Monday, May 13, 2013

Fishing Oatka with Lucas Carroll

Lucas Carroll ties up in the morning light
Every once in a while you get that rare opportunity to spend some quality time with people you haven’t seen in a while doing some of the things you are both equally passionate for.

In my case it was fly fishing with my good friend LucasCarroll.

Lucas is one of those guys that you could sit around and talk with for hours and not realize it’s been hours. He also has a passion for fly fishing and fly tying which is one of the reasons that it probably never seems like we really ever spend that much time on the phone when we talk. Ideas on fly tying, techniques, hatches, bugs, timing the run, fish, etc, fly around the room like a super hatch just popped off the water. And even though it may seem chaotic at best to those who would be outside looking in on a conversation like this, it actually has a purpose – A purpose that is only fully realized when we are on the stream.

A recent trip back East from his newly planted roots in California not only gave us an opportunity to share in some great conversation and ideas, but even better, put them good use on the stream.

A golden wild brown nymphed up from the depths
We met up a little after nine, rigged up, and made the walk in to one of our favorite spots on one of our favorite WNY streams - Oatka creek. We talked about the recent fishing conditions, our families, and what was next for him on his upstate New York tour. The water was at around 2.8 on the gauge and we could see a few bugs coming off and even more starting to swarm just above the water – female Hendrickson spinners.

Lucas with his first of the day
Who needs a net when you have the hands of Lucas Carroll
As we watched and waited for the trout to respond we played around with some streamers and a few dry flies. And as time wore on, we began to lose out hope for an opportunity to fish the hatch/spinner fall. The bugs stopped and the fish never responded.

So we pulled out our plan “B” and went with it for the rest of the morning.

Another wild brown for Lucas
This fish was a blast to catch on the 2 weight
When all was said and done that day, Lucas had remembered how to fish small nymphs, we got to take some great photos of some gorgeous inland wild brown trout, and most importantly we spent time taking it all in while thanking God for all the wonderful opportunities we have in life.

Make sure to check out Lucas Carroll’s wonderful photographywebsite. He should have some amazing photos coming soon from his trip to WNY.

Safe travels Lucas……see you on the stream!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fishing with the kids

Ethan with his first bass of the spring

After looking through a few recent posts from Cameron Mortenson of the famed Fiberglass Manifesto I had to get after it! And I'm happy to say I finally did it. It took a lot of time to get there, but I did it.

I finally got the kids out fishing this spring – YES!

In fact, I was able to spend a little time with them on two separate occasions for some really great warm water fishing.

Last week after my son’s baseball practice we had a little time before work so we hit up a local pond to see what was swimming. 

The pond looked great and there were fish everywhere in the shallows. Even the bigger bass were easy to spot - Fish that my boys referred to as “2 footers.” And even though they did not get to hook into any of those fish, they did manage to hook and land plenty of large bluegill and a small largemouth or two. 

Jonathan with one of many sunfish and bluegill for him
Our next adventure landed all three kids and myself at one of our favorite warm water destinations – Black Creek. This is the place where all my kids have had plenty of great fly fishing successes in the past, and today would be no different. 

My oldest son quickly went to work with his five weight custom JP Ross fly rod and landed the first fish of the day – a gorgeous smallmouth bass which by the looks of it, had been feeding rather recently.

The other two had their spin cast rods working in overdrive – sending lures flying everywhere. It’s amazing that they don’t get snagged more often than they do. But the excitement that comes with tossing lures changed after Jonathan’s next fish.

Jonathan with a fine Black Creek smallie
While I was working with the two younger kids (most likely untangling lines) Jonathan had moved to another spot just downstream from a father and son who had been catching some very nice fish while using shiners for bait. He began to fish his streamer upstream and jig it back down next to shore. He soon got a fish to respond but after a quick head shake or two it was off. He raised his line to check the fly and discovered he had been bitten off – PIKE!  I searched through my bag for some heavier tippet and another fly. Ten pound test was all I had, and that would have to work. After re-rigging his line he went back at it. Within the next few minutes he managed to hook up again and this time he won out. And even better, he landed his first ever pike on a fly!
Jonathan holds his first ever fly caught pike

That was it! The other two now wanted a fly rod of their own. So back to the car we went. After a few minutes of re-rigging two more rods, we headed down stream. Again Jonathan hooks up first, and when he said “trout!” I had to ask again what he said, as I have never seen a trout in this warm water stream. And sure enough it was a brown trout. But as he was working it up close to shore, it pulled free. 

Katie ended up rounding out the day with nice little smallmouth bass of her own before she and Ethan decided they had had enough and began to play in the water.

Jonathan and I fished a little more but found no other willing fish so we called it a day and headed home. What a great day!

Katie with her smallie
I am constantly amazed by my kids, and their ability to try new things, including fly fishing. And I'm so glad that they enjoy being out there with Dad, tossing flies at fish. I feel truly blessed!