Florida fly fishing

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

We’ve lived in Jacksonville over a year now, smack dab in a tangle of rivers, creeks, backwaters – not to mention the Atlantic ocean –  and I haven’t gone FISHING yet! I’ve located two local outfitters, www.blackflyoutfitters.com and www.backwaterfishingadventures.com who take … Continue reading

Blast from the past

I love looking at grainy old photos of guys just like us, having a good time hunting and fishing years ago. These snapshots are pictures of my wife’s family and friends; from their clothing I’d guess they were taken  in the ‘30s or 40s.

Notice the man and kid showing off two nice stringers of what appear to be bass and bluegill with maybe a crappie or two in the mix. Yes, the “hero shot” has been around for a long long time.

Look at the three dudes all dressed up in their Sunday finest, proudly displaying their gigantic jackrabbits. Did they skip out from work on their lunch break for a quick rabbit hunt? Or maybe ditch the wife and kids after church  to go out and blast a few bunnies?

How about the two guys with the big game animals strung from a pole? I can’t tell if they’re does or antelope. And what are all the light-colored things on the ground? My guess would be corncobs.

The gent dangling the two big fish obviously hadn’t learned to hold them closer to the camera so they’d look bigger. I’d guess they’re trout but it’s hard to tell. What do you think?

The grinning dude sitting on the car fender is my father-in-law. Those pointy things to his left appear to be antlers. You know this wasn’t the only photo taken that day. Wouldn’t you love to see the rest!

The two guys in front of the tent, with the white dog and the campfire: my wife swears that’s her dad, seated with the cigarette in his mouth. I have my doubts. There are also some antlers beside his left leg. Did one of them bag a deer or were the antlers just used to rattle up a buck?

Wouldn’t you love to hear the story that goes with each photo?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Voices Of Rivers

Matthew Dickerson was a June 2017 artist-in-residence at Glacier National Park. In May 2018 he was artist-in-residence at Acadia National Park. If you dream of fishing for native trout in some of our country’s most beautiful places – and protecting them – you will fall in love with his latest book The Voices Of Rivers.

 

 

Two Glorious Days On The White River

Let’s get started!

After spending three days in Little Rock Arkansas attending the annual Outdoor Writers Association Of America conference Dave Zumbaugh and I headed north for Mountain Home and the fabulous White river.

Headquartered at Riley’s Station where the Buffalo River meets the White, Miles’ son Gavin drove us up to Rim Shoal. Dave and I stayed out of the way while Miles and Gavin launched the battered 20’ johnboat.  With Dave and I safely aboard we motored upstream through heavy fog to Redbud Shoal, then started our drift back downstream throwing two-fly rigs…and catching trout.

When we had drifted through a particularly productive piece of water Miles would fire up the 9.9 hp Mercury and take us back upstream so we could drift it again…and again…and again until it stopped producing and we moved on downstream to the next hot spot.

We fished through the popular Rim Shoal area, on down through Lower Rim Shoal, catching and releasing 11’ to 16” rainbows with an occasional cutthroat or brown in the mix. Dave and I both playing a trout at the same time and keeping Miles busy with the net became almost commonplace.

The afternoon fishing was cut short about 2:30 when a violent electrical storm sent us grabbing for rain jackets. Our race downstream was briefly interrupted when the cowling blew off Miles’ outboard motor. After a few unsuccessful circles trying to find it we gave up and hauled ass for the safety of Riley’s Station.

Fishing in the fog

Hot flies of the day were red San Juan worms tied on jig heads by the Riley’s twelve-year-old daughter Jalen, orange egg patterns and #16 zebra midges. And they proved just as effective the next day.

Dave fighting the big one

This little White River cutthroat fell for an orange egg pattern

Dave displays his rainbow trout tattoo

One of many “Twofers”.

 

Even Geezers can catch fish on the White.

We had hoped to spend Day Two between Buffalo Shoal and Riley’s Station but the storm that had driven us off the water yesterday had turned Crooked Creek into a torrent of mud so once again we put in at Rim Shoal and immediately started boating and releasing trout. Looking for shade anyplace we could find it we pulled to shore at mid-day and once again enjoyed one of Miles’ (or maybe Michelle’s) gourmet lunches.

Somehow during our downstream float, happily bouncing off rocks and catching trout, Miles discovered the entire lower unit of the Merc was missing. This didn’t mean we were dead in the water but it did mean less power. So Dave and I continued to catch fish while Miles deftly maneuvered the big johnboat around rocks to avoid further damage. When we reached Crooked Creek and the inflow of muddy water we stowed the rods  and, tired but happy,  limped on down to Riley’s Station.

