Posts Tagged ‘postaday’

You never know what will be at the end of your line when you go fishing… that is one of the best parts of the experience. Last night, I caught something that you are not suppose to be able to catch on a fly… at least not very easily…

Last night, while taking a break from blogging, I tied on a new bass fly that I found on the internet, blew up the float tube, and set out on the Bowling Lake. The weather was nice and it had been a while since I landed a bass, and I wanted to break my losing streak. After a few minutes, I cast into a “bassy” looking spot and let the fly sink…

The first thing I felt was a small tap on the line, so I instinctively jerked the rod tip a few inches to attempt to set the hook. If the line goes limp after the jerk, you missed. If it goes tight and stays tight, you have a snag. If it goes tight and starts to vibrate, you have a fish.

My line went tight and started to pull away from me…

As I felt my fly line pull through my hand I knew I had a nice fish. When that line started to accelerate out of my hand faster and faster, I nearly fell out of my float tube.

Something special was at the end of my line…

My throat got a lump in it… my heart was beating uncontrollably and pounding against my chest… my hands and fingers started trembling… I sat straight up in my float tube and was instantly aware of anything that would cause me to lose this fish.

All at once, everything I have ever heard or read about fighting a big fish on a fly rod came back to me at the same time… keep the rod tip up… let the fish have line if he wants it… paddle the float tube out to open water to keep the fish from snagging you up… maintain pressure so he can’t throw the hook… but don’t put so much pressure on the line that it breaks… remember, you tied on 2x tippet and it breaks at about 6 pounds; which is only one big yank from you or the fish away… and the knots will break far before 6 pounds of pressure…

While feeding the fish line with my index finger on my rod hand, I slipped the slack line under my pinky finger. I started frantically reeling my slack line off the water with my free hand. Under my breath, I politely asked the fly line not to knot up like it does so many times when I pick up slack line; giving the fish something to break off on.

As the line went tight on the reel, I realize I have never needed to put a fish “on the reel” before. This was new ground for me… And for the first time I heard the drag on my fly rod try to stop a running fish…

CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK

Thoughts continued to race through my mind…

Adjust the drag, it’s not giving out enough line and it is going to break… Slack line, start reeling in… Crap, he’s running again; let him have the line… Oh shit! I turned the drag down too far; He’s taking too much line… He turned, start reeling in again…

For an instant, I looked at my fly rod doubled over in a way I had never seen before, and got caught up in the moment… should I get my camera and take a picture of this… Then the fish brought my mind back as he went on another run and my fly reel’s drag screamed out again…

CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK-CLICK

Pulling, reeling, giving line… pulling, reeling, giving line…

As my leader emerges from the water, I knew that I was getting close. Finally after about six minutes of fighting I could see him come to the surface about 15 feet from my boat. A great big catfish! Holy cow, why did he take a fly?

And just like any good catfish, as soon as he saw the light, down he went again on another run.

Over open water he swam circles trying to get away from me. I paddled the belly boat after him; continually trying to keep him from making a break to the shore, the rocks, the weeds… anywhere he could hide.

Ten minutes in, he came to the surface for about the third time. He was exhausted and his struggles against the line were lessening as he lost the ability to maintain the fight. I pulled him as close to the boat as possible, reached out as far as I could with my landing net, and scooped him out of the water.

As I sat there in my belly boat staring at the fish on my lap, I realized I have been trembling with excitement the entire time… and I was still trembling…

I grabbed the camera and tried to take pictures… if there are no pictures, it doesn’t count according to my wife. And this one needs to count after all that…

As I tried to take pictures, I realized that I couldn’t get the whole fish in the frame and get a good picture. I looked around and found a young couple bank fishing. I paddled over to them as quickly as possible and thankfully they agreed to take a picture for me…

After the picture, I had all I needed. Some people would have wanted to take him home… but he had given me enough so I would remember him for the rest of my life. 15 minutes of one of the best fishing experiences I ever had… right up there with catching a 22 inch rainbow trout on an ice fishing rod…

I didn’t need to take his life too.

I carefully put him back into the water and started reviving him. After a minute or so he regained his strength, gave his tail a waggle, and returned to the depths from which he came…

Thank you to “Natalie” and “Joe”, if I ever see you again, for taking the pictures… I really did mean it when I said you have no idea how much I appreciate this.

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See you tomorrow, blogosphere!

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The weekend is coming… that means lots of time to hit the water!

It also means that I need time to fill the fly boxes! I usually take 5 different fly boxes with me to the lake. They are quasi-arrange based on the type of fish they are intended for and by which fly rod would cast them best; the 3wt, 5wt, or 8wt rod.

