A Creek+A Fly Rod+Some Perch= Pure Joy

Disclaimer: I hadn’t picked my fly rod for about 3 months; which in my mind is a relative sin but with wedding planning, a full-time job, and a part time job finding time to fish was not an easy undertaking. Saturday, I was feeling miserable from a head cold that had been looming in the background for nearly a week so I decided to let Mother Nature to do her part and help me get over the cold that had been plaguing me.

 
I didn’t really feel like hiking back into my normal spot so I walked down to the little creek behind the house and tried for a fun outing. I set the rod up and tied on a small Dry Fly that mimicked a mayfly. The first cast was perfect right to the rear of a submerged lodge where perch love to hang out. I stripped the line back towards me and as I crossed the log I got a strike. Here is where the above disclaimer comes into play, I missed the opportunity to set the hook. The second cast produced the same result.

 
Finally, after a few more casts I was starting to feel like I knew what I was doing again. I sent the fly into an area where an old hollow stump meets the water line. As soon as the fly touched the water a perch completely nailed it on the topwater; I set the hook and brought the little perch in. After a photo or two the little guy was released back into the creek. I realized after the release that that little perch was my first perch on a fly rod.

IMG_20170819_180803_228
I was blessed enough to catch four more good sized perch for this creek during that evening and found it difficult to leave. I am unfortunately endowed with that “just one more cast mentality” so I ended up fishing for close to two and a half hours.


The next evening, I decided to go a different route and hit the same creek with a different fly pattern. I tied a small nymph with a brass bead head on and caught 5 fish within 15 or 20 minutes. It seems like the little perch just couldn’t resist that fly.


Fly Fishing has really opened up a whole new look on fishing for me. I now worry a lot more about what fly I should be using and how I should be fishing it. That challenge of outsmarting a predatory fish is incredible to me. I am amazed at the complexity of some of the flies that are tied and am starting to tie myself. There is nothing more rewarding than catch a fish on one of your patterns.

Check out some of my other articles below:

Backcountry Trout

Fly Fishing: The New Addiction

 

Benjamin Maximus Airgun Review

If you have followed my blog over the last you know that I have a mild fascination with airguns. I have owned a springer in the form of a Hatsan Edge .25, currently own a Benjamin Marauder in .22, and recently purchased a Benjamin Maximus in .177.

The Benjamin Maximus is a single shot (PCP) Pre-charged Pneumatic chambered in .177 caliber. I decided to go with the Maximus because it produced just less than 20 Foot Pounds of Energy. This is extremely important as I plan to compete in the Pyramyd Air Cup and a requirement for the Field Hunter Competition is that rifles must produce less than 20 FPE.

IMG_4472

I unboxed the Maximus and was surprised by the quality of the rifle. I paid roughly $165.00 dollars shipped to my door from Crosman Corp. (If you want the details on how to get this price, just let me know and I can send you the details.)  The rifle handles surprising well and the finish is excellent for an airgun.

I mounted a Centerpoint 3x9x32mm scope onto the rifle and charged it up using my tank from Airguns of Virginia.  After about eight shots, I had the rifle dialed into the ten ring of the target at 30 yards. I spent the rest of the afternoon breaking the gun in. I cut the center out of three shoot-n-see targets.

20170529_120604

There are many advantages to this little rifle. Benjamin has produced a low budget, high quality, accurate, and user friendly PCP. Another awesome feature is that I am getting roughly 20 high pressure shots out of the gun for each charge. This is fantastic when hunting small game or just plinking in the backyard. The gun absolutely loves the Crosman Premier Hollow Points.

IMG_4477

The only disadvantage is that the trigger is a little stiff. This may break in over the next few months as I shoot the rifle more but it is still an awesome deal for $165.00!

 

Read More of My Articles Here:

A Marauder and A Whistle Pig

Feral Hogs: A Nemesis No More

The Long Stalk……

Public Water Perch

Fishing public lands or waters has never really been something I have been into until this year. To say that I have caught the fishing bug bad this year is an understatement; I think and talk about it constantly. My guess is it has to do with me becoming a more patient outdoorsman as I age. The thought of spending long hours on the water with no bites as a teenager and young adult would put me to sleep but as I sit here in my office I wish I had cherished those times outside with Mother Nature even if I wasn’t catching fish.

