Friday, April 26, 2013

Removing A Barbed Hook...Again

I've had clients and friends hook themselves and others before. None of them have really embedded a hook in me.

I however have embedded hooks in my flesh. The first time I was embedded with a barbed hook was a the Jersey Shore back in 2001. It was a Clouser Deep Minnow, size 1/0 Mustad saltwater hook. It went into my left arm behind my watch.

I spent several hours in the ER waiting to have it removed. I was shot full of lidocaine and they ripped out the hook the way it went in. They used Home Depot pliers.

The second time was in Colorado in 2009. I was fishing the Snake River where it dumps into Dillon Reservoir. I put a size 4x long size 4 streamer hook through my arm. I put some duct tape on it and kept fishing. Then I drove to the ER and they popped it out. Much easier this time. Take a look:

This week I was tying with one of my fishing buddies, Rebecca. I was trying to crank through a dozen of my curly tail flies for snakeheads. I tied one with the dumbell eyes too close to the hook eye. I held the fly in my left hand and pushed the eyes back with the right. Somehow my hand slipped and I shoved that 1/0 Orvis bass hook through my index finger.

The adrenaline kicked in so I didn't feel much. We called some friends in the medcial field and got their advice. We also tried the trick above.

The 'mono method' didn't work for me this time. We then iced down my hand in ice water and tried to push it through. That didn't work either.

After trying the mono method again I called it and picked up my recent tip money (copay) and drove to the ER.

I got some tape in the waiting room to hold down the fly. It was moving too much. It wasn't a good feeling.

I asked if I could film how they removed it as they said they would push it through. That is now three different methods from three different hospitals.

As the ER was booked the doc took the hook out in waiting room inside the ER. The worst part was her sticking me with a needle to find the nerves in my finger to numb them.

It was the same kind of tingle as when doing this:

She then pushed the hook through.

I wasn't watching. I knew it was through when I heard her cut the barbed point off. I then looked down to see she had taken the hook out the other end. I had to sneaky style take these pics.

My finger was dripping blood. A lot of blood. Which made me glad I didn't do this at home.

She then bandaged up my finger and I was on my way, minus $100 cash.

 It doesn't really hurt that much. Here is the finger as of today. You can see the entrance wound closer to the nail, the big hole. The exit hole is to the left and is smaller.

I'm pissed the doc threw out the fly. I would have gutted it for parts - the eyes and tail!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shad Run | Recent Client Pics

There may be a direct correlation between air temperatures, water levels/clarity/temperature here. Lets discuss:

 Thursday had air temps about 88f with no wind where we fished. Visibility was 10+ feet. Water temps were in the upper 60s. Water level 4.5'

Leon worked the crappie. The biggest I have ever seen. They took the shad jig. Absolute slabs. And of course, the images never do justice. Some white perch nipped at his flies but didn't take. The water was super clear. I was up above on a rock and could see ALL the action from up there.
The shad were coming up from the depths to put a smack down on the flies. Their flashing sides were consistent all afternoon. We were working on setting the hook on these aggressive fish with soft mouths. We lost loads. We landed this beauty. Most appeared to be hickory shad.

Sunday water temps were down, air temps were cooler. Friday's rain up in the mountains arrived. The water jumped to 5'. Temps were in the low 60s with minimal visibility. Everyone caught fish. We didn't see the aggressive (who else remembers how to spell this word from highschool cheerleaders? ) fish.
 Bill was the first client of the year to get a shad grand slam (hickory, American, gizzard)
 This fish was unfortunate. I was showing Mike how to roll cast in the tight quarters with a sinking line. I swept the line up and would you believe it a big buck American shad slammed the fly. And it was one of Mike's flies! I forgot just how fierce these fish fight.
 Then the vultures showed up. Our biggest fear was getting shat on by these nasty scavengers. However they did not crap on us, they were knocking branches down left and right. Some of them huge branches that almost took out a bunch of kids.
 "My last cast of the night" was all Mike had to say. How often does one actually stick to their last cast? Well Mike caught a nice buck Amercian shad on his last cast. We called it after that.
 Monday brought HUGE snakehead jumping out of the water. They were leaping a few feet out of the air, enough that when vertical, their tails cleared the water by several inches!!! Some of them jumped laterally and tail walked up to 15'
 Water was at its crest at 5'. The temp was up to the 60s but the visibility was down. We only managed one gizzard shad.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekend Potomac Shad Update | Day Off To Fish For Fun

Ah it was a busy weekend. There were ups and downs.

