Friday, April 22, 2011

2011 VA Fly Fishing Festival

On the 15th of April, I had the pleasure to be invited by Cory Routh (Ruthless Fishing), and join his girlfriend, his partner, Mark Lozier, and his father in Waynesboro VA.  Mark and I rode up there, and after checking out a few really cool stores (Dominion Outdoors and Rockfish Gap) we hit some newly opened water on the South River.  Growing up in Colorado, I would not consider the stretch of river I was on a "Trout River", but it was nice to get out anyways.  After some minor bushwhacking, I found a few promising holes and runs.  This was not my day, but I was happy to get a fish on my Scott 4wt.
Not the greatest, but a small creek chub.
Mark and I only fished for a few minutes before we met Cory and Kelly for lunch, set up the booth and had some beers and BBQ.  These events formed the new PBR Fly Fishing Team (not affiliated with PBR... yet)
L-R (Me, Frank Bandy, Larry Routh, Cory Routh, Mark Lozier)

This was the calm before the storm.  On the 15th, the river was a bit high, but fishable.  During the night on, and throughout the day on Saturday, the rain was relentless, causing some severe flooding of the river.  This put an end to the fishing, but it could have been a lot worse.  Saturday was spent driving around, eating and drinking copious amounts of coffee.  It was a great way to make the best of some crappy weather.  Saturday evening, a prime rib dinner was put on for the vendors of the show, which again, I felt fortunate to be a part of.  After dinner, PBR's and Speyburn were flowing outside the hotel, while BS'ing about fish and life ended the evening.

Sunday morning came with mixed blessings.  Unfortunately this was the last day of what was to be a great time with great friends.  On the plus side, the weather broke, and more people came out.  I was fortunate to befriend Frank Bandy from Tar River Paddle Sports, who is setting up his abbreviated display (note he was originally set up behind the river, which was behind him, underwater).

During the day, I did some shopping, and took in a living legend.  I attended two sessions of a casting seminar held by the legendary
Lefty Kreh.  I was able to talk to him throughout the weekend, and was truly humbled in his presence (the guy is a trip)!  I also got one of his books personally autographed, and will be something I hope to pass in the future.
Lefty casting
Lefty teaching
 Cory and Mark did get to enjoy some of the festivities, but both did what they do best...  Work a crowd.
Cory discussing some skinny water tactics
Watching the two of them work taught me more in one day than I would have learned in months about the fishing industry.

We also had a visit by the Rich's, which was a great time.  I cant wait to fish with y'all in the future.
Mark, Vicki, and Don
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.  I wanted to get some more time on the river in, as well as some more pictures of the scenery, but it was not meant to be.  Even though things did not work as planned, it was still one of the best weekends I have had in some time.  Thanks Cory for the great times.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Drain the Gene Pool – Cold Weather Edition

As I was reminded by a friend of mine today, I had a run in with a few “intellectually challenged” individuals the first weekend of April. 
The setting – Rudee inlet. 
The water temperature -  47 degrees. 
Air temperature – 50 degrees
The individuals – Myself, and two others in touring kayaks.
As I am working my way back to the ramp to meet up with a new member of TKAA, (gjmac23) for a tour of the inlet, I hear a loud splash.  I look to my left and there are two guys in touring kayaks, one of which is in the water.  As he is attempting to right his boat and re-enter, you can see the cold draining his body.  After two unsuccessful attempts, I rush over to provide aid.  He was about 50 yards from shore, in 20-30 fow.   I quickly calm him down, and convince him to get back to shore.  After a quick discussion (telling him that if he tipped me, I would protect myself), I get him back to safety.  Throughout all of this I noticed a few concerning parts, which could have helped make this situation less threatening.
1.       If you paddle in cold water, be prepared to go swimming.  The individual who I helped had a dry top and a PFD, but was wearing regular pants.  A good rule of thumb is the 120 degree rule. 
a.       Combine the air and water temperature.
b.      For every degree less than 120 degrees (combined), your risk for hypothermia increases.
2.       Know self rescue in warm and cold water!
3.       Don’t drink on the water (A six pack of “Dollar General” type imported beer was rewarded to me for my actions.  Mark, how was the beer?).  It is even worse when someone else can smell the alcohol from five feet away.
4.       Be a friend, if it is someone’s first time on the water; don’t put them in a life threatening position.  I am sure that the intent of the day was to have a nice paddle and have some brews.  That was not the case for these individuals that day.
I recommend knowing basic first aid principles, and if at all possible, take a wilderness survival class.  Remember, if you cannot safely assist someone in a bad situation, don’t.  It is better to have one person the rescue squad needs to worry about then two.
Be safe, be smart, and have fun.  Also if you find a cheap 24oz can of imported beer in Rudee, I want it back as I was only able to recover 5 of the glorious brews.

