Archive for May, 2013

This Memorial Day was spent trying to fish while dodging thunderstorms. One of the hooks about living on the Great Plains is our manic weather. It can sure turn on a dime. And we Nebraskans enjoy complaining about it…

Contrary to the picture on the last post, this fishing this weekend wasn’t all bad; even around the thunderstorms. I normally enjoy fishing right before storms come in as it seems to drive the fish into a feeding frenzy. I had good luck on Saturday and Sunday; but Sunday night’s storms were pretty bad. And when I got to Bowling Lake on Monday afternoon, the water had turned a murky brown stained color. Water clarity had dropped to almost nothing…

Which isn’t good for fly fishing…

I going fishing every chance I get, even if I don’t believe it will be a good day to go. I don’t get many weekdays off from work during the school year, and I take advantage of time off in the summer every time I can. Not to mention that I appreciate all the people who fought and died for my country to give me the opportunity to go fishing leisurely whenever I want. As such, I headed out to the water.

I fished all around the lake, casting to all the spots I normally catch fish… Not a bite. I have been spoiled lately by some good bass fishing near my house, and hooking into a largemouth on almost every trip has spoiled me. I did manage to catch one bluegill over a spawning bed that I had found earlier. I moved on hoping for bigger fish, but I went almost an hour with no other bites…

So I headed back to the spawning bed. Even though the bluegills there were not real big, sometimes you have to take what you can get…

I decided to have a little fun, and tie on a dry fly for the first time this year. As soon as it hit the water, SPLAT, a bluegill nabbed it from the surface…

After a few fish on my Elk Hair Caddis fly, I decided I would see what else they would hit…

Another hour later, and my only regret was not bringing more dry flies to the lake…

In the end, I caught fish on 5 different flies (Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Green Panfish Popper, Foam Ant, Foam Panfish Bug). Some I had to work really hard to get a strike (Foam Ant). Others were destroyed the second they touched the water (Elk Hair Caddis, Panfish Popper). One fly I never even got a strike on (Royal Wulff)…

But in the end, it was more fun then I could have imagined.

Sometime you just need to take what you can get; and enjoy every moment of it.

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Memorial Day Weekend. One of the best times to get out on the water. For many, it is the start of their fishing season.

How did mine start? See the photo above…

A true Flies Over trophy… Read the blog’s very first post to see why.

Not a lot of time to write today; but I have been working on professionalizing the blog a bit in my spear time. (Hah!) One of my goals in life is to become a published writer; and I started this blog to get back into the writing/creative state of mind. As such, I have been working on updating my “About” page. It has been redone to better reflect the mission of the blog; and give all of you, my loyal readers, a connection to the man behind the scenes.

That, and I have come to grips with people identifying me from the blog. At first I didn’t use my name on the blog at all, and over time I have become comfortable with it…

Plus, if I have do become published, it is something I will have to get used to. I even wrote the “About Me” as I would imagine it would appear on the dust jacket of a book someday.

Late edit: I started professionalizing the blog after reading a couple of posts on a “The Artist’s Road”; a blog written by Patrick Ross. The author of that blog referred me to this post: http://artistsroad.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/own-your-identity-as-an-artist/

I have the feeling I will be spending a lot of time hanging around his blog in the future (Consider the identity “owned” Patrick!). I believe in giving credit where credit is due, so the links were added late…

Below is the text from the updated “About Me” page. Hope you enjoy reading about me as much as my narcissistic self likes to write about my favorite subject… me.

See you dodging the thunderstorms on the water this long weekend.

E

Eric Einspahr is a fly fisherman, writer, poet, and higher education professional from Lincoln, Nebraska.

A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Eric discovered fly fishing in the summer of 2010. This experience was transformational for him as he found himself more deeply emerged in the sport. Fly fish is an activity that is deeply sentimental for the angler; and this is no exception for him.

Fly fishing is not a common activity in Nebraska; nor is Nebraska a blue ribbon destination for fly fishing enthusiasts. Fly fishing for warm water fish, and in Nebraska, is counter to the larger angling culture; true to the “punk rock” roots that Eric developed as a teenager.

