Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back to Back Adventures

So there are times on Saturday or Sunday when I want to do something but can not be spending money. I also know that the river will be full of people splashing, swimming, rafting and even throwing rocks in the good holes. This past Saturday I slept in and then got up and got the materials to make a sign for some good friends of ours who had a baby Friday night (congratulations Lloyd family). When I got home I was bored which happens if it is nice out side and I am in. Sarah and I were kicking around the idea of a Braves game or hiking up Stone Mountain. After a while we decided to go hike up the rock.

As we pulled up to the west gate the sky which had been dark the entire ride there finally opened up. It was a good ten minute rain storm with lots of wind and big drops. It did pass and so Sarah and I decided to go into the park. At the gate we where handed another decision should we pay ten bucks to park for the afternoon or would we get enough use out of a season pass to make up for the price($35). It was not a long chat about it and not just because we were sitting at the gate with a line forming behind us but because we only needed to come four times to have it paid for. Stone Mountain is fifteen to twenty minutes from our house with little to no traffic, and there is a lot to do there so we are now proud owners of a season pass. The adventure was not just getting there and buying the pass but a whole mess of things that were about to happen.

When we first got to the trail head there were people coming off the mountain soaked to the bone. Sarah snickered a little but I remember giving her a look that said it could be us. So we were hiking at a good clip and talking about a lot of things, it was still overcast and felt nice. We were talking and I remember looking up and seeing a pole that can not be missed because it is covered in old gum, then looking to the shy and noticed it looked darker then when we first set off. Well I was not a boy scout but I do like to come prepared and last minute threw a poncho in my pack because Sarah was bringing her good camera and that thing can NOT get wet.

As we got off a section that is the steepest we felt light rain. I stopped and put my phone and wallet in my waterproof sack, and started to get the poncho out. With the phone and wallet tucked away I put the poncho on Sarah just as the wind wipes up to its full force. It looked like we would be getting to the top of this thing little wet. There was on talking about what to do, we saw no lightning and it was not as bad as the one that we waited out at the gate. So with out saying anything we pressed on up the mountain. We crest the top of the mountain and just then the rain starts to lighten up a little. Sarah and I go from being slightly concerned because Stone Mountain is a big bald piece of granite just north of the city providing no cover on the top, to over joyed we had this grand idea. Once on the top we took shelter under a little pavilion, Sarah got the camera out snapped a couple shots, including one that shows the next leg of the adventure. The one above is what I think was the next small storm that hit us. See the light part on the right? Well the storm is the darker part on the left.

So this passing shower was much much lighter and so we set off down the hill in the rain this time. With the majority of the decent behind us and no major falls, Sarah stopped to snap a shot of steam coming off the lake that surround part of the mountain. The part that is not shown real well in the picture is how dark it was. She took the shot with a tripod and so could soak up a lot of light so much it looks like day time in the picture. Then took one of me with a flash which in this case shows how dark it was. You can also see in the shot that I did not bring anything to keep myself dry.

There is something liberating about climbing a mountain in a storm like that. It makes you feel alive and it makes you feel like you can do a lot of crazy things you probably can not really do. I was ready to tackle Everest, or swim the Atlantic. Those feeling are good to have as long as you do not take them too serious and actually try to do those things with no training or experience.

Now for the fun part. Today after a stressful day at church (yeah why is church stressful?) Sarah wanted to go for a run on the path around the mountain. I decided to tag along and see if maybe I could locate some carp in the ponds and lakes that are scattered around the park. I ended up catching a couple small sunnies and and hiking a short trail from a parking lot to a small pond. Sarah finished her run and took a couple shots of me, trying to get some small bass. Then I wanted her to get a shot of a roll cast and she did but we will work on the shot I really wanted next time we get out. All in all I am really happy we decided to buy the pass and know we will get a ton of use out of it as the fall come. Two days of fun and adventure and now some new waters to explore. I hope to get into some golden bones(carp) in the next couple weeks, and if that does not work out in that time frame to worries because it will be cooling down and trout will be the goal again.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Long Week

It is another long week for me. Unlike the summer the heat is not getting to me, the 90 degree days this week seem easy compared to the heat of mid July. The management at work is a little crazy lately but it is soon the end of the month, and well sometimes these guys just are not good at dealing with workers. SO the fact that it is almost 12 and Wednesday is coming to an end just makes me feel good. There is no fishing trip planned for this week and I'm not sure there will be this weekend, but at this point I am looking forward to the weekend.

As of lunch today I was still trying to figure out some way to fish a new state, and hopefully tomorrow will bring a good email with promising news of fishing TN. If my plans all work out I will be able to get some trout fishing in on my way to visit a friend, and maybe some carp fishing when I finally get to him. The plans are big but if his schedule is open enough it could be a big trip.

