Monday, October 31, 2011

The Spin Move

That's my boy. At times I feel bad for the little bugger; he has my full on competitive nature, but at 5 doesn't know how to handle it (at 36 I have my moments too). It is awfully fun to watch him run around on the football field though...I am pretty sure he turned to look back and talk a little trash in that last picture. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Having some motivation issues. Thought about going tomorrow, but came up with a million reasons not too.  The real reason?  I have zero chance of spotting, stalking and catching anything like this tomorrow.  

That was a bad ass fish Wendy.  And I am already dreaming of spring.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wendy Berrell and the micro

Dug up this old Wendy Berrell post while chatting with Mctage. Check it out...

Wendy tells a far better tale than I, but I stole some of these pics without his permission. He'll forgive me if enough of you check out his blog.

Go check out his tale from 2007. Monster carp on the micro rod...

Wendy's Blog is always a good read.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Waiting with the kids to see Blue Man Group. Looking at pictures. Man what a fish!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Outdoor Blogger Network

Happy one year anniversary to Outdoor Blogger Network ! If you haven't checked them out, you should. Great place to find cool blogs. If you are a blogger, sign up and join the fun...they do a ton of great gear reviews and it is nice to have such an active community of outdoor bloggers.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

End of season blues

They have sunk in out for me. I have been pretty busy, and with the sun being tired (as Mr. P says) and the water being cold my carping will be reduced to local ponds until spring. It makes me a little (a lot actually) sad. It was a great season.

Most years I am relatively content to tie flies, watch basketball and wait for spring. I usually make a Deschutes run in late winter, but for the most part...I hang out at home. This year, I hope to do more of this.

Feb. blue winged olive red side...not a huge fish, but they are awfully pretty. I am thinking I will do more of this too...

Late fall Clackamas steelhead. I haven't swung flies in a while, but the coho in Alaska woke that desire up again. I am looking forward to some cold, rainy, misty steelhead mornings swinging flies for fish a lot brighter than this one was. I also think I will do some of this...

Sight fishing to bull trout on the Metolius. Personally, I love the boots and think they are a cool fish. It will be good to get reacquainted this winter.

I am hoping for an interesting off season!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

No go today

I actually got in the jeep, drove as far as the nearest Starbucks and instead of grabbing coffee and hitting the road, I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes and listened to the radio. Then I drove home and put all of my gear away. Truth be told, I just wanted to hang with the kids and wife. So I did. We ran errands and dinked around the house. I gave both kids baths and carried JJ around on my shoulders. It was a nice day. No fishing, no fly shops.

But, since this is (technically) a fly fishing are some bass from a few weeks ago. It has to be said...bass are dumb. I fished in the pouring rain with wooly buggers and goofy looking flies and caught a ton of these little suckers. I had one bigger (15 inches?) bass leap and throw the hook, but for the most part all I caught were these little guys. Neat water though...small stream, wadeable, and all the bass were in the tailouts. Pretty neat tromping around a river, flinging flies and catching bass. I plan to do more of this next year now that the kids are relatively proficient with their ultralight spinning rods. The best part of this day...I got hammered by rain. It was awesome. When a guy is geared up properly, waders and jacket on, layers done just in the rain rocks.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

My season is over

I was fortunate enough to fish with Brian from The Haddis Catch today, and frankly, we agonized over where to go and what to chase. The plethora of options available to an angler in OR in the fall is a little overwhelming. The trout fishing is great, steelhead abound, salmon swim in the rivers, and sea run cuts can be caught near the coast. With all of those options in prime condition...we chose a 50/50 shot at carp instead. It was about what I expected (but not what I talked myself into thinking it would be). We saw some fish, but not in the numbers nor in the locations I usually find the fish. The biggest issue was the weather. Fall is here in OR, and with it comes clouds, and some rain. We fished the bulk of the day with no sun, and a good chunk of the day with dark, ominous clouds. And yes, we got rained on...but we still found some fish.

This bad boy was the first fish we landed but not the first we hooked. She tipped the scales at just over 20 lbs...a great way to end the season! We hooked a total of 7 fish, and landed two. I lost three fish to the weed beds, one to an extremely dull hook, and landed one other fish in the 9-11 lb range. Brian had one solid hookup, but he set the hook one way just as the carp (15 lb range) sprinted the other way...I heard the line snap from thirty feet away.

Despite tough visibility and a rough time actually landing fish, it was a rewarding day. I enjoyed fishing with Brian and we had enough "holy shit did you see that" moments to carry us through. I have to say this too...we saw some absolute monster carp. Brian had the misfortune of snagging a rock as a real bruiser (25-30 lb range) turned to follow his fly. Another three seconds without hooking that rock and Brian would have had something that could pull back.

