Monday, January 28, 2013

Bomber Squadron

I've tied up a squadron of "Stealth Bombers" in preparation for spring bass fishing.

If you're not familiar with the Stealth Bomber fly, it's a foam pattern originated in the early 1990s by Kent Edmonds- a guide from Georgia who uses this pattern for Shoal Bass (Micropterus cataractae). I originally saw the pattern in the May/June 2010 issue of American Angler in an article about Shoalies. Tying instructions that originally appeared in the magazine are available online. Those directions don't provide much detail, but tying instructions for Kent's original version are also available on his website and are slightly more instructive. Either way, it's a really easy pattern to tie, and the variations you could come up with are virtually limitless. I tied a minor variation by accident, because for the first few I didn't realize that I was supposed to cinch down the head right behind the eye of the hook. Consequently, my first few have slightly larger heads that are more popper like... I have a feeling they'll still catch fish.

I also varied my pattern a bit from the recipe by using larger hooks, leaving off the underwing (don't think fish can see it anyway), and using different materials for the"belly" of the fly. I used several types of chenille for the belly while the original recipe suggests dubbing. I honestly don't think it will matter much. This isn't a very technical fly... it's an attractor pattern for bass.

These may be the first Stealth Bombers I've ever tied, but they won't be the first that I will ever fish. I found a few in the bargain bin at our local fly shop, Deep South Outfitters, last year and landed my best bass of 2012 on one.

I'm looking forward to catching some more like that with that aid of my new squadron.

Let's hope they're on target.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fly fishing books found in an unlikely outlet

Last night Kelly and I went out for some late night (9 PM) poster frame shopping at Garden Ridge. A free promotional poster from Zazzle arrived in the mail earlier yesterday, and I just couldn't wait to get it in a frame. The poster is 20" x 28" and documents my first fishing trip to Cypress Creek in northwest Alabama. The photo that I enlarged for the poster was originally posted here on the blog two years ago.

If you've never been to a Garden Ridge store, it's a smorgasbord of low cost home decorator items... with some other oddities thrown in for good measure. They have a huge selection of bargain frames, but I didn't have much to pick from for my poster. After finally settling on what I felt was the best of the rather limited selection of 20" x 28" sized choices, we made our way toward the checkout.

Although Garden Ridge is certainly not a bookstore, they often have a random assortment of bargain books "displayed" in disorderly piles somewhere in the giant warehouse of retail fun. I've stopped numerous times to browse the massive heaps of books distributed across several huge platforms, but I've never seen anything of interest. Last night we stopped to browse, not actually expecting to find anything... but there they were- not one, but two fly fishing books.

I spotted both of them in similar fashion- peeking out of the middle of their respective piles. Both caught my eye with their piscine photographic covers. I was unable to see titles or anything that indicated what they really were until I dug them out... just a flash of fish was all I needed to know that I had found something special... something worth exhuming.

Both books are from the same publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, and probably came to Garden Ridge in the same overstock lot. They're both what I would call coffee table books, although there is a lot of real content in them. Even without any decent information or storytelling, the number of amazing full-color photographs in each of these books made them well worth the price I paid.

The cover price of Trout Water is $35.00, and the cover price of Fly-Fishing Daydreams is $39.95.

In the bargain pile at Garden Ridge, they were both marked $9.99.


I admit that I felt the need to rescue these books from their unexpected location. I think it is highly unlikely that they would encounter another fly fisher in a Garden Ridge in Birmingham, Alabama. I couldn't just leave them there, could I?

You really never know what you might find out there. Keep your eyes peeled for fish peeking out of a pile.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Green Sunfish artwork

Check out my latest fishy piece on my art blog.

It's drawn from a photo I originally posted on this blog that some of you may remember.

I hope you like it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

First bass of 2013

We caught our first bass of the new year today. After several bites and a couple missed strikes for both of us, we ended up landing one a piece.


Kelly and Alabama Spotted Bass (Micropterus henshalli)


Largemouth Bass (M. salmoides)

Not caught on a fly, but on a cool 50 degree day during the first week of January... we'll take what we can get.

For those of you wondering...

Yes, Kelly's fish was a bit bigger than mine.

It may be a new year, but some things never change.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Another feathered fisherman

I have added another feathered fisherman to my art blog.

It's a species that should be familiar to fly fishers throughout North America. If you spend any time near water in our country, you will almost certainly run into one at some point.

Go check it out, and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Highlights of 2012: Coulda been better

2012 was an interesting year.

Let's take a look back at all that has transpired in the last twelve months.

1. In January, I realized that maybe I wasn't the fly fisher head of the household.

2. February, we went looking half-heartedly for extinct woodpeckers and just missed our chance at a new Arkansas state record Largemouth. Turns out the guy who caught it blew his chance too, he didn't have the required license to make his catch legal.

3. In March, I officially relocated the headquarters of the Naturalist's Angle from Memphis to Birmingham.

4. In April, Kelly caught not one, but two big bass. The first was a Largemouth at Smith Lake. The second was an even more impressive Alabama Spotted Bass from the Cahaba River. That fish was "mounted" in a creative new way that didn't involve taxidermy.

5. In May, Kelly caught a really nice Smallie at Cypress Creek and I was beginning to think this would be another solid year of being outfished by a girl.

6. In June, I reported on our time hosting the OBN Fall River Fly Rod, and we were featured in a post on The Fiberglass Manifesto thanks to our penchant for cheap fiberglass fly rods... and snakes.

7. July was a busier and better month for us as far as fishing is concerned. I fixed up some spinnerbaits and a baitcasting rod and reconnected with my old days of fishing conventional tackle. I broke a cheap fly rod which was followed by Kelly and I playing a fishing game. We took our friend Elizabeth to Little River Canyon, and she snorkeled while we fly fished. She also got some nice photos of us that we wouldn't have normally been able to capture. Lastly in July, we had a bass catching battle that we ended up calling a tie.

8. Apparently nothing happened in August... except Kelly's birthday. I hope I remembered to get her a gift.

9. In September, I posted about an old wooden longbow that I brought back to life with a little insight to my thoughts on archery. We also experienced the best ten minute fishing trip ever in September.

10. In October, I wrote about our experience helping two boys injured in an ATV accident. It only reinforced my opinions about ATV safety and young riders. I was also invited to become a new member of the SmithFly Stream Team, and of course I accepted.

11. In November, Kelly and I met up with one of my old Knoxville buddies for a day of fishing the Hiwassee River, and we just happened to see some rare birds on our way there. About a week before Thanksgiving, Kelly's grandfather told us a story that suggested fly fishing is in her blood.

12. December was another delightfully busy month. We began the month with some fun harassing urban bass with ultralight spinning gear. I announced the birth of my new art blog: The Naturalist's Art. I finally got around to posting our "his & hers" review of Redington's Sonic-Pro Zip Front waders. We had another epic day of Christmas fishing... even though the fishing wasn't so hot.

I guess it was an okay year, but I really hope 2013 is a better year for fishing.

I at least hope to get out and enjoy nature more this year. I think it's going to be a good year for snakes if nothing else.

I wish everyone in the blogosphere a Happy New Year and good fishing in 2013.