Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Six Sighted, None Taken

These carp are starting to drive me nuts. All six carp seen today were cruisers, opportunities were tough as soon as you see them the chop on the water hid them. So shots had to be quick and accurate. I had several chase or looked but none took. Frustrating.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fishing the Evening (No) Bite

After a nice holiday dinner, I thought to work off some of those calories. With this morning's debacle, I had to give it one more try. The shadows, glare and the slight chop in the water made it impossible to see any fish. Skunked again. I'm starting to feel like Santiago, I can only hope it does not take me 84 days to get mine.

This How I Feel

This widgeon has seen better days.

Ed and I planned to fish for carp this afternoon but I received a call from him at 7:40 this morning. He told me his plans were canceled so he could fish now and as there was absolutely no wind we thought we better give it a try. I told him lets meet at 8:15. Arriving on time, we met at the parking lot and began to rig up. Having bought a new leader at Marriott's, I put that on with a BH prince nymph and san juan trailer. We began fishing and saw a few fish cruising. Eventually we split up and I saw a mudding carp in very shallow water only a few feet in front of me. In three casts I managed to hook him up. By this time Ed had reached me and watched the carp come unglued. The leader for the second time failed on me. Originally I thought that the knots must have been tied poorly but the more I think about it, it must have been a wind knot in the leader. Throughout the morning I was casting like an idiot and most likely, although I did not check, must have had formed a wind knot. Once the carp took the fly it turned it and rushed at that moment that is when the line flung back toward me. That was it for me for the rest of the morning. Ed managed to cast to a cruising carp but spooked him once his line hit the water. No fish for either of us. Carp continues to elude me. At least Ed and I will be hitting Barrett Lake on saturday, I know there we'll be hooking up.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Last Shot Till the Holiday Weekend

Before the holiday crowds hit the waters, I gave carp one more try. Fish were hard to find. An hour on the water only three carp were seen. Only one gave me a quick opportunity to cast to it which I failed by throwing a tailing loop that wrapped around the tip section. That's what happens when you get too excited and rush. After fixing the mess the fish was no where to be seen. It was cruising rather fast so even if I made a cast it probably be a one shot deal. While searching along the bank, I saw the second fish was huge at least 20 pounds. It was mudding along the bank, it saw me 20 yards before I saw it. It fled before I even had a chance to take the fly out of stripping guide. The last fish I saw while walking elevated high above the water. Cruising in the shallows, the fish was easily seen from above. When I managed to make it down to the water the fish was no where to be seen. After that I gave up and headed home.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Afternoon Try

After this mornings heartbreak, I chose to hit the water one more time this afternoon. A slight breeze caused chop on the water making it difficult to see any fish in any water deeper than calf level. So all I could spot are fish near the banks. The first carp I saw, I didn't even have a chance at casting to it before it spooked. Moving down stream I saw a small bass or perhaps a bluegill and before I could cast it fled. The second carp I had a good chance and threw the fly just in front of it but it chose not to take my offerings. With only three casts to it, it moved into slightly deeper water and I then lost him in the choppy water. Eventually I got bored of trying to sightcast so I blindcasted into a narrow ambush point and foul hooked a turtle. After releasing it, I moved down the river to see at least 4 bass jump. All out of my reach so I wader toward them but no fish were willing. I decided to head back but before I left I decided to check out one more time the area I got bit this morning. I saw the hump of a feeding carp in the shallows. I moved out of the area and headed 15 yards upstream so I would not spook him. Feeding facing the cattails, the carp gave me a difficult cast especially with the wind in my face. All my casts missed the mark, not one landed toward its face. With a errand cast, I plopped the fly too hard on the water and the fish was gone. I headed back to the car spooking three more carp all of which gave no opportunity for a cast.

Notice the rings at the top left. The hump of the carp may be seen.

Sorry pal that was unintentional. The turtle just before release.

Leader Fails, Frustration Grows

My quest for carp was almost accomplished this morning. Close but no cigar. Having been on the water for only a few minutes I noticed a sunning carp, so I casted to it but had no luck in hooking up. I saw another carp cruising in my peripheral vision and waited to intercept it with my fly. Once the fish came near my fly, I started my slow strips. It did not take. Once I knew it cleared my fly and line, I picked up the line and recasted. The fly landed 2 inches from the carp's face. All the sudden the line went tight, I set the hook. I felt the weight of the fish and all the sudden, dink, the line went slack. Retrieving my line, I saw that the leader was broken at the fly. Its just my luck that I finally get a fish to bite and my equipment fails on me. My quest continues...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cynara Cardunculus

After a morning meeting at the office, I hit the water to scout parts of the river I'd not fished. I saw no carp or bass but I did make a nice find,cynara cardunculus, or more commonly known as wild artichoke. These plants, from my limited understanding, are edible and taste just like its domestic counterparts although one must be careful as it contains very sharp thorns just about everywhere. Perhaps next time I hit the water I shall forage a few and see how they taste. Since I'm no expert, I just want to make sure there are no poisonous lookalikes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Third Attempt at Carp, Pleasant Surprise

