Monday, October 31, 2011

Boulders, Rocks, Fish!

Pocket water is a run of water that is marked by fast water, boulders and rocks. The rocks are sufficient that the water currents are highly varied with rock created seams overlapping from rock to rock.  Fishing pocket water can be challenging because the complex nature of the currents and the plethora of obstacles in the way. Part of the fun of fishing these areas is the difficulty in it!  I always like a challenge...

My friend, Lance Egan, recently posted up some pocket water tips...and I thought that I would share them with you...I seem to be fishing in these type of spots more and more!  It is where the fish are...

A quick tip when covering pocket water:

"When fishing behind a large rock, mid-stream or on the bank the natural place to look for Trout is in the soft water created by the rock extending downstream.  As you can see in this short clip, make sure you also cover the water tight to the rock.  In this case the current tight to the rock is flowing perpendicular to the main flow.  I made several casts in the soft water downstream of the rock with nothing.  Before moving on I made a cast along the rock in the foam line, allowing the dry/dropper rig to drift with the eddy flowing perpendicular to the main river flow.  This brought a take.  Also of note is the high rod keeping fly line and leader off the fast water between me and the pocket behind the rock.  If I let the line or leader contact the fast current my flies will immediately have drag and will be pulled out of the fishable water."  Lance Egan

Untitled from Lance Egan on Vimeo.

Quick tip 2 from Lance Egan on Vimeo.

Always look for micro seams and pockets.  If you cover a few, you will have landed more fish at days end.

A lot of fly fishermen overlook pocket water and see it as just another obstacle to cross to get to the next pool. Next time your out fishing, take the time to step back and survey a stretch of pocket water. Analyze it thoroughly and plan out a series of attacks. You’ll enjoy the challenge. I do.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What Makes A Good Friend? Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

I have pondered a lot lately on the many friends in my life that have meant so much to me...And during this past year, I have added friends that I have met via my blog.  What is it that makes a good friend?


A friend is someone who listens,
A friend is someone who cares.
A friend is someone who understands,
A friend is someone who shares.
It's nice to have a special friend
To tell all your secrets to.
It's nice to know that someone you like,
Is someone who really likes you.
A friend is someone you call on the phone
To talk about nothing at all.
A friend is someone who cheers you up.
And makes you feel ten feet tall.
Everyone would like to have
A special friend it's true
But if you want a special friend,
You need to be one, too.



If nobody smiled and nobody cared
and nobody helped us along.
If every moment looked after itself and
good things always went to the strong;
If nobody cared just a little about you
and nobody cared about me,
and we stood alone, in the battle of life,
what a dreary old world this would be
Life is sweet, just because of the friends we have made
and the things which in common we share,
We want to live on, not because of ourselves
but because of the people who care.
It is doing and giving for somebody else
on which all of life's splendor depends.
The joy of this world, when you've summed it all up
is found in the making of friends

B.J. Morbitzer

Sunday Tippet:  Embrace those friends around you and show them how much you appreciate them by making their day a little brighter!  Thanks to all of my readers and friends out there that make every day a good day just by knowing you!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Unorthodox Fly Fishing, Outdooress Style!

It's Friday and my plane touches down in Boise, Idaho.  My long awaited journey is about to begin.  Every year, I plan at least one trip with Rebecca Garlock to fly fish hours upon hours.  We start early and end late, and enjoy every minute of it!  So, I was excited to be meeting up with her once again and to becoming even better friends and share our god-given urge to be on the river to experience what some people never see...trophy size, brown and rainbow trout!  The Outdooress and Co-Chief of the Outdoor Blogger Network has an intriguing style to her cast and overall techniques on the water.  It is an amazing sight to behold....honestly.

We met up with Chris Hunt (EatMoreBrookTrout) and full time TU guru and freelance writer from Idaho.  He came over on some business and had time to fish with us on Saturday.  Another friend of Rebecca's, Michael, a local fly fishing expert of the River X, met us there and showed us some new areas that we hadn't fished before.  And they were money!  So, a fun group putting their lines in and making new friendships.  My first walk in had me tingling from head to foot...I was here!!  Excitement was in the air as I stepped into the magical waters...

We did have a lower level of water than we would have liked, but it still worked out fine.  They had just lowered it a few days, the fish weren't quite acclimated yet to their new digs, but we still caught enough fish.   The river was still...but, not for long!  Soon, we had ring after ring...with fish slurping all around us.  I am not a dry fly girl and so I was playing follow the leader and watching their techniques.  There were some nice size fish that day, ranging from probably 14 to 24 inches.  Chris was impressed with this fishery for sure. 

