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Everything posted by asherman

  1. I have been using a Peak vise for several years now. It meets my needs for the flies that I tie. The standard jaws work great for hooks up to about #1 , but once you start using it with heavier hooks, you need to use a lot of pressure to get the hooks to stay put. I have tied on flies up to 2/0 with this vise. If you are planning on tying a lot of deer flies on big hooks, I would either order the Peak vise with the jaws made for big hooks or get something else. The Peak vise a a great vice for the money. If I were to get another vise, I would spend more money and get a Dyna King. The notched jaws in Dyna King Vises really holds hooks well with less effort.
  2. You won't know if you are ready for faster action rods until you cast or better yet fish with faster action rods. The rods that you have will work fine for fishing around here, but it could be that you could pick up a faster action rod and quickly determine that you really like casting and fishing with faster action rods. You could just as easily test cast some different medium fast rods and find a rod that just clicks with your casting stroke. The only way to find out is to go out and cast some different rods. Beware that if you do go out and test cast rods, you will find something that you like better than what you have and you will want to add a rod like that to your quiver. I say that because it has happened to me.
  3. Fall fishing can find the fish very active or very lethargic, depending upon the conditions. If the water temperatures are above 50, I try topwater flies, and sometimes they work well this time of year. If you want to fish deep and you are fishing upstream, the Holshlag hop with a weighted fly and indicator works well. The same setup can also be used for dead drifting, which can be effective when you find locations where you can keep the line off of the water enough to control the drift. Slow pools or eddies are great places to try dead drifting during the fall. Sinking leaders or sink tip lines work well to get flies deeper and to fish slowly. A five foot fast sinking leader with a three or four foot fluorocarbon tippet can be fished with both non sinking flies like craft fur minnows or with flies with lead eyes like clouser minnows. With a sinking leader and a weighted fly, it is easy to bang the stream bottom with a variety of retrieves. I often quarter cast upstream and let the fly work all of the way downstream. I have some heavily used flies that have the front section of the lead eyes worn out from banging on the rocks using sinking leaders.
  4. I use lead tape on a few fly patterns that I tie as well using both lead and lead substitute wire. Using the tape or wire you can helps tie a fly that is easier to get a horizontal movement in the the water as opposed to to using lead eyes which end to make a fly behave more like a jig.
  5. If I am fishing with a floating line, I use often use Cabelas' bass leaders in either 10 pound or 15 pound test. 0X or 1X trout leaders also work fine for bass. The Cabelas brand leaders are very reasonably priced. I use 8 or 10 pound fluorocarbon fishing line for tippet. This set up works for situations where I will be switching back and forth from surface and sub surface fishing. The fluorocarbon line is cheaper than buying tippet material and it is more abrasion resistant than mono. The fluorocarbon tippet also sinks which makes it easier to fish flies under the surface. Most of the topwater flies that I use are pretty buoyant, so the fluoro tippet works fine for surface flies. If I am using a sink tip line or sinking leader, I also use the fluoro fishing line for tippet. Most of the time my leader/tippet length is from 8 to 9 1/2 feet long. About the only time that I shorten up the leader is if I am tossing larger wind resistant poppers. I have experimented lately with 20 pound saltwater leader material which comes in wide diameter 50 yard spools. Six feet of the the 20 pound leader material and three feet of 0X mono leader material seems to work well for tossing floating flies.
