The Rats Nest

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Wait Is Over.

If All Goes As Planned, Should See Many Of This Next Week
While you are reading this passage, I am most likely in the air over the mid-western United States en route to the great land in search of gators with a good friend.  Fishing this year has been rather good around here, but I am fairly certain that after this trip I will be a bit ruined for a while as a result of my pursuit.  My apologies for not getting that video together on the Chinese Dragon streamer, but as most of you probably can relate, time and obligations got the best of me prior to my departure.  Besides, this time of year, most of us are fishing and less of us are concerned about tying so I guess I will get a base on balls so to speak for this one.  I will however share this great catch with you from Landon Mayer who has already requested a few more Chinese Dragon's for his pike arsenal.  I guess the fly worked well as the photo tells it all.
Absolute Slob of A Pike, Courtesy of The Chinese Dragon Streamer.

Upon my return I will have lots to share about my experience, and will also get back in the saddle in regards to that video and other things. I have some appearances already in ink for the fall, and I will get those up on the events pages then.  I managed to polish off the final edits for the book over the weekend, and I am hopeful on my return I will have the cover art finalized so all can see.  Until then, have a great week, hopefully the heat subsides a bit in your neck of the woods and you are able to get out there and enjoy some water as well. 

-Be well-

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tailwater Fun In The Sun

Low Lying Fog A Telltale Sign Of Summer On A Tail water
Spoiled.  Yes I am very spoiled, in that I have a fantastic tail water fishery within minutes of my front door.  After this past weeks grueling work schedule, it was fitting that I visited my old friend this morning before the heat really kicked into high gear.  As usual, my beloved home waters didn't disappoint, only this time in between meandering the shoreline to my next likely run, I decided to snap some photos of what I happened to see.

One Of Many Stream side Snails Basking In The Sun
The banks of a river are very interesting to say the least.  Aside from the vegetation, the micro organisms that we often never recognize are plentiful if you just take the time to inspect.  I was surprised at how many snails I observed on this very day, I don't ever quite remember seeing them in the numbers that I found today.

Sleek And Sneaky All In The Same Breathe
I also was lucky enough to spot a spiders lair nestled in an interesting plot of grass.  This particular spider had amassed a rather bountiful stash of victims in the web she had spun.  The position of this particular lair was rather advantageous to the spider, as it was in close proximity to the rivers edge.  Many a mayfly had unfortunately been consumed by the web and thus became dinner for old Mrs. Spider.

After seeing a slew of other forms of wildlife, I put the camera away and began doing what I set out to do in the first place.  The fishing was rather good as always, and the crowds were light which is even better.  I managed to have an entire stretch of river all to my lonesome and it was very rewarding from a variety of perspectives.  

The fish were hungry, and the hot fly of the morning was a size 16 DDT nymph in brown; an old favorite of mine for this time of year, and she still takes the cake to this day.   A dry dropper rig worked wonders today and provided some rather fast and furious action throughout. 

The river is indeed healthy, and getting better every year as is indicative of the yearling browns that I managed to tangle with this morning.  I managed the river slam with trout of all three species; brook, brown and rainbow trout.   Not a bad couple of hours on a hot muggy day.....


Monday, July 6, 2015

Fourth Of July Buildup 2015

The week leading up to the fourth of July was a bitter sweet week to say the least.  The sweet part was my ability to get out on the water almost every day after or before work in hopes of catching a few fish.  The bitter part is I was afforded this opportunity as my wife and two daughters were away visiting family.  Although the fishing was great, it's been a little too quiet around here for my liking.  You realize just how much you enjoy the company of your loved ones when they are elsewhere.  My wife's work has a company wide shutdown during this time, and she decided to shoot down and visit with her sisters in the state of Maryland.  Pictures daily and Face-time made up for their absence, but it will be nice to have them home later today.
3 of the 4 sticks on board this week.  From left to right, the Fluent 5, Arc 7 and Arc 6. All equally impressive.

So, in the wake of their absence, I decided I'd better take my new Clutch sticks out for a spin and see exactly what they were made of.  My week provided some very interesting opportunities, most of which involved the Flycraft Stealth.  Initially, pike fishing was of utmost importance on my list, but mother nature however didn't cooperate sending us copious amounts of rain.

No need to fear, a sound fisherman can always change gears at the drop of a hat.  Options in the trout realm were abundant, and the conditions were to my liking. On Monday evening I was joined by one of my older fishing partners, one of which I don't quite get to fish with as often these days as our schedules just do not line up often.  My brother in law Jeff just happened to be in the same shoes as myself, as his wife and kids (my wife's sister) headed to visit family with my wife n kids.  How convenient.  When we rolled up on the river at about 5:30 after work, it was already starting to unfold.
Jeff Picking Targets On The Boiling Water

The streamer bite was steady throughout, but it paled in comparison to surface activity that we experienced.  Two words articulate it well;  "Bug Soup".  And lots of rising fish, I mean pretty much everywhere.  Sulfurs, PED's, Olives, and the occasional Slate Drake made for dry fly fishing that most would dream of.  On this particular float we managed to fool all of our trout on a handful of Shucked Up Emerger variations imitating those I just mentioned, with most falling to a size 16 PED variant.

