Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Carpin' Recap Weights 1-7

1 Weight Sage SLT 8'1" 3 piece with J. Austin Forbes Sandstone.

2 Weight Winston LT 7'9" 5 piece with Galvan OB1.
3lbs., 4.5lbs., 5lbs

3 Weight Sage VPSL (Blank) 8'9" 3 piece with Galvan OB2.

4 Weight Powell Timax 9' 4 piece with J. Austin Forbes Avon.

5 Weight Sage XP (blank) 9' 4 piece with Abel Pt 5.
4lbs, 5lbs.

6 Weight Sage XP 9' 4 piece with Abel pt 5.

7 Weight Scott S3S 9' 4 piece with Billy Pate Salmon.
(Approx) 3lb, 7lbs, 8lbs

Ice E Hot Fly

Hook: TMC 2487 or 3751
Head: Beadhead
Tail: Ice Dubbing Peacock
Body: Stalcup Micro Tubing Brown
Thorax: Ice Dubbing Peacock tied with a dubbing loop

I created this fly a few days ago. Carp seem to like it and I have no doubt it will be effective on trout as well. The next time I go the sierras I'll be sure to test them out. Its simple to tie and you can punch out several in only a few minutes. I've tied them in natural and unnatural colors such as chartreuse, shrimp pink, and uv pearl. With nymphs, I usually tie them half in standard straight hooks and the other half on scud style hooks. I've caught them on both. This is starting to become one of my go to carp flies.

2 Weight Carpin'- Big Day

Last night I went to Richard's house to borrow his custom built 7'9" 2 weight Winston LT 5 piece rod. This morning I arrived at the water at about 9am. A little later than I really wanted to but that is life. Again this morning started out gloomy with only a slight breeze.

I fished for about 20 minutes before my first hook up. I felt the fish and it ran, I did not really set the hook as I thought it would do that itself while it bulldogged me and ran. I did not want to break off. In a matter of a few seconds the line went limp and the fly came unglued.

It took some time after that to get another hook up. By this time the breeze vanished and the sun began poking itself out of the clouds. Making it a perfect day for carp. After blowing a few attempts I finally some tailing to my left and I casted toward it. I was not quite sure what direction the fish was facing but made an educated guess. After a few short slow strips I felt the tug and then then the explosion as the fish ran. The 2 weight bent down to the cork. I fought him mostly using the drag of the Galvan OB1.

After a few good runs, the carp gave in and allowed me to land him. I used to boga him, and he weighed 3 pounds. One if the smallest ones I've caught here but a great fighter nonetheless especially with the small rod. I released him and moved on to other waters.

After making through a mess of a cattail jungle I spotted another feeding. Casting to him, I stripped slowly and he took but again I didn't set the hook well and eventually came off.

As he was not on for long, he did not spook the other fish feeding near him. So I chose anther fish to cast to and finally got one to bite. This guy did not fight much, he basically allowed me to muscle him around, not easy to do with a 2 weight. After a few short runs it came to me. The moment I put my hands on it, the fly came out and due to the girth of him I didn't get a good handle and he ran off. So I was unable to boga him. He looked about a 4.5 to 5 pounder.

Moving on to another group of feeders and managed to get another to take. This guy was a fighter and a runner. He bulldogged me up close and ran whenever it had a chance. He took me to the backing at one point. Once landed I weighed him at 4.5 pounds.

I left around 11. It was a great day to be out as the conditions were perfect. Perfect enough to comfortably cast a 2 weight.

I have now caught a carp on every rod weight from 1 though 7. I could actually go out there with an 8 weight but I think that is way overkill for this water.

Monday, June 27, 2011

4 Weight Carpin'

With my morning appointment cancelled, I decide to hit the waters to try and get a carp on my four weight. I managed this fish just after an hour on the water. Weighing in at 4.5 pounds, this fish when initially hooked simply sat in place while I pulled. Eventually fed up with the constant pressure, it decided to run and rip line out of reel. Using a click and prawl reel, the drag was esssentially useless. After several runs this carp finally gave in and let me land him. He took a new fly I tied last night. Now I need to come up with a name for it.

I fished for another hour until 11 when I decide to call it a day. The winds had picked up making it difficult to spot fish. Also my 4 weight is loaded with a DT line and shooting line was not a option.

