Monday, April 27, 2015

Same Fish, 2nd Time This Year

If you take a gal out for a 2nd call it a date, right?  Well....I took this lovely lady out (of the pond) for the second time already this year, so I guess we are dating!
And just like last time, she attacked a Bluegill I was bringing in on my fly rod.  Only, this time when I landed her, the bluegill was nowhere to be seen...did she eat it already?  My microjig hook was stuck in her nose.  What she won't do, just to see me again?  :)

So anyway, it was a pretty fun day of flyfishing with my buddy Jay.  At one point, we presented flies to some huge Common Carp and Grass big, they looked like pods of manatees swimming around!  One particularly large Grassie looked to be 12" across the back, and one particularly large Common looked to be full of eggs....large head and super-deep bodied!  Unfortunately, we didn't catch any of them.  I thought I had one strike, but ended up hooking one of the big Grassies in the tail!  We battled for several minutes, with the fish porpoising out of the water several times, before I managed to pull the hook out before I could land it.

While trying for the grass carp, I caught a big 9" Hybrid Sunfish:

I also caught a couple crappies, a bunch of bluegills, and a couple beautiful Pumpkinseed Sunfish:

I finally field-tested a new Firetiger-colored streamer I'd created.  It worked!

Here's what they looked like before they get wet/eaten:

Another great day of flyfishing!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Weird Fishing - April 2015

It has so far been a relatively dry Spring.  Temperatures have varied, and this past week saw temperatures @ 15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the previous week.  It sometimes seems like the fish can't catch a break.  They start to get ready to do their seasonally-appropriate spawning ritual, when the weather cools down and disrupts those plans.  But, it is still early in the season for that.

I assume it is also due to the low amounts of rainfall, that the waters in our local waters are incredibly clear right now.  In many cases, ponds currently have the clearest waters I have EVER seen in them.

So, a visit to a local public pond one evening this week, during a slight break in the seemingly ever-present wind, resulted in very clear water, but no fish in sight.  Because it was still sort of windy, I fished from the upwind pond shoreline.  I got a couple small nibbles on a microjig under an indicator while flyfishing.  Not promising.

Just a very short walk from the main pond is a smaller pond that is usually only good for bluegill, and the very occasional bass.  I fished there for the first time this year.  It was still tough...I think the fish could see me quite well.  I finally found some nice bluegills, though.

There were some very chunky fish in the mix...and not all of them were females.
I also caught one small bass and a Green Sunfish.

One other interesting thing on this trip...I was surprised to see that some ducks have already hatched out some ducklings already!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mid-April Fishing, 2015

We just had a doozy of a cold front arrive, and it looks to be planning to hang around all this week.

The previous week had provided some pretty good fishing, though.

I spent a weekday fishing with my friend Dave, searching for the elusive spawning White Bass.  We both caught fish, but the "target species" was practically a no-show.  I did catch 2, including this chunky female that measured @ 15.5"

I followed that up by flyfishing a local pond.  It was pretty exciting.  It was the same pond where I caught the big bass while flyfishing, that hit and ate a bluegill I was reeling in.  Well...different day, same situation.  A bass followed a bluegill I'd caught into the shallows as I was bringing it in, and grabbed it!  I did the same technique I used last time this happened.  Only, this time it didn't work.  I ended up reeling in nothing at all...except for my microjig, that is.  The bass kept the bluegill, and didn't have to suffer through a brief photo session with me.  And THEN, 10 minutes later, an even BIGGER bass grabbed my microjig!  After a decent battle that mostly involve me holding on while it peeled line, it went airborn and threw my microjig.  It was a BIG BASS!  So, I was on the losing end of both big bass encounters, but I was smiling and enjoying every minute of it all the same.

And I caught plenty of fish, including this really nice Pumpkinseed Sunfish:

Also on Thursday, a buddy called.  He flyfishes.  It was his birthday, and he wanted to catch a new species....a Pumpkinseed Sunfish.  He asked for advice on where to go.  I told him. I checked in with him later in the day, and he managed to catch a couple of these beautiful fish!  How awesome is that???

Saturday rolled around and it was intermittenly drizzling...a gray and dismal-looking day.  My friend Dale G texted, wondering if I was out flyfishing somewhere.  I said no...but that I could meet up with him.  We visited the big bass pond.  As I pulled up, my buddy Jay was just walking towards the pond, and was calling me!  So, the 3 of us flyfished the pond and had a great time.  I fished exclusively for bass, and also caught a crappie.  I had 2 big bass on that both broke my 8lb tippet, using fire-tiger colored craft fur baitfish streamers.  I replaced the 8lb tippet with 10 lb, and landed more bass up to @ 16.5".
Here's what the streamer looked like that the big bass took (twice), and even the crappie hit it!

The crappies were wearing the ultra-dark spawning colors.
Dale was catching a lot of crappies casting out to deeper water and using a beadhead woolly bugger.  He was also catching small bass.  He had a really nice bass chase HIS bluegill in once, too!!  And Dale also caught his very first Pumpkinseed Sunfish, along with plenty of bluegills and hybrid sunfish.

On Sunday, Jay called me to flyfish again, at the same pond.  And once again I started out flyfishing for bass.  I caught bass on a 4" baitfish pattern with a bunny-strip tail, and even more on a blockhead popper.  Those topwater bass are exciting!

I switched to a gold Springbrook Wunder microjig for awhile, and caught bluegills, crappies, hybrid sunfish, a Pumpkinseed Sunfish, and even a bass or two.

Really fun flyfishing!

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.  :)