Well, it seems we have moved out of the rain pattern that we have been in just in time for the heat to show up. With the Brandywine water temp up around 80 degrees and all of our local Trout rivers well above the 70 degree mark we are smack dab in the middle of Smallmouth season. A few cool evenings last week and some low humidity have the past few afternoons quite comfortable for fishing and many of us have been taking advantage of the nice weather. All of the reports from people on the river this past week have been strong. Ed and Mark floated the river last weekend. Ed's report was strong with several Panfish and Smallmouth landed. Ed's buddy Mark had an exceptional outting with two of the "biggest fish I have ever seen to come out of the river" according to Ed. Judging by the picture I would say Mark got a few nice ones.
Top flies have been the tried and true Rubber Legs, a shop favorite, Sculpin patterns of all types (my favorite) and any buggy looking fly have been getting smashed by the Smallmouth. A pattern I have been playing around with is the Howell's Big Nasty. Part Dragon fly nymph, part Crayfish and all fish catcher The Big Nasty is a fly that should be in every Smallie box. Buggers of all colors, Clousers, and Streamers all have been producing well. Don't forget about the surface bite! Poppers, Sliders, and Ska-oppers have been producing well just before dark or on overcast days. 'One Boot" and I had a pretty good morning on Saturday a week ago. I fished the Ska-opper all morning while he switched flies and techniques. Between the two of us I guess we landed around 12 fish, not bad for only a few hours fishing. ( I actually made it back on time to open the shop).
Last Monday I had the pleasure to fish with a new friend. Ben is a new customer and lives in North Carolina. Ben has one of those jobs where he flies up here to work all week and then flies home for the weekend. Being here all week by himself with all of his family in NC leaves a man with a lot of time on his hands. Ben has been a "regular" in the shop for some time now with a thirst for fishing knowledge that you don't see everyday. When He told me "I have never caught a Smallmouth before" I knew we had to fix that ASAP! We met at the shop one afternoon and I took him to a very productive (and very public) spot. You may have thought it was Christmas eve as we rigged up and prepared to spend the evening on the river. I set Ben up with my favorite "numbers" fly the Clouser Swimming Nymph. (He now calls it the "fly from the Smallmouth Gods"). Well, I am happy to say Ben landed a Pumpkin Seed, a Fall Fish, and a Smallmouth within the first 10 casts. Even a downpour could not dampen our spirits as Ben got a taste of Smallie fever.
Ben went back to the same spot a few days later on his own. Using what he had learned he managed to get into a better class of fish. Texts were coming to me at a feverish pace, the last one said it all..."I'me addicted"! Well buddy, I am glad I could help in your addiction. We will get out together again real soon.
We are set up to have a great Smallmouth season. Keep in mind the best Bronze back fishing of the year can be in October. That means we have a solid 3 more months of Smallmouth fishing ahead of us. Get yourself a few 2x leaders, grab your 6 weight and a basic selection of flies and hit the river. A few good evenings like we have had and you will soon be "addicted" like Ben, myself, and all the guys that have discovered this great summertime fishing opportunity.
In February I wrote an article on cold weather wading tips. I truly hope the tips and suggestions helped everybody get through the winter fishing months safely. With this being July, and the “Dog Days” of summer upon us I wanted to share some tips for remaining safe through the summer fishing months. To me summer fishing means Smallie fishing on the Brandywine, night time Largemouth fishing on a farm pond, or chasing many of our salt water species at one of our local beaches. All of these are great fishing opportunities, and thought and preparation should be taken before heading out in the summer months.
This spring has been very different than years past. Heavy and repeated rains have us fishing high water conditions at the start of the summer months. High water presents a unique set of challenges, a set we are not used to. Hard running and off colored water can present all types of issues for the wading angler. An angler can be swept off his or her feet by hard rushing water. Underwater obstructions such as rocks, logs, or deeper holes may not be visible if the water is dingy. Spots that are normally easy wading can become extremely dangerous with just a slight rise in CFS (cubic feet of water per second) so always wade cautiously and unless absolutely necessary don’t wade in water that is above your mid thigh. A wading staff may be a good choice at times like this even if you don’t usually use one. You can use the staff to “probe” the river bottom in front of you in search of potential danger. If wearing chest waders NEVER go in the water without your wading belt. This might be one of the most important tips in this article. Fishing with a partner is also a good idea during high water flows and in extreme conditions an inflatable PFD may be a good idea. It is rare, if ever, you will see me on the Indian River jetty without a PFD. Heavy water flows in Pulaski may warrant the use of a PFD as well. Remember, better to have and not need than to need and not have.