It’s always fun to spend a day on the river with outfitter/philosopher Miles Riley. This was Dave’s maiden voyage on the White. He’s already scheming to go back and I hope I can tag along. Meanwhile if you’d like to catch a mess of trout, see some beautiful Arkansas scenery or just relax in a nice, quiet cabin, check out Miles and Michelle’s website www.rileysstation.com. They’ll be looking for you!

 

 

This way to Riley’s Station

Mile’s and some old geezer.

Miles & Dave. Lunch break

The old man and the river

All but three photos by Dave Zumbaugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Communicators of Kansas Conference

I love it here in Florida but one thing I miss about moving from Kansas is the Outdoor Communicators of Kansas twice a year. It’s always fun to get together with old friends. Especially when they’re people whose work you admire and respect.

El Dorado, KS hosted this year’s conference May 3 – 5th. A hardy welcoming dinner kicked off the festivities Friday night followed by a business meeting. Saturday and Sunday were devoted to the important things: fishing and turkey hunting.

A crappie tournament was being held simultaneously with the OCK conference. I’ve never attended a crappie tournament, but if they’re like the three Bassmasters Classics I attended where the contestants had to release their catch, it’s a travesty of justice. Crappie are DELICIOUS and should be filleted, rolled in cornmeal , fried and EATEN!

Fishing was difficult due to recent rains and high water, but the winning team in the Kansas Crappie Club Big Fish tournament had one 2 lb. fish. 

Doesn’t sound too good to me.

I’ve attended many Outdoor Communicators of Kansas conferences in the past. In May of 2008 photographer Blumb and I boated an obscene number of crappie on Clinton Lake near Lawrence with the help of a local fisherman. One crisp November morning in ’09 I lay on my back in a frozen field near Larned and listened to thousands of snow geese squawking overhead and never fired a shot. You can’t shoot what you can’t see and the fog was so thick I could hardly see a nearby treeline. So as you can see, being guided by local “experts” doesn’t guarantee success.

But it’s always fun.

I’ve asked some of the current attendees to send photos about this year’s conference to my blog. Let’s see what happens.

Blumb writes ..”Fishing was difficult due to recent rains and high water, but the winning team in the Kansas Crappie Club Big Fish tournament had one 2 lb. fish. 

Sunday Josh Peck and I went turkey hunting, guided by Jason Barnes of Whitewater, KS. We were near a flock, but the gobbler and jakes ignored our calls, and drifted away with numerous hens, out of sight. We moved to another farm, located a distant solo gobbler, and proceeded to try to sneak closer and call him in. He drifted away, and we had a 1 mile hike back to our vehicle.

To finish the morning, we returned to the area where we started, and Josh attempted a sneak with a fan blind. Still no luck, so we called it a hunt and unloaded our shotguns. The temperature had risen to 72 degrees by noon, and we had walked a total of 4 miles, so I was ready for a break.”

Many thanks to Jon Blumb and Dave Zumbaugh for the photos.

Brad Loveless and Mark Murrell show off a pair of keeper walleyes. Some uninformed people call walleyes walleyed pike which is incorrect. I call them FOOD!

A real wall hanger

I have five beautiful, talented nieces.

Okay, I can already hear the bitching. “I thought this blog was supposed to be about outdoor stuff. You know…fishing, hunting stuff like that”.

It certainly is,  and this post about my niece Mayo fits right in. Mayo made this big, beautiful FISH out of CDs! That’s right. Each scale is a compact disc. The kind old guys like me still listen to. It’s about four or five feet long, the fins and tail are bristles from a broom. The nose is a straw hat and the eyes are mini compact discs. Is that creative and original or what?

Mayo creates other interesting objects as well: bracelets, earrings, necklaces, pendants. In other words, “wearable art”. 

Check out her attractive, easy to navigate website http://www.designsbymayo.com.

Heart Of America Fly Fishers One Fly Tournament

The Heart of America Fly Fishers held their annual One Fly Tournament Saturday, June 17th at the Timber Ridge Adventure Center. Timber Ridge is a beautiful 200-acre park managed by the Johnson County Parks & Recreation Dept. It is located south of Kill Creek Park near De Soto, KS. Two small lakes on the property are open one day each year for public fishing. Reservations can be made for special events by phone (913) 831-3359 or email registration@jocogov.org.

The One Fly Tournament is an actual tournament, with rules, winners and losers, and prizes for largest fish and most fish caught. Contestants are allowed to use only one fly. If the fly is lost another of the same pattern may be tied on.

The guys who got there early caught quite a few bass, bluegill, and even a couple of big channel cats.

I got there just in time for the mid-day picnic.

 

 

 

 

 

Trout fishing at Lake Taneycomo

It’s always a treat to fish Lake Taneycomo even if the fishing isn’t up to its usual standards. Last week I enjoyed some beautiful Ozarks scenery, ate a great chicken fried steak at Lambert’s (the throwed rolls place), and scarfed down some tasty barbeque at Dana’s.

