Monday, October 30, 2006

Tackle art

I was taking photos of my collection of rods and reels for insurance purposes and decided to create a new wallpaper for my computer from one of the photos. I basically haven't found any fly fishing tackle related wallpaper on the 'net that I've really liked so that's why I did my own.

I took a photo of an arrangment of rods and reels and then ran it through a great piece of open source software called GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) which is very similar to a commercial photo imaging software. I ran the image through an "Oilify" and "Canvas" filter to produce a look of a oil on canvas painting. I hope folks like it...

Edit: I redid the original 1600x1200 and cropped it to a 1280x1024 with a slightly higher oily and canvassy appearance to make it look less like a photo and more like a painting. Here is the new one:
Here is what a cubist painting of the above would possibly look like (used cubism filter along with canvas filter):

More carp fishing on the SG

Sunday morning I went to the same stretch of the river as the previous weekend targeting carp. There was a glowing report from a friend of mine regarding the same stretch of river that made me decide to go again. In his report for Saturday, he mentioned catching his first mirror carp which I didn't know were in the river amongst the common carp. Here is the mirror carp he caught.

So, with those images, I made plans to bring my Sage XP 691-4 6wt with the fighting butt and some new patterns to try.

To make a long story short, I did pretty good that morning with seven carp coming from the same pool above the rapids that I caught carp from the previous weekend. I also caught one more on the shallow "flats" just upriver from there.

All the fish fell for a fly created by a master tier in Tyler, Texas Jim Green called his "Texas Charlie" which is a variation of a Gotcha or Crazy Charlie tied with a chenille body. The carp seemed to prefer the reddish brown and orange variations probably because they likely resembled fleeing crawfish.

Here is a photo of one of Jim Green's creations (originally intended for redfish though) that was not destroyed by the carp.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cool River Fishing

Due to the plenty of recent rains, I decided to try fishing the San Gabriel river east of Georgetown at the intersection of Highway 29 and CR100, a.k.a. Mankin's Crossing. The only thing was that a cold front came through and so the north wind was blowing 15-20mph and the morning temps started in the upper 40s so I set my expectations kind of low. Fishing a cold morning right after a front usually have not been too productive in the past. This was the first since the start of the year that I donned breathable waders and it was good thing I did.

I got to the low water crossing to launch my kayak at around 9am. The water was suprisingly slightly above average and clear with no signs of floating algae/scum anywhere. The water was moving well also.

I paddled upstream to before the first rapids and saw carp "puffs" (sediment stirred up by carp I was spooking) but other than that no brim or bass and I did see small baitfish and the occassional schools of juvenile carp.

Just as I was about 80 feet from the rapids something jumped onto the boulders and a log strewn across the rapids. It was an adult bobcat about the size of a medium-sized dog! First time I've ever seen a wild one. That was cool! He jumped to the other side of the bank and disappeared in the trees before I could snap a photo of it.

Looking around the section below the rapids looked somewhat different. There was evidence of flood waters that had receded and reshaped this section a little to where a new pool below the rapids existed and the sand bar moved downriver about 50 feet from where it used to be.

On the other side of the rapids the pool there also looked a little different and I could see plenty of carp roaming. Here the occassional wind could be felt in the more open area. I decided to stalk my first carp.

I ended upwith my first carp along a hump near the center of the pool. It gave some great runs and I was wishing that my 5wt had a fighting butt and a foregrip so I just loosened the drag a bit so I didn't put too much pressure on it. The fight lasted a good 10 to 15 minutes and I removed the fly from the carp's mouth without ever taking the fish from the water. The fish likely weighed about 5 pounds.

About 20 minutes later I hooked up with the second carp which was a bit smaller, likely around 3 1/2 or 4lbs, and also removed the hook without taking it out of the water. I then waded closer below a riffle that came to the pool that held several carp. I waded slowly and stood still and occassionally had carp school less than 3 feet from me before getting spooked. I wasn't able to hook any more from the pool so I headed upstream.

