Monday, February 2, 2015

Quick Norfork River Fishing Report

I have not had a ton of time to fish lately but I did get to stop by the Norfork on my way back from a work thing on Wednesday.  In case you don't remember or are in a different area- last Wednesday was beautiful.  Turned out to be a fantastic couple of hours.

It took me about half an hour to figure out what the fish were snacking on.  I started out with a pair of midges and landed a few fish.  Switched to an egg pattern and started really picking some up.  Nothing big- just fat, spunky rainbows- did see a few large fish, though I managed to spook all of them.  At some point, I noticed a decent mayfly hatch coming off.  When the wind died down, the fish would really get after it on top- so I switched to a dry fly and caught several.  I absolutely love catching a trout on a dry.

This one (and most of the others) took the egg.

All in all I probably landed somewhere close to 20 fish.  I even got a sunburn.  Not bad for a late January (work) day in the Ozarks.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Last Few Little Red Trips

Wow, fall went by fast.  I looked out this morning and there was snow on the ground.  As a Southern boy, I hate the cold.  I'll still fish in it- don't get me wrong, but I hate it.  Gloves, hats, jackets... the worst.  Give me a pair of Chacos and a 90 degree day.  Anyway, the few Fall weekends I got out on were a blast.  The Shawnee trout-boat I recently fixed up has been doing surprisingly well.  It is tough to take the little 9.9 prop through some of the shoals but you can always get out and drag if the water is down.

The browns have definitely started their spawning run- but just barely.  On my last trip this last weekend we saw at least ten good browns bolting away from the boat as we went over the shoals.  I have yet to actually hook any of these large browns mind you- I had to settle for little guys like this one.

Most of the first we have been landing are chunky rainbows like the one above- most of them from 13" to 16" with a few bigger ones mixed in.  The go to fly has been an egg pattern or a midge.  This time of year its almost too tempting to use an egg pattern- feels a bit like cheating.

Took my old man out a few times.  He has really been enjoying getting to see some of the Little Red that is not very accessible without a boat.  He is also not extremely confident in the stability of my boat- hence the sitting.

So far, this has been my best Little Red brown trout out of my boat- actually got it on our first trip.  Caught this one on an articulated streamer in a deep pool.  Good ol' butter-belly.

Me and the wife did a little wading the week I was painting my boat's hull.  We did pretty well up by the dam- though my wife will only fish if she can use my Z-Axis (which happens to be my favorite rod).  Sometimes you gotta make sacrifices.

A decent brown.

I also just invested in a Sage boat bag.  I really need to do an entire review for it, but for now I'll just say that I am really enjoying it.  It makes fishing out of a boat that much more convenient and keeps all my gear dry.  Alright thats all I got- stay fly.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Progress on the 79' Shawnee

First of all, I do not know what I am doing when it comes to rehabbing a boat.  Anyway, This boat started out like this:

I painted everything with various qualities of paints and varying degrees of skill.

The bottom of the boat was pretty scarred up so I decided to paint it too. 

I filled in all the scrapes with MarineTex- worked pretty well.

I painted the hull with Rustoleum Topside paint.  In hindsight, this was a poor choice.  Obviously this paint is not for under the waterline, but it was cheap... and I am cheap so there ya go.  Looked pretty good at first.

Painted The stripe back on... with spray paint.  The only paper I had was an old text book.

The motor looked like one that might have been used in the movie Waterworld- which was an awesome movie.

So I Sanded and painted it.

The motor came out pretty good- obviously the decals were sacrificed.  I might get new ones- might not.  I used Dupli-color automotive spray paint with automotive primer.  Also sprayed a clear coat on the cowl and did a little wet sanding to shine it up. 

I painted the inside and the rails with- you guessed it- spray paint.  Looks surprisingly good.  I also picked up a Minn-Kota trolling motor and a battery.  Oh and I converted the livewell into dry storage- that is where the battery stays.

I also rattle canned the trailer.  Went through about 4 cans of that green.

Here she is on her maiden voyage on the Arkansas River:

Sorry for the crap picture- it was pretty dark.  So far I like the boat.  The motor runs really well and the boat is fairly fast.  The only issue is that with just my tiny wife in the front it wont get on plane.  Seems a bit back heavy... or maybe I need to lose some weight.  Oh well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hello Mr. Bass- Congo Hair Bluegill Fly

Congo Hair, size 2 stinger hook, MFC eyes and  Solarez UV resin.

These straight catch bass- with a floating line they usually stay right under the surface and have great action.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Finally a Boat Owner

So I've been scouring Craigslist and the Sunday classifieds for a river sled.  I was in the market for a very used, very cheap, fixer-upper type of water craft.  Well, I found it.  