My life-long buddy Ned Spence and his lady friend were supposed to come up from Oklahoma City and meet me but they took sick and couldn’t make it. I wanted to take a selfy of me holding up a huge trout and email it to him but it didn’t happen, mainly because I didn’t catch any huge trout. In fact I almost didn’t catch any trout at all.

I didn’t see anybody tearing them up Wednesday morning. I did manage to fool one little rainbow with a yellow crackleback. You know it’s slow when you catch one trout and a guy comes over and asks what you’re using.

Thursday morning the fishing Gods smiled upon me and I was rewarded with two small rainbows for my two hour’s work. Actually I shouldn’t call it work because at least I was fishing, the weather was beautiful and I didn’t fall down and drown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No River For Old Men

No river

This story was first published in the August 2009 issue of Wyoming Wildlife magazine. It was awarded the  Best Magazine Humor award  in the 2010 Magazine Humor contest of the Outdoor Writers Association of America Excellence In Craft Contests. 

My buddy Ned was ecstatic. “Can you believe it? There’s nobody here but us!”

Ned had parked my truck at a campground. I had let him drive because the grandkids had taken my car keys away. They said I was just an accident waiting to happen. We had walked about a half mile downstream to a popular “honey hole”. It was usually crowded but today we seemed to have it all to ourselves.

Ned tweezered a #18 elk hair caddis out of his fly box and handed it to me.

“Can you tie this on for me?”, he asked, “ I can hardly see it.”

“Sorry”, I said. “I forgot my bifocals”. I thought I was wearing them but obviously I was not. I started wondering what I had done with them but couldn’t remember.

“Then how are we going to fish if neither of us can see how to tie on a fly?”

“We’ll just have to use bigger flies”, I explained. “Like maybe #8 hoppers. But it’s a mootpoint because we can’t fish here anyway”.Ned stared at me, stunned. “What do you mean, we can’t fish here?”

“Look, Ned….” I sat down on a log. My back was already starting to ach from the hike in.

“Like you said, Ned, there’s nobody here but us. We’re both seventy years old. What if we fall down and can’t get back up out of the water? What if we slip on a slick, moss-covered rock and go tumbling downstream? There’s nobody here to help us.”

Ned is dumb enough to hang around with me but he’s not totally brain dead yet.

“I never thought of it that way”, he said, rubbing the gray stubble on his chin. “I gotta admit you may have a point”.

“The only reason I agreed to walk all the way in here was because I thought there would be other people fishing here”, I told him. I could see by the look on his face that I was going to have to explain my theory in detail to him. “At our age we can’t just wade into the water and start flinging flies around like we did when we were twenty-five or thirty. Or even forty or fifty. First we need to find what I call a geezer-friendly venue.”

Ned leaned against a tree and stared longingly at the river where a few trout were sipping emergers in the surface film while I continued to expound on my theory.

“What if there’s a mixture of young guys and old guys?” asked Ned.

“That probably means it’s okay. But we should study the water carefully before we wade in. The old guys we see fishing may just be too dumb to realize they’re in danger. Age is no guarantee of wisdom.”

“But if we do decide to give it a try, we should fish upstream from the young guys so they can fish us out if we lose our balance and go floating downstream”, said Ned, warming to my theory.

“You catch on quick”, I said.

“What?” said Ned.

“I SAID “YOU CATCH ON QUICK”, I yelled. “Sit down here on the log beside me so you can hear what I’m saying…. Now where was I?

“You were explaining your theory to me”, said Ned. “Something about fishing where there are young guys around.”

“Oh yeah”, it was starting to come back to me now. “But having young guys around is no guarantee, because if the fishing is really hot – say there’s a terrific hatch on – the young guys may just keep fishing as we go floating by, gurgling and screaming. In fact they may get mad at us for putting the fish down, like we used to do when old guys went floating past us.”

I pulled my collapsible wading staff – which I now called my “ geezer stick” – from its holster on my belt and leaned against it to help me stand up. We started walking back toward the truck, then remembered the truck was in the opposite direction, so we turned around and walked the other way while I filled Ned in on some of the finer points of my theory.

“Those little pockets in your vest… don’t fill them all up with flies, tippet material, leaders, and other fishing stuff. Save some for pills, salves, suppositories, and any other meds that might come in handy on the stream.”

Ned nodded  in agreement.

“And one other thing”, I added. “When you’re just smoking everybody else on the river and some young whipper-snapper asks you what you’re using, just say “Fifty years of experience, Sonny.”

When we got back to the truck I found my bifocals in the glove box, right where I had put them. I pulled out my river map and we started looking for a place on the river that would be suitably crowded for guys our age. In other words, a geezer-friendly venue. We’d head out right after our nap.