May 31, 2012

On The Coast Of Somewhere Beautiful; Nassau Bahamas

We just got back from an amazing adventure in the Bahamas. My wife and I, Along with her parents headed down for some relaxing, beaches, take in the culture, and of course a little fishing. The flight to Nassau was very enjoyable looking down on the artwork that Mother Nature has created. It was very inspiring and made for a great start to the trip.
Once we landed, we took a 45 minute shuttle ride to the Atlantis Resort. Exploring the hundreds of acres of this resort is an adventure all its own. They have some of the largest aquariums in the worlds with thousands of fish to see up close. Some of my favorites were the Sawfish, Goliath Grouper, all of the different sharks, and my number one most wanted; the Tarpon. I also took the chance to pet a nurse shark, but I don't think I was supposed to. The resort also has a water park called aquaventure that has numerous pools, water slides and my favorite, the mile long lazy river that has white water and a tidal wave section. The tube ride that ends with you floating through the shark aquarium is also fantastic. They also had great food there, but it came at a price. My favorite place at the resort was Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. We had melt-in-your-mouth grouper and mahi-mahi as well as the best pork tenderloin I have ever tasted.
After we spent a several hours enjoying the resort, we got ready and headed to the Kenny Chesney Concert that night. To me, hearing him sing his songs in the Bahamas would be like watching elves make toys at the North Pole; in their element! It was a great show and very layed back. He didn't have a set list of songs, so many that he sang were requests from the crowd. His songs take me back to many fishing memories and vacations with friends and family.
The next day we went into Nassau and explored a bit. We ate at a place called Twin Brothers at the fish fry recommended by locals. It was great food as well and you should check it out if you go to Nassau. We had conch salad which is addicting, as well as grouper fingers and cracked conch. We also walked around down town Nassau and the straw market. The straw market is isle after isle of the same stuff for the most part. This is where you can haggle if you're into that.
While we were there, I booked a fishing trip with Bonefish Simon. He had good reviews and is known for getting his clients on the fish. He handed me a fly rod and I trolled under a bridge for some tarpon bait. I quickly landed three running jacks, which were the first saltwater fish I've ever caught with a fly rod. We then headed to some flats to go after bonefish. Unfortunately, the weather was not ideal to go after bonefish. We had wind and cloud cover which made sight fishing the flats impossible for me. Simon was able to hone in on some and I went with the spinning rod, since I lacked the skill to make accurate casts in the wind with a fly rod. Simon would tell me where to cast, and you had to be right on. I missed my first few attempts, but soon had one that was on the money. I felt my rod tip start to bend and so I set the hook and the fight was on! These bonefish have such great power and they make incredibly long runs. I finally got him to the boat and held my first ever bonefish! This is a species I had wanted to catch for a long time. My Father-in-law snapped a few pictures and I released him back into the water. That was quite an experience! While we were at this spot, we saw a U.S. Coast Guard chopper flying low, back and forth looking for something. They seemed like they were onto someone, and we was them hover very close to the water from a distance. I bet it was drugs or something. Either way, it was interesting to watch.
We then headed into a shallow lake that had schools of bonefish cruising along the edges. You could see them coming because to the wake they would make on the water. My Father-in-law hooked into one here, getting a good fight, but lost him around some debris.
We then headed on a trip that took us around the entire island of Nassau. The fishing was slow, but the sights and beaches were unreal! We did hit a few more schools in front of some popular resorts where I hooked into my last fish of the day. This bonefish made several runs, but I was able to land him for my second and last bonefish. We tried for tarpon, and saw several, but we didn't have any takers. All-in-all, we traveled around more than we fished, but I liked the experience and seeing the entire island.
The rest of the time we spent on the beaches soaking up the sun and stunning views. While swimming at one of the beaches, we had a school of small Permit come in. They were as curious of us as we were of them, and they would even swim up and bump your legs in the water. This was such a relaxing trip and the resort is well worth a visit if you've been thinking about it.
The best views on any flight I've been on!

The Atlantis Resort.
Getting up close and personal with some nurse sharks.

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems! Kenny Chesney put on a great show.

Of the thousands of fish at Atlantis, This massive Goliath Grouper was one of my favorite.

My favorite place to eat off of the resort.

Conch salad quickly became a dish I craved.
Holy Centipede Batman! This was not at Twin Brothers.

A running jack. My first saltwater catch on a fly rod. He became bait to tarpon.

Hitting the flats with Bonefish Simon.

Landing my first and biggest Bonefish!

One more shot.

When I picture my happy place, it looks something like this...

Another fish on!

Second and last bonefish of the day.

Open-air fish market
The Bahamas have the nicest beaches I have ever seen.
This little guy was a gymnist on the leaves.

Last sunset of the trip. I hope to see you again soon!