Boom- A 1979 Shawnee.  15 feet 11 inches of pure trout fishing excellence.  Sure the paint is peeling and the fiberglass is showing through in spots... and of course the prop on the 1988 Yamaha looks like it took anti-aircraft fire... but hey- it floats (I think).  

I've got plans for this old girl.  So far everything is in working order- more or less.  The trailer pulls, bearing look ok, the motor fires up and shift gears and the hull appears to be in decent shape.
Plans include filling in the gouges and nicks, repainting everything including the trailer, new prop, and a trolling motor or oars (can't decide).  I also want to plug up the drain holes in the live well so I can use it for dry storage- I rarely keep fish anyway.  By the way I have no idea what I am doing- this is my first boat and I am an idiot.   

I am fairly sure the motor and probably the boat were rentals at some point.  None of the numbers on the motor match and it has a "6" on the bottom and a "3" on the cowl.  The motor is a 9.9 Yamaha with a 15 carb (or so the guy said).  The skeg is almost ground completely smooth- which may be a problem.  I changed out the lower unit oil and it looked ok as far as I know.  Overall I am pretty pumped.  Updates to be issued as events warrant.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Best/Worst Fishing Buddy

I present to you Wiley B. Barkington- the best and worst fishing companion a man could ask for.  He does hilarious things- but also refuses to stop trying to retrieve my indicator.  He also likes to spot and chase fish.  He pretty much reduces your chance to catch a fish by about 50%.  He also likes to roll in the dirt right before you try to get him back in the truck.  He may be a terrible fishing dog- but dang it, he sure is fun. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: Umpqua UPG Fly Boxes

I have been a huge fan of C&F fly boxes for years.  They were the best fly box on the market in my opinion and I have about 6 of them.  C&F boxes are also very pricey and mine were beginning to wear out.  As I looked for a few new boxes, I couldn't help but notice the new Umpqua offerings.  I picked up a large box and a midge box and made the switch with my general tailwater box and my carp flies.  Bottom line: I am going to be buying more UPG boxes.

On the left is the Umpqua large box that I use for my carp flies, middle is my old C&F tailwater box and the right is my new tailwater box- the UPG Midge.  As you can see, the UPG Midge box is much smaller than the C&F box.  It holds fewer flies but is a much more compact package.  Honestly, I have always carried around too many flies and it just makes choosing one to fish with that much harder.  I have been trying to pare down my fly boxes and this Midge box is perfect for that.  The old C&F held about 940 flies and I had it filled up.  There is no way a guy needs or has use for 940 flies.  These are mostly midges, caddis, scuds and junk flies.

Here is the old C&F box before I gutted it.  I had recently moved some dries into this box because I used to have a dedicated dry-fly box, which is not necessary in my neck of the woods.  So I was carrying this box and a small streamer box whenever I hit the local tailwaters.  

Here is the Midge next to the large C&F.  Quite a bit smaller and slimmer.  I immediately liked two things about the UPG box: 1.  The clear lid lets you see the fly you want before you even open the box.  2. The flush clasps are easier to open than the C&F and don't catch on pockets.

I love the layout of the slits in the foam on the UPG.  The foam seems similar to what C&F uses and holds flies very well.  I did the midge, caddis, scuds and junk flies first.  I guarantee this is a generous supply of flies for a day or five at a tailwater (unless you lose flies as fast as some of my buddies).  I still carry a small streamer box.   

The third obvious feature of the Midge box is the pair of magnetic trays for holding tiny midges.  I was skeptical of these at first but this is a very handy feature.  I put a good quantity of midges in there and shook the crap out of the box.  Not one midge fell out (which is good because I would never have found them in the carpet).  This is a better system for tiny midges because they are annoying to get in and out of foam slits and often won't even stay in the slit.

I added a good quantity of summer/spring dry flies to the large slit foam on this side.  I carry all my large dry-flies in a boat box becasue I only use them when fishing out of a boat.  The UPG Midge is a perfect tailwater box for the water I fish.  If you carry very many large dries there are other UPG boxes that would work better.    

This is my carp box.  This is a large UPG box and it holds way more carp flies than I will ever need.  It would also make a great box for smaller streamers, small bass flies or large nymphs.  This box would probably be a great general box for you Western trout guys with your awesome dry fly fishing.  Did I mention these boxes are seriously water resistant?  My old C&F boxes used to be water tight- but the seals have worn and now they are as leaky as an old pair of Hodgemans.  My new UPG boxes are definitely water tight and they have a "Zerust" patch that is supposed to deter rust.  I have not tested this feature but it sounds legit.  

Basically, these are top-of the line boxes that come in a plethora of useful options and layouts.  I looked on Umpqua's site and they seem to have updated the UPG boxes with all sorts of well thought out designs.  I would not hesitate to recommend the UPG line of flyboxes to anyone for any sort of fly fishing.  Sorry C&F...