Archive for September, 2012

Flies Over Nebraska is proud to announce the completion of it’s second hit: White Bass!

For those of you keeping score at home, this marks the second hit that Flies Over has completed since coming online this summer. The hitlist has been appropriately updated.

This morning I got a chance to sneak away to fish for a few hours. I started out a Pawnee Lake SRA, just down the road from my house. I needed to try something different then Bowling Lake for a change; and while a coworker of mine considers Pawnee Lake the “Dead Sea of Nebraska”, I have had some good luck with Crappies there… except today.

I gave up after about an hour at Pawnee and only landing a couple white perch. Bored, I decided to go way out on a limb and do something I almost never do: fish Branched Oak Lake.

Nothing against Branched Oak Lake… it is a large reservoir and I tend to have my best luck on small bodies of water. The biggest reason why I don’t go there is the power boaters and jet skiers. To each their own… I don’t have a problem with people enjoying these sports. I just don’t like fly fishing with the wakes of speed boats lapping against me and disturbing all the fish. Because of this, fishing from the shore at Branched Oak is annoying… let alone, I can’t even imaging putting the belly boat out on anything other then a “no-wake” lake…

The reason why I decided to make the short jump to Branched Oak is that it is so late in the summer that most of campers and water sports enthusiasts have long since packed it in for the winter.

Branched Oak also supports some species that most smaller lakes cannot; like flathead catfish, walleye, striped bass, and today’s hit white bass.

I accomplished today’s hit by bouncing a microjig off the bottom in and around some brush in the water. Also picked up a couple more white perch and a bluegill.

Over all it was a slow day fishing. But picking up the “hit” made it worth it.

Then again, any fishing trip is worth it.

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After all the plugs and the thank yous, it’s nice to get back to the fishing…

I am sure that I do not need to tell anyone that fall is coming. While that means some good fishing, fall also means that the days are getting shorter. By the time I get home from the office, change, and drive to the lake, I only have about an hour to an hour and a half of day light left. Not much time to keep a fly in the water. The lack of sunlight is limiting the amount of mid week fishing I can do; and forcing most of my outings to the weekend.

Fall also means that my number of remaining fishing days for the year are waning… it won’t be long until the somber day when I clean all my fly gear and put it away for the winter. Got to make the most of the remaining fishing time while I still can…

I pulled on the waders again and into the water I went. I tried several different flies tonight, but black continues to the be the color that attracts the fish. The fishing was on fire…

I couldn’t keep the bluegills off my line! And I probably landed about a dozen largemouth bass as well.

I even managed a black crappie for good measure:

The fishing was so good that I fished through sundown and into the night…

I just kept catching fish… the bass bite was good before sundown, but it seemed to turn into every cast after the sun slipped below the horizon.

Fly fishing in the dark is a whole different experience… You suddenly become aware of all of your other senses. You can’t see your fly line uncurl in the air; so you have to feel the rhythm of the rod in your hand, sense the fly line in the air, and aim your casts by listening to where the fly splats against the water. Standing in waist deep water suddenly becomes more real when the only part of it you can see is where the moonlight is reflecting off the surface. The feeling that the water could swallow me up at any moment and no one would be able to stop it was frightening and invigorating at the same time.

Then I would feel the smashing strike of a largemouth reverberate through the rod…

Impulse took over to set the hook.

And suddenly I was an angler alone in the world fighting against a creature of the deep.

The fish’s splashing broke the silent air of the night. I would catch a glimpse of him leaping through the surface of the water in the moon light. My mind raced to interpret each thrashing jerk on the line as I struggled to keep him out of the weeds. Fighting a fish entirely by sense was something out of a dream.

The longer I stayed, the more I would cast, and the more fish I would catch.

With each fish, I increasingly became part of experience; part of the lake; part of the night…

I would hold the fish under the water while releasing them, waiting for them to splash away. 13 to 14 inch bass would cuddle in my palms; refusing to leave the comfort of my hands. I could feel their fins moving back and forth against my skin. I would pet them with my thumbs. They were not afraid, and each one found it difficult to swim away…

We were simply two creatures in the dark.

This continued until a bluegill finally took my fly too deep, and with out the aid of light, I was unable to remove it. I was forced to cut the line and release the fish. The darkness also prevented me from tying on a new fly…

And my night came to a close.

I guess nature was trying to make the most of its time with me as well.

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Flies Over Nebraska has picked up a couple big bumps over the last 24 hours, which is super exciting. It is nice to see new followers on the blog, and the increase in traffic. Writing a fly fishing blog would seem to limit my audience; and while I do have quite a few fisherman following me, my goal is to share my love of fly fishing with a wider audience. Fly fishing is a beautiful art, and you don’t need to fish to be able to appreciate it. To those of you new to the blog, Little E and I would like to welcome you!

The new followers and traffic is due in large part to two bumps I received yesterday…

The first was thanks to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The fact that the organization responsible for present and future of outdoor activities in my state thinks my blog is worth sharing is mind blowing. I was beside myself when I received the tweet asking if it was okay to share my blog. Without the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and all of their hard work, I would not be able to enjoy this sport that I love so much. To be acknowledged by Nebraska Game and Parks and recommended to fellow sportsmen and women of the state validates and solidifies my dedication to this blog.

The second bump was from Lamarr Womble and his company Passion For Leadership. I saw Lamarr spoke at a work conference last Thursday; and he delivers a great message about finding your passion in life and making that your life’s work. I work in higher education, and it is a great message to pass along to young adults beginning their lives. It’s also a good lesson for those of us who are a little older… If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, why are you doing it? Find you passion in life, pursue it, and you will be a lot happier.