As for this week I had a chance to wet a line Sunday. It was bad news, I traveled north to the mountains about 2 hours north of Atlanta but the stream system I had picked out was near 70 degrees. That is not ideal for trout fishing, so I spent hours just casting till I was blue in the face. Then spooking fish that were just resting on the bottom. So Sunday was a wash and it looks like I am starting a new blank streak.

Well this post may seem a little down, but I wanted it to be positive look toward the weekend. So it sounds like Sarah and I might find a waterfall, hike stone mountain, or hit the zoo. I can not wait to hang out with my fun wife all weekend, and hopefully we can mix in enough outdoors to fill that part of me. Well everyone hump day is over and it is all down hill for here.


Sunday, August 22, 2010


So it is no secret to anyone who knows me that I am a sports guy. I love competition, athletes, athletics, and strategy and sports provide all that and more. Sports have always been a part of my life but I have been out of school for a while now and do not compete as much. I ran a half marathon in the spring, but it was not my kind of race. This fall I want to run some 5k races because that is more race strategy assuming you are in shape to run a 5k. This blog post is not about me it is about the kids in the Little League World Series. I love this event and for the past three years I have been glued to the TV when it has been on.

I have a lot of reasons for loving this event. For a strat three years ago when this obsession started I think I just liked seeing PA. Most likely I missed what I called home, and the LLWS is played in Williamsport PA. At the time Sarah and I had just moved to Atlanta and I have no friends here, and was job hunting. It was nice to look at the scenery every night for a little over a week. Then it hit me about mid week that first year the games can be exciting.

Now three years later I love watching these kids play. I now call a baseball town home and watch and listen to a lot of MLB games. These guy in the majors are great and the sport is wrapped in history and legend these things all add to my love for the game. So why do I love the LLWS? The game, it is an amazing game to watch these young teens work together and lean on each other.

The kids are the key. They are playing on a smaller field then the majors but the speed of play is the same. Sometimes the plays and skills of the kids are amazing. Looking into the eyes of these kids is the draw for me. They are all having fun, you can tell they are all competitors and hate to lose games but in the end they are playing a game. I would be willing to bet that a couple hours after the toughest lose these kids are back to being kids. Everyone of these kids has that look, that you only see every so often in the majors. In the majors you see it when a young minor league player comes up to his first start in the majors.

I could go on and on about why I like to watch the LLWS, but think a challenge is in order. Weather your a baseball fan or not sit down and watch a game. The games are only 6 innings and the rules are are a little different then the majors so there is a lot to watch. Even if you are not into sports this is something to check out. So please watch a game, if it is your first time maybe wait till later in the week, but watch one and if you can put into words why it is so great feel free to share.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hummingbirds in the Atlanta wild

So a couple weeks ago I showed my bird feeders and some of the birds I had been attracting. I also mentioned that I put a hummingbird feeder up and we had seen it a couple times. Well now we think it is at least two or three birds, and they are constant visitors to the porch. These guys are small and each one has a different way of eating at the feeder. Some fly right in take a drink of some nectar but others will get close then go all the way around it drinking from each fake flower a couple time then fly away.

With all the action this feeder is getting I had lots of chances to get pictures and I took a bunch. I'm putting some of the better pictures on here to show my new birds. Sarah wants to put up another feeder for the hummingbirds and I am thinking of getting one that sticks to the window with a suction cup. That should get us closer to the action and maybe give us a new angle for pictures.

The birds we are attracting are ruby throated hummingbirds. They like to drink the nectar from brightly colored flowers in the wild. Our feeder has a nectar that we make right here in the kitchen. The stuff you buy in the store could get expensive but to make it at home is easy and much more cheap.

To make our own hummingbird nectar you need a two ingredients water and sugar. You should wash your feeder out a couple times a week to keep bacteria from building up and harming the birds. So wash out our feeder and while it is drying you can make the nectar. It is a 4:1 ratio water to sugar, so I like to make 2 cups of nectar. I heat up 2 cups of water and then add a half a cup of sugar. Heating the water helps dissolve the sugar faster and once the water goes clear again just cool it down and pour it into your feeder.

These bird feeders have been so much fun for me this summer so far and I am looking forward to the fall and winter months when the birds are very active to these feeders. Also the fall and winter brings different kinds of birds, and as the birds come to the porch I will shot some photos for later blog posts. I am very much a novice at all this bird feeder stuff, but I am learning and will try to blog about anything new I do on the porch so keep checking in.


