Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Support Your Local Fly Shop & The Little Guy

With the Holiday season in full swing I thought it would be good to mention some of the local fly shops out there and the little guys out there that offer some great custom an American made products!  Local fly shops are great they give you that one on one service and will at times go the extra mile to help a person out an put them on fish or just get them started in the sport.  The little guy offer some very cool products they don't usually get a lot of the hype from some of the big fly fishing magazines but that aside some of there products are the best out there on the market.   

Located in Lewisburg is Serenity Now Outfitters.  Craig Miller runs the shop and is one of the top musky on a fly guys in WV.  Serenity Now offers a full service location for everything from fly fishing, outdoor techincial clothing, to kayaking gear.  You will find great brands such as Life Is Good, Old Town, Ross Reels, Scott, Patagonia, to Happy Chaco Feet.  If your around the Greenbrier stop in and see Craig!

Anglers Xstream located in South Parkersburg on Camden Avenue is run by Dave Carpenter.  Dave is very knowledgable about all things outdoors and always likes to talk fishing.  They offer fly tying classes that can be tailered to meet your demands as well as fly casting school.  From trout to musky they offer fly fishing equipment for all species of fish.

Elk Springs Fly Shop located right on the banks of the Elk River C&R on the Mill Pool.  Dave Breitmeier and Patrick Skeen can help you out and point you in the right direction no matter if you want to throw small Elk River 32s, big streamers, or chase some mountain brookies!  Elk Springs offers a fully stocked shop with brands like Orvis, Sage, Redington, Echo, Simms and Rio .  They have all the little gadgets and the right flies those trout are snacking on.  They also have a few of the best guides around to put you on those Elk River brown trout.

Yet another of fly shops located in Clarksburg is Evergreen Fly Fishing Company. They offer a large selection of fly tying supplies, thousands of flies, tons of books, and of course a good selection of rods and reels.  They carry brands such as Simms, Chota, Scientific Anglers, and Lamson.  Stop in and see Larry if your in the area.

Harman's Luxury Log Cabins located in Cabins, WV offer nice cabins for a family get away and a private stocked section of the North Fork of the South Branch to fish with trophy sized trout.

Woodlands World is just across the WV boarder in PA.  DJ Casto a WV native runs the store and they offer a 10,000 square foot store full of fishing, hunting, and camping gear.  They offer competitive pricing from many big name companies such as Carhart, Realtree, Remington, Yeti and Orvis.  If you need anything for any outdoor activity they are the place that can hook you up. 

Another fly shop located across the boarder in VA is South River Fly Shop in Waynesboro, VA.  The shop is ran by Tommy Lawhorne and Kevin Little a WV native.  They run a fly shop with a country store atmosphere and gear to support every need.  They offer gear from Dan Bailey, Chota, Mystic, Echo, TFO, and Galvan.

For those who catch that trophy fish or kill a trophy of a deer or another animal one the best taxidermists in the state is Chad See at Mount'n Critters Taxidermy.  Located in Valley Head, WV Chad brings art to full form in his Taxidermy work.  He is always willing to recreate that trophy catch and bring it back to life and make it a memory that will last a lifetime.  His work is award winning!

Some other great companies to check out this Holiday Season:

Vedavoo provides American built gear for the road less travelled.  Scott does some awesome custom work and has create some very cool products.  His new daypack works perfect for any task its faced with from doing a day trip to the stream or as a diaper bag taking the new child out on the town.  Some other cool things they offer is the Hip Pack and the Tight Lines Sling Pack.  They also offer some awesome T-Shirt and Hoody designs!

Risen Fly is a great new company on the rise from Beaver Falls, PA.  There goal is to create a very affordable product that will rival the name brand companies.  The Ichthus fly reel is there first entry into the fly reel market and its a great first step a great reel to check out, and also the Anakim there other reel also offers a great priced reel for those larger fish.  They offer some great affordable fly lines in there Alpha Fly Lines.  With a soon to be released rod series I am sure you will be hearing some great things from Risen next year.  Its great to see a company with such great moral values as well!

SmithFly is another company out there that provides some awesome made in the USA modular fly fishing gear in Troy, OH.  They build everything from bags, to vests, to waist packs.  One of the cool new products they offer is the Cooler Kilt that allows you to hook up all your pouches with gear directly on your cooler that way the gear is always right there!


Goat Head Sole Spikes a fairly new company out there offer a cool new product.  They offer a traction spike that screws directly into any outdoor shoe including fishing boots.  They provide great traction on the stream or any slippery situation your in outdoors. 

