Saturday, March 30, 2013

"This Place Still Sucks"

Not long ago Chul bought Ed's pram and after waiting some time to actually take delivery of it Chul wanted to take and get his first fish on it.  The original plan was to fish another lake but after reading some reports of bass staging up in the coves we choose to fish Puddingstone Lake on Friday afternoon.  This was the first time for me fishing here and while Chul had fished here years ago it might have been his first time here as well.

Earlier at work a coworker of Chul's told him to avoid that lake.  We should have listened to him.  The lake is located right next door to Raging Waters but the only thing raging yesterday was our tempers.  After having spent over 45 minutes driving around the lake making a entire loop before finding the appropriate place to launch the pram all the while running into staff members that were less than helpful, we finally launched the boat.  Stressed and pissed from all the headaches, we finally made it to the water, we fly fish to relieve stress not induce it.  Not a good start.  Casts after lousy casts we would occasionally get a strike in the most inopportune time missing fish when they chose to strike.  After hours of wind pushing us around, we made it to a protective cove that allowed us to make a decent drift.
Chul tied on a gurgler popper and I suggested we move to a submerged tree.  After a cast or two I heard some splashing so I turned my head and saw Chul on a bass.  I helped land his fish and then weighed him on the boga.  At just under 2 pounds, this female was ready to burst with her fat belly.  She had inhaled the fly deep, but thankfully the fish was unharmed.  After releasing her I tied a fly pattern from Japan, the Floating Minnow Fly, that Koji gave me last summer on my 150 grain line.  I lost a bass on my first cast with this setup and another on my third before it was time to get the boat out of the water. 
This day fishing was rough and even though Chul managed his first bass on a popper fly afterwards he did make the most apropos comment ever:  "This place still sucks."  To make it matters worse I didn't even get Chul's fish on video even though I was positive that the Contour was on during the fight.  I even recall making sure the slide was on the "on" position.  So the best part of the day wasn't even captured on film.  That figures.  The highlight of the day besides Chul's topwater bass was he at least took care of dinner at a great local Thai place.  Thanks for dinner holmes.  The day still sucked.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quit Your Carping!

I had 1.5 hours to kill so I hit up the local brown water just before lunch.  With rain in the forecast on Sunday, I wanted to get a carp before the water gets screwed up.  Section one and section two are low and clear and section three and so forth are not worth spending any time on.  I hooked two carp today and like some chump rookie I set the hook Bill Dance/Bass Masters style ripping them out of the fish's mouth.  Bent up my Prince Aggravator fly pretty good in the process.  The fish are school up and looks like they are ready for some loving as they are finding in the undercuts and not really feeding.  I did see that Hog Johnson Bass I missed the other day.  I casted to him for about ten minutes before he had enough of my shenanigans.  He gave me the red eye and took off to the shadows to taunt me.  He really did have a red eye.

Video From Yesterday's MVL Outing

Video from yesterday.  Unfortunately the most interesting part of the whole thing is the 70's porno-style Star Wars music I added to it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

