Archive for May 2011

In’s and Out’s of Fly Fishing   Leave a comment

The title is misleading. I don’t really know all of the in’s and out’s that are associated with fly fishing but i’m willing to listen to advice and learn. I guess you can say that I got the bug back in October of 2010 when on a Pheasant hunting trip in Colorado the weather heated up in the afternoon and the evening hunt was cancelled. To fill the rest of the day they offered a choice of trap shooting, horse back riding, mountain biking, or fly fishing. Being a diehard fisherman you would be correct if you said that I chose the fly fishing for the rest of the day.

We loaded up and drove to one of the streams on the ranch property and since my fly fishing skills consisted of me using a spinning rod with a fly reel when I was younger as the only time to fly fish in my life. That’s not to say that I didn’t catch fish on this setup but it just wasn’t the true nature of fly fishing. After a short lesson on casting I picked out a bend in the creek that had some grass growing along the edge of the bank. Casting a dry fly to the edge of the grass and consistently catching Rainbow, Brown, and Brook trout I began feeling pretty good about my success until asked by the guide if any Cutthroat trout had been caught yet. I was then informed that there were four species of trout resided in this area of the state and I was lacking one from catching a grand slam. Did I mention that I like challenges…… it didn’t take long for me to cancel the next two days of Pheasant hunting in exchange for the pursuit of this Grand Slam of trout fishing. The rules were, you had to catch one of each species all in the same day. Then they informed me that it had only been done eleven times there and that the Cutthroat trout was the hardest species to catch because they did not have that many of them in their area. 

The next morning started out with an awesome breakfast then we headed out to the start the quest in the same area that was fished the day before. It wasn’t long before the fly found its way into the mouth of a hungry Rainbow, after a battle a picture was taken and the fish was released back into the stream. One down and three to go. Before lunch I saw a nice Brown roaming the edges of the grass, after many casts with the topwater fly with no success it was decided to give it a try with a nymph that would drift about a foot behind the dry fly and be under the water to offer an option. Soon after a nice Brown trout was being led to the net where a picture was taken then put it back in the water to fight again some day. It was decided that we would start the hunt for the Cutthroat trout which seemed to be few and far between. They are there, I had seen them cruising the shallows for two days and thrown everything that the guide could think of at them, no wonder why this was so hard to accomplish. I spent the next few hours moving all around the property trying to get one to accept my offering then it happened. As I was throwing to an object that I could see hanging out under some matted grass I must have made it mad on cast number twenty that the object moved from the grass and started coming straight at me. With the guide trying not to scream that it was a very big Cutthroat the fish saw me and spooked back towards where it came from, before it could get there I lay a cast right on the lip of the grass and as the fish approached I gently twitched the rod and made the fly fall from the grass into the water just as it got there. With the slightest ripple the fly had vanished as I lifted the rod to set the hook the fight was on. At this time I really couldn’t tell who was more excited, me or the guide as he rushed into the water to net the fish. I found out that this was to be his first slam as a guide but I reminded him that we were not done. You see in all of the excitement he forgot that I still hadn’t caught a Brook trout on the day and with fifteen minutes left the slam was not complete. I hope his boss neve reads this due to the fact of how fast we drove to a different section that has plenty of Brook trout in the area and the obstacles that were driven over to get there in time. I think the cast was made in one motion as I jumped from the truck and the Brook was caught on that cast and the Grand Slam had been completed.

If you have read through all of this you will now understand why I have this new obsession with attacking the areas that I fish with a fly rod. So, if you have advice for me on everything from what kind of flies to use on everything from bass fishing to inshore saltwater fishing I welcome them. I will also need advice on the proper line and leaders as well as what type of knots to use to put it all together.

Thanks for going along on the journey,

Robert

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Posted May 23, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

A Special Build   Leave a comment

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There is a program that has been going on in Texas for the past three years started by a gentleman named Pat Helton and a few of his friends. The idea behind it was to build a custom fishing rod and present it to honor a wounded soldier and help thank them for the service they provided by protecting our country. The first rod built for the program was an accumulation of many custom builders who each took  part in the design and build of that one rod. It has since grown into a program where hopefully 150 rods will be presented in 2011. The program is not limited to Texas and it has builders from all over the US that contribute.

I sent in a request to be part of this program this year and was accepted. I did my build on a 7′ medium/heavy blank which was fitted with eva handles and a split grip. The decision was made to do this build based on a USA theme and I wanted it to be unique and special at the same time. Obviously for my theme the thread choice would be red,white, and blue. The split grip handle at the bottom of the rod is wrapped in this color theme and a custom decal that was made for it applied. The guides are American Tackle Micros in a size 3.5 wrapped in white thread so they won’t take away from the special design that I would do on the wrap above the Minima reel seat.