This was my third attempt at these local carp and I've still have nothing to show for my efforts. The water has cleared somewhat at least to the point where I can at least spot fish in slightly deeper water. Having the sun come out here and there did help for that though. I arrived at 10:30am and once I hit the water I began noticing carp. The first one was tailing and I managed to get a fly in its face and it refused. My next cast sucked and I spooked him. So I moved on to notice some cruising carp and others sunning. None wanted to take. I moved on and saw no other carp as I moved down stream. At the Bowman seminar I asked him if carp ever jump out of the water, he stated he'd never saw any. One guy next to me said he'd seen them jump. I've seen (more like heard) several jumps on this water before and today was no different. Although I've never heard of any bass ever inhabiting these waters, I had always wondered if a rogue bass ever made it way in this river. When I was pointlessly blind casting to practice my double haul, I heard a jump just behind of me to the left. Backcasting I plopped my tandem flies of clouser swimming nymph and San Juan worm rearward. My line quickly went tight and I set the hook. Noticing an outline I knew it was not a carp, I initially thought maybe its some sort of sunfish. After a quick fight I pulled and noticed it was a largemouth. I casted again toward the direction I was originally casting towards and after a few my line went tight again. Unfortunately my leader broke at the first fly and the fish was gone and so were mt two flies. I moved toward my car casting at a few spots and decided to call it a day around 12:30pm. Carp will continue to be my main focus on these waters but its nice to know there are other species I can target as well.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Interesting Item Hitting the Market Soon

Sportdog looks like the first e-collar company to integrate the e-collar and a GPS tracking system. It looks like it will be available in July. Branded as the Sportdog TEK 1.0LT they will not be cheap at a MSRP of $699.99. I really like this idea but I don't plan on getting one anytime soon. Although I am in the market for a new GPS unit, I don't think I can justify paying that much for this unique e-collar. After all my Dogtra 3500NCP is relatively new and currently serves its purpose, I also have a perfectly functional Tri Tronics Sport Basic G3 as a backup. Besides I suspect the GPS will be very basic with no topo maps or any maps for that matter. I know my Garmin GPS Vista is way outdated but I bet its features will be much better than this new Sportdog. Perhaps latter models will be more add these additional features, only time will tell,and if that is the case I may get one then.


Gyotaku is a traditional Japanese art form to record natural history particularly fish that dates back to the 1700s. The art form is even still practiced today by sportsmen. There are two ways to make these prints. One way is to cover one side of the fish with ink and then place the paper on top then remove. The other way is to place the paper on the fish first and then add the ink with a small blotter.

They make excellent decorations to any home or office. I plan to add one to mine one day, in fact I asked my father if he could find one when he goes to Japan in September. I'm not sure if he'll find one but I asked him if he comes across one to get it. I've been researching how to make one and maybe someday I'll record my catches. The only problem with that is that it requires you to keep the fish. Perhaps I'll do it to carp as no one cares if one keeps carp.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another Attempt at Carp

Although I thought it would be a pointless endeavour as the last few days have brought light morning rains and high afternoon winds, I decided to make another attempt at these local carp. Because the last few days I've been tying flies for carp and my upcoming trip to Barrett Lake, its given me a strong desire to get my line wet. The weather has not been cooperating though, in spite of this I decided to I'd give it a try. Once I made it to the water I noticed that the water clarity is next to nil. When I reached an opening in the river, I saw a tailing carp in some cattails in about ankle high water. I thought maybe it won't be so bad after all. I couldn't cast in front of its face as it was digging around the tulies so I casted just at the front edge of the cattails and waited for him to reach that area. Soon enough he came. I began my slow short strips but to no avail. This would be my only shot at fish to today as sight casting was nearly impossible. I hiked up and down the river to check new spots but no fish were in the shallows.

A lot of waterfowl were on the water including these two drakes. I'll see you two in the fall. Afterwards I headed to a nearby community lake to try my luck at some bass. This too I thought was somewhat pointless as I've not caught a bass in that lake in quite sometime. I spent about 40 minutes there and finally decided to go home skunked for the day.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Conway Bowman on Carp

This afternoon I spent my time at Bob Marriott's listening to Conway Bowman's seminar regarding Carp on the fly. It was quite good timing as my interest for carp has peaked. The presentation was filled with good info that I can use on my quest for the elusive golden ghost. Some info I gathered:

Ideal water temperature is 63 degrees but water from 66 to 80 degrees is good. When above 80 degrees, fish the mornings as the fish will usually shut down as temps rise. Use floating lines with 12ft tapered 3x leaders with subtle slow one inch strips. Limit false cast to 2 at most. If you miscast or the fish turns away from the fly, slowly lift the fly out of the water do not rip the fly out as it will cause the fish to spook. Although Conway admitted to not having much sucess in the rivers I'll try to use what he suggested on my local waters.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Local Carping

For the longest time I've wanted to catch (legitimately) a carp on a fly, so this morning I headed out to some local waters that I could attempt to do so. This piece of water is only 10 minutes or so from house right in the middle of the city. Although I've known about this water for over 10 years now, I've never fished it for some reason. Today I decided to change that.