Lunch was know there are always varmints of some sort in my adventures!  As I was sitting on the side of the river enjoying my sandwich...Rebecca quickly yells, "Get up, Emily!  There is a snake behind your chair coming your way!"  Eeek!!  I didn't need to hear that twice!  Really...Some kind of boa or something...I didn't sit back down.  Ha.  As we got back in the vehicles and went up the road after lunch, we gazed down off the side of the cliff and there they were!  The biggest, fattest, browns and rainbows one could hope for.  They were swimming in a large, boulder area of the river and it was just an amazing sight.  We didn't fish there, as there were other fishermen in that spot already...but, we enjoyed being part of the "peanut gallery" as Rebecca calls it! 

This is Fly Fishing doubt about it.  We headed towards another special place with a faster run for me.  Another hour or so, we headed back to the original spot.  After another hour, I was already exhausted and called it a day.  So, when Rebecca was yelling my name to come over to the action at dusk, I was already sleeping in the car... Bummer actually, she got like ten more fish at dusk and the guys had their mouths open,  drooling just a bit at her success...heehee.  End of Day 1...

Sunday was "Girl's Day" !  And I was ready...I had hoped for better results on Saturday, but just didn't have my rhythm or something...Well, it was that something that had Rebecca thinking about all night.  She told me right off the bat that morning, that we were out to catch a lot of fish.  Right on!  Whatever you say RG...I'm listening!  She had a plan.  And now we get to the title of this post..."Unorthodox Fly Fishing, Outdooress Style!"  I was going to follow the "Unorthodox Outdooress" (shall we call her UO??)  How about it Kirk Werner, (UA)?  Well, I didn't really care what she threw at me, as long as it worked!  So, here is the top ten tips for remember, these might not be for everyone...they just were right for me, as my head has been full of instruction from fly shop lessons for the past three years!  Rebecca thought that it was time to take all of the techniques that were intermingled in my head and toss them aside for awhile. So, drumroll, please...

1.    Roll shoulders.
2.    Relax...let your hair down!
3.    Don't cast too stiff.  Go with whatever style feels right. (side casting for me)
4.   Whip it! (halfway between a roll cast/side cast)
5.   Snap it back!  (hey, that's a good one to prevent tangled lines in trees!)
6.   Stop, Pause, Wiggle...(strip, strip, the end of the cast)
7.   Do NOT grab line of a 20+ brown that is at your feet. : (
8.   Snickers and Diet Coke are good mojo for a fishing trip. (I knew that was coming!)
9.   Bullseye fishing for stillwater in the river...cast within one foot from the ring.
                        10. HAVE FUN!

And Bonus Tip...Always put your line in the water as you walk upstream!  Don't reel up.  Fish!

My favorite RG (UO) quote on the trip..."The fish are taunting me!  I must go pursue them!"  And she did.

The hours went by way too fast.  I was finally having fun, without a care in the world and catching one after another...that chica is something else.  What a fishing buddy to have along.  She never gave up on me...and finally we were hearing "Incoming"!!  over and over again...Yes, I stayed out until dusk.

The most amazing part of the trip wasn't catching all the teenage browns downstream from their parents.  It was watching the huge 20+ browns spawning just a few feet away from us as we stood on the bank.  These fish are not spooky in the least.  It is also incredible to see a trophy size brown basically swim in front of your feet as you are settling in to cast.  That is why I come back each year.  It was unfortunate that the biggest fish were "occupied", but my Red Chronomid Midge was finding a lot of other suitors! 

And by the end of the day, I was completely in my element.  Relaxed and in the rhythm that Rebecca had hoped for me.  I have been told that next year is Round 2 with the "Unorthodox Outdooress" training, as she will show me how to go after those browns in the slow, still waters and "Pursue them!"  Another adventure in the books.  It was all good.
Thanks to all of those that were part of it! And hats off to Rebecca for another great journey...
Footnote:  I found it interesting that one of my one shots of Rebecca resembled another picture that I have seen on the tell me??!!

Nice Job, Kirk!  (Except for the fish!)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

OBN Is Rockin' - Happy 1st!

