Saturday, March 31, 2012

It is raining again

But before everyone starts giving me shit about your 75 degree Colorado weather, or the hot sun beating down on you in Minnesota, give me a few moments to reflect on 2011, specifically the great state of Alaska.

Time to swim home and look at enough pictures for the heat coming off of my iPad to keep me warm. Stupid rain.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lake MI

Wendy Berrell with a beast from last year. Lake MI 3.0 is on again, with the planning stages coming along nicely. Many flies have been tied, many pictures reviewed...but one more cant hurt.

The weather is slowly warming up out here, and as excited as I am to hit the Big C...I can't help but daydream of big, meat eating, chase the fly for fifteen feet carp. Oh, and there are a few of these around too.

A couple of months to go...but approaching fast.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My kind of trout

Some pictures of my dad and my high school basketball coach chasing trout in MT. Julio with a 10 lber...

Carp sized trout! That was the biggest but they have been catching some 7 lb fish as well...I do miss those lakes!

Great looking fish!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Your Go to Fly

Back when I considered myself a basketball player, I didn't really have a go to move. I was the kind of player that never saw a shot he didn't like, and when you are a consummate gunner like me, there is no point in developing a go to anything. Playing now, older, slower, and considerably less athletic, I find myself reaching for a right to left crossover and pull up three when my city league team absolutely needs a bucket. That shot has been going in of late, but it is pretty clear that my playing days are slipping away.

With so many carp flies on the market nowadays, how does one slog through the multitudes to pick your go to fly? Unlike this aging hoopster (who really didn't have many choices aside from the crossover pull up mentioned above) the go to carp flies out there are truly limitless. I have gone through a ton of variations over the past few years, but I can safely say I have one definite go to pattern at last. The way I view flies today comes down to two statements.

1) More flies are tied to catch fisherman than fish.

2) Keep it simple.

Granted, it can be really fun to come up with fancy looking stuff, and it can be a lot of fun to fish those flies, but time and again a basic pattern will catch just as many fish, and (for me at least) it is a lot simpler to replenish. Put simply, I am a crappy fly tier, but even I can tie a basic pattern that looks like just about everything and will flat out get eaten when presented right. So that is what I do.

I talk about the soft hackle a lot on this blog, and with good reason. The carp on my home waters eat this fly. Frequently. I can whip up a dozen of these in no time, and with a good selection of dubbing (love the free range) and/or chenille, my options for colors are virtually limitless. I use one of two different colors of hackle for every fly. Green pheasant rump, or green pheasant rump. I guess that is only one hackle. Oh, and I tie every fly in the same size (roughly a short shanked, wide gapped 10). The biggest variance for me (Body color aside)? The bead. I own tons and tons of beads and use different colors and weights, from glass beads to hollow to the always in demand tungsten...yes, I fish a ton of tungsten. I like to get up close and personal when I present the fly and tungsten means I don't have to lead a fish and let the fly sink. This fly is so simple that I refuse to tie it for swaps...I would look like a bigger hack than I am.

But the hard truth is even more simple than the fly...disclaimer...I am speaking of my home waters.

5/6 fish ate the soft hackle Sunday...the sixth fish didn't see it because it was the front of my two fly rig and I dapped the back fly on the fish. In 2011, at least 70 percent of my home carp were caught on a soft hackle. Figure another 20 percent on the San Juan worm and 10 percent on random stuff. I fish a two fly rig exclusively, and the soft hackle gets "taste tested" against every fly in my box at some point during the year...and carp flat out eat this fly.

My two favorite colors are shiny green chenille, and black and orange flocked chenille. that said, I catch fish on any color I put in the water (so far). Oh, and the big fish eat it too. This beast:

Was caught on a green one. The soft hackle is certainly a lot more reliable than my rapidly fading jumpshot.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Not to be outdone

The kids wanted a crack at some cold weather carp. I am not much of a bait or gear guy (I own three ultra light spin rods for the kids, and some jigs and hooks) but carp are a great kids species. A few pieces of corn on a bare hook tossed in a known carp travel lane equals fish on with just a bit of patience.

