Friday, April 29, 2011

Lamb Finally Arrives?

This has been a wet, cool, windy Spring. Let me hasten to say, I'm not complaining. Compared to what other parts of the country have been getting we have been fortunate. It does occur to me, however, that the old saw about March has carried over all the way through April. Which means that March came in like a lion, and April finally, by the skin of its teeth, maybe, is going to go out like a lamb. (I'll overlook that Saturday low of 36.)

Now, please, please, little lamb, stay!

Tonight Apr 29Sat 30Sun May 1Mon 2Tue 3
Clouds Early / Clearing LateMostly SunnyMostly SunnyFew ShowersPartly Cloudy
Clouds Early / Clearing LateMostly SunnyMostly SunnyFew ShowersPartly Cloudy
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Did Somebody Say Royal?


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Youth Sports: Isaiah Soccer Action

They lost this one, 4 to 3. Turns out there's a third hometown team that's pretty good. Isaiah got a goal. That came late in the game after I had to leave.

My apologies for the video quality. My Optio 30 has been used hard for a couple of years now, and has been dropped one time too many. So it rattles in video capture mode, and has a nervous focus function.

But you can still get the idea.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lake Report: Once More and Out

Click on photos for full size image.
Once more and out for the early season lake. After Saturday's opener I'll be spending my solo fishing time at the other lake. No homes, no resorts, no paved highway, no motors, no jet skis, no cell phone coverage...

...and no bass, no bluegill, and no perch.

They were really out today. These took a trolled fly. Guess the water's warming up and everything's getting active.

I caught trout, too, I'm happy to say, so many I lost count, all feisty little guys like these.

I have to say, even though this is not my favorite lake, that it has been a good Spring here.

This lake has provided everything I needed to be ready for the opener at my favorite lake. All my equipment is tuned up, as are all the muscles I'll need for paddling the float tube, casting, and playing fish. Seldom have I felt better prepared for a fishing season.

I will be back here with the boys again, so I took care of some unfinished business today. Last Saturday when I was here with them they found a nice lure. Jeremiah tied it on and was having a ball firing it way out into the lake. But the wind took it into a tree, and we had to break it off. He was not happy.

So today I paddled over to investigate and discovered that I could just reach the lure with the tip of my rod. So I was able to wrap my fly line around it and pop it out of the tree. Dad the hero. So we're ready to go again.

 As the afternoon wore away I tied on a Stimulator, apropos of the previous post, and worked the surface.

I got lots of attention with a fairly big green-bodied Stimulator, and had two fish on, but they jumped off the hook. Once I tied on the little orange and black version I caught trout hand over fist. They loved it.

And so did these usurpers. They took that little stimmy right off the top.

I caught a few more trout while paddling slowly for shore through the sprinkles of rain. It was a good way to close out the preseason. Next stop: the real season. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Do a Google image search for "stimulator," even with the prefix "Kaufmann's," and you get some interesting stuff.

Just goes to show how important stimulation is to all of us.

That goes for fly fishers, too, and, as for so many others, the fly that stimulated me the most as a beginner fly fisherman and novice fly tier was the Stimulator. With all the talk about the closing of Kaufmann's Streamborn swirling around I thought it was appropriate to give this fly some love.

I have claimed in the past that the Stimulator is the one fly that will catch fish under any and all conditions, and that is borne out by experience. I have taken great pleasure at the lake in watching the chironimid boys working so carefully and precisely while I was catching big trout on top with a big Stimulator.

One of my favorite memories is when one of them saw me reeling in a nice fish and called over to ask what I was using. "A Stimulator," I called back. Pause. Then a response: "A Stimulator?!" Long pause. Then: "What color?"

Interestingly, while the Stimulator is popularly attributed to Randall Kaufmann, he was probably its biggest promoter, but not its inventor. Like so many things in life, there is really nothing new under the sun. This is from the Leland's Fly Fishing Outfitters site:

Credit for the Stimulator’s design is often given to master fly tyer Randall Kaufmann, who promoted the fly heavily in the western United States. But according to Modesto, California-based fly tyer and angler, Jim Slattery, the Stimulator is his Frankenstein; borrowing heavily from Pat Barnes’ 1940s fly the “Sofa Pillow, and taking its name from a popular New York City-based punk band. Slattery says he tied the pattern in 1980 to fish what was then his backyard fly water: the Musconetcong River in New Jersey. Any way you slice it, the Stimulator is a fantastic emergent and adult stonefly imitation.

As they say, fantastic any way you slice it.

I pulled a few Stimulators out of a fly box--and even off the fly patch on my vest, still there from last season--for a group shot. All these are veterans, bitten and chewed on by trout--and they've all bitten back. Most I tied myself; some came into my possession...well, I can't remember how. But I love them all.

For example, that little orange and black number in the right hand corner accounted for the best fish I've taken in four seasons at the lake.

That would be this fish:

So thanks Pat, Jim, and Randall. The world is a better place because of the fly you helped create.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lake Report: The Hunger

Click on photos for full size image.
Everything has a hunger this time of year. The boys are no different. They badger me to go fishing at every opportunity. Saturday after Isaiah's soccer game we headed back to the lake. Wind or not, the boys gave it a good try.

They saw this hungry Osprey catch a fish (bad photo--wish I had a telephoto--but you can see the fish in it's talons) and were impressed. Rather than be discouraged at their lack of catching they just got inspired to try harder. Yep, they've got it bad.

They even tried the little spillway...

...and then convinced me to stop at the bass lake for awhile on the way home.

Easter was a big day, and I was tired, but they worked on me until I agreed to take them. The day had been beautiful, but as soon as we decided to go it got cloudy and a wind came up.

No matter. And no matter that they haven't caught anything for awhile. They're hungry with that hunger many of us know so well: the hunger simply to be out there fishing... 

Soccer Report: Bragging Rights

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The weekend was beautiful, and Saturday included Isaiah's second soccer game of the season. In their first game last weekend they drove an hour and a half away and got their passes handed to them in a 7-0 loss. This weekend they played the other hometown team at home and were ready to get things back on track.

After warm-ups...

And pre-game with the ref...

...they went to work. There was a strong wind blowing straight down the field. In the first half Isaiah's team pressed the other team's goal constantly, but they were kicking into the wind, so no goals were scored.

The second half was a different story. With the wind at their backs Isaiah's team quickly found the range and scored six goals. Isaiah, who was actually on defense, took a long shot from the far right sideline and found the top left corner of the net for his first goal of the season. Beauty.

Victory is sweet, especially when you shut out your friends. Bragging rights started today in earnest, I'm sure, as they all got back to school.