Producer Jason came down for a day of shad fishing. We had a big rain storm the day before so we exptected some muddy water.

We got out to Chain Bridge around 9am on Saturday. We could see a helicopter circling the area as we drove down Chain Bridge Road. I said 'someone is probably in the water.'

We geared up and headed down the trail and across the bridge. The helicopter was just above the bridge, something was not normal. We crossed the bridge and asked a group of ladies if they knew anything They said they lived up the street and the chopper was out all night. We crossed the bridge and spotted several US Park Police officers searching the shoreline.

 We walked up the platform as a US Park Police car went down. We asked if anything was wrong and he made eye contact and kept going. There was another car down there, a lot of people standing around (one with a megaphone), a plain clothes officer and a cop with a German Sheppard. The helicopter peeled off and didn't return.
 Cops, family members, and a dog.

 I spoke with the plain clothes officer asking what happened. This was around 11am. He said two anglers were out the day before. They separated. One went upstream the other down. The upstream angler came down to see how the other one was doing. There was no sign of him. Just his fishing tackle and gear on the shore. By now the search was called off. It was tough watching at least four generations of the family standing around as the cop was about to tell them the search was called off.


This is the third drowning in the river this year. One was a Chicago tourist, the other a local. 
 I was fishing a tandem rig. Shad jig with a damsel dropper. It wasn't long until I hooked up. It was a big fish. I could tell as it bulldogged along the bottom. It came up to jump and Jason shouted "smallie" and indeed it was. He came over with the net and we landed a fish. First time since we landed a fish since last summer.
 As soon as I got my line back in the water Jason hooked up. He had a monster smallie and in the backdrop of the Embassy of Qatar.
 I foul hooked something big.
 And Jason gets a nice Amercian shad. Then the bite turned off. We moved down to the Va side.
 Oh and I forgot to mention Jason hooked into something big. It got in the current and took  him into his backing.

 And if you don't believe me, here is video:

 Downstream we spotted the first snakeheads of the year. Here are two HUGE fish just at our feet. The dark black fish between the rocks. They had no interest in any fly we threw.
 I then got a nice catfish.

 Here is the collection of big fish. We didn't catch a lot of fish but each fish we did catch was big.
I showed Jason Fletcher's Cove and we headed down to Gravelly Point. It was super windy and colder there. No bite was happening. I broke my rod on a snag and called it around 4pm. Jason called it soon after. We headed back to my place for some cold VB. You'll hear the VB story soon.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Big Crappie | Agressive Shad

Fished with a client yesterday for half a day. It was his first time with a fly rod and he did fantastic.

If you didn't read about the first shad of the season, you can read about it here on OrvisNews 

The Potomac was very clear (not after today's rain) with visibility down at least a rod length in spots.
We fished around the mouth of Pimmet Run. Loads of herring at the feet in one spot and dark shadows of shad moving around the bottom. Major schools of shiners were hugging the bottom. They would chase the flies but were probably more interested in feeding on shad eggs.

It took a while to get into some fish. Several lost fish due to the learning curve of setting a hook with a fly rod and with fish with soft mouths.

The fly set up was a shad jig with a damsel dropper. My client got into some very aggressive shad. I was standing atop a rock and could see these fish coming up from the deep, two at a time, to slam the flies. I was able to witness the largest crappie I have ever seen landed on a fly rod. Not a minute later he got another.

By now I was super dehydrated. I'm not ready for this summer time weather. I was about to drink from the River. It was about 90 degrees with no wind. I kicked off cowboy hat season yesterday and after we fished I kicked off Slurpee season.

Back to the fish: It was several lost and missed shad before we got a nice hickory to the net. My heart jumped several beats and the adrenaline rush from watching these fish chase the flies was pure awesome. One of my favorite parts of this job is not only teaching fly fishing but the things I see on a daily basis.

Everyone including me says 'fish deep' for shad. These fish were coming up from the deep to just about 2' under the surface to attack the flies. We had a full sink line but could have gotten away with a floater. I still prefer a sink tip or full sink. 

I do take issue with all the stoneflies about. They were all over us.  On my neck, face, in my shirt. On my sunglasses etc.

Ok, you waited long enough. Here are the fish pictures. You really had to be there to experience how big that crappie was: 

I'm taking tomorrow off to fish with Producer Jason. Sunday should be fine with the recent rain. The river is expected to jump up to just past 5'. No worries. Sunday is a full plate for me, 9am-6pm.

And if you are not watching the Shad Cam, you are missing out: