Little Guys

For a while now, I’ve really been into tying bigger flies and chasing the fish that eat them.  But last week, I was able to dust off the trout rod and switch things up a bit.  My best friend came home to PA for a week so we drove to the Poconos to explore some water.  Our original plan was to fish the big river. But thanks high water from a dam release, we stuck to the smaller mountain streams in the area.

Thankfully, the fish were looking up; and it didn’t take long for us to hook up.

Ed testing out the fly rod.

Ed’s brownie…the pics do not do this fish justice.

Working a plunge pool…to no avail.

Gorgeous little brookie

Fish of the day…I think I caught this same brookie last year.

And from an unrelated trip to an area lake yesterday, my only fish seemed to fit in with the little guy theme:

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It Happened

The blog has been collecting some dust recently, and I apologize for the lack of anything interesting to write about.

To catch up, I’ve been focusing on musky fishing and fly tying.  It started with a few big hooks.  From there, I was able to find some decent materials , and I really got into tying these big flies.  I even started experimenting with dying materials with cool aid and rit dye…

This made things even more fun and interesting, and really allowed me to get some cool color combinations…but that’s a whole other blog post in itself.  To sum things up, I started putting some time in on some local water where I knew these fish lived; but getting them to show themselves proved to be a challenge to say the least.  The next pic sums up my first few trips pretty well…

old rotten shoe

This morning started like each of the past few skunkings.  I met a buddy at a local lake, and we did some scouting.  The bait guys were catching panfish and the occasional bass, despite the cold front which pushed through the day before.  It took us some time, but we found a shallow flat where some small bluegills and perch were schooled up and biting.  I’ll admit to being the first one to get a little bored though…I suggested we check out some nearby trout water before I had to hit the road.

I walked to the shoreline for a break and out of the corner of my eye, I notice a splash nearby in the flat.  “Musky!” my friend yells.  The splash wasn’t huge, but I grabbed the big rod and rigged up a white Beauford.  First cast lands in the same area we saw the splash. I stripped only a few feet of line when suddenly the water ERUPTS beneath my fly.  I set the hook and nothing…swing and a miss.  I think my heart and my jaw dropped simultaneously.  I bring in the fly and make a few more casts to the same spot…and no shit…the fish swirls again.  But this time the musky was hooked, and pulling like a freight train.  Naturally today was the first day I left my 10wt home because my 8wt already had floating line rigged up.  It pulled hard, but I was able to get the fish close.

The fish was at my feet when the hook popped out of the its mouth.  Luckily the musky wasn’t too pissed off…I was able to grab it and lift it up for a few shots.

Once back in the water, the fish swam off.  I don’t think I stopped shaking for 15 minutes; and it was easily the coolest fishing experience I’ve had.  I was extremely fortunate today, and you can bet I’ll be spending my free time chasing more of these beasts.

Until next time…

First Trip to the Letort

With one last weekend before starting crazy hours at work, I needed to get out and fish. A friend and I decided to make the trip to the cumberland valley yesterday morning to fish the Letort.

Being my first time fishing any of PA’s famous limestoners, I was pretty excited. This didn’t help during the two hour drive. I think I was counting the mile markers out loud as I got close to my exit. Once I parked around 11:30, I was ready to hit the water.

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I only walked a few hundred yards before noticing some risers in some of the slower bends. No doubt the overcast sky was on our side; and looking back, I consider the two of us pretty lucky. I picked up my first two letort browns a few casts apart on a griffith’s gnat.

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The fish sipped midges on top for the next couple hours, and my buddy caught his first fish from the stream as well.

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Click to see original Image in a new window

We tried tossing sculpins and nymphing a bit, but nothing else produced any luck; and by 3 or so, the risers had gone deep and just about shut down. I already can’t wait to get back, and a few more trips to the area are in order for the new year.

