Showing posts with label Bass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bass. Show all posts

March 28, 2021

Some Recent Florida Hijinks

Catching up on Lost Time...

Hadn't posted in a little bit, but we've been active here in Northeast Florida. Not necessarily fishing all the time, but all in the outdoors vein.

A Walk in the Woods

Two weekends ago I spent some time walking around the Timucuan Trail in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. That's a quite a mouthful I know, we just call it "GTM" around here.

GTM is where I'd often launch my kayak, when I did that sort of thing. That being said, I haven't in a while, but I thought I'd return to take a nice walk around some of the trails. It's a winding sandy path with a few different loops... most of it is fortunately in the shade, but there are some open marshlands as well as intercoastal coastline that it also parallels.

In all, it was quite a nice outing. One I'd like to do again in the future. I did the middle loop, but there's quite a bit more to explore to both the north and south, as well as what looked like some primitive camping opportunities.

A Little Pond Fishing...

Since last I posted, I also did a little bit of fishing... messing around in one of the local retention ponds. I used my Tenkara USA Sato along with a new floating line from Tanuki. It was really a nice casting line that I'll probably write a little more about over at Tenkara Angler

Anyway, this was the first outing where I REALLY started to notice that the mosquitoes were back, so that was a bit unfortunate. I guess I'm back to sun screen and bug dope before any future fishing outings...

And Some Cleaning Up...

Last weekend, Lilly & I got up early on Saturday morning do participate in the St. Johns River Cleanup. She went to get some community service credit for school and I went just to get outdoors (plus, somebody needed to take her and it wasn't going to be my wife!)

I'll give the kid credit, she did a great job metaphorically rolling up her sleeves and getting dirty. She was picking stuff up left and right, wasn't afraid to climb through the brush in pursuit of trash, and even handled the "gross" stuff well. We got four big trash bags full of trash, and also picked an old tire out of the woods.

The one thing we didn't pick was this guitar case and machete. There's a few homeless people that live in the park we were at, and we just didn't want to disturb something that was purposely left behind. Also didn't want to take what was potentially somebody's night time protection. We did tell the organizers and showed them what we found though and decided to leave it in their hands.

Outside of that, Lilly has fun observing some of the feral cats that also live in the park. It's evidently a community of about a dozen or so that are all "fixed" and that the neighbors have permission to feed... so they do. A few raccoons also assimilated themselves into the cat posse, which Lilly was very entertained by witnessing... and photographing.

Anyway, that's about it for now. That being said, I do have a few fishy things on the horizon that I'm sure I'll be mentioning in short order. So hopefully, not so quiet in the future. I'm already well ahead of last year's blogging pace, so I'm feeling good about my efforts to revive Troutrageous! so far. Guess we'll see how long it lasts...

Oh, and here's a bonus picture of a squirrel from the backyard patio. Not the best table manners on this one, huh?

January 12, 2021

Dragon Tails and Wœrms

So my attempt to rediscover fly fishing blogging started off ok...

But then last Wednesday happened, and kind of knocked me off my game. You know, January 6th... yeah, that was pretty, well, you know.

Anyway, I'm going to ease back in this week. The goal is to keep the lights on over here, whether I'm actually fishing or not.

Last weekend was chilly by Florida standards, in the 40s, so I didn't bother getting out. The bass just aren't that frisky when there's a chill in the air... and that's okay, just sort of need to know one's limits.

Enter J. Stockard...

Instead, I paged through some of the mailings I received. Most notably, the J. Stockard fly tying catalog. As when it comes to fly tying, and all of the little doodads and widgets that can go along with it, I firmly believe a print catalog is the best way to peruse the merchandise. An internet website just doesn't do the shopping experience justice in my opinion.

I don't tie particularly complex flies, but I think I might play around with two things this upcoming year. 

