Sunday, December 2, 2012

Montauk in December

MTFA has a statewide meeting the first Saturday in December each year.  This marks the second time I've been able to attend.  The meeting is noon Saturday, so we had booked a cabin for Friday and Saturday, that leaves lots of time for fishing and eating. The main courses were quail Friday night, Fish Fry Saturday, eggs in a hole, I'll let you wonder about that, for breakfast.  Good food and plenty of it. Also good company in fishing friends Warren, Rod and Kim

Last year was my first visit to Montauk since the mid seventies, so I had lots of exploring to do. This is the beginning of the Current River and a beautiful place to fish. I'm getting over a bad urinary tract infection and most of my get up and go has got up and went, so I stayed where the was no wading required and very easy wading.  That meant I fished by the spring  or by what I call the "spring creek" area. 

The area near the spring fished well, nothing large, but very colorful fish.  I did not feel comfortable crossing the stream, but made it back and forth both times without getting wet. Th spring creek area is strictly catch and release all year, no wading is allowed.  Its one of those places where I kneel down and cast from that position.  It is so full of fish, some very nice, that it doesn't look possible to bring a fly through without snagging is.  In the couple of hours I fished there, I saw 2 fish brought to hand and one was mine.  So I felt pretty good about that.  I moved out of this area to the other side of the road and started some of my best fishing of the day.

Bringing the trout to hand.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Finally fishing

After too long without fishing, I finally made it down to Taneycomo this morning.  When I called to check on water conditions, it was no generation until 9 PM.  That sounded great, so even with a front moving in and a drop in temperature, Wayne and I headed for the water. It was cloudy with the sun breaking through occasionally and strong wind gusts.  I caught several more maple leaves than fish, but I did manage to catch and release three that were between 14 and 16 inches.  All but one, a smaller trout, were colorful.

I had just hooked this small, 10-12 inch, trout and was bringing it in when I was reminded of the tee shirt that says, sorry I missed your call, but I was busy on my other line.  The shirt's picture implies there is a fish on the his fly line. That was me, my cell phone ringing and me ignoring it until I landed the fish.  My niece is eight months pregnant and I'm her backup baby sitter if when she needs to go to the hospital, so I brought my phone down to the water with me. It wasn't her though, but a fishing buddy from Pevely.  He wanted to give me the possible dates for a fishing trip to Florida that we are planning.  Trout released, fly dangling in the water and talking to my buddy when I feel a tug on my rod.  Yes, a fish had grabbed my soft hackle.  I tried to keep him busy while listening to my friend, but he finally broke off the fly, never did see this one.

A little later I caught my last fish, it was particularly colorful, so I took out my camera to take his picture.  The camera wouldn't come on and I had charged the battery last night.  My thoughts were did the battery completely die, is something wrong with the camera, or did I do something really dumb like leave the battery in the charger? About this time the sky was really getting dark with rain clouds, so I headed for the shore and called to Wayne that I was going to get out to beat the approaching rain.  As we made it to the shore, the horn went off about 9 hours before they were supposed to start running water. By the time we were changed and leaving the park the horn had sounded three times.  We headed to Dana's for the best burgers around.

Forgot to report, I had put my camera battery in  backwards and now it works fine.  So maybe there will be pictures next time.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Two mornings on Taneycomo

Morning mist on Taneycomo
Marty was down from Festus, so we tried our luck on Taney Wednesday morning.  It started cloudy, with a spotty fog. We both fished purple and starling soft hackles with varied success.  This proved to be one of my better days at not missing hits and landing what I hooked. When the fog lifted and the bright sun came out, I switched to a caddis green soft hackle and had fish on three of my first four casts.  We fished for a little less than two hours and I netted about 12 fish, none of great size, but lots of to catch. Marty was fishing the same fly, but had little success.

Dean came down Wednesday evening and the three of us met Friday for a few more hours of fishing. The picture above shows Marty and Dean shortly after we started fishing.  Same misty conditions to begin with, but the sun never shown bright while we were there.  Dean loves to fish a white thread jig under an indicator and, as usual for him, was catching fish.  I started with my purple and starling with a little, very little, success and later added the green caddis when a nice fish broke off my fly.  All of the fish I caught were on the purple.

When I caught my 4th or 5th fish, I gave Marty a rough time since he hadn't had a take yet.  I asked if he wanted to take my rod and see what it feels like to play a fish.  Even though I fished hard for a long time afterwards, that fish was my last landed of the day.

Dean was almost as bad.  Shortly after my last fish, he landed a trout, held it up toward Marty and said "hey Marty, want to see what a trout looks like?"

A little later Marty caught his only trout of the day, but it was probably the nicest one caught.