Several Trout Of This Stature And Larger Came To Hand On This Day Via The Shucked Up Emerger.
As we anchored up the Stealth in a rather familiar piece of water, Jeff managed pick off risers at a regular pace.  The number of targets was countless, and at one time it felt like we could do no wrong as the numbers of trout feeding on the surface was nothing shy of mind numbing.  The only negative byproduct that inevitably become reality was getting stuck in one spot forever, only to have to row out in the dark.  Apprehensively, I had to pull anchor and leave the pile of rising fish for others so that we could make our takeout in time.  Luckily for us, this was not the only pod of rising fish we were to see on this evening. It was pretty much the same scene all the way down the river, and then it happened.

As I pulled the Stealth into another very familiar piece of water, I happened to notice the ever so sneaky rise of a very nice fish.  Some of you may know what I mean when I say sneaky.  That rather large fish tucked in an inconspicuous feeding lie sneakily peaking his head out to gorge on the evening fare.  This guy was dark, and broad shouldered as his head, dorsal fin and tail rises truly displayed his prowess.  Due to the ever decreasing level of day light, this particular fish was easy to miss, but luckily my trained eyes paid off ten fold as I was able to hone in on his location, pointed the area out to Jeff and told him to get ready. This particular fish had put himself in a split seam off the shoreline mixed in with a couple other decent fish.

How Bout Them Apples, Good Work Jeff!
Jeff was having some difficulty figuring out which rise I was referring to, and the glare on the water from his position made it really hard for him to see this guy.  After a few adjustments, and a little team work, Jeff blindly placed the PED Shucked Up Emerger in the right lane and Walter ate.  I yelled "HE ATE IT!" and Jeff came tight quickly on the 5 weight Clutch Fluent.  Big dog shook his head and the fight ensued.  Jeff commented how it felt like an anchor was on the end of his line as this guy stood his ground and peeled line.  After a few minutes of tug of war, Walter came to net and Jeff had his personal best dry fly caught brown trout, what a great fish.  This whole episode made me realize just how much I miss guiding as the teamwork aspect of a fish like this guy are what guiding is all about.  Maybe someday soon I will get back out there.
My What A Big Jaw You Have

We finished our day with a few more on both dries and streamers, but the bar had already been set extremely high for the week.  What was to come was only a guess, but the start was nothing short of spectacular.

Another Nice Specimen Courtesy of The Arc 7.
Day two unfolded with flows a tad lower forcing us to wade rather than traverse our lovely local tail water via the Stealth.  Although the insect activity was the same, the volume of activity was as expected, much less than our prior days outing.  I managed to throw some more big flies prior to meeting up with Tommy and Jeff that day, and it paid off with a couple of very nice fish.
The Finest of the Day For Me.

Although we had ample number of targets this evening, the flows made a couple of our more warranted targets challenging.  The rewards were good however, and I ended up getting dealt a rather nice hand on this day, but Jeff's fish from the night prior was still holding strong at the top of the pile. When darkness was upon us, the three of us walked away from the river with solid numbers of fish to hand.  We followed up our evening with steak bowls at Chipotle as it was the only place open in our area.

Day 3 came and with it a significant amount of rain the night prior.  So much that we were able to float in the hard boat for a change.  The only downfall was Pike fishing for the days to come was entirely out of the question.  In fact, a canoer actually drowned on the Housatonic a day or two later if that gives you any indication as to how the conditions were; dangerous.  

Another Reason We Love Our Local Fishery So Much
Tommy would prove to have the magic touch  as he boated the fish of the day  in a spot we always seem to move something of quality from.  As we floated past this particular sweet spot, he dumped the perfect cast to the bank and on the drop the water exploded. 

The dry fly fishing was nonexistent for the most part this day, but the streamer bite was red hot right out the gates.  We boated several fish throughout the duration of our float and managed to locate some other very nice specimens that gave us a peek at their lies after swiping and missing our offerings.  Today's outing was a vivid display of why I love to toss the big bugs so much. We once again followed up the day with a date at Chipotle rounding out another stellar outing.

The Ice Pick Color Of Choice For The Week, Requiring Frequent Restocking Of The Fly-box.
Household obligations would consume the next couple of evenings after work, so Jeff and I decided to get those out of the way and prepare ourselves for an entire day of fishing on Saturday out of the Stealth.

This Guy Swallowed A Grapefruit
Saturday, Independence day was nothing like what you would expect.  The 4th of July is typically a hot and humid affair, but on this day, it felt more like April than July.  Rainy and cold were the conditions.  The high was supposed to be in the 70's, but it never got above 60 degrees the entire day and the rain was heavy off and on for the better part of the day.

Meat Eaters....
Although we ended our trip in the rain, we managed a fair amount of small to large fish on streamers, rounding out our day nicely even though we had to work a little harder for them.  To say this particular week was a nice recharge of the batteries is an understatement.

Now as I round out this post, I am approximately 18 days away from my most eagerly awaited fishing trip to date.  Alaska at one time in my life was a yearly pilgrimage of sorts, but I have not set foot in the great land in over 8 years.  When I fly out this time however it will not be for Salmonids, it will be in pursuit of those apex predators that are so dear to my heart.  Stay tuned for that one next month, but in the meantime enjoy the water out there it's fishing rather well.


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