Last Friday after my typical hellish week I decide to pick my fiancée up after work and hit a local public lake. I had been once in the spring after the warm up but hadn’t had much luck. We picked up some bait on the way and pulled into a nearly empty parking lot.

With the fly rod assembled and my fiancée settled with her bait caster I began to work the edges of the bank in hopes that a perch would try for an easy meal. After an hour or so of fly fishing without much luck I decide to switch to a traditional rod and reel for a few minutes before we left for the evening.

The first cast went out a little far so I reeled the worm until it was dangling just over a shelf in the lake. I let the bait settle and immediately felt a fish hammer the hook. With the hook set I reeled in a nice palm sized sun perch. He had devoured the hook so I took care to remove it with minimal damage so that he could be released and caught another day.

3186

 

I sent out another cast to the same general area and boom another hit. I reeled in another nice sized sun perch and released him back to the lake. This water body is supposed to have a great population of large mouth so I can’t wait to get back out on a kayak and see what it holds.

20170602_184029

Times like these really make you realize how important it is to do everything in our power as sportsman to protect our public lands and waters!

Check out more of my blog posts here:

Backcountry Trout

Fly Fishing: The New Addiction

Feral Hogs: A Nemesis No More

A Marauder and A Whistle Pig

I have had my Benjamin Marauder for a few months now and I absolutely love it. The .22caliber is a great shooting pellet out past fifty yards and with around 30 Foot Pounds of Energy it has enough to take down most small game and nuisance species around my area of Virginia.

I have been taking the Marauder groundhog hunting over the past few weeks in hopes of taking my first animal with a PCP airgun but things haven’t seemed to work out. The distances in which I have been able to get to within the groundhogs have been over 60 yards or in high wind conditions so I have not been comfortable taking ethical shots.  

The hunt finally came together Saturday afternoon on a groundhog that I have dubbed “Nemesis”. He was a resident groundhog that lived in a thick overgrown honeysuckle bank behind my house.  Nemesis would consistently give me the slip while trying to get to within range.

Saturday evening brought a few rain showers so I kept my eyes on bank where Nemesis typically emerged from. Around 6 pm after the last rain shower passed I spotted Nemesis working his way up the bank towards an outbuilding.  I was able to get the Marauder loaded and get into position this time without Nemesis seeing or hearing me.

I steadied myself waiting for the opportunity to present itself to take a broadside headshot. Nemesis finally worked into 40 yards and then turned broadside.  I settled the crosshairs in the crease of the ear and squeezed the triggered. The Crossman Premier Hollow Point found and its mark. I followed up with a quick second shot to ensure it was over.

 

IMG_4407
Photo Credit: Watercolor_art_love

 

 

I am very impressed with the performance of the gun/pellet combination and can’t wait to get out hunting more this summer and fall!

IMG_4412

IMG_4408

Special thanks to Airguns of Virginia for getting me outfitted with the Marauder and the intro into the world of PCP airguns.

Read More of My Blog Posts Here:

Backcountry Trout

Feral Hogs: A Nemesis No More

The Long Stalk……

 

Backcountry Trout

I have always loved the idea of packing a day pack and setting off in search of the elusive Native Trout that call the mountain streams of Shenandoah National Park home.  So with Memorial Day weekend here my fiancée and I set off for a day trip. Virginia has been inundated with rain over the last few weeks but we were determined to try to fit in a day hike between the rainy days.

IMG_4413

As we parked this morning and situated our packs on our backs the growing threat of rain was a reminder that Mother Nature is always in charge. We made the first mile down to a tributary to the Conoway River in no time.  I assembled my rod and immediately noticed that casting was going to be extremely difficult due to the thick vegetation along the creek bed.

The first area I decided to try was a shallow pool in between two different sets of rapids. It appeared to be about to 4 feet deep at the center with some nice riffles and rapids coming into and exiting it. This was perfect Brook Trout habitat.  I tied on a brown midge with a barbless hook that I thought would mimic the local bugs. My first cast fell a little short but I let out some line and let the current drag the fly down into the area where the water began to still near the edge of the rapids. I began to slowly zig zag as I stripped the line in. WHAM! A small brook trout flashed at the water’s surface but neglected to commit to the fly.