Fisknat Landing Nets offers a complete line of rubber bag landing nets.  Made completely in the US they offer several choices of woods for there handles and come in several sizes and styles from the San Juan hand net to the Clark Fork boat net.  Great products and awesome customer service.

Recycled Waders is a unique company that brings a cool way of recycling old non used waders into fishing gear.  They recycle old leaky waders and create durable, water resistant, lightweight products.  They offer a cool greenback wallet that is a  perfect addition to any fly fisherman's wardrobe as well as several different packs and bags.

Vermont Fly Guys tie up some awesome flies.  Ken Capsey and WV native Brian Price tie up some pretty wicked fish treats.  They will hook you up with everything from Predator flies for musky and pike to flies for all your steelhead needs.

Free Fly Apparel provides some cool apparel for the fisherman.  There bamboo clothing is designed with freedom and motion in mind.  The maker of our WVAngler sun masks and also some cool Ts!

Cliff Outdoors offer some cool built fly boxes that holds everything from those big musky predator flies in there bugger beast to articulated flies to a few flies for a day on the stream in there days worth box.  There simple design helps keep big flies organized!

If your looking for a guide this Holiday season there is several out there also from some of the fly shops we mentioned but also:
Spring Creek Outfitters and Harold Harsh will put you on those North Branch fish that you have always wanted to go after.

Matt Miles Fly Fishing and Matt Miles located in Lychburg, VA.  Matt will put you on everything from Musky, to Smallmouth, to huge Stripers!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Polishing the Chrome

I had some vacation time coming up so the week before I kept watching the weather patiently trying to figure out what direction to head: Elk River in WV, Elk Creek in PA or some musky on the fly.  Well the weather man cooperated and gave us some awesome rain which brought the streams up way high and off colored and that meant a good run of steelhead on the Lake Erie tributaries.  Ryan from Risen Fly kept me updated on the status of reports and conditions and I was getting pumped up for the trip up to Erie for some fun fishing.  My buddies were headed home from a great NY fishing trip and chimed in on the water conditions on the Mile streams as well saying they looked perfect.  It was leading up to be a great trip and a good start to vacation.  Sunday night comes and one buddy got stuck working but then my good friend Zach "McFishin" messages me and asks if anyone is going and if I care he comes along, keep in mind McFishin just got home from NY that evening never unpacked and was ready to head north again a real fishing machine and at least the trip wasn't going to be a solo one its always good sharing the water with a good friend!  After 2 hours of sleep the car is packed and I am off to Fairmont to meet up with Zach to make the trip North to steelhead country, who needs sleep when fishing is involved just open a bottle of mountain dew and your good to go!
After a few hours of interstate driving we had arrived and were  thrilleed to see conditions were great and the parking area wasn't even that crowded to start out.  We stepped out and was greeted with some cool air so we layered up strung up the rods tied on a couple flies and off to Elk Creek we were headed.  It was a new section I had never fished before we started out on but had some great runs and looked super fishey.  McFishin started off in a nice fast run while I got my rig just right and was into a fish in no time at all.  Things looked like they were going to be crazy all day but after some slow fishing I was afraid I was jinxed by the $6.66 total from Sheetz.  We fished our way downstream with not much action at all and by settled in on one big slick.  In no time I rared back and fish on we were into them again but after three lost steelhead later the skunk was still smelling strong.  We figured we would change some things up and change locations to a new access area and some good fish holding water.  After speaking to several people and no one seeming to have any luck but maybe landing one if they were lucky we heard a lot of "we didn't see any fish" comments.  So as we started off on this lower run we knew there had to be fish in there with these cold temps and great flow on top of these off colored water conditons it was perfect but fly after fly no fish seemed to be cooperating and we were starting to wonder. 