MVL A Different Experience Than The Last

Biggest stocker of the day
After losing a 5 pound bass right at the boat on my last outing to MVL, I've been jonesing to get back on that water.  With the plan to hit it on Tuesday canceled, we hit again today.  When we arrived at the gate, Chul realized he had left his HOA card behind in his truck.  Great, I was in no mood to drive back and get his card.  So after getting a replacement at the office we finally hit the water.  First thing we noticed was the wind was blowing pretty hard and it was much cooler than last week.  I captained the boat to our favorite starting point as Chul rigged up.  We got there and although there was a lot of chop on the water I did notice a pig cruising just below us.  Drifting along this wall I saw above us an osprey with a trout in it's talons.  He stayed in this cove fishing hard with only one fish to show for our efforts.  I managed the dink bass and ate lunch before we headed out. 
The Highlight Of The Day
We moved across the lake to try to block the wind.  No matter where we went the wind would follow us.  Oddly it would drift us the opposite direction every time we moved.   Chul managed a bump that he missed so we moved on to the next spot.  Tired of the ubiquitous purple bugger, I switched to an ungodly creation I came up with the other night.  A Sili-legged monstrosity that  if it caught fish I would name "The Fugly S.O.B."  I only tried one in a tan/crayfish color and a few in purple.  Since dark colors weren't working out I choose the natural colored.   My rod went heavy and as I stripped line, I lost a real good fish.  I keep losing good one this month.  A few more casts I managed another dink bass that came off at the boat.  After that I managed a stock trout.  As I fought this trout Chul repositioned himself and his line in the direction I was fishing.  When he pulled his fly out of the water a 1.5 pound bass was chasing it.  Realizing it too late, Chul lifted his fly our of the water as the bass was ready to eat it.  Not his day. I managed another stocker after a few minutes.  We left this spot to another cove and tried our luck.  There we spoke with a rather well known gear bass fisherman and he moaned about losing a serious hog just minutes before, this guy had caught a bass over 14 pounds earlier this week and he said the one today was much bigger.  We fished this area and landed another stocker this one much bigger than the last two.  My fly was intended to be a bass fly and I'm catching stock trout.  S.O.B was supposed to mean "Slayer of Bass" looks like I'm going to have to rename it S.O.S.T. (Slayer of Stocked Trout).
Another Stocker with no dorsal fin.  Where's all the bass?
We moved on and I tried to get Chul on some fish but none were taking.  We even changed rigs in the hope of changing his luck.  He fished my prized T&T Helix 5wt and I fished his Sage One 5wt but even that didn't change his luck.  In fact his bad luck probably just rubbed off on me!  If that's true the next time I'm camp chef, I'm putting a laxative in his portions.  The day ended with Chul wrecking of the skunk.  This definitely was not what we expected considering last weeks outing.  What a shame.  I didn't come here for stockers.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Moon River

Moon river, wider than a mile
I'm crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you're going, I'm going your way
Restless after dinner I hit my local brown water to see if I could get that one that got away at night.  With my rod still loaded from yesterday, I jumped out of the Rover put on my wellingtons, my headlamp and waistpack and headed downstream.  My original plan was once I got to the water cut off the carp fly and tie on a popper pattern.  The instant I hit the banks I could see tailing carp only a couple feet away in the water.  So that plan was changed.  I made several casts with no luck so I moved into the water and the fish spooked.  All around me something was going on, bass busting the surface, carp pushing water.  It was pretty intense since I could see shit.    I left my more powerful headlamp in my duffle that I've yet to unpack from our Sierra trip so all I had in the truck was my older model which wasn't cutting it.   I switched to the pooper and tried my luck.  Nothing wanted it.  I gave up and went back to the car.  On the road I kept seeing carp mudding so I switched back and tried casting into the groups.  No fish after about an hour of trying.  I might have to try this night carping another try but next time better armed...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Not My Month

I keep losing good fish!  What the hell is going on?  This afternoon, bored out of my mind I decided to see how my local brown water was fishing.  The water has lowered somewhat but is still off colored more so than I'd like it.  Today I stacked the odds against me.  First I don't like fishing the afternoon since the winds create too much ripples and so its hard to sight fish.  Second I fished my Sage TCR 6 weight that is lined with a warmwater bass line.  Way over powered for delicate presentations.  Not to mention its orange.  Bright orange.  Third since I was way too lazy to change the existing tippet, that leader on the line was probably a year old if not more since I don't fish the 6 weight that often.
I spent most of my time trying to find fish.  When I was about give up I decided to hit up an area I've neglected for a while.  How things have changed.  The islands and tulies have been moved and so it channelizes the water.  It's gin clear, it almost seems as if you're on an English chalk stream.  That is if chalk streams smelt like ass, were loud with traffic noises, devoid of any clean water fish and had water that would make you sterile.  Other than that, yeah, very similar to a English chalk stream.  There were at least 15 large carp in here.  Casting was tough so I moved away from it and approached them from downstream. I had to wade and that didn't help my cause.  They spooked after several casts.  So I moved up and started blind casting into the weeds.  My rod went heavy and at first I thought it to be garbage until I lifted the beast out of the water and exposed its side.  It was at least a 2 pound bass, a pig for this water.  He never fought, he was limp as a Dirk Diggler and just as big.  He got off somehow after I exposed his side.  This month I've been losing way too many good fish...
That doesn't smell like mud...