Flies Over Nebraska is written not as a “how to fly fish” blog, but a blog about how the world looks through a fly fisherman’s life; to connect the lessons Eric has learned from fly fishing to larger universal themes in life. Fly fishing is not about the fish. It is about the pursuit of the elusive, but attainable; whatever that might be. Eric hopes that readers of this blog will be able to share in the magic of fly fishing even if they don’t have the ability and/or interest to fly fish/fish themselves. And that his readers find their own “fly fishing” and share it with the world.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and a minor in History; and will receive a Masters of Education in Higher Education Administration with a specialization in Student Affairs in August of 2013, both from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Eric currently works as an Academic Adviser for the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln; with professional interests in holistic advising, transfer students and related issues, and freshmen experiences.

A lifelong Nebraska Cornhuskers fan; when not on campus for athletic events or work, you can find him at his writing desk or chasing fish with a fly across the waters of Nebraska.

He lives with his wife, two year old daughter Little E, and their pet bluegill Spot.

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Did you think you would ever see that on a fishing blog?

Not fly fishing, mind you… I absolutely love that. I really hate fishing with a spinning rod.

Over the last couple weekends, I have volunteered to help teaching fishing at some youth fishing events. I myself am not a Nebraska Youth Fishing Instructor, but one of my coworkers is; and he always asks if I can lend a hand when he helps out with stuff. At this rate I might as well just take the course…

However, I digress.

At these fishing clinics, the fishing instructors involved have fishing equipment provided by the State Of Nebraska Youth Fishing Program. Basic push button spinning rods, bobbers, split shots, and worms with a hook. A simply and effective recipe for kids and beginners.

My role is to help teach the basics of fishing to those who attend. Mostly small children and parents who have never fished much. We teach them how to bait a hook, how to tie knots to hold the hooks on… and probably most importantly to sit and watch the bobber until it goes under the water.

Sit and watch it…

Sit and watch…

And watch… Ugh.

I love watching the little kids get excited when they catch a fish; or adults watch in amazement as I do simply things like tie an improved clinch knot. But I was struck by the realization as I sat on the rip rap of Bowling Lake with a 4 year old girl and her mom that I really really hate sitting and watching a bobber.

And the fish were even biting well that day. Even the 4 year old girl caught a couple bluegills…

As I discovered fly fishing, one of the things that drew me into the sport was how active it was. Casting a fly rod alone is a huge production. Not using live bait means I don’t need to drag along a cooler with me; and thus, I don’t feel the need to bring along drinks and snacks. Or near as much gear. Or a chair in a bag…

Even though I resemble a power line utility man with all my gear hanging off my fly fishing vest, I am surprisingly mobile. I can move with ease around the lake. The fish aren’t biting? That’s fine, I will keep moving until I find where they are hiding.

And even if the fish are not biting, I am still active with the cast, move, cast action of working down the bank. I can cover the bank of 60 acre lakes in a matter of a couple hours.

If I do not start catching fish, it because the fish are not biting.

Now back at these youth fishing events, I am held down to one spot. Staring at a bobber.

It makes me appreciate fly fishing that much more.

But the kids get super excited when they catch their fish. Their parents take lot of pictures. I don’t know how many pictures I am in with random kids holding their fish because they are too scared to touch it.

At least that makes it all worth it.

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I have a couple of blog posts fermenting in my head, but they are not quite ready yet… It has been a long week here at Flies Over, keeping up with all of the excitement.

I have barely been able to keep up with the fishing!

A couple of quick updates for this “intermission”… I managed to cross off two of my 2013 fishing goals in the last week.

First, I managed to catch a bass on my TenkaraUSA rod. I ended catching four of them on this trip, so I blew this goal out of the water. Next…

I caught a bass on my 3 weight rod. Not the biggest bass, but one none the less. Two goals can now be crossed off my list. These goals were not set real high; I sent goals across the spectrum of difficulty. Crossing a couple off early is a great way to get off to a good start!

