Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Quick Morning Fly

After two and a half weeks with no days off, I was able to make a short run to the river on Tuesday. I had a very short amount of time to go, but really needed to work on some river film projects i’ve put on the back burner because of my schedule. Funny how that seems to be a common theme with most my posts. “Finally get to go, but only a few hours”, “had a great time, but had to leave quick”. Tuesday was no different.
After dropping my bride off at work, I headed out for the 20 mile trek to my drop in. (my truck is in need of a transmission, so we’re still having to “one car” it right now. If you get an opportunity to experience having one car for an active family of four…don’t.) Anyway, I get 5 miles before my destination and encounter road construction. The kind that involves a pilot car to lead you miles and miles down a one lane highway. 26 minutes later, I arrive at my spot.
Since I needed to focus on getting the shots I needed, I loaded up my pelican cases full of camera gear, my tripod, monopod, and a gopro into my kayak. This wasn’t expected to be a heavy fishing experience, so most of my tackle was left at the house. But being the person I am, there is no way i’m out on the water without some fishing gear. I brought a 6wt, 8wt, a big fly box, and I still felt a little naked.

After dropping in and paddling a ways, I just couldn’t pass up some of those spots, and started throwing some flies. I’m not sure what I was thinking. Tons of low tree limbs lining the banks, dense underwater structure, in a kayak, with the wind blowing. I was headed for disaster, or at least a tree decorating party, but I didn’t care. Then I noticed something weird was going on. Cast after cast they were hitting their mark. There were even a few,”no way, how did that not get hung up?” moments. Being blessed by the sacred fly angels is not something I take lightly, so I decided to leave my olive wooly bugger on and keep fishing it.  I caught a ton of sunfish. So many in fact, I could probably stock a four mile trotline with bait. But there were about 3 that were the kind I like. The kind you can stick a thumb in their mouth to get the hook out. There are some healthy fish in these waters.

I had one really nice fight with a very big bellied Warmouth. This is only the second one i’ve caught on this river and the first on the fly. It was a gorgeous fish with beautiful markings.

It was nice to be the only one out that morning. It was quiet and relaxing, even though I had a lot of work to do while I was out there. It seems everywhere I looked there was something moving about. Yes, a few snakes too, but they were the kind I don’t mind coming up and saying hello.

Here was a nice pattern I like to use this time of year. Bass love them too.

 It’s amazing how much work it takes to get to those awesome fishing spots. Unless you own the land, or know someone who does, it’s drop in and start paddling. In, out, push, pull, fall, cuss. I love it. Getting to those hard to reach spots, and throwing a fly to a fish that has never had one presented to it before…. now that’s livin’ right there.

It’s one of the only places i’m not bombarded by politics, government, money issues, work, truck problems, or just the stresses of the daily grind.  It’s my safe zone. So with all those other things out there waiting on my return, those snakes don’t seem like such a bad companion anymore.

Thanks for coming along,

Friday, July 17, 2015


Some weekends are better than others. But lately my time off is getting smaller and smaller. I get to hear and see all the great things all my kayaking buddies are doing. Well, here's a little idea of what most my weekends consist of.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Catching A Break

I had come to terms with the fact I wasn’t going to get out fishing for a while. It’s already been two weeks and I figured it would be a few more. But around 8pm last night, a few things changed. I was released from prior obligations and suddenly my busy day off became “my” day off. My mind started racing with ideas. I knew I was going to have to hurry with whatever I did. Main problem is my piece of junk truck isn’t running right now, so we’re down to one vehicle. In all fairness, if you take out the transmission and engine, it’s a great truck. :) So the plan was made to head to the river after I dropped off my wife at work.

I gathered together my gear, and had everything ready to go. I went outside to get the kayak trailer hooked up and….lightning….thunder….the smell of rain. In my haste and excitement, I had forgot to check the weather for the coming day. Uh-oh. It’s 9:30pm and i’m almost completely ready for the morning. And then the rains came down. Feeling a bit defeated, I slowly put away my gear, all the while trying real hard not to say any discouraging remarks about this precious rain we are always praying for. So it rained. And it rained. And it rained. 2-3 inches in some places. I came to the conclusion it wasn’t meant to be.

This morning I woke up and slowly got myself together. I checked the weather, and came to an abrupt realization. The storm that blew through last night, did just that…blew through. Sun was out, and no wind. But at this point I have less than twenty minutes to get everything together before we have to leave the house. It took about 2.7 seconds to make the decision. I’m going fishin’!

Remarkably, I was able to get everything ready. The trailer hooked up, the kayak strapped on, and my gear thrown in before my wife said, “we need to leave, I don’t want to be late!”

I knew I only had a few hours to fish, and the river is 20 miles away. So I sped…um, I mean, I hurried to the river. My only thoughts were, “how much rain did they get down there, and what if the river is up?” There were a wide range of amounts reported. Anywhere from a half an inch all the way to 4 inches. I crossed my fingers, kept the pedal to the floor and hoped for the best.

My drop in was free of debris and people, but noticed the water was up a few inches. That can be good for less dragging. The water was slightly murky, but I could see bait fish, so I knew it would be just fine.

It was amazing that once I pushed off from the bank, all the stress seemed to go away. It was like I needed to be out there.

I knew I was short on time, but I wanted to enjoy it while I had the chance. For me, the fishing is only a small part of why i’m out here. Catching fish is awesome, but so is just being in the middle of nowhere. No phones, no internet, no people. Just me and the river. I enjoy challenging myself to, not only be creative, but come back with something that I will always remember. I’m a photographer before anything else, so sometimes I spend more time looking for shots than looking for fish.

That’s not to say i’m not a hardcore fisherman. I definitely am. I just have to find a balance in the things i’m passionate about. And that balance usually varies on the day.

This morning I was able to find a middle ground. The fishing was great. I managed 7 fish total. 4 bass and 3 sunfish on the fly. Definitely not bad for a little over 2 hours on the river. Also caught 2 of my personal best . A four foot wide oak stump, and a metal fence that somehow tied my line into what looked to be a complete surgeon’s knot. Rather impressive on back to back casts.  :)

I guess the rains brought everything out and about. The spiders were out like mad. The birds were singing, and the river was alive with action everywhere you looked. Even had a tag-along for a little bit.

Here was an interesting log I came across. It looked like a helping hand. Although my first thought was, where was that helping hand when I stepped in that hole a while back and messed up my back?

Soon I was getting that “pressed for time” feeling, so I turned back and started to head for the car. It was a great time and I left there feeling refreshed and a little less stressed. I was able to get some decent photos, some decent fish, and some decent piece of mind.

Thanks for coming along,


Shot with a Nikon D7000 and a Fuji XP60.