Joe and a nice bass!
Wow!  What a week!  As I try to get ready for my next adventure out of town, there is a party going on over at the OUTDOOR BLOGGER NETWORK! (The Hub)  They are having a first year celebration like no other and if you haven't checked it out by now, you had better do it soon!   There are some terrific contests!!  As I look back a year ago, what was my life like back then?  Well, before starting a blog, I definitely had more free time!  So, let me tell you how I found out about the OBN in the first place... 

RG and Mr. Brown Spots
It just so happened that I went on a little fishing trip with Rebecca Garlock up in Idaho last October.  As our group gathered around the campfire, she said to me, "You really should start a fly fishing blog".    And I replied, "You are kidding, right?!"  So, Rebecca went on to tell me about the soon to be OBN that she and Joe were developing.  This network would tie outdoor enthusiasts together like never before!  With the fine tips from Rebecca and others in the network, I was able to "open up shop" and start writing about my adventures that mean so much to me.   It has been a fun and rewarding experience.  So, I thank OBN for the support system that they are and for the fine directory of outdoor bloggers that continue to amaze me with their talents and ambitions!  It is an outstanding community to belong to.  And I have had the opportunity to meet and fish with some awesome fly fishing friends through OBN.  My appreciation for fly fishing is now on a whole different level.  So, you will have to excuse me now,  while I start packing.                                                                                      
FOOTNOTE:  This is why I'm returning!  All in all, it was an awesome couple of days that we had that first trip.  Plenty of fish, good eats, some awesome scenery, mice dancing on rocks (in my tent), and a midge hook caught in the cook's lip (Rebecca is also an excellent emergency surgeon)  She will deny that acclaim... :0  Well...Here's hoping for a little calmer adventure this time around.  Round 3 is about to begin! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What's In Your Piggy Bank?...Sunday Tippets, Damsel Style

Cutting the budget doesn't mean cutting out the fun in your life. A slimmed-down household budget helps you save money and move towards bigger financial goals. Cutting your household budget can help you pad your savings account, pay down debt, or give yourself breathing room in the budget! You might even end up with enough money for a relaxing beach vacation (or a fishing trip...ha). It just takes planning and good judgement.  And some common sense (cents) haha. 
Cut Down On Dining Out

After a long day of work, your favorite restaurant is calling your name. Before you give in to your craving,  consider the effects of the decision. The amount you spend on a dinner for two at a restaurant could buy the ingredients for several meals for the week at the grocery store. You don't need to completely forgo date night with your mate at your favorite hot spot, but try reducing your nights out by half. Watch your lunches out as well. Your bank account will thank you for enjoying leftovers in the office break room instead of hitting the deli. 

Ask For A Lower Rate

A simple phone call to all of your service providers and lenders could mean more money in your bank account. Many companies work with customers by offering lower rates or special deals to avoid losing a customer. Call your cable company, phone service provider, cell phone provider, Internet company and other service providers asking for reduced rates.  Let them know you are looking around at other companies that provide the same services.  You can always turn off the land line if you have cell phones!  Calling your credit card companies or lenders might get you a lower interest rate on your debt. The lower the interest, the lower your overall payment, which leaves more room in the budget. Shopping around for more affordable insurance is also an option for cutting back costs.  Equal payment plans for utilities really help out!

          Become a "Free Entertainment" Guru

Entertainment expenses are likely a large portion of your budget. Free or cheap entertainment options give you a chance to hang out with friends or enjoy an evening at home without draining the budget. Instead of paying $100 or more for a big-time concert, check out a local band playing at a bar or club or a festival type of outside venue. Take advantage of free services at the library, such as movie rentals, CD rentals, or join a book club. Invite your friends or family over for a movie marathon instead of joining them at the theater.  I personally love Red Box.  It's saves the day many a time and doesn't drain the pocket book. 


Set Spending Limits

Giving yourself an allowance for your extra spending helps keep you on track while avoiding a drain on your budget. Withdraw the set amount of money each week so you know exactly how much is available for extra expenses. When you want to eat out for lunch or join friends for a pedicure, that cash goes toward the cost.  The extra funds can be your "Funny Money" or your savings for the month of December when it's time for holiday shopping!  I set aside $25. a week for several months and that paid for my trip out to the RMF in Colorado!  It can be done.

