Showing posts with label Sanatoga Park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sanatoga Park. Show all posts

May 6, 2013

A Rare Family Fishing Outing

I'm a fishing dork nut.  

Lilly is lukewarm on the topic of going fishing.  We've done it a few times, but it's clearly not her favorite thing to do.  As a "fishing dad", I'm okay with that.  If she prefers karate to casting, cool by me.

My wife K.C. will sometimes play along, but refuses to touch fish and generally doesn't like things - like bugs - that come along with being outdoors.

So was I pleasantly surprised when I asked Lilly on Saturday if she wanted to go down to the pond and try to catch some fish? bet.  And was I startled when my wife said she'd come along too? (More so to play with her fancy camera than fish...but whatever)  Holy crap yes!

We lasted a little over an hour...which is pretty good in my book.  The weather was nice.  We caught fish.  We took pictures.  All was good.  We left happy.  Will we go again?  Beats me, but at least I got Lilly to put down her Nintendo 3DS for more than 5 minutes...and was able to coax some smiles out in the process.

(All pictures taken by the wife)

September 24, 2012

Sneaking In Some Fishing Before Football

I had some errands to run on Sunday morning.  Okay, it was one errand.  I needed to get food, and by that I mean go to the supermarket.  K.C. & Lilly were over at "Uncle Andy's," (K.C.'s brother/Lilly's uncle) and after I exhausted the last jar of peanut butter for breakfast, we truly had nothing left to eat in the house.  Well, except a box of Uncle Ben's and some couscous.  What the hell is couscous anyway?  I wasn't eating either for lunch.

So after a grocery outing, I came home, ate, and parked it in front of the TV for a little bit of football.  The early game (Jets vs. Dolphins) was pretty much unwatchable, so around 2:30 PM I decided to sneak an hour or two of fishing at the local pond in before the Eagles game started a little after 4:00.

Cabela's C.G.R. in hand, the sunfish had no chance.  They were absolutely killing Kiwi's Royal after fish...after fish.  What?  Yeah, I used a tenkara fly with a "standard" fly rod and reel.  Somewhere there's a Japanese fishing ninja crying.  Oh well.

I upsized to a bugger to try to get down and get into some bass, but they weren't interested.  Had a few follows, and one unsuccessful take due to a poor hookset on my part.  I think this bass (below) is like the pet dog of the pond.  He'd swim right up to your feet (I suppose looking for table scraps), but absolutely would not take a fly.  Oh well.  Screw him.


Oh, and one more's more of a carp launch themselves out of the water to feed?  I'm not a carp guy, but something BIG jumped vertically out of the water about half of it's body length I suppose to feed on something in the middle of the pond.  I only saw it quickly with my peripheral vision so I didn't get a good look.  Could have been a friggin' tarpon for all I know, but it was damn big and made a bigger splash.  I might need to invest in a float tube and a fishing gaff.

After that, I packed up and headed back to the car.  Turned on the radio and the Eagles were already down 17 points in the 2nd Quarter to the Cardinals.  Ouch!  The Cardinals...really?  I headed home to watch the second half knowing the whole time I should have stayed at the pond.  Us Eagles fans are masochists that way...

May 29, 2012

Doesn't Take Much To Put A Bend In A Cabela's C.G.R.

Got out this past Sunday night for the first time since the trip to Georgia/North Carolina a few weeks back. It was a relatively short outing...just wanted to get in some work with a Cabela's CGR glass rod I bought some time ago, but never used other in the backyard.

"Stop looking at geese and get to fishin'!"

Tell you what, only caught a few sunfish, but I can tell why you "glass geeks" are so enthusiastic about fiberglass rods...damn thing almost bent in half bringing in this guy, and as you can see, it's no brute.

Not sure if I'm a glass convert, but it is a fun way to fish. Sorta like tenkara in the way it makes even the small fish feel like pigs.  Luckily, I was able to bring in about a handful like this before it got dark so it made for a fun time.

Still need to do a bit of fine tuning on a line/leader combo for this 4-weight, as I was just borrowing the setup from my 3-weight L.L. Bean Quest II, which is a decidedly faster rod and needs a heavier line to help it "load."  That said, I think I'll enjoy a little more time with the CGR in upcoming weeks...

August 12, 2011

Easy Does It

I dig the challenge of fishing for the ever-cautious, ultra spooky, small stream trout.  The sitting back in the margins and watching for activity.  The careful crawling to that spot just within casting range.  The unraveling of a questionably placed bow & arrow cast.  The subtle take of a ruler sized fish.

But that would be another day.

Tonight I wanted it easy.  I wanted to throw any random fly from my box out on the water.  I wanted to wear a football t-shirt and bathing suit trunks.  I wanted 3 or 4 different uglies to take a swipe upon stripping line.  I wanted to make the most of my hour and a half out and about.

