Tuesday, April 29, 2014

usbackroads destination--Eastern Washington Fishing Season

usbackroads destination--Eastern Washington Fishing Season

As noted in previous blog postings Washington is known as the Evergreen State.  As you can see in these photos there is NOT a evergreen tree in view!!  The desert in spring is full of trout and wildflowers.  The ticks and rattlesnakes arrive a little later in May.

A very common method for fishing is a "bobber" with a really small fly suspended just above the botton.  It is amazing how large a fish will feed a how small a fly!!  This spring day the worm and Powerbait fisherman were having a tough time.  However, if your still like a stock, anchored so you do not blow in the wind, and patient you will be rewarded with a fish.

Of course, since most fly fisherman release their fish netting the fish is not as important as the "take".  It is fairly easy to reduce line pressure and release the fish without bringing it to the net.

For Bugaboo, fishing season is a complete bore.  And soon as nesting season starts for upland birds he will be confined to forested areas until August.  However, hunting is in his blood.  Here he stood and smelled that little crack in the basalt for over a half hour.  Nothing rattled back, so I suspect it was probably a small lizard.

Fishing in eastern Washington is about lakes.  The scenery is incredible without all those pesky trees getting in the way of the views.  As a Forester, for some reason I prefer sage!!  Must be that sage takes my mind off work, whereas trees always remind me of work!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Float Tube or Fishing Boat in a Sack

usbackroads product--Float Tube or Fishing Boat in a Sack

Most people think there are two types of fisherman.  Those that catch fish and those that do not.  Actually, the two types of fisherman are those that fish from shore and those that fish from a floating device.  And those that fish from a boat or floating device catch more fish.

For travelers and apartment dwellers that made owning a boat tough since there are few places to store a boat in an RV or small apartment.  Float tubes store in a sack and will definitely make you a much better fisherman.

I purchased my first float tube when I was single, with money and no one to answer too!!  There it was in the catalog a round tube with a couple of pockets.  At that time I owned a canoe so my purchase was an impulse buy for no particularly good reason.

A canoe is a poor fishing platform.  It is great for traveling and floating fairly flat water rivers, but as a fishing platform the wind blows it around and your forced to either paddle or hold the fishing rod.  When you should be holding the rod, you will almost always be holding the paddle instead and vice versa.

The perfect fishing craft is one that leaves both hands free for fishing while allowing you to steer with your feet.  Enter the float tube.  Invented by bass fisherman in Arkansas in the 1950's it never became a big hit until the 1980's.  And then it was out west in Idaho and eastern Washington by fly fisherman fishing the lakes of those states.

A float tube give you both hands free for fishing.  You steer by finning your way around the lake.  I suppose to a fish you look just like a huge duck floating overhead.  The platform is stable in waves, but difficult to move in the wind.  You will notice that most ducks in high wind will just jump up and fly.  Unfortunately, you cannot do that in a float tube.

Because of the wind issue the best float tubes are V-shaped instead of round or U-shaped.  Having owned all three shapes over the years, buy the v-shape.  My recommendation is the basic Fish Cat with foam seat or Fat Cat with an inflatable seat.  The Fat Cat is much smaller to pack and store.

A duck has great insulation.  You will need to provide your own insulation for your legs by buying Neoprene waders.  For safety sakes, buy the Neoprene waders as they are warm and more importantly will help float you in an emergency.  I lost a duck hunting friend who drowned wearing non-neoprene waders.  On our last hunt I told him I was switching to Neoprene waders for everything just for safety.  Unfortunately, he never did switch.

Jump into a swimming pool so you will understand how your Neoprene waders will work in water.  Always pack a life vest even with the Neoprene waders.  The Neoprene will help float you, but you still need a life jacket.

A pair of warm, neoprene booties to protect your waders from thorns and rips.  These will greatly extend the life of your waders.

Then the fins.  Ducks come with fins already on their feet.  Having forgotten my fins once I can tell you that it is impossible to move a float tube without fins.  There are special float tube fins that are expensive, but I just use large size diving fins.  They work fine and you can find them fairly cheaply and always get replacement straps at dive shops.

I bought my float tube on a lark thinking that the canoe would still be my primary fishing boat.  I NEVER fished out of a canoe again.   Float tubes are comfortable for fishing.  The best description is that it is like fishing out of a recliner.  Your legs float up and your totally relaxed while fishing.  To cast you straighten your legs so it feels like your standing up in the water.  That gives you enough "backbone" to cast efficiently. There is nothing more comfortable than fishing out of a float tube.

Fly fisherman are particularly partial to float tube since both hands are free.  But I have seen spin fisherman using float tubes to great advantage.  Give it a try.  You might just leave the canoe at home.