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Anyone fly fishing?


Michael T
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Not many, if none, are posting how they're doing with the long rod.........so I might as well kick start some posts.

 

 

I've fly fished the DuPage 3 times in the last week. Each time I hit a different section and each time had declining numbers. On the 4th, Cory G and I hit the Hammel area with top water flies. Nothing big and maybe got around a dozen. On Friday afternoon for a couple of hours, John L and I hit a section that I've got decent fish before, but the number of fish out of that area are never too high. That outting held only 2 for me with the nicest fish at around 15" quick released at "wader side". Then yesterday, Cory and I again hit the river. The water was very cloudy which usually means a poor catching day on the DuPage and yesterday was no different: 2 fish. Even my favorite eddie which is a GIVEN for a big smallie didn't produce the slightest of hits.

 

My week started off bad with a short but extremely painfull tangle in the woodshop, so I guess it follows that a poor week of fishing would result. I've got a new appreciation of how much I use my index finger while fly fishing and renewed respect for the jointer.

 

On the up side, I've been casting my 4/5 weight rod very well. Virtually no tailing loops and the furled leaders I've worked on have been turning over big water-logged deer hair poppers nicely. I just love that 4/5 rod; it's so light yet has plenty of backbone to throw deer hair poppers. Cory and I saw 2 hawks circling high above screeching at each other. Both were shaped like Red Tail hawks, one was the normal light gray with reddish tail but the other was pure white....it glowed! John L and I saw the DuPage Monster....or at least the 6" high white cap it pushed 1/2 way across the river as it raced by. :unsure:

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A couple days ago I did some fly fishing...um ...er...I mean it sort of resembled fly fishing anyways. I've been practicing casting in my backyard and thought it was time to give it a try on the water. I did ok casting with a jude bug. Even got a strike or two in "slider mode" but I kept trying to set the hook like I do with spinning gear ( d'oh!!!). Then I tied on a clouser minnow and that's when it became an ugly affair. I couldn't get my casts going. I mean I couldn't control my loops. I actually took a couple hard whacks to the back of the head. Called it a day after that. I'll keep practicing, though.

 

BTW...any one got a leader recommendation for a 6wt? Right now I have a 6' tapered bass leader (10lb I think).

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My work schedule has made my chances for fishing somewhat limited. When I do get out, it is usually very short notice and often just a quick hour before work. And I don't like posting much about what's biting at work since the water I spend most of my time on is not publicly accessible.

 

Tom C and I were able to get out for several hours last Sunday. We drove out to the Kishwaukee, west of Genoa. I think we spent five hours waving the long rods in the river and our grand total was one decent bluegill. The water was pretty cloudy, but it is never overly clear in that stretch of river. We each got practice tying knots since we were changing flies often to try to find something that would work. I showed Tom a couple holes which I very rarely find empty. We must have spent 15 mins taking turns at one hole. I think Tom said he saw something in there, but we could not get it to bite.

 

We gave up on the river and went to spend a quick couple of hours over at a new spot I found near work. We got a mixture of Smallies, a largemouth and several large Bluegill/sunfish, mostly on topwater deer hair flies.

 

I have had some nice fish this month, in my spotty outings, but not the best of luck. I have lost several good flies recently due to bad knots, sharp teeth and just plain clumsiness. The third section of my 4 pc Sage 5 wt snapped right in the middle about 10 days ago. It has been sent in for a warranty repair/replacement. And then the first section (handle piece) of my 4 wt St Croix rod broke just below the ferrel on Thursday evening.

 

I'll need to check to see if I can get that repaired or if I just need to replace that rod. I have had many good years with that rod and it was truly painful to hear that snapping noise. That rod is 5 years old this month. I know that they are doing remarkable things with the latest fly rod designs, so perhaps I am just due for an upgrade.

 

I have been fishing my 30 yr old fiberglass 6 wt once in a while lately. Casting that old heavyweight for any amount of time is a real workout. But the six is a nice weight for some of the windy days we have had over the last several weeks. I'm finally going to pick up a reel for my eight weight rod this week.

