Mar 31, 2011

A Hint Of Things To Come

Yes, I just got back from three full days in Montana.  I spent about 36 hours on the water and have the pictures and video to prove it.  Give me a couple days to sort through this mess and I'll grace you with a full recap.  In the mean time, enjoy this picture from the trip.  I call it A Hint of Things to Come:


In the mean time, keep an eye on Old Man River for a post.  He was there too and is much better than me at catching trout.

Mar 22, 2011

I'm No Steve Kline, but I Do Pretty Good

Yesterday Troutrageous! wrote a post about how his cheatin' ways most likely caused him a three month fish drought.  We'll call it T-Rage's Fishless Period.  In the comment section of that post, the always observant Owl Jones noted Mike's "5 year old Orvis hat" was in better condition than any five year old hat should be, some might even call it mint.

It made me think about my Cardinals hat and how long I've had it.  The hat was a gift for a very specific event in my life so I can undoubtedly say, as of today, it is seven years old.  Let's dig into the Lunker Hunt archives and see where it's I'm so excited.

2006 - Lunkerhunt's first post EVAR, hat approximately 2 years old at this point

2006 - With my favorite hat and my wife's shirt

2007 - Starting to fade

2008 - Maybe a string hanging from the bill?

2008 - The bill is starting to rip. Looks like I got some paint on it too.

2009 - Four months later, it's really going to hell. 5 years old now

2009 - Now it's a challenge

2009 - From "Bad" to "Oh, holy hell!"

2010 - Vanilla is added to Deet for bouquet unlike anything else.

2010 - I'm drunk in this picture

2010 - My hat's last known appearance on Lunker Hunt.

I used to do more than fish in that hat but these days it's doubled it's weight due to layers of deet, grease, fish slime and vanilla body spray. The missus won't even touch it and I can't wash it; another spin cycle is bound to ruin it. The only solution is to become a two hat man:

2011 - Fishing hat and his one year old little brother.

I wonder what adventures my fishing hat will see this year...

(If you don't get the Steve Kline reference click here)

Mar 21, 2011

Web Bait for March 21st - Fighting Fish Edition

This week's Web Bait.  Don't expect anything next week, I'll be fishing.

Fast forward to about 1:55 on this one

At times this one may seem cruel, but you must know that Asian carp are to be killed on sight.  It's state law man.

Contact me if you have anything I should consider for future Web Bait.

Mar 18, 2011

Confessions of a Blogging Sociopath

A big thank you goes out to Jonn "The Stream Stalker" Graham and Nate "The Lake Doctor" Herman for hosting a great event. Hooked on Fishing Park in East Peoria is gearing up for a huge year and Saturday's fund raising event was a spectacular success. If you missed it (again) please make sure you come out when the opportunity arises again.  Click here for additional pictures from this year's event.

Confession time: I'm an ornery devil.  About the big trout showed the other day, there are a couple things you should know.  I did not lie...but maybe there were some facts left out and specific words intentionally avoided.

First, I'll be honest and say I foul hooked it.  Secondly, I'm pretty sure I don't care. Fishing in a trout pond while sharing shore space with an automatic feeder isn't exactly the epitome of all that makes fly fishing regal.  So I snagged it, I don't care.  I didn't do it intentionally and it made for a superior fight. It felt like reeling in a sideways semi-truck.

Thirdly, I have no idea how big the fish was.  I didn't measure it, I didn't weigh it and my previous post was just a dirty trick to get an idea of it's size.  I posed the question to get some expert opinion from those who probably know trout better than me. I was a little amazed at the amount of feedback and judging from your comments, I'm guessing it was 23-25 inches and 5(ish) pounds. You're all winners in my book.

Thirdly, I "caught" that fish on Clif's Crawdad.  A fellow long-rodder named Brian enjoyed tremendous success catching trout with a crawdad pattern. I finally twisted his arm enough to learn the secret - actually he gave it up easily with a smile. Luckily, I'm fully stocked up for the new season and happened to bring along a handful of crawdads. The fact I snagged a fish with a crawdad amazes me a little.  I was fishing the fly extremely slow on the bottom and somehow still managed to snag a fish.

And fourthly, after hours upon hours of fighting free software, here is the video.  Not yet in HD due to Vimeo's restrictions on free accounts.  Come Monday, it'll be all right - I'll replace with the HD version.

Mar 17, 2011

Just Like It Should

While trout fishing the other day, a strange thing happened. I caught just two trout, while managing three bass and four hybrid bluegills. Even in a pond chuck full of trout, I can't escape the warm water species!

This seventeen inch specimen was perhaps the highlight for me, even considering the hook jaw I also brought to hand. That may seem strange, but let me tell you why it was so nice.  This bass took Clif's Crawdad, the fly I've been tweaking since my first days tying.  I'm always overjoyed when I trick a fish using my own creation.

Just don't ask why I was fishing that fly in a trout pond.  I'd probably just lie and say the trout were after crawdad patterns all day.

Mar 16, 2011

Go North For The Winter

For two years, I have had things all turned around. This winter and the last took me north (I am in Michigan while you read this) and I spent much time south of the border during summer. I've used the excuse of business to convince people I ain't crazy, but I am still working on the reason I'll head north yet again this month.  The best I've come up with is this...

I've been called up to the big leagues ladies and gentlemen. On March 25th I will venture further west than ever before and walk under the Big Sky for the first time.  The next day will find me and 17 other crazies waste deep in cold head water and up to our elbows in fishies.  Can you picture it?  18 dudes waving sticks in synchrony...that's what she said.

