Thursday, May 31, 2012

Night of the Brown

 First of all I want to thank Alex for calling and asking me to go fishing. I was planning on staying home but said what the heck. I got to the water at about 5:30 and first cast I landed a 12inch fatty rainbow. Couple more casts and WHAM, took everything. Rerigged and a couple casts and hooked into and landed a 19inch brown. Moved up river and found a spot that was giving up fish on almost every other cast. Landed a 18 and a 15 inch brown and several bows between 14 and 19 inches. Alex and Eric showed up and the fish turned off for a few minutes. I'm sure they though I was full of crap talking about all the fish I was catching. After a few minutes I walked up to the next hole and first cast was a really nice rainbow that came out of the water a few times and then snapped my line. Rerigged and a couple casts landed this beautiful 19 inch brown and a few more casts landed this rainbow that went just under 21 inches. Oh what an evening, as you can see by my hat pic, the bwo's were out in full force. The flies of the evening were a large crane fly larva followed by a Winston caddis and last a cream FOD. I can't believe this water is still in such great condition, get out and fish and if you are not getting the results you are looking for, I know a couple of really good guides for rent. Thanks for reading, Connell

Fishcat Panther Pontoon Boat Review

Fishcat Panther Review

  Hello and thank you for reading. When I do my reviews, I try to do them in a way that is important to the reader and will give a few tech specs but try to focus on what those specs mean to the reader. I will start off with just a few of the specs. The Fishcat Panther is the baby brother of the Outcast PAC 9000, it weighs in at 67lbs and has a 400lb weight limit(no joke here, I could clone myself and fish it tandem style and I would just barely go over the limit). It has an aluminum frame and quad tube design and was designed to excel in windy conditions and shallow rivers. Retail is right at 1000$ which is about half of the Outcast PAC9000 1850$.

   When packing and storing my boat I do not follow the instructions of any of the boat companies. The side frames I leave connected to the pontoons and deflate the tubes and pull the front and the back of the tubes over the frames. I stack those first because they lay fairly flat and then set the rest of the frame and oars over the top. The pontoon boats do take up a lot of room but they are worth it when you hit the water. Putting the Panther together is a snap, unload the parts and set them where they should go and inflate the pontoons. Attach the seat frame and the back frame and your boat is together, very simple and quick to put together.

   In the water is where this boat excels. The boat sits very low and does not seem to get thrown around like the higher boats in the water. Last year when Cat and I went out on her birthday , the wind was blowing and we were getting thrown around so hard that I paddled to the bank, got out of my boat and pushed my old boat all the way back up the lake, not a good day. Rowing is much faster and more efficient in this boat than others I have tried. On our first trip with this boat and on the second night we were on the Delaney’s the wind calmed down for just a few minutes and I jumped into my boat and started rowing, in just a minute or two I looked up and saw that I had already rowed out about 100 yards. I had anchored down and was sitting there when the gusts started howling again, it did not pull me away from the spot I was anchored, very impressed. When heading back to shore I was going straight into 30+ mph winds and as you can guess by my writing, that I made it back, no problems. The next thing you should know about this boat is that it seems to have plenty of width in between the pontoons, I use a Hummingbird Fishing Buddy depth finder that attaches to the frame next to my seat. In my old boat, my outer thigh would get bruised from bumping it all day and I did not notice bumping it at all in this boat. Maybe the greatest feature of this boat is the quad tube design. I sold a boat to a friend last year and he told me about the fear he had of having a boat leak and him going under. It was not something I had ever really thought of before but certainly got me thinking after listening to him. With the quad tube design if one of the tubes failed, you would still have three to keep you safe.