I do a lot of Tiger wraps on my builds, when they are finished the characteristics of a tiger’s stripe comes out in the wrap. If I did this wrap right it would have a different effect and look like an American Flag waving in the wind. I used metallic red and white thread on the bottom. After wrapping a tool was used to burnish the thread and put some movement in it. A layer of rod finish is then applied and left to dry overnight. The next evening I wrapped a blue thread along with a black thread in the opposite direction over the previous wrap and using the same tool, burnished the thread in the same direction that it was wrapped in. The next step was to take the black thread and remove it from the wrap which then creates space, then a layer of rod finish is applied and left to dry. As you do each of these steps you can actually see the flag start to come to life. I am very pleased with the way this build turned out and I hope that the person recieving it enjoys it as much as I did building it.

Thank you to all of the people who have fought for our freedom and to the other rod builders who have been a part of this program for inspiring me to get involved.

See you on the water,

Robert

Posted May 12, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

Backwater Paddles   Leave a comment

How many times do you find yourself grabbing for your paddle after making a cast to try and correct your position so you can make that perfect presentation to the fish that wait below. I know that it has been done a few hundred times just on one trip, but there is a product out there by Backwater Paddle Company that can make things easier for you. The Piranah hand paddle that they make is not only easy to use but it is very quiet when you are trying to correct your position. I have used it on three trips now and it did take some getting use to but not by any fault of design but trying to remember to quit reaching for your paddle. Now I just lay the paddle down and use the Piranah to move around and position my kayak. The hand paddle comes with a strap and the paddle will also float if you accidentally drop it into the water. It sure has made my kayak positioning so much easier now that i’m using it. The price is right for such a great add on to the gear that you already have. I now have two of them which are kept on either side of me for easy access.

Good fishing,

Robert

Posted May 6, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized

River Tournament Fishing   Leave a comment

Today I fished the first ever River Bassin tournament series to come to Texas. The series has been around for a few years and just started branching out. Being new here they opened up a couple of lakes that are fed by the Colorado river to try and attract more fisherman. My day started with a 2:30am wake up alarm and I was on the road and headed to my launch by 3am.  A friend of mine agreed to shuttle me as I was fishing the Colorado river outside of Austin and he was right on time at 5am at the takeout point. We unloaded everything from my truck and put it in his then drove to the put in.The stretch that I was fishing today is a ten mile paddle and consists of three elevation changes with a set of rapids at each and a dam that you have to portage around at the halfway point. This is the same stretch that we fish when we do a weekend campout so I wasn’t sure how long it would take to do. Figuring that there was a schelduled water release that would push me down the river starting at 10am and predicted winds of 18mph out of the SE which meant it would be blowing in my face most of the day and making for a good workout I figured that I needed to be off the water and loaded up by no later than 2:30pm in order to drive the 45 miles to the weigh in. Upon arriving at the put in it was apparent that the release scheldule was wrong and it had already occured. This meant that the river was now 3ft lower than normal and there would be more paddling than I thought. After launching I paddled at a brisk pace for thirty minutes bypassing some very shallow unproductive water to get to the old remains of a bridge where I would start the day. Everything was ready and I started fishing the concrete in this deep hole catching my first legal fish on the first cast. After catching a few smaller fish I decided to continue my paddle to my next spot. I had prefished the river two weeks ago and caught four large bass on the day and was hoping for the same success today but with the lack of current and all of the grass showing instead of being two feet underwater it made for a hard day of fishing. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t catch my share of fish, I ended up with over twenty bass caught on the day but I didn’t get the big fish that I was after. The way the tournament works is you are given a stack of numbered cards on a ring and a special icon that is given to you the night before, each time you catch a legal fish you place it on the measuring board and put the number and icon by it then photograph it being sure to get the fish,board,and icon in the photo. You are allowed to weigh in three fish with the total length of the combined three to be used as your score. My three largest fish averaged a little over 17 inches each for a total of 51 1/2 inches. I ended up paddling a little faster than I thought and was out and loaded up to head to the weigh in by 2pm. Even though I didn’t have that kicker fish I was feeling pretty confident thinking that the wind and boat traffic on the lakes might hinder the other contestants. After all of the scores were tallied there was an awards presentation and that is when I found out that my total score ended me up in 6th place, four inches out of the lead. If I would have had the kicker fish like most of the others had it could have ended up differently but then that is why they call it fishing and not catching. I do feel a great sense of accomplishment knowing that I was the only contestant to fish the river as all of the others fished out of the lake by the weigh in where the fish usually run larger in size. The lures that were used today were Texas rigged Dinero and Zoom soft plastics, BlackDog Jigs in Crawfish pattern and a Rebel PopR. If you read through all of this you were either brave or I am getting better at this. Patiently awaiting the next tournament.

See you on the water,

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Posted May 1, 2011 by rmatt0101 in Uncategorized