The One (Of Two) That Got Away

Should be me holding that damn fish!
Chul returned to the fishing hole where I lost two massive fish (for that water) on his birthday trip. This is the first fish I lost which was smaller of the two. I know for a fact that this is the first fish as it still had the San Juan Worm that was my fourth trailing fly attached to its tail.  I have a bunch of emotions about this.  I'm filled with so much envy right now I might just puke myself.  That is one nice fish.  Good job Chul, you son of a bitch! Ha, ha, ha.  I don't know what is worse knowing that could have been me in that pic or never knowing what those fish looked like.  We'll have to return to find that second fish that ran upstream.  That one was bigger, much bigger.
The proof- San Juan Worm that I mocked before stealing from Chul and tying it on.

Kaiser, Well...Being Kaiser

Saturday, March 23, 2013

So Many Watches, So Little Time...Watchbuys Roadshow LA 2013

One of many reasons why I hate LA.
A nice little door gift.
I really like those guys at Watchbuys and they came back to Southern California showing off their latest timepieces.  The last time they came was back in 2009 in Pasadena.  I don't know why but I missed that one perhaps because I didn't want to get sucked into buying another must-have watch. 

This year's show is in Century City and as much as I hate driving in LA I signed up.  Getting to the show was a hassle there was traffic on every freeway going into LA.  I arrive a bit late but Tim was there to show me to their room.  On display were most of their line.  We were privy to a new watch exclusive to Watchbuys.  Rob showed us a one of a kind series from Jochen Benzinger.  Known for being one of, if not the best watch engravers, Jochen scours watch auctions in search of vintage movements buys them and modifies them for his watches.  His new series is the BenzingerONE (only one watch will be made).  We were shown the first of the one of a kind series.  Made from one of the finest vintage Vacheron Constantin movements, it was (its no longer produced) Vacheron's answer to the turbillion movement.

I'm a big fan of Sinn watches.  I used to travel quite a bit so I have a soft spot for multi-time zone watches and I wanted to check out the Sinn 6090 Frankfurt but the 6100 Regulateur Technik caught my eye.
Also of note is the MeisterSinger, a company specializing in single hand watches.  Their Neo line is a vintage influenced series that is accomplished with an acrylic cover.
New to the Watchbuy lineup is another Glashutte watch maker Bruno Sohnle.  These watches made a brief appearance in the US market but failed.  Because of Watchbuy's business model these watches start at $1200 opposed to the $4000 asking price prior to Watchbuy becoming their US distributor.
One thing I learned is how much technology goes into the Sinn's U-line watches cases.  This U1000's case has more components than its movement.  There is something like 500 (I don't recall the actual number) different components to it.  Also many have claimed Sinn has copied various watches for the push down bezel, the fact is that Sinn owns the patent for that feature and get royalties for each watch that uses that bezel design.
That is just a handful of the watches at the show.  I have more pictures but I've limited this post with some of what I thought were the more interesting pieces.

 So many watches...So little time...

MVL Video

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Breaking The Mark At Misson Viejo Lake

Our four day Sierra trip was somewhat disappointing.  We were hoping for a skwala and march brown hatch that never happened.  Don't get me wrong I enjoyed myself but I was hoping for more.  Chul asked if I wanted to head out for some local fishing  and I told him I'm always game.  We debated where to fish and suggested taking his new pram (which I brokered the sale) out to Alamitos Bay.  After some discussion, Chul suggested MVL.  I was somewhat reluctant since our last outing the lake was green but I agreed and met him at 1PM outside the lake.  I was already aggravated today as I spent the entire morning on the phone with AT&T for mucking up our phone lines and internet service.  I was in no mood for a poor performance on the water which I thought may happen.