My kids are old hands by now, and after fighting 20+ lb fish on 9.5 foot long flyrods, the little ultra light is pretty simple. And Elia is better with the net than I am to be honest. Just the one today, but it was nice to see some smiles.

I do need to work on the release, which is more shot put than gentle recovery...nice thing about carp is they are pretty forgiving. Looking forward to some bass and crayfish catching expeditions, and the kids want to stalk carp on the river. Going to be a good summer!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Back in the Saddle

I just couldn't take it anymore. With work getting busier by the minute (thank you produce season!) and no break in sight from the weather I simply had to make a run to the river. The deck was stacked against me though. Cold water...check. Cold air...check. Lack of direct sunlight...check. Zero visibility...check. But sometimes, you just have to ignore the odds.


And sometimes, you get lucky.

This was the first of six on the day, and for the record, the smallest carp I have caught in 3-4 years. Tiny little bugger at 4-5 lbs but when he dipped down for the soft hackle I think I whooped for joy before I even set the hook! Conditions were brutal, and this was the only clean take I actually saw...the rest were half intuition, half sensing motion, and half guessing. I realize that is 1.5, but carp are tough to catch.

The rest of the fish were all about 8-9 lbs and skinny...poor carp have had a lean winter. I walked several miles of river and it was a cold, barren wasteland. Not a tail or shape to be found until I stumbled onto the one section that was warm enough to bring in some fish, and found about a dozen or so spread out on a soft mud bottom. The problem...the entire area was brown and muddy. All I could see we're clouds where the carp moved around and if I stared long enough, a shadow within the cloud that could only be a carp. The little guy was in shallow enough that I could see the entire fish, but detecting the other takes was tough. My arsenal:

I fished this two fly rig, and did my best to split the flies so that one landed on either side of what I though was the carp's head. I spooked a few (big mud clouds of escape) likely by hitting their tail instead of their head, but I got a few right as well. Then it was a matter of staring at the water for a sense of motion as the carp turned to eat. All in all, pretty cool for the first time out this year. With no sun, I had no business catching those fish so I will just give a nod to the fish gods in thanks.

And I am ready for more.


Friday, March 23, 2012

I see you

Enjoy your will be spring (for real) soon enough.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Not again

Just when dreams of carping were nearing a snows on us.

I know...only a dusting (and it will be gone in minutes) but the air temps are cold enough to kill thoughts of summertime flats. Maybe I will try for winter steelhead again this weekend.

I am now officially depressed.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


In the third row for Wicked. Kids are excited!

Friday, March 16, 2012


Just me and my dad...

When I think of that trip (which is often) I come back to the grayling again and again. Every evening, I stood in the river and caught as many grayling as I felt like catching. On dry flies. As many as I felt like catching. With my dad.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Selection Sunday

Easily one of my favorite days of the year...I love the tournament. Still, I was looking for an excuse to fill up the memory of my DVR and be up late into the night watching Bracketology...I wanted to walk the river and look for carp, but with the water cold, the air cool, and the sky full of rain and clouds I opted to stay home and enjoy some basketball. It was nice watching UNC go down!

A few years ago we stopped at a pond on the way to Spokane to watch the first round. It had been a warm start to the year, and we spotted one lone carp tailing within reach.

The cast was good, and the fish was interested. It turned to follow the fly, and it ate...but I was late on the hook set and missed what would have been a great photo.

Every year at this time I am doubly thankful for the NCAA tournament. By now I am dying for some carp action, but good basketball is a nice way to stay distracted!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Biggest F'ing Carp You've Ever Seen

To be fair, this was a REALLY big carp. I am talking about a head the size of a basketball. We will get another shot at her this year Wendy!


Sunday, March 04, 2012

A day at the beach

Spent the weekend at the coast. I did get an hour of two of futile casting in, fishing from the beach is just so alien and insane. I had some big rocks in front of me, a step up from the usual featureless beach but bites, bumps or heart stopping moments (that had to do with fishing anyway.)

We read, walked,hit the aquarium, played some hero quest, explored the tide pools, and in general enjoyed the view. 90 minutes from my house to this place? Not a bad deal at all.

feeding the birds was a big hit.