As we rounded the bend and found yet another run I looked up and Zach was into some chrome a sight that was soon to become all to famlier!  I missed several more and Zach landed a couple more.  The stream was starting to empty as people weren't getting into fish.  Zach wanted to get the skunk off me so he gave me some tips and set me up in a nice tailout in no time the rod was bent and I was finally landing my first steelhead of the day finally I was on the board and the fun was really starting.  As Zach went up to try the head of the run he looks back and I am into yet another fish its nice when you get into fish fast and the plan comes together sometimes you just have to sit back read the water find your seams and as Zach says trust your dift, you may not see the fish but they are there you just have to find them and get the setup just right at times.
 We fished a run for a good little bit and must have landed over 10 between us in that one run and lost way more than that there they are easy to hook sometimes but landing at times is a whole other thing.  By the time we were done the stream looked empty but the WVAngler duo had opened up a whole can of kick butt.  We landed around 15 between us and hooked up with over twice that amount so the action was good and it ended up being a great day on the stream with a good buddy.  Sometimes when the action gets slow step back work on the depth of your rig, change those flies, and make sure you are fishing the right seams but mainly keep after it with some faith and dedication it will happen for sure!  It took a while but I polished up a few things and the chrome was shining before the day was done.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Butter For More Than Breakfast!

Some butter in the back country
Since I heard the news Redington was coming out with a new fiberglass rod offering I was pretty stoked to say the least.  I counted down the days as I figured this rod would be a perfect choice for back country fishing and for small farm ponds.  They hit the name right with it when they called it the "Butter Stick" it even has a pretty cool buttery kinda look.  My first fly rod was a fiberglass rod way back in the day when I started it was an old fiberglass martin combo that dad had from several years ago and was a great rod to get started fishing several WV waters and just getting my feet wet in fly fishing.  I am a small rod junkie that loves those slow action rods in the 1 to 3wt range.  Redington offers 6 rods in several lengths from 2wt to 5wt actions.  I figured the best choice was the 6'2" 2wt rod. 
They are all 3 piece rods which make them a great size to throw on a backpack for a back country trip.  I have got to test the rod several times for trout then got to hit up the local pond in search of some bluegill and bass and was pleased with the early results.  Thanks to the great work of the local FedEx crew I was able to pick it up on the way to some deep back country brookies and rainbow trout.  First trip I put it through a good workout with several types of flies.  It threw stimulators with ease, but after trying out some bigger flies you could tell one bad draw back was accuracy was sometimes a problem with big patterns.  However it threw a woolybugger decently for a 2wt and got the job done.  Second trip with we were after some brookies and some browns and it called for some nice long accurate casts.  The Butter Stick was up to the test and threw some good loops, ended up losing a couple really good fish that I would have loved to seen how the 2wt responded to in the battle.

The last trip took me to a farm pond and I was able to get some good long casts with a small popper and it even ended up throwing a sneaky pete that the 2wt responded to very favorably.  Overall I love the slow and smooth action of the rod it has some sweet sexy action for sure with some nice flex.  It easily throws a good 30ft cast on the farm pond I ended up getting a good 40ft out of it.  Even though it has some good flex it also has some good backbone and does great fishing a fish with. Overall its a great rod for those small streams especially when chasing brookies and performs great with blue gills and on farm ponds.  The butter stick is a nice little rod looks good has a cool name and preforms like you would hope!  Only drawback may be a little high in price for a small stream rod, but its a great rod for sure!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Little Walk With God

View from top of WV
To quote Herbert Hoover: " Next to prayer, fishing is the most personal relationship of man."  Sometimes in life we need to immerse ourselves in the amazing creations that we so greatly have been blessed to share while we are on this earth.  Tony Blake said, "Some go to church and think about fishing, others go fishing and think about God."  Living in West Virginia we are blessed with so many great places where we can go and allow our souls to be renewed and refreshed.  Some people need a church to go to so they can pray and think about God but we are blessed with so many awe-inspiring places that you can not help but go to God in prayer.  For me the Seneca Creek back country is one of those places where when I go deep into those woods with no one around and the sound of the rushing waters allows me to go to such a spiritual place.  Things with our family has been a little chaotic lately with some major decisions we have had to make with our future unfortunately, so on this day my wife gave me a much needed day off to fish these extraordinary waters.  I started off taking the view in from the top of WV as the sun awakened another magnificent day.  I reached the trail head knowing a

