Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jonathan's fly rod and fishing with the kids!

There it was. Leaning up against the corner of where the door frame met the side of the house was a long triangular shaped box. Shipping labels and stickers covered its length, but the one that was most important read JP Ross Fly Rods & Co. It was Jonathan's new fly rod, built especially for him by Jordan Ross, the owner of a small custom fly rod company out of Whitesboro, NY.

Jonathan could hardly wait to get the package open, and when he did, his big smile said enough. He was so excited to get his new rod, and spent a good part of that afternoon admiring the craftsmanship and testing out the action out in the front yard. The eight foot five weight Blue Line series rod looked great, but the one thing that stood out to me right away was the beautiful cork handle. It was amazing and was a perfect fit for the hands of a nine year old with room to grow. But the part of the rod that put it over the top, was the name inscribed on the blank above the handle, and it read – “Jonathan Bradfield.” This meant that it was his fly rod, not Dad’s or anyone else’s…His!

I have known Jordan for a while now, and have had the privilege of working with him for a number of years. And the one thing that sets him apart from other major rod manufacturers is his ability to create a rod for the individual that is incredibly unique. Sure you can get a run of the mill rod with all the industry standards, but that would be like telling Rembrandt to paint stick figures. The point is his talents are best used when he is creating a rod for the client, not building one!

You can get pretty much anything you want from Jordan, from a custom nine foot salt water stick for striped bass on the coast to a small stream five foot two weight for catching those native Adirondack brookies and everything in between, including fiberglass! And even though you could spend as much as you would ever want to on a custom fly rod many of his choices are surprisingly affordable. Make sure to check out the website here www.jprossflyrods.com and enjoy looking through the many choices that are available. And when you are done with building your own dream rod, make sure to jump over to the staff web logs where you will find plenty of great stories and tips on fly fishing all around New York State and points beyond.

So what do you do with a new fly rod? You fish with it of course! And on that Sunday afternoon, all three kids and I took a trip to some local water in search of bass and panfish. It didn’t take Jonathan long to hook and land his first fish on his new fly rod. And as the afternoon wore on everyone caught a few nice fish. Jonathan now keeps his rod in his room patiently waiting for the next outing when he can add another species to the list of fish caught on his JP Ross fly rod.

Thanks Jordan!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Making lemonade!

Our record breaking rainfall continues, and we struggle to find good water to fish. If we are lucky, we find a window in between all the rain to fish your local WNY stream or travel to find better conditions. But it doesn't last long!!

The bugs have made their appearance, but the trout can't take advantage of all the emerging insects and returning spinners because of the raging muddy water. So when you do get out to your favorite inland WNY trout stream, you throw streamers or drift nymphs along the bottom. And we have caught plenty of fish over the past month and a half, but we are still waiting for good dry fly conditions....well to be honest, at this point I think we will take any dry fly conditions!

So again we make due with another local inland small stream that always runs cool and clear even with all the rain. And the trout remain in much the same condition all year round. The only trick here is to make constant adjustments until you find the right fly. It is a constant challenge, but it is a challenge we take great joy in every time we fish this stream.

So with that said....we fished our little small stream last week amidst all the rain and found many willing trout. Most were taken on small scuds. But the occasional trout would take a small woolly bugger or small midge larvae. And if we are really lucky, a strong north breeze will blow enough spinners onto the stream from the nearby creek that it empties into, making for a little dry fly action.

In the next week or so, we should start to see some sulphers popping on this particular stream. An event that should ease the pain of a horrible dry fly spring season. The only problem with all of this, is every other fly fishermen will also be here if the other surrounding streams can't get back into shape. So we must take the fishing as it comes and make the best out of it...right? I mean we really don't really have a choice. All we can do is make some lemonade!

I have also been out fishing with the kids recently, and when I get the photos ready I will post that story in the next few days...along with a look at Jonathan's new JP Ross fly rod!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's in your stream!

This is always a great question for us fly anglers. It gives us a place to start when we are trying to figure out what the trout are feeding on at any given time. And those that take note of what is in their stream can usually figure out how to gain an advantage in the game that is played between angler and fish.

Matching the hatch is what we call it. But it isn’t always as easy as it seems. Many times we may see a hatch going on and concentrate solely on that one big event, and miss out on the finer details. Maybe those details are found in a small black spent winged caddis that you didn’t see floating down stream, and the trout are taking full advantage of an easy meal. Or maybe the details lie within the emergence of a smaller mayfly that is just starting to make its way to the surface, or perhaps, a small midge pupa that is drifting just off the bottom. And those that take the time to notice those finer details while on the stream will be rewarded with some great fishing.

So what happens when the fishing has been less than good due to excessive amounts of rain, with few bugs on the water, and high water that makes it difficult to even see what is going on below the surface? Well….you take some stream samples! At least that we have been doing out here in WNY. Sure we have caught some fish, but it has been a challenge. We have already missed this year’s Hendrickson hatch due to poor conditions and it does not look good for the rest of this month either. So we have been breaking out the nets and doing lots of kick samples.

Our sampling of one of our favorite inland WNY trout streams has revealed a great deal. First – it has made it clear to us that the hendricksons are truly over with for the season, as we have found very few nymphs when just 3 or 4 weeks ago, they were everywhere. Second – it has given us an opportunity to get some great photos of the next round of mayflies and other aquatic creatures that we have not been able to get before. This will mean more time at the bench, but it will all be worth it in the end. And third – We have taken notice of certain spots and patterns that we should fish more often in higher water conditions.

But before we can take advantage of all this research we have gained from our recent time on the stream, we need it to stop raining. Once again we are under a flood watch in WNY, and the forecast is calling for rain the rest of this week. Perhaps this would be a good time to do some work at the bench.

So check out all the photos – I hope they can inspire you all to tie some new patterns, as they have for me!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The rain is gone!

"I can see clearly now the rain is gone"

That song was playing in my head this morning, and it would be a great theme for this week! We have now had 3 days in a row with out rain. The temps have been in the 60's and the sun has been out in full force. And wouldn't you know it, we are in for more of the same for pretty much this whole week. So maybe, just maybe, I will have an opportunity to fish a hatch at some point this week.....maybe?

The record breaking rain we have had over the month of April has done a great job at postponing our scheduled dry fly fishing during the Hendrickson hatch. And now with the rain gone, it will give us an opportunity to get at the trout with dries!

So while I waited, and waited, and waited for this scenario to play out, I took advantage of the only fishing spot I could. The only place where no amount of rain could effect the fishing. And as always, it provided me with some nice trout.

The only tough part about fishing this spot in the past few weeks has been finding your own piece of real estate. Everyone had gotten the itch to get out and fish, and this little stream was crawling with all kinds of anglers. But the fishing has been good. And even with all the angling pressure I was able to find my own space and some willing trout.

I used several different flies in varying combinations to find a good pattern. Fish took a variety of flies throughout the week, but the clear winners were a bright #16 orange scud, and a #18 pink scud. The only rising fish I saw were after the small adult midges that would occasionally dot the waters surface. And that did not warrant a switch.

So I am still waiting. I am hoping that in the next day or so I will have a different report for you. One that shows all of you that the spring dry fly season out here in WNY is still salvageable.....maybe?