Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Big Blues and a farm pond

My wife and I have some great friends (Lyndsay and Andy) who take us out to their families farm pond to relax, hang out and fish.  You can't beat that.  They took us out last weekend and we were on a mission.  Lyndsay's Dad charged us with thinning out the pond a bit, so it was catch fish to eat time.  

It was a tough call if I was going to go....Super stocked farm pond, so many fish it needs to be thinned....friends...and the hopes of a fish fry.  I had to think for about a micro second before everything in me said yes.  We got to spend an great afternoon hanging out and fishing with Lyndsay and Andy and Lyndsay's parents and family friends.  What great people to be so open and inviting.  I always want to live my life with an open door policy.  What is mine, is yours.  I think God calls us to share our lives and stuff.

Well, needless to say, I came home with a stringer full of fish (most caught on fly's that I tied).  Check out the ka-junga blue gill!  One was 9"!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fly Tying on the cheap

I got into making my own flies lately.  I have only tied a few up, but it is addicting.  I can easily see myself making hundreds of these things.  The only problem is, I want to fish every single one of them.  It is hard to choose which one to fish when I hit the water.  I have the greatest hopes of each creation being a fish magnet. 

I am kinda cheap, so I have been finding materials and making them work.  Here are some things I use:

Dubbing - Dryer Lint (free)
Feathers - I find them in the park (goose, duck, common birds)
Silly Legs - Cut up an old bungee cord and use the rubber strands.
Craft Stores - My wife loves to do fabric crafts.  I hit up the stores with her to find cheap marabou, beads and other random stuff.
Popper Bodies - I have been using ear plugs.  Bright Orange foam ones that I had laying around.

I haven't tied a fly yet that a fish hasn't gone for.  No perfect fish magnets yet, but I am still working at it.

I will have to say my favorite commercial fly so far is a size 10 Betts Frugal Frog.  I always catch fish with that one.  It is my go to.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fishing with a buddy

I mostly fish alone.  Now, I am not some hermit social weirdo who can't make friends.  However, I am a fish until I can't stand it any longer even if the fish aren't biting, I am sun burnt to a crisp and starving to death kinda guy.  I don't think I will ever get tired of fishing.  I just can't get enough of it.  When I leave the water for the day, my only thought is when I will get to go back and give it another shot. Obviously, most people I know are not like this.  Thus, I fish alone.

I am also the only fly fisherman in my circle of people I know.  I live in Illinois and I fish still water while in a canoe or wading, so I don't think I will be finding crowds with my interests!  But, I found a fishing buddy.  Actually, he found me.  Todd Lercher - the other fly fisherman that I know.  Todd and I talked to each other over the 4th of July about our fly fishing and we instantly planned a fishing trip.

Todd invited me out to his parents house.  They live in town and have a lake / pond on their property and it is super close to my job.  We had an awesome plan.  Fish after work.  What more do you need.  Bad news.  It rained buckets right when we were suppose to meet up.  Lame.  Most non die hard fisherman would have called it, but I have a feeling Todd is like me.  I call him up and he said, "let's wait it out."  I am thinking, this is my kind of fishing friend.  So, we waited it out.  The rain stopped and it turned into a great evening of fishing.  We caught a bazillion bluegill and I got two 1lb largemouth.

It was a great time shooting line with another fisherman.  We talked fish, life and stuff.  We traded techniques and fishing spots we like to visit.  We swaped flies and Todd even gave me an extra pair of hemostats he had.  And best of all, when we gave it up for the day, we planned on doing it all again.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

1 week of fishing

I just wrapped up 7 days of fishing and I am not even on vacation!  I have gone fishing every single day for the last week.  I am trying to work on fly casting and I found a great strip mine lake that is 6 minutes from my job and it has an Aldi (grocery store) on the way back home.  Win, win.  Especially to appease the wife when I take my random trips out there before and after work.
Here in Illinois, we have been blessed with a great week of weather.  It has been super calm and cool at dusk and the mornings are worth getting up for.  My wife and I took the canoe out the last 2 times we went fishing.  (She likes reading on the canoe and feeding ducks).  I did get her to try her hand at the fly rod and she did great.  She caught 2 bluegill and the first one made her smile bigtime.  Maybe I can get her into fly fishing because she didn't really take to the normal bass fishing I do.  

Anyways, it was great to be out on the water doing something I love and sharing it with someone I love.  I know that sounds cheez-tastic, but I really enjoyed this last week. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bluegill on Poppers

I have never had so much fun catching bluegill than I have had while fly fishing with poppers. In fact, I never really fished with top water anything before I started fly fishing. Picture you dropping a fly on the calm water surface at dusk. The lake is calm and you see fish nipping at other things that land in the water. Now it is time to start making your popper come to life, so you give it a little tug and let it settle. Then out of nowhere, BAM! The surface pops with a fish that just grabbed your fly. It is not the slow paced bobber fishing most people have in mind with bluegill. Largemouth bass will take the popper hard too.

Add some waders and you turn into a bluegill hunter moving around the lake into the places people on shore can't go! Sometimes I feel like I am a herron bird that slowly stalk their prey. Sometimes my boots get sucked into the mud and I almost take a dip in the lake and look supremely idiotic.

Anyways, grab a fly rod, some panfish poppers and head to the lake to catch some fish.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Largemouth Bass on the fly

First Largemouth Bass on the fly rod.
I know it's small, but you have to start somewhere.

St. Ellen Mine, O'fallon IL
June 27, 2010

Biggest Largemouth Bass on the fly rod...yet!
Biggest Largemouth Bass I have ever caught!

And it was on the fly rod.

St. Ellen Mine, O'Fallon IL
June 29, 2010

and it was on the same fly. Just a little green panfish popper with white rubber legs.

Peace, Life and Fish

Have you ever found something in life that fits you like an old pair of comfy shoes? That is what fishing has always been for me. I connect with it on a deep level and I am not sure why. I would even go as far as saying it is kinda like a spiritual thing for me. Now don't get me wrong...I am not some weirdo hippie crazoid. I just like fishing and I like God and I think He had a mind to have us enjoy His creation and nature.

So here is my helpless addiction to fishing and then steps in fly fishing. Actually, in came a magazine when I went to pick up groceries after work on a Wednesday. I was minding my own business and then I took a wrong turn trying to get milk and ended up at the magazine rack. My eye spots a 2010 fly fishing made easy beginners guide to fly fishing magazine. I pick it up and think, "I've always wanted to try that." Two days later, this video and a trip to dick's sporting goods, I have my very own basic fly fishing setup. (Check it out here) I have greatly enjoyed this setup and it has done everything and more than I need as a beginner.

I went fishing that Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday (twice), Wednesday and I plan to go today after work.

I want this blog to tell my story of how I am learning to fly fish on the cheap and how I get out as often as I can to do what I love. Maybe I can share a tip or show some cool pictures of fish I have caught to inspire you to pick up a rod and go fishing. I am not a pro at the least bit. In fact I suck at fishing, but I enjoy it to the core of my being.

Get out there and wet a line.