Thursday, September 22, 2011

Poppers and Mullet

My outings this past weekend have gotten me excited about a couple of things.  First of all, that was the first time I'd fished with a surface fly since I moved down here, and I am seeing some huge potential.  Secondly, accidentally catching that mullet got me thinking about actually targeting them.  I did a quick google search and discovered that fly fishing for mullet is quite popular in England and can be done here as well!  I get the idea you just drift tiny green or brown flies that look like algae or bread crumbs.  Anyway, I just ordered some more poppers and some mullet flies from Miller's Fly Shop, and I cannot wait for them to get here so I can give them a try.  I am excited about the poppers, but I might be even more excited about the mullet.  This whole mullet fishing idea could be huge - mullet are absolutely everywhere, the one I hooked this weekend fought pretty hard for its size, and they taste good!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saturday Doubleheader

I managed to squeeze in some fly fishing this past weekend around all the football I watched.  I waded off the beach for a couple hours Saturday morning and a couple hours Saturday night.  Nothing spectacular, but I brought my camera with me and took some pictures of my unspectacular fish.

I went down to the Lake Mars launch about 7:30 am (I'm not the best at getting myself up early for fishing), and the pier was full of people, but I had the adjacent beach all to myself.  On a side note, Tropical Storm Lee changed the beach quite drastically.  The waves and 2 ft storm surge broke down the beach and made it wider, more gently sloping, and actually much nicer to walk on.  Within a short period of time, I managed to catch a few flounder and a small redfish by simply blind casting and casting to visible boils with a pink and tan Clouser type fly (I think it has another name, but I can't remember).  The fishing cooled off as the sun got higher.

The little redfish are prettier anyway...

More pictures and words after the jump:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hiking in Northern Georgia

A few weeks ago, I drove up from the Gulf Coast to Kennesaw, GA (near Atlanta) to visit a college friend for the weekend. We decided to head to northern Georgia for a day hike.  After much deliberation, we chose Fort Mountain State Park and the Gahuti Trail as our destination because it was one of the closest options and it offered a long loop instead of an out and back.  It took about an hour and a half to reach the state park, which is just east of the bustling metropolis of Chatsworth, GA.  Much of the drive was over fairly flat land, as Fort Mountain lies on the extreme southwestern tip of the Appalachian Mountains. 

A view of the Chatsworth area from Fort Mountain at the end of the Appalachians
The Gahuti Trail is an 8 mile loop around the mountain.  It never actually reaches the summit of the mountain, but there are still some good views, although they are rather few and far between.

Pictures and more after the jump.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Colorado 'Bows: Follow Up

I know, you've been dying to know more about my trip to Colorado.  Well here's a little information for you.  The guide service we used is called Blue River Anglers, located in downtown Frisco.  They may not take you to the most scenic places, but they will take you where the fish are.  The place we accessed the Yampa was at Stagecoach State Park, between Yampa and Steamboat Springs.  Here is a map.  I don't feel bad revealing the location considering the fact that everybody and their brother apparently already knows about it.  I would recommend bushwhacking a little to find some isolation further downstream from the dam.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Colorado 'Bows: Day 2

The next day we drove up to the Yampa River with the groom's uncle, who lives and fly fishes in the area.  This time we took the whole bachelor party, several of which had never fly fished before.  I certainly wasn't disappointed with the scenery this time.  The section of the Yampa we visited is a nice looking tailwater stream set in a beautiful, meadow-like valley with rocky outcroppings.  I must admit, I didn't take any pictures.  Fortunately, there's the internet, so you don't have to rely on my poor description.
The Yampa River (I stole this picture off the internets)
Unfortunately, the river and its beauty are quite popular.  On top of that, there is only about a half mile stretch between the dam and a vertical cliff up against one side of the river that prevents most people from heading downstream.  So I think you can figure out the result. Actually, if you look closely at the above picture, you can see several anglers lining the right bank of the river.

The fishing...  The weather had warmed some, and I was dreaming of large rainbows taking dries, but after watching the river for a while and talking to another angler, I picked out an available section of river with a deep hole and reluctantly went back to the chuck and duck method.  After numerous drifts, I managed to bring a rainbow in its lower teens to hand - smaller than the ones from the day before, but more colorful and much more spirited.  The fish jumped several times and tried to take me down a small rapid, which probably would've ended the fight in his favor.

