Monday Morning Footsteps

| March 30, 2020

Listen to the beat of our feet on the Monday Morning Sidewalk this morning. It’s the same beat as last week, and the beat goes on. 

I took a pass on Lake Ray Roberts last week because the boat ramps were crowded, and I mean crowded with people. The interesting thing? They were all keeping their distance, and not even wasting their breath with angry, low IQ, shouting matches. 

THE RAMP LIFE

Yesterday, I took my chances at the Jordan Branch boat ramp, and was amazed again by the crowds – think July 4 on steroids – but also by how nice everyone was acting. Yes, everyone was moving at an “end of the world” pace, but the symphony of boats at the ramp performed flawlessly. I have never seen anything like it when it comes to the Ramp Life. 

Ramp Life is where worlds collide. For example, as I was circling the skiff, waiting for my solo, I spotted a rare Euro-Carper on the riprap just a little east of the performance going on. After a smooth trailering, I went over to talk to him – while his girlfriend listened closely. While normal conversations are mostly temporarily lost, talking carp is always grounding us back to what we consider normal.

Turns out he is having the common problems of a hardcore carp and buffalo hunter. While he does fly fish, the carp are virtually unreachable up in the weeds right now … as always happens during spring high waters. He’s frustrated over buffalo, as we all can profess; remember I basically force guys NOT to waste time on them on a trip? A buffalo is a hard stick. I offered him a free ride out to a remote area to try out the Euro in a less crowded, more channel oriented location. Folks rarely take me up on the offer, but if I were a Euro-Carper, I would jump at the chance.

Fishing For Food

Fishing yesterday was actually for food. I have been looking for sand bass to be bunched-up somewhere with inflowing water, but that inflow comes with a lot of off color water and debris due to the region surrounding Ray Roberts being soaked already, and rains that come in barrels not buckets. Two other friends were on the water as well, so with three of us looking for sand bass, we finally did find them stacked up in a cove on the west — east-west side of the lake. The west-west side of the lake is so off color and dirty as to be completely devoid of fishermen all day long, and for very good reason.

As you know, fishing for sand bass is a frenetic affair. Sometimes found in small bunches on Lake Ray Roberts, and sometimes found by the acre. There is no shortage of sand bass on Ray Roberts, and I cannot think of a time in the last dozen years when people had to work very hard to find them when they are “in season.” 

My spinning setup is pretty simple for someone who is just ramping up my attention to the spinning rod world of fishing. I have an old travel spinning rod by TFO that is pretty short and nimble at the tip, coupled with a 2500 Penn Sargus reel (discontinued). Last week I stood in line outside Academy Sports in Denton, waiting my turn to get inside, to get that reel reloaded with monofilament. I decided, because of the cost, $8-dollars a spool VS $100-dollars a fly line, to try out something different and had the spool loaded to near the edge. When I pealed off the old line, I realized that I should have replaced the old mono a long time ago. As the line peeled away, it revealed fresh unworn unbleached – CLEAR monofilament. Lesson learned.

What I would like to have loaded would have been some longer casting 6-pound-test, but we’re in big lake fishing country, so the big-box stores typically start with 8-pound-test. There are only about a hundred choices, so I went with the only “hybrid” line on the display – Yo-Zuri.

Once we found sand bass, they were congregated up against a cove bank and eating furiously – to the point almost every cast yielded a fish on any lure. I snapped one of those bucktail jigs on and let the Yo-Zuri go. The line gave good distance for the effort, but seemed a little heavy going through the rod. The sand bass didn’t mind though! And this jig I tied was alive in the water – I think because I tied it with the more lively (white) marabou and a fly tying pearl flash. Fast retrieve and only a little bit of tip action worked just as well as abundant tip action and pauses. Translation: It was on.

SPINNING REEL LINE

It seems like every time I load, or have loaded, new mono or fluorocarbon line – within the first couple of uses, it decides to “shed” a bunch of line in a tangled mess that is unsalvageable. It results in cutting off a significant amount of NEW line. So this time, I am actually paying attention, and we will see if the same thing happens once again with the Yo-Zuri Hybrid line.

I do have a new reel made by Florida Fishing Products, a sweet little Osprey Carbon 2500, that came to me a couple of months ago, and I have yet to spool it with the Distance Premium braid line they sent along with it. Why? Well, I watched a video by Captain CA on how to spool braid, and think I would be better off with having it done on a machine than by hand. I also hesitate because I know nothing about braid and the knots needed to make it work. SO again it seems, new learning is upon us here at Texas Fly Caster – like it, or not.

Thanks for reading this week, and remember this virus thing will only be a blip on a blip in the history of humankind. We are only here for a moment, and then the moment is gone. Do what gives you soul, help others, teach what you know and learn new things. This is a fantastic opportunity. 

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Category: Body-Mind-Soul, Culture on the Skids, Equipment, Fishing Reports, Life Observed, North Texas, Spinning Rods Reels

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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