Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mixed Bag

I think this is true for anyone that ties their own flies, but for me every trip begins at the vise. I tie just about every week. There are different types of tying sessions, sometimes it's trying to figure out a new pattern I saw on the interweb, sometimes it's trying to fill up my boxes for the year, and other times it's just dinking around trying to come up with a solution to some problem (whether fishing related or not). But the best tying sessions always come when I have a trip in the works. Once there's a due date, with a target species and expected conditions, I can really get into a groove and while the hands work my mind can plan fantasize about the upcoming fishing.

On the docket for the long weekend was a spot where there's always a shot at catching a new personal best. Each cast has the potential to bring in a monster. So every fly is tied on a premium hook, each tippet new and constantly checked for nicks, every knot tied carefully and checked for strength. It puts a different edge on the fishing, but not an edge that doesn't allow you to enjoy simply being outdoors with good company, just an edge that keeps you from letting your mind wander while your fly is in play. Of course with high expectations it just goes without saying that we would catch tons of smaller fish. We tried different tactics to try and find the larger ones (bigger & deeper swimming flies, different areas, anything else we could think of) but every offer seemed to be found and accepted by a younger demographic of fish than we were searching for, with only a couple of decent fish showing up.

My Dad with one of the prettier ones of the day

It's been awhile since I caught two fish at once!
Weston with a chunk of bow
These smaller fish did offer one of my older brothers, Brett, an opportunity to get into some fish on a fly rod. While growing up we would occasionally fly fish, but mostly we would spend time in the boat either trolling pop-gear or bait fishing. The main reason for that is Brett. He couldn't walk a stream with us because when Brett was about 5 years old he was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. This caused his joints to swell and left him with pain and stiffness most days. He'd try not to let it slow him down, but the fact of the matter was that fly fishing was put on the back burner in favor of doing something that everyone could participate in. The area that we were going to this trip, however, had a few spots that Brett would be able to access with relative ease and the only issue would be if he could cast far enough and often enough to get into fish. The answer was yes, he could do it, and Brett had a great day fly fishing.

Brett with one of his many fish
The bigger fish seemed to be alluding all of us for most of the day, but we had an ace in the hole. We moved into position and started presenting our offerings. My little brother Weston was stripping an olive woolly bugger, my Dad was slowly retrieving a nymph and I was suspending a nymph under an indicator (Brett was tired at this point and didn't want to try the walk). The big fish of the trip took my Mod. Hares Ear for a ride until Weston could tail him for me.

A nice one
After that we ended up back in the area where we'd started to let Brett catch a few more and he took full advantage of the opportunity. He even found his first large mouth bass, then followed that up with another LMB. 

You just have to lip a Bass, no matter the size
I was fishing a deep hole away from the others and experimenting with color & weight combinations, still trying to find one of the lunkers, when I caught my first Tiger Trout of the year on a purple Woolly Bugger fished as deep and slow as I could make it go. 

First tiger I've caught at this location, and first of the year
All in all it was a great trip out with my Dad and Brothers. We caught tons of fish, saw some great bucks, and just enjoyed getting out together. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder