Sunday, June 29, 2008

More self propelled river fun

Early morning on the Potomac, nobody else in sight most of the time I was out there. Not catching fish in great numbers, but the ones I am catching are good fighters, I've heard that it should be a good season for big fish, I'm starting to believe it! This one took that green popper you can see in the top left of the photo.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Product Review: Rio Gold

Let me just get this out of the way: I am NOT writing a glowing review about Rio Gold fly line just because I want Rio to see this and send me a hat and a sticker and more Rio Gold for my 5-weight to match the 3- and 4-weight reels I have already stocked with it. Or maybe a t-shirt.

But the first time I tried this line it was loaded on a Sage demo 4-weight rod. Granted, it was a wonderful $650 rod that helped shoot that line, but regardless, the line felt great. So great, in fact, that I ordered it for my two favorite trout rods.

This little Scott 3-weight rod is not an expensive one, but I do love it and it casts pretty well as long as it's not windy. Today I tried it for the first time with the Rio Gold and it went from pretty good to awesome! I love this line! The Rio fly lines also have a really great welded loop that I have put to the test on my 7-weight (that rod is loaded with the Rio Grand and is my smallmouth rod), and shows no signs of failing. I like it a lot better than the nail knot alternative.

(Additional cool side note: My testing ground for this was my neighbor's pond across the street from us. First cast with a little popper, in this pond that last year held nothing but sunfish, and I got a really nice size largemouth bass! After that some nice bluegill too. Could be a lot of fun this summer!)

So, bottom line is this: I think that if you're neglecting your fly line as a critical part of your fly rod equation, you might be overlooking an inexpensive way to make a $240 rod feel like a $640 rod. And for me, this Rio Gold is the best casting line I've ever tried.

More reptile superhero action

Recently I posted this picture of Squirt, wearing his shedding skin like a cape.

Well today yet another reptile in the house decided to sport a cape.

That's Butchie, a Kisatchie Cornsnake. And this is the blog equivalent of a Slow News Day.

Potomac Smallmouth Float

Thanks to Mark Kovach Fly Fishing who donated a float trip for two at the Trout Unlimited show earlier this year, I was the lucky winner! I brought my friend Douglas and we had perfect weather for our day on the water. Between the two of us we boated about 75 fish! A couple big smallies (largest about 16", I'll post a picture of that once our guide Mike emails it to me - his camera got wet and no longer functions!). And some fun bluegills on poppers later in the day. We went out as part of a larger group and had a fantastic streamside lunch of grilled steaks and corn on the cob. Great day, here are some more pictures...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Exciting Introduction to Kayak Fishing!

When I asked my friend Harry, who used to be in the kayak business, advice about what kind of kayak would be good for an overweight, uncoordinated, water-averse fly fisherman (I was, uh, asking for a friend), he said this one, and GAVE me a 16' Wilderness Systems Tarpon!

I tried it first on a lake and that went pretty well. So the other night I tried it on the Potomac near my house with no fishing gear, just a test run to make sure the current wasn't overwhelming. That went okay too so yesterday morning early I went river fishing for the first time in the kayak.

Sometimes when you get only one bite when you're out fishing you're disappointed. But on this day, the one and only bite of the day produced this, my first smallmouth of the year, my first fish from a kayak, and - by far - my biggest smallmouth ever! What a surprise. My 7-weight was really bending with this one, I have never felt such a strong smallie, I thought maybe I had hooked a catfish or something. Which I would have been fine with too, actually. I just wanted to catch something. But when I landed him I just couldn't believe it. I don't know how big he was, maybe 16" to 18" and heavy.

Hopefully I will have more great kayak fishing to post here, I sure have enjoyed it so far!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


June tenth. I remember the date, but am a bit foggy on the year. 1989 maybe. A pile of yellow and black and chocolate lab puppies tumbled into the world onto last week's newspaper and one of them was mine. Jasmine. Or as I was fond of calling her long before she actually earned the title, Jasmine the Wonderdog.

She is shown here in one of only 35,000 photos ever taken of her, after winning a gold in obedience and a bronze in the frisbee competition at a local Canine Olympics or some such thing. She did a lot of stuff, basically anything I ever asked of her. She took to obedience training and spoiled me for life, thinking that I was some sort of dog training genius or had some kind of 'gift' of communicating with dogs. Nope. It was just her. Well, maybe it was just her. Maybe it's just that my current dog is an idiot.*

*This remark may be the one thing that finally gets my wife to leave a comment on this blog.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Nature, Interrupted.

Yesterday while mowing the lawn I saw this little head and ears pop up out of the tall grass. I thought it was a rabbit at first, but when he didn’t move I got off the mower for a closer look.

It was a baby fawn, not more than a day old. He just put his head down and stayed put. I couldn’t tell if he was hurt, abandoned, sick or starving, and didn’t know what to do. We live near a main road and I didn’t want him to wander into it, and while spotting deer in that area is not unprecedented, it's not exactly common either. No sign of mommy nearby, but it was the middle of the afternoon. I called animal control to ask what to do.

An officer arrived about the same time my wife got home, he made a few calls and found a vet that would take him overnight until a wildlife rehabilitator could take him. My wife questioned his judgement (and mine for calling him in the first place) and thought at least we should take him to the vet ourselves so we could talk to them and make sure it was the right thing to do. Sure enough, the vet looked him over and said he was fine, wasn’t dehydrated and probably the mother would come back overnight to get him. If he was still there this morning (they said he would not wander off without mom), then maybe the mother was hit by a car and we’d have to look into a Plan B.

So we took him back to the same spot where I found him. Then as I was putting away the mower I noticed a big doe on the far corner of my neighbor’s property, watching me closely. Darkness soon fell, and after a few hours I checked and mom and baby were gone!

An awfully long way to go to end up simply letting nature take its course, but there was a happy ending and I’ll know better next time. I sure gave that fawn a weird day he didn't need to have. But the day he gave me I'll remember fondly for a long time.