Since there are so many different situations that I could find myself in on Nebraska waters, I normally have between 300-400 flies with me on a trip. Excessive? Yes. But it does make for some pretty fly boxes. One of my immediate goals is to catch a Master Angler Bluegill (10 inches), Crappie (15 inches), or Largemouth Bass (20 inches) on a fly. And you never know what it will take to get on of these monsters to bite…

The variety of flies used is a big attraction to the sport for me. Then you start making them yourself… and eventually you end up with boxes full of your own flies.

Fly fishing is about observation; and taking the little details you observe to make the proper fly selection and presentation at exactly the right moment. Fly fishing has taught me to slow down, look around, and appreciate exactly how amazing everything little detail in life is… right down to the tiny flies crammed into a box…

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The drought ridden perennial flower is of course the most cunning, elusive, and dangerous of all the fly fishing targets in my backyard…

Who says you even need water to fly fish?

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This week’s fly tie of the week: Bead Head Reaper!

A great streamer fly for a variety of fish. This is my go to fly for crappie… but it also works for almost any other panfish. It also rides hook up in the water; which is great for the aquatic growth that overruns Nebraska waters in the summer. I prefer green in size 12. Fast and easy to tie, I never leave home with out it!

Materials: Bead chain for eyes (I stole my from a light fixture), marabou, and green tread.

Instructions:

Tie on thread…

Add eyes…

Tie marabou to the back of the fly…

Twist marabou into string…

Wrap forward…

Whip Finish…

Go fishing!

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“The solution to any problem–work, love, money, whatever–is to go fishing, and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be.” ~John Gierach, Standing in a River Waving a Stick

Little E and I got out of the house this morning and spent a little time at Holmes Lake. I brought the fly rod out with me and tried to doing a little fishing as she played in the sand. Tried being the key word… I only got about 10 or so casts in before Little E demanded that she “do it”. After a couple of times of her driving my rod tip into the water, I decided that it was time to move on to the jungle gym and other 2 year old appropriate activities. Who knew that a two year old lacks the coordination, precise timing, and patience that casting a fly line from 9 foot pole requires?

Any time on the water is good time. Especially if I can share it with Little E… even if it was only a few minutes. To be honest, I got more casts in then I thought I would…

Starting this blog has given me the opportunity to start to realize exactly what it is that drew me to fly fishing. By trying to write about fly fishing, I have had lots of thoughts pass through my mind. About why I started, why I keep doing it, why I am hopelessly addicted to it.

When I started, I thought I would write all about the actual fly fishing… the technical details, what the fish are biting on, what works and what doesn’t, etc. But that is not my voice. You see, I am probably best classified as an “intermediate” fly fisherman. I’m good but not great; I still have lots to learn. If I tried to write about the technical aspects, I would fail miserably… because I am still learning them myself. The process of learning the sport could be compelling subject to write about, and I probably will; but if you are looking for anything more then how to get started in the sport, you are in the wrong place. There are plenty of good “how-to-fly-fish” blogs on the internet, many of which I follow.

What I have recently realized while on the water is that the art of fly fishing mirrors my personality… it’s artistic, a little bit eccentric, complex, beautiful, simplistic, and difficult all at the same time… It’s best performed in solitude; yet in doing so it attracts the attention anyone who sees it. It requires observation, patience, contemplation, constant attention, mental toughness, stealth, and the ability to spring into action at exactly the right moment.

For me it is also an escape…

I have not had the easiest of lives. My life is great now… I have a loving wife, beautiful daughter, great career, and a supportive family. But it was not always like that. I have had to overcome some tough challenges in my life… the scars from which I still live with to this day… and continue to challenge me…

Fly fishing gives me the chance to escape from everything… to clear my mind… to become one with nature… to feel like an alpha predator and to realize how small I am compared to existence all at once…

Fly fishing is magical, and it does have an aura about it that is challenging and comforting at the same time. It gives me incredible insights into my life and experiences… and has an uncanny ability to highlight the highs, and the lows, of my life…

The reason why I was drawn to creative writing in college was that I discovered writing has powerful ability to act as a release… a pressure release value for my emotion. Fly fishing gives me the ability to capture those emotions; and over the last month, I have discovered this blog has been great way to release them.

Until I started this blog, I had written almost nothing in the last three years. Someday I would like to write my memoirs. And his blog is empowering me to write again. Hopefully it will not be too long before I can put a pen to paper and start to document all the ways in which I “Fly Over Nebraska”… How fly fishing helps me do it… and everything in between. That is what I want this blog to be about.

I wish I would have known about the John Gierach quote at the top of the post sooner… He is spot on… and since I have only been fly fishing for two years, I have a lot of catching up to do!

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5 years ago today, one of the two best things that has ever happened in my life took place… my wife walked down the aisle at our at our wedding.

She has been the biggest influence on my life. She also “tolerates” my addiction to fly fishing… and many other annoying habits that I have.

She is truly the most amazing woman I have ever met.

Happy anniversary sweetheart!

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