Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Off Winter For Fly Fishing At Four Mile Run

Its been a tough winter at Four Mile Run (4MR). The fish quantity and quality just isn't there this year. I'm not sure but it could be several factors from cold runoff from melted snow, construction from bridge removal, snow-removal chemicals washing in, and the fish might just be fed up with all of the litter that washes in.

Due to the cold weather I haven't had a lot of clients book trips this winter to learn to cast. When I do have clients their schedules don't line up with the tides.

When I have had time to head out to 4MR its either been shore, wading, or from a friends boat. We've taken the boat in at high tide and outgoing tide when the water is 65F and the river near freezing. The only fish we've seen were gizzard shad. Lots of gizzards. This year has had massive schools of them.

We have not seen the huge schools of carp, bass, and goldfish. When I do sight cast at the goldfish its maybe 3-4 at a time, not schools of 20+. Historically when the winter is this cold (the river was frozen solid for a few weeks) more fish head into 4MR for the warm water. This includes carp. Big carp. Schools of big carp. Enough big carp to cover the stream bottom. There are usually carp jumping out of the water for fun.

I've rarely seen any of the Korean carp anglers. When I do, its usually Todd from TPFR.org and he has been having the same lackluster winter. Sure there was the massive goldfish he caught a few weeks ago and the dozens of small bluegills. But he's not seeing the carp or big fish either.

Some TPFR members have caught big fish. Paul caught a walleye and a blue cat (which Remmick may have also caught). But the numbers and quantity are not there. I've been fishing this mile-long stretch for nearly a decade and this is the worst year.

If you are looking for 'river charms' this has been a good year. I pulled these out yesterday and put them up on the trail for kids to take. Plenty of playground toys, Christmas ornamants, bobbers, found a Hula Popper yesterday, crank baits, a Native American statue, screw drivers, and an insurance card. More trash than fish. 

 This is me throwing 'junk flies' yesterday or 'spaghetti and meatballs' aka worms and eggs. NO LOVE. I did not land a fish yesterday. It was low tide with a near full moon and bright sunlight to warm the water. NOTHING
 Ok this one is strange. I foul hooked a tree branch yesterday. I knew it was foul hooked as I could see the glo bug on the branch. But then the branch started to fight and pull back. I was rather confused. I fought the fighting branch and discovered that a largemouth bass on a stringer was wrapped around the branch.
 I removed my hook, removed the stringer, and delicately removed the stringer from the bass' gills. It swam off. Healthy looking fish too. I've been fly fishing for a long time and I'm always seeing something new.
 Like this for instance. I thought this was a dead cormorant. I was corrected on Facebook that it was a loon. I've only seen a few loons in my life and this was the closest. I had some fun with it and put a pint of vodka in its wing. Its eyes were clear and feathers still soft. It wasn't stiff. Probably dead that day. I sent the Potomac River Keeper an e-mail just in case. It didn't have any signs of trauma.

 And for the stuff flowing in, 4MR is an urban stream. Water either comes from runoff, springs, or from incoming tides. If you look at all that nasty black snow along the roads now covered with oil and exhaust-that is what is going directly into our waters (our source of drinking water). We normally don't see all that oil and junk going in but when the snow is there and it turns colors we get a direct glimpse into what is on our roads and what goes into our water.
 This guy caught a bass from the construction walls. The old bridge is being removed. Its loud. There are booms in the water. There are these metal things, there are pumps, there is mud. Its just an obnoxious event. Loads of micro bluegill are around this spot but not much else EXCEPT GIZZARD SHAD. In the past we climbed up on this bridge to spot the carp below. Not this year, not that we'd see anything.
So thats about it. The fishing has been lousy. Sure I have not been out a whole lot but when I do get out its not great. If you are in the area and get to fish here please let me know if you do better.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Inside The Fly Fishing Show | Winston-Salem, NC

This was my first time as a featured tier at a Fly Fishing Show event. I wasn't sure what to expect. I spent several weeks tying to fill boxes of flies for sale, prepping my materials, organizing, and trying to figure out how to entertain myself on the drive.

The wife was finally happy when the kitchen table was cleared off and there was no longer the constant threat of Krystal Flash and marabou in our food.

Other things I was concerned about at the show was bathroom breaks, how to organize my half table, what to do for lunch, and would my back hold out after being on a stool all day. I can say that Jimmy John's delivered sandwiches right to the front door, we were near the bathroom (which was constantly being cleaned-Somerset could learn a thing or two from this place), and my back was fine. I wasn't too tired after tying all day. My area was a bit dodgy and I'll work on that for the next show.

