Slow down you’re in a hurry!

So as a fly fisherman who is married, has two daughters and a full time programming job it is tough sometimes to get on the water as much as I would like.  Of course I would like to be on the water daily but I also really like all of those things I mentioned above.  So finding that balance is something us anglers struggle with on a day to day basis.

Balance and/or give up sleep.  That is what I have been doing lately.

I decided that if I wanted to fish, keep my job, be a decent dad and husband then I needed to give up sleeping.  I have been waking up around 5:15 a couple of times a week so that I can get out on the water.  Today started off perfect, hopped out of bed with the intentions of fishing my new Allen rod and reel to review for the site.  Got on the water by 5:45am and I was off to the races… right? Wrong!

I am used to my 3wt 7’6″ rod on my tiny local creek and so this 5wt 9′ rod was causing me all sorts of issues.  Not the rod’s fault of course just mine.  I am 6’6″ so add 9 more feet onto that and you need a lot of room to work.  So that is how my day started off, in the trees around trees and hacking down the trees to get to flies.

When I make these trips in the mornings I always feel a bit rushed.  Sure it is good to get on the water for 2 hours but I can’t kick the feeling that I am going to be late for work.  So most everything I do I do with a little more urgency than usual.  A little more urgency in fly fishing generally leads to bad things.  The fly slapping the water, you casting into the trees or bushes, etc etc.

So I keep hearing my Dad in the back of my head telling me “Slow down you’re in a hurry”. I don’t know if he came up with the phrase or not and frankly it was one of those things that when I was 13 I would just go “Pfft whatever Dad that doesn’t make sense”.  Well… it makes a ton of sense now in my mid 30s.  You see if you just stop and relax, odds are you will accomplish whatever you are trying to do faster than if you try to rush and say… cast into a tree or fall in the water and hurt your knee.

Well it was one of those mornings for sure.  I caught a handful of decent size fish but as the clock ticked down and I needed to head towards work I had a “one last cast” mentality going for about ohh 20 min.  On the actual last cast I was aiming towards a hole that was across some very swift water.  There are not many places that are to deep for me to wade in this creek so I didn’t think this was one either.  I made a nice cast… nothing.  ”Ok just one more cast”, I said.  Somehow I managed to just hit the last 18th of an inch of this branch and my fly fell off of my leader and into the hole.  A perfect cast, that is if my line was still attached to it.  So I say to myself “That’s a two dollar fly!! Get it!” and jump hip deep into the swift water and try to get across.  Hip deep became belly button deep which became nipple deep (remember: I am 6’6″).  I then said to myself, “Jesus… it is ONLY a two dollar fly!”.  Funny how perspective can change in less than 2 feet.  On my tippy toes I make it across only to trip on a rock and fall about 2-3 feet from my fly.  As I realize I am not going to get washed down stream my focus turns back to the fly only to watch the largest fish I have seen all morning gobble it up.

Maybe had I heard my Dad a little louder this morning I would have taken the long way to the fly, or realized it wasn’t that important at all… at least maybe I wouldn’t have fallen… but sometimes it goes like that.  A bad day on the water is better than any day at the desk, and other various cliche angling phrases that get thrown around over a beer or three.

Today though for me, it was walking into the office soaking wet.  When a co-worker asked me why I was so wet, I said “I went fishing this morning” with a giant smile on my face and walked off.

Side note: The fishing in Colorado has been pretty good considering normally this time of year you couldn’t even get near the water due to the run off, but since the entire state is on fire and there is no water to be found we get to fish in June like it is the middle of October.  Makes me worried about what the middle of October will look like.

Redington Pursuit 5wt Outfit Review

Intro

The folks over at Redington were nice enough to send me over my first product to review for this site!  So first off thanks to them for that.

Next I would like to cover some basics here.  This is just a reminder that this blog is dedicated to those of you trying to learn how to fly fish.  I may talk about some more advanced topics or just give fishing reports here and there but that is the main purpose.  I want people to have an easier time picking up the sport/hobby than I did.  So this review is written with that in mind.