Knowledge is power!  A budget lets you know how much money you have coming in and how much you will need to cover your lifestyle. More than anything else, a budget gives you more information about your own lifestyle and how to manage it. Even though budgets are easy to create and follow, the reality is that very few Americans actually take the time to make and use them. Ask anyone who does live by a budget though, and you’ll hear that his or her financial life got a whole lot simpler after taking a little time to figure out how much was coming in, what needed to be paid for and how much extra there was for savings and fun.  : )

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fishing In Heaven?

As I casted my rod into The Poudre River and the small streams of the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado last week, a funny thought came into my head.  (Not that funny thoughts don't usually cultivate there!)  Will there be fishing in Heaven?  And if there is, would it be something beautiful like this scenery that I was looking at?  I'm sure it would be.  If we were fishing in a river, stream or a lake in Heaven, I'm sure it would be absolutely surreal.  It would have to be.

We know that a river flowed from the Garden of Eden.  And that on the 5th day of the creation, God created fishes.  For what reason?  For men to be sustained when needed and for our enjoyment in other times.  And that the Disciples... Peter, James, Andrew and John were fishermen by trade, should give us another inclination that fishing is good. They will undoubtedly be taken care of in Heaven.  So, I guess that there shouldn't be any worries if there is fishing in Heaven.  : )   Right? (Now, I just have to get there...)

Funny thing, when I Googled "Fishing in Heaven Pictures", this guy showed up!
Maybe it was because of "Uncle" Mel's new blog name "Rainbow-Chaser"... ???
Or because he is wearing that Heavenly T! shirt...

So, what waters remind you of a little bit of "Heaven on Earth"?  Well, for me...there is one in particular.    River X

Hey, I know that person waiting for the next Big, Brown Trout!

Big, Healthy, Mr. Brown Trout...

My 2nd trip with Rebecca on River X

As I await my third adventure to River X... I start getting that tingly feeling all over that something very special is on the horizon.  And even in a very odd year of Spring run-off and flooding, all reports are that the river is ready for the River Damsel to make her journey next week.  Oh, how I love Fall fishing...and especially in this river!  For the Browns will be hungry. 

And as always, we will take a bear over a mouse or a snake...well...maybe.

Ahhh...I can hear myself saying "Incoming!" to Mr. Brown Trout right now...

Rebecca's Mr. Spots...had a few teeth!

    And I have a bigger net this time around... Ha!

The road to "Heavenly Fishing"...Looks like a secret road too, doesn't it??

Onward...River Damsel.  Heaven...errr...River X is waiting...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Blogging "Free-Agent" Returns ~

The River Damsel Presents ~
              "Freelance Blogging" at it's best!  Brandon Robinson ~ (One Bug Is Fake) 
                                  Brandon honors us with his unmatched writing...on this guest post...

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Bows vs Bass

1: Bows are friendly and joyful creatures, I assume anyway.  Bass are the riparian realizations of Boo Radley's reputation.

Boo's beach house...

2: Bows sip like proper British gentlemen, Bass inhale like junkyard dogs.

3: Bass are as lazy as that good-for-nothing Uncle of yours.  Come to think of it, so are Bows.

4: Bows will be found in pristine cold water environments, and have a refined taste for numerous delicacies.  Bass again, are riverine junkyard dogs and found in whatever ditch, stock tank, or storm drain that holds year-round water.  They will also eat anything that pisses them off.

"Clean The Bass Pond, Please!"

Big bows can often be found chilling in the same feeding lanes, conversing stock options and sharing jokes whilst they dine.  They seem to enjoy the closeness of the other fish that are too big to be food.  In North Carolina I fished one twenty foot run of a creek and caught three 16” plus fish.  Even if every fish in that water was dumb enough to bite my olive mud-puppy, that's still a lot of fish for one small stretch.  You won't find that in bass rivers.

For fly fishermen, the size parameters for bass seems to be similar in respect to trout, inch-wise.  16” is a respectable fish no matter which of the two species you happen to be measuring.  Bass can also fight like a hooked honey badger, and be as picky as gluten-free vegans when they want to be.  Worthy adversaries on the fly to be sure, so why are they largely forgotten or overlooked?  From what I can find, 47 states have both bass and fly fishermen within their boundaries, so why is trout the dominating species in the sport to the point that many have never attempted bass fishing? 