I moved on to where the rest of the bachelor party were landing trout after trout in a gravelly section where multiple large trout were visible.  This was the perfect place for the beginning fly fishermen in our group to get some steady action, and at least one one of them has since taken up fly fishing as a hobby.  After watching them for a while, a friend and I found a large hole behind a boulder.  From high up on the bank, you could see huge trout swimming around that you could not see from where you would need to cast.  So I stood up on the bank and directed my friend as he stood in the river casting into the hole.  On about the third drift I watched a huge fish slowly tip up to grab something out of the current and immediately my buddy's 3 weight was doubled over.  The fish took off into the main current, came up and just wallowed on the surface, too big to jump.  It was all over in about 3 seconds as the fish somehow managed to throw the hook.  It was the one of the biggest trout I've ever seen - it looked more like a salmon.

After numerous unsuccessful drifts through the same hole, I moved on to a rapidy (is that a word?) section strewn with small boulders where I could see some medium sized fish hanging out.  I stood on one of the boulders and drifted a cool looking nymph with a plastic bubble that I got from the groom's uncle past visible fish for several minutes and eventually got a hit.  The fish took off downstream with the fast current, and I had to jump off the boulder and chase after him.  There was no way I was going to pull him back upstream without breaking the tippet.  It was the most exciting fight of my life, dodging and climbing bushes and rocks while trying to keep the line tight.  Eventually I brought to hand a rainbow in its mid-teens with a bright red belly and fins.  It was the most colorful rainbow I have ever seen.  Once again, I wish I had taken a picture.

This is not the fly I used, but it has the same plastic bubble.  Apparently real nymphs sometimes have air bubbles attached to them
Overall, it was a great day of fishing.  A great weekend of fishing.  The fishing was good, but the surroundings left something to be desired.  It definitely made me want to come back to Colorado, but when I do, I think I will try to find more wild places to fish.

The groom with a Yampa River rainbow.  Nice bandana!
Sorry about the long post with only a few pictures.  I'll try to do better the with the picture to word ratio in the future.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Colorado 'Bows: Day 1

Well I'm finally back writing a blog post again.  Or as a kind friend pointed out, its really just a journal entry if no one reads it.  I'm going to blame my absence on Tropical Storm Lee, catastrophic knee failure, and alien abduction.  In other words, I haven't been fishing much recently.  Fortunately, I finally got my hands on the pictures from my trip to Colorado back in May so I'm going to write about what I can remember from that.

My buddy (who just got married a few weeks ago) wanted to include some fly fishing in his bachelor party, so he decided to make everyone fly out to Colorado (oh darn!).  We stayed at his uncle's condo in Frisco.  Frisco is a very cool town that is pretty much surrounded by mountains.  This was the view from the condo.
People in Colorado are spoiled...
Oh yeah, and Colorado is cold in May.  It was kind of a shocker coming from Mississippi.  Anyways... the fishing.  The three big fly fishers in the group decided to get a guide for one of the days.  I generally don't like getting a guide - its kind of like cheating - but it was probably the only way we were realistically going to get into some fish coming into an unfamiliar area without doing a whole lot of research.  The fishing was very different from most of the trout fishing I've done.  I'm used to standing in the middle of a small stream, casting a dry fly or nymph upstream towards a likely looking spot.  If I don't get a strike after a few drifts, I move on.  I almost never cast to visible fish.  Here, I was usually standing on the bank, and I was chucking multiple fly rigs with split shot and strike indicator (you can't really cast that).  Often times fish were visible, and I could get as close as 10 ft from them.  Finally, I would drift through the same spot what felt like a hundred times before moving on, and the fish often hit after numerous drifts.  I think this is because these fish will not move very far for their food, so the drift needs to be absolutely perfect, with the fly hitting the trout on the nose.  I'm not a huge fan of this kind of fishing, but I'm okay with it every once in while if I can catch fish like this:

A nice bow from the Blue River in Colorado
It probably wasn't an amazing day by Western standards, but I managed to catch three rainbows in their upper teens (the biggest was 19"), which I've certainly never done in Michigan.  It was great day on the water, and the scenery was nice, but to be honest I was expecting more.  We fished a little too close to Frisco and the surrounding roads for my taste.  

A nice, but not spectacular, view of the Blue River