While I do not expect that I will become a professional fly fisherman or blogger in the foreseeable future; I do believe that there are lots of lessons from fishing that can be brought to young adults. I try to bring fishing into my office whenever possible. However, sharing my passion with my students is not enough… and thus why you are reading the blog today.

Fly fishing has had a tremendous impact on my life. It is relaxing, frustrating, challenging, rewarding, fascinating, and artistic all at the same time. It is this passion that I seek to share on my blog.

Yesterday was the busiest day ever for Flies Over; shattering my previous single day hit record. Today has followed suit with an extremely strong day. Thanks to both the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Lamarr Womble for helping me to share my story with a greater number of people.

On a related note, a fellow Nebraska blogger also received a big bump today. Friend of Flies Over Nebraska, The Cheeky Diva, was “Freshly Pressed” today; which for my non-blogging followers means her blog was featured on the main page of WordPress.com. This is a HUGE honor for a WordPress blog. Make sure to check out her page and support a fellow Nebraskan. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

Back in June, I launched this blog in order to share my passion for fly fishing. So far the ride has been great, and I have no plans to stop. As I said on that first day, “This is my journey through fly fishing. I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I do.”

See you out on the water…

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Sometimes, all it takes is a little extra effort…

This last weekend, I got up on Sunday morning and decided that the day was just to beautiful to not go fishing… Okay, so it was 33 degrees out when I walked out the door at 7:30 AM; but the sun was out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. And of course, there is never a bad time to go fishing.

Right around the corner from my house is Bowling Lake; a hidden gem in the fishing world of Nebraska. It’s a great family lake with lots of opportunities to bank fish. There are places where they keep the bank mowed right up to the edge of the water; so it is easy to sit, relax, and put a line in the water.

You’ll catch fish doing that, but that’s not where the big fish are…

I decided to pull on my chest waders, and march right out into the water. I stood in waist deep water, 60 to 70 yards off the bank in some places, to try to get to where I thought the big fish were hiding. Sure, I have a float tube. But there is something to be said about getting down to the fish’s level.

My waders also get me out to an area of the lake that is rarely pressured; and prime habitat for bass. A good combination.

This turned out to be a great decision. It led to this day. I could have caught little bluegills off the rocks all day long (and sometimes I do enjoy doing that). But a little extra work and effort paid off with a nice 15″ largemouth bass.

Sometimes to be successful in life, you need to pull on the chest waders and head out into the muck. The extra effort pays huge dividends.

That’s a life lesson from fishing you can take to the bank.

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I never done WordPress’s weekly photo challenge before; but that is exactly a reason to do it!

This is from the recent album I did a few posts ago… “The Art Of Fly Fishing: Flies Over Fly Fishes”. Again, special thanks to MF for the photography.

The photo challenge for this week was on the theme of solitary… now how could a fishing blog not win that? Fishermen are the kings of solitary reflection and activity.

The photo above is of a simply fly change on the water. A moment caught between casts; and a moment between strategies on the water… where the tying on of a new fly represents the eternal hope and optimism of an angler. “The last fly didn’t work, but this one has to… right?”

If we didn’t have these small moments of solitary optimism, would we even bother putting a line in the water in the first place?

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See More Photos Of Today’s Trip On Flies Over Nebraska’s Facebook Page.

Okay, maybe I have seen one too many episodes of Sesame Street with my two year old…

I decided to pull on the chest waders and distract myself from my graduate school work for a couple hours early this morning. I am sure glad I did!

The Bass bite has picked back up for me again… that is as long as I was using a black fly. The pattern did not seem to matter. I started off using a self-designed leach fly that I tie with a cone head bead. I bounce this off the bottom of the lake like a bait fisherman would use a Texas rigged worm. It landed my first three largemouths… until I snapped it off on a bad cast and lost it.

The only other fly I had in this pattern was in all purple, and not a bite. I switched to a black woolly bugger and landed two more bass.

I am pretty sure that very few of my readers are actually eastern Nebraska fisherman… but if you are, bounce something black off the bottom in shallow water. At least, it is working for me…

The best of the day was a 15″ Largemouth Bass…

What a great way to spend an early fall Sunday morning to celebrate being alive.

Final Score: Bowling Lake – 2 flies; Flies Over – 5 Largemouth Bass, 2 Bluegills, and 1 Black Crappie

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See more images of “The Art of Fly Fishing” on Flies Over Nebraska’s Facebook page. Make sure to “like” it while you are there too! Special thanks to MF for the photography.

Watching somebody fly fish is an awe inspiring experience. Not long after I got back into fishing, I had a gentlemen walk over and stand by me on the bank as I was bait fishing, and I was blown away by the entire experience. It was a big reason I decided to pick up a fly rod myself.

That, and I hadn’t caught a single fish that day; then this guy shows up with a fly rod and started pulling in panfish about every cast…

Fly fishing is not necessarily a better way to catch fish… that is to say, it is not necessarily a method which will yield greater numbers of fish or larger fish all of the time. There are situations where it might be the method of choice to catch fish, but it is not the holy grail of fishing that will always yield fish. In many situations, fly fishing could even be considered an intentional handicap to catching fish.

But everything about the process is an art… the flies, the knots, the scenery, and right down to the way a fly rod casts a line and fly out over the water. It is a more holistic experience for myself; even if it is sometimes a handicap for a give fishing situation. In this way fly fishing is more enjoyable for me than conventional fishing methods…

And therefore a better way to catch fish.

At least for me.

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