  Now so you don’t think I am just a Fishcat homer, the next part is a real head scratcher. When I was younger, I was a huge fan of Stephen King and read a ton of his books. One of his books “It” had me on the edge of my seat from the first page till the last. The way the characters were brought to life and the horror they were dealing with had me totally biting my nails trying to finish the book and figure out what exactly they were up against. The last page came and “It” was a spider from outer space, are you FREAKEN kidding me, A spider from outer space? Okay, maybe I am being a little melodramatic but the anchoring system could have been done better. The pullies are fine but there is no real tie off for your rope. My last boat had a part mounted under my seat that the anchor rope went through, to set the anchor, all I had to do was close the tab on the rope and it  would lock, to free the rope, all I would have to do lift it up and the tab would open. A lot of times when on the water, I only want to move fifteen feet or more and all I would do was pull up the anchor a few feet(one handed) lock it in place, move to where I wanted to go and drop it. With the Fishcat system, you have to pull it up, use both hands and tie the rope off on the boat frame, sounds easy enough, try it when a 30mph wind is blowing you the other way, fifteen feet will be thirty in a hurry. My other small complaints are that this model does not come with a rod holder and the seat is not padded.

   Are these complaints deal breakers? not at all. One thing I have watched over the years is that there are 2 types of pontoon boaters, the ones that buy the 300$ Colorado Classic boats and fish them exactly the way it was purchased and the ones that buy something very nice and then see it as a lifelong project and are constantly tinkering with their toy. I added 2 rod holders and a padded seat and I think it cost me an extra 80 bucks. I will find someone smarter than myself (shouldn’t be too hard) to help me figure out a better anchor system. I would highly recommend both the Panther and the PAC9000 for anyone that fishes here in southern Colorado. One thing we can always count on is the wind and I don’t think there is a better boat out there that can handle the wind. These are LIFE LONG boats, not something you will be replacing in a few years. I chose the Panther over the PAC9000 because I only get to use my boat about 5-10 times a year. If you spend more than 30 days a year on the water, than spend the extra money and get the Outcast, it has a 10 year unconditional warranty. My friend Mark has had his for just over ten years and the only problem he has had was if he is not careful when closing off one of his tubes, it leaks a little. Mark fishes well over 30 days a year on that boat and for durability, when he goes from one lake to another up there, he just shoves it in the back of his truck and plops it out where ever he goes. These boats are made for fisherman and I think that is all I need to say. Thanks again for reading our blog, We hope this information is useful for you. One of our primary goals at The Drift Fly Shop is to never have a customer leave with anything that will not be loved by the Angler. Thanks again,Connell

I'm the one on the right with the fish :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Delaney's and Wind

   Well the trip got cut short due to the high winds but one thing I know for sure. If you can fish, then you can catch fish anywhere. If you think I am talking about myself then you are WRONG!!!! Cat had the hot rod for the shortened weekend.

   This was a strange trip to say the least, it all started about three weeks ago when I realized that my short vacation time was scheduled for the same time that CSUP was hosting the track and field national championships. I know that most of the better athletes eat Subway and I started wondering if maybe I should cancel the trip and stay home and take care of my real job. The next excitement came the day we were leaving and I had Cat take my car to drop off the dogs and I was going to go to work for a while before we headed north. As I was pulling out of the garage, all of the dash board lights started flashing and I shut the van off, when I tried to restart it, there was nothing at all. After some quick research and some running around I figured out and fixed the problem, too much corrosion on the battery. The next strange thing that happened was I stopped by the shop to pick up a couple of last things and the radio was playing a not very popular but pretty song that Cat has always said wanted played at her funeral some day. When I finally got home picked up Cat and got on our way I told Cat that it felt almost as if something did not want us going on this trip. She got a strange look on her face and said she didn’t want to tell me but when we were leaving the house she had an overwhelming feeling that we may not be coming back. NOT a good thing to think about while driving between Pueblo and Denver, every semi that we passed had us seeing flashes from the Final Destination movies.

  We pulled into the Delaney’s about 6:00P.M. and met up with Mark and my brother in law Jim, and then we started setting up camp and getting our fishing stuff ready. Let me back track just a little and let you know that when ever take fishing trips, I do all the packing because I do not want to forget ANYTHING. So as we were finishing our unpacking, Cat asked me where my boots were. I DON’T EVER FORGET ANYTHING! except for now. Cat then said that maybe it was just me that wasn’t supposed to fish. The night finished off with a great steak dinner and plans set for next day.

