Friday, December 30, 2011

Fishing Resolutions New and Old

     First, I would like to wish everybody a happy and safe new year! With the arrival of that little baby in a diaper blowing a kazoo, I would like to look back on my 2011 fishing resolutions and lay out my 2012 ones.
      I was asked last year at this time on a forum what my goals were. At that time I was fly fishing for 6 months. This is what I said:

1. Catch a trout on a dry I tied.
2. Fish 3 of the Central PA majors.
3. Land a 20 incher on the fly rod.
4. Fish 2 hatches that I never have fished, which would be every one except Sulphur, BWO, Trico
5. Make a trip to the Upper D
6. Fish the salt with the fly
7. Enjoy as much fishing with good friends as possible.
      Of those I only did not accomplish one. It was number six and I came close to it three weeks ago. I planned on making the drive to the NJ coast, but a bad storm canceled it. O well, next year. 
      #1 I had no problem accomplishing. 
      #2 I accomplished in a way. Most people think of the three major Central PA streams as; Penns, Spring, and Little J. I fished Spring and that was it. However, I did fish the Letort and Falling Springs. They are in Central PA and they are major streams. They are just not in State college area. I will be clearer for my 2012 resolutions.
      #3 I landed a salmon and a steelhead easily over 20 inches. Again, I was not real clear on my goal.
      #4 I fished Blue Quills and Isonichias. I probably fished more, but did not realize it
      #5 I fished the Upper D three times and caught my largest wild brown up there.
      #6 Obviously not
      #7 I do this on a regular basis
        This year for 2012 I am going to be a little clearer in my goals
     #1 Catch a 20 inch trout on the Upper D, it can be a rainbow or brown
     #2 Catch a Letort brown trout. Very elusive for me.
     #3 Fish a stream not in Pa, Ny, or NJ
     #4 Catch a NY steelhead. I have caught Erie chrome, but not Ny.
     #5 Tie an Intruder pattern
     #6 Fish Penns and Little J
     #7 Land a wild bow over 15 inches. I could accomplish this goal and #1 together.
     #9 Like last year....Enjoy as much time on the water with friends and my children as possible.

I look at my list and see I have nine resolutions for this year. Can one of you guys think of one for me?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Fishing Evolution