I started at about 10am and fished until about noon. As soon as I hit the water I noticed three carp in about a foot and a half of water. The whole day I was sight casting to fish. Unfortunately this carping thing is new to me and I was unable to get any to take my fly. But that did not deter my joy, I can see why this game is so popular in the UK and elsewhere. In America, carp are just now starting to get a following but it is nowhere near that of the rest of the world.

I must have seen at least 20 or more fish within the less than 2 hours out there. The fly I started with was a wooly bugger with rubber legs and beadhead. Even though I did not hook up with any, I understand the appeal for these fish they are challenging to catch and very weary. Someday I'll figure it out and get one at the end of my line. Hopefully that will be the next time I head out there.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Diamond Valley Fly Fishing

Although today is the opener for Barrett Lake, I decided to skip it and head off to Diamond Valley Lake (DVL) instead. I chose to fish here rather than Barrett for a few reasons. One its closer to me, only an hour and a half drive from my house. And unlike Barrett, DVL does not have set times when can enter the lake. So that means I could get a few more hours sleep. Another reasons is that on Wednesdays the price is half off. I paid $37 plus a $5 reservation fee for a half day boat. Entrance to the lake is also half off for $3. I arrived just before the 6am opening and anglers were already waiting.  
Once I received my boat I headed left of the marina and started fishing with my Sage XP 8wt loaded with a Rio Striper 350 gr line. I tied a rather large articulated bluegill pattern I created. Unfortunately I will never know how effective the pattern is as I lost it after a few casts in the submerged trees. I spent sometime here with no luck. I moved across the lake and fished more submerged timber. 
It was difficult at times to determine whether or not the fly was taken. Bumping the structure at times felt like strikes. On one occasion I thought I was hitting structure but in fact it was a fish. The line would go tight and then limp like I was hitting structure. I finally started to pull a bit after a while. The fish must have been swimming towards me . I finally saw the fish initially I thought it was a bluegill. A rather big Largemouth was following it as I brought it closer to me. It appeared to be at least 4lbs although fish always look smaller in the water. When I finally landed my fish I realized it was not a bluegill but to my surprise it was a smallmouth. Little did I know this would be the only fish for the day. 
 This fish was taken on my Scott S3S 7wt with 250 gr and a silverside minnow fly. I floated throughout this area and spotted several bass over 4lbs. Unfortunately none were willing to take my flies. In one shallow area I floated over a pod of carp, maybe ten or more. All were at least over 5lbs. None were willing to honor me with a take. My boat was due at noon and 30 minutes before that time I managed 2 big strikes but was unable to stick the fish. They both came unglued while trying to set the hook. One fish for the day and a rather small one. That's rough. But at least I didn't get skunked. And at least I got a SMB as I haven't landed to many of those in my fishing career. I wonder how they did at Barrett.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Suncast Kennel Review

As the warm weather is fast approaching California, I decided to purchase a new kennel for Kaiser. My current kennel is a Petmate and is more than capable. Although its a good kennel, it does have some drawbacks. First its air circulation is rather poor. Vents are only on the top half of the box. Also the walls are tapered so that the published dimensions are actually smaller. Because of these reasons I've decided that the old kennel is better suited for the fall and winter and that is when I'll use it. So I looked for a new one. My requirements were prettt simple, one it needed to provide better circulation and be made in the US or another first world country. There are too many Chinese made junk kennels available. None of which I was willing to buy.

Today my new kennel arrived from Lion Country. Its a large kennel from Suncast made in the US and it rectifies the shortcomings of my Petmate. Although it is not without its own.

The two kennels side by side. The published dimensions are the same but the floor of the Suncast is actually more spacious as the walls are not so aggressively tapered. As it may be seen in the photo, the front and rear are wire allowing more air circulation.

The sides are vented from both the top half and bottom adding to the circulation.

The Suncast is not without its shortcomings. First because it can be disassembled into six major parts, its seems a bit flimsy and less sturdy than the Petmate. The fit is not tight as you can tell from the photo above. The joints fit less than flush.

One feature I do like is that the top has three storage compartments, two of which have lids. They are perfect for placing leads, e-collars, crushable water bowls and much more. The compartments do come at a price to internal height though. The lids are a bit cheesy but its nice to keep some must have gear.

The kennel fits perfectly in the LR3 with the Engel by its side. Space in between the two is less than when the Petmate is used but there still is enough room for water bowls and smaller items. As with the old kennel, there is no need to lower the second row.

There is just enough room with the tailgate closed.

Here the second row is lowered so that the dog may be seen but more importantly so that the air conditioned air can reach a hot canine.

Kaiser getting used to his new home.

As you can see from this photo the upper compartments do sacrifice some head room but that is not a real big concern as dogs will generally simply lay down in the car.

Kaiser is a medium sized dog weighing about 70 pounds. This kennel fits him fine and should do well in our hot months and for the early part of the season when temperatures are still warm.