May 22, 2012

The Lake Giveth, And The Lake Taketh Away

I took a lunch break and hit Utah Lake. I took my 4 weight rod to target white bass. I got my tube set up and headed to the spot where I've been smashing the white bass. I made my my first cast, Then another. Could it be? The white bass didn't want to play today? I made several more casts and tried several different flies without so much as a single hit. How can it go from catching a fish on every cast to not a peep in just a few days? I found this rather odd, so I moved to another spot.

On the way I saw some carp, and I couldn't help but make some casts even though I only have my 4 weight. I soon had something on and the line started ripping off my reel. I kicked out from the reeds and tried controlling the fish, but he wouldn't have it. This carp could do whatever it wanted. It made a run for open water which helped me out big time. I continued to fight this fish for what seemed like an eternity before I finally landed him. This carp was all my rod could handle! I left him in the net and head to a white bass spot. I cast and let it sink some before stripping the line. All at once I had another fish on, and it felt to big to be a white bass. I kicked out to deeper water and the fish kept trying to bulldog his way to the bottom. When I finally got my first glimpse of what it was, I couldn't believe what I had on. It was a channel catfish! I had no idea they would hit a fly. I soon landed him and the excitement I felt was amazing! I left him in the net as well, And made more attempts at white bass with no luck.

I decided to call it a day and started heading back to the marina. I stopped and made some casts at several carp with no takes. Then it happened again! Same story as earlier. The carp did what it wanted and it took forever to tire him out. While trying to land him, my catfish made it out of the net which was a bummer, but I finally landed my second carp of the day. I kept him and made one last cast, and it's a cast I wish  I could take back. I snagged up on something and in trying to get the snag loose, I snapped my rod in two! Could I really be this dumb? I can land carp on a 4 weight, But I break my rod on a stupid snag? I felt sick to my stomach! To make it worse, it was a new custom built rod I've only had since March and this was the second time I used it. The rod came with a lifetime guarantee, so I hope I'll be able to get it fixed. It was a horrible way to end what was a great day of fishing.

My First Channel Catfish on a fly!

The Purple woolly bugger was loved by all... except the white bass.
24" and 26" Carp landed on a 4 weight rod.

Not the way I wanted to end the day! I could punch myself right now!

May 20, 2012

Rainbows and Tigers and Cutts, Oh My!

When deciding where to go, we had a feeling to hit Current Creek Reservoir so we decided to follow our instincts and head out. We arrived at the lake around 10:30 am with sunny skies and a little breeze coming off the mountains. We set up our tubes and were soon on the water enjoying the great views that Current Creek has to offer. I tied on a black wooly bugger and trolled around with my fly rod. It wasn't long before I had hit after hit and soon had an angry rainbow dancing across the water on the end of my line. I actually lost several rainbows due to the fact that they fought me just as much out of the water as they did in it.  I then caught a cutthroat and today, they choose to dive instead of flying, so they came to the net alot easier.
My Father-in-law and brother-in-law on the other hand also caught a few good sized tiger trout as well as the cutts and rainbows. They caught they on castmasters close to shore. The tigers were so beautiful and one had a big hump on his back which made him even better! There was also a few guys I talked to in a canoe that landed several tigers with Rabalas.
All in all, the fishing was fast for most of the day and it turned out to be a great move to fish this reservoir. We will be hitting Crrent creek again for sure this year.
All set up and ready to go; a Super Fat Cat and two Renegades.
Cutthroat Trout
Rainbow Trout

Trolling around the lake.
Tiger Trout

Tiger Trout with some shoulders on him!

May 17, 2012

First Night Fishing of The Year

My neighbor and I had been talking about going out to hit the catfish at night for some time, and last night we finally made it happen. He took me to a section of the Jordan River that I had never fished before. I've seen some of the channel cats he's brought home the past couple weeks during the day and was impressed at the consistent good sized fish he was catching. We arrived at the river around 7:30 pm and got everything set up. We rigged our lines with the white bass that I caught a few days ago for bait and cast in.
 It wasn't long before we started having nibbles and small takes. Soon my neighbor had one on and landed a nice channel catfish! It seemed to me we were in for a fast night. But then we waited, and waited... and then waited some more. It was really odd. Typically when you get a hit, you just need to wait a second and there will be more. This night, you would get a hit and then nothing. It was strange to say the least. I had one on for few seconds before it got off and my neighbor land another decent one to finish off the night. It was slow fishing, but to sit and chat along the river was relaxing and well worth it. We'll be hitting it again soon.

A beaver strolled by to inspect his territory.

Here kitty kitty...

May 14, 2012

100 Fish Day

That's right, Utah Lake produced a 100 fish day for me today! Actually it was 161 total in four hours of fishing. The weather was perfect today and no wind to speak of. Except for a couple of ski boats that thought they had to fly by me within casting distance, It was a perfect day! All the white bass were caught on clouser minnows and wolly buggers, and it was insane! Many times I didn't even have to cast. I would simply drop my fly from the end of my rod and they would smack it. I even had a fish take off with my wolly bugger while it was dangling in the water while I took a picture. I've never seen anything like this.
On the way back to the marina, I noticed a school of carp, so I pulled out the 8 weight, and after a few casts had a carp on. It fought for a few minutes before coming to the net. It's interesting netting a fish when your net already has 10 fish in it. I took the last 10 white bass I caught along with the carp for some catfish bait. I'm planning on night fishing a few nights this week. Hopefully the kitties will be as fast fishing as the white bass. We will soon find out...

