Thursday, December 24, 2009

Vote! Fish of the Year.

Updated: 2009 Fish of the Year: Tarpon

Help us settle a year end holiday dispute at This River is Wild. Which fish over the past year was the greatest? We each put in two entries for fish of the year and hopefully our small readership will help end the bickering between us (there really is none). So what makes the fish of the year? Is it the size of the fish, story and experience, or beauty? Here are the entries with an accompanying link to the post. Vote on the top right of the blog. Happy holidays!

Option 1: Adam's First Canal Carp
Weeks of toiling in the mosquito infested canal of Walnutport culminated in this massive golden bone. Story & more images here: Flawless Victory

Beautiful Savage River Brown.

Option 3: Bonefish

As a birthday present for my brother, Stacy took Matt out to a remote island where wading the flats, he landed his first ever bonefish. Story and pictures here: Chasing Tail.

Bro's First Bonefish.

Option 4: Tarpon.

Out with a friend, Matt tied into a 80 pound tarpon that schooled him in the surf while evading a curious shark. Story and images here: Megalops Atlanticus

The first Tarpon: Deliverance

Epic Tarpon Battle From the Rocks.

Option 5: Salmon River Brown

As the rain began to fall, Adam tested out a tri-cluster egg sucking leech. The brown exploded off the bottom as the fly hit the water. Story and images here: Salmon River Revenge

More epic brown trout: Shooting Stars

Salmon River Brown on the Tri-Cluster Leech.

Option 6: Lago X Carp

My best day ever Carp fishing culminated in this brute that was slowly stalked and picked off some weed beds. A blistering run and my fly line disappeared into the middle of the lake. Story and images here: CARP!

Goliath Lago-X Carp.

Although these fish may not be the largest fish we caught all year, they certainly were some of the more memorable. As the new year approaches, new water and challenges await us that are sure to produce more memories and even more epic moments.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Under The Willow Tree.

The Willow Tree

The holidays are more than just a chance to catch up with family and friends, down a lot of food, and open lots of presents. They present the angler with a chance to rediscover the home water they frequented during their days as a young angler. During my holiday I took a short walk to the local "creek" to hopefully catch some wild browns. The thermometer didn't reach the 30s and snow littered the landscape. My first stop was under a willow tree. During my young days my brother and I would swing across the creek using its long slim limbs as ropes. Little did I know at the time but the tree created the perfect home for some eager wild browns.

A Look Down At the Hole.

Indian Trail Park.

Ice Droplets.


Holdover Brookie.

First Wild Brown.

Soft Hackle Hares Ear.

One Big Blue Dot.

Pushed the 4wt to the Max.


Wild or Stocked? I Say Stocked.

Small Parr Marks.

Wild or Stocked. I Say Wild.


Small Mayfly.

Cressbugs Were Everywhere.

Indian Stonefly.

One Last Wild Brown Completes The Experience.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Saturday Night Lights.

A trip north to the Salmon River canceled, Adam and I decided to have a fly tying night at my place. Much to the dismay of my mother, our material was spread out about the kitchen table and all over the floor. It was an open table night so anything was fair game. We broke in a fresh case of winter brew and began discussing recent ties, fishing excursions, and materials. I say we spent about half the time discussing and about half the time actually tying.

The Brew: Winters Bourbon Cask Ale

The Table.

On the menu were a variety of flies. I mainly tied saltwater patterns for an upcoming trip to the British Virgin Islands. Several tarpon toads, crazy charlies, baitfish patterns, and a cuda squid. It will be my first time saltwater fly fishing in the Caribbean and these first salt flies will be put to good use . On the other hand, Adam mainly concentrated on tying tube fly intruders. Together we have been branching out into the world of two hand rods and swinging flies and have been transfixed by tubes and intruders. Once you get bitten by a new bug, it can be hard to let go. Despite lacking the necessary materials you improvise at the vice and create your own little patterns. Hopefully the steelhead these flies will target will become as transfixed by them as we are.

A Dilemma: What Next?

Purple Toad With Rabbit Tail.

Shrimp Pattern.

Enrico Puglisi Baitfish

8 Inch Squid Pattern.
Here Cuda Cuda Cuda.

Blue Raccoon Finn Intruder.

Purple Raccoon Finn Version.

A Thick Purple Intruder Tube.

