Sunday, July 22, 2012

Barrett Lake Fly Fishing Report

After quitting trying to acquire tickets for Barrett Lake this season, I managed to purchase one on the secondary market for today.  I've been waiting for this day all season and not even jamming a hook all the way to the bend in my thumb the night before wouldn't deter me from enjoying this trip. We left my house just after 11:30 Saturday night and with a portion of the freeway closed to just one lane our trip to the gate took more time than expected.  With Ed about to pass out, I took over driving duties until we reached Alpine.  We made it to the gate at about 2am where we slept in the truck until they opened the gate at 5.  We were let into the property at 4:30 and we drove to the marina to retrieve our boat.  What would be normally an epic day at any other bass lake, is just a so-so day at Barrett Lake. Water levels are down and the Department of Water is continually releasing water. In all Ed's years fishing this lake, he had never seen it this low. 
With our rods rigged, we headed to our go-to starting spot.  As the sun slowly began to rise we threw poppers with our 6 weights.  Ed with his Sage RPLXi with a Hair popper, myself with my Sage TCR and a Lazy Man's diver.  We both missed our strikes.  I managed to have the fish on only briefly before it cam unglued.  Once the the sun peaked over the mountains, we switched to sinking lines.  Ed was the first to switch to his 9'6" Sage TCR 6 weight with a 250 SA Streamer Express line with a chartreuse clouser.  I fished my favorite rod, the T&T Helix 5 weight SW with a RIO 24ft DC 150 grain line and a Crystal purple bugger.  As what seems to be our typical outing Ed connected with the first few fish, all bass, in the 2 pound range.  I connected with some palm sized bluegills.  Once a slight breeze started, bass began boiling around our boat.  Not wanting to miss the action we choose not to switch back to our top water rigs.  I casted directing into the boil and connected with my first two pounder of the day.   This action lasted for on and off throughout the morning.
When the fury of the boiling ceased, we drifted along the bank catching bass ad bluegill along the way.  Ed managed 3 crappie and lost a 3 plus pound bass right at the boat.  It seemed I was the bluegill slayer today as most of my catches were of this feisty panfish. 
We left this section and instead of going down our usual patch down Hauser we decided to mix it up and go into Pine instead.  Perhaps in retrospect this may have been a mistake.  We've always had success in Hauser but we wanted to try something new.  At this time (about 10am) the wind began to make trolling difficult.  While Ed napped in the boat I fished a rocky point with a yellow bugger.  I snagged some submerged structure and was able to free it.  I continued to fish this point.  I had at least 5 strikes, one a very hard one.  I concluded that they must have been bluegill short striking my fly until I picked my fly out of the water and noticed that the hook had broken off.  This is the second time my hook on yellow buggers have broken.  The last time was on Friday at Irvine Lake.  We moved down Pine without any success.  When trying to leave Pine, our boat failed to start and we managed to flag down the only other boat in Pine to tow us back to the marina.  While being towed, Ed managed to get the boat started again and we thanked the guys for a lift and headed back to our starting point earlier.  We ended fishing a sheltered area from the howling wind.  For me most were juvenile bass and the cookie-cutter colorful bluegill.  Flies that worked today: purple bugger, yellow bugger, chartreuse clouser, gourmet silversided minnow, ASS fly, and bristleback.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Another Day At Irvine Lake

Their First Bass of the Day
Ed, his son and I spent another morning at Irvine Lake.  As like our last visit, Ed left his fly rods at home and he and his son fished gear while I tried my luck with the fly. Once the wind picked up at around 10am the bite began but once it stabilized it ended as quickly as it started. We missed a few strikes and I came home with the skunk this time while Ed managed two bass that his son landed.     Tried just about every fly and every retrieve, I was stuck a few times and missed a bass while in between strips.  The brutally hot day today is good warm up for our Barrett trip this weekend. 
Their Second.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Gills At MVL

With the bluegills aggressively taking flies last Thursday, Chul invited me to try and take some with light tackle. In the morning we had cloudy skies but when we reached the water at about 1, the sun was at full force and the winds picked up. Not really ideal conditions, so I decided to keep the 3 weight in the truck and use my 5 weight and my 8 weight as a bass back up.
Foregoing our usual starting spots, we fished a shallow cove where the bluegills were active last week. I rigged my go-to crystal purple wooly bugger with a Hargrove bluegill fly as a trailer. On my first cast several dink bluegill attacked my trailer but I was unable to hook up. After several casts, stripping my tandem down the drop-off I saw a huge bass chase my bugger only to be taken by a smaller bass.
We moved to our usual spot and I missed a strong strike when I was clearing a tangle on my flyline. This was the hardest take so far fishing MVL. I suspect it must have been another monster bluegill. I managed to take two more hand sized bluegills to end the day. I lost a few more near the boat. Chul who was fishing his 7 foot 3 weight most of the day manged to avoid the skunk by catch a dink bluegill.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Diarrhea Water and Clooping Carp

