Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: A thank you to some anglers


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:
A thank you to some anglers
Permalink  
 


When I was seven or eight years old, my parents planned a family trip to Yellowstone National Park. Already a fishing nut by then, I quickly found out that fly fishing was the way to catch trout there. I needed a fly rod to use on the trip. I begged my mother all summer long for something, anything. Eventually, she relented and bought me a basic combo. I remember it having a foam handle. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing and ended up with leader tangles and a mangled line. After the trip, my normal spin fishing activities around the SF bay area resumed. The next year, my mother bought me a considerably better fly combo, a 7 foot 3/4 weight cortland rod and reel. Over the years, I landed a couple bluegills on it, and a couple of wild brook trout in a backcountry lake. My fishing obsession cooled down during my teenage years with athletics and girls taking priority. Now, as a young adult, the fishing bug came back, reignited by stripers in the surf on big wooden topwater plugs. But, I have been branching out, and planning on exploring new fisheries. I managed to keep the same fly rod through the years. It went years untouched, but now it is being used again. 

When I found out my girlfriend was going to school at UC Davis, I knew I was going to be visiting the area and near new waters. I started doing my research and Putah Creek showed up. I remember reading about Putah Creek as a kid in regional fishing books and forums, but I never had the opportunity to fish it. It was somewhere I always wanted to try. Last week, I came up from San Jose for the first time, and explored Putah for the first time. I used a spinning rod with a little panther martin. Of course I caught nothing except the attention of some anglers who knew I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I needed to bring my old, undersized fly rod out. I researched and prepared all week for my next opportunity to fish. Yesterday, I fished for three hours. I lost a handful of flies and tangled a couple leaders, but I connected with a fish! It came unbuttoned a few seconds later, but success! In the parking lot, I met some anglers: Son, Kevin S, and Jeff. They were supportive and gave me some good tips on fishing and safety on the creek. Son saw me almost take a swim...I rushed over to the creek first thing this morning to land my first wild rainbow. My rig was a little bit different, and casting it felt more difficult. I constantly tangled with shore plants and with my own line and leader, but I patiently untangled and kept fishing. I hooked into what felt like a nice fish. The initial pumps were hard and fast, but it came off. I checked my leader and the fish broke me off...maybe I tied a bad knot. Improved clinch doesn't feel as strong as the palomars I usually tie, but I was trying to do everything by the book. I worked upstream maybe 50 yards with no action, so I decided to just walk back downstream and repeat. I figured the fish down there I was farting around with earlier weren't spooked anymore by all the commotion I made walking and casting. 

Then I set the hook into something living. It felt so strong, then it cleared the air. It was a fat rainbow! I tried to fight the fish to the best of my ability and just hoped it wouldn't come off. It peeled some line, ran towards some submerged branches, but I was able to put the brakes on it. The best way I could describe it was attempting to manage a chaotic event. Without a net, I started backing up to try to land the fish, falling on my back in the process. Luckily the fish stayed on and I had it in hand!! It took a size 20 black zebra midge as a dropper fly. It was hooked kind of near the mouth but kind of on the gill plate...I'll take it! I made sure my hand was wet, kept the fish in the water while I snapped a quick photo, unhooked it, and watched it swim off lazily. It wasn't that big maybe 13" inches, but it felt huge to me! My waders are leaky and I was cold and soaked. I made a few more casts but I was done! After one drift I found both my flies were gone and I decided to call it a morning. It took three sessions on the creek for me to hook up with a fish. I lost close to 10 flies and a couple messed up leaders. But I am on cloud nine! Thank you to all the anglers I talked with and helped me land my first wild rainbow. I was happily surprised at how friendly and supportive everyone I met was despite my obvious googan-ness. Only took me 15 or so years to find that fish I was looking for ever since I got that rod for my birthday. I apologize for the long life story post, I figured I would write something nice for everyone to read as an introduction post. 

A question, safety first. I don't want to take a nasty fall in some water I shouldn't have been in. What are some basic wading safety points to learn with the flows and with choosing places to cross or wade? Thank you everyone...

Stephen



__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 675
Date:
Permalink  
 

The number one safety thing for me that I do on every stream I fish is use a wading staff. Lots of folks spend money on flyfishing specific staffs but my go to has always been a cheap rake handle from ace hardware, home depot or the like. They are incredibly tough and last forever. Drill a hole through the end to attach a cord and you are in business.

Welcome to the forum.

__________________

Play hard, age early



Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 286
Date:
Permalink  
 

Welcome Stephen and thank you for your story as it reminds me of my first attempts fishing the Putah. I enjoyed five fishless outings before my first Putah trout. Steve Karr took me out ten years ago and showed me the ropes and I have loved the creek ever since. The challenge is it’s reward.

People like Steve, Son, Kevin, and Jeff are great ambassadors for the sport and specifically for Putah. They are willing to take the time and share the resource. They are the opposite of a goober - those thinking only of themselves and considering everyone else as competition or a threat. We all need to pause, take a refreshing breath and be harder to offend. The resource is small and precious but With some effort everyone can find space and opportunity.

May you find even more success on the creek and more importantly pass on the good karma.

Dan

__________________
Be hard to offend and easy to impress


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 51
Date:
Permalink  
 

Regardless of age you cannot go wrong with a wading staff.

I've used a old aluminum ski pole that I bought at a Goodwill for $1.00 for many years- until the wife surprise with a wading staff for Christmas one year.



