Friday, June 14, 2013

Carp Photo Contest

With the increase of popularity of fly fishing for carp, Orvis is promoting the sport through a photo contest.  There is several categories including biggest, smallest, ugliest, video week, funniest, craziest location, prettiest, best in show.  Winner of the contest gets a new Helios 2 outfit.  I have submitted this pic:
Voting can be done here:
My photo is on page six under "biggest" if you like you can vote for me or submit your own.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fish Did Their Part, We Did Not

Luc awarded with a 3.5 pound LMB after making a great cast in less than ideal conditions.
I had to decline two different invitations to fish this weekend- one to the wild trout section of the Kern and another to the East Walker.  I really wanted to get on a trout stream, its been too long and with the local waters in a critical state I was bummed I could not get on some trout.  So when Luc invited me to fish Canyon Lake once again I jumped at the chance.  Luc the Jedi Master last weekend had an epic topwater bite.  His popper was producing bass including a four pounder, every half dozen to dozen casts until the sun started hitting the water.  So today I was hoping for some of the same. 
The first bass of the day a 2pounder
I awoke just before 4am and made the hour drive to Canyon Lake to meet Luc at his house at 5am.  We were on the water within minutes and headed to the east side of the lake.  Luc is a topwater fanatic and we planned to fish poppers as long as we could find shade.  Within the first few minutes, I casted to a clump of grass and I was distracted by a swirl six feet in front of my fly when a swirl came just under my popper.  Again my topwater misfortune continues and I was too slow to react.  This season I've yet to get a bass on topwater yet despite having more than my fair share of blowups.   Luc was the first to get one a bass, a two pounder. 
My three pounder, finally a bass on topwater
On the next section I made my cast and as I popped my fly I moved, for whatever reasons, my attention away from the fly as I continued to pop the fly my line went heavy.  Instinctually I lifted the rod and set the hook and the rod came alive.  Fish on!  Of course my first fish this year on topwater would be from dumb luck and not from skill (or lack of skill).  The bass gulped the fly from beneath and inhaled it.  I brought it in and it was a very respectable three pounds.  I can't recall within these drifts how many bass we missed but it was a handful.  We moved to a deeper point on the lake and I casted where Luc suggested and after a few pops of the fly I had a blow up.  Focused I managed to get finally get a truly legit bass on topwater.  This fish was smaller but I didn't care.  Getting bass on topwater is the name of the game.
Another for Luc
We made our way deeper in the eastside.  I managed another fish around two pounds.  And Luc also had another.  We continued to miss several more.  By this time the fog was letting up and the sun began poking through.  It was now a race to find shaded portions of lake. 
Fog starting to wear off
The next hour or so we kept missing fish.  Eventually after so dead time without any action I switched earlier than planned to my five weight with a sinking line.  I was getting tired of casting the 8 weight and an air resistant popper.  Luc joined me and we started half heartedly to tempt a bass from the deeps.  I had a few short strikes but could not get one on nor could Luc.  The clouds began blocking the sun and we switched back to the poppers.  As we moved back into a cove we fished earlier, Luc made a great cast in a pocket just under a dock wire, under a tree and surrounded by a submerged log.  All the sudden I heard a violent thrash of water I moved my eyes to look and Luc was on.  He managed to turn the fish away from trouble and I helped land the 3.5 pound bass.  We quit not long after that around 10:30.  All in all it was a good day and between the two of us we had at least twenty blowups.  Unfortunately we didn't do our part even though the fish were cooperating with topwater.  Despite the fact we were sucking we had a great time.
Water temps were 78 degrees.  Fog in the morning and pleasant when we left at 10:30 although it was staring to get hot.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Perris Lake Once Again, Likely The Last Time This Season

The Fugly saves me again from the skunk.
With clouds forecasted this morning until 11am, Chul and I played hookie and tired once again our luck at Perris.  Chul had unfinished business since he got the skunk last outing.  I wanted to make sure I had one last opportunity for a bass on topwater here before they go deep for the summer.
The morning looked promising as fog rolled through the lake.  Visibility was minimal and we actually got disoriented and almost made a complete lap of the island without even knowing it.  We were way off course.  Finally we were able to orient ourselves and headed to the direction we originally wanted to go.  This though proved difficult as the water has dropped and the weeds have grown.  We were constantly pulling weed off the motor as it stalled us.  We finally made it to the cove we wanted to go and Chul managed a 2 pounder on topwater.  I missed at least two here.  For the life of me, for whatever reason, I can not seem to hook a fish on top this year.  It began frustrating me to the point of me becoming very irritable this morning.  We left the cove toward the eastside.  The fog now lifting and the wind starting to pick up.  Here we manage to miss a few more in the jungle.  I was pissed.  Fed up with constantly missing fish and manging line through garbage, I switched to a few subsurface flies eventually tying on a Fugly S.O.B. as the skunk was looking more and more likely.  I threw in a patch of tules as we drifted past.  My rod went heavy, initially I thought I was just hung up but as I stripped line I felt movement.  I thought it was the weeds moving as the trolling motor was going but soon enough as I pulled it in closer I saw a bass within a clump of duckweed.  I pulled it out and it was probably a 1.5 pound bass. The Fugly saves me again from the skunk. 
As the weeds were causing havoc on the propeller we decided to call it quits around 10:30.  As we made our way back to the launch ramp, the battery started to die once again.  Chul paddle us most of the way and I took over once he tired.  At least we didn't have to beach the boat and carry it 500 yards in 100 degree heat like last time.  This is likely the last time we'll fish here this year, as the heat increases this place will become more and more impossible to use the trolling motor. 
Overcast and foggy, the morning looked promising.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Small Fry

The Small Fry Fly
Could be the smallest bass ever caught on a 7 weight.

