Well, things on the trout river may be looking up. The last time we fished Rick and Terry went to the Gunpowder. It was one of those miserable Sunday afternoons a few weeks back. With water temps in the mid to high thirties, no bug activity and not much to show for the afternoon there was not much to report. I am happy to say this past week things were different. We have had several promising reports as well as a good first hand experience on the rivers this past week. The good weather this past weekend had the fish active and the rivers full of fisherman willing to take advantage of that. My son, Tyler had a decent afternoon on the White Clay on Saturday. He only had a few hours to fish and brought a few fish to hand. We have had several customer reports stating the same thing, "if you can find a spot that hasn't had too much pressure there are fish to be had" one customer told me this weekend. The Clay is chock full of fish and the warmer weather should only make this local river fish even better.
Sunday afternoon commitments kept Terry and I from fishing together. The need to be home early sent he and Rick to the Brandywine. They spent the afternoon casting their two hand rods. Terry was trying his new 13 foot 8 weight NRX for the first time. I am sure there will be a review to follow, but the text I received Sunday night says it all; "this thing is a rocket"! Stay tuned, more to follow on this I am sure. Terry and Rick reported the water level looks good with temps in the mid forties. One interesting thing was the hatch of Early Black Stoneflies Sunday afternoon. This is the right time of year for them, but Terry said he can't recall ever seeing them on the Brandywine in numbers like he saw yesterday. This may be a good sign of things to come.
As I was on the river Sunday afternoon my phone started to ding. One Boot Ed had been on the West branch of the Octoraro earlier in the day. He sent me the three pictures posted below. He said in one of his texts that these are the best looking stocked browns he has seen in a while. Well, that big ole' Bow looks pretty good as well buddy. Nice pictures, thanks for sharing.
Octoraro water temps were in the mid to high forties with minimal bug activity Terry D from our tying classes reported a great Caddis hatch while fishing a stretch of local private water. He and Paul R were fishing Saturday afternoon within a half hour of the shop.
Sunday found me on the water flying solo. This is the first time I have fished by myself in quite a while. I love being on the water with good friends and the camaraderie that goes along with it. I would never want to change that. I must say there is something zen like being on the river by yourself that I have also come to enjoy. I had a great day on Sunday fishing, thinking, learning, and clearing my head, oh yeah and catching a fish or two.
I got a late start and hit the water at about 2:15 in the afternoon. Part of the reason for the late start was because I was getting my new Umpqua Overlook 500 pack ready. I REALLY like this pack and I am sure after a few more outings with it I will post up a review.
The thermometer showed the water temp to be 46 when I started. As I was walking to the spot I wanted to start a hatch of Stoneflies started to come off. The air was full, and I mean full of Stoneflies for about 10 minutes. Then, like somebody flipped a switch it was over. It lasted just long enough for me to cut off my tandem nymph rig and tie on a dry and dropper. By the time I was finished re-rigging it was over, so back to the tandem nymph rig. As I type this I just realized, I rigged and re-rigged my set up three times before I even had a wet line! While flipping rocks I found Clinger Nymphs, Caddis Larva, and Midge larva. My most productive fly was one of my nondescript patterns, basically a modified Hares Ear tied with SLF Sowbug tan dubbing.
All in all it was a great week to be out on the river. Hopefully you were able to get out and enjoy the weekend. Now that we are in the middle of March better weather and better fishing are right around the corner. If you had a good day locally or a great trip to somewhere exotic we would like to hear about it. Click here to check out our "picture sharing page" and see some of the recent photos we have received. Until next time.
It seems like one of the most popular questions we get in the shop lately is to whether to go with a pack or a vest. Vests will always have their place in the fly fishing world. I have used a vest for most of my fly fishing career as I am sure many of you have done the same. Vests are great and there are several high quality models available from company's like Simms and Fishpond. We have several models for sale in the shop. We always say there are a million different ways to do this obsession we call fly fishing and we never say one way is better or worse than another. The important thing is that you find a system that works for you. For the sake of this post I would like to focus on "fishing" packs. We won't go into backpacks, dry bags, boat bags or wader totes. That is information for another post. Here we will talk about packs you wear while walk and wade fishing.
There are many different types of packs available for fishing. Today's models are manufactured to top notch quality standards. The features that are built into them let you know they are designed specifically for Fly fishing. Everything from tippet pockets, ripple foam inserts, zinger and nipper holders, and external fly patches have been built into these high performance fishing tools. They are roomy, light to carry and you can get PLENTY of gear in them. Several different styles are available and we will outline a few here.
The first thing you want to think about is what type of pack do you want to carry. Chests packs are nice and they keep everything close at hand. Most of today's are "form fitting" and you don't get the bulk that you used to get in years past. Here is a new model from Umpqua. As you can see the people at Umpqua had one thing in mind when designing this chest pack. You can carry everything from fly boxes to flotant. There is even a D ring to carry your net. All of this is available to the fisher person within a 24" by 24" area located on the front of your chest. Truly a well thought out design.
Beware, packs that ride high up on your chest can block your vision of what is down by your feet. Be careful not to trip on roots or rocks while walking. Also this might not be the best choice for certain body types or for women. Remember comfort is the key.
The second type of pack would be the shoulder or hip pack. Many of the models today have both a shoulder strap and a waist strap so they can be worn as a shoulder bag or a fanny pack. We fish out of this type of pack a lot and we recommend using both the shoulder and the waist strap. Doing it this way will distribute the weight more evenly. Because you are using both straps they don't need to be set as tight which will make it easier to move the pack around your body.
Here are a couple of my personal shoulder bags. One is my "Trout" pack and the other is my "Smallmouth" pack. I also have a pack for Shad and one to use when I am fishing with my 2 handed rods. When leaving for an outing all I have to do is grab the correct bag and go. With the exception of maybe swapping a fly box or two everything I need is already packed and ready to go.
"Marblehead tip...If you buy your fishing license online print out several copies. This way you can have a copy of each state's license in each pack you own. If you trout fish in the morning then shad fish in the afternoon you don't have to worry about switching your license from one pack to another".
Like the chest pack these shoulder bags are designed specifically for fly fishing and will hold everything you will need for an day on the water.
The third type of pack is the Sling Pack. These bags are kind of a hybrid between a backpack and a shoulder bag. Typically only having one strap they are meant to be worn on your back and out of the way while fishing. When you need it you can swivel the pack around to the front and get what you need then swivel it around to the back out of the way when you go back to fishing. Seen more frequently in the salt, sling pack manufactures have made a big push to the fresh water with a big emphasis placed on the Steelhead crowd.
Here at A Marblehead Flyfisher we carry a full line of packs and bags from company's like Simms, Fishpond, Sage, and Clear Creek. Stop in and see what these new packs have to offer.
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