  6. Fly fishing for smallies is a balancing act. You have to find the best balance between the waters that you are fishing, the size of fish that are in the river, and the size of flies that you want to use. I have six, seven, and eight weight rods that I use for smallie fishing depending when and where I am fishing. Lately, the seven weight rod has seen the most use. The eight weight rod is tiresome to use for the day long wading trips that I do around here. You need to think in terms of flies that look and fish big as opposed to flies that are big if you want to fish with a lighter fly rod. I have caught more big smallies in Illinois with the fly rod on a #4 Sparkle Minnow than any other fly that I have used. That fly is less than three inches long but it seems to get fish of all sizes to hit. I tie minnow patterns out of craft hair and other synthetic materials that have big profiles but weigh very little and don't hold much water. These flies are much easier to cast than the same size flies tied out of bunny strips. Jude Tore's Jude bug is a small floating fly that makes a big commotion for a small fly that casts easily with a six weight rod. Four inch long flies tied with bunny strips are not much fun to toss on lighter fly rods. Leaders and tippet can also make a big difference when casting heavier, bulkier flies so you need to experiment. RIO Clouser lines are great for smallie fishing, but the right leader with that line can change way that the Clouser line fishes. For popper fishing lately I've been using two piece leaders made of six or seven feet of 20 pound test saltwater leader material with a tippet of 1x or 0x which turns over poppers very well. Fast sinking leaders with four or five feet of fluorocarbon line for tippet are great for fishing sub surface.
  7. Jonn, You are in serious trouble. You may start out with a used 8 eight weight, but it won't be long until you have a quiver of fly rods and so many lines and reels that you be won't be able to remember how many you have. In addition, you will start tying flies and within a couple of years your house, basement, and garage will be filled with feathers, fur, and flashy synthetic stuff. You have been warned. By the way, you should immediately consider getting a three or four weight fly rod for panfish. You may as well start feeding your new addiction. Alan
  8. Now that Michael has come clean about using spinning gear and plastics in addition to using a fly rod, I can admit it too. I sometimes use spinning gear for smallmouth bass and I enjoy it. I have caught fish that have had the same lure or fly that I have busted off more than once.
  9. The best day that I ever had fishing for smallies was using live bait (minnows) on the Kish during Thanksgiving weekend. I landed forty five smallies up to 18 inches in just over three hours of fishing on a cold, blustery day. I seldom use live bait now except when I am fishing for walleye. As Paul stated, Gulp works pretty well as a live bait substitute if you are willing to put up with the smell. Gulp leeches have worked well for me for bass and walleye in Canada. A light circle hook with a Gremlin bullshot for weight is a great way to present live leeches, minnows, or Gulp baits.
  10. Gregg, I'm interested in a float. Check your IM. Thanks, Alan
  11. asherman


    I've been switching back and forth from using a heavy rod for bass and a light rod for panfish. The two ponds that I fish close to my house hold excellent populations of panfish, lots of small bass, and a few big bass. If I use big flies, I usually catch just one or two bass, the size is pretty good. Some nights I feel like lots of actions, some nights I go for the big ones.
  12. asherman


    I have fished a few local ponds in the evening over the past few days and have had a blast catching panfish on flies. The bite for the larger bluefill seems to be be now that it was when they were spawning. Once night the fish were sucking in foam flies like there was no tomorrow. On another night, the fish were not going hitting much on the surface, but they were chasing and clobbering wet flies waked just underneath the surface. It is fun to see the wake of a fish chasing down a fly. The bonus bass have been great, but it has been tough pulling bass through the weeds with a four weight rod. A #8 Pass Lake wet fly has been the ticket for big bluegills.
  13. I had lots of family commitments on Sunday so my fishing window of opportunity was an hour or two of fishing on nearby Lake Arlington. I hit the lake with my six weight rod, with the target being bass and any bluegill big enough to hit #4 or #6 poppers. When I got to the Lake, I saw a bunch of big carp milling around by the outflow of the lake. I looked at the big fish and thought, "what the heck" and I tied on a clouser swimming nymph. It took a few casts, but I did hook a big carp. For the first five minutes, the fish acted like it wasn't hooked. It hardly took out any line, and it just kind of sat there with very little movement and little action on the fly reel drag. After the first five minutes, I put more pressure on the fish, and it start peeling line of the fly reel into the backing. The fish then got sluggish again and didn't move move. I tried putting more pressure on the fish, but with most of the fly line out, I just couldn't get it to move. I could not get any line in. After another ten minutes, the carp shook the barbless hook. I have never felt so under gunned before with a fly rod. My eight weight rod and 1X or 0X tippet would have been a much better match for that big fish. At least I got to hear what the drag on my fly reel sounds like. Once the carp shook the hook, I gave up on carp fishing and I ended up catching six or seven largemouth bass up to fifteen inches and a few nice bluegill.
