Thank You For Reading My Blog

This blog is about my life as a fly fisherman, guide, and fly fishing instructor in and around Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More Squirmie Wormie Success

If you don't follow me on twitter or Facebook, this is news to you. We continue to have success in catching fish on the squirmie (squirmy) wormie (wormy).

Fished either as a dropper below a hopper or dead drifted (with a twitch now or then).

Both fish were caught on Four Mile Run. First time a client has taken a smallmouth bass in there.  One client hooked a bluegill and had an even larger smallie try to eat it off the line.

Still no shots at carp with this fly pattern.



Saturday, August 25, 2012

FFC & THW Spotted By Blog Reader In Georgetown Today

The family went a strolling through Georgetown in DC today. I wanted to check out the new ultralight down jacket at Patagonia. Then I wanted to walk along the C&O canal and look for fish.

Sure enough, when I don't have my fly gear there are going to be carp mudding on the bottom.

Lots of bluegill and channel cats too.

Here is the view from the top level of the Patagonia store.

As we crossed one of the bridges I wanted to take a picture of the wife and baby lady. As I was taking a picture a dude walks down the steps to the bridge and says "are you rob snowhite and is this THW?" At first I was a bit confused. Then I noticed he had on Costa Del Mar sunglasses. Was he a recent client that I did not recognize off the water? Turns out he is a reader of the blog. He offered to take a family picture for us. Strangely we are all wearing red. Maybe that's because THW is from the Soviet Union.

It is such a great surprise to me when someone says they read these blogs. I was so grateful.








And here is the loyal reader. I hope he got to enjoy his Chipotle to go before the rains started.














We continued down the canal to the spot where the big fish hang out. Of course none were there last month when I had my gear. Today there were half a dozen carp in the 7-10lb range, several channel cats in the 4-5lb range, and loads of bluegill. I may try to go back tomorrow afternoon. Don't you know the fish won't be there.

Look a the carp in the center of the picture. This was taken through my Costas.








Next blog post: Recent eats in the area. Just had the best food ever.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blue Crabs In Local Waters + Other Recent Pics

I had heard the rumour for years, during drought years the blue crabs will ride the incoming salinity from the Chesapeake Bay up the Potomac to our local waterways. I had heard about kids crabbing off the docks in Old Towne Alexandria with string and chicken necks a few years back. Though I had never had visual confirmation.

In college in the summer of 1996 Gary and I were fishing around Fredericksburg on the Rappahannock (a tidal water). I'll never forget that day. I caught my first ever striped bass. It was on an  ultralight spin rod. I also swear I saw a crab move through the grasses. I never had confirmation so I just assumed it was an albino turtle.

Then last year I was guiding clients for stripers at Gravelly Point. I saw a blue crab in the grasses by the outflow from Roaches Run. I ran to grab my net but by the time I got back it was gone. Then a month later I found half a dead blue crab across the way along the runway. Sceptics would say it was from someone's lunch or it washed in from across the river at the DC waterfront.

It was not until yesterday that I got my first visual and tactile confirmation. I was fishing lower Four Mile Run with my wormie flies for carp. I waded in and found a dead blue crab. I took out the camera and got pics. 

 Here is a picture of the blue crab in the water. Such a cool find. Especially in an urban sprawl waterway that is plagued with run-off and litter.

I continued to fish the worm on my switch rod. I only picked up one white perch. I had several tugs and nibbles but I was too slow to set the hook. I saw one white goldfish in the water. Maybe it was a subtle tug from a goldfish.

I think the rod was just too long for me to set the hook on some of the small fish. Either way, this worm fly is crazy effective in this waterway.



I waded out to my winter carp haunts to sniff around. I found a submerged tree in the water with all sorts of branches. Just downstream from this branch was a crab! It was burried into the mud. Its back fins and legs were sunk. I did not know if it was alive or not. Not having a net, I bent down to pick it up. I've been bitten by a lot of things in my day (wild baby lion and a penguin in Africa, snakes, mosquitos, praying mantis, a red snapper, a magpie in Australia, a dragonfly in Maryland, etc.). I figured a crab claw would just add to the stories.

Turns out this one was dead too. Not sure why 2/2 crabs in the water were dead. Maybe just past their age? I kept fishing.






I found one more. I figured this one would be dead too. I reached in up to my shoulder and pulled it out. It too was dead. Very interesting to find these in this waterway. I've been fishing Four Mile for years and never seen a crab. It would have been cool to see a live one.

Like I said, drought years bring organisms further up the river. At least we don't have any sea nettles (jellyfish) to deal with.


Some other observations, here is some of the wild passion fruit along the stream. This one had a big old bumble bee on it. 


And to top off the evening, a big rainbow!

Y'all will be the second or third to hear about a live crab caught. I'll tweet and facebook it first.

Maybe I should put out some crab pots in Alexandria....

