Friday, November 26, 2010

This years crop of submissions to Rainy's.

Some fly patterns I have cooked up and have done well with. These are being submitted for consideration for contract patterns. Wish me luck!

This one is called a Wolverine. Has been deadly on 
freestones and lake run fish. Great summer into fall pattern.

A black Peacock Wolverine.

This is called a Double Shot. Twin tungsten beads, 
wire underbody, coated. This is a heavy little fly.

Black Peacock Double Shot.

My recently created stretch flex midge, no name as
yet. I think this color will be very good in Cheesman
canyon and Deckers; all those tiny net building caddis...

Yes, I did.
GoGo Dancer, anyone?

As above. I can't tell you how, not yet. 
But ain't she purty?

I wish the name "Trout Crack" was free, 'cause this 
one meets the criteria. Flashback B3, she does the job.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

A year of many species: part two

Leopard shark. YES!!
six lb. test, custom 9 1/2' light surf rod I built on a 
St. Croix 9' 8wt Imperial blank.
This fish peeled drag.

Spotted bay bass, Mission Bay, San Diego.
You just have no clue how strong these bitty 
fish are.

Surf perch. These give birth to live young.

Yellow fin croaker.

Stingray. For good reasons I did not do the 
tripod shot with this one. These are great bait stealers.

Some sorta dogfish. Teeth looked like cauliflower.
I would guess it a shellfish specialist.

Pacific anchovy. I had such fun catching these seven
at a time on sabikis. Have you ever seen a prettier fish?

This fish scared me to death. I was wading, and at
first I thought it was a torpedo ray, an electric fish
that has been responsible for several human deaths.
Thornback guitarfish.

Friendly alien.

Hmm, I wonder...

What happened to that halibut?


Friday, November 19, 2010

A year of many species

   Well I been real busy with the school an' whatnot, writing all pretty like for the profs, and no time have I had to post.


   But one thing I can say is that this year is probably the year I have caught the greatest number of individual species, if not highest number of fish overall. Highest number I am sure happened when I was a kid in Texas, and we would fish crappie and white bass. If you got into a school of whites and were greedy about it, you could sink a boat with fish. I do remember catching over four hundred crappie in one day at Sam Rayburn...

   In Colorado there just are not as many fish as some places, and getting into hundreds in a day does not happen much I guess. When I was  kid I would catch fish until someone drug me away, I was like a machine. These days I fish dark-to-dark and I ache all over. I still do it, and have come close to fainting on the walk back a few times. I carry water now, and power-bar type "food" because I just do not have it in me like I used to.

   One guy I know, he is almost as gung-ho as I am, he likes to carry a Coleman stove and cook soup. Now that is crazy. But he sure gets after it, even if he is a little "off..."

   So I am going to post some pics of a few fish I got this year. Some came deep jigging 125g cod jigs on conventional rigs, some came fly-lining (fishing no weight with a bait rig) an anchovy on six lb. test, come came on baitcasting gear, some on spinning gear. I don't have pictures of every species, so you will have to trust me on a few. Winter is setting in, and I do not think I am going to get any new species this year, my tiger muskie trips have not panned out. Looks like tailwater flyfishing from here on out.

   I also had a tug of war with an un-known beast of the deep over a giant Pacific octopus, and in the end all I got was two writhing arms, which of course I kept and ate. Wild.

   The List, in no particular order:

  1)   Corvina
  2)   Yellowfin croaker
  3)   White sucker
  4)   Starry flounder
  5)   Stingray
  6)   Thornback guitarfish
  7)   Smooth guitarfish
  8)   Dogfish
  9)   Leopard shark
10)   Walleye
11)   Yellow perch
12)   Black crappie
13)   Bluegill
14)   pumpkinseed
15)   Largemouth bass
16)   Smallmouth bass
17)   Grass carp
18)   Common carp
19)   Sockeye salmon
20)   Pink salmon
21)   Dolly varden
22)   Rainbow trout
23)   Brown trout
24)   Snake River cutthroat trout
25)   Cutt-bow (rainbow/cutthroat hybrid)
26)   Spotted bay bass
27)   Sculpin
28)   Surfperch
29)   Pacific halibut
30)   Pacific anchovy
31)   Bay anchovy
32)   Green-ling
33)   Brook trout
34)   Rudd
35)   Guadalupe bass

now some pics:

rainbow trout

Snake River cutt'

 Smallmouth bass

Trust me, it's not s golden shiner, it is a rudd.
I never caught one in Colorado, then several this year?

Pumpkinseed, on the 3wt.

Female bluegill, as above. My sister, niece and I 
had a very enjoyable fry. Keep a few panfish.

22lb. common, my best on 4lb. tippet. Could have
easily been a thirty if it was eating better!

Crazy, weird grass carp slammed my Lucky Craft
Pointer at the bank while I was fishing for smallmouth.
That don't happen much! This fish was a tank, and took
me for quite a ride. I thought I had a new PB smallie!

Good sized starry flounder I spotted in about ten feet of water.
(eagle eyes.) This is the belly, top side is mottled like sand. Got
it on a drop shot. If you don't drop shot you are missing the boat.

