Happy Place

Hey Kids,

Sitting in the dark, with the wind to my back, and the kayak bobbing up and down in the waves one has time to think.bullfrog sunset

The water was too rough to head out so I tied the boat to the string of large tractor tires that form a wind break around the marina and took advantage of the artificial reef it also created.

Between the fish that fell victim to the jigs I threw out, I watched the full moon rise. It reflection and the lights of the marina flickered across the rippled surface of the water.

My thoughts focused on the beauty of it all. The smell of the lake, the warmth of the air, the coolness of the water, and the pull of the fish. There’s a simplicity to it. There’s a complexity to it. There’s a feeling of being part of it.

That is my happy place.

 

Post 3-162

This Was The Day

Hey Kids,

Another beautiful day.

We took the kayaks a mile upriver and checked out Iceberg Canyon. The girls traveled much faster than I did, so I fish and picked up some smallmouth bass in and around the rocks in the mouth of the canyon while they continued up further.

We returned, ate some lunch and as the day began to stretch towards it conclusion, I paddled back out into the bay on water so calm it seemed like looking into a mirror. I found the school once again and caught stripers until it got so dark I couldn’t see anymore.

This was the day at Powell for which I had been waiting.

 

Post 3-139

Posted Retroactively

They Were Lost But Now They’re Found

Hey Kids,

Found at last!

After searching for a little while, and several times elsewhere, I found the school of stripers. The fishing map I have gave the clues and once we had calm winds and sunshine, I got out to the spot and spent a few hours searching.

The kayak has its advantages, but not on the list is searching open water and the general lack of electronics. But I’m a little seasoned now in the handling of the boat and my hand held can give me depths and sometimes even tells me of the presence of fish (although it does have a tendency to lie from time to time).

I also had to contend with a boat that want to troll through where I was trying to scout. Out of curtesy I would alter my course to allow them to troll though. The same gesture was not offered to me. It was a little pain in the butt but I held my ground (water, even that sounds wrong), and they eventually left.

Off the point of the little island, the depths drop off to about 30-50 feet of water. From there I would paddle straight out from its point until the water dropped off quickly to about 100 feet. I had brought two rods. A lighter spinning outfit that I thought would be good for the rocky points in shallow water for Smallmouth, and a heavier baitcasting outfit for the deeper water and stripers. However, I am also of the mindset that one should always use as many rods as one has. I tipped both outfits with anchovies and casted them out from the kayak and allowed them to drift and swing back to me.

The slight breeze and waves would then slowly push me back towards the island. The school, I found, were handing out along that sharp drop off in about 80-50 feet of water. When my baits hit that spot, it was time to hang on. Having fish on both rods was not uncommon. The smaller rod, that I’ve had with me for as long as I can remember, did just fine. It can now add stripers to its long list of fish caught on it.

As I may’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the striped bass is not a timid fish. They take the bait with a vengeance and pull like a Mack truck. By the time I would land one or both fish, the kayak would be pulled out of position and I would have to find the spot again, rig up and begin my drift. Of course, learning where that drop off was, and matching the depths to the bite took a number of experiences to dial it in. And then the afternoon winds came.may18

During the wind break, I filleted several of the fish and fried them in a pan of oil and seasoned with Old Bay. I sat and munched on crispy fish bits and tartar sauce while reading for a few hours.

The wind died down early in the evening and I set back out on calm waters and found my spot. I fish until near dark, catching my last striper of the day against the orange glow of the last bit of sunlight reflected off the few remaining clouds and the redrock cliffs of the lake. It was a picture worth a thousand memories and one that I will forever have in my head.

It was one of the best days I have spent on this lake.

 

Post 3-138

The Rewards of Being Neighborly

Hey Kids,

The wind blew today. It blew a little more later on. And then tonight it’s blowing still.

So we have opted to wait until tomorrow before we try to leave the slip.Instead we kayaked around the bay and more importantly, I caught some fish. Good fish too.

This evening, knowing that fishing was most likely off the menu, I walked the docks. I look at other boats and evaluate what I like and what I think I don’t, what color schemes look the best, and I wonder who the hell really has enough money to own some of the bigger nicer boats.

I also took the opportunity to introduce myself to the owners of a boat on the dock opposite from us. We’ve seen them a couple of times since we’ve been coming down here and have waved as we paddled by in our kayaks.

It turns out that the pair of guys that were sitting on the back deck of the boat are avid striper fishermen.

howie

A Howard Special- as featured on a popular Lake Powell website

And the one gentlemen is a pro lure maker; he gave me few to try out. I learned invaluable information and now can’t wait to get back out fishing. Once the wind stops blowing.

Sometimes it pays to reach out a hand and say hi. You never know who you might meet. And what they might know about fishing.

 

Post 3-135

Two in One Day

Hey Kids,

The lake sits just below the summit of 8020 feet from sea level. Which, in turn, just happens to be about the same elevation of the snow level. The ice has disappeared from the lake, but the true feeling of spring will not start here for another month, especially in terms of temperature. With clear skies, the temperature plummeted even a little deeper overnight. Stepping out of the 4Runner, I felt I had stepped back into January.

History has shown this to be a great time to be at this lake, nonetheless. The bigger fish, free from the ice capped lake for the past three-plus months are on the prowl in the shallows. The smaller fish are congregating along the shores where the water is more easily warmed by the sun’s rays, if even only a few degrees. It’s predator/prey season and one of the best times to catch a monster.

I braved the cold and in the blackness of early morning, began my preparations. I opened the back hatch to get my gear. Apparently I wasn’t the only one feeling the effects of the cold weather. The pressurized cylinders that lift and hold open the hatch gate, didn’t quite lift it to its highest potential. My head and the life-challenged hatch met, a little north of the right temple. I’m not sure what man or beast could hear me then, but I apologize now for the words I expressed at that moment.

