Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dove Opener

I'm going to try to put into words how I feel about the opening day of dove season.

I can remember my first one like it was yesterday. My Dad got invited to the "320." 320 acres just south of Cottonwood Creek. We arrived before dawn with about seven or eight other men. We all spread out around a meadow, ringed by oak trees.  It was still dark when I got set up. I wondered if I would get any doves, I wondered if I would be able to tell the difference between doves and jay birds. I didn't have to wait long. Just after shoot time my Dad hollered "coming right at ya!" The dove tried to land in the tree I was standing under. I made the easy shot, and I was hooked for life.

For the next two hours or so it sounded like World War 3. The older guys lined up along the old fence that the birds all flew down, My Dad and I at the end.  Everyone yelling "coming from the north," or "down the fence." It was the first time hunting that no one told me to "be quiet," "sit down," or "hold still." It was great. We all walked around, yelled, picked up each others birds, and had a great time. After about two hours some of the guys had their limits, and the birds really slowed down. We went back to the trucks for some serious bullshitting. It reminded me of when Billy Coleman got to stand around his Grandpa's store, and tell his own hunting stories. I was still treated like a kid, but at least I was included.  

I have hunted every dove opener since, most of them with Dad. That was over twenty years ago.  My wife, daughter, and son have come with us as well. My daughter decided she didn't want to hunt at about the time she was old enough to. My son can't wait to get big enough to shoot a shotgun. That's what's great about dove hunting. Anyone can go, the kids run around, everyone misses constantly, and everyone has a blast.
It is more to me than just opening day. It is more to me than a signal that fall is coming, along with ducks, rabbits, and deer seasons. It is all of those things, as well as a time for friends and family to meet, and enjoy the outdoors.

I hope I never miss one.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dove season changes!!!!!

I can't believe it. The limit on dove has been 10/20, and for the month of September as long I can remember. This is awesome! Any other states get an increase?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bass on glass.

My wife's grandfather gave her an old Fenwick fiberglass 6/7 weight fly rod about seven years ago. It came with a Pfluger Medalist, American made reel, and is completely awesome. He bought it to fish for Trinity River steelhead.

She has used it a few times since then, and has even caught a few fish on it
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Rucker Lake Green Sunfish

We took a fishing trip this last weekend and she decided it probably wasn't the best rod for her. I had to agree. It's a little too heavy, and super slow. She always seems to be behind on her cast.
I thought that if she isn't going to use it, someone should. Why not me.

I took it out Sunday night to give it a try. I really love it. It has plenty of power, and can shoot plenty of line. I was able to land a couple of bass with it, and I'm digging the action. I could feel every head shake.

 I can't wait to catch a monster on it!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Return to Mosquito Pond.

I went back to the pond the other night. This time I brought my kayak, and some bug spray. There were thunder storms all around me though so I didn't really need the latter.

After a hell of a drag and some serious bushwacking I was able to get my kayak into the pond. These tules are thick, and the sides of the pond are almost vertical. I was able to submerge my whole paddle before touching the bottom.

Once I got in and paddled around it was well worth the effort. I hit all the likely spots, and was rewarded with willing green sunfish. They smash a Hopper like nobody's business. I must've caught twenty or more.

This was the best one.

I expected to catch some bass as well, but not this time. I will be surprised if there aren't any in here. I did see about a fifteen pound koi,  so somebody has put fish in here. I hope they also put some bass.
The drag out was a nightmare. Did I mention vertical sides? I had to get the nose of my kayak on the bank,shimmy up to the front, and flop out onto the shore. At least the sunset was worth it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Knocked out a couple dozen hoppers today. Quickly becoming my go to fly.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mosquito Pond

I've been watching this pond for about three years. I've noticed it from the road several times. Mostly during duck season. There always seems to be ducks on it during the winter. I've thought about sneaking down there and throwing out some decoys, oh wait, it's only a hundred yards from the road and about three hundred yards from some warehouses. Hmmm, maybe on Christmas Day??