  14. I have canoed the lower part of the Sugar River in the last seven or so miles before it dumps into the Rock River. This was a least fifteen years ago. Most of that section had a sand or mud bottom and most of it appeared to be too deep to wade as most of the time we could not touch the river bottom with our paddles. There were some deeper holes that held walleye and catfish as well as rough fish. There did not seem to be much good smallmouth habitat in that part of the river. I caught a smallmouth buffalo fish on that trip that must have weight 13 or 14 pounds. If you are taking the kids fishing you might consider soaking some type of bait for catfish. The Sugar River looks like a catfish river to me.
  15. I originally started fly fishing with the idea that I could fly fish for trout and for river smallmouth bass. I quickly learned that pond fishing for bass and bluegill was a major attraction of fly fishing. Sometimes I fish ponds with a four weight rod and and catch bluegill on purpose and bass by accident, and sometimes I use a heavier rod and catch bass on purpose and catch outsized bluegill by accident. Either way it is lots of fun and I don't have to drive a long distance to get good action. When the pan fish are spawning, like they are now, I like to rig a rod with a surface fly and a subsurface fly in tandem and catch two fish at time. On Sunday, I landed a fourteen inch bass and hand sized bluegill on one cast. It put a nice bend in the rod.
  16. Over the past few years, I have really lightened my load in terms of how much stuff I carry with me when I'm wading. I think that I cover the same amount of territory as I did before, but my back and neck feel better due to carrying around less weight. I also stay more comfortable in hot weather with less stuff. All of this makes it easier to stay out longer and cover more water. Whether I am fly fishing or using spinning tackle, I carry one box of flies or one box of spinning tackle that are packed with basics, and I supplement those boxes with a small selection of lures or flies that should be appropriate for the specific conditions of the day. That way, I can start fishing with what I think should be working and still have some plenty of other options. It really helps to limit the quantity of any one particular lure, jig or fly that you carry. I used to jam as many jigs in my Plano 3213 box as it could hold, until I realized that I never used more than three or four of a particular jig in a day. I minimized the number of jigs in my box, and I probably lopped off a quarter pound of weight and never have I missed having the sixth spare jig of a particular weight. The only downside to this approach is that you do have to remember to replenish your wading box of flies or lures after an outing.
  17. The strong currents and high water have made fishing tough. I fished the Kish on Saturday and I was really limited to where I could fish. I just could not get to several of my "go to" spots. I caught a few dinks.
  18. Any fly line, be it floating, sinking, or sink tip is pretty much of a specialty tool. A particular line will enable you to fish effectively at a specific depth range. Lines that sink enable me to fish without heavy, weighted flies. When I use my Teeny five foot sink tip line, I can fish from a range just under the surface to pounding the stream bottom at 5 or 6 feet with a lighted weighted fly. It is far more enjoyable to cast this sink tip line than it is to cast a floating line with a heavy fly and long leader. It is also a great line to fish in windy conditions The biggest downside to using a sinking or sink tip line is that if the fish start hitting on the surface, you either have to re-string your rod or use another rod. That's not a problem if you are on a boat and you have a spare rigged rod in the right weight, but it is a pain when you are wading. That is when the sinking leaders really shine. They do not cast as well a sink tip line, but they are more fun to cast than a heavy fly on a long leader. I have used sinking lines when fishing from a boat a few times, and my experience has been that once the water gets much deeper than 10 feet, I start loosing my patience with the fly rod. You can catch smallies on flies in fifteen or twenty feet of water, but a jig is a better tool for fishing those depths, especially if you want to be banging the lake bottom.