-- Edited by PC20 on Tuesday 23rd of October 2018 03:29:16 PM

__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 173
Date:
Permalink  
 

You must remember that you are WADING, not WALKING. Orvis has an excellent series of short videos on Youtube about wading. I recommend that you watch them. And get a wading staff. An old ski pole is fine, the longer the better. Just make sure that you attach it to yourself. You can get elastic cord at the hardware store.

__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 6
Date:
Permalink  
 

Stephen, 

Thanks for sharing your story!  It is a great reminder of why we love the sport, how perseverance pays off and the excitement of connecting with that first fish.  Congrats and well done!  I, like you, have benefited greatly from the kindness and expertise of anglers like Kevin and Son, who were willing to share their hard earned knowledge with me and help me along when I was first learning the creek.  The vast majority of anglers I have encountered on the creek are the same way, and most are more than willing to share riffles and engage in some fun "competition" for the best fish - always in good spirit.  

Regarding safety, yes, Putah is tough wading.  Even with a wading staff (which I confess I do not always use) I have taken my share of spills and overtopped my waders, which makes for a cold and unpleasant day.  Nevertheless, a staff is a good idea, and can save you from going down in some situations.  For much of the day polarized glasses can really help; they cut the glare so you can better see obstacles when you are wading.  Take it slow and when possible observe others or ask them what route they take so you don't end up in a bad situation.  Over time you will get to know the flows, the creek and when and where you can safely wade.

See you on the water!

Jeff

    



__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 173
Date:
Permalink  
 

And NEVER turn your back to the current.

__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 135
Date:
Permalink  
 

The thing I remember most when I read about wading is that you should try to establish 3 stable points before taking the next step.  In other words, make sure your feet are stable and the wading staff is planted before taking your next step.  It helps to keep the wading staff on the downstream side.  One other thing that I do is go to my local hardware store and get 1/4 inch machine screws to put into my felt soles.  That really helps.  Finally, wear a wading belt. All that being said be careful.  I've had a couple of near misses at Putah and almost drowned on the Stanislaus River.  Some people wear flotation vests that have an inflation canister.  I don't.  In regards to paths around the creek.  Good luck.  You will have to do some exploration to find out which leads to a productive spot and which leads you to a black berry patch.  Putah is a difficult creek to wade compared to some other streams.  When the weather and water are warm I always wade wet.  It's much easier to wade without the drag of waders in the water.  

My final beware--It sounds like you are rapidly becoming addicted to fly fishing.  You are going down a slippery slope.  The sport is getting more expensive and you will soon be wanting to upgrade equipment.  Remember to keep things simple.  Find a rod that works for nymphs and or drys.  A short rod works at Putah, but long rods make it easier to drop flies behind rocks without wading into potential fish.  If possible learn to tie your own flies.  It is rewarding and lots of fun.  Finally, stay away from steelhead.  If a trout is working on you, a steelhead will destroy whatever sanity you have left and leave you constantly thinking about where, when, how, and whats the weather like.



__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 675
Date:
Permalink  
 

If a trout is working on you, a steelhead will destroy whatever sanity you have left and leave you constantly thinking about where, when, how, and whats the weather like.

Priceless :)

__________________

Play hard, age early



Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:
Permalink  
 

Thank you everyone for the safety tips. I found a light, lacquered bamboo walking stick with a cord attached that might work as a wading staff. It should be long enough but I’m afraid the bamboo may weaken or warp if in water for extended periods of time. I’ll still try it.

Another question...I’ve been reading up how to set the hook on a drift. I am sure I missed a handful of strikes. I read about setting the hook downstream with a horizontal swing. However, I can only imagine this type of hookset working on one side of a creek depending on what hand you’re casting with. For example, I was casting with my left hand with the current going from my left to right. Setting the hook downstream would have been an awkward motion and I can’t imagine myself being able to get the line tight with one smooth swing. I’m guessing my leader length also plays a role in fine tuning a rig that will be easy to hook set with. What are some things I can tweak with my set technique or rig that might increase my chances of connecting?

Thank you everyone again. I will try to pay it forward in the future!

__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 199
Date:
Permalink  
 

Set downstream always. Doesnt matter what side your on or if your left or right handed. Also doesn’t matter whether the set comes above or below you in the drift. The only time you wouldn’t set downstream is if an obstruction is blocking you from doing so.

When you set down stream the hook turns to the cheek. There is more surface area, radius, and meat to burry metal into. Setting up stream can only hit there beak. Most off the time it misses and gets pulled out of their mouth.

__________________


Veteran Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 98
Date:
Permalink  
 

Love this post! Welcome to the addiction. Hope to see you out there.

FYI, most people (and all responsible ones) avoid fishing the creek after mid-November-ish, since the fish are spawning and we don't want to disturb their redds. We can't have fish without them having babies! Probably, mid April is about a safe start up time again - maybe sooner?

As far as hook-sets go, downstream is best, but I have found a simple lift of the rod will work just fine most of the time. I personally don't miss too many sets like that. Some people smash the set really hard. I find that I don't need to rip the fish's face off like that. The hook only needs to move an inch or so to set. For those who don't believe that, put a fly in your hand attached to some line, close your fist around it, and pull the line one inch. I guarantee you won't be thrilled with the result



__________________


Senior Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 286
Date:
Permalink  
 

One inch, fast



__________________
Be hard to offend and easy to impress
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us


Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard