Thursday, November 29, 2012

Little Red River Report- Softhackle Swingin'

Before the turkey was even cold, my dad and I had the itch to take advantage of the beautiful weather and snag a few trout.  We rolled on up to the Little Red and, at a whim, stopped at a spot neither of us had ever fished before.

The weather was awesome when we got on the water but a front soon dropped the temperature drastically.  

Fish were caught.  We didn't catch any big fish, heck we didn't even catch numbers, but we had the spot to ourselves and  you really can't beat that. 

 I thought we might see a few larger browns with it being around spawning time but we had no such luck.  We did catch a few of their offspring though.  There was a decent BWO hatch and the fish were taking emergers and adults with abandon.  This is usually a good time to swing a soft hackle because the swinging flies look like emerging insects as they rise.

 Tied up a few proven pattern that I was excited to use.  This one was pretty successful.

The ol' "red-a**" is always a winner.  I tied both of these on size 14 Mustad 9671s.  I think both need to be more sparse.  Swinging soft hackles is one of my favorite ways to catch trout and the Little Red has some great swinging water.  If you've never tried swinging softhackels, my typical rig is a 9ft 5x leader with about 18in of 5x to the first bug.  Tie a 16-18in piece of 6x to the bend of the first bug and then add a smaller softhackle.  Place an appropriately sized splitshot above the first knot and your ready to go.

Cast across stream or 45 degrees downstream in a riffle.  Throw a quick upstream mend to let the flies sink.  As the flies begin to swing, keep your rod low and pointed at the flies.  Strikes will usually be pretty vicious.  Use an upstream sweeping motion to set the hook.  Boom.

This little wire midge was money.  If you can't catch fish with one of these it's a rough day.  Just red and black brassie size wire with a tungsten bead on a tiemco 2488.  Sizes 16 and 18 are usually good.  We also caught fish on size 20 Parachute Adams and small streamers.  Big browns should be up on the shoals.  Watch out for their redds and please debarb your hooks.  Thats it- stay fly.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Streamer Time- The Alpha Male

Fall is streamer time in my mind.  So in the spirit of the season, I've been thinking streamers at the bench.  This is a pattern I've been trying to perfect.  I know, I know, its just a double deceiver with marabou... but hey, It looks fishy and I haven't seen anything just like it out there.  I basically just wanted a double deceiver with a bit more life and I though marabou would be the perfect material to add some "fluffiness."  The problem with marabou is that it slims down in the water.  I thought having hollow tied bucktail in there to support the marabou would help this fly maintain its bulk and it should push water pretty well.

I have never had a ton of luck with this pink and blue color scheme but I have heard that it kills in the right conditions.

I have had a lot of luck with anything yellow and orange.  I wet this one down to show the bulky baitfish profile.

I don't know if chartreuse and black is the most successful color scheme but I think it looks pretty cool.  I'm sure a big bass would bust it.  The tail on this one turned out a bit too short.

Hooks: size 6 8089 in rear, size 2 8089 in front
Thread: Black
Tail: 4 schlappen feathers
Body: Hollow tied bucktail and palmered marabou
Flash:  Flashabou
Eyes:  10mm MFC "Jurassic Eyes"
Head: Epoxy (CCG would be better)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Scrimp- Mysis Shrimp Pattern

This is just a little shrimp pattern I came up with while I was working in Colorado.  It is a bit flashier than most of the shrimp patterns out there.  I worked really well at the Frying Pan and the Taylor and hooked many of those pot bellied trout beasts.  I say "hooked" because those trout are really tough to land... or maybe I just blew it.  Anyway, 

Thread: White 8/0

Hook: Daiichi 1550 size 16-18

Thorax: White Egg Yarn, Dubbed in a ball

Abdomen: Crystal Flash, Opal

Eyes: Black rubber Leg

Antennae: UV Flash

Tail/Wing: White Egg Yarn- Tapered

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Night Fly Tying Session

The election was just getting to be too much.  All the stress and bickering.  So instead of watching that awful junk, I tied up some poppers.  Behold my menagerie of popping critters:

Little frog popper- these are a go-to.