Last night I had no intention of fishing but when I woke this morning I had an itch.  So I headed to the local carp water without taking it consideration what the recent rains may have done to the river.  Once I reached the water I realized it was going to a waste of time.  The water was up even more than last time and it was completely black.  Visibility was only a few inches so I wouldn't be sight casting today.  For the first time ever in my brief carping career I finally saw clooping carp (or rising carp).  I've only read or seen it on video, never in person.  My carp box has very little in a dry fly selection and I tried an emerger dry  without much success.  I moved toward shallower water where I could briefly spot cruising and tailing carp.  With even the most perfect cast to these fish, they refused.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Irvine Lake Fly Fishing

I've waited months to finally board Ed's boat.   We took it out to Irvine Lake in the hopes of slaying some bass.  The last time he and his son came during the spring, they slayed them.  His son even managed a 4 pounder.  Although young Kyle did not get any fish today at least he was able to see a bald eagle flying overhead.  We didn't start fishing until about nine.  Ed and his son fished gear as it was easier for three people to fish but moreover it was more convenient since his son needed a lot of help.  The lake was calm and the water clear.  Surprising given all the recent heat.  The morning was filled with missed opportunities.   Strikes were delicate and once you detected something amiss it was too late to set the hook.  I started with the ubiquitous purple crystal bugger but with no success I swapped it for a ASS fly.  As the sun began to cook us, we drifted along a treeline and I finally was able to hook up on a 1.5 pound bass.  This would prove to be the only fish for the day.  Throughout the day I switched from my T&T 5weight to my Sage XP 8 weight.  With the larger rod I tried various large patterns including a new crayfish pattern I've been tying up lately but no fish was willing to be the first one hooked up on that fly.  Unlike my other trip on another buddy's boat, we had no significant issue with the craft.  It nice to be on a proper boat with a trolling motor, fish finder and comfortable seats unlike most rental boats I'm used to fishing out of.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Water's Back Up. 6 lb Carp. Damn Dog. More Bass

Big shoulder 6 pounder
Waking up this morning I had no intention to go out carping but with the morning air still I decided to head out.  When I made it to the water I noticed that the water is back up.  Who the hell is releasing water?  I thought we were in a drought.  With my bootfoot waders on I waded in at almost instantly I noticed feeding carp.  In only a few minutes I was on.  This fish was the hardest fighting carp to date this year.  It ran right then left then right again.  It must have taken at least 15 minutes to land him on my Sage XP 5 weight.  I bogaed him at 6 pounds although he seemed bigger due to its girth.
The infamous lab with a retard owner.
More juvenile bass.
Moving on I noticed several more carp feeding up ahead.  That was instantly ruined when from a distance I saw a lab frolicking in the water drinking along the way.  The very same lab, just a few months ago, jumped on me when I was fishing.  Once the dog spotted me he ran toward me and before it could jump on me I yelled at him and he didn't dare.  For the next 30 or more minutes this dog would not leave my side.  He had just ruined every good hole that was holding feeding fish.  I went through the weeds to find his dumb ass owner.  Eventually I found him and asked him if he knew what kind of toxins are in that water.  He said he did not.  I told him in a scolding, lecturing tone that that water comes from spill off from industrial plant, farm run off, sewage among others.  Its likely to have arsenic in it among other cancer causing pathogens, keep your dog on the leash and don't let him drink it.  He leashed his dog and left.  I thought of really getting pissed, especially from the last incident but I think he got the message. 

I returned to the water, now with the wind blowing and conditions poor for sight casting.  I saw no more carp so I started to fish for bass.  I managed only one and other juvenile before calling it quits.  I received a call from Ed on the way out to see if I wanted on his boat tomorrow.  He knew the answer.

Monday, July 9, 2012

No Carp. Dink Bass.

