Mother’s Day Fishing

This year was a slow start to fishing for me. Poor weather, cold, other priorities kept me out until today. I was able to get up for an early Mother’s Day visit to my local beach. As it turned out, it was an outstanding start to 2014 fishing.

I used my Scott Radian (9’6″ 6 weight) with an Airflo 40+ floating/intermediate line. As a side note, in earlier posts I had expressed some reservations about the Radian, but a bit more testing caused me to take the plunge and get one at the Gig Harbor Fly Shop.

On arrival, my favorite spot below a point was occupied by a spin caster. So I started farther down the beach in a very soft back eddy. As he moved up the beach, I followed along until I got to may spot where the current is much stronger. Not sure what he was doing as he hadn’t caught anything that I could see. But I had gotten 3-4 hits as I moved up the beach on a chum baby. I switched to a Clouser-type (size 6) and then it was like magic. I was catching searuns almost as quickly as the fly hit the water. In a very short period of time I caught and released 9 fish (smallest was five inches, most were in the six to eight in range).

I continued up the beach to the edge of the seawall, getting at least one more hit until I called it a day. But not a bad day – most fish I caught in one day.

In terms of equipment, I was using a stripping basket but still had a good deal of problems with the Airflo line, the running line tangled frequently. I should probably On the other hand, the Sage performed wonderfully. When I was in the groove the casting was easy and I could put the fly where I wanted.

Gig Harbor Beer Festival

Since we moved to Gig Harbor last year, we’ve tried to become part of the community by participating in the annual events that are part of life here. Yesterday was one such event – the Gig Harbor Beer Festival. The festival was held at the Pavilion in Uptown (next door to Panera Breads) and was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. For the admission price of $20, one was given a four-ounce sampling glass and 7 tokens (one beer equals one token). But always in the spirit of community, additional tokens were on sale.

This year’s festival had 21 brewers, offering a total of 48 different brews. With only seven tokens, choices had to be made. My favorites were Dick’s Brewing Company (Centralia, WA), with both their Imperial IPA and 12-Man Pale Ale being great beers. Almost as much as those, I liked the Interurban IPA from Fremont Brewing (Seattle, WA). Others I liked were the Dabob Bay IPA (Hood Canal Brewery from Kingston WA); Whoop Pass Double IPA (Silver City Brewery from Bremerton WA); and the Narrows IPA (from Narrows Brewing from Tacoma WA).

Several other beers were…interesting. The following had unusual (at least for me) ingredients, producing beers that were definitely not from the King of Beers. Narrows Brewing had beer called Hibiscus Salson. It was pink and tasted somewhat like flat champagne. Slippery Pig Brewing (Poulsbo WA) had a beer called Stinging Nettle Extra Mild. Made from stinging nettles, it had a very earthy taste, which reminded me of something that the Ents of might have served Merry and Pippiin in Lord of the Rings. It was a bit too earthy for me.

After our time at the Beer Festival, we determined we’ll be back next year. Tough duty, but someone has to do it.

The Sculpture of Fly Casting: Eliminating Shock Waves

I think the mastery of fly-casting is like a sculpture. The initial stages of learning and practice knock off the rough edges to form the outline of a fly caster. Then with a lot of time and practice the fly caster reaches the competence of an intermediate. An intermediate fly caster is similar to the form of a sculpture when the artist first thinks the sculpture is done.

Beyond that point is where progress becomes elusive. Subtle changes are made, requiring study, reflection and frustration – at least for most of us.

I’ve gotten to the point in my fly-casting that I’ve begun to pay attention to things that weren’t visible to me even a year ago. Lately, I’ve spent more time watching the forward cast and have noticed the dips and peaks that occur when the line is rolling out. Those are shock waves and I’ve been trying for some time to eliminate them.

I suspected that too much power or too much speed for the amount of line was causing them. And with some work I’ve been able to reduce much of it. But I wasn’t perceptive enough to understand how they were actually being introduced.Then I came across an article written by a Federation of Fly Fishers member that discussed shock waves and explained that rod tip oscillations generate them. It was obvious – at least after reading the article.

He provided a way of demonstrating how shock waves are introduced and could be eliminated.

Take an unrigged fly rod and do a sidearm cast. When you stop the rod count the number of times the tip oscillates before it stops. Then do the sidearm cast again, but begin the cast as slowly as possible and speed up only at the last instant before stopping the rod. The number of oscillations should have been reduced.

With this understanding, immediate feedback on one’s technique is provided. Too many shock waves means that the cast is being started too fast and it’s time to slow down.

I think it’s time to watch the backcast more too. Shockwaves there would interfere with control and timing of the forward cast.