Oh, halibut, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.

Big ole sculpin. They can't pull, if they spine you you will
wish for death, and they won't stay off the line. 
But I like 'em anyway!

Yes. A fist-full of mollusk.

Well, the server won't let me add any more pics right now, more to follow!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Hidden in plain sight...

   Hey kids. Well, today I was up for a quickie, but did not want to head out to the boonies. So I checked up on a good pal of mine. This spot is right under the nose of MANY people, and they still can't smell it.

   Not that I am complaining about it, but I do get small private satisfaction from that fact!

   The water in question is subject to some severe fluctuation seasonally, and today was more proof of that fact. In the spring it rages, and in the fall it trickles... I have not been there since spring, because as the weather improves I rely less on this hidden gem and more on "good" water in the area. Also, with the drop in flow over the summer, and the very high water temperature, I am hesitant to engage the trout in a combat that could easily prove their undoing... we don't want that!

    I was somewhat concerned that the trout had fared badly in the course of the year, but I needn't have been. There were trout everywhere. I did have difficulty due to the fact that the very skinny clear water and dead calm conditions telegraphed my presence to the fish before I was in casting distance. I caught a few, little bitty browns, that I mostly just shook off without touching. I did see this fish in a riffle:

estimate this brown to be 21" in length. scooped its
nasty self out of the water for this pic. note the size
two Lamson Litespeed for comparative purposes.

I have hooked bigger fish than this in there, but they dive into rootballs and break me off every time. Browns and cutbanks go together like ham and grits. I fish my three or sometimes my four when I go, but the five might be a better idea! Seems like every trip I loose a pig that lives in a cave...

pretty standard fish for the spot. I love the subtle pattern
on this fish, it reminds me of the trout from the Caspian 
drainages in James Prosek's watercolors. 15" range.

another nice fish from the same spot. you get a couple
like this on almost every trip.

nice big redd in a corner slot. browns are on the move...

water low and slow. on the bottom left side of this 
image is the slot where the redd was. nice afternoon light.

Lake Ontario trib? nope, just a jewel, hidden in plain sight!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Beginners Luck?

   Why is it called a wind knot, when the wind is not to blame? The wind may have made it difficult to cast, but ultimately it is operator error on the part of the one who casts that is the cause of this hated leader-eating overhand knot. The knot must be dealt with if one desires to have any hope of landing a heavy fish. And we pose the question, in a purely rhetorical sense, if ever there occurs a situation when one does not wish to land a heavy fish?

   There are many points throughout a day on the water where even the great ones among us just have to say “woops.”

   This is no blemish on the record of an otherwise outstanding angler. It is an opportunity for them to progress in their skills and abilities.

   I will concede the point that in those ignoble moments it is hard to learn the lesson. A fish lost, a fish put down by an errant cast, kicking up a massive trout holding in a braided riffle because you just didn’t think any fish would set up shop in such ugly water. We have all been there.

   What separates the men from the boys, so to speak, is what we do with the experience.

   Some will get angry. More will laugh it off in a good natured fashion, but fail to derive any wisdom from the event. And a small number will observe, process, and incorporate the experience into their backlog of lore. Yet even these must strive to not become slaves to their wisdom.

   There is a state of mind that enables those who are lucky or determined enough to achieve it to function above their level of ability. Sometimes it is misidentified as “beginners luck”. In Zen philosophy it is known as Shoshin.

   Shoshin is a concept meaning Beginners Mind. It refers to having an attitude lacking preconceived notions, even when studying a subject at an advanced level.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few. We should strive to be open to possibility. One is never at an advantage when one limits one’s choices out of hand.

   Several years ago I was on an overnight trip to the Fryingpan River. I got into Basalt late, and checked into the Green Drake motel. I was set to get up before dawn and be on the plunge pool at the base of the dam, also known as the “toilet bowl” because of the rotational vortex of water in the basin.

   Over night the powers that be had raised the flow from a manageable 150 CFS to a raging 600. There had been heavy rains above the reservoir, and the lake was already full. The ‘Pan is not exactly big, and 600 CFS is a fair bit of water in there.

When I saw the gushing jets of water emerging from the base of the dam, I knew my split shot was not up to the task. I retrieved from my car some ½ oz. rubbercore sinkers left over from a prior catfishing trip, and secured one to my line. Gathering up forty feet of loose flyline in my left hand, I allowed the huge sinker to dangle from the rodtip, and with a slow lob, sent the missile bombing into the maelstrom, dragging the flyline with it, down into the spray and foam.

  It was a circus. Over the next few hours, I could not make a drift without hooking a trout, some quite large. It really drove home to me the idea that there are no bad tactics, only bad results. If I had limited myself within the constraints of convention, it would have been a long drive without much reward.

   On a less grandiose note, the new waders do not leak yet and the new boots have very good traction, ankle support, and are easy to get on and off. What more could you ask?

   I fished the modest tailwater at Evergreen Reservoir this afternoon and got into a pile of (tiny) fish. Took my ten foot four weight Cortland Brook and built a L-O-N-G leader tapered down to 6X. Used a black no. 20 Poison Tung as the sinker for a no. 24 olive sparklewing RS-II. All fish ate Rim’s wonderful pattern. Lost the big one of course, a real donkey that would easy have gone fourteen inches. Se la vie.