I'm not proud.  I'm not ashamed.  I just wanted to fish.  

April 11, 2011

The Japanese Invade Valley Forge

Yesterday was a pretty fun day on the water. No, not because the fishing was great (it actually wasn't too bad, but more on that later), but because I was going to try out a new (to me) piece of equipment.

I've got two borrowed Japanese tenkara rods at my house this week, and yesterday I took one of them, the Sakura Betuatsurae Kongo Tenkara (Clif can translate that for you HERE), out to Valley Creek to put it through the paces.  This post isn't a review of the rod by any stretch, just a bit of context.

The trip started on a nice note, as I ran into a friend, "Flyguy" from the forums (he was pulling fish after fish out of the pool below the covered bridge).  We chatted for a bit, and then went our separate ways, bumping into each other on the creek from time to time.  He's a really good guy, one of those folks you could just talk fishing with for a long time if the opportunity presented itself.
Zug Bug

As far as my own fishing experience, I ended up catching 4 browns on Zug Bugs & Griffith's Gnats, and then 5 more at the end of the session on dries.  I actually used Ben from AZ Wandering's Sparkle Parachutes to catch the rising fish - I had won them in a contest at his blog last year and I've been waiting for a good opportunity to use them.

The feeding frenzy presented that opportunity & a short window of chaos ensued.  At around 11:30, the fish just started going nuts rising (& even leaping fully out of the water) to eat some sort of small mayflies.  BWOs perhaps?  (I'm no Entomologist).  It was like watching Jiffy Pop popcorn pop, one splash after another after another.  It only lasted for about 15 minutes, and then the water went glass smooth, but Ben's flies did the job.
Like my bracelet?

Oh yeah, the Sakura Kongo...I almost forgot.  Well, it handles quite a bit different than my Tenkara USA Iwana.  It took me about 15 or 20 minutes to find the right stroke (and a feel for the ergonomic grip), but once I did, the rod sang.  It's got a stiffer feel than the Iwana, but because of that also snaps much crisper casts and is very sensitive...and very light.  Very, very light.  I'm not sure what to compare it to, but I liked fishing it quite a bit.
The fancy bamboo-like Betuatsurae finish

When I got home to eat lunch, Lilly said she wanted to go to the local park and go fishing.  We went, but unfortunately only lasted 15 minutes.  It's still a bit cold for sunnies, and there was no bite at we went to the playground instead.  You know, limited attention spans.  No sense in dragging things out.
She tried valiantly...but the swings & jungle gym ended up being much more fun

December 13, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away

...or should it?

We've had some interesting weather around here recently.  While a lot of the country has been getting its first waves of snow, the Philadelphia area hasn't gotten a flake.  Maybe a furry amidst raindrops, but certainly nothing substantial enough to accumulate on the sidewalk or collapse the roof of a domed football stadium...if you know what I mean.

<a href="" target="_new" title="">NFL on FOX: Metrodome collapse</a>

Not to say it hasn't been cold.  It's been downright chilly, with temps in the low 30s and lots of wind making it feel much colder.  It's going to be like that for a while too.  So when I looked at the weather forecast yesterday and saw a balmy 55 degrees and some rain, my immediate thought was to fishing.  Rods in tow, I headed out hoping that my usual fishing haunts wouldn't totally be blown out chocolate milk.

First hit Valley Creek with every intention to test that Fountainhead Caddis Fly Rod...
Fountainhead Caddis Tenkara Rod locked & loaded
That's usually a 3 foot drop from the bank to the water

Okay, so that wasn't gonna happen.  That water you see above is usually calf-high at deepest, today it's almost cresting the bank.  Did get a few casts of the Fountainhead Caddis's a more substantial rod (i.e. heavy) than my Tenkara USA Iwana, also felt a little more stiff.  Did throw an accurate cast with the braided line.  I literally only casted it like 4 or 5 times, so not a big sampling.

Coincidentally, TenkaraBum posted a full review of the Caddis 330 & 360 over the weekend, click HERE for his view on the rod.

So Valley was a bust.  Packed up the SUV and headed over to Sanatoga Park.  Thought maybe the warmer weather might have gotten some of those bass & bluegill out of their winter slumber...
Not much better
LL Bean Quest II 3 weight.
Is that a wind knot or two I see in my furled leader?
Albright Topwater - Click & Pawl goodness

Yeah, that wasn't happening either.  I did spend about an hour practicing my casting...overhead & roll casting into the wind...toward the falls, but didn't catch anything.

Was it a lost afternoon?  Nah.  It was 55 degrees in mid December & I was out swinging a rod.  With temps forecasted to be in the high 20s the remainder of this week, I'll take this skunking with a satisfied grin.

November 29, 2010

They Don't Make A Cream For This...