      I can still remember the excitement I had when I was 8 or 9 years old. It was the night before the first day of Pennsylvania trout season. Sitting in my parents kitchen with my dad concocting the secret bait. I can not remember the recipe, but I can sure remember the smell. It smelled like when you drive by the mushroom factory out towards Reading.
       This secret bag of crap was whispered down the line at my dads work, and it was going to be the holy grail for trout catching.
      I would go to sleep early, because we had to wake up before the birds to grab our spot on the Little Lehigh. The car ride to the stream was quiet as I would still be trying to wake up and wipe the sleep from my eyes. The drive from Catasauqua to Allentown took you through center city and the time linked traffic lights. Every time you think you were going to hit a red light it would miraculously change to green. I was in amazement of this at the time. Like my father was a wizard who had the power to make this feat happen (I now know you just have to drive 35mph). I was hoping he could do that to the fish.
First Day of PA Trout
      My father would lay out a blanket for me to sit on as he walked up and down the banks of the smooth flowing stream to find the sticks our spinning rods would sit on. The yells up and down the stream from other fishermen saying it was time to cast in the line reverberate through my mind still to this day. My dad would cast both rods and we would sit there and wait....and wait.....and wait. I would stare at the tip of the rod hoping for a twitch. Then it would happen, a little jiggle, then a little more. Dad would yell at me not to touch it. Slowly he would pick up the rod and wait for that twitch again. Then he would set the hook and roll on his back as if he was hooking the largest fish in his life and he really wanted that hook penetrating. Once he knew the fish was on, he would hand me the rod and I would reel it in as fast as I could. I did not know about line test and if the fish would snap off. I did not know because my dad would use 10lb test and catfish rods. so those 10 inch trout did not have a chance!
Wehr's Dam and Covered Bridge
            We did not go fishing frequently together because he worked two jobs to help support us. However, our excursions would always take place early mornings when he got home from working night shift or we would head to Jordan Creek at night to catfish or whatever would bite on his days off. Fishing memories will last forever and are something you never forget. Example,  the eels we would catch and my father trying to get the hook out only to get slimmed up and end up burning the mono with his cigarette, then kicking the eel back in the water. Or sitting along Hokendaqua Creek and the bats flying around out lantern grabbing the moths and other insects searching for light. Those eventful nights are what began to form me into the fishermen I am today.
      By the time I was 15-16 I strayed away from my fathers fishing adventures and began fishing with high school friends. My friend Ryan and his brother Aarron lived right by Wehrs Dam on Jordan Creek. Their father was a former chef and would cook all the trout we would catch those days and they were always delicious. We kept everything, because we knew know better. We watched a gentlemen catch trout after trout one day. He gave us some of his "secret bait" and we began hooking up non stop. He told us the bait was raw eggs and flour mixed together to make a Power Bait light yellow textured substance. We ran back to ryans house and cleaned his parents out of eggs. We found OUR secret hole those days. it is not much of a secret anymore, but every first day I fish that hole. I think other fishermen that frequent that creek during the first day of fishing even acknowledge it as "Shane's Hole".  This coming trout season it will be 15 years in a row fishing there. Till I was out of high school we really only fished the first couple weeks of the season and then my friends and I would do what teenagers do.
Cementon Bridge
      I graduated from high school and had some trouble in my life. I ended up losing my drivers license for 3 years and seemed like most of my friends. I could not drive and it seemed like I was an outcast. I found fishing again.
Bait Chucker
       My mom would drive me to work and pick me up and we would always drive over the Cementon bridge. This structure spans the Lehigh River and there is a dam 100 yards down stream called Northampton dam. This is where I fell in love with the "Mighty Lehigh". One day I asked my mom to drop me off at Willies Bait shop which overlooks the Lehigh at this spot. I took my dads fishing rod down below the dam with some night crawlers and immediately hooked up with a fish that pulled line out of my reel as I have never seen before. I could not stop this fish and it basically spooled me and snapped me off. I never saw it, but I think it might have been a carp. A man that ended up becoming a good friend and mentor walked over to me laughing. He could tell I did not know what was going on. We would run into each other most every off day or after work. He was referred to as fish neck by the bait shop regulars, because of his rainbow trout tattoo on his neck. He would teach me how to spin a minnow, what a butter worm was and how to properly rig a night crawler. I learned how to tie my own leaders what kind of weight to use for certain conditions and a proper drift. I became a fixture in the bait shop and would sit and hang out in there all day long, learning from the "pro's" and fishing with some great bait fishermen. Nicknames were thrown around the shop like Strappy, River Rat, and Meater. Willie even ended up finding me my current house.
My Youngest Ate One of These
      I got my license back when I was 22 and fishing began to take a back seat. I found a better job, began hanging out with friends, frequenting bars and ended up meeting my wife (not in a bar). Fishing turned into the first couple weeks of the trout season and that was about it. Maybe a bass pond with my wife's cousin every now and then.
       I still loved the Lehigh and we ended up moving in a town that bordered some of the best water to fish on it. My wife's cousin got older and we began fishing non stop. One day we decided to help stock fish on the Lehigh with a local organization called the Lehigh River Stocking Association or LRSA. I took an interest in what they were trying to do. Water quality and making the Lehigh River a better place. This is where I was truly introduced to fly fishing. I became a board member and one of the officers told me he had a three person pontoon boat and I could come out with him if I would like. He brought his fly rod and I brought my spin rod. I hammered fish throughout the day until dusk. Then the bugs came out and fish were feeding on top everywhere we looked. He began hooking fish after fish on a Sulphur dry fly and all I could do was sit back and watch. That was a year and a half ago. I have since left that organization and become a board member of the Western Pocono TU. I touch a spin rod maybe three times a year. I have become fully addicted. I fish whenever possible and in all weather. When I was a spin fishermen I focused only on the Lehigh Valley creeks. Now I travel all over the state and other states searching for new waters, new species and new friends. Fly fishing has changed me and it has caused me to evolve in the way I think about streams, conservation, and life in general.
       I have wrote this blog, because I was challenged  by Howard over at Windknots and Tangled Lines Blog. He came up with an excellent contest that made me think about how I have become what I am today. Check his blog out and enter his contest if you would like. I hope you enjoyed my ramblings and if you did not sorry I wasted the 5 minutes it took you to read it.
Fly Fishing the French Fry Hole.... Photo Taken By Dub The" New Daddy" Thorax


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rainy Day... Lets Tie CDC Stone Fly Nymphs!

    Here in Easter Pennsylvania the weather is not cooperating. Latley, I have been addicted to CDC and saw a pattern on the Fly Fishermen site for Charlie Craven's CDC Yellow Stone. I was trying to get a picture of the pattern in the water, because the ice blue flashback make the stone glow. I could not, but trust me on it! I hope you like the pattern.

Hook- DaiRiki 12 3xl nymph
Bead- 1/8 gold bead
Lead- 15 wraps of .015
Thread- Yellow Danville 70 denier
Tail- Yellow dyed pheasant tail
Flashback- Ice blue pearl tinsel
Rib- 3x mono
1 Brown grizzle hen saddle feather
1 Brown Cdc feather
Dubbing- Jacks tackle Rainbow Worrior Rainbow Stone (Yellow)

Place bead and 15 wraps of .015 lead on hook. Push up into the bead and cover with thread.
Tie about six pheasant tail fibers, ice blue tinsel, and 3x mono. I use cheap Cabelas brand.

