Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First on a Popper

Headed out in a light drizzle this morning to a spillway down the street. It tends to be a very fishy spot during and after rain storms. I tied on a popper in hopes of finally landing a fish on a topwater fly. Up until now it has been a story of many takes, no hooksets. A few casts in I connected with this:

Not only my first on a popper, but also happened to be the first fish I've fought with my fly reel, he struck the popper after the first strip and the line went taught. Unfortunately as I was making my next cast, the skies opened up and lightning started striking in the vicinity. I wish I could have stayed a bit longer, but not too bad for a 15 minute trip.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fly Tying Station

Like many before me have and many after me will, I decided I wanted to fabricate a custom work station for my new found hobby of fly tying. Google was my best friend for about a weeks worth of searches, everything from how-to articles for making a bench all the way to image searches of retail benches to obtain ideas from. I took notes and listed things I liked and didn't like about certain designs, as well as certain aspects I had to have and others I couldn't do without. I decided I wanted:

  • open space to lay all the tying materials for whatever particular fly I was to be tying
  • storage spots for my small containers (head cement, dubbing wax, etc) 
  • a type of tool rack along the sides so I could have a few bobbins ready plus all of my basic tools
  • some type of finish on the base so I could easily clean up any spilled head cement  

I finally settled with a mash up of at least a half dozen different benches and came up with my own plans. Off to the hardware store I went in search of three things, a veneer covered shelf of a workable size, an 8 foot length of 1x4 oak, and wooden dowel rods.

I found a roughly 1 foot by 2 foot shelf covered in a white acrylic veneer, perfect for my base and perfect for my budget around 4 dollars. I opted for 10 feet of oak to leave myself room for error, and that was 15 dollars. Two dowel rods, one size for support and one for thread spools brought the grand total to just under 20 dollars.

Excited about my frugality I got to work right away. I worked off the dimensions of the base and came up with this:

I began by building a frame of vertical pieces on the sides and back. I then measured and cut a piece to lay flat along the back wall with hole saw cut outs for head cement and other items. The side pieces were topped off with a series each of 5/16 and 3/8 inch holes to accommodate all the basic fly tying tools. Bobbins, scissors, bodkins, bobbin threaders, hackle pliers, and even wire cutters can all have a home. On the left I used one of the 3/8 inch holes and made another directly below it to accommodate my vice. Most vices have a 3/8 inch stem so when I upgrade vices it will essentially be plug and play. The side panels are screwed to the side and back walls, but also have a dowel running through them and through the base for added support. This offers extra storage space underneath the tool racks.  Last but not least I affixed dowels in pre-drilled holes along the top of the black walls to hold spools of thread, tinsel, ribbing, and lead.

All in all I am pretty happy with the finished product. It suits all of my needs as a novice/hobby fly tyer and was extremely budget friendly at under $20 dollars.

Friday, August 26, 2011

First Bass on the Fly

I first picked up a fly rod two weeks ago, and I have loved it every cast since. I started small by tying my own flies for bream, and I have had some pretty decent luck targeting bluegill from local canals and ponds. I expected that I may catch some bass while targeting bream, and I was very excited when I watched this fish flash from the depths and inhale my Panfish Charlie fly. I have caught easily 100 pounds worth of 5 pound bass on spinning tackle in my lifetime, but none left me as exhilerated as my first on a fly. For the record, he was 13 inches and probably weighed just under two pounds.