Sunday, April 29, 2012

Barnitz blitz

The creek ninja scores again!! Caught on a "mixed media". Google it bitches.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Let the planning begin....

The CTD crew decided earlier this year to plan an epic week long fishing expedition somewhere outside of our normal haunts here in the Ozarks. It didnt take much discussion to pick a final destination for our trip....Montana!

Crossing my fingers that everything works out for us and we are able to make this life-long dream come true. Until then, I'm gonna have fun planning this trip. So much little time...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


In today's world, traditions seem to have gone by the wayside in the fast paced world that we live in today. Nobody sticks with anything to carry on the torch of years past to build new memories. Luckily, fishermen and hunters are still around to help carry on their own outdoor traditions of fishing trips, hunting camps, etc.

Here at CTD, we have built our own tradition in the form of an annual springtime fishing trip to the Current River in Missouri. I absolutely love this fishery, its the best wade fishing in the state and maybe in the Ozarks. We set off every year in April in hopes of epic caddis hatches, big browns, spunky rainbows, and good times around the campfire. This year was no exception....

We were unable to depart from Tulsa with the whole crew so half of us went up on Thurs night while the rest of the crew was going to have to leave on Friday night. Corey, DonnyB, and myself set a course for the Current on Thurs night, arriving late that night around midnight to set up and prepare camp for the possible thunderstorms that were in the forecast. We woke up the next morning to a light drizzle and overcast skies, had a quick breakfast of bacon/egg/cheese biscuits, and then geared up to hit the river.

We spent the morning fishing the lower section of the Blue Ribbon water throwing streamers in hopes of turning a big brown. We were able to put some small browns and rainbows in the net but never could stay hooked up with the few bigger browns that we could get to eat. How you don't hook up solid with a fish while chuckin' articulated streamers is beyond just wasn't meant to be. We hiked back to camp to dry out from the rain and fill our bellies full of campfire grilled bratwursts. After lunch and a little relaxing around the campfire, we geared back up and headed to the upper sections of the Blue Ribbon water with hopes of getting a dry fly bite during the evening. The river didn't disappoint, as we were met with a heavy push of caddis coming up river to lay their eggs on the surface. Along with the caddis, tiny mayflies began to trickle off which offered up a bug buffet for the trout as they began to rise up and down the river. We fished micro tan caddis and light cahills till dark, it was epic....

As the sun began to set, we made our way back to camp to get some grub and get camp prepped for the arrival for the rest of the crew. Donny and I went to work on dinner which consisted of venison, fried potatoes, and beans all prepared over the was freaking amazing. We made ourselves miserable and proceeded to settle into our chairs while we waited for the rest of the crew to arrive.

The rest of the crew arrived around 11:00pm that night all fired up and excited about the trip. The normal conversation of the days fishing and how the river looked was hashed out along with a general plan for tomorrows fishing. Shortly afterwards, we all retired to our tents to get some sleep for tomorrows adventure...

We all arose early to a very cool morning in the 30s as we got the campfire stoked up, fired up the camp stove, got the coffee percolating, and Chris began to make his famous breakfast burritos. After breakfast, we finished hashing out a plan of attack, got all geared up, and CTD descended upon the Current River...

The fishing on Saturday was hit and miss for us. Some sections would produce several fish and then we would start to strike out. We basically grinded it out all day by chuckin' the bobber with an egg or something caddis dropped below it along with a few good streamer eats just before lunch time. After lunch, we made quick run to Happy Pappys to get some firewood, ice, and some more adult beverages. After a quick restock of our supplies, we headed for the water in hopes of another awesome dry fly evening after what we had experienced the evening before. Well, the bugs were there and the fish were rising, but we couldn't get it done. The trout were eating some kind of emerger and we couldn't find the bug to make it happen. We were able to stick some fish on a tan micro caddis but it was very hit and miss. After several fly swaps and tons of refusals, we threw in the towel and headed for camp for the nights shenanigans.

After a long night of good food, guitar pickin', and adult beverages....we were a little slow to slide out of our sleeping bags so we got a little bit of a late start on Sunday. The crew split up again as we began to work different sections of the Blue Ribbon water. The bite was pretty slow with some cooler temps, gusty winds, and overcast skies. We did some bobber chuckin' for a while to dredge up some fish but decided to call it quits around Noon so we could break camp and get home at a decent hour.

Again, this marks the 4th year that we have made this trip to the Current and I hope that there are plenty more to come. This place is very special as it is where "the dream was born" you could say for my crew. Most of them got their first real taste of chasing trout on the fly in the waters of the Current and its where my love for fly fishing was reborn more or less. I hope other fisherman out there continue to carry on traditions like we do as I firmly believe that our past helps steer our future...