With this fish I have now caught carp with a 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 weights. Since I don't own a 2 weight, I need to find someone who does so I can borrow it and complete the line up.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Working Hard Today

Met Ed on the water at 8am. He was packing his Sage SP 5 wt. I was packing the Sage XP 6 wt after I realized that my Abel was loaded with a 6 wt line not a 5. No wonder my casts with the 5 wt XP were so awful. I hadn't casted that rod in so long that I thought I was just not used to it. The day started good, I spotted several carp for Ed to cast to but none wanted to take. Sighting them was tough as again this morning started out gloomy. After about 45 minutes of trying to get Ed onto carp, I decided to wet my line. The fish today were tough, they refused perfect presentations. I gave Ed a Prince Harry Aggravator and he had no luck. I tried BH Filo fly, Rubber Legged Hare's Ear, BH Peacock Peasant Tail. All refused even with perfect presentations. By 9:15 Ed had to leave for work and I continued to fish, refusing to be beaten. The sun began to peak out but the wind started to pick up as well making things even more frustrating.

Cast after cast, fish continued to refuse. I went back to the old standby, the Prince Aggravator and began fishing with that. I knew if the fish didn't want to take that fly they wouldn't take any. It was not until just before noon I finally hooked one near the beach. The five pounder gave a good tug but not as good as the same sized fish yesterday. Since the six weight is borrowed from my friend, Joel who willingly admits to being the most unlucky fly fisherman alive, I was beginning to believe that his curse was past along to the rod unto me. Thankfully not.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

OC Carping

Spent a couple hours on the water today with the 5 weight. Managed a five pounder that had no quit in him. Felt much bigger than he actually was, in fact the last fish, a four pounder was much the same. They fought harder than the larger fishes I caught here. Conditions in the mornings have been gloomy and today was no different. Arrived little past 9, breeze didn't start to pick up by 10. I'm trying to get as much carping in before the vegetation gets out of control and I'll have no casting lanes. Heading back tomorrow to guide Ed on his first carp on the fly. I forgot my camera today and all I had was my iphone which takes even worse pics than my Olympus.

Today my usual go-to fly of Prince Aggravator fly did not produce so I tried my Prince Harry Aggravator and that fly took the carp. Clouser swimming nymph and BH filo fly did not produce either.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another Day Another Carp

Started out late around 10am and the winds began to pick up but I did manage one four pounder on the 5 weight. Saw a boat-load throughout the morning. I blew a bunch of shots including my first, which was a rather large carp. Sun didn't peak through until just before noon. By that time the wind had already created enough chop to make sight casting impossible. Vegetation is growing high and casting lanes are disappearing. Looks like I may not be fishing this water through the summer. We'll see. While driving out of there I did see a coyote come out to cross the road. Don't see that too often midday in the suburbs.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gyotaku Carp

I caught my first carp on a fly earlier this month and I kept it just so that I can practice some gyotaku printing. I finally received my sumi ink and rice paper via Fedex yesterday. So I defrosted the fish last night. When I finished fishing this morning I tried my luck at this ancient form of art. It is not easy to make a good looking print. I managed a few that look just okay. A lot of them were crap. The photo above is probably the best one of the bunch. I still need to add the eye.

1 Weight Carpin'

When I awoke this morning at around 7, I looked out the window to find that it was already breezy outside. I had intended to try my luck at carp with the one weight but with the wind starting early and with no sun in sight I thought I'd better try that another time with more optimal conditions. Having received the package of Gyotaku material I order a week or so ago, I took the carp I caught and kept out of the freezer last night. I figured I'd try my Gyotaku prints this morning instead. After a quick breakfast I decided what the hell and changed my mind, I'd give the one weight a go. By this time it was about 9 and when I reached the water it was about 15 after.

Within the first 10 minutes, I saw a pod of about three feeding. I casted several times until one took. My J. Austin Forbes reel screamed as the carp ran. I worried that the carp was about to spool me. That reel only has maybe 20 yards of backing in addition to the fly line. Eventually it stopped its run, I tried to gather line by reeling as fast as I could but with a diameter of maybe 2 inches, it was a bit pointless. The fish continued to come toward me as I tried to keep the line tight. After about a 10 minute fight, the fly flew out of the water toward my direction. Spit the hook out. Note to self don't bother with the reel, its pointless. It doesn't even have a drag. I'll hand line the next one if I can get one.