Monday, August 20, 2012

Recent Pics & New Flies



The past week found us fishing Four Mile Run. The tides were favourable for working the edges and the cool water discharge. The key to the past week has been sight casting. Then we got a rainstorm yesterday and the water was all nasty brown.

The week started off with a double hook up of white perch. One took a hopper, the other a dropper.





Then we moved upstream and sight cast to largies, carp, and channel cats. The only thing biting was bluegill. 


Later in the week it was the same thing. Sight casting to big fish that would not take the fly. I had to go back to the drawing board and figure out some flies these fish would take. It was a tip from a recent client, some on-line purchases from Parker Flies and a trip to the craft store. Here is one of the bigger bluegill from Friday. 


 By the end of the week the weather had turned. We fished Four Mile again yesterday after the rain. Sure enough, the new flies worked. I fished Jocelyn's fathers super old Fenwick fibreglass rod while she used my Orvis Helios. I  hooked into this nice bass in the 3lb range on the worm.
Of course the batteries on my new grip were dead.
We then had a double hook up. Both on long ear sunfish.
 Yesterday's weather confirmed my need for a pair of vented Costa Del Mar sunglasses with yellow lenses.

I then hooked into a nice channel cat. This fish fought and the glass rod was bent double. It was hard to fight both big fish as the rod was set with a right hand retrieve, I normally crank with the left.



Looking forward to going back this week and fishing a clear tide and sight fishing for the larger fish with these flies. They deserve their own post and I'll work on that soon.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Losing A Fly Box (again)

Its happened to all of us. We've lost a fly box. And if you haven't, you will. Its part of fly fishing. You have also been on the receiving end and found one I'm sure.

Emotion Eric will convey my current feelings: 

I lost a box full of flies around Chain Bridge in 2010. I lost a vest full of fly boxes in 2001. Tom lost a HUGE fly box along the Taylor below the reservoir in Colorado in 2005.

You can write your name on the box in the hopes someone finds it and sends it back to you. I wish more fly boxes came in bright colors so if dropped they could be easily spotted. How come no boxes have a chain on them like the wallet my roommate in college had. Gary, where are you by the way. Gary Allen Willis that is. If he lost gear, he'd blame his uncle.

I have a lot of flies. I've been tying since I was 17 and still have my original ties. I used to go home on my lunch break to tie flies after college. Here is what I have currently (not including whats in my car seats and in my guide bag(s).

This is a baby wipe container full of classic dry flies and random flies from the gear closet floor
 I have a wooden fly bin I use at shows to sell my flies.

Flies I collected from the old Orvis tent sales. What ever I could fit in a plastic fly box (the kind you get streamers in at a fly shop) were $1 so I loaded up
 The boxes I rotate out of my gear bag(s) by the season


I flipped my kayak in 2010 and lost a full box of Clouser flies tied on expensive hooks. They sank to the bottom. No luck in getting that back. The foam ones are great as they float.

These days we have Craigslist and fishing forums to post lost and found when you find one or lose one.

I recently lost one and I'm still looking for it. Here is a picture of the box from last season:

The flies that were in the box (which had my name and number on it) as of last time seen were by the dozen or half dozen EACH:
  • mice
  • bluegill
  • popper
  • slider 
  • crease
  • clouser
  • crayfish
  • hellgrammite
  • bugger
  • foam depot
  • damsel nymph
  • damsel dries
  • cone head muddler
  • stonefly
  • curly tail bunny
  • popsicle 
  • mangrove muddlers
  • floating worms
  • sinking worms 
  • rabbit strip streamers
  • more that I can't think of now
I'm not sure what upsets me more. Knowing someone out there might be fishing my flies, all the hours and funds put into those flies that are now gone, losing my flies.

The last time I saw the big fly box that was recently lost was when Molly and Russell went out on the boat. I was in a hurry to get home to get to a b-day party (see pic of me, Dora, and Diego.) It usually takes me 5 min to put away all gear from drift boat to car. I last remember seeing the fly box on the bow of the boat.

I either left it there and it blew off on the drive home (I have been looking on the shoulders of the roads I drive) or it was put into the car and then either eaten by the ants in my car or digested by the car itself. I have no idea.

The other option is that I brought it in from the car and lost in afterward-as I had just ordered a Cliff boat box and wanted to transfer the flies from above box to new box. I've torn apart the house and its not here. I probably walked the trail from Fletchers to Chain Bridge 3 times looking for that box in 2010.

And there comes the time when you just have to let it go, confirm its gone forever and start tying up new flies.

So tonight I will start to crank out weedless curly tail bunnies, striper popsicles, and all of the other flies mentioned above. I don't know how long it will take to get to the 60 or so patterns from that box, but it will happen.

And until next time, heck I hope there won't be a repeat event, I'll be just as pissed.

And you can guarantee I'll rant about this during my 2012 Lost & Found While Fishing podcast in a few months.

So for now, with out words, I will allow Emotion Eric to express my frustration:


 
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