I began casting out in the dark waters. Cast after cast. I picked the ice out of the eyes on the rod that continually froze with the water carried back on the retrieved line. I casted more. I exchanged lures and varied colors. I sped up the retrieve and I slowed the retrieve.

The light of the day slowly took over the dark and the sun crested the surrounding hills to the east. The sunlight would drive the fish deeper and the mercury a little higher. I tried another spot or two. I casted more. I tried a few more lures. Nothing. Goose egg.

In shame, I packed my gear and started the drive back home. As if it wasn’t enough to have to admit I caught zero fish, I felt at the sore impact spot on my head, a small bump had formed.

Great! Two goose eggs on the same trip.

 

Post 3-120

Flip Flopper

Hey Kids,

I used to always consider myself a cold weather person. The times I’ve been knee deep in a cold river, flicking ice from the rod line guides, and brushing snow off of my hat has happened more than once. In fact, I always considered the start of fishing season to be Labor Day, the unofficial last weekend of summer and the beginning of the fall and winter seasons. It ended on Memorial day in May.

I’ve noticed that others also wear that Cold Weather Outdoors Person medal with equal pride. If the mercury drops below freezing, a silver star is deserved. Below zero and a gold star is in order. And only a few people will be out there to earn it.

strawberry

I wonder why no one else is here??

Cold weather always means less people. And the colder it gets, the less people there would be and that’s always a good thing. Just last December, I fished in and around the ice sheets on a high elevation lake. Why? Because open water is kayak-able water. I spent the day alone on the water and couldn’t have been happier. Cold, but happy.

Even riding the bike, I’ve declared with pride that there is no “too cold”. I’ve proved it, at least down to 8°F. My saying has been, “So long as there’s no ice, I’m riding.” And I still stand by that.

However this summer, having already experienced the warm weather to our south, I think I might be more prone to embrace the warm weather this year. The motor runs better. The tires grip better. The kayak glides better. The fish bite and fight better.The sun feels better. Shorts and t-shirt fit better. And the flips flop better. 

Yes I’m a warm weather guy this season. The red rock desert will see more of me. And I just might stay like this for a while.

At least until Labor Day.

 

Post 3-117

First Firsts

Hey Kids,bliss

During the next two months a few “firsts” will be accomplished. Tonight will be the first of the firsts.

Last October, I spent a couple days on Lake Powell and it was love at first sight/boat/fish. If you’ve never seen Lake Powell, look it up.

Following our trip, it became my mission to return, and to make it so we would return more than once. We investigated and invested into a houseboat. This weekend will be our first overnight visit. Although we won’t be able to take the boat out of the slip, we will be hanging out for a couple of nights. We do have the task to commission a new kayak and I have a few new rod and reels to baptize.

I hope to have enough Wi-Fi from the docks to post new updates. If I disappear for a few days, which wouldn’t be a first, I’ll catch you up on our return.

Wish us sunny skies and calm waters.

 

Post 3-090

Write Now, Fish Later

Hey Kids,

Today would’ve been a lovely day to go fishing. It rained all day yesterday and this morning we woke to blue skies and sunshine. Of course if I had been going fishing, I would’ve been gone long before the sunshine ever showed up.

I had thought seriously about breaking out the kayak. This past week I had received some new lures in the mail and I’ve been hankering to give them a spin. I watched the YouTube videos on their use, the strategy, and the secret methods. Yes the sunny Sunday was to be my fishing extravaganza.

But there’s this thing about working.whining

I know the day job is Monday through Friday. So the weekends are for fun, right? Except when you have decided to write yourself out of the miserable existence that is working for other people.

So I passed on the angling and took to the writing. Good progress was made and the sun streaked across the sky and back into the western horizon. Day over.

Work is the name of the game. Without it nothing happens; with it, anything can.

There’ll be other days to fish. With any luck, they’ll be during the week between Mondays and Fridays.

 

Post 3-085

Waste Not, Want Not.

Hey Kids,

Wasting time is not as easy as it may appear.

It takes hours, days, weeks, a lifetime to learn how to do it properly.

It takes study and a keen awareness of present circumstances to know when to do it.wastedtime

The weather plays a big part as well. How to dress to stay as comfortable as possible cannot be overlooked.

The company you keep is as important as all the rest. Choose wisely.

Equipment: get the best your money can buy.

Location: not all places are created equal.

Now pick your water, grab your rod and reel, sport your sunglasses, rain jacket or hat, invite an equally skilled partner, read the latest reports, and get fishing.

Time is not refundable, don’t waste it not fishing.

 

Post 3-064

Fishing by Film

Hey Kids,

Tonight I’m headed to a film festival. Although not as prestigious or glamorous as the recent Sundance Film Festival, I do expect to be entertained. Tonight will be the Fly fishing Film Festival. The one evening festival consists of about two hours of 5-10 minutes films featuring fly fishing.fff

The films are not all just cast, hook, and catch. Most shorts tell an interesting story that includes casting, hooking, and catching. I have noticed that these films do share certain characteristics:

  • People packing gear.
  • Helicopter or plane ride.
  • Slow motion shots of the cast, hook, and catch.
  • Slower motion shot of angler holding the fish partially in the water cradled in two hands with water pouring out of the fishes mouth as it gulps air. It’s the “money shot”.

Ultimately all tough days are rewarded, shy trout give in to curiosity, and anglers pat each other on the back as they stroll away from the water, rods in hand and smiles galore.

What’s really fun is that with the group of paid viewers, cheers are shared for the hits, and awes for the misses. And when each film ends, the applause is exuberant.

It should be fun.

 

Post 3-047