With the wind picking up, it became more and more difficult to spot a carp let alone cast to one. I'd see one or a group and try to throw a cast that would go absolutely nowhere near where I was aiming. One weight in even the slightest breeze is amost impossible to cast more than a few feet. As time and fish passed, I found a lone feeder, and made a few casts. The carp took the fly and ran and continued to run. The reel zinged like crazy, one of the best sounds in the world. Although this was a smaller fish than the first hook up, I still worried that I'd get spooled. Eventually the fish tired and I tried to make up line. Again I used the reel and reeled in as fast as I could but it was worthless, I remembered to just hand line the fish in. It ran a few times but I managed to hand line him in. With the boga I weighed the fish. A four pound carp on a one weight in a breezy sunless conditions. Talk about making things difficult for oneself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TMC Wingburners And It's Custom Made Holder

On my trip to Japan last spring, I made some purchases at Sansui fly shop. Whenever I'm in the Tokyo area I look for items that I can't get here in the US. One of such items was the TMC wingburners (the other items are posted here). When I came home I thought of a way to organize them on my fly tying desk. Since Lou is a fabricator, I asked if he could make me a holder. I gave him a general ideal on what I was looking for and he took it from there. As he is a rookie fly fisherman, I traded him some flies for the work. I finally received it yesterday when we went dog training.

TMC wingburners are unavailable here in the US. I have a total of eight of them. Each package comes with a pair of burners. I bought some caddis, mayfly and cranefly wingburners.

This holder is made from leftover material that Lou used for building his kennel.

More items not sold here in the US. This wing material that are used with the wingburners.

This is what the mayfly wings look like when burned.

I tied several of them last year but I've yet to really try any of them. I always seem to forget to do so.

A close up look at one of those flies. The extended tail is made from tools also unavailable here in the US, I used the C&F Design Extend Body Twister.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Prado Preseason Training

Yesterday I received a call from my hunting buddy and he asked me if I was up for some dog training. My intention was to fish carp on my one weight but I decided that could wait another day. Its been some time since Kaiser and have hit Prado dog park for some training so Lou's invitation was more than welcome. Having not shot my Merkel 47e since I got it back from the gunsmiths at Steyr USA, it was a good time to make sure they did the job properly (although I had no doubt that they did).

Kaiser definitely was rusty. He no longer is steady at wing and shot. I'll have to rectify that this summer. After the bird training I took him to the ponds and worked on his whistle and hand commands. He had not forgotten those, so I think he'll do just fine in the blinds at Wister and San Jacinto. Last season I intentionally left Kaiser home during my duck hunts as I did no training last preseason so I was not comfortable with him in the blind. This year that won't be the case.

Loading my DT Systems bird launcher. Lou has the LCS launcher. One flaw in the DTS is that to arm it requires a magnet tool to lower the lever. Although I attached it to a lanyard that is connected to the launcher, I find that this is a poor design. What if one loses the magnet during training? You essentially then have a useless box as you can not arm the system without the tool.

Scenting conditions were poor. Kaiser is literally right above the bird before scenting it and going on point.

Bird launches as Lou takes the shot.

Lou's dog. Two GWPs and one GSP. Each dog had three birds which made for a very long training session.

Sidelined last year, the Merkel 47e is back and ready for some quail this season. It will be nice carrying a light sub gauge again.

Monday, June 13, 2011

3 Weight Carpin'

Sage VPS Light 3 weight with quite the bend

This morning I had no intention of fishing as I had some business to take care of but when I finished at just before 10, I saw that the air was absolutely still and changed my mind. Normally by this time its about time to stop fishing as the winds start to pick up making spotting fish almost impossible.

Because I've pretty much have these fish dialed in, I've decided to make things a bit more challenging by what I'm calling "stepping down the ladder." Every time I catch a carp, the next outing I'll go down a weight. Ideally you should go down a line weight but since I began fishing these waters with a 7 weight (Scott S3S), then I moved down to a 5 weight (Sage XP). Today I brought out the 3 weight. Its a Sage VPS Light that I built years ago, together with a Galvan OB2, this was my arsenal for today. So I'm skipping every other weight or just the even numbers for now.