Bass At Walmart Pond

Oddly enough, while researching bass fishing on the fly after a particularly painful skunkage, I discovered that bass fishing in America started on the fly.  According to Jack Ellis in “Bassin' with a Fly Rod”, the automatic fly reel was developed for bass fisherman in the south who needed to fish and paddle at the same time.  So what happened?  I don't know, but I bet it has something to do with THAT movie.  Brad Pitt certainly didn't lip any bass in that movie.  There is also a quote that keeps floating around referring to three rules of fly fishing, “Always with a dry, always upstream, and always to a rising trout.”  Another theory is, that many an angler tried, yet without a wealth of information: got frustrated and stubbornly returned to trout.  The information is there if you look hard enough, and take most of the things you find with a grain of salt.  That said, here is what I think you should keep in mind when trying for the blessed Black Bass.

Right now (October), the fall bite is on in most of the country.  This is when most black bass start furiously gorging themselves on big bait-fish.  They chase and eat with reckless abandon as if they were scared first-year Floridians stocking up supplies before a hurricane.  Swimming flies like Galloup's Dungeon, and his other articulated flies will get the job done perfectly, although I would recommend adding weight if you are stuck with a floating line fishing streamers.  Change colors until you get a bite, then vary the speed that you strip until a pattern emerges. 

The Eagle Claw taking a break...

When it turns cold, fish low and slow.  Floating line works fine, if that's what you have.  Use a fluorocarbon leader, and be generous with the tippet, depending on the depth of your river.  Fishing deep pools or ponds, I use a clear intermediate sinking line with a furled fluorocarbon leader.  If you're just starting out, Jay Zimmerman's Geezus Lizard would be your fly of choice.  It casts like a brick, but you can compensate by opening your loop up, and laying your back-cast down a touch.

Come spring, before the bass start to spawn, poppers or flies that ride just below the surface are the way to go.  Once the spawn starts, switch to clousers.  You'll find the bass sitting on beds tucked away in the shallows.  This is the average anglers best time for bass.  Find your fish, cast behind them and strip with quick jerks with a pause in-between each.  Return the fish quickly, and move on.  They are sitting on eggs, and if they feel their area isn't safe, they will abandon the “red” and the eggs will quickly become carp food.  Post spawn they are swimming with their fry, so your back to streamers.  Fly freely, but return the fish quickly.

Late spring and all of summer means it's time to fish small.  Poppers still work in the morning, but my biggest fish have come from small streamers like Rainey's BB Screamer.  Pound the bank and any sub-surface structure.  Bass have eyes that are oriented on the top of their heads.  Keep in mind; they can't squint, close their eyes, or purchase sunglasses, so the big guys are going to be underneath grass mats, boulders, and the banks in the shade.  This is where you cast.

Bass Bending...
Be patient.  Keep in mind, for every “trout-guy” that earns a big-ol' skunk on bass water, there is an equally perturbed “bass guy” getting his butt kicked by stupid trout.  In part due to the way each set hooks when a strike is felt.

Setting the hook on a bass is different from your instinctive trout sets.  It has to be hard, must be quick, and you can't do it timidly.  Picture one of those collapsible laundry hampers, that's about the type of mouth you're dealing with.  There is a good meaty section on the top and bottom, but the rest is just a fleshy membrane attached to a hard ring of cartilage.  You have to get your hook around that ring or in the meaty sections if you want to get your fish to hand, so jerk fast and hard.  Worry not my sensitive friends, they don't have nerve endings in their mouth.  Some people use a strip set, but I use this method: I always minimize the slack in the water, and keep the rod pointed down.  The set is a two part action, with one hand I grab the line and hold it by my legs, and with my rod hand I lift harshly.  Keep tension on the line, they are going to start shaking their heads with their mouth open, trying to throw your fly.  After that the fight rules are the same with any species.

Reading water is the last bit of advice I can give you.  Watch where you are walking.  As you wade or approach the water, you will see the fish scatter.  Watch where they are coming from, that's where you'll find them upstream.  Pound the bank (even cast to the bank, pulling your fly into the water), fish downstream from structure, and work parallel to any ledges.  Practice patience too, when all of the above fails, fish the rest of the river.  Bass don't read Wikipedia, they don't know where they're supposed to be sometimes.

I am leaving stuff out, a lot of which I hope will be added to the comments.  Somethings are pretty common-sense, “watch for 'nervous' water, or wakes of big fish chasing little fish...” and , “Minnows jumping out of the water generally means a predator is close...”  If you feel like anything is left out, add it!  I am always learning, and according to one Marine (LCpl Manning: thanks for reading, and serving.)  in Yuma, Arizona, I suck at fishing anyway.