Until next time, keep chasing the dream...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More Washita River Gold...

The 'ol man scored on some carp again today!

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Roll that beautiful bean footage...

It's mid-April, so that means its time to head back to the Current. Our group is missing a few people, only six of us headed to Montauk this weekend. But we faithful few, the die hards if you will, will keep the tradition alive. This is year 4 for the old timers that started it, so we should have all of the kinks worked out of the trip. Three lucky sobs will head up Thursday after work to ensure that the universe stays balanced and we get our usual campsite. I just hope that somebody pops a top Thursday in route, since the true winos won't be able to get on the road til Fridaaaayyyy. I hope it rains on you. Dicks.

This pic is for Wild Bill

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tying Tuesday cancelled for F3T!

I apologize for there not being a Tying Tuesday post yesterday but CTD was somewhat "busy" with attending the F3T venue in Fayetteville. We took off early from work and made a pit stop at McLellans Fly Shop to visit with Michael and Brock for a bit. Obviously, if you spend an hour in a fly're gonna buy something! We all walked outta there with an assortment of tying materials that we cant buy local here in Tulsa so we did our good deed of the day by supporting our local fly shop! We grabbed some grub after that before heading for the theater to wait for the doors to open.

Just to sum up the F3T, it was freaking AWESOME. We had an awesome time and go to meet a lot of cool people. Most of the films were nothing short of amazing. Cant wait for the full feature films to come out on a few of them. My personal favorites were "Sipping Dry" and "The Kodiak Project", hands down were the best films I believe. The crowd favorite was probably "Doc of the Drakes", which was very good. When the ol' guy finally hooked up with a HUGE brown during a MASSIVE drake hatch on Silver Creek, I thought we were gonna blow the roof off the place. It was very cool.

I highly recommend checking out the F3T Tour if you get the chance. Lots of free schwag is given away and lots of drawings for sick gear. The whole show is a very cool experience.

So go and check it out!

Sunday, April 8, 2012


One good thing about living in the city is, when you need to get your fishing fix just throw a rock in any direction and you'll find any number of neighborhood ponds! Many (if not all) contain some species of sunfish. A few have bass. And still fewer have more than average the one I went to yesterday. Not bad for a little "urban bass fishing" on the fly.

Happy Easter!

Until next time.....

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chasing bronze...

You might ask why I would title this post "Chasing Bronze..." ?? Why not gold or silver? In fishing terms, gold would mean carp while silver would mean steelhead or tarpon even. Well, as much as I love to chase carp and how I dream to one day hook up with the silver king, my new passion as of late is to chase smallmouth on the fly. Hence the title name, "Chasing Bronze..."

Now up until the past few years, trout have been the name of the game when it came to my fly fishing endeavors. Why else would anyone wanna pursue anything else with the fly rod? As my addiction grew, so did the realization that there were all kinds of fish that could be caught on the fly. Carp, white bass, stripers, largemouth bass, catfish, gar....all were fair game with a fly rod. It wasn't until a canoe float trip on a small Ozark smallie stream a few years ago with JoeyC that brought me back to the fish of my youth, the smallmouth bass.

Fast forward a few years, now trout have become a "filler" for us while we wait for our favorite Ozark streams to warm up and for the bronzebacks to get active. There is no better game fish in the Ozarks to chase with the fly rod than a smallie, in my opinion. They are aggressive, fight harder than a fish twice their size, and live in some really beautiful places. Most of the fishing is sight fishing with streamers or topwater flies as well! What else could you possibly want from a game fish?

This past weekend we decided to check out our favorite smallie stream since the flows were good and the weather had been unseasonably warm for the past couple weeks. Everything else has been coming on a month early so what the heck, maybe the smallies are starting to feed already. I loaded up the drift boat and headed for the Elk River to meet up with Joey and Corey to float the Pineville-Mt. Shira section of the river.

After we put in, it didn't take long for our smallie guru, Joey C, to get hooked up into a couple of smaller fish as he dead drifted small tan circus peanut close to some structure. Joey fishes the Elk on a regular basis and has these fish dialed in. We continued on down river, picking up fish in various kinds of water on different flies. The day was just getting good...

For early April, we couldn't complain about the fishing. The river fished just as solid that day as it does during the summer minus no big fish or any fish on topwater. We didn't even see any big fish while we were floating but we decided they were probably backed up in an eddy somewhere trying to spawn so we didn't sweat it too much. The only downfall to the day was the other "hatch" that started showing up around 11:00 which is the aluminum and rubber hatch. Plenty of floaters coming down the river today with the nice weather. Luckily the fish didn't mind and we kept sticking fish all the way down to the take out.