We will travel from all over to congregate, fish, eat, drink, try not to drown, and pay bail. There will be at least one representative from each coast plus a bunch of us boring folk from the middle.  Some of these guys I know and some I have never met, but they have all been hand picked by someone I can trust.  Rain, snow or sun I'm sure we'll have an awesome time.  Are there skunks in Montana?

How does one prepare to fish Montana in March?  I've been asking myself that question a lot lately.  I figure there is a moderate chance for "frigid" and packing some warmth is smart thinking. I bought tights Monday I am wearing them as this post is written. I don't care who knows it.

Pictured: not me

If you are in the area and see a bunch of stumbling idiots (one of them in tights), make sure to stop by and say hello.  Nineteen is no worse than eighteen if you really think about it.

Mar 15, 2011

I Learned a Good Way

I'm starting to learn a few things about taking good fish videos..
  1. It's really hard
  2. I suck at it
I'm still working through the trout park fishing video, and a business trip is going to delay things at least a couple more days. I'm trying to whittle it down to something watchable, you can thank me later.  However I do have one nugget to share right now...

I recently heard a song and thought it was perfect for a fish video, if only I could manage to get the shot I needed.  Well I got the shot with the big rainbow trout I recently showed you. Here is my first attempt at including music in a video.

Goodway Goodbye from Clif on Vimeo.

The grand video experiment continues...insults, praise and pointers are encouraged.

Mar 14, 2011

Web Bait for March 14th

The water is thawed and weather warming. Soon, time spent outside will be greater than couch time and blogging effort will plummet.  Did I just hear a collective sigh of relief?

I am now introducing a weekly feature. Web Bait will show up every week with links to things I find interesting. I'm not much for following through on commitments, so this may may be the best thing since polarized sunglasses

Contact me if you have anything I should consider for future Web Bait.

Mar 13, 2011

Fishing Posters Part Ten: Salmon

Part ten of ten click here for the rest


In unrelated news, this is my actual 300th post.  I did up a special post to commemorate the milestone a few days ago, but it seems there was a miscalculation.  It turns out Blogger's post count includes drafts and other posts that never made print.  At any given time I have a handful of posts created, which I haven't yet published for a variety of reasons too boring to explain.  So my unpublished posts threw off the count and I didn't realize it...but what's a couple blog posts between friends?  300 published posts, so there's that.

Mar 12, 2011

Just like that it is a fishing blog again

I just got back from fly fishing for grain fed rainbows.  I have some HD video to work through and edit before a full post.  In the mean time lets play a game, while I tease you with a picture.

How long and how heavy is the trout below? Leave your guesses in the comment section.  I'll shed some light on the subject when I post the full write up in a couple days. Bonus points awarded if you guess the fly and how I caught it.

While You Were Reading This

If the Blogspot gnomes are doing their job, this post should drop at precisely 10:10am (central) on March 12th.  By this time I have most undoubtedly caught my first fish of the year.  I'm sure it was huge.

In preparation for the trout fishing today, I tied up a few streamers.  Last September I brought three Clouser deep minnows and found myself short by about 6-10 flies. I was really scrapping bottom in my fly box; those fish were breaking off every chance they could.  This year I'm prepared with plenty of Clousers and Murdich Minnows, plus these thingies which I came up with.  It's similar to the venerable Clouser deep minnow, but I substituted Icelandic sheep hair for the top layer of buck tail.

I'm becoming a huge fan of Icelandic sheep fur.  It is more supple than buck tail, looks nicer on a hook (to my eyes) and is about 10 times easier to tie with.  The extra suppleness means it will move well in the water, even when tied in relatively short lengths.  This property is not unlike kip tail, but Icelandic hair is softer than even that.  I'm going to have to get some more colors.

After tiring of Clousers, I stepped out of the box and did this little number, still sticking to the Icelandic theme.  This is more closely related to a Barteaux Minneaux, but I've used a tandem hook and added Icelandic fur for the dorsal coloring.  Plus I threw in some rubber legs for good measure.  Who knows how it will fish, but it was fun to tie and will be fun to fish.

And finally, because I don't have any fish pictures (yet) is a picture of my cat.

So Ashamed
Don't worry, this will all be over soon.

Fishing Posters Part Nine: Saltwater

Part nine of ten...stay tuned for the last one.


Mar 10, 2011

Fishing Posters Part Seven: Musky

Part seven of ten...stay tuned for the rest.

Update: The comments seem to indicate this picture is too obscure. I'll spill the beans: that is a picture of Lemmings.  Lemmings are world renowned for their ability to follow.

Mar 4, 2011

Fishing Posters Part One: The Bass

Part one of ten...stay tuned.

 As a sign of good faith I am starting with the lovely bass.  Don't laugh too hard, you're next.


Mar 1, 2011

Reverse Polish Notation or Do You Kick It Too?

They taught me loopy cursive, no one can tell me why.
Preached about playing nice, but you must be stern when needed.
Teached me up on spelling, but not how about "find and replace."
I memorized the times tables, now I can spin R.P.N.
Melvil Dewey is forgotten, I learned how to "search the Google."
"Avoid strangers," they said, but about making friends?
Taught me how to draw up a floor plan, now I work in 3D.
And they taught me how to use a bobber, look what I've learned since.

Despite the noble cause and effort, I've taught myself the most.
It's you against the world and you can't wait for handouts.
This is no place for a beggar.

I'm kicking ass, do you kick it too?

Special thanks to Howard and for an opportunity to think about something, write it down and win a sweet prize in exchange.