Friday, June 27, 2014

Crappie Flies: A Few Of My Favorites

I have been feeling a little under the weather this week, so this post which was previously scheduled (my own schedule) to be written has been left on the burner until tonight.  Decided I would make myself tolerate this stomach discomfort and put another post on the blog.

I received an email from a reader who wanted to know what a few of my favorite Crappie flies were.  So with that in mind, let me begin by saying when you are asked to list your favorite flies for any type fish, that it is really all subjective.  For instance: Where do you live? What type of waters do you fish for Crappie?  What time of year do you prefer to fish for Crappie? And, on and on........................

I certainly am happy to share with you a few of the flies that I have had decent success with.  That is my list for today.  A month from now if I were asked, my list might be a little different.  It all depends on the fishing success I am having and if I haven't came across a new absolutely great pattern that I saw somewhere that I just had to add to my fly box.  Plus, Crappie are not a picky fish in as much as what flies they might take on a given day.  The most significant issue is finding good cover (Crappie like good cover via down trees or stick ups or other significant structure), finding a school of Crappie (Crappie school up sometimes in large schools of fish), and then determining depth of fly presentation to reach the school of Crappie.  Last on the agenda is really what fly they might take.  They love small Streamer patterns, Leech patterns, Bead head Nymph patterns, etc. etc.  Crappie are not a fish that I have ever had much success with while fishing a surface Popper or Foam bug like Bluegill.  In the end, there are many, many effective patterns for Crappie.  

Like all the flies I tie anymore, my concept is to keep the patterns simple.  At my age, that means more time fishing and less time preparing to go fishing..................................................

Here are (3) of my favorite Crappie flies.  Note: While I list them here for Crappie understand that they will also fish well for other species of warm water fish and also for our trout efforts, too.
Chartreuse FluffButt
(6 - 10)
See what I mean by simple,  just a marabou tail and chenille body.  To get a jigging action either weight the hook, or, as I often do use a weighted bead at the head of the fly.  Color combinations are your choice and since it takes no time at all to tie, you are able to crank a bunch of these guys in a hurry.  More fishing............................................................
Chartreuse over Pearl White Ice Dub Clouser Minnow
(6 - 10)
Almost takes as long to type out the name of the fly than it does to tie this super effective Crappie pattern.  Weighted eyes get it down, Crappies do the rest of the work.  Also, tied in various color combinations, but, this is one of my favorite combinations. (Before anybody needs to remind me, I know this is not the best picture, but, when you want to go fishing it will work!)
Stayner Ducktail
(6 - 10)
The work horse of my fly box when it comes to many species of fishI believe I have caught more Crappie on this fly than any other.  Probably, because I have faith in the fly and fish it diligently.  Of course, I have talked about this pattern exclusively in a post most recently.
I never leave home to go fly fishing without this pattern in my box.
'Nuff said.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Venture On The Pond

Even though I have been a long time float tuber, fishing everything from the round donuts to the high tech float tubes of today, I find myself spending more time just stalking the shores of my local ponds on foot.  I am, actually, enjoying it every time I get the opportunity.  Looking for hiding spots, structures, weeds, feeding lanes, and other fishy looking places for good fish to hangout.  In other words, even though I own a high tech modern day float tube, it spends its days in the shade of the garage. 

While scrolling around on the internet the other day, I came across an interesting new concept for accessing the ponds, or lakes for that matter.  Thought I would share with you this new mode of on the water transportation.

This is the Venture Outdoors VOModular 5G Pontoon Boat.  Let me say right off the bat, I have never seen this boat in person or talked with anyone from Venture Outdoors about having one.  Just something I saw on the internet that was different and I felt needed a shout out to those of you who fish ponds and lakes by accessing the water instead of fishing from shoreline.
From their website I have borrowed the following information on this Modular Pontoon.
" 5.0' modular rigid kick boat, standard rowing kit with 5' T6061 aluminum oars, 5' long x 12" wide pontoons with internal storage access via 8" round sealing hatch with improved seal design. An innovative design that assembles in one minute. (USA) weighs approximately 50 pounds including oars, oar locks and 4-point fly apron with raised edges and convenient printed ruler. Carries up to 225 pounds + 50 pounds cargo weight. Disassembled unit transports easily in the smallest of cars, the seat bottom and seat back surfaces are comfortable with ergonomic lumbar support. The rigid pontoons do not require an inflation pump and are virtually puncture proof.
Designed for flat water applications.
Dimensions: 60"L x 43"W x 22"H fully assembled.

Available at: Cabela's, Wayfair, Sportsman's Guide, Direct Boats, Oregon Fishing and LLBean.

 Here is a quick video showing how easy this Modular Pontoon Boat is to put together or disassemble.

Again, sight unseen, this just looks like a quick and great process for getting on the water.  If you are so inclined, check out their website or give them a shout of some sort.

In the mean time, I will be stalking the ponds close to home on foot...................................

Monday, June 9, 2014

The "Bug"

I have been busy with thoughts of fly fishing and a mis-guided trip for Crappie due to weather.  Funny how strong winds and pelting rain seem to come up at the most in-appropriate times for fly fisher folk.  Really, all it did, was stoke me for the next trip on the water.  So, in any event, thought I would tell you about The "Bug".

This is a picture of my Granddaughter, Jozee.  She will be, for the purposes of this post, affectionately referred to as The "Bug".
 Now, this picture of The "Bug" was taken several years ago in a Fly shop and Outfitters store in West Yellowstone.  I think this is about the time Grandpa started calling her The "Bug".  See she followed me around the fly shops of West Yellowstone, bugging me and keeping count of Grandpa's dollars.  She made sure that when I finished purchasing my fly shop goodies that I had enough money left over for an ice cream cone.  She certainly fit right in the shop decor.

One of the great things about The "Bug" is, that as a young girl being around Grandpa and other family members who fished, she took an early interest in fishing.  Now, I don't mean to toot my horn here, but The River Damsel, better be aware that there is another generation of River Damsels on the way.  Here is a fairly recent picture of The "Bug" about to hit the fishing road.
Now, The "Bug", stalks the ponds with Grandpa and other family members these days.  She is still learning the fishing ropes and maybe one day will get after them with a fly rod, too.  She is quite proficient at catching Bluegill, Sunfish, and other Perch type.  Here is a picture from just this weekend of her fish catching skills at a local lake.
Ok, so The "Bug" has caught her fair share of fish lately.  She would like me to post all of her pictures, but, I reminded her I wasn't writing a book here just a blog post.  "Grandpa, she asked, you should be sure and tell them about the fish me and my brother caught at the same time." I told her that I probably shouldn't tell that story, the one where her brother fishing one line and The "Bug" fishing a totally different line both hooked the same fish at the same time.  The one about the fish pulling in different directions and you both finally reeling him in standing side by side.  That one about the dumb look on both of your faces as you looked at that poor trout.  I couldn't tell that story on my fishing blog.  My readers would think that you made that story up.  Even, The "Bug" should know that fly fishing Damsels don't lie........................

As a side note to this post, I wanted to mention that The "Bug" recently graduated from grade school and next fall will be joining her fellow friends in something called Junior High.  As we rode home after picking her up at school, I asked The "Bug" if she wanted an ice cream to celebrate her graduating to Junior High.  She said, surprisingly, "No, I just want you to write about me and put some pictures on your blog".  

Well, The "Bug", consider it done.  What a beautiful young Junior High student and Fishing Damsel you will be.
'Nuff said.