long hike awaited me but full of excitement for what was ahead and what this great day had in store.  Being out of shape this year a 9 mile hike I wasn't sure about but I had hoped the fishing would make up for those aching legs after the hike.  After a long hike I finally reached the Upper Seneca Creek Falls and strung up my rod for action, which I was really eager to try out Redington's new Butter Stick in a 2wt version, the new fiberglass rod they offer.  The stream flow was a little low and clear but the falls was still flowing good and allowed for that first moment of prayer with God its amazing how a place like this can truly help a persons spirit.  Well the rod was strung up with a faithful stimulator as I seen a trout hovering just below the surface.  In no time a nice wild rainbow trout was the first fish for the day, it was amazing to see such great colors wild fish truly are special creatures and do not get enough praise at times and protection.  After a few casts on top at the falls with no real activity I figured I would try and dredge up something from the deep depths of the pool and what better place to go then a
good old olive woolybugger.  The butter stick doesn't seem to throw bigger or weighted flies with as good as accuracy as you would like but on a small stream you can get by with this at times.  And after a few casts I got by with it indeed as I hooked into a picturesque brookie in his full falls colors.  I hung around the pool for a while and soaked up all its pure beauty and charm.  I headed off up stream and the rainbows were eager to eat the stimulator as well as some brookies.  It seemed on this day the rainbows were a little more willing to take the fly for me as the brookies were a little more skiddish in those crystal clear waters, but when trout are this vibrant its hard to complain what type they are!  Sometimes the fish is truly a bonus on a trip on this trip in particular the fish were an extra special bonus as just being in some of God's great country was the true bonus.  The day allowed me to pray a lot about life and just reflect and know that no matter what he will always be there to help and a rising trout makes life always seem so much better!  Yes sometimes its about more than the fish and sometimes a walk with God is on a trout stream and sometimes those streams really do heal us!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Serving Fruit Cocktails

Eating the Fruit Cocktail
Fall is a awesome time of year.  Cooler mornings but the water temps are still great for some wading and flows aren't to bad so you can cover some good ground fast.  Today started with some overcast and was followed up with a nice long shower.  I figured it would be a good day to go searching for some smallies.  It was dad and Annie May day today and grandma had not seen her for a while so that gave me a good excuse to run off the hill and find some fish.  I love throwing poppers to smallies the aggressive take and explosion on top water is awesome then you get some great jumps to follow!  I broke out the fruit cocktail deer hair popper and started the day off where I had fished not long ago and did decent.  And before you knew it the popper had been inhaled and a good smallie was leaping from the depths.  The flows weren't great but the fish were still holding good in the weed beds and were aggressively taking top water.  Didn't take much longer and another good fish was on but after a few good jumps he was swimming back to the depths and the hook was thrown.  After another missed take the next two fish went much smoother good hook sets and good jumps and we had another two good smallies in hand.  Dry flies and streamers are fun but to me there is a big rush when you get something that blows up and absolutely handles a popper!  A quick trip on Fishing Creek and three solid smallies all on the popper not a bad way to spend a day!
Nice smallie on top water

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Good Labor Day

Well Labor Day started with my wife and Annie May heading to a friends to hang out with her and her kids for a little while.  I was told to drop her off and go fishing...hmm I haven't been a husband that long and dad way less but when the wife says go fishing I do  not blink at the chance I head to find some water as quick as I can.  This year has been a rough year on some local waters its been a wet year and when it rains well its usually chocolate milk and tough fishing for a while and this summer its been that way a lot.  Labor Day marked something else some fairly good conditions on the local creek so instead of heading to the ponds I pulled off in wide spot after a bridge where there is some good weed beds and strung up the 7wt with a nice sized popper.  Started off fairly slow, the water had a good flow but I seemed to be turning nothing then all a sudden right off a weed back whack first smallie fish on but not long enough after a few jumps away he went back into the depths.  I pressed onward and upstream still some better water was ahead and I had hopes of making this a good day when all a sudden a nice boil behind the popper and we have another solid hook up.  This fish was not like the others however he was solid the immediate bend in the 7wt was a good sign of things to follow.  The fish inhaled the popper so the hook set was good and after several water clearing jumps that was probably a good thing.  After a nice battle the smallie was at my feet and to my surprise a very good one! After a few pictures and a quick release we were back at it running the popper past weed beds.  Another decent smallie and it was a good day on the water, but then again any day on the water seems like a good day!

A Crappie Day Fishing

Sometimes a crappie day fishing can turn into a good day.  Today it was just dad and Annie May kinda day.  I had to run out to the store the Heinz Ketchup supply had gotten horror story low so I figured we'd take a walk around the local farm ponds on the way.  It seemed like a cool morning with the sun not to bright yet so I figured it was a good time to get some time outside with the kiddo.  I had the 7wt already strung up with a good sized popper so I figured we would see if any largemouth were looking ready to eat something if not I figured we could downsize and maybe get lucky and pick up a few bluegills.  I was not hoping for much just happy to be outside with my baby girl.  After a few casts had a big boil behind the popper set the hook and a good rod bend I figured we had another good sized largemouth on our hands at least that's what I was hoping for but I would soon be greatly surprised.  A few fish have alluded me for some reason and a crappie was one of those fish I have yet to catch especially on a fly.  Well today that all changed.  After a good fight and some nice rod bending I had at my feet a chunk of a crappie taped out at 13 1/2 inches not bad for a public farm pond fish!  Got to spend the day with a kid, get a good walk in, and land a fish that had alluded me until this point I will take that any day of the week!!  It was the only fish of the day but at least it was a good one! Keep casting you never know what you may hook into one day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thankful For A Good Wife