For the 1st smallie float trip of the year, I'd have to say it was a success. Give it another month and we will be killing smallies on topwater, I guarantee it! The fish were already trying to stage up in their summertime holding water. Overall, it was a good day to be floating and fishing with good friends. Life ain't bad...

Until next time, keep chasing the dream...

Washita Gold - A Short Essay

My wife and decided that a little time off from work and the city was in order, so we quickly began planning our "spring break". Our destination wasn't tropical in nature, nor did it involve endless hours spent driving in the car. We weren't off to any popular tourist location. Instead, we agreed that spending a few days with friends and family in my hometown would be just the ticket for soothing our weary minds and bodies. So we loaded the car, pointed it towards far Western Oklahoma, and were on our way.

The first afternoon of our arrival found us catching up with my family and enjoying the unusually warm weather outside on the deck. After a few beers with Dad, we both agreed that we MUST go fishing the next day. So what exactly would be fly fishing for in Western Oklahoma you might ask? Well, let me just tell you. The area surrounding my hometown holds an abundance of farm ponds, creeks, and rivers with a variety of game and non-game fish, including largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, and carp, to name a few. The river by far holds the most variety, and being a fly fisherman in this area of the state requires that you take on the opportunist's mentality. Out here, anything that swims is fair game. And all of them are welcome on the end of the line.

The next morning we awoke to cloudy skies, with the threat of rain. In addition to that, we were also facing very windy conditions. I'm talking sustained 20 mph, gusting to 30 or 40! Normally a 20 mph wind is not an issue, but in a place where trees are few and far between and wheat fields are the dominant feature of the landscape, it only seems to gain momentum. Nonetheless we loaded up our gear and proceeded to the one of the local ponds to try our luck for bass.

After talking it over with my guide, i.e. my Dad, it was decided that weighted clouser variants attached to 3 ft of fluorocarbon on a full sinking or sink tip line was the order of the day. My Dad instructed me that we would be casting from the bank, letting the fly fully sink to the bottom, then sloooowly retrieving it back to us with long, smooth strips. Never having fished for bass this time of year, much less with fly fishing gear, I followed my Dad's instructions to the letter. To say that things started off slow is an understatement. To make matters worse, it quickly became apparent that every piece of scrap wood and/or vegetation lining the bank was out to get me. I have never spent more time untangling running line than I did that morning.

After about the 50th cast and 3rd fly change it happened. At first I thought I was hung up on the bottom (again) but slowly my line began to move sideways. In my excitement I set the hook like Bill Dance and nearly launched the 1lb bass over my head into the brush behind me!! At that point, it was game on. We spent the next hour or so slowly dredging the bottom and bringing a fair amount of fish to hand.

Sadly though, the running line tangle problem persisted. So, I casually mentioned to my Dad that we should try fishing the river, and reminded him that at least it would be out of the wind. He quickly responded that he didn't know why we didn't just go there to begin with?! So, we headed for the truck and pointed it towards the Washita River.

We arrived at our destination with hopes of connecting with a few channel cats or anything else that decided to bite. Having somewhat become an authority on catching channel catfish on the fly in the local creeks and rivers, I let my Dad lead the way. The first few holes we came to didn't produce any strikes, so we headed for high ground to make walking to the next hole easier.

The Mighty Wind-Swept Washita!

We were meandering along, when we both saw it. The telltale v-wake of a moving fish in shallow water. First glimpses were leaning towards catfish, but on closer examination we changed our opinion. You could hear the excitement in our voices as we both spoke the word out loud....CARP! And not just any carp, but the best kind....a feeding carp. At that moment, it was clear what our mission would be.

We watched as this fish methodically worked his way upstream along the bank, regularly stopping to prod the vegetation. Suddenly, the fish turned and headed back down stream. "Spooked," I asked? "I hope not," replied my Dad. As anyone who fishes for carp knows, a spooked carp, is a bad carp!! We watched as the fish made it to the area where we originally spotted him, and turned back up stream. He instantly returned to patrolling the bank for food as he made his way back upstream. Good, not spooked. We launched into full "sneak" mode as I prepared to take the first crack at the fish. Dad made his way upstream from my position in order to increase our odds should the fish get out of range from me. Needless to say, neither one of us could convince that fish to eat. So, after accepting defeat we continued upstream with our eyes glued to the banks ahead.