The first is UV resin. Back in the day I used to know the stuff as Clear Cure Goo, but I guess that brand name went under at some point. I still haven't taken the plunge, and I think I want to finally give it a try. Don't really have any patterns in mind, but seems like it'll be fun to mess with.

The second is what this catalog calls "dragon tails." My daughter calls them worms, or more appropriately "wœrms." She buys them like 5 for a dollar or something at Dollar Tree, ties them to strings and makes them move around like a puppet for Instagram movies. Shoot, I had these as a kid and I think it's something the younger teen set is doing as retro, quirky humor. There's memes and that stuff too.


The fly tying industry is taking those worms, adding  a 1000% markup, and selling them as tails for flies for those seeking warmwater monsters. Sounds good enough to me. Lilly doesn't know it yet, but some of her wœrms may be going missing very soon.

Looking forward to taking that first grip and grin photo with my version of a worm on a string... and a hook. Perhaps I'll even keep the googly eyes intact. Can't hurt, right?

September 21, 2020

Slingin' in the Rain!

 I like fishing in the rain.

Maybe I'm weird... well, I know I'm weird... but for whatever the reason I really enjoy fishing in the rain. Now, I'm not talking about an all out downpour, or anything involving lightning, however if it's slightly overcast, a bit drizzly, count me in. Especially living in Florida where any respite from the heat is appreciated.

Yesterday provided an excellent opportunity to get wet.

With some time to kill on Sunday afternoon, I decided to head over to one of the neighborhood ponds with the fly rod and see what I might be able to dredge up.

I started by tossing out a small ant pattern. I have no idea where it came from. I usually fish foam ants, not epoxy ants, but whatever... it quickly caught a small fish. Ding, ding, ding!

While that was productive, I really couldn't see the fly all that well, so I decided to tie on a highly visible Booglebug. It was actually a Booglebug factory "second" that I bought in bulk on eBay. I don't know what's wrong with it, but you can see by the Sharpie over the branding, it didn't measure up to the standards of other Booglebugs.

That said, the fish didn't really care much. The fluorescent floater summoned some micro lunkers from the deep. 

Cast that bad boy out there, let it plop down, twitch once, then pause - it usually ended up with a hit. Either from a bass or a bluegill, the latter of which often didn't have a mouth quite large enough to accept my offering.

This continued for about two hours as I made my way around the pond in a clockwise fashion. The resident turtles were relentlessly following me around in a wolf pack, I suppose either thinking I was going to feed them in a direct (or indirect fashion). Fortunately, none of the fish I released appeared to get ambushed by the waiting turtles.

I will admit that it was fun casting a fly rod again. With all the tenkara fishing I've been doing lately, I was concerned I had forgotten how to get the job done. Sure, my line management skills were a little rusty, but I had no issues getting the fly out to where I wanted it to go. With no trips planned to trout water in the near future, I think I'll be doing a bit more fly fishing (with a reel) in upcoming weeks. Maybe even (gasp!) dust off the 8-weight.

In any event, this was a fun little venture. And in my book, the rain only made it better.

March 9, 2020

Let's Go Fishing

Look at this f'n pig of a bluegill. I had to alter the background so people wouldn't figure out where my honey hole is located.

Actually, that's a joke. It cracks me up when people do that online. I get it (maybe) if you're fishing a fragile native brook trout stream where a little bit of pressure could be negative for the health of the resource... but when people do it while hoisting mutant hatchery trout out of the water, it's dumb. They probably just followed the stocking truck anyway. But I digress...

I did get out on the water for the first time in 2020 yesterday (hooray)! Kept it local and hit some of the retention ponds at the neighborhood ball field. One pond was a dud, the other was pretty good. 

I walked to the park toting a Cabela's CGR fiberglass rod in hand. Wasn't going to be a fixed line/tenkara day, as I wanted to fish streamers and stripping line is more fun than twitching it.

Yes, it's shorts weather down here. Sorry. Not really.

Pond #1... the one with the obnoxious fountain in the middle. This isn't a great photo of it, but you kind of get the point.