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Steelheading…a First

My dad and I hit the road early monday morning to take a stab at some steelhead fishing on the Salmon River.  Neither of us had any experience chasing steelhead, so we really had no clue what we were up against.  The short version of the story…the trip was great and the weather was mild; but the fishing was poor.  We saw a few fish caught, but neither one of us had a hookup over our two night stay.  Our guide Jake was a great help during our float on Tuesday…we both learned a ton.

Our lack of success was a bummer, but now I want to go back…I’m determined.

Anyway, here are a few pics from the trip.  Enjoy.

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Brigantine/AC Salt – 12/4/11

I hit the road early again this morning…this time, the destination was Brigantine and Atlantic City in NJ. Quick version…it was a perfect morning, but I didn’t catch (or see anyone catch) a single fish all morning.

Obligatory Sunrise Shot - Brigantine Beach, NJ

Brigantine beach was first.  I drove to the north side of the island, parked, and hiked a few hundred yards up the beach.  The water looked very fishy, especially near a deep trench which formed a small sandbar.  Conditions weren’t quite right  at the time, but I could practically picture the fish cruising in close for bait struggling in the current.  Anyway,  it was tough to cast beyond the breakers, and I wasn’t very confident in the spot; so I packed up and drove south into AC.

Here, I parked near a construction site on Vermont Ave., hoping I could find some luck at the spot the previous world record striper was caught.  The first thing I noticed was the amount of stray cats roaming around…then I saw the sign…

The beach here was pretty quiet.  I talked to one other bait fisherman at the jetty, but I was able to easily share the water.  But once again, I didn’t get a bump.  Wrong tide?  Who knows…

Vermont Jetty

Smaller Jetty and Steel Pier

Revel - Coming along nicely

Next Jetty to the South

Steel Pier - From the Jetty in the First Pic

Skunked this time; but thanks to my awesome girlfriend, I’ll be back in two weeks for my birthday weekend.  Hopefully more fish will be around to help celebrate…we shall see.

PAFlyFish Sandy Hook JAM

I hit the road at 4am on Sunday to meet up with some fellow PAFlyfish members for some surf fishing.  The destination was Sandy Hook, on the northern tip of NJ.  I got there around 6 am and was still the last person on the beach.  Bait fish were frantically breaking the surface, and I learned that everyone had caught a bass already.  This looked good.

I fished until high tide at 8am without any luck.  Fishing slowed, but only briefly during the slack tide.  Then as the tide began to pull out of the bay, lines started going tight again.  Our crew was hooking up left and right, but I couldn’t seem to find any takers.  I had a few missed hook-ups, but eventually I had a fish on.  It was tiny, but it was also my first striper, so I was excited.  I also caught a nice hickory shad before leaving.

We wound up out-fishing the entire beach with our fly gear.  Turned out that big live eels, plugs, and metal were not the ticket today.  The fish were keyed into the tiny bay anchovies, and our flies were a perfect match.

Enough rambling…the pics tell a better story.  Thanks to the others for catching some of these shots.

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PA FlyFish Saltwater JAM

I’m a few days late on this one, but a group of us from PAFlyFlish hit the Jersey Shore for the 2011 Saltwater JAM.  Long story short, the weather was perfect, but the fishing was cold.  A few small fluke helped us beat the skunk, but every other angler we talked to was having the same luck.

We hit the surf at 6:30am in Seaside Heights, not far from where a few questionable characters from a certain mtv show spend their summer.  We fished for a half hour with no signs of life, so we packed up and headed to Betty and Nicks Bait and Tackle.  I highly suggest this place to anyone visiting the area to fish.  Not only does this shop have everything a fisherman could want, but it also boasts a diner counter which serves spectacular breakfast food.

After eating, we drove south to Island Beach State Park.  We met back up at the bathing beach, where I picked up my only fluke of the day on a double with another forum member.  A few hours later, we headed to the southern point of the island, and hiked a mile and a half down to the North Jetty.  Again, there wasn’t much action, but a few fluke did show some interest in our flies.   It was an awesome trip, and I’m glad to have met some other members.

North Jetty

Barnegat Light

PAFF crew working the bayside