Monday, April 14, 2014

BWSEVATU goes to Virginia Beach Library "Try It" Day

On April 5, the Virginia Beach Joint Use Library had its first annual "Try It' Day.  They were looking for unique experiences for their patrons.

What's more unique than catching a wary fish with a bunch of thread, fur, and feathers?

As a representative of the Bill Wills SE VA Chapter of TU, I was asked to provide classes in fly casting and fly tying.

The first session was fly tying.  In had a small but keenly interested group.  We talked about fly tying books and resources and some personal perspective on why fly tying is appealing.  

Then to show the breadth of the art form, I tied a size 2 (saltwater) mummichog clouser and then a size 16 parachute Adams.  It was fun.

Two from my fly tying group and another gentleman joined me outside for some casting.  I provide an assortment of rods from 3 wt. to 12 wt. and explained the types of fish to be caught on each. 

Then I demonstrated general principles of fly casting.

Even with some wind, I was able to put the fly in the hoola hoop.  Not bad!

Of course, the highlight was getting one of the audience to give it a try.  With a little coaching and attention to wrist action, we were getting a reasonable loop.  Again, the small crowd was appreciative.

Large or small crowd, we'll continue to spread the gospel of fly fishing and cold water conservation.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Skidmore Fork, George Washington National Forest, VA, 1-20-14

My friend Chris and I took the day to fish the Skidmore Fork in the George Washington National Forest in northwestern VA. Snow lingered in the shady spots and chunks of ice floated downstream below the bottom-release dam, but the sun warmed the day up into the 50s and it was very pleasant. The brookies didn't seem to be too picky and responded well to brassies of various colors, bead-head pheasant tail nymphs, and other assorted nymphs. It was a fun day!
Skidmore Fork, George Washington National Forest, VA, 1-20-14 from Coastal Explorer on Vimeo.

The Switzer Dam (bottom release) flows into the Skidmore Fork

Photo of the pool just below the dam...

Spawned out fish - long and thin…

Chris nymphing in a pretty run...

Underwater shots by Chris Burbage...

I broke off a lunker in this pool in the spring...

Lingering ice...

Another beautiful run…

What we came for…spectacular!

Trash left in the parking lot...


Friday, December 27, 2013

"The Lure of Adventure Trumps Judgement" or "Our Redfish Trip to Southport NC" - 12/26/13

OK, I admit it.  I'm a sucker for an adventure.  But this time my addiction had outside ramifications, and I claimed a day of David's life.  Let me explain…

I had missed the chance to fish for redfish around Wilmington NC last summer and I've been jonesing ever since.

I was getting reports that the winter fishery had been outstanding and to make the trip down if I could get the chance.  My buddy David, aka "My Leakey Waders" had the day off, so we decided to do a shotgun trip down to Southport - there and back in one day.  The weather report was for overcast skies, light winds (NE 5 MPH) and temps in the low 50s.

We left Virginia Beach at 2 am, cruised past many flashing blue lights on the way to Emporia, VA and then rocketed down I95, then veered south to Wilmington and then SW to Southport.

My inherited aluminum battleship!

My little skiff was in the shop for repairs to a leaky prop seal so our boat of choice was a 14' aluminum battleship - a Sears-built aluminum canoe loaded with rain gear, a couple of 8 weights, spare paddle, stakeout pole, push pole, camera, and some tasty flies.

We got to the Southport marina at around 7:45 am and found ample parking (not a good sign).  We paid our $5 launch fee and shoved off (see #1 marked on the aerial below)  Our plan was to fish the low tide flats around the Elizabeth River. 

We started out fishing along the banks of the creek (#2 below).  The weather reports were a farce!  It was blowing at least 15 and I don't think the temp ever got above the mid 40's

We moved on to the marsh island marked #3 above.  There was a broad beautiful sandy flat that extended to the south of the marsh island.  We didn't see any pushes or disturbance.  It was cold!

Next, we tried fishing up into the narrow creeks at #4 above, hoping to find fish holed up and hiding in the quiet waters there.  No luck!

We continued to fish the shoreline and the oyster outcrops we could see until we got to the Cape Fear River (#5).

We turned to the right hoping to find a lee and fished along the points and shoreline of the big cove at #6.  Nothing.

We could see the exposed extensive oyster flats at #7 and held out hope for a school of reds in this fishy spot.  We struggled to hold the canoe in place with howling winds and a light drizzle but we didn't' see any fish sign and our efforts were for naught.

We paddled into the wind and back to the ramp and called it a day by about 1pm.  

We stopped by the Intercoastal Angler in Wilmington.  Underwhelming….Is there a better fly shop in the area?

Got some java juice and turned the car north.  We went big…we got skunked…we went home.  Made it home by 8 pm.

Yes, it was fun, we enjoyed the brotherhood, we saw many oyster catchers (cool) and were harassed by a mooching pelican, blah, blah, blah…..but we wanted the pull!  

In retrospect, perhaps our (my) judgement to pull the trigger was clouded by the lure of the adventure.  The weather really was less than ideal.  David is too nice and agreeable….(but don't change on me bro!)

On the flipside, we got to see a new area and will be that better prepared for the next foray for NC reds.  Can't wait for the next chance!



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Speckled Trout Fishing in the Lynnhaven River

Papa Carlo and I fished in the Lynnhaven on Veteran's Day.  (Thank you for your service Papa Carlo!)

The tide was low and rising and we started off at the usual place on Keeling's Drain.  Nothing doing so we crossed to the north side and tried a spot near an oyster reef, but that didn't tighten our line either.

We moved again - this time over by Dunkart's Hole on the way to the Western Branch - at the mouth of a small drain.  Pretty near the first cast, I felt taps.  Missed a couple bumps, got my timing down, and was hooked to a nice fish on the 6 wt. and a #2 clouser.

This one was an 18 incher.  Tagged him and sent him back to Neptune.

Caught two more foot-long specks, tagged them  and then took a break.  Carl responded with a nice fish of his own.  He landed the biggest catch of the day - a nice 20" fish on a mummichog-colored half and half fly. 

As the action slowed down, we went back to the starting point, but Keeling's Drain was like a parking lot.  We found a spot off the honey hole but near a rip and I picked up one more little speck.  One more tag for the day.  The boat in the honey hole was catching a speck on damn near every cast and when they finally picked up and left there was a melee rush to get there.  We tried, but didn't want to go all combat fishing so we shied off and finally picked up and headed for the barn.  We had a nice day, caught some quality fish, did our part for science and conservation and had fun to boot.

Can't ask for much more than that!


Monday, November 18, 2013

East Ocean View Fishing Report 11/10/13

I met David and Ron Sunday morning to cast around the breakwaters and jetty in East Ocean View.

We fished the water west for about half a mile in search of speckled trout and then back again, but with no luck.  The fishing was good, but the catching was lousy!

Next time we will get them!