Here are some of the pictures. A short podcast will be up on Itunes soon. As I spent most of the show at my booth I didn't get out to walk around a whole lot. Of all the things at the show, Tradd Little was the most impressive. Here is his blog: TraddsFlies

The drive down was pretty boring. It was cold. I stopped at Dunkin to fuel up. Gas prices jumped .25 when I crossed the border. Then I saw a sign for (Adam & Eve outlet-which I didn't stop at) but did stop at JR.
 Its 'the cigar store where you can buy a wedding dress and anything else' is how its always been described.
 HUGE cigar store. I don't smoke anymore so I just smelled.
 And drooled.
 I think this is Mr. Castro
 I got to the show around 5:30pm and started to set up.

 This is how my booth looked after I set it up.

 Across from me was SmithFly

 I'll need to bring something to cover my pile at Lancaster. I had to borrow from my neighbor.
 The Healing Waters booth.
 Then I had some chow at the hotel and waddled over to the pub across the street. Full of southern hipsters. All the guys had on skinny pants, tight button down shirts buttoned on the wrists and all the way up their necks, and their glasses were all tortoise shell.
 BTW they ran out of beer.

 The first beer was pretty good. And the prices were nuts, this would easily be $12 in DC.
 The second beer smelled like fetal pigs dissection lab or gross anatomy lab. It was kind of gross. if you got two beers you got a free pint. A passerby gave me  his so I could have a set. I then hooked him up with some flies at the show the next day.
 The pub in daylight.
 Off to the show at 0730 after a breakfast of:
  • bacon
  • eggs
  • biscuits
  • gravy
  • coffee
  • potatos
  • grits
I could get used to eating like this but it really made me look pregnant.

 The SIMMS Bus. Dave was one of the nicest people I've met. It was great to talk to him about Simms and just how great of a product they produce. Listen to him on the Itinerant Angler Podcast.
 Time to start tying.
 Soft hackle, flash back pheasant tails.
 Reaper flies.
 Foam wing, paint brush tail tricos.
 Super Clouser.
 The Snowhite Damsel.
 Intruders. Not many people down there knew what they were. Tied on Allen hooks.
 Lunch. Though for every sandwich I ate I basically negated selling a handful of flies.
 Tradd Little's flies.

 Tradd's damsel.
 Tradd's stonefly.
 Another intruder. Since Lady Amherst is so expensive I use rubber legs.
 Tradd's tying booster.
 Red, white, blue hoppers for the PHWFF booth.
 Me at the PHWFF booth. I'm selling the beer can lanyards for $5 at the next show!
 Henry Cowen's PHWFF donation.
 Closest I've been to a trout in a long time.
 This kid was funny. I tied her a pink worm.
 And wore the puffer ball on my head to be silly for her.

 My reaper.

 More reapers. Now in more colors and starting to use Hareline UV material.

 Cheerwine. Not sure what it is but they drink it down here.
 Off to Foothills Brewery for some Sexual Chocolate.

 Again the prices of beer here were amazing.
 Khalil showed up and we had some pints and burgers and ketchup.

 This was my burger. Frickles (fried pickles), pimento cheese, and bacon.
 And their homemade ketchup. We consumed an entire bottle.
 I purchased 3 ketchups and 2 mustards. And beer for the wife. She doesn't want jewelry when I travel, she wants craft beer!
 Khalil at the hotel.
I still had no idea where I was.
 Kevin Arculeo's flies.
 Ah, that breakfast. Bacon wasn't as crispy the second day.

  Henry Cowen showing Tradd some tricks.
 Tying up more intruders. If no one buys them I have them for bass this summer.

 Snowhite extended tail damsels.

 Opening my second  pack of 100 Saber hooks.
 Lunch again.
 Kevin playing with the new crittermite tails.
 Tradd ties up a Game Changer!
 And colored it.
 Speakers for the day.

 This was the little shop where I got beer for the wife. And I stopped in for a sandwich. 'Fred Vegas' behind the counter fried my balogone to make the sandwich better.
 Lots of goodies in the store.

 Good sandwich for the drive home. It was a BORING ride.
 Arculeo's articulated hellgrammite:

 Got home and found someone's hook in my shoe.
 My score of condiments.

Looking forward to the next show. I"m changing up how I sell my flies. I will have 'ultimate fly selection' grab bags for $10 on a display rack. Hope to see lots of you there.