Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Reel Has Arrived

In just a quick two days, my new Tibor Tailwater Blue Grey Reel has arrived. Since this is the original Tailwater without the constant lube feature I found it on clearance. He had several in the custom colors as well as the stock colors of black and gold. This particular color, blue grey, has since been discontinued and I thought it would be a nice match for my favorite rod, the T&T Helix 5wt saltwater.
The Tibor custom color is only slightly darker than the reel seat.
Its currently loaded with the Airflo 7000 Bass Bug Taper warmwater line. Although the line is a 6wt, so be it. I figure uploading for Bass fishing would not necessarily be a bad thing considering the size of most bass bugs. Typically a warmwater line is not needed here in SoCal, even though it does get hot, we definitely needed one the last time Ed and I hit Barrett Lake. Our lines turned gummy fast and tangles were an ever present problem.
The Blue Grey is a nice match with the blue graphite of the Helix.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Trolling Motor

I was a bit disappointed that my friend canceled on me to fish Deep Creek today. I thought of going solo but when I woke up I just didn't have it in me to go. I stayed home instead surfing the
net and found this:

I've been looking to buy a trolling motor ever since my first outing at Barrett. A trolling motor is almost a must fishing there or any Socal Lake for that matter. Of course you can get anyway without one up its so much more convenient than using the anchor or drifting with the wind or current. I noticed Cabelas had Minn Kota Endura 34 on sale so I decided to pick one up. Minn Kotas were recommended to me by Ed; he used a 36 for a long time until it died out on him.

I can't wait to try it out although it is unlikely I'll be fishing Barrett with it anytime soon. Well at least I will have it for next season. I will be using it in Newport Bay even though it is not recommended for salt water use. Ed had used his there maybe that is why his died. Nevertheless I don't care after all its only $100. Why I never bought one years ago is beyond me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sign up for Catch Magazine (its free)

I just discovered Catch Magazine In a previous post I stated that here in the US the Fly magazines generally sucked. I was wrong. There is a great magazine for us here in the states. Albeit its not printed on paper. Its an online magazine from Brain O'Keefe. The photography is sensational. If only it were on paper. No worries though at least its free. You can subscribe at . Even one of the photographers at Fly Fisher (Japanese Fly magazine) is a contributor.

Here is one of their video clips:

There are more videos for your entertainment. This magazine has been around for 2 years now, how come I never heard of it? Man have I been out of the loop.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

San Antonio Creek

I fished San Antonio Creek for the first time today with Ed Hwang. Its been at least 8 years since I heard of this place. I remember looking at the Reel Maps of it earlier in this decade at Marriotts. I never did make it here until now. Ed had fished it before a few years ago. Since Ed only had a few hours to fish and the creek is conveniently located near the road we decided to give it a shot.

After getting lost, we finally made it to our destination. We parked near the trout ponds and I hit the first pool we saw. On the second cast I caught an average size (for here) rainbow. I managed another, this time smaller fish. I decided to move . I skipped several pools in search of more water. This is seriously some small creek fishing. There is not much water. The more I hiked the less encouraged I was that I would find more water. So I headed back down. After finding Ed, we began fishing downstream and hit those same pools again. I caught the biggest fish of the day in little more than a trickle of water. He took my dry fly hard and basically hooked himself. I caught a few more in that hole and moved on. Being his usual self, Ed fish subsurface starting with Czech nymphing, indicator nymphing and the moving onto wet fly fishing. On this type of water I'd never use such tactics. I prefer to dry fly and since it is so hard to come by I'll do it whenever I get the chance. I fish plenty of subsurface in the Sierras. Ed did well though probably better than I which makes sense as most of a fish's feeding is done below the surface.

Ed really killed it on the wet fly. No matter the technique whether stripping, swinging or whatever, he got bit.

Now that I've seen the creek and have fished it, it is unlikely that I'd return. Although I love small stream fishing, this is a little too small for my taste. I think Bear Creek at the West Fork would be the smallest I prefer.

We caught a bunch of fish in a very short amount of time. We headed back around noon. All we caught were rainbows, no browns. Next week Ed and I hope to make it out to the San Bernardino Mountains to fish rivers with a little more water; there we should get some browns.
The largest fish of the day.
Average sized SA Creek rainbow.
Dinks. These would hit you in the chest when you set the hook. I fished streamers on Saturday that were bigger than this guy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gary Borger's All Peacock

Gary Borger responded back to my email and has told me that the fly that I used wth great sucess on Bluegills is named the All Peacock Fly. This is an extremely easy fly to tie and was highly effective on Lake Barrett's Bluegill.
  • Hook: TMC 5263BL
  • Tail: End pieces Peacock eyes
  • Body: Peacock Eyes wound with copper wire before winding around hook shank
  • Collar: Evenly cut pieces of peacock eyes placed in Dubbing loop, spun and than wrapped like hackle

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Return to Barrett Lake 7/17

My return to Barrett Lake was quite a different experience from my last outing last month. This time I was accompanied by Ed who has fished this lake many times. He has experienced those epic 100+ fish days that you read about this lake. We arrived on time at the first train in at 5am. This is a brutal experience. Having to wake up at 2 in the morning to go fishing and drive 2 hours south is the definition of insanity. We probably began fishing just before six after getting our boat and rigging up. We started at one cove and struck out although it was a very bassy area. I started with Webb's foamhead popper. I believe Ed started with a purple wooly bugger on a floating line with a 12 straight leader. While we were drifting out of the cove we decided to move on and then our motor would not start. After repeated attempts to fire it up, we sat there slowly drift. finally we got the boat going and hit a point where Ed loves to fish. It was 7 am and Ed began hooking up. It was a good mix of Bluegill and Bass. I switched to my 150 grain and the Barrett Shad. I got several bumps but couldn't hook up. On one cast I over shot and my fly landed in a tree, I managed to to free it and once it hit the water I saw a fish take it. Textbook bass fishing. I had it on for a few seconds before it went unglued. I was getting extremely frustrated as Ed was consistently hooking up. I switched flies to the Rattle Shad, a fly that I had great success last month. Nothing. I noticed that all the flies Ed was using were dark, mostly purple and olive. So I looked through my box for a dark fly, since the last outing I caught all my fish on whites, chartreuse, and bright I had very little in the way of dark flies. I switched to a purple rattle eye clouser. Finally I got bit by a hard fighting aggressive largemouth. He was a stocky fat one pounder (pictured above). On the 5 weight he felt like a tank. He just did not want to come in the boat. Eventually he did after the release I casted again. This time a fat Bluegill. Ed continued to out catch me with a mixed bag of LM bass and blugill eventually we decided it was time to move on.

We moved to to another area I dropped anchor and noticed it was not deep. Maybe a few feet. We caught more fish and I decided to give the Barrett Shad another try. The fly was being stuck but I could not hook up. This outing was quite different from my last. The fish this time, with the exception of a few, did not aggressively take the fly. Instead the seemed to just inhaling it or sipping at it. I most have had 10 or 15 fish all day spit out my fly before I could set the hook. Quite a change from last month, once the fish took the fly he hit it hard and you knew it. Ed outfished me here as well. I think I managed a few here. I asked him if crappie were in this lake and he said his brother once caught a huge one before and within a few minutes Ed hooked up a nice crappie himself.

We move on to the Hauser Arm. I was excited as this was where I did so well the last time. I caught several in one section when I switched back to the Purple RE Clouser. It was midday and hot as hell the fishing slowed considerably. At this point the wind picked up making fishing a bit tough. Fish were hard to come by. The heat was unbearable. We were drenching ourselves with cold water from our coolers and driving around the lake to cool ourselves down.

I noticed that all the fish were responding to dark flies only. In my preouting intelligence gathering from my last month. I recalled Bryan Webb telling me I should have gone in June because thats when the damsel hatch occurs. I remembered that and concluded that the fish were probably targeting damsel fly nymphs rather than shad and silversided minnows that are the major forage for these fish. With that in mind I remembered that I had fly that Gary Borger showed me at a fly show many many years ago. I hadn't really ever fished with it and I nearly forgot I even had it until recently. I'm not sure if he ever published it or what he even calls its it but its bascially a peacock streamer. (I've emailed him to see what he calls it, hopefully he response back). I tied one on.

We came to a point and and Ed parked the boat onshore. On the first cast out the fly was bit hard and the fish shuck his head many time but eventually went unglued. Ed was beat he booty-fabbed himself a makeshift bed in the boat and passed out. I continued to fish. This was literally Bluegill central. On almost every cast I caight nice sized Bluegills. I must have caught a minimium of 20 here maybe more. I was surprised that Ed never got up considering all the ruckus the fish were making.

Ed did eventually waked up from his coma and fished the area but I think I'd pretty much cleaned it up. He may have caught one, we sat there and noticed the nearby boat hook up on conventional gear. Once he got it in the boat we overheard him say it was 5.2lbs largemouth.

By now the wind was really howling. We decided to try the other arm even though Ed had mentioned that he has never had much success. We managed a fish here and there. It was 3:30 and we were cooked. The fishing had only gotten slower and slower. We decided against staying until close as planned and to try and make the 4pm train out.

All in all we must have caught at least 30+ fish a piece. Most of mine were Bluegills with a handfull of bass thrown in. Ed had a good mix of everything. He could have completed the Barrett slam with a smallmouth. It was a fun day but brutal. I'm not sure how hot it was it was the hottest Ed has experienced here and he said his been there during some massive heatwaves.
A few observations this time:

  • Waking up so early is pure hell. In our experience the action heats up during midmorning. So making he first train is not really necessary. Next time I will make the 6 or 7am train and then fish and fish hard now. Fish after this time will be tougher and tougher. They probably go deep once it gets hot.

  • Wind blows like crazy by midday. Casting is tough.

  • Buy a warmwater line for here. Our lines were gum within hours and cast was not easy or fun. Not to mention the tangling.

  • I should have had more than just Shad and minnow patterns. Next time fill the box with light nad dark colors (this should have been commonsense.)

  • More ice in the cooler. There is little in the way of shade at Barrett. So you need to stay cool somehow.

