Posts Tagged ‘watercraft


Fly Fishing Lakes & The Wind (What if?)


Wind & More Wind

Lakes and the wind. A given element almost everyday at some point. You must plan for this. The picture above: Spring time. Cold. Winds kicked up. At this point, I had come into shore to take a break. In short order the wind kicked up big time. We considered heading back, but the fishing promised epic memories. We anchored. The wind blew harder and we moved even with heavy pyramid anchors.

We decided we had to try to row the long haul back to the rig…at least a half hour of steady, hard pulling. We pulled hard and gained nothing. We lost water, so to speak. Eventually, both of us, in excellent shape, could not beat the wind. We made for the far shore to wait out the wind.

The wind did not stop. There was not an access road near our shoreline and our rig was a good mile and a half away if we walked the shoreline. We were wearing booties, the type you wear with fins. We were seriously lucky by the shoreline configuration (rocks and shallows) and walked along into the cold wind, each pulling our pontoon boat with a twenty foot section of poly rope we had each always carried but never envisioned using in this way. Had we had a treacherous shoreline and deep drop off from the shoreline, we would have been stuck until the wind dissipated.

We were prepared clothing wise and booties wise (they had good soles). We made our way back after a very long (time wise) walk. Point being: plan for the wind blowing you to hell and not back. Ask yourself what is on the far side of that lake. What if you end up over there? Is there an access road over there? If you had to wait a long while for the wind to die down, do you have adequate clothing/shelter? It was an extreme exception to normal conditions. I had never not been able to row against big winds and waves. Met my match and now have a better sense to plan: what if?


Fly Fishing Stillwaters: Some Random Reminders

SwittersB Has Some Thoughts

~Know your location relative to other boats, tubes, rafts, kayaks. Yesterday, as one kayaker after another glided over my fly line some 40′ out, I asked how in the hell were they so oblivious. At the same time, I had one float tuber collide with the rear of my anchored pontoon boat. He wasn’t paying attention. No harm. No apology offered. Oblivious.

~As my left pontoon became noticeably less inflated, I noticed a I had a bit of a kick or row toward a shoreline with footing. The colder water had sapped some of the inflation. But also, I most probably had not equally inflated the pontoons. While listing to the left I attempted to row. The left oar could not come fully out of the water so at times I was taking a less than straight course toward the shore.

~Always barb your hook. Not just for the catch & release of your fish, but for the release of your hat, back of your shirt, fabric of your older pontoons, your rubber booties and the kayaker’s life jacket that skimmed along behind you and into your back cast.

~Back casts into a side wind will push the fly in the direction of the wind on the forward stroke. Figure out if that might be detrimental to you….you did barb the hook, right?

~At times it is fine to just kick or row about, trolling a fly while you explore a lake or move from point A to point B. But, you learn little about presentations of the fly if you only ever kick and troll. Anchoring up or holding steady in the winds will allow you to manipulate the fly horizontally, diagonally and vertically. Kicking along parallel to a drop/ledge from the shoal to the drop is ok, as long as you are aware of the location.

~As you fish, the rod tip should be down almost into the water with a floating line and into the water a few inches with a sinking line. Yesterday, I saw a few fly fishers with their rod held high, a big bow in the line and too much slack to consistently set the hook. Many hookups will be missed that way. The understandable exception to this is the person still using a donut shaped float tube (time to upgrade to a V tube).

~As you change flies, looking for the seducer, you can use up 2-4″ of line for each new tie on. Especially, if your fingers are frozen, you will use more line as you fumble with the knot. Keep your tippet at the optimal length. Rule of thumb: for a floating line or intermediate line keep your entire leader length at least the length of the rod…once it is reaching that stripping guide rebuild the leader. Depending upon the type of sink tip or full sink line the leader may be shorter.

Curls, Bows & Waves (Strike Detection) SwittersB

~With an unsettled surface from the wind and waves, the fly line will often lay less than straight toward the fly. Often the most subtle take will be seen as the kinks, waves and bows ever so slightly straighten…set the hook. Seeing & feeling may be obscured or muted by the wind and waves.

~Birds, ducks, up at camp and your own eyes. Swarming birds over the water or slightly higher are a good indication of a hatch (midges, caddis, dragons, mayflies). Ducks working the reeds for damsels. The obvious too….

~When I went up to camp for a bite, around 2pm, the camp was a swarm with midges blown in from the lake. The family was dutifully applying DEET thinking them mosquitoes. So, I surmised there was a hatch of midges before the time I started fishing the lake at 10am. Had I been fishing the lake the next day, I would be on the water.


SwittersB’s ‘Duh’ Moment (Float Tubes in Currents)

Like the Obama Administration releasing a soon to be buried statement, I too am releasing damaging information (to my uh, well established reputation, tsk) on a weekend and holiday weekend to boot. I am doing this in the interest of safety and for the equally less alert amongst you. I feel obligated to remind you that an impoundment or ‘lake’ above a dam spilling water is really not much of a lake when you are in a float tube. There is a current, even if not immediately evident. It soon becomes evident as you kick and kick without little effect and draw nearer toward the spillway.

Now, I was ok at first, a good quarter mile from the dam. I kicked out and eventually felt that current, but struggled (yes, it was a lot of work) to kick up into an area without much current. I came upon weed beds and trout eager to take a green WB skimmed across the top of the weeds on an intermediate line. As I looked out across the lake back toward the rig it occurred to me that I had to get back across that lake and that current. Well, for now time to fish. I focused upon the retrieve and take, caught fish and felt good. But, I kicked out away from my quiet back water and once I looked up to assess my surroundings I realized I had moved a considerable distance and toward the spillway. Time to move. I kicked and kicked. I kicked more. I dug in and worked as hard as I could like grinding out reps. I was getting no where near where I needed to be and only moving closer toward that last barrier (heavy stretched out ropes) one attempts to grab before spilling down the ‘chute’.

One thing floated between me and that last grasp. A drift boat. A couple was fishing in the anchored boat.. I assessed the emerging decision. Pride, self prescribed stupidity, embarrassment…, I asked if they could help me. There I did it. They saw my fatigue. They saw I was gaining unintended speed. They tossed the bow rope; I grabbed it and came to a halt. They upped anchor and rowed me out of harms way. I paid my heart felt thanks several times over. I arrived at shore exhausted. My legs fried, my body tense, I had planned poorly. The tattoo on my arm says Semper Paratus…I pride myself in that.

What seems obvious enough now, didn’t settle in before I stepped foot in the water. A dam that is spilling water is not containing a stable body of water. Had I been in my normal pontoon boat with oars, I would have rowed out through all this subtle turmoil and anchored in likely place. Lesson learned…whether in a float tube or pontoon boat. Oh! Floatation Devices too!


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