A Weekend Of First’s–2011 Edtion

It seems like the weekend just blows right past you some times.  This weekend was no exception.  It was a weekend of first this year.

Saturday found my first trip of the year.o the first island of the CBBT with my friend Rob Choi.  The target, Tautog.  After a refreshing set of breakers busting over the bow of my yak, right into my face, we were off.  Despite sporadic 4’ swells, we made it to the island right at an hour after launch.  Unfortunately after two hours of fishing nothing happened until Rob found the magic pylon.  He proceeded to land to baby togs, back to back.  It was not until his third fish that I remembered that I had my tagging gun and tags with me.  We tagged three shorts, which are now Mr. Choi’s pet togs.  I had one hit that took half my bait, but that was the day.  It was nice to get out and watch Rob rip some lips.  It was a success because I had great company for the paddle out and back, and we tagged 3 fish for the VMRC.  When I made it back, I checked my voicemail and made plans for Sunday.


Sunday – I met up with Seth Goodrich and with the James River in search of American Shad.  The goal was to hit them with the fly, but with floating line, I could not find the strike zone.  We hit fish on small crappie jigs and shad spoons.  You have not had fun until you get on shad with an ultralight.  They are one of the most acrobatic fish I have ever caught.  One problem was that the river was packed like sardines with boats.


Most were fairly considerate of us, which was a plus.  A litter later on, Rob met us, and we hit some shad again.  Rob was killing them on the fly, and knowing I was unable to get to them he let me use his rod.  I picked up a few on his 5wt, one of which jumped over my boat.  It was a blast.  To end the evening, Rob showed us one of his catfish spots (don’t worry, your secret spot is safe with me).  Rob immediately picked up a very nice 39” (I think) Flathead cat. 


After a few other runs, but no hookups, Rob hits a new PB 41” Flathead.  I was pestered by a bunch of small cats, until I had one hookup with a Blue Cat in the 20” range.  I leadered him, and the hook popped loose.  Discussion ensued, and it was decided that leadering a 20” catfish did not constitute as a catch.  Wouldn’t you know it, someone had to be a smart ass, and said “Your not Marlin fishing”.  It is good to have “friends” some times.  I was able to manage a 24.5” blue, which after hooked, proceeded to do a”death roll” and make my life a living hell.  In all it was a great day, and an even better weekend.




Im off to bed, looking forward to the VA Fly Fishing (and wine) Festival next weekend. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Product Review–Navionics Mobile

I have been looking at the Navionics programs for quite a while.  My initial thought was to purchase a chip for $$200.00 to use in my Humminbird unit, but I have found it hard to make the purchase.  After I purchased my new phone (HTC EVO), I decided to pick up the Marine – US East app.  For under $15.00, it made perfect sense for me.  If I liked it, it would help me justify the purchase of the full program.  If I didn’t like it, it would only cost me fifteen bucks.  As is, this app is perfect for my uses.  Since my phone is on me every time I hit the water, I can get a fairly accurate idea of the area I am fishing without the Humminbird unit.  It is designed to be used with your phone’s GPS, but it can be used without it.  If you decide to use it with the GPS, you can mark waypoints, track your progress, and even export it to Google Earth.  You can use Google Earth aerial imagery, or Google Maps overlays.  It also gives you wind forecast, and it is very customizable for a phone app.  You can get information for all coastal waters from Maine to the Florida Keys, as well as bonus information for many freshwater lakes on the East Coast.  After reviewing known areas, the depth readings look to be extremely accurate.    This app is a must have for anyone with a Android or iPhone.  It has not helped me make up my mind with the chip however, because I think this app is all I need, but would love to see what $200 would buy me!  Check it out.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

OBN Photo Prompt - Dream Destination

As part of a photo prompt for the Outdoor Blogger Network, I decided to post up a picture of my dream destinations.  I have lived in Japan, been throughout Asia, a few countries in Europe, and visited many states throughout the U.S.

I currently live in a wonderful place, the Tidewater region of Virginia.  Not a bad place to hang my hat!

The James River as seen from the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel
August 2005

Sometimes Tidewater can be rough.  The transitions between seasons can be difficult.  The winter is especially depressing for me.  Everything seems to be gloomy and drab.  On those days I dream of paddling around one of the many atolls that make up the Maldives. 

Other days, I miss the still familiar view of the rockies to my west.  Even though I grew up and have spent the majority of my life in Colorado, it still is, and always be the place that I belong.  Colorado is in my blood and If I had to choose one place to spend the rest of my life, this would be it.

Echo Lake, Mt. Evans Colorado
September 2005
What is your dream destination?