  • This time with the exception of a few, the fish did not take the flies very aggresively. I lost several opportunites, they would only bump the flies and it was hard to time it so you could set the hook.

I forgot how much bluegills can be. I thought about bringing my 3 weight and decided against it. Even though it may have been almost impossible at times to cast I would have loved to get a few of those on a lighter rod.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Barrett Shad Fly

I created this fly to represent the threadfin shad that are so abundant in our lakes. These fish have a tall profile that is not usually represented too often in baitfish imitations. I add a overbody to try and give the fly a bigger profile without adding weight or wind resistance.
  • Hook: TMC 8089 Barb grounded off with a dremel tool
  • Head: Cascade Crest Tools CCT Body Fur
  • Gills: Ringneck Neck Feathers Indian. Crow
  • Body: Estaz
  • Overbody: Whiting Black Laced white Hen Saddle
  • Tail: 4 Grizzly Hackle and white bucktail
  • Eyes: 3D stick on eyes
  • Thread: Danville Flat Nylon White
Top view of the fly.

Start by tying white bucktail.
Flare out the two grizzly hackles on each side. Tie on estaz and wrap forward.

Add two black laced white hen saddle on each side.

Add the red tippet feathers on each side. Tie the body fur and wrap it forward, remembering to pull back the fibers on each wrap.

Trim the body fur to create a head, pay particular attention not to cut the gills. Whip finish and cement. Zap a gap 3D eyes.

I apologize for some of these lousy pics my camera's micro feature is not great.

The Rattle Shad

This my Rattle Shad Fly that was created for fishing California Bass lakes. I have created three versions of this fly. Below is my favorite. This was the first fly that started catching me fish at my first outing at Barrett Lake. After several fish I eventually lost it and since I had only one in my box I switched to the other versions. I now have several in my box for my outing at Barrett this weekend.

  • Thread: Danville Flat Waxed Nylon white
  • Hook: Gamakatsu size 4 Sp11-3L3H
  • Eyes: Real Eyes 3/16 with 3D stick on eyes
  • Body: Estaz
  • Belly: Spirit River Woven Body Tubing Natural Pearl Medium and Spirit River 3mm Glass Rattles
  • Wing: White Marabou
  • Tail: Whiting Hen Saddle Black Laced White

If you plan to fish this at Barrett Lake or any water that requires Barbless hooks, you will need to grind the barb down. I used a Dremel tool for this. Pinching the barb on this hook will not work. The barb only breaks off and leaves a burr. It will not pass the cotton ball test. So be on the safe side and grind the barb off.

Tie the eyes on first. I usually will use Black Real Eyes but gold will work as well. Leave plenty of room for a head. The tubing body will need some room to be tied on.

Next tie on 4 hen saddle feathers of equal size. Two on each side.
Next tie on the tubing. Make sure the tubing will be long enough, it will shrink a little with the the rattle placed inside.
Next tie on the estaz and wrap forward.

Place the rattle inside the tubing and fold it forward. When placing the rattle make sure the you place the rounded end in first. SR rattles come with one end pointed the other rounded. The pointed end will fit perfectly in between the dumbbell eyes when folded forward.

Secure the tubing with several wraps. Cut off any excess.

Flip the fly over and tie The Marabou wing. Whip finish and cement with Loon Hard Head or best to epoxy it but I'm too lazy for that. It will need a strong bond or it will unravel.

Here are the 3 versions. All catch fish. The other two are self explanatory I think you can figure them out without instructions. One is Bucktail the other is bunny.

Although I have not fished for Stripers in many many years I am confident that this would also do well in our Striper lakes. I have tried these in the bay without much success but I still believe that this would do well there. To be honest I gave up too early on this fly and did not give it an honest try. I will next time I hit the bays.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Great Fly Fishing Magazine

The other day I was browsing in Barnes and Noble and found a great Fly Fishing magazine, FlyLife from Australia. It covers Australia and New Zealand. I used to think that the Japanese had the best Fly Fishing magazines but this one now ranks at the top. The magazine is well written, well formatted, and has awesome photography. Its printed on great glossy thick paperstock. I only wished that America could produce such a magazine, the only one that came close is the now gone Wild on the Fly. Now that was a great American magazine. I used to describe it to friends that had not seen it as the National Geographic of Fly Fishing Magazines. It was that good.

Why is it that all our fly fishing periodicals suck? They are all printed on cheesy paper, the layouts are all so boring, the photography is okay, articles are just rehash from other years. I guess that is what sells here. Its a shame.

Fly Life's website:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fly Fishing Bucket List

Japan- Suzuki, Yamame, Iwana, Ame-masu, Salmon

Christmas Island- bonefish

Argentina-Golden Dorado, patagonia trout, Sea Run Brown Trout

Brazil- Peacock Bass

Mongolia- Taimen, Lenok

India-Mahseer, trout

Seychilles- Tarpon,Milkfish

Canada- West coast Steelhead, East Coast Atlantic Salmon

Kamchatka- Large trout

Australia- Barramundi

Africa- Tigerfish


Taiwan- whatever they got

Louisiana- Redfish, Speckled Trout