Buying an outfit to get going with is about as easy as it gets.  There are many selections to choose from these days and I will say this, all of them that I have been exposed to will get the job done.  They used to catch fish with a stick and a string. We buy more expensive and flashier gear because we like to and it make us happy.  Plain and simple.  Sure some are lighter and faster and look better, but they will all catch fish.

What I am looking for in an outfit like the Redington Pursuit Outfit is as follows.

Durability

Now obviously I haven’t ran this thing through the ringer for the past 4 years or anything to get a real durability test going but it has all of the basics.  The reel seat, the grip and the eyes are pieced together with solid construction and fit and finish is nice.

But the main thing is that when the durability fails because you are just learning and fall in the stream and break your rod (or far more likely you close the car trunk on it) there is a lifetime warranty. I have never experienced the return process from Redington but I hear it is pretty good.  So when you inevitably bust your rod you aren’t up a creek, or something.

Longevity

This I believe is probably the most important category.  What I mean by longevity is how long will it take you to outgrow this.  I think this Redington Pursuit combo feels like one of the most all around solid casting rods I have used.  The action on this rod I would say is medium but pulling towards faster.  Most of the combos that I have fished error on the side of slower so that it is more forgiving.  That is not to say that the Pursuit is by any means unforgiving just that it felt like it had a little more power to it than some of the others I have fished.

Proof that it works

What this translates to I think is that it will not only be easy to pick up but you probably won’t feel like you ever need a new 5wt.  Of course that is until you think of an excuse to spend more money but that is not the Rod/Reel’s fault now is it?

I haven’t gotten a chance to really test out the drag yet on the

reel but unless you are using this for a carping rig that really isn’t going to matter much.  If and when I get to actually use the drag I will update this review.

Weight/Size

The weight of a rod and reel I think is particularly important to a beginner because as silly as it sounds you simply don’t have the muscles yet to cast all day long and so the lighter the rod is the longer you can last without having to whine to your buddies about your shoulder being sore.  The weight of the Pursuit was more than that of say the Ross Essence combo so if it gets some bad marks I would say that is there.  Now none of the combos are particularly light so you may not notice but I just happened to have the two sitting side by side and the Ross felt a little lighter.  However the Ross is considerably more expensive, and is it worth the extra money to shave a few ounces off of the combo… I don’t think so.

Goodies

The fun thing about these combos is they come with some cool cases and you can basically walk out of the store and get to fishing.  The fly line on this combo is great.  It is the RIO Mainstream line and it is top notch I really like it, as a matter of fact I have the same line on another of my setups.  It seems to be perfectly matched with this combo to and is a breeze to cast yet also easy to cast in a breeze (see what I did there).

If I have one gripe it is the leader that comes with it.  Now to be fair I don’t know if it was the particular leader or the fact that these things are stored on the spool which isn’t good for them for very long periods of time.  But this being a 5x leader and it managed to snap twice on me above my knot while fishing it.  It wasn’t like I was into some hawgs either.  I am going to blame it on the packaging and potential sun exposure over a long period of time, but my advice is if you have the wherewithal just cut the leader off and put on a fresh one, although most beginners won’t do this but if you have a friend helping you ask them to do it for you. You also may want them to tie a loop connector on the fly line.  It comes with the standard nail knot but you will eventually want to put a loop on there as most leaders come with loops these days.

The case is great.  I really like it and since I have bought rods that were $100 more than this that didn’t come with a case (I am looking at you TFO) I think it is a nice treat to give a beginner, and Redington didn’t cheap out here at all.  It is very nice.

Conclusion

So like I said in the beginning.  Any combo is going to get you on the water and fishing.  Some of them however are slightly better than others and with that in mind the Redington Pursuit I believe is the best in this category.  Sure the Ross Essential combo is good to and it comes with a DVD but it is priced nearly $80 more than this combo and in my opinion the Pursuit will keep you on the water and happy for longer due to the faster action making it more versatile and can grow with you as you get better.

I am not going to do a silly star system or anything with my reviews so I hope you enjoyed my take on this combo.  Please leave comments below if you have any questions about the rig or can point out anything I missed.