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Guest rich mc

i fished with bill b at shab this morning from 6-9 30. i gave myself bad luck by catch a fish on the first cast on a twister.i also used my fly rod and a blk slider to get a 12" smallie an hour later. bill did much better using a storm mid wart and his senko imitation. he got about 15lm up to 16inches. rich

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John S, while fly fishing is difficult enough, fly fishing in a river compounds the difficulty. Just keep practicing as much as possible in the river and you'll improve. If possible, take advantage of the ISA and Joseph Meyer's casting clinics. Joseph's a great instructor and will spot any bad habits and help correct them in no time. My fishing hat has a long sheet of fabric on the back to protect my neck from the sun, however, I find it euqally usefull as a shield for errantly casted flies. Your tapered leader sounds like a standard. I had used the SA brand of tapered leaders for several years. They worked ok, but got tired of the mono's coiled loops. If we make it out on the river together, I'll lend you a furled leader I've made so you can test it against a mono variety. I make mine with much stronger thread to handle bass flies, but use Kathy Scott's method....with a slight modification. I will never use a mono store bought leader again.

 

Ken S, that's too bad about both rods breaking...rotten luck. However, maybe it is time for a new rod! Have you been spinning any deer hair flies?

 

Rich, a fish on the first cast is the kiss of death. I'm surprised you got anything on the fly rod after that!

 

 

Speaking of new rods, has anyone casted the Echo brand of rods? They gotten good reviews and then there's the infamous video of Rajeff trying to break a 3-weight.

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I fished Saturday morning on the Fox and got one nice smallie. Funny thing is, I was throwing a LARGE gaudy Clouser (half and half actually), and using a 30 lb, wire leader with a clip, hoping to hook up with a muskie. I guess that goes to show that smallies are not particularly leader shy (at least some times)!

 

Sunday afternoon, fished the Dupage. We got a bunch of small fish, saw some nice fish, and hooked and lost one nice one.

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I took a "newby" fishing on the Kish on Saturday morning. My guest was fishing with a spinning rod and I had both a fly rod and spinning rod with me. I caught a few rock bass and dink smallies with the fly rod using poppers and a few others on a sparkle minnow. We both did better with spinning rods using plastics dragged on bottom. The biggest smallmouth that we caught was only 12 inches. We ran across two other spin fishermen who looked like they knew what they were doing, and they were having similar results.

 

We didn't start fishing until around 7:30 AM and the fishing pretty much died after 10:00 AM.

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I was off of work the last two weeks and got in a bunch of short trips. This year I decided that the only time I will spin fish is from a yak. Otherwise it's all fly all the time. Even if it's windy. Even if it's murky. I figured the only way to improve is to practice. Most of my trips have been on the South branch of the Kish, not far from home. My daughter had to be dropped off at work at 1:00 every day and picked up at 5:00. That gave me a little window of fishing time. Not the best time of day, but you have to take what you can get.

 

I never got skunked, but only had one really good day. My worst day was four smallies, my best was twelve. No huge fish, mostly 8 to 12 inches, with one 14 incher. I'm not complaining by any means. A 14 inch smallie on the fly is a blast! Fished the Jude Bug almost exclusively, with a clouser thrown occasionally. Being a topwater junkie, I used the popper mode most of the time. At one good looking hole, after beating it to death with the popper, I flipped the black Bug to slider mode and got a 12" smallie on the first cast, then, from the opposite end of the hole, an 18" northern.

 

As I type this, I hear thunder rumbling. It figures. It's been like this all year! Just when the N. Branch Kish starts to drop and clear up....bam...ANOTHER FLIPPIN' TORRENT. :angry:

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Al O, I love the Half-n-Half! I think it's a very under utilized fly. I've had very good luck on largemouth with it as well.

 

Alan, your outing sounds identical to mine with Terry D 2 Sundays ago throwing soft plastics with a spinning rod. However, Terry did get a few smallies in the 14" range.

 

Jude, another top water junky! Gotta love it. We got hit pretty hard with the rain yesterday. If we get any more today, the DuPage will be unproductive and probably unsafe as well.