   Friday, I grabbed Mark and headed into North Park Anglers in Walden so I could purchase a pair of boots. The guys in the shop were very nice and treated me very well and gave me a good looking person discount on boot rental (okay maybe it was an idiot discount). If you ever get to North Park I would definitely suggest you stop into their shop and check it out, very homey and run with class. We got back to the lake and started fishing about 8:00 A.M.. I had explained to Cat over the few prior days that this was no ordinary lake and if she wanted to catch fish it would behoove her to follow Marks instruction to the T. Immediately she started doing her own thing and started catching fish. We both landed three fish with mine being a 19 inch brown and two 14 inch rainbows, Cat landed  two 17 and one 19 inch browns. At a little after nine the winds started, steady at 20-25 mph with gusts up to 40. We hung out most of the day and for a short time the winds slowed just enough for Cat and I to walk the bank and cast dries to cruising fish. Cat landed 5 with the largest being about 19 inches and I got skunked, and Jim landed a 19 inch beauty. We tried fishing just before dark but by the time we got our boats on the water the wind came back up and ended our night.

  Saturday morning we started fishing about 7:30 but the water seemed a little stirred up from the day before. I landed two small rainbows and a 19 inch brown. Jim caught one and Mark landed four. Cat landed a 17 inch brown and had two serious break offs, she was fishing 4x. At about 9:30 the winds came up again and took us off the lake. After seeing the forecast for the next few days, we decided to go ahead and head back toward Pueblo.

  Driving home we stopped at Willow creek and caught a few small brookies and the headed to Winter Park and fished the Fraser for a little while. Cat landed a beautiful 15 inch brown and we both caught a couple small rainbows.

  As we pulled into the driveway we both took a deep breath, kissed and were very thankful we made it home alive. We were very sad that we did not get to spend as much time as we wanted chasing monster fish but it is always good to spend time with Mark and Jim. I fished my new Fishcat Panther pontoon boat this weekend and will be doing a review on it next week, it will not be a homer review, some really great things and some things that make you scratch your head. Thanks as always for reading, Connell.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lazy Man Fly Fishing........

  One of the funniest movies that no one has ever heard of was Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid in a bowling movie named Kingpin. The two set off across the country hustling bowlers and trying to make enough cash so they could enter the World Championships of Bowling. When they finally make it to Vegas and walk into the arena, the camera pans around to the 400 pound, beer drinking, cigar smoking bowlers and Quaid, in total amazement says “wow, isn’t it amazing to be in the presence of some the greatest athletes alive”. I still laugh just thinking about it.

   I remember back to my early days of flyfishing when the only thing that seemed to matter were the number of fish I was catching. Cat and I would get to Grape Creek at about 8:00 a.m. and start hiking, with no supplies other than our rods, flies, waders and Maxwell my golden, we would get back to the car at 7 or 8 in the evening. Totally parched and starving (hungry), we would head to Canon and hit the Taco Bell , on the way, with dust coming out of our mouths with every word, we would giggle about the hundred or so fish we caught. Things Have Changed!!!!!

   This week Cat and I are heading to Walden and will be fishing the Delany Buttes. Our days will start when ever we feel like rolling out of out padded sleeping bags and out of the tent. Breakfast, bathroom and then onto the pontoon boats. Row out to what ever depth I am looking for, drop the anchor, cast out over the weed beds and sit back and relax. I will be trying out my brand spanking new Fishcat Panther pontoon boat and Cat will be on her Fiscat XL-IR. We will be fishing at about 17 feet so plumbobbers or some type of slip strike indicators are a must. My boat is supposed to be really good in the wind and easy to maneuver and I will be giving a review when I return. Early evening we will get off the water and eat, the menu for the week will be Beef Brisket one night Steak another and Grilled chicken another and we will finish it off eating at the little restaurant in Walden with the moose out front. The last few hours will be spent swapping fish stories with my brother in-law Jim and my good friend and own personal George Washington, Mark( if confused check In the shadows part one). 10:00 or so and off to the tent,zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.I expect to catch fish, however I will judge the trip not by the amount of fish but by how relaxed I feel when I get home and I wouldn’t even mind if Randy Quaid saw me on the water and said how amazing it is to see one of the worlds greatest fly fisherman, I will not be working it real hard…………..