You can learn more about the Redington Pursuit and more over at Redington’s Website

Grand Lake Colorado Fishing Trip

So every year we make the trip up to Grand Lake Colorado for our anniversary (11 years… thanks for asking).  If you haven’t been this place is simply amazing.  There are some great lakes around here to fish but all of their tributaries make for a ton of fishing and just simply not a lot of people around.

My wife being as awesome as she is lets me get in quite a bit of fishing on these trips.  As it stands my little post this week on roll casting really came in handy.   I found myself staring down a couple acre pond that gets stocked with decent size rainbows.  They pretty much throw themselves at anything that looks like a leech.  The only problem is there were no boats this year and all I had to cast off of was about a 6ft dock.

Big rainbow

So I grabbed my trusty 8wt so that I could hopefully get some more distance and also these fish are decent size so I wanted to get them In rather quickly.  After floundering around I felt the familiar tug and managed to bring this guy in.

I ended up catching about 5 more of those and then my arm fell off from all the flailing around and roll casting I was doing and called it a night.  I managed to learn a couple of things though.

  1. When you are trying to do crazy flipping half spey casts with absolutely no room for a back cast, your likelihood of hooking yourself goes up a lot.  This is a good time to remind you to crimp your barbs.  I still don’t know how I managed to do it but I hooked a 6x wooly bugger on my shirt mid back.  I got lucky.
  2. If the line isn’t at least mostly in the water roll casting just simply doesn’t work well.  You need the line in the water to create lots of tension the same way a rod loads up during a false cast.  If you get lazy and most of the line comes out of the water well then you are throwing a whip, which leads to more #1s.

The vacation is not over yet and I might get up another post or two that provide more instruction but that’s it for now.  Tomorrow I am going to spend the majority of the day on the mighty Colorado… which up here looks like the picture below :).

Perfecting the Roll Cast

Have you ever been in a small creek or stream and just needed to cast but there was no room for a back cast?  Perhaps you just know there is a fish in a hole and you just want to quickly reset your line out there to keep it in front of him.  Well if there is no room behind you one of the quickest and easiest way to do this is to perform the roll cast.

Here are the steps to do it.

  1. Get the desired of line out and in the water.
  2. Raise the rod to around the 1 o’clock position (just behind your ear).
  3. Quickly make a forward cast like you would in your final cast of a traditional cast.
  4. The line will roll out in front of you.  If you practice this enough all of the line you have out will lay out in front of you.

What makes it work?  Well you can cast a decent amount of distance the more resistance you have as you go forward.  The line in the water will generate pull which is almost like the pull on the rod during a back cast.  If you aren’t getting all of the line out there then you either didn’t have enough line in the water to generate this friction, or you didn’t cast forward hard enough.  Don’t worry with a little practice you will be casting like Mel Kreiger :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy23B_MYwsA

Works well when: There is little to no room behind you or you don’t want to make a back cast for whatever reason.

Fails when: It is very useful but I am much more accurate with a standard cast.  You can get more distance out of a standard cast.

Other notes:   You can’t really test this without water since you need the load from the friction the line and the water causes.

We’ve relocated to here!

Aside

Welcome and sorry for the rude redirection if you were visiting the old blog.  However we have moved here and off of blogspot.  It’s pretty exciting really to have more control over the blog and well it just looks more official.

If you were headed to a specific article use the search function above and you will find it.  Sorry for any inconvenience, and I hope this new setup works better in the future.

-Steve

Happy Earth Day… You Jerk…


Hello folks.  I realize it has been a while.  Although it has been a bit since I posted I have actually been spending more time on the water this year than I have in previous Winter / Spring time spans.  I am married and have two kids and a full time (non fishing) related job.  As a matter of fact as I type this I am sitting in the San Francisco airport on my way back from a conference.  I can think of a million places I would rather be, fishing…. ANYWHERE is one of them.  So I remembered that I had an idea for a post a month or so back on Earth Day (April 22nd for those who don’t believe in global warming and the like).