The next pool we came to held a good number of fish....all carp...most of them feeding. After getting into position, I launched the damsel fly nymph pattern (an awesome pattern created by the guys over at This River Is Wild.) ahead of one of the larger fish rooting around near the bank. As the fly hit the water, I could barely make it out as it slowly began to sink. I held my breath as I watched the fish slowly turn and drift towards the general area of my fly. The fish paused for a second, then turned around and headed back towards the bank. My line never twitched. Damn, I thought. Slowly I raised my rod to draw the slack out. To my amazement, my fly line was pointing directly at the fish, who was now feeding back at the water's edge. I set the hook...felt the resistance....YES!! The fish paused, shook his head, and raced down stream directly towards a sunken tree. I scrambled down the bank after the fish trying to maintain pressure on him with my glass rod. The rod was bent down to the handle, but was nevertheless doing an outstanding job of keeping the fish free from submerged branches. Dad showed up to help corral the fish towards the bank. One last ditch run a freedom, then it was over. As I released the fish back into the water, I turned to Dad and said, "That was awesome, let's do it again!" And we did, two more times. slime

The next fish I hooked into was once again pilfering the bank. My fly landed about 4 inches from his face and he mauled it like a pit bull. The fight didn't last long in the shallow water, and I quickly landed the released him to fight another day. 

Puttin a bend in the glass!

A fine indeed!

By that time, Dad had worked quite a ways upstream from me. As I slowly came around a bend, I saw him standing calmly near the river's edge, bent rod in hand. At first I thought he was hung up, and then I saw the telltale gold flash as the fish rolled in the current in front of him. I helped him land his catch, snapped a few pics, and we called it a day.

Open your eyes!!!

Having pursued carp before, I know how spooky they can get. However, on this day things were different. Both fish I caught were less than 10 yards from me. At first, I thought maybe my stalking/ninja skills were improving, but quickly dismissed that idea. As you can see from the the first fish picture, I was wearing one of the brightest fishing shirts I own, yet the fish acted like we weren't even there, unless we were literally on top of them. I don't know if the overcast conditions combined with the wind created a sense of security, or what. But I do know that it allowed me to get closer to fish that normally would have been in the next county.

In all, the day was a success. We managed to land three very nice Western Oklahoma carp, and make some memories in the process. I can't wait to do it again.

Until next time...

Godspeed Jose Wejebe

Yesterday was a very sad day in the world of fly fishing when reports came back that Jose Wejebe, host of the long running fishing show Spanish Fly, tragically died in a plane crash in Florida. I'm not sure if any specific details have been released on what happened to his plane but early reports said that his plane went down shortly after take off. I'm not claiming to personally know the guy but I grew up watching his show religiously on ESPN and continued watching it when it moved to the Outdoor Channel. He was a great host on his show and a great ambassador to the sport of fly fishing. From what I have heard, he was one of the few fishing TV personalities who was the same in person as well as on camera. He will be missed greatly by everyone in the fly fishing world. Godspeed....

R.I.P Jose Wejebe

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Where The Wild Things Are

I have talked about Crane Creek before and how it's as wild as u can get in the Ozarks with it being surrounded with more popular man made trout fisheries with the Taneycomo tailwater to the East and Roaring River to the south so that keeps the fishing pressure down on the creek. I would rather fish Crane any day of the week over those places.

Cole and I decided to check on the little creek after the recent heavy rains we received in the prior weeks. If u can hit it when the water is up and off color, it's nothing short of epic. Well we were just a tad late for those conditions as the creek had dropped to fairly low flows. We weren't discouraged by the conditions though as we geared up and headed downstream.

We started at my favorite section of this creek which begins in an urban setting at a city park but then quickly turns wild as you make your way down the railroad tracks. It then turns into a straight up bush whack as you leave the tracks to hike further downstream. We put in at the end of the public land and began putting our creek ninja assault on the trout.

The bite was steady as we fished our way upstream hitting all the normal haunts that always hold fish. With the lower water, we had to utilize the "Crane Creep" numerous times as we approached certain holes but the fish were willing to cooperate. We brought several of the normal creek dinks to hand as they are always eager to take a fly, no matter how big u go to try to deter them. They have lots of spunk though as they run and jump, making them very entertaining on a 3 weight. We both finally stuck a decent McCloud rainbow towards the end of our hike which capped off a great morning of fishing.

The big fish that Cole brought to the net, I'm almost positive it's the same fish that I caught last year at the same time and from the same hole. It put up the same ignorant fight as I had to chase it all over the creek trying to land it! Cole was stoked to finally hold a true 100% wild McCloud trophy rainbow!!

All in all, it was a great day on one of only a few creeks in the Ozarks where the wild things are...

Until next time, keep chasing the dream...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday Tying - Fur Strip Clouser

For the Tuesday Tying post, decided to highlight a fly that JoeyC developed last summer for smallmouth in our Ozark rivers and streams. The fly was a hit on our overnight float trip to the Kings River and oddly enough, he only had 1 of them! Obviously we had to retrieve the fly from some ridiculous spots when he would get hung up since it was the only one that he had, it was straight comedy a few times.