I'm hardly ever wrong (yeah right) but I can say I ate a big shit burger today.  MVL was absolutely stellar perhaps one of our best.  Chul was the first to hook up with a 2 pound bass.  After a few casts I was on one about a pound and a half to three quarters.  Never could I break the 2.5 pound mark on largemouth bass until today, kind of.  I danced my fly near a submerged tire and was hooked on a monster bass.  I managed to get it to the boat before shaking off.  While I didn't get a photo of it I did get it on the headcam.  We estimate it to be 4.5 to 5 pounds.  Like always I fished my favorite 5 weight T&T Helix saltwater version and it was bent to the cork.
We moved on to couple other coves before hooking up again.  Chul was the first and landed a trout-sized bass that could have been one of the prettiest bass in the lake.  I once asked Ed ,while fishing with him particular lake (Barrett),  if there were crappie in that lake and after I spoke those words he almost instantly landed one.  I asked Chul the same today and told him that story and jokingly said we'll now get a crappie on our next fish.  And guess what he did!  His first crappie on a fly rod in fact.  I told him I'm going to ask that every time I fish for now on. 

Off topic now, while in this cove a mother and son were on their floating deck not far from us.  They were close enough that I could hear what they were saying.  She picked up the phone as it rang and I heard her say that her father was dead.  Distraught she yelled out crying.  It was a sad scene but what made it more sad, as I watch this poor woman weep, was that her shitbag-skater-punk-dressed-in-all black kid do absolutely nothing but text on his cell phone.  Nothing.  Nothing to comfort her or put an arm around her.  Nothing.  I wanted to go over there and punch him in the face.  We stayed at that cove long enough to see her eldest son come out and as she wept he at least had the common decency to give her a hug and console her.  What the hell is wrong with kids today!?!  It is no wonder there are so many mass shooting in America.  Kids today have no compassion or even the decency to try and calm their own mother down after tragic news. 
Back to happier things.  I managed one more bass  of juvenile size like the one Chul caught toward the opening of this cove.  Then we moved across the lake and fished there.  There were boats stacked up in the deeper ends and one after another these spin guys were hooking up on some stocked trout from Nebraska Tailwalkers.  We fished closer in the shallows and drifted down hoping for more bass.  I got a bump and had a fish momentarily.  The next cast or so I got hit again this time I had him on.  It was one of those stockers.  These fish do not quit.  I talked shit on Chul for over a year for wanting to fish these trout and here I am laughing and giddy as this trout swam around the boat.  I can say these stock trout are fun (never taught I'd ever say that).  The fish was full finned and although the photo may not show it was nicely colored.  I'm used to CA DFW hatchery trout that look half dead when you catch them.  Since you are supposed to keep the trout in this lake, I did and according to Chul are great table fare (unlike the DFW ones).  It should be nice in the frying pan.

The fishing ended for the most part, not bad for couple hours on the water.  Afterwards we headed northbound for our homes not before stopping for some Chinese food at Chef Chen's in Irvine.  The fish and preserved vegetable soup, Chinese beef roll pancakes and Kung Pao chicken hit the spot and filled our growling stomachs since neither one of us ate anything all day.

Videos forthcoming...

Final Day- March 18

Stonefly shuck
Chul reriging his nymph rod

When we awoke in the morning Chul and I left Erica at the motel to sleep in as we got breakfast before hitting the water.  Once we saw the water we could tell that the water was now off color from runoff.  And once we crossed the river we knew it definitely was higher than the last time we hit it with Ed.  Chul took the seam across the parking lot and within a few cast he was on a beast only to pop off.  I moved to the area that I saw the pikeminnows on the last outing.  Crossing the water was tough and I was surprised I didn't fall again.  I spent the next few hours casting blindly as I could no longer see fish beyond a couple feet.  I did see a monster pikeminnow spook in the shallows while I was wading upstream.  After about an hour Chul left me there to pick up Erica.

When he arrived I was frustrated as I was fixing my leader as I had broken off once again.  Chul tried the seam once again without any luck.  they eventually reached me and Chul asked if I wanted his dry fly rod as it was reaching noon and a hatch was possible.  I accepted as he move upstream to guide Erica on a fish as she was skunked so far on the trip.  He took her to the hole we caught fish the last trip as the two hole were right next to each other.  


Caddis Larva

They returned and Erica had missed her chance.  Chul  said he missed a pikeminnow because he was located above on a boulder and had an awkward drift.  We moved back to town for lunch and waited for the water to heat up with the sun.

After lunch we headed to the area we fished on the trip with Tuck and Joseph where I caught my first sucker.  They moved downstream as I fished a few holes without any success.  I moved down toward them and watched as Chul worked a huge plunge pool.  He managed to pull out his first sucker out of that hole.

I moved downstream fishing huge plunge pools without any luck.  Throughout this process I kept breaking off on submerged structure.  It would be the theme of the week.  After fishing several pools downstream I gave up and started my way to the truck.  Chul and Erica had the same idea and popped out onto the road in front of me.  We reached the truck and decided to hit our "honey" hole.

Once we got there Erica was given the choice of where she wanted to fish.  After only a few casts she managed a small trout.  I took the head of the pool and lost two very nice fish.  One actually was strong enough to run upstream.  That fish put a serious bend on my rod and gave my forearm quite a workout.  He gave the hole some more drifts before giving in and heading home.  Another skunk.

Although the four day trip was tough and we only averaged about a trout a day, I did have a good time.   Even though these are "fishing" trips, most of the memories were made at the campfire trying to entertain one another by telling tall tales or trying to make the others laugh.  It's just too bad we were minus two clowns that should have been sharing our campsite.

Caddis Larva
An Unwelcome Kiwi Import

Stonefly Schuck
Mayfly Swimmer Nymph

Mayfly Nymph Crawler

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day Three- Washing Off The Skunk, March 17

Day three we had a choice to make.  Stay or move on to other waters.  With this technical water and Erica skunked we decided to move to easier water so that we could get on more fish.  But before we moved we decided to fish a promising section upstream with Erica staying at camp nursing a sinus attack. 
With the leader of my T&T Helix rod  out of commission, I decided to use my Sage XP 5 weight that was rigged for dry fly fishing.  I cut off the skwala fly off and began setting it up for nymphing.  Ever since my father gave me his Hardy Princess reel, its been sitting in my drawer for years not even loaded with flyline.  So I made it a point to fish it and loaded it with Rio Gold line before this trip.  I used up my 5X fluoro the day before and Chul gave me enough to add it as my dropper. 
Chul made it first to the water and began high sticking a seam.  I fished below him 20 yards.  This section was faster and deeper than it appeared.  Chul moved upstream to a confluence and fished the funnel without any luck.  I followed and as I met him at the confluence and since the other side of the river looked promising and he asked me if I wanted to cross.  Since falling twice yesterday I chose to stay on our side and fish the shallower water.
As Chul made his way to the more powerful water, I fished the left side.  On my first cast I snagged a the submerged rocks and broke off my leader at the split shot.  Pissed and without any 5X tippet I just added another nymph to my existing leader.   I moved back to the road and made my way down to the truck.  Watching Chul fish, I moved back to the water and fished the funnel he fished earlier.  Within a few casts I hooked up on a very solid fish.  When I landed her, she refused to be handled and squirmed the whole time.  Releasing her I made a few more mends in this section missing at least two more bumps.   At around noon we gave up and Chul looked for way to cross back.  When he reached me he let me know he missed a monster that broke off.
Arriving back to camp, Erica was feeling better and we started break down camp.  The plan was to start our way down south and fish a river we are familiar with and have had success.  On our way out we were able to finally see this area in the daylight and all its springtime beauty.  We missed all this as we made our way up the mountain in the dark on Thursday.   On our way out we saw a coyote cross the road only to turn back and give us the "what the hell you looking at" look. 

It seemed like forever to get off that mountain and even longer to reach the freeway.  After sometime on the road we decided to stop in one of the closest town for lunch. Exhausted we were in no mood for any crowded or loud places to eat.  Our first stop was exactly that and even though we were next in line, and after the front counters incompetence we decided to find another place to eat.   We found another that was calm and quiet.  After eating we felt better and made it back to the road.

Upon reaching our destination, we were debating whether to camp or just get a motel room.  We opted to camp but after driving around looking for a campground, we choose a room instead.   Needing a shower, it was a good choice.  I was in no mood to cook so we looked for a restaurant and ate out.  Afterwards we hit the sack and I slept like baby despite Chul's snoring.