 

IMG_4428
Photo Credit: Watercolor_art_love

 

I casted again in the same general area and received another light strike on the fly. I will have to admit that I am a lot more familiar with the way a rainbow hits a fly. The brook trout seem to hit and run. Setting the hook on these little trout is a challenge for a newbie fly fisherman like me. I ended up have a few more bites over the next hour but nothing that produced a landed fish.

 

IMG_4441
Photo Credit: Watercolor_art_love

 

We took a break for lunch and then headed off in search of the next hole to fish. We hiked for another 2 miles and came to an area that due to the heavy rains was not crossable so we headed back. It was a good thing we did as Mother Nature dumped on us soon after we reached the truck.

IMG_4444

Things I learned from this trip; Brook trout are way smarter than people give them credit for, a 9 foot rod is way too long for backcountry trips, and it’s difficult to fish the high mountain flows after large rain events. I absolutely loved this little trip and am glad I did it. It will better prepare me for the next excursion after these little guys.

Read More of my Articles Here:

Feral Hogs: A Nemesis No More

The Long Stalk……

Fly Fishing: The New Addiction

Feral Hogs: A Nemesis No More

 

 

Feral Hogs have been my nemesis for the last 3 years. I have driven close to 2,000 miles to chase pigs through environments ranging from swamps to mountainous terrain. The pigs in Georgia were a complete challenge due to the fact they had been extremely pressured the week prior to our arrival and the pigs here in Virginia were no different even while hunting at night.

I came across an advertisement while on Instagram for a place in Greenville, West Virginia called Mountain Meadow.  I spoke with the Owner Brandon White and soon after booked a hunt for the last weekend in April.

I decided to take my bow along for this trip as I had been skunked previously while using firearms and am at the point where I want most of my hunting to be more of a challenge.  In the months prior to the trip I practiced at distances of 40 plus yards to ensure that if given an opportunity I would be comfortable taking the shot.

Upon my arrival to Mountain Meadow I was pleasantly surprised by the terrain and the lodging. The terrain was steep with lots of water for the hogs to wallow in. The weather was not ideal at mid –day with temperatures hovering in the high 80’s. I decided to hit the woods anyway in hopes of ambushing a hog while in a wallow.

My guide dropped me off on an old logging road and with the wind in my face I began to stalk down through the semi-open woods. I made it roughly 90 yards and bumped a group of pigs who were tucked down into an old blown down tree. The hogs were gone before I could even get my bow drawn.  I watched he hogs run down the ridge and into a deep valley. I let them settle down for close to a half hour and began to move in the general direction they went.

When I was able to get the valley into full view I sat down and glassed. After a few minutes I caught movement up on the opposite ridge near to peak. The hogs had moved through the bottom and were crossing into the next valley.  I made a plan to get the wind in my favor and took off in hopes of cutting the pigs off.

Unfortunately that plan did not work. Hogs are a lot faster than I expected and I ended up bumping them again.  As I watched them cross into a deep valley I knew my only hope would be to somehow get above them and let them feed towards me. 

I hustled through the valley and up on to the next ridge.  I made a loop of around ¼ of a mile up and over into a ridge were I hoped would be above the hogs as they fed for the evening.  After making it to the general location I hoped for I sat down and glassed.  After about 30 minutes of glassing, I picked the pigs up moving towards me through the deep valley. They were about 115 to 120 yards away and feeding in my direction.  I decided to stand up and sit tight until they got into bow range.

After what seemed like an eternity, the hogs fed into 40 yards. I readied myself in hopes that the hogs would feed closer. After about 10 minutes, a large sow and small boar broke the 30 yard mark. The sow looked to be pregnant so I waited for the boar to present a broadside shot. Finally the boar turned quartering away and I drew. 

I settled my 30 yard pin in the pocket behind his front shoulder. I took a deep breath and while releasing the breath I slowly touched off my release. The orange vanes of my Victory Archery Arrow streaked through the air and found its mark. The boar spun and fell down the steep cliff. I ran to the edge and searched for him through my binos. After falling he had made it 20 or so yards into the bottom.