Clouser minnow pattern

Clouser minnow pattern

There's room for everyone!

Future catfish bait.

May 9, 2012

Acrobatic White Bass Came To Play

We lucked out and had another perfect day, so I took a few hours and headed back to Utah Lake to try out the white bass with my fly rod. This was a first for me, but after the success I had with the carp yesterday, I figured why not? I headed to a spot I have had success in the past with spinners and there was a fisherman already there. He told me he had caught thirty or so and I watched him catch a few while we talked. He was packing up and he asked if I wanted the spot to which I gladly took it.
Once I got in and settled, I tied on a fly (I have no idea what the name of it is) and on my first cast I had a fish on! It didn't take long to land, and I can now take this species off my list of fish caught on a fly! I caught a dozen or so in the short time I was there and lost more than that. It was such a fun couple of hours. I tied on several different colors of wolly buggers and they all saw fish as well. All the fish were in the 10"-11" range and all were released. I guess you could say I have caught the fly fishing "bug".

My first white bass on a fly rod!

They are very acrobatic and fun to catch...

...finally got him to the net!

They love wolly buggers. It didn't seem to matter the color.

A few pelicans that buzzed over my head.

May 8, 2012

My First Carp On A Fly

As I said in my last post, I was waiting for a day on Utah Lake that wasn't windy so I could try my hand at hooking into a carp with my fly rod. Well, I didn't have to wait long. Today was perfect with no wind so I headed back to the marina. I took my eight weight fly rod and spinning rod in case the wind picked up. I headed out from the marina and it didn't take long before I saw a few carp gulping on the top. I figured since they were on the top I would try a dry fly to see if I could get lucky. I tied on a swishers PMX peacock #8 (thank you fly guys at Cabelas), and started casting towards them. My goal was to cast past them and slowly strip into them. It took several casts before I had it down and even then, my accuracy was sketchy at best. I did this approach several times throughout the first hour I was there without a single hit.
 I would cruise from school to school continually messing the cast up or getting to close and spooking them. I soon came upon a decent school and I finally got the cast I wanted. I slowly stripped my fly into them and all at once my line was tight and my reel started singing as the carp made a hard run to the shore. I fought him back and had him on for another few minutes before he swam close to shore and broke me off around a piece of cement. What a rush! I've never had a fresh water fish give me a fight like that.  
An hour or so past from the excitement of hooking into my first carp, when I got my second chance to land one. This time when I set the hook, The fish didn't run at first. I figured I would take this chance to slowly kick my way out into deeper water and away from the shore where all the cement boulders were. I was not going to lose another fish! I kept the line tight as I kicked, and luckily the fish didn't make a run until I put the pressure on. Once he realized he was caught, He tore into my drag as he made one hard run after another. This carp pulled me along in my pontoon for about 10 minutes until I finally wore him out and got him to the net. YES!
Not only did I land my first carp on a fly, I got him on a dry fly! That's a double bonus in my book, and on top of that, the carp was also the biggest one I've ever landed on any rod, measuring out to 34". I kept him in the net and cruised back to the marina where a gentleman was nice enough to take some pictures for me. Of all the fish I have ever caught, This lowly carp ranks near the top of my list of fishing memories. I'm starting to see why my oldest brother only takes his fly rod on our adventures. I'm definitely going to be taking mine a lot more often.

My first ever carp on a fly and a new personal best for this species!

Right in the kisser!

Ya... This will be making more trips!

May 7, 2012

Carp Fest On Utah Lake

I made a quick trip to Utah Lake today to go after the carp that are schooling up right now. Although they are considered by many as a trash fish, there is not a fish in the lake that can rival the fight that a carp will give you. I used my Renegade to troll around site fishing for the schools hanging on top. I would get to within about ten yards and pitch my bait over them and slowly reel until I was right on them. It didn't take long until my reel was singing and I had a carp tearing away from me. They pull so hard that they actually pull me in my pontoon! It is such a blast to have one on the end of your line. I caught several today before the wind picked up and I headed back to the marina.

If I can get a day with no wind, I'm going to try my hand at getting one on a fly. I can only imagine how fun it would be to catch one on a fly rod. I also had success catching them a few days ago and the last picture is from that trip. I had just netted one when I saw a school pop up real close, so I cast out and soon had another. I landed the second fish with the first carp still in the net. On Utah Lake, you are encouraged to kill all the carp you catch in an attempt to rid the lake of this species. People use them for fertilizer as well as bait, while others claim they are good eating. I haven't tried eating any myself but I give mine to some of the fisherman there that like eating them. For now, I'm just hoping for a day without wind so I can pull out the fly rod!