Monday, August 16, 2010


Maybe it is a bad sign but I think I have a little writers block, and I have not been doing a lot of fishing. I went out chasing carp this past Saturday, I saw a lot of what I have been reading about. I saw some tailing action, some fish kind of cruising, and some fish just resting on the bottom. I spent some money to rent a canoe and paddle to a shallow spot where the water was warm. Then spend most of the morning and afternoon tossing "carp flies" to the tailing fish. They would spook and swim off leaving a wake behind for me to shake my head at and laugh. I got good at sneaking up on them and they would spook right next to the boat. It was an exciting morning, and then the fish went to sleep. Just sitting on the bottom hiding till I hit them with the bottom of the boat or the paddle.

That was it, no fish to hand, no big fight story, and no running my line all the way to the backing. I was not upset at all it was fun to be on the water and chasing a fish I have never caught before. There is something exciting about fishing for a new species, I really have not caught a lot of different species on the fly rod, but starting now I am going to try. Hopefully next time I can post a picture of a big carp.

This was the area I fished.

I have been fishing more this year then I had in the past two or three years and will be taking it back a little now that Sarah is not on call every weekend. That being said the creation of this blog has given me some reason to get on the water, and will hopefully get me on the water for years to come. Would you look at that I was not completely blocked I just had a story where I did not catch a fish, or even have any real excitement on the trip. The plans was to blog on Sunday's and Wednesday's and I am sorry I have been bad about it this past week but I am getting back on track starting now. I did put in a wish list update and last week I updated my gear page as well. Thanks for reading everyone.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Why do we do it

Last night I had a rare chance to hit the river after work. It was one of those things where the stars alined and I got off a little early. The plan was to go try to catch carp, but that was easier said then done. The spot I had picked out was really hard to get to. I spend most of the time in a wooded area trying to locate the fish. I saw a couple and got a cast or two in their direction but it was just practice. Hopefully I'll be renting a canoe Saturday and then I will have my best shot at landing my first carp. Well the night was not a total bust.

Searching my mind for ideas I decided to drive to a spot just 5 minutes up the road. It is a spot I normally fish for trout but there are some large flat areas and I thought they might hold carp. Well I fished there for about an hour until I had enough. The funny thing about this spot was at one point I saw over a dozen people fly fishing. I dozen people on the stream on a Thursday night. I knew why I was there, it was because I went on an adventure looking for my shot at my first carp. On this night I could not help but wonder why do these other people fish? Why did these guy pick fly fishing?

Stuck on that question I sat on a rock for a while. The water was too cold for carp here so I thought about these other guys, and their fishing lives. Then I decided to go to some swifter moving water and see if I had it in me to catch a trout on my new rod. I looked at my fly box for a fly. Now the fact that I went out for carp was a problem when trying to fish for trout. My box had what I thought would be good stuff for carp not trout.

I plucked a fly from my hat and after fifteen or twenty minutes with no fish. After opening the box again, I studied the flies I had with me for a couple minutes and decided to go with a leech pattern. First cast with the leech I had a stunning brown trout attack the fly with everything it had. Not the biggest fish but still the first that this new rod had ever taken to hand. No more then two minutes later another fish to hand, I did not get a shot of this guy because my camera was tucked away in my bag.

This is the first trout the picture was taken with my phone. I second I wanted a better picture but it threw the hook before I could get the camera out.

I was pleased with myself, switching gears like that is hard for me, but I was happy I did it because I got a chance to hold two pretty fish. Why do we do it? I think everyone come to the river with their own twist. There is something to be said about the guy who comes just to catch the big one, but in the same respect the guy who sits on a rock for a while to collect himself might be on to something too. I do not what to get into why I fish in this post, but I am amazed that there are that many people willing to fish on a Thursday night. I guess last nights fishing trip was good because I landed a couple trout, but also because I landed the question why do we do it?


Monday, August 9, 2010

Why do I go into these blanking spells.

So to say it has been a rough couple weeks on the water would be an understatement. I never really have been all about catching the fish, and if I blank here or there I just see it as God keeping me honest. The time on the river makes me happy, but also allows me a lot of time to think. It is funny where your mind goes when you are on the water. Sometimes I just end up going though conversations in my head, sometimes I try to think like the fish I am trying to catch. This past Saturday I slept in a little and only hit the water at a quarter till 9. That is a late start for the area I was fishing and I knew it made my morning that much harder. To top it all off Sarah was finishing up her CPE program that day so I wanted to be home a little after lunch.

some river shots from a slippery rock
Knowing my luck lately I decided to go to a spot that I knew would produce and I would not be running into too many people. The problem with this spot is you need to cross some slippery rocks to get there. I made it to my spot and then knowing that I had blanked my last three or four times out I decided to sit for a minute and listen to what time river was telling me. What I got was maybe I should throw a dry fly, a blue winged olive to be exact. On the surface of the water which was a clear as a thin pain of glass I could see trout taking tiny flies. It was not a hatch my any means and the hits were not regular, but I thought lets give it a go.

