I always hear to support your local flyshop. That's all good and well. However, I wanted to take a different approach, one that you don't hear very often and that is to support a fishing guide. There are lots of things you can learn from someone who makes their living on the water. One is casting. Typically its not a good idea to learn to cast on a guided fishing trip, but most guides can teach you the basics of casting and get you headed in the right direction by the end of the day. With that being said I also don't believe you get a whole lot out of casting on a yard. I have seen several flycasters that can lay out a 100' cast with perfect loops on a grassy yard but when it comes to true fishing conditions were you are trying to punch flies through a stiff wind or are on a boat rocking in 2' chop, its a whole different story. Unfortunately there seems to be far more days with poor conditions then there are days with prime conditions at least that is the way it always seems to be on the days I go fishing. A guide can teach you how to “read the water,” the areas where fish are more likely to be. Once you learn to read the water, you can approach the water with confidence knowing exactly where to fish and what water is likely to hold fish and what water is not. There is a whole lot more a guide can teach you from: fly selection, entomology, the fish and their behavior, what effects moon phases and weather patterns have on fish, and countless other tips that will make you a better angler. At the bottom left hand page of my blog is a list of guides I have fished with. Most of them you can search through my blog and find my trips with them. I would fish with each and everyone of them again and would highly recommend them to anyone looking to have a great time out on the water and become a better angler.
Robert and I went to a local creek today looking for some sandies. I figured it was still a little early, but knew we would get into a few fish. We each ended with 10 or so small sandies, I got a kicker crappie and Robert got a nice buffalo. Overall it was a good day and nice just to be out there on the water. The sandbass run should be on fire in 3 or so weeks.
Getting my stuff together for the first sandbass trip of the year. I tie up a fly that I'll call a crappie clouser. It is nothing more than a crappie jig head tied with some bucktail and flash. I take a red pen and draw in some gills. I will fish this fly dead drifted under an indicator, especially early in the season when the water is still cold and the fish aren't nearly as active and aggressive. Once the water warms up and the fish are in full spawn mode i will take the indicator off and swing it across the current or strip it in with erratic strips, mimicking an injured baitfish. For size comparison this is a 1/32 oz jig head and the fly is about 1 3/4" long. Great little fly that is easy to cast on light rods.
Scott and I went to Arkansas this weekend in search of a "unicorn". Not the unicorn that resembles a white horse with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead. But one of a golden brown color with red and black spots and more importantly exceeding 30 inches. Our plan was to fish with Steve Dally and float down the river throwing large streamers to the bank in hopes of capturing one of these mythical fish. However the COE decided not to run any water this weekend and that quickly put an end to our intentions. With no water being released into the river for the past few days it was rather low and "boney" as Steve would call it. The float produced several stockers that fell victim to egg and midge patterns. It was awfully cold all day with lots of cloud cover and bone chilling winds. Steve treated us to a nice shore lunch that defiantly hit the spot. The next day was spent with Ben Levin and still with no water being released streamer fishing was not an option. We wade fished several spots and caught a lot of fish including one brown, but far from a unicorn. We caught several nice rainbows and learned a lot from Ben. Scott and I really enjoyed fishing with both these guys and hopefully we can fish with them again.