Monday, April 13, 2015

Nice Bass this Weekend!....4-11-2015

I flyfished a couple local public ponds with my buddy Jay this weekend.  The first pond provided the most excitement.  I caught 5 species:  Crappies, Pumpkinseed Sunfish, Hybrid Sunfish, Bluegills, and Largemouth Bass.

Couple of exciting things happened.  First, I was flyfishing a corner of the pond near an intersection of roads with stoplights.  The two cars over my shoulder in the picture collided just a couple minutes before this picture of a 16.5" bass was taken.

About 15 minutes later, I hooked a bluegill, and a bass attacked it as I was bringing it in to shore.  I was able to land the bass, it measured 21.75"!!

Then I visited a young pond....probably just a couple years old, and this is the first time I've ever fished it.  I caught a lot of Hybrid Sunfish, small Largemouth Bass and Bluegills.
Had to watch out for the nesting Canadian Geese!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Break 2015

My family and I have taken Spring Break trips each year for awhile now.  My oldest child is now a Senior in High School...and with the uncertainty that her college break schedule will match my son's high school break schedule next year...well, there's a chance this one might be the last.  Or at least the last one where all four of us will be on the trip together.  That remains to be seen.

We decided to go somewhere new.  Typically during Spring Break, us midwesterners want to go somewhere WARM and SUNNY, with ocean and beach.  Previous Spring Break trips had taken us to such places as Hawaii, Cabo San Lucas, Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, Honduras, Antigua, Bahamas, Tortola, Virgin Gorda.  We went snow-skiing in Minnesota one year, which was fun but just didn't seem like SPRING BREAK.

We enjoy the Caribbean islands, obviously.  This year we decided to visit a different sea....the western Mediterranean.  Our plan was to fly from the U.S. to Paris, France, then on to Barcelona, Spain.  There, we would board a cruise ship, the MSC Splendida.  We would then visit ports in France (Marseille), Italy (Genoa, Rome, and Palermo), Tunisia (Tunis), and finally return back to Barcelona.  We spent the first and last nights in Barcelona, so we wouldn't be rushed to make the ship or return flights home.

I have to admit I was not at all familiar with Tunisia.  It is a country in northern Africa that is just south of the toe of the "boot" of Italy.  With that, we'd be able to add another country and continent to the list of places we'd been.  Full wife had been to South Africa before (for work), and my daughter had been to Italy before  (a choir trip).

We had some decent weather, some rainy weather, and some windy weather, all of which was to be expected for this time of year.

We took part in organized excursions in Rome and Palermo.  We took a cab to see some of the sights in Marseille.  We just stayed on the ship in Genoa...the weather was dreary...but heard from some people we met on the ship that it was really nice.

In Tunis, we debated many times what excursion, if any, to take.  We ended up just getting off the ship, but stayed and enjoyed the port area.  Good choice, as it turned out.  There was a terrorist attack at a nearby museum that day.  22 people were killed and more than 50 were injured.  9 of the dead and 12 of the injured were passengers from our ship, as well as 6 others from our ship who are still missing!  Very sad.  It could easily have been us at the museum.  If you want to learn more about that whole ordeal, there's a good description of it here:

Below are some of the pictures we took in each place.

Barcelona, Spain:
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
Casa Batllo

Torre Agbar

Mirador de Colom - Columbus pointing to America

Marseille, France
Our taxi driver was Omberto (I hope I got that correct?).  He was a very nice man.  I dredged up the French I took in high school about 30 years ago....but mostly we communicated through the English Omberto knew.  He had traveled to New York and Miami, and really liked both places!

The first place we went was Palais Longchamp.  Its BEAUTIFUL!

We drove by the Eglise de Saint Vincent de Paul:
And then the Notre-Dame de la Garde up on top of the hill overlooking the port.  Beautiful view from up there!