 

 

Well, it's still pretty early in the season folks so don't get discouraged. There's lots of fishing left in July and most of my bigger smallies are caught in late summer anyway.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I spent Friday the 27th canoeing and wading on the Kankakee upstream from Aroma Park. I took my spinning rod and my 4 weight St. Croix. Not many smallies on the spinning rod. I did land one walleye that went just under 16 inches. I got the majority of my smallies on a black and yellow popper. I started fishing top water flies after a 13 incher hit a tangled crankbait that was spinning along the surface. Most of the fish were in the 11 to 12 inch range. I found them along the shoreline weeds in about 2.5 feet of water and also out in the middle of the river. Fairly shallow water and rocky bottoms seemed to be the ticket. I also got several using sparkle minnows and barely there minnows.

 

Today (Monday) was spent on the Middle Fork river. The river is low and fairly clear. Several smallies, with the biggest around 12 - 13 inches, were caught on my 4 weight. Fish were taken on the white sparkle minnow, a helgrammite pattern and on a modified bead head woolly bugger. Most of the fly rod fish were taken in shallow, shady areas off of the current. I must admit I alternated between the fly rod and the spinning rod and landed a bunch (20+) on the spinning rod using Yum 2.5 inch crawbugs. The two largest went 16 1/2 and 14 (sorry no pictures, for some reason my phone won't send the pics to my e-mail). The bigger fish were in the deeper holes, four to six feet deep, right on the bottom.

 

All in all, a fun two days.

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mike, please descibe the barely there minnow pattern.is that a supersparse clouser or see thru material ? rich

 

The Barely There is an original pattern created by Bob Long, Jr. He introduced me to it when I met him on the Kankakee several years ago. It is tied using craft fur, different colors for whatever baitfish you are trying to imitate. It also incorporates materials like flashabou, Krystal flash and lite brite. The unique thing about it is the craft fur is tied on forward, behind the eye. It is eventually folded over and after eyes are afixed, the head is coated twice with Softex. This gives it a soft, almost rubbery feel to the head and creates a pocket inside the head. With almost no weight, it is easy to cast and is very resilient. It swims just below the surface and is deadly in shallow water. I have caught numerous smallies without it being shredded. My favorite color is white, with pearl Krystal Flash and red eyes. I also tie it in grey, black and silver, purple and white, and whatever flips my switch at the time. I tried to imitate a fire tiger pattern, but I haven't had nearly the success I've had using basic white. I am including a photograph of one I tied using a rootbeer colored fur.

 

 

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now i remember where i heard of it. guess it was in one of his articles. . what hook are you tying it on? rich

 

These are the hooks Bob recommends in the article he sent to me: TMC206bl, #6, Dai-Riki 810, #6, TMC 900Bl, or TMC 101, #8. I've been using Cabelas' model 26 glo-bug hooks in size 4 and 6. They might be a bit heavy, but they work for me. I improvise when I don't have what is listed in the recipe. The fish don't seem to mind too much. Size 8 in this style might be too small. What I did learn from his article and through practice was that sparse is better. The one in my picture might have a little too much craft fur. You want them to almost disappear when they hit the water. Just a little flash now and then seems to be the ticket.

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That's a nice looking fly. Mike, perhaps you'd be so kind as to demo this fly on one of our Monday Night tying sessions?

 

Is this a virtual thing, or in person? I think most of your Monday night sessions are held up north, and I'm about a half hour north of Champaign. It would be a bit of a road trip for me to come up....but I might be interested. Depends on how my schedule plays out.

 

To be honest, if you could get Bob Long to show up, it would probably be a much better learning experience for those involved, after all, it is his creation.

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So to truely get in some decent fishing, I had to really get away from work (I left the pager at home). I got out last week while on vacation with my family down in Sarasota FL. I know, who goes to Florida in early August? Well, I got a deal that was just too good to pass up.

 

I went out with a local guide, Capt Rick Grassett. We started before sunrise, fishing lighted piers for Snook. The first one I hooked up spooked badly when I got him close to the boat. One mighty shake of the head and he shredded the bite leader. So Rick tied on a heavier leader and the next one came all the way into the net. My first Snook ever and it was about 23", caught on a 6 wt fly rod with an intermediate sink tip line.

 

 

 

Once the sun came up, we fished grass flats and sand bars. I caught several nice Ladyfish and a juvenile grouper. The thrill of the day was seeing an 80 lb Tarpon (Rick's estimate, not mine) jump out of the water while it was chasing Ladyfish. I shifted from the 6 wt to my own 8 wt rod and Rick tied on a bite leader and one of my own Clouser Minnows. Two inconsiderate guys in another boat slipped between us and the tarpon, so we never had a chance at it. They were throwing bait using spinning rods and were not even after the Tarpon. They were chasing the Ladyfish and Seatrout.