Marty landing his fish

Look what I got
I shouldn't be so hard on Marty.  It was him and his family that got me started fly fishing in the mid nineties.  That start has led to many great times on the water, my interest in fly tying and because of this hobby, many new and good friends.  So thanks, Marty, I owe you big.
As I was leaving the water, I heard a loud splash and turned around just in time to see Dean coming up out of the water.  All of those rocks weren't here when he last fished this area.  So Marty had the last laugh!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Distant Waters/Home Waters

Recently returned from a two week trip with out west...Grand Canyon and Pagosa Springs areas with Pat and Wayne.  Mainly went for sightseeing, but was able to do a little fishing when we were at Pagosa. Thanks to a recommendation from MTFA member Kerry, I located Hatcher Lake near the condo we were staying in.  We fished this beautiful lake three mornings and two evenings, with the late mornings proving best. We had no boat and most fishing available was from the shore or a large dock.  We chose the dock.  The water was very clear; and the dock was located above a nice, but costly, grass/weed bed. When the fish got anywhere near the dock they dove and tried, usually successfully, to twist our lines and leaders around the vegetation. Unfortunately I can be a slow learner and I never changed to heavier tackle...I was using a 4 wt with 5x tippet.  But it was definitely fun.  We caught trout, largemouth bass and pan fish.
Wayne and the nicest bass either of us landed.

Me with the largest trout

We also had what I believe is a western Grebe with us most of the time.  It was fun to watch this bird swim under water for what seemed like ages only to resurface yards from where he first went under. One thing I learned is that I am a more accurate caster than I thought. When the trout were cruising, I was usually able to gently place my fly within 18-20 inches of him, usually with good results. I had good results with one of Ralph Cutter's emerging midge patterns.

Today I went back to more familiar waters, Taneycomo. Marty, Jim and I met at the old "rocking chair" area. This was my first time in this spot in at least a year and like most of Taney it was changed from what I was used to. I don't believe I could wade across here like I used to and to reach the area that I used to like to fish I probably needed to enter from the other side of the lake. There was easy access though and after a short time, that seemed like forever, they trout turned on to what I was offering.  I had lots of takes and fish on a combo...a purple and starling soft hackle followed by a tan G-bug. This rig has proven to be good at Taney the last times I've fished here and I had fish on each fly. We all caught fish once we had both or one of these flies on.

Now I'm eager to get out some more.  This weekend I may take Randy's foster child out for some fishing.  He's told Randy he likes to fish so we'll try a nice farm pond near Linn Saturday or Sunday.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Floating and Dragging on the Upper James

On Friday Morning Tom, Paul, Sharon, Lou and I headed to the upper James for a float.  Tom had said this area was never fished; he and Paul had arranged places for us to put in and take out for about a 4 or 5 mile float.  Tom and Paul shared Tom's canoe while Sharon, Lou and I each had our kayaks.  The tow ladies were both on sit on tops and I had my sit-in. The scenery was very good, some wildlife seen and the fishing was very good. The only thing not so nice was the floating, probably less than a mile, the dragging and portaging was about three miles. I'm sure that is an exaggeration, but not by much.

Usually the dragging wasn't too bad, but there were a few sections that were bed-rock, very slippery bed-rock. For the portaging, at least twice, Tom and Paul took their canoe and Lou, Sharon and I paired up to carry the yaks.  Enough complaining...I really did have a good time and as I said earlier, the fishing was good.

One of the dragging sections

A nice section to float

Dragonfly on my hull
Lou landing a nice channel cat

Nice fish

We all caught fish; lots of longear, some pumpkinseed, green sunfish, a couple of cats and even a few smallies.  I didn't catch any smallies, but had some of all the others.

Longear sunfish

Green sunfish

Channel cat
It was a long and tiring day, but it was fun.  Sharon, Lou and I finished it with burgers at Fuddruckers. They were especially tasty after a good day on the water.  Now I've got to unload my truck, put away my gear and start packing for a trip to the Grand Canyon and then Pagosa Springs.  Its so good to be retired!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Taney Revisited, May 2nd

I was suffering from lack of standing in a stream and they were not scheduled to run water at Taney until early afternoon.  That, coupled with the fact that a fishing buddy fished there the day before and had great success, prompted a quick trip to Branson. He reported that he and two others had nearly 100 trout; all caught on white flies. This was the same fishing buddy that suggested the little white lie when I was on the White river. With that in mind, I quickly tied on a purple and starling,  Actually it wasn't all that quickly, seems like those hook eyes are getting smaller.

Maybe I should have listened, 10 or 15 minutes and not even a take. White fly, not yet, I tried one of my caddis green soft hackles. An hour and a half  and many trout later I finally had to change flies, the one I started with was torn to shreds. Another green caddis and more fine fishing. 