Although I was fortunate when I began to have no wind, I did have to make do without any sunshine for a while. I'll take windless over sunless any day carping. I had fished for hours, blowing several good opportunities to catch a carp until just about when I was about to give up, when the wind began to pick up, I finally hooked a lone feeder. It took much longer (obviously with a lighter rod) to land and for the first two attempt just when I tried to land it, it ran giving my Sage rod quite a bend. After a few minutes to gave in and let me grab him. I remembered to boga this one. It weighed in at an even six pounds. With the wind really affecting my casts I decided that was enough fun for today. With my "stepping down the ladder" theme, the next time I go out I'll be taking my 1 weight to see if I can land one on such a dinky rod.

Six pound carp on a 3 weight

Friday, June 10, 2011

5 Weight Carpin'

Awoke this morning to misty gloomy conditions. Knowing full well that sight casting will be tough, I decided to make things even tougher by using my Sage XP 5 weight that I built. Since buying my T&T Helix SW 5 weight, the Sage has been benched and has seen very little playing time. I decided to rectify that today. Armed with the Abel Pt 5, it was time to give this combo some time on the water.

Although I saw many fish, casting to them was tough as windows of opportunities were short. Once I saw the fish cruising, it would swim into the deeper or darker waters and made them hard to follow. It took me some time to get the rhythm of the XP. I had to remind myself to slow down my casts, as I was used to the faster action of my Scott S3S 7 weight.

In time I finally hooked one feeding in the shallows. I wasn't quite sure it took the fly until it erupted and bolted. Unfortunately my Abel is an older model so it as no outgoing click (which I absolutely hate) so no reel music when the fish had its three runs. When I landed it I took a pic next to my rod so I could better judge its size. Forgetting I was carrying my boga grip and never weighed him. Only after he swam away did I realize my mistake.

By noon I decided to call it a day.

This is the second smallest carp I've taken here, the smallest being my very first carp. Still it was quite a blast on the 5 weight.

Just like the first carp I caught here, this fish also has some injuries. No clue what would cause this.

This guy is pretty battle scarred. Do carp fight one another? If they do this guy will live another day to duke it out with another.

When I started fishing here I wore bootfoot waders, I finally realized that's completely unnecessary as all cast can be made on shore. No more sweating balls in gore-tex. Thank god.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Articulated Super Sexy Fly (ASS Fly)

Hook: Gamakatsu SL11-3H Size 6
Eye: Cross-eyed Conehead
Thread: Danville Flat Nylon White, Red
Tail: Chartruese Marabou
Body: Estaz
Underbody: 3MM Foam (Optional)
Connector: Heavy Mono
Color: Waterproof Marker Dark Olive

I came up with this fly from my articulated fly phase. At that time I was trying to fool bedding bass at our local city park lakes. I wanted to create a fly with alot of action and one that mimics the action of a crankbait. That is a fly that has its head pointing downward and the butt upward while wiggling as it moves. When I first tried this fly at Barrett Lake on Saturday I saw how irresistible this fly really is, I remarked to my friend Ed, "look how sexy that fly moves." And hence the name.

I dremel of the barbs of the hooks as Barrett has very strict barbless policy. Also doing so makes it possible to use the conehead. Although I created this fly for bass, I'll be using them in the bay this year when the water begins to warm up.

Tailer hook. Tie marabou tail with the white danville flat nylon.

Next cut a piece of foam making sure it is shorter than the shank of the hook. Tie the one end first and tie estaz. (*EDIT* actually leave the foam out, I find the action much better without it)

Wrap thread forward under the foam, do not wrapped the middle section of the foam. If you do so the foam will lose its buoyancy properties. Tie down the front section of the foam.

Wrap the estaz forward. Wrap finish the head and cement. Remove from vice.

Place the conehead to the lead hook and lay down a base thread with the red Danville Floss.

Tie down the heavy mono.

Place the trailing hook in the mono making sure that the hook stands true. Tie the mono forward and then back over itself to add strength and tie down.

Tie on estaz and wrap forward.

Tie down the estaz with a lot of wraps. You want to build enough so that the conehead will not move so the eyes stay in place. Wrap finish and cement.

Last step is to use a waterproof color marker on the the top half of the each section of the fly.