This one is a slider- or maybe a diver.  Haven't cast it yet so we shall see what it decides to do.

Thought I needed some mouse patterns.  This one is a slider on a size 2 8089.

Not sure if mice pop when they swim but why not a mouse popper?

This one is just a standard bass-sticker, I always dig purple flies for bass.  Now I just need summer to come back.  No comment on politics except to say that tying a few poppin bugs is always better than watching states turn red or blue.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fishing Camera- Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS Review

(Guest review by Kasper)

I had been wanting a waterproof camera for fishing and duck hunting for several years. I had done a lot of research but after reading reviews there were too many negative reviews of every camera on the market, mostly having to do with the waterproof feature malfunctioning after a short time. Then, Olympus announced the Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS. When I heard about it I was excited, because it was supposed to be the top of the line of Olympus's tough series. I had high hopes but I waited for several months after it came out so I could read reviews. After about 6 months with very few bad reviews, I decided this was the camera for me. 

My recent trip to the Norfork was my first time using the camera. I had purchased a floating strap just in case I dropped it so the first thing I did was test the strap to make sure it would support the weight of the camera. I tested every feature of the camera that I plan to use on the trip including underwater shots and videos and macro shots. I was extremely impressed with the results. My buddy, who has picked up photography and always brings his DSLR on trips, was also impressed with the quality of the shots/videos of the olympus, especially considering it's just a point-and-shoot. Olympus has also come out with a fish eye converter lens and a tele converter lens which can be purchased separately (along with an adaptor).

I can't wait to use this camera more. My only complaint is that it offers no protection for the lens as there is no way to attach a lens cap out of the box. But I have ordered the adapter for the other lenses, which allows you to attach a lens cap to it. I had to order it from eBay and it shipped from Hong Kong, which is annoying but oh well. I may purchase the fish eye lens eventually, but for now my sole purpose for ordering it is to attach a lens cap. 

Overall, I would highly recommend this camera to any sportsman who is looking for the ability to take underwater pictures, or just wants the comfort of having a camera you can drop in the water or on the ground or expose to freezing temperatures. You can read more about it and its features here -

Jason says:  "I want that."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Norfork River Report

(because I haven't been able to get out lately, I asked my bud Kasper to report about his recent trip)
Post grad schools here in Arkansas had a Monday and Tuesday off for fall break so me and a buddy of mine decided to head to the Norfork river for a few days of camping and fishing. We arrived late on Friday so we just set up camp and got food for the weekend. On Saturday we woke up before sunrise, loaded up and drove down to the River Ridge Road access. Then we waded upstream to the first island (Jason, you can insert the name of the island here if you know it). One ole timer was already there but we were the second to reach the island (we may or may not have passed his sweet little old wife who was using a walking stick on the walk upriver). We fished the side of the island closest to the bank which has a more narrow and shallow channel. There is a nice bend towards the middle of the island, which my buddy fished while I fished a little bit upstream.

On our first casts, we both had strikes almost immediately. We fished the same spot for several hours and caught over 50 fish between us. We fished similar rigs all morning. He fished a white grizzly maribou jig with an olive tubing midge with red thread and a black bead head as the dropper. I fished an olive maribou jig with an olive tubing midge with olive thread and a black head as the dropper. At one point I switched to a red zebra midge with wine wire and a black head which also produced fish.

Although I'm sure Jason disapproves, I personally like fishing the micro jig as the lead fly in Arkansas rivers because I hate messing with split shot if I don't have to and because it always catches fish. By 8:30 the river was insanely crowded as you can see in the picture. It seemed everyone was catching fish, but we were definitely in the honey hole. We went back to the same spot the next two mornings and had very similar experiences. It was a great trip and definitely one of the most productive fishing weekends I've ever had.

(For the record- I do not care what fly or jig or egg worm jig combo someone chooses to fish with. Personally, I like to use real flies. But seriously, if junk catches fish, I'm definitely not above it.)