Saturday, April 25, 2009

Low Country Trip

Well, it is here. I am leaving for my family vacation to the South Carolina low country. I am looking forward to the time of relaxation, family, fun, fishing, & seafood. Stay tuned for hopefully some exciting fishing reports and pics. The weather is supposed to be wonderful, and I may rent a kayak and search the marshes for some redfish and speckled trout.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cherokee Trophy Section

This report is a little late, but hey at least it is here.

This past Friday I met up with David Knapp from The Trout Zone to fish the trophy section over in Cherokee. I have been hearing good things about it, and David's last post really made me want to give it a try. We got to the river around 2:30, and the guy at Big Don's told us he had sold 300 permits that day. However, most of those were for the general regs waters. It didn't take long for David to get into the action. He hooked up on what must have been his first or second cast. A little later I hooked into this nice bow.
Photo by David Knapp

We ended up leaving around 6:30, and David ended the day with a fine Palomino trout. The pic can be seen on his blog, check it out.

Until next time,
Tight Lines and God Bless

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Low Country Trip Preparation

Our South Carolina fishing trip is two weeks away, and I have been hard at it today tying up some flies for the trip. A couple weeks ago I tied up some copperheads, and today I have been working on some clousers and electric chickens. The electric chickens, from what I am told, are clousers in a particular color scheme (or at least my interpretation of the color scheme). I hope to tie up a few Enrico Puglisi style streamers in the coming days to have just in case. However, those appear to be quite difficult, and I don't know that I will have much more free time to work on them. I believe I have a pretty good base supply, but I believe I will take along some of my tying gear just in case things go well.

Clousers Stand Waiting

Friday, April 10, 2009

New Lens Review: Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8

I recently received my new lens. I originally was looking for a semi-pro grade long distance zoom in the 100-300mm range. However, after thinking about it, since most of my shots are either landscape or portrait type shots, a lens in the 18-70mm range would suit most of my needs. So after doing extensive research and comparing raw data, I selected the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC Macro HSM. The HSM is required with my D40 in order to autofocus.

I have had the lens for 24 hours and have probably taken 100 photos with it already, and I am very impressed. This Sigma lens' zoom operforms way better than the Quantaray zoom I reviewed earlier. However, that is to be expected. The Quantaray was a bargain basement lens, and this is Sigma's high end EX model. The autofocus is very fast and spot on everytime. It consists of 15 lens elements, 4 of which are extremely low dispersion lenses. This means that there is very little color loss or chromatic aberration with this lens throughout the zoom range. Also, it is a constant f/2.8 lens, which allows for excellent low lighting photos and excellent bokeh. It is also a very sharp lens and provides excellent contrast. The build quality is fantastic, and feels very heavy and well built.

Not only does this lens perform well for landscapes and portraits, but the macro function is very useful. It has a minimum focus distance of 7 inches, but I believe that is from the rear of the lens. Since I have held the lens less than 3 inches from my subject and it focuses dead on every time. This will allow me to experiment with my fly photography in the coming weeks. Here are a couple sample shots from the past few days.

I am very pleased with this lens and recommend it to anyone wanting to upgrade from the kit lens into a semi-professional quality lens for less than $400. When comparing this lens to it's Nikon counterpart, it provides similar performance for 1/3 the cost.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Pattern of the Month

In anticipation of my upcoming trip to Edisto Island, I have been tying up some low country flies. One can be seen at left in the fly of the month category. It is the Copperhead, which I have on good faith is an absolute killer on redfish and speckled trout. We will see I guess. I am also looking forward to trying it out on the smallies on the Holston river. With a little tweaking, it would make a decent crawfish pattern.

We are planning on doing a guided trip for some meat fish like whiting, speckled trout, etc. However, the guide has said that if we want to break off early and try for some redfish, tarpon, or shark on the fly he is game for that. Now that sounds like an exciting time....

Check back in a few weeks for some pics from that trip. Until then, I will be hitting up the local waters for some trout, smallies, and maybe a carp or two.

Tight Lines and God Bless

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Product Review: Fishpond Dragonfly

Recently, I mentioned my purchase of a Fishpond Dragonfly Chest/Waist pack from Little River Outfitters. I got to try it out for the first time this past weekend on the Holston. I have to say I am very pleased with it.

When I made the purchase, I was torn between the Arroyo and the Dragonfly. The Arroyo was very comfortable and an attractive pack, but the Dragonfly was larger and had space for a water bottle. I believe I made the correct choice.

The Dragonfly has an extremely comfortable compression belt with wide side bolsters. This allows for more area to carry the weight of the pack, and greatly reduces the wear on the hips. It also comes with a handy removable neck strap that converts the Dragonfly from a lumbar pack to a chest pack. The pack is large enough to carry two C&F fly boxes, granola bars, water bottle, camera, 8 spools of tippet, plenty of leader packs, and all the other accessories clipped on the front. It has very handy tabs for retractors to connect to, however they are made primarily for the Fishpond swivel retractor.

In summary, I am very pleased with my purchase. It is a very nice compromise between the Arroyo and the Waterdance, and I expect my vest to collect a lot of dust.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Holston Mixed Bag

I took today off work to unwind from a very busy and stressful past couple of weeks at work. After doing my work around the house, I loaded up and went to Nance's Ferry. I had originally intended to go to the Smokies, but we are going tomorrow. So, this gave me a chance to try the Holston out again. When I arrived, the parking lot was deserted. I geared up and made my way out into the river watching for risers as I went. Not long after my first cast 4 vehicles pulled into the parking lot, so much for solitary fishing today. Oh well, I just went a significant distance upstream and the new arrivals never got within a couple hundred yards of me.

There were lots of fish rising to what appeared to be midges, and I checked the water temp. It was in the low 50's, that was very surprising. I guess the past couple days of warm rainfall had spiked the temps. Not only were fish rising everywhere, but carp were up in the shallows jumping. I guess 50 degrees is the temp where they begin to get really active. I saw a couple that would have easily been 25 or 30 lbs.

Now to the fishing....

After getting my indicator depth set correctly, I began to pick up fish. Most were about the same size as last time, 12 - 14". However, this trip there was a surprise waiting for me. After catching my first few bows on a zebra midge, I switched to an olive slumpbuster in hopes of finding something larger. What I found was a shoal that was jam packed with eager to eat smallmouth. These guys were absolutely crushing the slumpbuster as I stripped across the end of a large pool. In this same pool, I also caught quite a few more bows on the streamer. The smallies just put up such a fierce battle everytime, and a couple treated me with an aerial display. I can see why smallies on the fly can be addictive, I may have to try this again in the future.

Holston River Smallie

Another Shot

Until then, Tight Lines and God Bless

Trip Summary:
Weather: Cloudy, Windy, Low 50's
Water Temp: Low 50's
# of fish caught: 20-ish
Best Fly: Olive Slumpbuster
Technique: Stripping slowly along the tail of pools, and at the head of runs.

Bold Colors

19" Clinch River Brown