a couple of weeks wearing these in a variety of conditions from bright sun to cloudy rain, these are the best glasses I have had in 15 years of serious sight fishing and I’ve had a few pairs. (more…)
White River Fly Fishing, over the last 9 months. Come Join In The Fun
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BACK to the Dam today with Bob Sue and Sean Spangler from Tx. Ive known Bob and Sue for several years, since we occupied booths next to each other at the first Fly Fishing Show in Arlington.
But today was the first time we have had a chance to fish together. The morning was fairly weird, as the generation fell 3 feet in an hour. We were picking off fish on a mix of worms, eggs and midges, but the takes were funky and we missed a fair few. But even then a slice of luck would have had a bunch more fish at the boat. I can’t count the number of flies that pulled out over the day.
After lunch we did well on whitetail midges, including a couple of really nice ‘bows for Sean, until the sulphurs started and how. It was probably the thickest mayfly hatch Ive seen since Idaho. And even better the fish were on them on top. (more…)
GETTING on the water, opening the throttle and getting a cool breeze going was bliss after the day Joey Pucket and I had had. We almost would have been happy simply riding around but we wanted a fish or two, preferably brown and preferably big. (more…)
I have been through a succession of logos over the years I have been in this game, and have been searching for the right name. Its funny for all the professional PR, marketing consultancies and emplyment I’ve had I still procrastinate over my own stuff.
Part of it is that Aussie bush thing of not blowing your own trumpet, but it means things like logos and business cards get pushed to the back
. But I needed to get this done for Reel-Aid, a benefit concert in Memphis you will be hearing a lot more about.
Anyway let me know what you think.
IT’S back to Kansas City next week, when I return to the Heart of America Fly Fishers for a presentation on The White River _ Better Than Ever?
THIS Entry deserves a little musical accompaniment. Jeff Hearn mightn’t have said exactly that the rain was gone, but that was his intent. I think he was keen to fish.
Alan Jeans was right if you want good things to happen sometimes you have to pay the price. Jeans, a legendary Australian football coach was pretty no-nonsense and that motto was the inspiration for one of his more notable victories, probably the greatest AFL game ever. Jean’s words weren’t exactly the first thing that popped into my mind after the top of my head halted the forward motion of 7″ of rabbit, tungsten conehead and a 2/0 Gamakatsu.
Thankfully it was barbless and a quick yank with pliers had me seperated from the fly and the new Mountain River Fly Shop cap I’d been wearing. Fly fishing, like most good things in life doesn’t come easy either. Some days you just have to work it at with limited success. Those days are when you pay your dues.
When the pendulum does swing your way, just smile accept it with good grace and hang onto it through the next tough spell.
Streamer fishing for trophy browns is like that. You get to make a lot of casts between fish, you are casting big sticks with heavy sinking lines, not the light and delicate “normal” trout rods. I’d scored some pretty nice fish in bursts, but a lot of hard searching. Yesterday was the payoff and spending it with my great mate, our Sage, Umpqua and Rio rep Cary Marcus, just capped it off.
ANOTHER 2 days on the shad bite and despite the cold weather (19F start Monday) we had a hoot. Fitz and Jim from Tx were another pair of old college buds in my boat second week in a row. They were part of a big group of college friends who fish together and who south out my mate Jimmy Traylor to put together 5 boats.
Fishing was a little slower than it had been on higher flows but Fitz caught this nice brown to lead the big fish pool on Day 1. If my arms had been 2″ longer we might have found Jim’s brown was even bigger, It looked 20-21″ as it rolled off the hook and swam home.
Day 2 Fitz swapped seats with Dave and did Dave have a hot hand. 4 fish on the first drift was the start and he kept whacking fish all day. Several 17″ and 18″ rainbows and smaller browns. Jim then pulled a ghetto-blaster and ipod and we had tunes. Jimmy Buffet, Willie and Toby Keith, U2, James Taylor. Not part of my normal guiding regime but it was a lot of fun. Funnily enough the fish size went up as. Thanks to Jimmy for inviting me along and to Jim, Fitz and Dave _ guys a great time. In Jim’s honor you get the music
Jim wasn’t missing out either with a nice brown of his own around 17″ followed up on Tuesday with a great 18 1/2″ brown. Jim was also absolutely buried by an unseen monster brown (by behaviour and attitude) underneath an infamous deadfall in the middle of the river. That was a fish we wanted bad.
The boys also banged a bunch of pig rainbows over the two days. Some of these fish were just round, bellies distended, stuffed full of shad. Dick, a dry fly addict like myself, actually caught a couple on top, big solid takes. But basically we were fishing deep, under Thingamabobbers. Jig patterns, John Barr’s Meat Whistle, and Zonkers did the trick.
Yesterday was a different story as we started at the Dam but were blown off the water by a massive shad kill. At first the fish were on the bite, and we were looking for even better fish. But the sheer volume of shad left our flies unmolested by the trout. We could have run downstream early in the “hatch” to stay ahead of the shad “plague”. But we were banking on a reduction in flow and shad like had been the pattern on the previous days. So we pulled out and trailered down stream.
This was where Dick’s hot hand paid off, finishing with 5 browns for the afternoon, the best that 23″ beast which had everyone fooled as a log. This fish was so strong and so tough it was incredible. It literally would not come off the bottom.
Some truly great memories and great company guys. Come back again.
Hope your 2009 season keeps you afloat.
Mark & Mark Jr.
Thanks guys I’d fish with y’all anytime.