With nature called and answered, I decided to change flies and see if I could still have some luck.  So back to the water and a purple and starling tied on again.  Yes, they still wanted to eat my fly.  Then the dread of Taney struck; the horn blew about 3 hours earlier than it was scheduled.

I headed up to the truck where I talked to the guy who was fishing just down stream.  As well as I did, he was catching almost two fish for each of mind. He was a retired math and phys ed teacher from southern Illinois.  We exchanged fishing tales and he showed me the pattern he was using.  I'll probably tie some and then use my soft hackles anyway. 

Biggest fish about 15 inches; most were football shaped but a few were more like torpedoes. One or two keepers on the short side, but they were still returned to the water. A good morning even though it was windy and cut short.  The fine fishing was followed by a burger at Dannas.

The fish below was caught just as the horn went off.  It was about 13 or 14 inches. Most of the fish were not very colorful.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sowbug, March fish and a "Little White Lie"

Wayne and I left for Mountain Home and the Sowbug Round-up last Thursday. The sowbug was moved to the fairgrounds this year and it made a good thing even better.  Lots more room and the tyers were arranged in a much more convenient fashion.  Saw lots of friends there and learned a few new things for tying.  I always enjoy watching and talking to the tyers and picking up tricks.  Also I get to visit with fly fishers that I don't see that often in the Ozark area. 

Wayne and I managed to fish Friday and Saturday afternoons and Sunday morning before they turned the water on. Friday was a slow day, I only had a couple of takes and managed a couple of nice fish...very colorful.  After the horn blew, we were taking our time at the car and a guide that had done quite well asked what we were using.  He almost laughed when I told him I was using, yes, soft hackles.  He had been doing very good, just a cut-throat away from a slam.  He showed us what he had been using and told us how deep he was fishing.  Thus hint # 1 for Saturday: small #18-22 midges about 6 inches deep.

Saturday morning and time for the Little White Lie.  Russ was tying this year and he told us how well he did.  He was using a small jig: white chenille and a red collar...said they torn the fish up with it.  He tied and gave both Wayne and me one and told us how he was fishing them.  That afternoon we head back to the water.  Wayne ties on a Little White Lie (LWL) and I tie on a #20 midge.  We follow all the advice we were given.  I try smaller # 22 and larger #18, different colors and finally a LWL. Not even a take much less a fish. 

Sunday I go back to my soft hackles and do much better. Nothing really large, but again most were very colorful fish.  As always, I enjoyed my trip to the White and seeing friends. Here's one of my March fish.

Friday, February 24, 2012

February Fishing

Today marked only the second time I've been on (in) the water this month. Results were about the same as last time.

Just over a week ago, Russ gave me a call about noon and asked if I wanted to go to Taneycomo, with little hesitation, even though it was rainy and cold, I said yes.  He took me to a place just above the old KOA Kampground that I've not fished before.  The water looked great; looks can be deceiving. Russ, who always out catches me only caught three fish and he was the one who asked to call it a day after only about two hours.  I netted one, only had two takes, and it was a very colorful 15 inch rainbow.  Quality tops quantity?

Today was cool, cloudy, and windy.  At least the lake wasn't too crowded.  I found a spot that I usually do okay in and tied on my soft hackle, a purple and starling.  In the past I've done well with this fly, in these conditions.  That was in the past. Nothing, not even a take on this fly. Shortly afterwards I tied on a red fox squirrel soft hackle.  I really did well with this pattern in January.  Finally, a take and a rainbow. It was very close to being a keeper, on the short end; there's a 12-20 inch slot here. that means you release everything in that range. Small, colorless fish but at least it was a fish. I moved a little ways downstream and in a very short time had three hits that led to one fish in hand, a long distance release and a complete miss.  The fish brought to hand could have been the same fish I'd caught earlier.

I mentioned that it was cool, cloudy and windy.  It was actually nice whenever the sun broke through the clouds, which was rare and the wind wasn't gusting from 25-30 mph, which was even more rare. You know what, it sounds like I was complaining, but actually I was explaining. Cold as I got, as slow as the fishing, I was out in the water and that was great! Its always so relaxing when I get out like that.  Did I mention, that before I got in the water, I stopped at Dana's for one of the best burgers in the area?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Galapagos Islands and Peru part 6

Thursday, this morning we had a "late" wake up call and after breakfast we went to the Santo Domingo Monastery, built in the 17th century on the walls of the Koricancha Temple of the Sun.  Here we saw the smallest of the carved stones and the Inca "Lego" blocks. Then it was on to the market place where the citizens of Cusco buy the food and many other items.  I believe the group really enjoyed this because we were right in with the people and not in an area designed for tourists. After the visit to the market we were off to see sexywoman, actually Sacsayhuaman, but pronounced the way I spelled it first. Here we saw the largest stone and also one with 11 corners. Our last evening in Cusco we heard and saw Kike Pinto discuss, and play a number of Andean preColumbian instruments.  He collects and plays traditional music on these. There were whistles, flutes, horns, drums and other percussion section instruments. I was most impressed by a "whistle" that was two bowls connected by a tube. One bowl was closed except for a small hole.  Water was placed in the bowl and by tilting it back and forth he forced air through the small hole causing the whistle.  I did by one of his cds featuring these instruments.

