Friday, March 29, 2024

Don't Lose It I'm Not Tying Anymore for Another Year!

March 19, 2024

It rained the day before we headed out, not sure how it was going to affect the fishing but it was worth giving it a go.  I had tied a Dagur's Sweet Home Alabama fly for myself and one for Luc.  It's a fly version of an Alabama rig (A-rig).  I told Luc when I handed it to him, "Don't lose it; I'm not tying anymore for a year!"  It took me about twenty minutes to tie one of those flies.  Not because it involves any difficult techniques but because it's a bit fiddly to work on.  Getting the arms to align properly is the biggest issue.  Also I have to switch from a tube vice to a traditional one in the middle of the process.  Personally I find the whole process annoying and not very fun.  I'm sure if I started tying more of them I could become more efficient at it but I'm not sure that's going to happen anytime soon.  Unless, of course I find the fly to be killing it then I could be motivated to tie more.
With spring around the corner and daylight savings now in effect, we are starting earlier than our previous outings which means I'm waking up at 5am to at Luc's by 6:30.  As it warms it's only going to be earlier so I better get used to the lack of sleep.  From the start I was rigged withe the A-rig attached to a shad colored Diamond Hair Minnow.  I thought it would be an epic day after his first cast, Luc was already on a bass.  He would get a few more after that.  I would get a few strikes on my set up but failed to connect on any.  Once we moved from our first location the day became a slog.  After a couple hours of unrewarded casts Luc broke the monotony with a crappie.  From there we moved to deeper water and we began to get on fish.  After not connecting on several strikes I decided to abandon the A-rig and simply fish the Diamond Hair by itself.  Luc managed another bass and while I was watching him land the fish I started to roll cast my fly out of the water and saw a bass aggressively charge the fly.  I was pissed.  Few cast later  miss another strike and while lifting my rod to start my next retrieve I get slammed.  Finally I'm on for the day.  Fished for another hour or so before calling it a day. 

Alone the following day, Luc tried the A-rig I tied for him.  He managed to get a very nice one early in the day when he metered a school of shad but for the rest of the day he went blank after giving the new fly a serious try out.  On his next outing he would blank on the fly. 
For the both of us the jury is still out on this fly.  I rarely tie tube flies and my Renzetti tube vice is only about a year old so I don't have much time behind it.  I had forgotten the vice comes with multiple pins of various diameters and lengths.  I tied my A-rig on the smallest pin which means its the shortest length.  On my next ties I'll use the larger ones so I can tie it longer.  One of the main issues I think is that the arms are too close to my fly.  I'm think I should use a smaller fly to accommodate for the issue.  More testing is needed.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Motor's Fine

 March 11, 2023

With the lake beyond capacity and 5 mph restrictions in place, Luc hasn't run the motor in months.  It's been acting strange.  Smokes more than usual while idling.  After discussing with his boat guy, he suggested changing the spark plugs and running the boat at higher rpms.  So in the morning we took the boat to where we could run the boat at full throttle.  We fished a couple hours with not even as much as a bite.  After running the boat a few laps with no issues we headed home to fish more productive waters.
By now it was around 10am by the time we relaunched and all the fishing spots were likely already hit hard.  So we didn't have much expectations.  On the last outing I forgot to test John Rohmer's Diamond Hair Streamer.  I tied several at the end of last season but never had a chance to fish.  Developed for fishing in Baja, the pattern, I thought, would make an excellent shad imitation for bass fishing.  When we reach a dock near a submerged tree Luc remarked how this spot is a great crappie spot during the spawn.  Once we passed the location it wouldn't be long before I was on a fish.  Given its lazy fight Luc thought it was a crappie.  I had told him I hadn't caught one in a decade or so.  When it surfaced it was a decent bass.  It would take more than another hour or so to see my next fish.  Another lazy bass, smaller this time.  We fished to just past noon and finished when Luc finally got his bass of the day.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

First Bass of 2024

 March 1, 2024

It was just a few minutes past 7am (our pre-planned time) when I arrived at Luc's.  I hate being late even for a minute.  While there was no traffic, the drive was slightly slower than I expected.  The main reason too many lane cloggers in California.  People need to learn to drive here.  

When we arrived at the ramp, there was already a boat ready to launch and another showed up just behind us.  After launching Luc raced to a spot he wanted to hit before anyone else.  The day prior he had lost a 10 pounder at the boat and wanted another crack at her.  At that spot Luc managed several fish up to 4lbs.  I was fishing my saltwater set up as it was already rigged up with a 300grain sink tip, and while it can work Luc turned me onto a full sink for this type of fishing years ago.  Unfortunately my full sink line is past it's expiration date and needs to be changed.  During the Christmas season with all the sales going on I picked up some replacement lines but I've yet to line them on the reel.  Even though Luc invited me a few days ago I haven't had the time (or energy) to spool it up.  In the back of my mind I knew Luc had a spare rod lined appropriately so I wasn't motivated to swap the lines from my reel and decide to bring the saltwater rig with me. My rational was if it failed to produce I would simply use Luc's gear.  It wouldn't be long before after watching Luc continually catch fish did I make the switch.

With Luc's rod in hand we moved down the bank fishing to the end point.  Luc would get some here and there but I'd still had no reaction.  In time we moved to an alternative location because Luc wanted to hit this spot before anyone else could burn it.  It wouldn't be long Luc was on fish again.  With close to a dozen fish to hand Luc had given up on fishing and was trying to get me on my first.  With some suggestions on my stripping technique change I asked Luc to demonstrate it with  his cadence.  On that cast he managed another fish.  Now understanding his technique and philosophy I began to mimic it.  It wouldn't be long before I managed my first bass of the year and like a couple of Luc's fish,  it was cormorant scarred.  I would manage a few more strikes in the most inopportune time either a strike occurred between strips, or when my flyline slipped out of my fingertips during the strike, or when my arm was fully extended during my strip so I had no chance to tug the line.  Bass are still in deep water and this type of fishing you need to make the most of each opportunity as they don't come easily or often.  Takes are subtle and can be easily missed you need to be on guard the whole time.  Moving onto a shallower part of the lake I decided now with skunk off I'd go back to my rod, as it has yet catch a bass (at least a freshwater one) and test out some flies that I've yet to catch a fish with but after a hour or so of slow fishing I went back to Luc's set up.  Ended the day around 11am.  Stellar day for Luc, not so much for me but at least I wasn't skunk.  Next time I'll be sure to have my new line rigged though.