So I did and as soon as I made two or three casts another fisherman walked right through a spot I was fishing. Maybe that is why I had been blanking these past couple weeks. After that I decided to sit down and take a couple pictures of the water and my rod. I was fishing with my Orvis Clearwater Classic 9 foot. I use a 5wt Battenkill reel with it and which is a good setup when I'm fishing water where I can make a lot of big false casts but not throwing a heavy fly. After the water settled a little I noticed something disturbing the surface down steam from me a little. So trying not to kick up too much mud and muck from the bottom I walked way around the spot and approached from down stream. It was a trout running for under a rock to one spot in the current to snag a fly. I knew I was in from the moment I saw the fish take a natural fly. I took a cast short just to see how it was going to drift in this hole and then let a good cast go. The drift that follow was a good as I had hoped.

Just to point out the fish is on a downed log but look just above the rod and see how clear the water was, those rocks look like they are on dry land.

The end product was a nice sized trout to take a couple quick pictures of and then send back on its way. So that ended my troutless streak and it felt great to get that over with. I fished a little while longer then my mind kicked in. It is almost 11 and my wife has not called or texted saying she is home and taking a nap, but I am just guessing she is sound asleep. Then I must have been thinking again because I made two stupid mistakes on hook sets that ended with me snapping flies off in trees behind me. Those were my last two olives and I still had no call or text. I tied on a Cahill and made one cast when I thought I heard my phone. Thinking to myself there she is I quickly dug though my waterproof bag to get my phone, but missed the call. When I finally got to the phone it was her parents house.

Now put your self in my shoes, where would your mind go. Well I tried calling her and there was no answer, so I decide to call it a day and go home. I didn't want to call her parents till I was back at the truck so, I rushed across the slippery rocks again and got to the other side. Once I was on the trail I called Sarah's phone a couple more times only to get a voice mail. Now I'm not one to worry too much but the river is a great place for your mind to run because you can feel so wide open. So with that much room to run my mind went for a short jog as I moved swiftly to the truck. Just as I was crossing the foot bridge to the truck Sarah called, sounding sleepy I know she was just tired from her last on call night. We chatted for a minute, and when I got off with her I called her parents house. It was funny because it ended up being that her dad who wanted to gloat that the Phillies had pulled to within a game or two of the Braves. I had texted and maybe even called him in the last couple weeks to ask him if he thought this was their run, but his return call was just timed poorly. That didn't matter because I really did need to get off the water and head home, so I took off my waders and jumped in the truck and drove back to the city.

I'm hoping that next weekend I can convince Sarah to come along to the north Ga mountains and take some pictures of trout, also a couple action shots of me fishing for them. The weather has been crazy hot so that might not be an option but I will keep my hopes high. It could be a lot of fun now that I no longer have a case of the blanks. To sum things up I honestly think Sarah's CPE was great because I got out fishing a lot, but it ended up being all I thought about on the water. Which after just shy of two months took its toll a couple weeks ago and ended this past weekend with my mad dash to the truck. I am feeling better already and I think I am ready to get back to catching fish on a regular basis.

I hope to do a lot of blog work this week so be sure to stop in and click around. I want to put a new and important piece of gear in that section, along with finally getting round to making that wish list and maybe a couple other surprises along the way. So be sure to pop in for a visit this week.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Refill

So I was on the water last Saturday morning. I was fishing a deep swirling hole that was dug out by a stump and a large rock. My first thought was to throw a grasshopper but after a couple minutes of no looks it was time for something new. Maybe I'd switch what level I'd be coming at the fish and decided to go under water so I put on a nymph. I tied on a prince nymph(I showed them a couple posts back) and it worked like a charm I had a fish hit right away. I couldn't get the fish to hand but was pleased that I had a hook up. Then two casts later I got stuck on the bottom and lost the fly.

Now you loose a fly on the stream no big deal you just reach in your vest pull out your nymph box and get a new one. Well when I got my box out of my vest and opened it. There was a problem I was out of prince nymphs. I was also out of zug bugs which look close to the prince nymph. I was not happy for a lot of reasons but the biggest was I had to go from a green fly to a tan fly and thats not going to work normaly. Another reason was unlike the guys who buy flies I tie them and should never really let my box get so low on flies.