The second major concern while fishing in the summer if sun protection. I know when we all were younger we never really gave a thought to protecting ourselves from the sun. Nowadays however we all should be diligent about this often overlooked step in our fishing preparation. We have all seen the negative effects the sun can have on our skin, many of us first hand. I won’t get into specifics of sun damage, which is a totally different type of article. The message here is to cover up! Let’s start at the top and work our way down. A good hat can be a godsend when spending a long day out in the sun. Full brim or Sombrero type hats offer the best protection. If you prefer a baseball style hat as I do you may want to add a Buff so you can pull it up over your ears and the back of your neck. Many of our clothing manufactures offer clothing designed specifically for sun protection. Shirts and pants with UPF protection built into the fabric are very popular. Flats style tropical shirts are a great choice, as are the more form fitting “solar” shirts. One product I am really excited about is the Sun Pro Hoodie by Redington. This light weight pullover hoodie has Versa Sun UPF protection built into the fabric and is right at home on a boat as well as wading the river. Typically in the summer we are wet wading. Shorts are fine; we prefer a tropical pant like the Redington Versa Pant. This quick drying pant will allow you to cool down in the water, but still offer some protection from the sun as well as what may be in the water. If you wear shorts be sure to put sun block on and continue to re-apply throughout the day. Lastly, and maybe the most important may be the back of our hands. This is possibly the single most overlooked area and consequently the area with the most skin issues. Again, sun block is fine if you remember to re-apply. A more permanent choice would be a quality sun glove form Simms, Buff, or Water Works Lamson. What ever type of sun protection you prefer please be sure to protect yourself each and every time you go out.
Possibly the most important issue we deal with when fishing while the mercury is pushing 100+ degrees is the threat of dehydration. If you have ever experienced this condition as I have you know it is not something you want to do more than once. In preparing to write this section I talked with 2 doctors and my wife who is a nurse. Their list of symptoms were very similar; dizziness and light headed, blurry vision, headache, nausea, profuse sweating, and in extreme cases vomiting and loss of conciseness. One thing that I found enlightening is that all three medical professionals, while interviewed separately, all had the same words of caution. “Once you start to experience symptoms you are already in stage two or stage three dehydration”. Laymen’s terms, when you notice it, it is already too late! They also said the best cure for dehydration is very simple; don’t get dehydrated in the first place. If you know you will be on the water during a severe weather day be sure to start your preparation in the morning, maybe the night before. Drink water! Avoid coffee, sodas, and alcoholic beverages as these drinks can actually aid in flushing water from your system. Drink water. Have a glass or two of water at dinner the night before. And one or two more at breakfast. Cary water with you on the river and continue to drink it throughout the day. A few normal sips every half hour or so is much better than “chugging” an entire bottle at one time. The internet is full of great information about dehydration and how to prevent it. The next time you are in to see your doctor you might want to have a discussion with him or her about the subject. Which ever method you choose please be informed about this dangerous condition so you are prepared to head out when the weather is less than perfect.
I truly hope these tips will help everybody have a safe and fun summer fishing season.
We would like to thank everybody that came out to our Spey casting clinic on July 7th. The day was filled with good food, friends, and lots of fun. I guess we had around 25 to 30 people that attended, a strong show for our first event like this. We believe everybody received the instruction they were looking for and we are looking forward to seeing many of you taking advantage of this fun and productive way of casting and fishing. Please feel free to stop in if you have any questions about the things we discussed on the river. All of the rods we were casting are in stock now, stop by and give one a test cast on the grass. Don't forget about the Bargain Bin, We have 3 Z- Axis two handers left. This is a great way to get a premium stick at a VERY attractive price.
There also was a strong interest in our Spey club. Just about everyone there filled out a information sheet and all of the discussion was positive. We are working on the details about the club and still have a few more to go. We will be posting details just as soon as they are all available. If you have a interest in being a member of the club please feel free to contact the shop here.
Here are some of the pictures from the event. Thank you again to all who attended, we hope you had as much fun as we did!.
One of the great new products we have been fishing in the shop is the Rio Smallmouth Bass fly line. Here is the skinny from Rio;
Rio's Smallmouth line has been specifically designed to meet the demands of the modern bass fly fisher. The weight distribution and powerful front taper easily casts typical Clouser and Bass bug flies, while a unique handling section at the back of the head allows anglers to mend and control the fly effectively. The line is built with a hard, warm water coating that withstands typical summer heat, and ensures the line shoots through the guides with ease.
I personally have been fishing this line exclusively for river bass all of last season and into this season. The taper loads both the Loomis Pro-4X and the NRX well. I have no problem throwing weighted flies such as Clousers or heavy Crayfish patterns. If the bass are on top on Hexes or White flies, or if you like to splat a big hopper pattern, the taper provides great turn over and presentation for medium to large dries.
the line features a beige running line and a muted orange head. The two tone transition has proven itself invaluable in the drift boat. In keeping with Terry's strict "no false casting" rule the color transition lets you know when the head is in the right posistion to pick up the line and deliver it with one back cast.
If you are in the market for a new warm water line this smallie season give the Rio Smallmouth bass line a long look. We think you will be glad you did.
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