I picked my way down into the valley and walked up to my first feral hog. It was a quest that was started in January of 2014 and I finally finished it with archery equipment.  To say I was ecstatic was an understatement. With work ahead of me I texted the guide and began to get to it.

2017_Archery_Hog

Check out my other articles here:

The Long Stalk……

Virginia Fall Turkey Success Part I

Fall Turkey Success Part II

Gear List:

Prym1 Camo

Mathews Q2XL

Grim Reaper Broadheads

Gander Mountain Low Rise Boots

Tru-Fire Release

Victory Buck Buster Arrows

The Long Stalk……

 

As Spring Gobbler rolled around this year, I found myself with only one tag left due to being able to harvest two beautiful Gobblers during the November season.  I decided to be patient and try to hold out for a large Tom.

 

On opening morning, I sat a blind along a creek bottom where Toms had been strutting on a regular basis.  My decoys were set and the wait began. And the wait continued…..

 

Opening morning turned into a bust as the Gobblers had pitched off the roost in the opposite direction and flown down the other side of the mountain to a green field full of hens that I did not have permission to hunt. With the Easter Holiday and my busy work schedule I was unable to get back into the field until this past weekend.

 

Saturday was a complete washout.  I woke up around 4 and with a steady rain coming down I went back to bed in hopes that the weather would improve and Sunday would be a more productive day to hunt.

 

Sunday morning rolled around and I decided to set up along a fence line that allowed me to see close to a quarter of a mile to the west. Around 8 am, I caught movement along a creek bottom. I began to glass that area with my binos and to my surprise a large Gobbler was strutting by himself along the edge of the creek.

 

I decided to sit back and watch the bird to see if more would appear in the hopes that none would and I could maybe attempt a stalk.  After about 20 minutes passed, the bird still remained alone strutting in a large circle back and forth along the creek bottom.  My mind was racing! Was I really going to attempt to stalk a turkey from a ¼ of a mile away? The thought alone made me want to laugh. It would never in a million years work. No way would I get to within 40 yards.

 

I decided to go for it! I threw all the doubt aside and looked at the terrain ahead of me. If I could use it and the small treed knolls in the field to my advantage I may be able to cover that distance. I settled my gear and began slowing stalking down through the pasture.

 

I positioned myself so that the first knoll and small ravine would cover the first couple hundred yards of my approach and I made it. I got to that clump of High Heaven Trees and glassed the bird again. He was still strutting away without a care in the world.  I reset and lined up with another clump of trees and set of. I covered another large stretch of ground to find that the bird was still content and oblivious to my presence.

 

The final approach to 40 yards was going to be the most difficult. I had very little cover to go from around 80 yards down to the last clump of trees approximately 40 yards east of the gobbler. I waited until he fanned up and strutted with his back to me. I then dashed down to the trees and took cover. I laid there catching my breathing knowing that he had to have caught me. I peeked up above an old high heaven stump to find him still just strutting.

 

I settled the dot in the scope on him and waited until he turned to face me. After what seemed to be an eternity, the gobbler turned and strutted back toward me. I settled the dot on his waddles and squeezed the trigger.  A shower of feathers erupted from the bird and he dropped like a ton of bricks.

20170423_090508

 

I had just successfully stalked an eastern wild turkey without getting caught and then executed a perfect shot. I will have to say I am not that good. Either God wanted me harvest that bird or I am one lucky son of a gun.  Either way I was proud to hoist that bird up onto my shoulder and make that walk back to the truck.

Check out some of my other posts:

Fly Fishing: The New Addiction

Virginia Fall Turkey Success Part I

Fall Turkey Success Part II

 

Fly Fishing: The New Addiction

 

I have been fishing on and off for a long as I can remember.  It has always been a way for me to just get out into nature and enjoy the beauty without feeling the pressure that hunting sometimes can produce.  Until this year I had only ever been a rod and reel fisherman. I always viewed fly fishing as a sport that only people really well versed in fishing could master. Fly Fishing has always been part of the sport that eluded me because I was afraid that I did not have the time to commit fully to it.