Also, this wasn’t a goal, but I did manage to catch my first green sunfish of the year on Friday night.

They don’t get real big (this is about the biggest I see) and they are not difficult to catch; but they are a pretty fish. I don’t ever go fishing for them, they are just a pleasant surprise while bluegill fishing…

Enjoy the pictures during the “Flies Over” intermission… as I get the next couple blog posts worked out in my head.

And welcome to my new readers! There has been a steady stream since I have been Freshly Pressed!

E

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For the record, I am pretty good at catching fish too…

I can’t think of a better way to introduce my new readers to Flies Over Nebraska then a story about Little E. I generally fly fish alone. I enjoy the solitude and the serenity. But if I ever do go with a partner, it’s my 2 1/2 year old…

Lately Little E has been mommy’s girl. She hasn’t wanted anything to do with her daddy. To give my wife some time to work on her projects, I decided Little E and I should head to the lake for some daddy-daughter fishing.

She screamed the whole way to the lake for her mommy… But we she got to the water and saw all the dandy lions to pick, she turned around.

And after daddy caught his first fish…

Little E was right by my side to hold and pet the fish. She is getting pretty good at identifying fish too; and correctly identified this fish as a bass.

My first one on my Tenkara rod for the record.

It’s sometimes difficult to keep young children entertained between fish bites, but Little E always finds a way. Finding sticks, collecting snail shells, picking dandy lions… and filling daddy’s pockets full of all of these “treasures” to take home to mommy.

Lately we have enjoyed touching the water…

And of course picking up the mud while mocking daddy with the mess. Not to mention the trouble he will be in with mommy when we get home.

But when that next fish comes to hand, Little E is always right there with daddy; with a world’s worth of wonder in her eyes.

She loves to pet the “shishes”, and see them splash. And lately, we have enjoyed letting them go. She likes to see them scurry away, and splash her as they slip back into the water…

Isn’t that last one the cutest catch and release picture you have ever seen?

As an angler, there is nothing that makes me happier than Little E taking the greatest pleasure in watching her trophy swim away…

And then asking daddy to catch another one. She’s got the angling bug already.

A few weeks ago, Little E was with me when I hooked into a fish and my line broke off. For weeks she has been taking about “That big shishy that took daddy’s fly”. I told her that we would catch that fish and get our fly back.

Right at the end of our trip, we hooked into a nice little bass.

Little E immediately deemed it the fish that stole daddy’s fly. Redemption was completed; even though there was no fly to reclaim… other then the one I caught him with. Who cares that I had no idea what kind of fish even took that fly weeks ago…

Little E was not mad at our menacing, “fly-stealing”, large fish. We caught it, and that was enough. The only thing left to do was let it go.

I couldn’t ask for a better fishing buddy.

That is until our short attention span get distracted by an endless field of dandy lions; far as our little eyes can see…

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I received the email yesterday afternoon! I can’t say that I ever expected to see a fishing blog freshly pressed…

I will do my best to respond to all the comments; but I do have a day job that demands my attention, so my replies will be delayed until this evening.

But first, of course, I need to write the obligatory thank you post.

I would like to thank Michelle at Freshly Pressed for deeming my post, “The One Who Got Away”, worthy of the honor.

And thank you for those of you who are new to the blog…

I write this blog not as a “how to fish” blog; but to share what fly fishing means to me. Since the first time that I saw fly fishing up close, I was memorized by it. The look, the beauty, the action… This blog is my attempt to share in the magic I feel every time I pick up a fly rod and cast a fly into Nebraska’s waters.

I don’t live in your typical fly fishing paradise… In eastern Nebraska there are no blue ribbon trout streams, no majestic mountains, no streams to stand in the middle of and recreate “A River Runs Through It”.

And that is the way I like it.

The fact of the matter is that you do not need these things to fly fish. I open water fly fish on lakes for fish that are found in every part of the country. Bass, Bluegill, Crappie… and the occasional road trip to an actual trout stream. You can fly fish any where, and share in the magic too.

I hope my blog inspires someone, somewhere to pick up a fly rod and feel the same magic that I do.