Dub onto your thread a healthy amount of dubbing and taper forward. Do not be afraid to use a nice amount of dubbing, because stone fly nymphs are wide and bulky.
Pull the tinsel forward and tie down. Rib the mono up the fly and tie off..You can bulk up your abdomen with thread as to match.
Tie in one brown Cdc feather by the tip and wrap like a wet fly. Pulling the fibers to the rear of the hook each wrap and tie down.
It will look like this
Before you tie in the hen feather, pull the feather fiber to the base of the stem. Tie in the feather by the tip and wrap as you just did with the Cdc feather. Pulling the hen fibers back like a wet fly collar and tie off.
it will look like this.
Dub a collar and whip finish.


Natural Disaster Clean up

       I have been tying for a little over a year. It started off as two little plastic shoe box's and has grown in a spot in my kitchen. Another reason my wife hates me and she refers to this area in the house as "The Fly Shop". I remember having to pull out the containers and my vice that I was given for free. I would lay everything on my dining room table and tie fly's. I was forced to clean up right away and repeat the process the next time I wanted to tie.
      After I outgrew the containers, the wife had this brilliant idea to allow me to have a space in my kitchen to tie. A small dry bar area that was only being utilized as a visible junk drawer. We do not have a large house, and with two children, have pretty much outgrew the space. Mostly the toys have taken control of out habitat (Thanks Mom!).
      Being able to leave my tying stuff out, allows me to be messy. It is not something I take pride in, but it is what it is. I finally decided to do a clean up and reorganization. Which promptly made me want to go to The Evening Hatch Fly Shop (Candy Store) and add to my bountiful collection.
      The wife has begun to grumble and say I need to find a nice desk at a garage sale or something and move all of my materials upstairs in a small bedroom. I told her in the beginning of my tying life that giving me an inch of space would lead me into taking over the house. It is slowly coming to fruition.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Using The Magic Tool on Christmas Night: CDC Biot March Brown Parachute Emerger.

First, I would like to wish everybody a Merry Christmas. After all the food and putting my children gifts together, I took a nap. I woke up feeling great and wanting to finally try out the Magic Tool for the first time. I do not know why I have not tried it out yet. Maybe it was because it is not dry fly season.     
      Anyways, after messing with it and getting used to it. I can tell you, it is a great tool. Now, I am not saying there is not cheaper options out there that do the same thing or that you couldn't make your own. What I am saying is that; it does what it is suppose to do and makes using cdc easier.  I really enjoyed using it. I think you can tell from the pictures. The flies looks bad ass and buggy!                
Pattern: CDC Biot March Brown Parachute Emerger

Thread: Danville 70 deniere 6/0 Red Brown
Hook: Dai Riki Size 12 Scud
Shuck: Orvis Zlon Brown
Biot: TCOMarch Brown Turkey Biot
Post: Trout Hunter White CDC
Dubbing: DRC Yellow Brown Spectramized dubbing.
Wing: TCO Super Select CDC Natural Brown ( I am using 2 of these feathers in the Magic Tool)

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Magical Waters of Falling Spring Branch and Letort Spring Run

      I believe if you stare into the waters of FSB or the Letort, you will become hypnotized by the gentle sway of the water cress. However, this hypnotizing motion will not make you cluck like a chicken or Shuffle like LMFAO. It will however draw you back and forcible kick your ass over and over again, while you try to figure these magical waters out.
      I have figured I better get in as many fishing days over this winter holiday as I can. Reason being, once the spring semester starts, I do not know how many trips I will be able to go on.
      I decided to make the two and half hour trip to the Cumberland Valley and hit one of my favorite streams and one of my arch nemesis.
       Ever since I read Mike Heck's Spring Creek Strategies book, FSB went to the top of my list as a stream I wanted to fish. Luckily, last winter a friend and I decided to book a guided trip with Mike. He is top notch and very reasonable priced. Go check out his site. That trip was my first time dealing with a true spring creek. I got skunked, but working with Mike helped me learn how to approach a stream of this caliber. Look for a guest interview coming up from him.
      Anyways, I arrived at FSB at 8:45 in the morning and was greeted with rising fish. I skillfully crawled to position. Began my casting motion......and spooked all of the trout on the stream. It really is ridiculous, you spook one fish and the whole stream knows you are there. I just have to laugh, because that is why this stream is so great. My competitive nature of succeeding on such a technical stream will torture me the rest of my life.
      I was able to succeed today. There is a nice small waterfall and some broken water. This was going to be my best chance at a fish. I did not have to be as precise and the broken water helped hide me. After fifteen or so casts I hooked up with my largest wild rainbow to date. It was gorgeous. The gold speckling across the back glimmered in the suns rays. FSB holds great memories for me in my brief fly fishing career. I caught my first wild rainbow there in the summer and now my largest to date.
      I decided to leave FSB around 11:30am and head northeast to do battle with the mystic Letort.
I name you Goldie

Wish I had friends to take picture of me holding fish, instead of the boring wrist shots.