It was posted at one time. I can tell from the old plywood squares on the fence posts. There is still a fence in front of it but I doubt it would ever keep anyone out. It is so stretched out I can walk through it standing up.

I decided to see if there were any fish in it the other day.  Me and the Boy stopped to check it out. The tules are very thick. So thick in fact that I couldn't get to the water at all. I had to walk out on the tules above the water and cast from there. It was a pain in the ass. If I wasn't getting snagged on the tules behind me I was getting snagged on the ones in front. I did mange to catch three green sunfish, one was actually pretty nice.

While I was fighting tules the Boy noticed some mosquitoes on his pants. I asked him if I had any on my legs, and I swear there was forty of them. We had to make a quick exit due to some close thunderstorms. On the way home the Boy had two ticks on his pants. I pulled over gave him a quick check, and headed home.

This was the scene the next morning.

I'll definitely be going back. With some bug spray and my kayak.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lassen Park brook trout

I try to take a vacation every year in August for my birthday. This year we went to Lassen Park. I have driven through the park but never fished it. We camped at Manzanita Lake. The campground was great, plenty of shade, water, and toilets. This was primarily a family camping trip, so I didn't bring my pontoon boat, and I didn't fish the lake.

I did get a chance to fish Hat Lake which wasn't a lake at all, but a creek. It was a beautiful creek. Crystal clear and slow with a few pieces of pocket water. It looked very fishy. I started at the highway, and quickly missed a strike on a mini hopper. I moved upstream until I could see a pod of fish. I made a cast, got a refusal from a bigger fish, and then hooked a little wild brookie.

I went back down to the first hole, and was able to land this guy.

Beautiful, this was actually the best fish of the trip.

We headed back to camp for some naps, and relaxation.

The best two handed card game ever invented.

The best two handed cocktail ever invented.
Wet shoes.

The next morning we headed for the King's Creek Falls hike. It was about a mile down to the falls, and a mile back up. It was a bit more strenuous than I expected, but if a 3,5,and 8 year old could make it I could too.

King's Creek Falls

I brought my fly rod on the hike, and fished a few fishy pools with no luck.  I talked to a fly fisherman on the way out, and he said that there are brook trout in there, but with no cover they are very skittish. He said on a good day he was likely to catch 3 or 4 trout in four hours.

We made it back to camp, and I decided to try my luck at Hat Lake again. I headed further upstream, but wasn't able to hook any in the long, slow, clear pools.

Hat Lake ducks.

I decided to nymph the deep pool below some falls on the opposite side of the highway.  I was rewarded with a few small brookies.

We had a lot of fun on this trip including some late night board games.

The view of Manzanita Lake on our last night.

My Home Pond

I have a pond. It's not mine. It's  public. It is the closest place to my house to catch some fish though. I feel like it is mine, it is only about seven minutes from my front door.

I occasionally share it with a bass fisherman, or a dog walker, or maybe just some beer drinkers.
This pond has some koi, some carp, a few bluegill, an occasional green sunfish, and a lot of largemouth bass.
The bass are very skittish. They're not like most bass. They're not aggressive. They are careful. They don't fight over flies. I have never seen one caught on conventional gear. I have watched many people try to catch them, throwing rubber worms, popper's, spinner baits, everything really, all without success.

I have had good luck catching them on flies, first on very small streamers, and then on small poppers. I never caught a bigger bass until dark, or just before dark.

 I recently tied up some mini hoppers from They have worked like a charm. These bass seem to only bite on relatively natural bugs presented subtly. I can flip these bugs to within about an inch of the opposite shore where the big boys are hanging out waiting for some small critter to fall in. I'm not sure if it's hoppers they're after, or caddis, or spiders, or what? There are definitely all three around this pond, and the fish are ready and willing to smack them.

Here are a few pics from the other night. A couple of smalls.

A couple nice ones.

And a monster green sunfish.