Or at the very least, that you find your “fly fishing” and share it with the world too.

Little E and I are very proud to welcome you to Flies Over Nebraska… this is our journey through fly fishing; A father and his two year old who enjoy every step of the journey.

We hope you enjoy it too.

E

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Every fisherman has this story… now I do too.

Fishing Wildwood Lake Tuesday was a great experience. Not too breezy, not too sunny. Alone on my float tube, I slowly worked down the bank; casting to shore and slowly pulling the line back in. The only sounds were those of the lake, the chirp of a song birds, the occasional cacophony of geese across the lake, and the occasional splashing of a crappie or bluegill pulled to hand.

Nirvana.

Exactly why I enjoy about being on the water.

Until one cast; which was not unlike any other of that day. That is until the gentle tug at the end of the line.

Even the strike was nothing special. Instincts took over as a set the hook and started trying to pull the fish in by hand. Only this fish didn’t move toward me.

It started heading the other way.

There is no second guessing when you have a nice fish on the end of your line. Your rod doubles over in a way that is unmistakable. The fish goes on a run and starts pulling line through your hand. This fish did not take off fast; instead it swam off with a slow and steady pace. I could feel the arrogance of this fish by his gait; he knew that I was not simply going to pull him to hand.

Big fish are special. And they are played on a fly rod differently. You don’t simply muscle them to hand as you would a common catch. You have to play them; to finesse them; to slowly cox them into coming to you. In a way, you have to build a relationship with the fish…

I rapidly reeled my slack fly line off the water and “reeled him up”; a mark of achievement for any fish. I moved the rod right and left, suggesting to the fish which way I would like him to go as he slowly steamed toward hiding spots and snag ups. The truth of this fight was that the fish was in control. We can only make suggestions on how we would like the fight to go; and luckily the fish do not know this. If they did, we would never catch trophy fish.

As I slowly turned the fish away from a snag I was rapidly adjusting the drag to keep enough pressure on him to tire him out; but not enough to break the line. My right hand was slowly directing his direction, the left one was reeling when the fish would come in; and turning the drag as he would run. I started paddling the float tube backwards to open water. Here he would have less places to hide.

As I kicked my feet backward, the fish sensed the movement and saw his chance. He turned with a flash and headed right for my float tube. I reeled furiously to keep the line tight. As he approached me, I was afraid that he would break the hook off on me… the ultimate of embarrassing endings. I was not prepared for the fish to charge me. I was so furiously reeling to keep the line tight, I couldn’t even try to turn him…

When he was a few short feet from the boat, I did the only thing I could think of… While continuing to reel as fast as my hands would let me, I snapped the rod high up into the air; raising my arms as high as they would go…

And when I did, the head of the largest bass I have ever seen shot out of the water and rested on my knees…

In a moment now etched into my mind, I stared down the wide open throat of this largemouth bass. I could have put my entire fist in his mouth and not touched any part of it. I stared deep into his eyes, and I could only say one thing…

“Oh my God…”

I can only imagine that this fish thought the same thing.

As I uttered these words to my self, the fly broke loose from the fish’s jaw… and flew up and over my head. As it did, the fish dropped back into the water…

The whole scene took less then half a second… but felt like an entire lifetime.

I floated over the same spot three more times searching for this fish again. Each time I set the hook and made that first pull of line, I hoped for the same initial run of that big bass. And each time I made the second pull and realized I had another common bluegill or crappie I was let down. After I grew tired of paddling the float tube, I even went back and waded the spot where I caught him…

The angler in me knew he was long gone. But my soul held out hope…

The only thing I remember about the rest of that trip was how the distant flock of geese came in closer. Their cacophony raised in volume; almost as if nature was mocking me…

I was finally forced off the water by an impending thunderstorm. As I walked from the lake, I knew that I would be back… this month, this summer, this lifetime; until I finally catch and bring this fish to hand.

And a fish this magical needed a name… Jaques. (Why? Read some Shakespeare and find out…)

Now I have my story of the one that got away. Here’s to a lifetime of chasing Jaques…

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