Conehead Tube Fly.

Polar Fibre Minnow.

Chartreuse Toad With Marabou Tail.

Needlefish Flies.

Dark Crab Imitation.

Lighter Version With Eyes.

Hopefully A Bonefish Finds These Attractive.

Size 16 Flashback Pheasant Tails.

Size 20 Mercury PTs.

Size 26 & 28 Al's Rats.

Adam's Pink Intruder Destroyer.

The Fly of the Night In Action.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

First Snow.

An early wake up call has me up and out of bed. I have a date with some brown trout I have been meaning to catch. I slowly ease into several layers of fleece and head out into the kitchen, my dogs at my heels. My 83 year old grandmother is already busy cleaning the house. She resembles more of a 65 year old and moves more like a 50 year old. Her life based around hard work, always moving, always fixing, always cleaning. Non-stop. A work ethic honed on the home front during WWII. She takes one look at me and pops the question. "Are you going fishing?" I answer "yes," and she gives me a short lecture about how I shouldn't be going out in this kind of weather, especially alone, during hunting season. I mentally register her wisdom knowing full well that she is probably right. She usually is. I quickly grab some breakfast and get my gear together. Only the essentials. The date will be short and I need to be back in time for a wedding.

Tight Quarters.

Caddis Pupa.

First Brown of the Day.

The air outside is bitingly cold and feels of snow, the forecast saying several inches are on the way. It will be my first snow fall of the year. I hit the road and head up over the mountain taking note that it is December and the ski slopes are snow less. Not for long. I decided on taking the scenic route rather than the highway. I prefer a narrow windy road over the boredom of monotony. Along the way I take note of all the water I am passing over. The flows are high and slightly off color. Perfect for where I am heading. A tiny freestone stream home to beautiful wild brown trout. In the summer, they are almost impossible to catch, spooking well before you see them. This time I will have the advantage. Arriving the water is roaring and the stream has turned into a mini-Savage River. Heaven. I hit the stream just as the first snow is falling from the sky.


Soft Hackle.

The Water Was Really Warm.


A lot More Spots.

Short Unexciting Clip.

I ease into the fast water careful not to make too much of a disturbance. Casting room is tight. Evergreens hang over the water on the far bank and thorn bushes and other foliage on the other side. I almost regret bringing an 864 rod but it actually comes in handy managing my line in the current conditions. Soon, several nice browns come to hand working a slow seem under the evergreens. The fish are taking shelter in along the edges, away from the fast currents. They are eagerly picking off anything floating their way including a heavily weight soft hackled hares ear. The browns are gorgeous still sporting their fall colors. They fight extra hard in the fast currents. Some pulling as hard as a twenty inch stocky. I start to make my way upstream. The higher flows have created wading conditions similar to the Savage too. I am extra careful.

Elevation Change.

Snow, Cold, & Camera = Blurry Pictures.

Awesome Dark Spotted Brown.

Small Stream Love.

I approach a long deep hole that I know holds a very large brown trout for the stream. I have fooled him twice before and he has also schooled me twice before. I start working the long deep run and catch several fish. Puzzled I stand up out of my kneeling stance checking out the new seems created by the high flows. A new small back eddy had formed along the far side cliff. I moved upstream and drifted my nymph through the eddy high sticking to keep my line away from the current flowing downstream. The nymph follows the back eddy against the current and the big brown takes. He is pushing sixteen inches and I bring him slowly towards me as he does his best to pull into a slate overhang. He tires and I bring him into my feet. As I bend over, he makes one last move and shakes the barbless hook darting back to his lair. All I can do is smile. The snow is coming down hard now and all is peaceful.


Deep Hole, Browns Hanging Out in the Slow Stuff.

Biggest Landed of the Day.

Gorgeous Fish.

Thanks, Little Guy.

As I return home, the ski slopes are covered in a nice layer and the mountain is obscured in an enveloping snow storm. Everything has a fresh coat of white and it adds to the overall experience. A little over an hour on a small stretch of wild water and my addiction is satiated for the day. Arriving home, my grandmother is still cleaning. She is surprised to see me back so soon. She thinks the weather scared me off the water and is happy to see me back home. So are the dogs and I head back out into the fray for some fun.

Mountain Top.

Riley Wants Hunting Season To End.