After lunch at the Habit I headed south to meet Chul at MVL.  Now that we have a fish finder I was hoping to find and get on some of the pigs that are roaming those waters or at least get on some of the big bluegills.  Last month I can up the idea of fishing tiny fry patterns as bass and bluegill have recently spawned.  I figured since MVL has no shad or any type of baitfish, these fish must be feeding on fry and smaller fish to maintain their diet when trout is no longer stocked.  Off the bat Chul managed a trout sized bass within the first few casts.  A good sign I thought but I was later proved wrong.  Today was a joke.  Chul managed only that fish and missed a half a dozen more.  I started to get bite when I tied my Small Fry as a trailer to my Fugly S.O.B.  I didn't keep count but I must have had a dozen dinks none bigger than 3/4 pounds on the trailer and one on the Fugly.  What a joke.   I guess we can look on the bright side at least we didn't have to carry the pram in 100 degrees, more than 500 yards in soft sand.  Still it sucked. 
Water was 77 degrees slightly off colored with a minor breeze.  Most fish were metered at about 10 feet to 30 feet.  After finding pigs at 30 feet I'm starting to think its time to invest in a fast full sink line just for lakes like this. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

You Gotta Earn It!

Working with only a few hours of sleep, I managed to hit Perris Lake once again with Chul.  John has been posting reports for weeks of epic topwater bites.  We were hoping for the same.  When Chul let me know he had Saturday free to fish, he asked if I wanted to hit up a local trout stream.  While I wanted to see how the resident trout population was doing I wanted to hit Perris once more before the bass moved out of the shallows. 
Despite the discouraging weather forecast we choose to fish Perris.  The sun was already poking through by 5:30 and when we arrived at the lake at 6am we had no opportunity to fish any grey light.  From the moment we set off I saw several boils which was an encouraging sign.  Our hope was the bass were still in the shallows taking topwater so we started throwing poppers into the garbage. We started at the island and moved to the last cove we fished on our previous outing.  I'm glad I suggested that we bring our sinking lines as backup in case the fish had moved to the deep water.  This proved a good decision later.
I started with a Folded Foam Head that I tied the other night with a weedguard.  After what seemed like a hundred casts with not even a look, I switched to a yellow foam head popper.  This fly despite tied smaller pushes more water.  After a few casts I in the maze of garbage I had a slam on my fly.  I couldn't get the hook set as I had no leverage as my line was laying on top of several exposed branches.  The carp must be in their spawn as they were making quite a ruckus in the tules.  We saw several leg long carp in this area.  I switched to a brown wooley bugger and tried to get one but none were really feeding.  We eventually moved out of this cove and headed to the eastside.  As we made our way there I switched my flies several times without so much as a bump.
We found John and his buddy on the eastside working the jungle.  I asked how they did and while John managed a few on top it was tough for them too.  So at least it was not us.  The fishery is definitely gone to summertime bass fishing.  We entered one of the coves and I managed to muck up another topwater grab in the junk.  After trying to navigate through the maze of the jungle we decided we had enough of this and moved out to open water.  We rigged our sinking lines and started to go deep.  I must have switched flies two dozen times.   None of them proved effective today.  I tried small to large flies.  Just some of the flies I tried without any success:

I was constantly checking the fish finder and whenever we reached an area that was holding fish I'd tell Chul to stop and we fished.  I made note of the depths and started my countdown keeping in mind the sinking lines sink rate hoping to get the fly in their face.  Again no luck.

We moved back to the island and since the lake is loaded with weeds the fish finder proved somewhat pointless so we just used it to read the contours.  Having seen all day bass taking damselflies I switched to my Fugly S.O.B. fly.  It's a stupid fly that whenever I smell the skunk coming I tie on and it seems to at least get one fish.  It has helped me avoid the skunk two weeks ago at Canyon Lake and several times at MVL among other lakes.   It saved me again.  After hours and hours of casting I finally hooked up on a bass.  I pulled him in with a big clump of weeds and bogaed him at 1.75 pounders.  I worked like hell for that fish.
The skunk preventer- Fugly S.O.B. fly.
We made a few more drifts around the island with no luck.  Chul did foul hook a bluegill in the head so he at least got to feel a fish despite being technically skunked.  With the heat beating down at us and the fishing beyond slow we decided to call it a day at 11:30.  As we drove the pram back to the launch ramp, the trolling motor began to die.  We used my trolling motor as Chul's old motor is officially retired and has seen its last piece of water so I was surprised to see the motor struggling.  It eventually died and I started rowing us back to the ramp but winds and the wake from speed boats proved too much as we only had one oar (because we lost the other on a previous trip to the bay and the oar feel out of the truck).  We decided to beach the boat and lift to the parking lot.  I made it to the beach and we lifted the boat to the parking lot.  It was brutal, we should have just tried to row the pram to launch ramp.  The heat, soft sand, the awkward grips on the boat made this brutally hard.  We finally got the pram out of there and I was spent and was overheating fast. 
When we finally made it to Chul's house we checked what was left of the battery capacity.  As we lifted the seat to see the battery compartment we saw that the positive wire was disconnected from the battery.  No wonder the motor died.