One of many of dink bass
After my morning appointment, I decided to try my luck at some local carp.  Water conditions have changed for the better although clarity is still not what I'd like it to be.  I had one carp straighten out my hook but no carp landed but I managed a handful of dink bass.  I arrived too late to do any real damage as the winds were already howling as I got there.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Maiden Voyage

If you make less than 10 casts does it still qualify as a skunk day?  Some time ago my buddy purchased a 16 foot boat for a mere $300 including trailer.  After some minor work, it was finally ready to launch.  Today was the day to see if she was sea-worthy.  It was not a very good sign when we launched and motor was struggling to start.  When it did we set off toward the mouth.  Once we got there we noticed that the fuel tank was now half empty.  The boat was for whatever reason bleeding fuel.   I only managed to make a few casts before we headed back to the launch ramp.  We refueled at the the fuel station to ensure we'd make it back.  We drifted a couple times beneath the PCH bridge before calling it quits.  What shame as I noticed that the tides were really swinging my fly line, would have been a good day I think.
What a $300 boat looks like.

Friday, July 6, 2012

City Park Night Fishing

After arriving at his house at 7:15, Ed took me to a park near his house.  Ed was armed with his gear rod with a plug and me with my 3 weight.  My target were the bluegills that are abundant in this city park.  The moment I arrived a group of youngsters were fighting a palm sized blue once I passed them.  Good sign.  My first cast was not.  On my backcast I instantly caught myself on an overhanging branch.  My set up was a stimulator with an aggravator dropper.  Once the sun went down I missed two bluegills that took the dry.   It was shallow and once I saw the dry get hit I set the hook but my trailing fly got hooked up on the rocks preventing a proper hook set.  Later I missed a huge fish. I felt him take the fly but I set the hook too weakly and after a head shakes it was off.  Judging by the wake it caused I concluded that it must have been a carp.  Ed had two weak strikes throughout the night but no hook ups either.  There was alot of boiling which is always exciting.  We ended at 9:40PM.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Handful of Juvenile Bass at MVL

One of many cookie cutter juvenile that attacked our flies all day.
Small bass is better than no bass.  With the weather consistent the last few days and with cool overcast conditions, I was pretty confident the fishing would be pretty good.   In the three hours of fishing, we managed several a piece, I lost count but we had at least 6 or 7 trout-sized bass to the hand.  We noticed at least 5 bass in the over 8 pound range.  Two of which followed our boat for sometime though they refused to open their mouths.  I had one of those chase my 11 inch bass but refused to attack it.  It seems that there are two kinds of bass here- juvenile 10-11 inchers and monster bass.  I've yet to catch an average bass here.  Since this lake has a slot limit, I'm not sure if people are pulling all the 12 to 20 inch fish out of here and that is why we see the extremes in sizes.
One of many tight lipped lunkers in this lake.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day Night Carping

Before the night's festivities, I decided to try my luck at carping at sunset.  It's been sometime since I've fished these waters.  The last time the vegetation was about waist high.  Now its clearly overhead.  That is not surprising, what is though is the fact that there is some much water.  So much that the water is up to the tulies.  If that is not bad enough visibility is next to nothing.  You can't see past a couple inches.
Despite the poor conditions I carried on.  I figured if I couldn't find a carp I'd switch to bassin'.  After all I had some new top water flies to try out.  Armed with my Sage XP 5wt with a black rubber legged hare's ear, made my way through the jungle.  It appears as though not many people are fishing here, as the trails that were there last year are now longer.  There are only a few entry points and getting in the water is problematic with only wellies.   In time I found an entry point and waded carefully in.  After about 30 minutes of blind casting I hooked up what felt like the many plastic bags buried in the sand.  I pointed the rod in its direction and began pulling.  First there was the heavy resistance, then it seemed to come loose, then heavy again.  It was an awkward feeling.  Then I saw a wake.  I was actually on a fish.  Once I realized that I pulled the rod up to fight it, then it came loose.
Koji sent me some foam that he uses for the floating minnow fly and I've been tying some with it.  I was eager to try it out.  So I tied one on.  The sun was beginning to set so it was perfect timing.  No luck and as the sun was coming down I went to the shallows to see if I could get either a carp or bass.  Once I got there I saw carp so I took the popper off and tied an aggravator.  The sun was down by now and I could see carp spooking with my casts but they were not going far.  They would return shortly after.  I'm not sure if they are breeding again as they breed several times a year.  After about 20 minutes I gave up and headed home to see the fireworks show.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Slow Action Sage Rods To Be Released

When I started flyfishing, my mates and I only wanted fast action rods, the faster the better.  The trend was and is definitely going that way.  That is probably why most of my rods have been Sage rods.  But now that I have almost 2 decades of experience under my belt, I and some of my mates are leaning toward slower action rods at least for trout and stillwater fishing.  Some are now even using glass rods.  It will be interesting to see what these Circa rods will feel like.  Looks like they will be retailing for $745 to $775 when they come out in the next few months.