Genoa, Italy
As I mentioned, we just stayed on the ship here.  Took this panoramic photo:

Civitavecchia / Rome, Italy
SOOO much to see here!
The Colisseum:

Arch of Constantine:

The oldest domed roof in the world....the Pantheon, rebuilt in 126 A.D.
Inside is really nice (panoramic photo, still only got part of it):

Tried to get the rest of it in this one:

Fountain of 4 Rivers:

Neptune's Fountain:
Altare della Patria:

The Vatican:
We also visited the Vatican.  Here's a panoramic photo:

Palermo / Mondello, Italy
Also a LOT to see here.

View from Mount Pellegrino:

Teatro Politeama:
My son did a "Kick the Moon" here:

Palermo Cathedral:

Tunis, Tunisia
We took pics here, and videos of my son doing flips and "Parkour" or Free Running.

Vacations are fun, and can help you relate to the rest of the world a little better.  But, as always, it sure feels GREAT to come back home.  :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Last Week of March, 2015

I've fished a couple times since my last blog entry.
Had one overcast Wednesday evening at a local pond, flyfished for 1.5 hours, caught 12 Crappies, 7 Bluegills, all on chartreuse microjigs under an indicator.
On the following Saturday, I flyfished the same pond for 5.25 hours during the middle part of the sunny day.  I caught 45 Crappies, 8 Bluegills, and finally caught the first open-water bass of the season.  The most interesting thing to me was, it was a sunny day and the saying goes "Bright Day, Bright Lure".  Typically chartreuse works well most of the time, and should have worked this day.  I caught some on it, but I did a lot better once I switched to a dark-colored microjig.  They really hit it much more aggressively.

The next trip was during my lunch hour on Monday.  It was probably the first 70+ degree (F) of the year, with 20mph winds gusting to nearly 30mph.  I fished a pond close to work.  I didn't do well, but managed to land a couple bluegills. (Fact was NOT the first 70-degree day of the year.  There was 2 days in the 70's and 1 day in the 80's in mid-March....while I was in Europe with my family for Spring Break.  So....Monday was the first 70-degree+ day I had experienced in Iowa this year, but not actually the first.  Capiche?)  :)

Later that evening, the wind died down, so I visited another pond for an hour around dusk.  Small bluegills seemed concentrated near the surface in the downwind ends of the fact some of them had their backs sticking up out of the water well out from shore.  They appeared to be eating stuff (probably midges) off the surface.  I caught at least 6 Bluegills, but I was really hoping for Crappies.  It was a beautiful evening.
 Then on Tuesday during my lunch hour, I visited another pond.  Algae is already greening up in this pond.  It was tough going, but I managed 4 Crappies and 8 Bluegills on a microjig under an indicator.

Tuesday evening after dinner I had the opportunity to flyfish again at yet another pond.  It was a beautiful evening... 70 degrees F and little wind.  The water in the next pond I chose was fairly clear.  As in most of the other ponds, the fish were in shallows near shore, or suspended shallow over deeper water.  I imagine that very top thin layer of the water column is the warmest water the fish can find right now.  I caught some fish on a microjig under an indicator, but it seemed the fish wanted to eat even more shallow than that, so I switched to stripping in a yellow Boa Yarn Leech, and did ok with that.  I ended up catching 3 Crappie, 14 Bluegills, 5 Hybrid Sunfish, and 1 Largemouth Bass.

That wraps up the month of March.  It started off with a great day of icefishing, and ended with a decent evening of flyfishing....ironically both on the same pond.

Monday, March 23, 2015

First Flyrod Fish of 2015

Just got back from a Spring Break trip to the Mediterranean with my family (future post about that to come).  I was happy to see the ice had melted off all the local ponds while I was gone.  I wasted no time in getting out to flyfish a couple of the local ponds on 3-22-2015.

I had a good day!  The fish wasted no time in doing their part....I caught a Crappie on my first cast!  I used a chartreuse microjig under an indicator, and ended up catching 45+ decent Crappies and 19 Bluegills.

Its good to be home!