 

We did make a valiant attempt at a nice Tripletail. These fish float right next to marker bouys or the bouys on crab traps and look like just more stuff growing on the bouy. They hide there waiting for baitfish (aka. breakfast) to come along. My first two casts were not close enough and the third one hit the fish on the head. Apparently he did not think that was very friendly because he promptly left the bouy he had been hiding next to.

 

It was a great outing. I learned a couple new knots. I am more convinced then ever of the value of a quality pair of polarized sunglasses. This was my first experience with a sink tip line, and I know I am going to go out and get a spool set up with some for my own use here in Illinois. I also picked up a great book on Fly Fishing in Saltwater by Lefty Kreh.

 

After a very warm morning on the water, I drank Gatoraide, took a cool shower, and then took my son to a movie at a nicely air conditioned theater while my wife and daughter went shopping at a mall.

 

More later,

Ken S.

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I took my daughter to the Sylvania Wilderness last week for a fews days of camping, canoing and fishing before she goes to college. The weather was great , the scenery was spectacular and the bugs were not a problem. The old growth forests in the Sylvania wilderness are unlike anything that I have seen in the north woods of Ontario, Wisconsin, or Minnesota.

 

My 18 year old daughter is not into serious fishing. We did fish together and we both caught some nice smallmouth and largemouth bass in Clark Lake on spinning tackle. It was tough using the fly rod from the back of the canoe without endangering my daughter with casts. I went out by myself early two mornings and one evening where I could use the fly rod without endangering anyone. I caught a few nice smallies on topwater flies. These fish were hitting something on the surface in deep water away from structure in up to forty feet of water. I would see or hear fish hitting at the surface and I would canoe toward the ring in the water and make a few casts. I missed one fish that must have been huge based upon the sound that it made when it crashed the surface

 

The subsurface fishing was better in the crystal clear waters of Clark Lake, but most of that fishing was done with a spinning rod as I didn't have a full sinking line that would have allowed me to get a crayfish fly down to fifteen or twenty feet. We could could see crayfish scurrying on the bottom in water that was fifteen feet deep. I caught a nineteen inch and a twenty inch largemouth bass along with some fifteen and sixteen inch smallies using plastic crayfish imitations.

 

After spending a few days there, I really want to go back there when I have the time to get back into the more remote lakes.

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I'm still in town....and so is the DuPage, so I hit an area from about 9:30 to 1:30 yesterday. The first three casts with top water produced 3 fish, but everyone knows how deadly the "first cast, first fish" scenario is. However, the jink manifested itself in nothing over 14" as the top water bite remained pretty decent throughout the day. I had upwards of 20 fish between 10" and 14" and one tiny bluegill. This guy was so small I could have thrown him with my 7 weight rod. I'm amazed that he was able to bite the hook, since I was throwing a mondo-sized deer hair popper tyed on a #2 stinger hook.

 

The river is a mass of weeds; there's as many that are rooted as there are floating. Therefore, streamer and bottom crawling flies are an excercise in frustration. In one of the clearer locations I did pick up 2 using the Imitaylor.

 

The sky threatened all day with light rain on and off....then it opened and a true toad strangler commenced. I was hoping this downpour would turn the bigger fish on, but another hour of fishing resulted in several more fish in the 10 to 14" range.

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The rain stopped on Sunday afternoon and due to family commitments, I had about 90 minutes to get in a fishing fix. I put the four weight in the car and drove a few minutes to Lake Arlington. The lake was high, with much of the shoreline weeds covered by the high water. I had 90 minutes of non stop surface action using mostly a popper with a nymph trailer. The fish were very aggressive, with many of the fish stacked right up to the weeds and grass that used to be out of the water. I stopped counting the bluegill after twenty fish, and I caught four largemouth bass, the largest of which was fourteen inches.

 

I was fishing with a fast action Scott S3 that I bought this winter on Ebay, and after fishing with this rod several times, I finally got the hang of casting this rod. Now I want to get a similar action rod for smallie fishing.

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