We closed the day (and my season) fishing in a downpour. A mist came through, the rain fell hard and we squinted into the deluge looking for carp. A fitting way to close things down. How many months until spring?

Check out the size of that tail. Carp are awesome.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

I miss carp

Might get one more semi decent outing in...maybe. Water temps are falling fast.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Final thoughts

At heart, I am a carp guy. I like the method, the sight fishing, the heat and sun and shallow water but there is simply no place like Alaska. We haven't managed to screw that place up yet (fight the Pebble Mine!) and Alaska is a treasure.

To see such a place with my dad is well beyond any words I can conjure. I have no pictures to explain what it was like to see him smile, not because of a fish or setting or bear, but because I was smiling. I smiled a lot. I took it in and I exhaled and was not shy in exclaiming or commenting on what was around me. I acted like a kid that I really am, and my dad did the same. You would be hard pressed to find two people more suited to enjoy that experience, and enjoy watching each other enjoy it. I got the impression that a lot of people go to Alaska to use it. We did our best to appreciate it instead. Maybe I am crazy, but it felt right.

When we returned to the lodge on the last day, a feast awaited us all. We sat down to steak and fantastic food...we laughed and looked at pictures and told stories. As dinner ended, my exhausted (but elated) dad went to bed. I looked around at a room full of guides and clients and good conversation and did the right thing. I snuck outside, put on my waders and went to stand in the river one last time. In true storybook fashion, I landed grayling after grayling as the lodge guests started a bonfire that overlooked the river. I stood a few hundred yards away with my boots in the gravel and a fly rod in my hand. I caught grayling as the sun went down and walked back to the lodge with only the light of the campfire as my guide. The trip ended for me there on the river...a size 16 elk haired caddis stuck in the lips of a 19 inch feet and legs cold, my fingers wet, my eyes wide open and my heart full.

Thanks for an unforgettable trip dad.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Day seven

Dinner on the eve of the big pike was a strange event. The general mood was elation...along with my big pike the group had landed 30 and 29 inch rainbows that day. Some truly memorable fish! But everyone knew we had but one day left. Debate raged at all the tables...where to spend the last day on Alaskan waters. My dad seemed to have his mind made up on this one. He was bound and determined to show me the Mountain Lakes and their beauty...a place I was nearly guaranteed to catch a "nuclear" char of staggering colors, but when Pat sat down at our table I leaned over and said:

"Pat, my dad loves to catch big coho. Take us coho fishing tomorrow."

There was little discussion after that...someday I will go back and see those mountain lakes and catch those brightly colored char...but my dad loves to catch big coho. So that is what we did.

When the float plane landed, we jumped out and rigged up ready to go. I nearly caused a major delay because Brad mentioned that they occasionally catch flounders right where we were, so of course I started frantically peppering the area behind the float plane with casts. Eventually, they reeled me in the boat and we were off for another amazing day.

We flung pink and purple leeches...heavy flies that sank quickly and were made entirely of rabbit fur. They undulate and move in the water and the aggressive coho can't resist them. Many of the takes were visual...we would watch the fly as we drifted, swung, or stripped it through the water column and a big coho would bust from the pack like a wolf on the prowl. The fish would close on the fly almost casually and then simply inhale the bug with one big chomp.

My dad and Brad stopped for lunch, and of course I kept fishing. By this point I was really concentrating on the feel of the thing. Standing in the river is much more preferable than fishing from a boat. I could feel the push of the cold, fast water against my legs. My boots dug into the clean gravel and the weight of the line in the water was tangible. If I concentrated and kept my mind blank I swear I could feel the water rushing through the marabou of the fly...pushing against the dumbbell eyes and making the fur dance. I would strip and move the fly, reveling in the sensations and then everything would come tight. Not a jolt or a "hit" as we always say...simply a the hook home with a strip set and the chrome rockets would blast upriver. A veritable smorgasbord of sensations that beats lunch any day in my opinion.

As my dad and brad finished lunch and drifted by me, Brad handed me a sandwich. I took a big bite and watched my dad working the run from the boat as brad walked him downriver. Then a salmon rolled in front of me. I looked around...waist deep in a river, sandwich in hand and salmon rolling. I chomped off another bite, set the sandwhich on my hat and made a cast. Priorities.

We caught fish all day. We caught fish in every run. We caught fish stripping flies, we caught fish swinging flies, we caught fish dead drifting flies. We even caught several fish stripping flies downstream (an apparently ineffective technique) including this awesome dolly varden.

The day was everything I had hoped it would be. My dad loves to catch big coho...and he caught a ton of them.