It was cold this weekend.  No, not as cold as it will be in a few weeks, but cold nonetheless.  The windchill didn't help much either, and because of that I stayed in for most of the weekend tying flies.  Until I got the itch Sunday afternoon...  If you're reading this, I know you're familiar with the itch.  Damn the itch.

I didn't have a lot of time before the Eagles game started at 4:00.  (Which in retrospect, the final score proved there was no reason to rush home to watch football).  No trout were in the cards for me today, too much time would be wasted in the car travelling to & from the local trout water.  Instead I took a quick jaunt over to Sanatoga Park to see if the cold temps chilled the warmwater fish into hiding.

Upon arrival I immediately got to slingin' bugs on my 3-weight and settled into the casting zone. I could have placed a fly wherever I wanted, which is rare, as my casting is normally erratic at best.

Unfortunately I'd be lying if I said the action was fast & furious.  Instead, in an hour and a half's worth of time, I ended up catching about a half dozen little bass, just like this guy, and one equally small bluegill.
little sanatoga park bass

That was it...and by then, it was time to head home.  It was almost time for kickoff and my fingers were completely numb.  Luckily, I didn't need them to scratch the itch. The bass took care of that.

October 31, 2010

Seeing If They Would Bite

Since I posted that orange & black bugger yesterday, felt compelled to go get it wet this morning.  This was a quick fishing trip, and the bugger did its job.  Here's a brief video of one of its victims.

Probably brought a mix of 5 or 6 rock bass and sunfish to hand before snagging (& losing) the bugger on a rock.  Had only tied one in orange, so switched it up and first fished a black bugger, then a generic blue & white streamer for a bit.  Brought another 15 or so to hand, but unfortunately not the nice mix from Wednesday.  More rock bass & sunfish.  The crappie and smallmouth didn't seem to want to play this morning.
Pennsylvania Sunfish on the fly with Albright Reel and L.L. Bean Fly Rod
Pennsylvania Rock Bass caught on Woolly Bugger
Pennsylvania Sunfish caught on blue streamer fly

Packed it up after that and headed home.  Should be an interesting Halloween night.  Lilly has been running a bit of a fever since yesterday, so we may only be doing some abbreviated trick or treating.  Luckily she feels okay and is acting normal, so I'm hoping it's just a 24-48 hour bug.

October 28, 2010

Afternoon of Pre-School & Woolly Buggers

I took the day off from work yesterday.  Lilly had a Halloween parade & party at her pre-school and I wanted to go.  Lilly is going trick or treating as a zebra this year, and she really loves the costume her Mom made her.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on the Halloween stuff...well, because the real thing is on Sunday, and you know a post outlining Halloween night from A-to-Z will surely follow thereafter.

After school, I wanted to try and do something special with Lilly since I was home - go out to lunch, go to the movies, or maybe even go to the zoo - but she just wanted to stay home.  Oh well.  After lounging on the sofa and watching Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, she went upstairs to take a nap around 1:30.
When you love your kid, even this is tolerable.

I had nothing to do for the next few hours.  Despite the steady rain, I grabbed the fly rod, a box of flies, and headed over to Sanatoga Park to target some bass...yes, I said bass, as well as other warmwater species.

Sanatoga Park is where I usually take Lilly fishing.  It's less than 10 minutes from our house and there's tons of sunfish & bluegill in the large pond/lake/whatever you want to call it.  It's a very kid-friendly setting with huge flat rocks surrounding the impoundment.  I planned on fishing below the stone dam that holds all of that water up.  Not so kid friendly.
It was wet.

I was using a 6'6" L.L. Bean Quest II fly rod (the same one I plan on upgrading at some point this winter), & an Albright Topwater click n' pawl reel.  Tossed a small woolly bugger on 4-wt line.  Not sure if the fish were hungry or just partying in the rain, but it was by far the most fishing action I've had in a long time.

Cast, strip-strip, BAM!

They weren't the largest fish, but this sequence repeated itself pretty much every other cast for about 2 solid hours.
$29.99 Tevas gripping rocks and repelling water like a champ

By 4:00, I was waterlogged from head to ankle (my feet were fine), and decided it was time to head home to dry off.  I'll probably be back soon though...just waiting for more rain.

August 22, 2010

A Night With Lilly

Lilly & I went fishing last night.  I'll spare the details of a long post - "our" pond was overgrown with thick gunk, she had 3 takes, but wasn't able to set the hook on any in the hour we were out.  No big deal though, she seemed to have fun; throwing rocks, drinking water from my flask, and playing with the pink bobbers in her tackle box.  Even though I brought my rod, I didn't do any fishing, I had my hands full with de-gunking hooks and de-tangling lines.
Rods rigged & ready to go!
Fishing flirt
Fish on!....oops, maybe not