Upstream from the pool had the river turn and face right into the north wind so it felt colder and I was getting chapped from the wind constantly in my face. I found plenty of carp suspending in the current along the shoreline like rainbow trout waiting to pickoff morsels brought to them downstream by the current. I kept trying different flies and drifting it to them but they would just reposition and ignore me. After about 30 futile minutes and getting a headache from the cold wind, I headed back to the first pool.

I spooked several carp back at the pool but saw two that had not seen me that were right along the bank below a tree. I overshot my cast and the fly landed on the grass on the shore and was snagged a bit. When I pulled the fly and it plopped into the water, it got the attention of one of the carp and it inhaled the fly and carp #3 gave some good runs for about 10 minutes.

There were so many carp in the pool active, it really surprised me but I didn't get any further hookups except for a foul hooking of one on the back which I won't count.

I proceeded back below the rapids and found some carp below it so I cast into them. I think I almost foul hooked one because they all exploded and the fly flew back at me on the hookset.

On my way almost out, I saw a large carp below a tree to which I cast to and the fly sunk out of sight and so did the carp. I thought I spooked it but seconds later I felt the pressure of it and strip-striked and it exploded out of the water and broke my tippet right at the knot. Man! That carp was likely around 10lbs and would have been a real test on the 5wt.

BTW, the fly that caught all of the carp was a #10 Flashback Tri-Tail nymph in black with a gold beadhead that I got from an Orvis trout fly sampler. Since it was my only one, I need to learn how to tie one since it turned out to be a pretty productive carp fly.

I ended up leaving at 12:30pm feeling pretty good but I may likely bring the 6wt with the fighting butt next time if all I target is carp.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Post "cold" front fishing

Yesterday afternoon we had a cold front come through. It really didn't bring any arctic temperatures but it did bring some cooler weather. I was working from home all day and my wife said to head to the pond while the kids were at soccer pratice so I got to the pond about a half hour before sunset. Even though I was there for a short time (about 45 minutes), the brim were going nuts. They were simply attacking the #12 beadheaded olive hare's ear I was casting on my 4wt. It was a brim on almost every cast below a large willow tree.

Maybe this "cold" front has triggered something in the fish to start feeding for winter. I intend to fish the lake near my house for a couple of hours tomorrow morning to see how the bass and brim behave there.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Granite Shoals on a full moon

I went fishing with Preast last night at a cove in Granite Shoals about 6 mile west of Marble Falls. It's always a challenge finding the park where we launch.

The cove had about a dozen underwater green lights and the night had a slight breeze but not too bad. The full moon started rising pretty much after sunset. It was a nice night. The bugs were out in force around any light so when I turned on my headlamp to retie a fly, it had to be fairly quick or I'ld have bugs on my glasses.

Once the lights were on for a bit, we could see plenty of baitfish in the water yet not many larger fish. Eventually I found one of the lights had a couple of large carp sipping something off the top; maybe some of the bugs attracted to the lights. They refused my flies and spooked easily.

At that light I finally hooked a decent fish which I think had to have been a white bass, it came unhooked when I put too much pressure on it near the kayak.

Fishing was pretty slow. Not much fish swarming the lights or attacking the baitfish. The full moon lit up the water nicely though. Preast had about the same luck I did and caught a couple of bass that gave themselves away when they passed through the lights.

I found one light that seemed to generate most of my fish for the night and landed a medium size white bass, a couple of small largemouth and some really big bluegills. One of those bluegills was caught on a #2 zonker strip fly which was amazing. It had to have been larger than my hand at about 8 1/2" and fought impressively on the 6wt.

By about 10:30pm it didn't look like the action would pickup so we headed back to the putin and loaded up and left around 11pm. I was a great night to be fishing the lights though some more action would have been nice. I bet in the early spring the place is hopping with white bass so I'll be back then.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Baitfish flies

I really want to do some night fishin' next weekend since there will be a full moon out. I was thinking of what sort of new fly I should try so I tied up this variation of a Cactus Minnow similar to a Murdich Minnow using pearl cactus chenille, some white craft fur, super hair and silver and pearl krystal flash. I did two on TMC811S #4 hooks thinking they should work in saltwater as well. One with a blue back and this one with green. I'm going to post up on some of the fishing forums to see if any locals want to join me next weekend.