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Afternoon Delight

Sky Rockets in Flight, Afternoon Delight
  I know when the Starland Vocal Band wrote those lyrics they were talking about something a little different than fishing(nudge, nudge, smirk) but what the heck, if you are old enough to remember that song, you might not have the energy to indulge in those types of afternoons activities anyway, and besides, both Skyrockets and myself look better in the dark.

  The river was dropped back down to 253cfs and has moved the fish back into tighter quarters. The last few weeks with the water above 400 gave the fish a better chance to spread out and it seemed that each hole would only net one or two fish and then it would be time to move on. I had not fished the Nature Center area in a while and decided to give it a try this afternoon. I had been fishing mostly just May Fly imitations as of late but with the warmer water temps, I went to my Winston caddis as my point fly and dropped the FOD and a RS2. The first thing I noticed when I got to the water was the smell, with the water up last week and down the last few days, there are a lot of places with standing smelly water,get used to it. The next thing I noticed was that the water was tea green with a fair amount of small debris. I started off in the riffles but really didn’t find many feeding fish. I moved to the weirs and found the fish to be sitting in the soft seems and the tailouts. Lots of 10 to 13 inch fish landed with the largest being a skinny 16 incher. I also hooked one that absolutely ate my lunch. He took me up river around some rocks and then down into the rock and flipped me the fin. All three flies were taking fish, and none seemed any better than the other.

 The river has stayed in very good condition longer than we thought so get out and enjoy every last moment you can. The Drift’s lake expert Cody Hale has been experiencing some tremendous days on the reservoir, lots of small mouth and if you are really good, some monster carp  and on the right day you can get into trophy sized wipers. Whatever your fancy, get out and enjoy and if you are anything like me, you won’t be able to get that song out of your head. Just do like me and change the lyrics “ gonna grab my flyrod, gonna cast it tight, gonna grab some afternoon delight, oh oh oh, afternoon delight”.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Arkansas Tailwater Fishing Report for Sunday May 6th

If I were to title our day of fishing today, I think I would steal the name of my favorite Spaghetti western of all time and call it “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. We had a real mixed bag today but shouldn’t complain because it is the 6th of May. The river was bumped up to just over 400 this morning and the clarity stayed at about three feet. I think with the flows over about 300cfs it takes a little longer for the water to warm up so we really did not see any significant hatches until about 1:00 P.M. when the bwo’s came off for about an hour.

  We stepped into the water about 11:00 A.M. and the second and fourth cast I landed two of those chunky 13 inchers and was thinking it would be another epic day. The next twenty minutes saw no fish and then Cat and I caught several in a real short time. Most of the day seemed to be that way, either on or off.  We probably landed 30 or so with the prize fish of the day being three 19 inchers. Flies of choice today were the FOD and RS2’s in the 18 and 20 size.

  With the unseasonably warm spring the river should be exploding any time now. Get out while you can and enjoy this gem we have here. Thanks for reading, Connell 719-543-3900

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guide Trip May 3rd Pueblo Tailwater

       Fishing was excellent today!!!! With the water coming up and then back down last week we are now in the hit or miss time frame of heavily feeding fish. Ed will be moving back to California early this summer and wanted learn this type of water before he left.  We got to the water about 11:00A.M. and after only about ten minutes or so the fish started feeding. We had intermittent Blue Wing hatches all afternoon and the fish were in feeding lanes most of the afternoon. It did not really seem to matter which baetis pattern or size but the fish just seemed to be all about the correct drift. Ed hooked gobs of fish today but did not do as well in the landing department. The biggest fish landed today was an absolute beautiful 21 inch rainbow. Great job Ed!!!! Landing more of these fish takes a lot of patience. As I am writing this, I can’t help thinking about a time when these fish had been kicking my tail and I yelled the “f” word and then saw someone standing up the river looking at me. How embarrassing, now that person is a judge here in Pueblo and if I ever get in trouble, I may go straight to prison because he knows of my anger issues. Anyway, get to the water because it will be blowing up soon. Have an excellent day and thanks for reading. Connell