These are representative of the fish I caught today. I can't be bothered 
to take a picture of every sodding trout I catch now, can I?
Fat little browns, fat little 'bows, and lots of 'em. 
Hurrah! -S.S.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The decline and fall of Empire

   “Sic Semper Tyrannis!” or, for those who are not students of history and dead languages, “Thus Always To Tyrants!” We here* at CarpeTrutta do not claim fluency in English, let alone Latin, but it should be known that our unfortunate attribute of a curious mind has produced the tendency to examine closely the etymological origins of many common words and phrases, and as if in response to the pathological need of so many American’s to find conspiracy in their breakfast cereal, these words align in a suspicious way with the language of Pliny the Elder… how’s that for a run-on sentence?

   I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the lunatic fringe on the right side of the right side of the American electorate for their ability to assimilate devious and calculating techniques from advertising, (which itself assimilated these techniques from warmongering propagandists in the early twentieth century) and together with the philosopher’s stone of fear, transmute these toxic elements into callow prurient pandering to the over activated limbic system of this great nation.

   We are but cattle before their prod.

   Gentle reader; do not assume me to be a cynic. I will be the first to congratulate a better opponent when that adversary emerges victorious at the end of the contest.
Republicans earned it; they deserve it, and let no one claim otherwise. They really are that much better at the game.

   I would merely contend the governance of our society has degenerated into farce, and this fact should be cause for alarm. And it might well be thus if the threat level wasn’t orange already.

   The middle path, as advocated by certain enlightened persons of great antiquity, could be of some utility to those who wield power, if they wish to wield said power in the service of the elusive and seldom seen greater good. The pendulum swings to the right, we get Hitler, it swings to the left and we get Stalin. Either way = Epic Fail. So Sic Semper Tyrannis, take that in whatever way suits you best. Just don’t write it on your shirt and go blow shit up. We do not condone violence at CarpeTrutta, any more than we condone sagging your trousers or the existence of the “Tween” demographic.

   Let’s go now to Bevan Lurrito with the sport.

  Bass fishing is harder than fly fishing for trout. This statement makes anything above seem polite by way of comparison. Genteel. But it is true. Mostly.

OK, bass fishing is harder than fly fishing for trout the way I do it. I just walk along ‘till I see a likely mark, and after positioning myself within range, use the flyrod like a cane pole and drag the goods through their kitchen. They either get out of the way or they eat. Most get out of the way, but enough eat to keep me coming back. This despite the fact that hookups result in me chasing the creature up and down the river, huffing and gasping for air as the adipose of my torso quivers like the dessert of choice for all good Mid-western housewives. I also dunk on a semi-regular basis, owing to my stumble-bum nature and a general gung-ho attitude to playing fish, in sketchy conditions like high flows or pocket water. Or high flows and pocket water. Or high flows and pocket water, at night. You get the point. The way I see it, I will dry off.

   I almost never get skunked when I go fly fishing, and I truly do not chalk this up to my being a great angler. I would rate slightly above average at best, due in part or in full to the fact that I have spent thousands of days fishing. But even young Mozart had the benefit of countless hours of practice. It does not hurt.

   I DO sometimes get skunked when I go bass fishing. I am somewhat facile with the tactics of the modern bass angler. I even briefly considered a career as a competitive bass angler, fishing tournaments. This notion was abandoned as soon as I got a good look at the soft underbelly of the B.A.S.S. world, and recoiled in instinctive horror at the pungent stench. In so many ways, Skeet Reese I ain’t. Besides, it was always a pipe dream. But I still enjoy the fish, and the methods. I simply lament the fact of my geography. I once saw bass fishing in Colorado compared to monkey hunting in Alaska. No, it’s not that bad, but it is not what a Texas boy is used to. I have yet to break eight pounds with a largemouth in this state, and not for lack of trying.

   I think that the great appeal of bass is that they are a “hot and cold” fish. Some days you can do no wrong, and you feel almost guilty. Other days you pull out all the stops (gratuitous pipe organ reference) and you can’t buy a fish. It does not hurt that they are strong and acrobatic fighters, or that they can live in any sort of liquid conditions you can think of short of straight gin… (Add a mixer and they are good to go.)

   I toy with the idea of selling my boat, because I can not take it into Cheesman canyon. But it pains me to think of getting rid of it, because of what it represents.
Bass were my first love, and as reliable sources indicate, you never forget your first.


sieze the bass!
my only big largemouth of the year, 7 lbs. flat, 
on four pound test. that's just how I roll, y'all.

   One last note, new waders on the steps when I got back from the shop with my new boots, I got a smokin’ deal on some size thirteen Bites from the good lad at Discount Fishing Tackle. Coming soon to a stream near you: aggro metal Klingon screw-in death-spikes. I’m back in the saddle boys and girls.


* As you can see, our mental state is such that we are forced to resort to the use of third person. Pray for us, if that be your custom. -S.S.