Sometimes you have to be thankful for a good wife.  This year has been a busy one and not as much
time on some streams with a new baby.  But lately the wife has been giving me the green card to chase some fish.  Today started with a trip to town well of course I had to throw the fly rod in for that just in case there is a chance to fish.  Treated her to a nice Chinese lunch.  That wine and dine thing sometimes gives you that green light to fish and in this case sure enough I got some time on the mighty Ohio again.  Started off with the Chart Clouser as its been good to me the last few days.  And in no time big fish is hooked unfortunately it got in the swift water quickly and in no time the hook was out and a good hybrid was lost.  Figured I would change things up and try the upper section for a while and much to my delight three quick fish in succession they were tearing up the clouser.  Well those just were not what I was looking for I was keyed into a bigger fish with some size so dropped down to the lower spot and kept hitting the seam and wham there he was right where he should have been.  Nice good fight out into the swift water and in no time I had a 19 inch hybrid at my feet a good fish on the fly for sure.  Tried to the upper section and finished the day out with another small fish. 

My brother in law has been getting into fly fishing big time and we were going to hit the the local farm ponds up.  So I look at the wife and she gives me the green light again.  Two times in one day I must be doing something right maybe its the beard I dunno.  After a nice soaking rain figured a few
blue gill would be possible on top water and such.  Started off with a little bigger cork one and missed a few fish right off the bat.  Figured I better scale down and try to get into some blue gill so went with a smaller sneaky pete.  After that was able to land two small bass on the top water.  The lower pond just wasn't full of excitement TJ had a few fish in and I had a couple so we elected to go try out the upper pond as dusk was approaching even though it was a pond I never had much luck in except for a few small sun fish from time to time.  So kept the sneaky pete on since it seemed to have been working.  Noticed a good boil right next to some tall grass not far from shore and snuck in a cast.  Next thing I know the Sage One is fully bend and I am not gaining much ground at all hes hugging the bottom and not moving much.  Finally I got some leverage and was highly surprised with a good 20 inch Largemouth!  Nice way to end the evening on the water.  A lucky day getting on the water twice thanks to that special wife I have!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hybrids From the Milky Way

To many times as fisherman we look at water that's off colored or chocolate milk looking and see some choppiness and flow to it and we get all nervous and think I can't catch fish in that type of conditions.  We lose all the confidence we have as fisherman of just fishing holding waters or what they call fishy looking areas instead of just fishing to fish.  Sometimes doing this we pass on great fishing days when big fish no matter if its trout or bass come out to play in those murky waters.  Past couple days coming from and going to work I decided to try my luck in these waters.  I pulled in both times to a deserted fishing area with no one around.  Sunday evening I pulled out the Echo 10wt and tied on a newly tied up Chartreuse Clouser minnow.  Things started off a little slow and was hoping for a little bit of anything when to my surprise I pulled out a small clouser out of some slow water. Well this got me in fish mode and thinking well lets see if any bigger fish are around.  So moved down a little and found a good seam and figured there would be some fish holding in the slower section picking off some bait fish with the water ripping by.  Few casts later good fish misses the fly twice well as they say third time was a charm and we got some bent rod action going on and a drag cranking.  Several more casts and the clouser did its work again and an even better Hybrid soon was at my feet.  Not a bad stop by after work for water that we would sometimes pass on. 

So today I went in a little late to work after I was relieved of diaper duty since the wife was off I figured I had some time to see if I could try some magic again.  Broke out the Redington Predator 11wt to see if we could put some bend in it and tied into the clouser again.  Started checking the
water and wham right in the seam again big fish feeding so a few casts later and the drag is ripping once more another good hybrid on the fly.  Managed another small fish to end a fast pre work trip.  The water isn't always the way it seems sometimes giving it a shot when your not expecting much pays off more than you think.  For me I was just thankful I had a chance to throw a few flies and lucky enough to land a few solid hybrids.