This pond used to be really good, but now it sort of sucks. It used to be more wooded around the perimeter, with more structure near the banks, but they drained it two years ago in the name of development, made it a ton deeper, and largely barren. Maybe the fish hang out at the fountain in the middle soaking in some oxygenation, because they're not anywhere near the banks anymore. It's a shame, it used to be good for some largemouth bass. Peace out.

Pond #2... old standby.

I fish here a lot. There are lots of bluegill in this pond, and occasionally some healthy bass. Some of the largest bass I've caught in Florida came from this unassuming piece of water. This is also where I get harassed by the PETA lady who wants to know why I enjoy torturing animals. She didn't show up today. If she did, I would have faked a coughing fit, sneezed on my hand, and tried to touch her face.

Anyway, it didn't take long to get into fish here. Lots of bluegill and a random dink bass or two. Bluegill are honestly more fun to catch on a tenkara rod as the thing flexes like crazy and it feels like you have a big fish on even when you don't. The 4-weight fiberglass fly rod bent fairly often, but it just wasn't the same feeling. Maybe a 2 or 3 weight would have been more appropriate. 

Like I said I caught more than a few...

Bluegill aren't particularly challenging to catch, so I changed up my flies a bit to create a some variety. First a black leech, then a foam popper, might have even tossed some beadhead nymphs out there. It was one of those things where it was fun... until it wasn't anymore.  

Once that happened, I broke the rod down, packed it up, and walked back to the house. A good first day of fishing for me, although it was neither adventurous or strenuous. It definitely scratched the itch and got the skunk off of 2020 in a satisfactory way.

October 15, 2019

Micro Spey Curious

Micro spey... trout spey... whatever they call it, I'd love to check that out.

Photo: Gorge Fly Shop

I was listening to the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide podcast on the subject last weekend (HERE) and my mind just started wandering, thinking about standing in a river, morning mist rising off the water, rolling out casts, swinging wets and streamers... most likely coming away skunked. Predicted result aside, I think could really get into that. It could be the larger water yin to my beloved small stream yang. Plus, not being a steelhead or salmon guy, there's a ton of terminology to learn... Scandi... Skagit... etc... and new flies to tie and fill fly boxes with...

Seems like it'd be a lot of fun to play around with for trout, and in a warm water setting, smallmouth bass. Could even be a blast on the shad run... and yes, we have them down in Florida.

Anyway, here's to daydreaming a bit. If nothing else, it's always fun to window shop for new gear.

April 22, 2019

Easter Sunday Big Bend

Now I'm not going to pretend, pond fishing for bluegill is not particularly difficult. Tie a fly on, toss it out, and you're almost guaranteed to catch something. Anyway, that was the plan for yesterday evening, to catch a few fish before the weekend ended and it was time to reboot the work week...

What set yesterday apart was the size of the copperhead bluegills that came to hand. Virtually no dink bluegill for a change. All were legit, the kind you can barely hold in one hand. All really solid and particularly strong fighters that put a nice big bend on the end of a fixed-line rod.

It wasn't just bluegills though, I also caught a few bass as well, as the fish were generally fairly frisky. Fortunately, the recipe was rather easy. Black woolly bugger... cast at about 10 or 11 o'clock... let it sink for a count of five... slow twitch it horizontally across your body (or along structure) back to the bank. Even when you couldn't sight the the fish while in pursuit, the swirl in the water a foot behind where your line entered the water was a dead giveaway to brace for an impending strike. 

It was a fun way to kill an hour and a half at sunset on Easter Sunday.

Gear Used:

February 20, 2019

Exploring Florida: Bass Pro Pit Stop

Thought I'd post some photos from the Daytona Bass Pro Shops Outpost location. I was down at the speedway last Saturday doing a little work... and couldn't help but pop my head in the BPS across the street on the way out of town.

And just as you might expect, some NASCAR legends were represented...