"Uhhhm excuse me, but you care moving?"

Now I know how Jesus walked on water
Even the trout celebrate Christmas
      " The stream holds some of the most sophisticated brown trout in the fly fishing universe.  But to the fly angler who wants a challenge it's the place that let's you test your skill on a legendary stream with legendary trout and perhaps see the ghosts of legendary fly anglers who past this way.  It is not a stream for a person who is just getting into fly fishing contrary to what many so called websites will tell you."-E. Macri Check out Mr Macri's site on the Letort. It will scare the piss out of you.

       I arrived at the battle dome around noon and began my dissent into hell. I walked to take a picture of the Letort Spring Run sign and had fish scurrying everywhere. I knew it was going to be one of those days.

        I worked my way upstream of the Bonnybrooke access and just had fish laughing at me. I do not even know why I try. Somehow I found a bruiser, twenty plus. It had that beautiful light grayish brown coloration. I got myself into position to cast my sculpin and on the back cast snagged a tree. This was not an ordinary snag either. This was a birdsnest, cut everything off and retie your leader and flies back on kinda snag. I know you all have had them. by the time I redid everything he was surprisingly gone! (sense my sarcasm) I turned around and walked down to the  meadow that Vince Marino and Charlie Fox made famous and worked my way back upstream. Not only did I spook ever single god damn trout on this stream I even spooked the deer. I was able to get a fifteen incher to chase my sculpin twice from under a bridge. The first time he missed the hook, looked up at me, and shot back under the bridge. The second time he shot out again to grab it, and must have forgotten I was there. He saw me right when he was about to grab it and once again retreated under the bridge. This fish obviously was not of the best genes.
   I headed home completely broken and cursing the Letorts name under my breath. They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Guess I have to move to Carlisle.
Peek a Boo
Who's house is this?
Bait Chuckers and Dirty Pinners  Stay the F Out!


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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Surprise Of A Day

What the F you looking at?
         I had the pleasure today to do some fishing with one of my good fly fishing buddies, Lenny. He lives a little over an hour away from me, so we do not get out much. However, today he made the trek up from the Philadelphia area to explore a stream with me, that I have never fished. I consider this stream a home water for me, but I always thought of it as a put and take stocked fishery. Until a little mouse told me a secret.....wild fish, and nice ones. He never told me though that one of the wild species were rainbows. Imagine my surprise when I saw a 3-4 inch bow with beautiful  par marks laying in my net later on in the day.
         This did not come until about 2 hours into our exploration, and I had only landed one bow in the 10 inch range. Lenny, looked at the ten inch fish and made the comment " man that is a nice holdover, I mean it almost looks wild...".
        No freaking way wild bows are around here though. Those things only exist on the Upper D and Cumberland Valley streams, right?
Frenchy in the snout
      We were five minutes from leaving the creek in disappointment. We found some nice holding water and Lenny tried his luck with the George Daniel's technique (Euro) and had no luck. I decide to test it out with my set up. I am using a strike indicator. First cast and I have a small fish come up and try to eat my indicator. I laugh and cast again. Same dang thing happens. I get Lanny to come over and watch, because obviously it will happen again. he comes over and instead of a rise, I get a hook-up, but lose the fish. same thing happens the next three casts. Keep missing them, then SNAG. Crap, I have to go into the hole to get lose. Lenny stops me though and ask for a try. So, I maneuver my snag out of the way for him to try to hook up. Waddya know. The little guy up above comes to hand. We look at each other in astonishment. Holy Sh*t, is that what I think it is? A couple more come to hand and we are just pumped! We decide to walk another 1/2 mile upstream and it does not disappoint. I miss one or two nice size fish and we are literally talking about turning around because of the time. I ask for 5 minutes to fish a very small section of holding water and BOOM hook up! 13-15 inch wild brown starts rocketing up and down the creek and doing an aerial display. I can still here Len saying "Don't lose him, dumbass". I finish the deed and get a couple pictures and our day is complete. A pleasant surprise for a chilly December afternoon.You better bet, I will be back for those big boys that came off though.
Fins as sharp as razor blades.

Do not put your fingers to close, I will bite.