 

Finally, I made the decision last fall to make the time to teach myself the fundamentals and become a fly fisherman.  I received my fly rod in December and anxiously awaited spring to arrive so that I could hit the water. During this time, I began researching local shops that catered to Fly Fisherman. I found that Charlottesville, VA was home to a couple shops and that Orvis offered Fly Tying classes. So in late February, I enrolled and learned how to tie a Woolly Bugger.  I cannot stressed how great Jeff and his co-workers at this store were. They were full of helpful insight and even helped properly set my rod up.

 

Fast forward to March and after an unsuccessful outing at a local lake I was anxious to hit the Trout Waters.  I awoke on the morning of the 12th to find the conditions to be cold but clear.  I packed the Jeep and drove approximately 45 minutes into the mountains to a stocked waterway. The morning was absolutely beautiful due to the early arrival of spring. With spring flowers springing up along the road from the old homesteads in the hollow I set my rod up with anticipation of the first cast.

 

I stripped the line and sent out my first cast. It was shorter than I had anticipated but I could see a fish already interested in the fly. I began pulling my line back in short but easy motions letting the fly appear to be struggling in the water. By the third pull, the large Rainbow Trout struck the fly and the chase was on.  I stripped the line back towards me and almost had the fish to the net when he seemed to just spit the fly out.  I knew that was a risk when using barbless hooks but the last thing I want to do is damage a fish that I may release.

 

I set out a few more cast with no success. The sun was now pretty well overhead and I could often make out a fish darting down into a deep pool. I sent a cast just past a large Rainbow and began the strip the line back to me. The fly passed within a few inches of his head and he couldn’t resist. The fight was on again and after what seemed like forever that beautiful trout was in my net and then hands! I have never been more proud of a caught fish than I was in that moment.

First Fish With a Fly 03122017

 

I was able to catch two more fish that morning and my Fiancée was able to catch her first two trout as well.  I have a tremendous amount to learn with this new sport. Well maybe sport isn’t the right word; lifestyle seems to be more like it.

20170312_105359

 

I hope to continue to write more as I learn new things and expand my fishing adventures. maybe even a recipe if these Trout turn out great on the grill! Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Back to Basics

My hunting career began with small game and progressively evolved into my current almost obsessive drive to harvest mature Whitetails on a yearly basis. This hunting season seemed to end almost as soon as it began due to work and a renovation project eating up the majority of my time that would have been spent in the field. So I decided to extend my season by switching to small game in January.

 

I decided my first outing would be squirrels due to the over abundance of these little guys in my hunting area. On New Years day, I was lucky enough to carve out a little free time so I grabbed my old Norinco JW15 .22 Long Rifle and headed to the farm.

 

My first sit was an area where I knew a group of Gray Squirrels had a den tree. I set up in one of my deer stands about 35 to 40 yards away and let the woods settle down from my walk in.  About 15 to 20 minutes later, I noticed movement in the dense branches of the den tree. A lone gray squirrel eased out of the den hole and began sitting in the nook of a limb. I settled the crosshairs on him and tried to find an opening to sneak a round through. I settled the crosshairs through a small gap in the brush at the base of his skull and touched the trigger. One tree rat down for the freezer.

 

The commotion must have alerted the other squirrels as the rest of that sit was pretty unproductive. I decided to get up and move down the mountain to a small brushy area off of a logging road. I leaned against an old dead tree and within minutes another gray squirrel emerged from his den tree. Luckily I was able to rest the rifle on a dead snag because this shot was going to be a poke at around 75 yards. I settled the crosshairs on the center of his skull and touched the trigger. Another Gray Squirrel down and just in time because daylight was waning fast.
With the exception of taking another beaver in the backyard this week I have not been able to get back out. Hopefully once the new Air Rifle arrives Friday, I will be able to get a couple more hunts in before the end of the small game season.

15844881_996254377185743_6007184879283882436_o

Read More of My Articles Here:

Traditional Archery

My Archery Journey: Year One

Product Review: Cash’s Custom Calls Walnut Grunt Call

Virginia Fall Turkey Success Part I

Fall Turkey Success Part II

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