Well that got me thinking I wonder what else I'm missing. When I looked in all my boxes I found that I was missing a lot. My caddis box was hurting and as I was standing in the water I actually said out loud 'thank God there isn't a caddis hatch going off today'. I also looked at my other dry fly boxes and same thing there lots of empty spaces.

The nymph box was the one that I was the most mad about. It had me mad because nymphs are my go to flies when the fishing gets slow. I was on the water looking at my box and I had a bunch of rough looking stuff. Normally I am very good at keeping up with my boxes but with the new rod and the excitement of maybe catching some big fish on it I just did not get a lot tied. Well this week has been all about getting those boxes filled.

This is a cork has nine prince nymphs on it. I like to have 3 sizes of one kind of fly. It is so nice to fill those empty spots in my boxes. It is rewarding because I can see my progress as the slots get filled, and tying flies is relaxing for me. There is a chance to slow down and put some thought into something other then work or life. I think by Friday night I should have most of my boxes restocked with fresh flies.

When I was in my home town last week I found some old fly tying stuff that my brother and I collected for years growing up. I called my brother Jason and asked if he cared if I took some of the stuff to GA with me. He is living in Wisconsin on the lake and is not fly fishing as much if at all anymore. So I took brought hackle, some beads, and some deer tails back here to GA. One of the hackles I got was cream/white colors so now I can tie some classic dry flies. I think in the up coming weeks I will be posting on the Cahill. Also the blue winged olive, the adams fly, and the griffith's gnat. The lesson to be learned here is if you tie your own flies it is your own fault when you are standing waist deep in the water trying to figure out what your next move is with no flies. Just remember check your boxes a couple nights before even a small trip.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

First New Rod As A Married Couple!

Last Thursday I was online reading article about carp fishing, and also found some people who fish these things regularly on a message board I like to follow. It hit me I want to be able to either catch big fish or bass, and the river is so warm now the only fishing worth doing in the city is carp, or bass. So I used an equation that my father-in-law told me about how many bicycles a person should have but instead of bikes I used fly rods.

Tabulate the number of fly rods you have + one = the number you should have(thanks Bob)

Well as anyone who is married can tell you most of the time finances are a thing that people fight the most about. I took it upon myself to shop online for a rod that would bring quality but not break the bank. I love the big brands Orvis, G.Loomis, Redington but that being said I can't always afford them I have one and one day will get more. I've got a wife who has spent years and years in school and she will be looking for a real job when this unpaid internship ends. I think I'm making enough money to get by but not enough to buy the good brands. That being said I put it out in the world that I wanted a new rod and had a big speech planned out in the event Sarah gave me any flack about it. When I asked she paused a minute and said when do you want it?
Shock, is the one word to explain how I felt when she gave it the green light. So
we made a plan to go to Bass Pro and get a start up kit. I decided an 8 wt. was the way to go because I could handle big flies and big fish with it. Saturday morning Sarah was finishing up her on call and I when trout fishing. I hooked up with two but lost them, and then the tubers and bait fisherman started to move in on me so I came home. Then around 6 or so we hit Bass Pro and then went to Lake Lanier so I could just throw it for the first time. It was nice to put a big fly on and not even know it was there when I was casting.

I learned my lesson with my big 5 wt that getting that first fish is the key, so today after church and before a huge thunderstorm rolled in I hit the river. I hooked up with one little bass who wasn't willing to stick around for pictures, but that was okay with me I was seeing storm clouds and thought it was be a good idea to take my new 9 foot lightening rod back to the truck. I had a case I used with my first rod and reel(which was stolen years ago) this new rod and reel fits well.

So I went with a White River Dogwood Canyon 9 foot 8wt. I like it a lot it is not as stiff as I thought it would be, but that being said it is an 8wt and can handle big flies and hopefully I can give a full report on how it handles big fish really soon. As I tried to tell Sarah aesthetics are not tops sometimes in this sport, but that being said it always comes into play at some point, and this rod is a maroon color(same color as my first rod) real cork handle, and the reel has a drag which will be helpful on those future large carp. The reel is nice looking as well because it has a throw back look. I have made some casts in two days with this rod, that are as long as I have even thrown.

Now the hunt is on for that first carp. I'm really looking forward to posting a picture of a 20 lb plus carp in hand. I'm hoping to land one within the month so wish me luck and keep checking the blog for that day. Thanks Sarah for supporting this addiction that is fishing. It is something that I honestly think you are starting to understand with this title you used the other night Fishers of...... Well...... Fish . I can not wait for the weekend that I get a personal photographer following me around the stream capturing casts, and hopefully some trophy shots. Okay all as always do the best you can do.