Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Do I Need To Start Flyfishing

The question that I have been asked most during the previous year has been: What do I need, to start fly fishing? First, let me stress that needs and wants are two very different things. Fly fishing is one of those things that can be as simplistic or complicated as you desire. It is up to you and your budget, as to which path you decide to follow. You actually only need five things: Rod, Reel, Line, Leader and Fly.
Fly rods come in various lengths and weights. The weight (0-12) denotes the size of line that works best with the particular rod. Rod length varies between five and fourteen feet. The most popular lengths are 8-9 feet. In our area, these lengths are a fine choice. Rod action is the next consideration. The action is the amount of flex, from the butt to the tip of the rod. The terminology is usually slow to extra-fast. Choose a moderate or moderate-fast action in a six-weight rod and you will be happy. One other notable consideration is that rods come in sections with choices from two-piece up to six piece travel rods. Two piece rods are usually the least expensive. I cannot fit a two-piece nine foot rod behind my truck seat. Eight foot rods in the two-piece configuration work fine.
The fly reel is honestly, the least important item in your setup. It holds and stores the line. For the majority of our needs, the most basic reel will do just fine. We do not need fancy drag systems for the foot long fish we will be catching. Truthfully, you could feed your line out of your pants pocket and while being inconvenient, you would probably do just fine. Fly lines are available in a wide variety of designs. Buy a weight-forward floating line for your first set-up. Make sure it is the proper weight for your rod. Remember, we are discussing need, not want. Sinking tips, intermediates and other special purpose lines will fall into the want category at a later time.
The leader is the connection between your fly line and fly. They taper down from a large diameter butt section to a fine tippet section. The most popular designs are knotted together with various diameters and lengths of monofilament line and are formulated to make the fly turn over properly. Tapered knotless leaders are also available and are a good choice if weeds or floating debris is encountered. I have been using furled or braided leaders for the last few years. I really like this style. They are four to five feet long; the ones that I use have a small (micro) metal ring for attaching tippet material. This makes a versatile system that works really well.
Now, the fun stuff: Flies. The selection is mind boggling, where do we start? There are basically four types of flies: Dry, Wet, Streamer and Nymph. Dry flies float, the others are used subsurface. Dry fly fishing is the most well known method and is both rewarding and productive, when aquatic insects are hatching. I am rarely able to fish during this primetime. I fish wooly buggers upstream or Clouser minnows downstream probably 90 percent of the time. This two fly system has worked well for me.
Technical fishing without the technicality. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First Fish

I had to go to Parsons, this afternoon and decided to check out Clover Run on the way back. There were not very many people fishing and I drove all of the way up Clover Run. I came back down to a spot where nobody was present. I took the dogs down; tied them up and returned to the truck for my rod and reel. While I was baiting up, a vehicle pulled in about fifty yards above me. The person came downstream to about 25 yards above me and started fishing. That was pretty irritating, but tolerable.
My goal is always a fish on the first cast of the season. I did manage to accomplish that feat with the Brook Trout. Actually, it was my first cast that made it to the water; but I'm counting it. Stupid thorn-apples. I caught the Rainbow on my third cast and was seen by a passing car. Here they came, down the hill and got between me and the upstream person. Before the other 2 made a cast, I was headed to the truck; with smoke emitting from my ears. Four is a crowd on fifty yards of a small stream. People just do not know how to act right; anymore.There is 4 miles of stream and about ten people fishing. I can see no reason for even thinking about pulling into a spot where someone else is fishing. Well, there they are 15 minutes and 2 trout. I usually manage to fish for a half-hour or so; before I get mad.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Welcome Visitor

I was backing out of my driveway at 12:50 pm today and came eye to eye with a Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), all I can say is WOW. This is the first one I have ever seen in Randolph County, WV. I got several photos, after running into the house to find the camera. This is the best close-up. Bad sun angle and bad background. It was nice to be able to get this close.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Elkwater Fork Dam

I took a ride up Elkwater, last Thursday to look at the new Elkwater Fork Water Supply Dam. I wanted to see it before the graffiti and trash take over. It is a nice quiet spot, right now. The Elkwater Road has received major upgrades. I can remember when nothing except for a high four-wheel drive vehicle could reach this area. The road is now passable for everything. The dam was built as a much needed water supply for the Upper Tygart Valley. It has yet to be determined or publicized as to what recreational opportunities this pond will bring. Elkwater Fork was at one time, my favorite trout fishing spot; when other waters were too crowded or too high. I caught my first trout on an artificial lure in Elkwater on Easter Sunday 1974. I also caught my first trout on a dry fly there in 1975.
I truly hope that this area will be managed properly for recreational opportunities. It would be a real shame if it becomes a dumping ground for mattresses and refrigerators; like so many other spots in the Upper Valley. I also hope that it doesn't just become another West Virginia mecca for lawn chairs and play-dough dunkers. The area deserves better. I will not bore you with the ponds' details, you can read them from the next photo.