This post is about fishing “Ethics”.  I was reminded of my post while spending the week in San Francisco and more specifically the airport.  People in the airport generally do not care about you.  They don’t care about anyone else either so don’t take it personally. I don’t mean the typical don’t care like you get normally while walking down the street.  I mean they will run you with their luggage and spit on you on the way to grab the seat they want on the plane only to sit next to you for an awkward 2.5 hours to who knows where. This happened to me (except the spitting… that is just just what I call writer’s flare..) had this been the only incident I probably would have shook it off.  But the guy cutting me off to the urinal,  the race to the rental car aisle, and my personal favorite that constantly happens to me is the people who refuse to let you off the elevator before they shove their way on at the ground floor.


Ok ok I hear you… fishing blog… not a crappy airport blog.  What my point of this post is is that this is expected for some reason in an airport.  This type of behavior is indicative to stressed out places to be mentality.  The exact reason I don’t want to ever live in San Francisco. It is not however supposed to happen on the water.


For the most part I haven’t seen it.  Largely due to the part that I try to fish where people aren’t. However on Earth Day I wanted to show my buddy and his wife South Boulder Creek right below the damn.  Now this is a fairly crowded spot at times, especially the weekend.  I wanted to take them there because the flows were good and it is fairly accessible and isn’t right next to a major road.  So you can feel at least like you are alone, even though the trails around there sometimes feel like a busy road.


So we get in there I set them up in some decent holes, only to head down stream a little ways to see what I can accomplish myself.  Not a shocker I run into a guy downstream and I kind of watch for a little ways to see if he is fishing upstream or down stream.  I think he is heading up so I head farther down stream wait till he is out of eyesight and hop in the water.  Second cast in I catch a decent fish.  I was pretty happy, I kind of saw him from the trail so maybe it was cheating… I call it crafty.


I carry on undisturbed for a bit and head down stream a little more.  I wade out to the spot you see in the picture.  Seems pretty decent right, lot’s of water to work through.  Ending up right where those riffles are.  Well it wasn’t to long before I heard a loud-ish splash behind me. I turn around to see a guy no less than 20 feet from me thrashing… and I mean thrashing through the water.  He gives about 5-10 half hearted casts and then jumps out.  No big deal I think… I am fishing up stream.  Then the son of a bitch jumps into the water right where the riffles are and basically falls in, stands  up and tries to cast a couple more times.  Didn’t say anything… nothing.  Didn’t even look at me.


I am 6’6″ standing in open water.  I think even bears are scared of my presence, I smell worse than one that’s for sure.  This guy had no business crowding someone like this and jumping above and below another fisherman.


Now I don’t fish the Dream Stream.  I don’t go to the frying pan and stand shoulder to shoulder with people on the weekends, so I am not sure what the ethics are in those places.  But at this spot there was no need to do that, and it made me think about this blog and how I have never covered this topic yet.


Shoulder to shoulder

So if you are headed to one of the places above or your favorite “hawg” spot that everyone else knows about then I think the appropriate thing to do is nod to the guy next to you on both sides, talk about the weather, beer, and women.  I mean after all you aren’t there for solitude.


Small Stream

In the case above that I am describing there is some (allbeit small) expectation of solitude.  In this case in my opinion you should be out of eye sight.  Try to detect if the person is headed up or down stream, and if you get a chance ask.  Don’t be the “HEY WHAT THEY BITIN ON?!?!” guy/gal.  Just give a nod and point up or down stream.  He/she will know what you mean.


Basically try to do what your mamma always told you to do.  If it was you standing there what would you prefer? There is no written rules, but reflection works in almost all cases.


Just remember that and you will be ok.  And to the guy who I encountered on that day, happy Earth Day…. you jerk.

Decent Little Brown out of my local creek

Took out the GoPro again today to see if I could actually catch a decent sized fish with the thing on my head. Overall had a pretty decent day on Boulder Creek and finally got brave enough to test this whole “water proof” feature of the go pro.  You can see some of the fall colors here in Colorado and in short fall fishing on a small stream is what it is all about to me.

You won’t see me post many pictures of “hawgs” or anything else, this small creek stuff is what I live for when I am not carping :)