Saturday, June 30, 2012

More fun with Featherlights

Kelly and I were recently featured in a post on The Fiberglass Manifesto entitled "Fun with Featherlights...and Snakes." Today we had a little more fun with Featherlights on our local creek, and we also witnessed a pretty interesting interaction between a bass and a snake.

We thought for a second that the bass was considering eating the small Midland Watersnake, but apparently it was just guarding a nest and chasing away a potential predator. It's pretty cool to see things like that in nature... especially when you find "nature" smack dab in the middle of a completely developed urban area. Enjoying nature is my primary motivation for going fishing.

This may be a first here on The Naturalist's Angle, but today I returned to my roots and fished with my Featherlight spinning rod. I was recently given a huge lot of plastic worms and such (much, much more about that later), and I was itching to get out and fish a "Texas-rigged" worm.

My Featherlight spinning rod is an ultralight so I chose a small 4" worm, a size 1 worm hook, and a 1/16 oz bullet worm weight. This is an ideal set up for fishing small stream bass if you must use something other than a fly rod.

A spinning rod? I thought this was a fly fishing blog.

While I fished the worm, Kelly stuck to her gun... her lucky Featherlight fly rod.

I'm pretty sure I'll lure her to at least try the dark side soon enough, but as long as she catches just as many on poppers as I do on plastic worms it will be hard to make the case. There was no clear winner today as we both caught several bass (Largemouths and Spotteds) and none over a pound.

It was really hot out there this evening. It felt like we were wading through warm bath water, and the air felt like a sauna. The high temp was 104 in Birmingham today. When we got back to the car at 9 PM, the thermometer was still reading 96. I've heard a lot of people say it's just too hot to fish, but if you'll just wait 'til the sun gets behind the trees... those hot fish and their high metabolism have to eat.

Stay cool out there, and get out to enjoy some evening fishing action.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bamboo in 'Bama: playing host to the OBN Fall River Fly Rod

It's taken some time to regroup from all of our recent adventures and busy schedules with work, school, travel, etc... but it's finally time to recount our hosting of the OBN Fall River Fly Rod.

First, I would like to thank the Outdoor Blogger Network (Rebecca & Joe) for organizing such a great experience. Second, a huge thank you goes to Jason and Julie Zicha of Fall River Fly Rods for creating and contributing such a beautiful piece of equipment for the OBN fly fishing community. I also want to thank Montana Fly Company and Rio for their generous contributions to the rod's grand journey around the country.

On with the story...

If it's any indicator of how busy we've been lately, the rod actually arrived on a Saturday while Kelly and I were out of town. So, I had to take my little claim card and go pick it up at the post office on Monday. The lady at the post office seemed terribly confused and had some difficulty finding the package... let's just say it took her "a little while." As I saw her fumbling through the odd lot of packages in the back, a large black PVC tube caught my eye. I said without hesitation, "that's it."

The tube is taller than Kelly.

Mike of Dry Flies & Fat Tires sent the tube on its way adorned with a sticker from one of his local fly shops, and I followed suit by adding something from my neck of the woods too. I hope everyone keeps that going as it tours this great land of ours. Mike also did exactly what I had envisioned for our time with the rod. He took the Fall River rod to experience the finest wild fishing that his state has to offer- Rio Grande Cutthroat in New Mexico's high country.

Kelly and I did our best to emulate that type of experience in Alabama. Considering we only have one year-round trout fishery in our state... and it is entirely unnatural... we introduced the Fall River rod to some of the finest warmwater fly fishing our state has to offer- Redeye Bass in Little River Canyon, Spotted Bass in the Cahaba River, and the wonderful variety of fish to be had in Cypress Creek.

We made it our goal to try and land as many species with the rod as we could... our own little contribution to the traveler's history. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking here...

Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris) at Cypress Creek

"Puttin' the wood" to a Smallie.

Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) at Cypress Creek

Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus) at Cypress Creek

Longear Sunfish (L. megalotis) at Cypress Creek

Largemouth Bass (M. salmoides) at Cypress Creek

Little River Canyon
Green Sunfish (L. cyanellus) at Little River Canyon

Redeye Bass (M. coosae) at Little River Canyon

Redeye Bass- the "Brook Trout of warmwater game fish"

Bluegill (L. macrochirus) at Cahaba River

Redeye Bass (M. coosae) at Cahaba River

Alabama Spotted Bass (M. henshalli) at Shades Creek (Cahaba R. tributary)

In total, we landed nine species from three of Alabama's finest streams. These are truly wild fish in their native waters, and I couldn't think of any more fitting pursuit with a bamboo fly rod... at least not in Alabama! (There may be a little debate about the Redbreast being indigenous... but you get the idea.)

We had a great time hosting the rod, and we were honored to be part of such a unique history in the making.

This was not my first experience with bamboo, but it was my first with a newly crafted rod. My bamboo rods are antiques (but sadly not Leonard or Payne)... and are somewhat clunky by comparison. I must conclude by sending my compliments to Jason Zicha for crafting such a fine fly rod.

Job well done, sir.