  19. I have the Peak Vise and it has worked very well for me. The only down side to the Peak Vise is that once you start tying with bigger, larger diameter hooks, like 1/0 or 2/0, hooks can slip a bit unless you make sure that that you have the jaws clamped down well. If I did a lot of deer hair spinning, I would need to get the available "big hook" jaws.
  20. I don't think that eyes make much of a difference for smallmouth flies or lures. I have caught many bass on plastic twister tails, plastic fluke baits, Senkos, woolly buggers, and nymphs that don't have eyes. I use several flies that have glued on on eyes, and those flies still catch fish after the eyes get knocked off by fish or banging the flies against cover. I think that lure/fly action and size are the primary triggers for smallies, with color being a secondary trigger. Eyes on flies like clouser minnows are necessary because the barbell eyes provides weight and makes the hook ride point up. That being said, I still put eyes on some flies whether they need the eyes or not. Flies with eyes look good and if you are not catching fish, you want to look good.
  21. The rivers have been too high to jump in and wade to fly fish. I've been doing some smallie fishing, but it has been lunch break fishing where I walk along the shore dabbling with a spinning rod right along the shoreline. That fishing has been pretty slow, with just a few fish and a few more hits in several outings. It has been nothing to get excited and write about.
  22. Definitely get breathable stocking foot waders. If you are fishing mostly in Illinois, lug soled wading boots will work fine. Before you buy waders, you need to figure out what type of wading/fishing that you are going to be doing. If you plan on busting brush or climbing down embankments to get to out of the way fishing spots, you will be better suited with heavy duty waders designed for hard use. "Heavy Duty" waders will probably be made out of four or five ply material and will have reinforced knees, legs, and seat. If you don't plan on being hard on your waders, you can get buy with lighter, less expensive waters made with three ply material and less reinforcement. The lighter waders will breath better and be more comfortable in warmer weather than the heavier waders no matter which brand you buy. If you plan on fishing in colder weather, make sure that waders have enough room to wear some extra layers under the waders. In my opinion, Simms makes the best waders in terms of fit and durability. They are are not cheap, but they last a long time and Simms backs up their waders with good service. I have a pair of Simms Guide waders that are nine years old and still going strong. I have had to seal up some pin holes, but the seams are still in good shape. I know people that have purchased store brand waders at the big box stores and have had good luck with the waders while other people have gone through several pairs of the same store brand waders before getting fed up and buying Simms or other higher end waders. As other guys have said, fit is very important. If your waders are too short or too long, they will not last long. Try the waders on to make sure that they fit. If you go to a big box store, be pushy and pull the waders out of the box and try them on. It is important to buy waders that are backed by the manufacturer and retailer as all waders will eventually leak. If you get unlucky and your waders leak sooner rather than later, you want to make sure that your waders will be quickly repaired or replaced under warranty.
  23. The only Gulp product that I have used that has worked well has been Gulp leeches, which have worked great in for Walleye fishing. Regular plastics work well enough for smallies, so I don't bother with smelly Gulp products for that type of fishing. I would think that the Gulp Alive leeches would also work well for walleye. Leeches are pretty expensive to buy in Canada, so using Gulp leeches there makes the cost a bit more palatable.
  24. I use plastic boxes for larger stuff like buck tail, craft fur and long packages feathers. For hooks, chenille, and other small stuff, I use expandable multi-pocket folders that I buy at office supply stores. These folders provide plenty of room when expanded but get pretty small when closed with the elastic closures.
  25. I've floated a river with Paul in his canoe and the stabilizers kept us from getting dumped. The stabilizers definitely compensated for my lack of canoe skills and lack of balance. They do seem to slow the canoe down a bit, but if you are floating and fishing down a river, slowing down isn't necessarily a bad thing. You do have to be careful around wood and other obstructions.
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