On Friday morning we flew to Lima and were met by a city guide.  She took us to the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum.  Here we saw Peruvian pottery and artifacts.  We were able to visit the storeroom of the museum where we viewed many "extra" pieces of pottery and artworks.  The grounds were full of beautiful blooms.  Before we left we were able to go to the pre-Colombian Erotic gallery.  I'll simply say these guys were really into sex.

We then bussed to the city center and walked past the Lima Cathedral and the presidential palace. We were going to Casa Aliaga.  This mansion was built in 1535 by Pizarro's treasurer, Don Jeronimo de Aliaga, and has been in the family ever since.  This is where we had lunch. Then we drove through the residential areas on our way to the hotel for our last night in Peru.  My room was on the 6th floor and overlooked a beautiful park and the Pacific Ocean.  After settling in I walked to a mall.  On ground level was a park or plaza, then the mall was at least three stories down, built into the face of a cliff that overlooked the ocean.  The stores were the same as you would find in a nice mall here.  Underground was also a movie complex and parking garage.

Most of us were going to Miami, but as there were different locations and those of us going to Miami were leaving very early, a lot of good-byes were said tonight. This smaller group, 21, had grown close during the Peruvian trip.  Lots of hugs and even a few kisses were exchanged.

Some of the travelers were discussing which part of the trip was best.  I couldn't say because they were so different. In the islands we were experiencing and interacting with the animals and enjoying what nature provided.  In the Andies we saw things that people had built and see how those peoples had changed.  Personally, I wouldn't want to have missed any of either part.

Now for a few pictures from Cusco and Lima. I believe I've got over 1000 photos total.  Bet your glad I did post them all.

The extremely close fit tells us this was a temple

Laura telling about fitting these "Lego: blocks together.

The smallest stone, one of the ladies covered this with her finger.
Now a few market pictures.

The largest stone, about 130 tons

Casa Aliaga

Lunch at Casa Aliaga
This picture should have been with the largest stone, this is the many cornered stone.

That's all folks, I hope everyone enjoyed sharing my trip.  Ralph

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Galapagos Islands and Peru part 5 Machu Picchu

The main ruins as seen from Intipunka (the Sun Gate)

Tuesday morning we had a short bus ride to Ollanta station where we boarded the train for the ride to Machu Picchu. The train was much nicer than what we were expecting and the ride was about an hour and a half. All along the ride on the train we saw Inca ruins and terraces.

On the train with BJ and Rollin

We then took a bus up to the gate at Machu Picchu, our hotel was just outside the gate, less than a two minute walk.  We had a complementary tea and immediately went to the site. Forget Disney, this is the Magical Kingdom. The scene was helped by the clouds around the mountains.  Unfortunately, they soon began to empty.  I was getting so wet that I put my camera away and got out my waterproof camera. It is hard to describe this so in a bit, I'll let the pictures to the talking. As the rain was ending it was time to go to the hotel to check in and have lunch. It didn't take long to to dry and after lunch I went for a dry walk and then came back to the hotel. Behind my room was a beautiful garden and orchid walk. It was very nice and the hummers are larger than here at home.  On my afternoon walks, I found some nice quite areas and sat and thought how much Connie would have enjoyed this trip and especially today. 

I started Wednesday with a short walk around the site.  I had told a group that I might meet them for the walk to the sun gate; a walk of about two and a half hours that was very steep.  Finishing my walking around below, I figured I'd start up on my own.  Being the oldest in the group, I believed this would keep me from slowing the others down.  I started up and rested, walked some more and rested, and to make a long story a little shorter, met the group about two-thirds of the way up. I was coming down already. We left just before noon, had lunch at a nice restaurant near the railroad and then went back to another nice suprise in Cusco.

I've so many pictures to put in here because I had a difficult time doing much eliminating. All that follows here are the pictures.  I should have said this before, but if you click on any picture that one will come up and the others are thumbnails that you can click on as you like. Hope you enjoy these.


You can see the road we drove up on the bus.

The group I was going to walk up with: Carol, Percy our guide, Francie, Carol and Tommy.