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Academy graduate strikes gold for his first! (Read 1802 times)
Papasequoia
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Academy graduate strikes gold for his first!
May 19th, 2006, 7:33pm
 
Posted here and on the two mentioned forums.  Thanks again to all those from the SB Flyfishers who made the academy happen!
 
Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since the Santa Barbara Flyfishing Academy that the boys attended.  Conor got his first fish at the weekend trip they held, a nice 14” rainbow, but Sean has yet to get his first trout on a fly.  So, after having good luck last week on what I named Launch Creek due to what I kept doing to the poor, little goldens, I decided it was time to try and get the skunk off of his shoulders.  They’ve both been working hard this year at school, and Fridays are slow days, so I let them play hooky and off we went.  
 
Maebrown from the SW board of flyfisherman.com was joining us for the day, and we met up with him at a roadside stop where he was waiting after having already driven three hours!   He shook hands with the boys and said “Following in the footsteps of RS2, I’d like to give you boys some flies that I tied myself,” whereupon he gave them each a nice box of dry flies which will pair nicely with the nymphs and streamers from RS2, along with a pill bottle full of caddis flies.  Sometimes I am just at a loss for words, what a nice gesture!  The boys have been very fortunate.  
 
So, we headed up into the hills to prospect for gold.  As I said, I fished here last week, and there have been some other reports lately.  Added to that I got an IM from WatchinTheWater of the Kern Fly Fishing Forum late the night before about some other spots to hit.  He had just returned from 3 days of camping and fishing the area, so the report was hot off the presses and we pull into the first area he suggested.  Here’s a pic of the three of us that shows how bright the sun was as we started off.

and not a cloud in the sky, just the moon

This area was a meadow that was part old beaver dams and part soggy marsh from the heavy runoff, but very fishy looking.  However, the boys are in Teva-type sandals and swim trunks and they quickly had cold feet from wading.  Lots of thorny brush as well to get tangled on the backcast and I hate to report that the morning didn’t go too well.  They didn’t want to leave, but I could tell they weren’t having the time of their lives either.  As I was showing them how to cast I, um, “accidentally” caught a couple myself.  Just to show that there were fish there, you know!  Mark (Maebrown) seemed to be doing well also,

But, as we sat down to an early lunch, the boys were still fishless.  Nevertheless, it was a gorgeous day.  A few cumulus clouds were starting to drift in,  

there were lots of birds around, including several large hawks and some red-winged blackbirds.  The meadow was gorgeous, the smell was fresh and clean, and it was a great day to be streamside having lunch.  

Mark even got a little one right by our lunch spot

 
Still, I was getting anxious.  I think I was a lot more worried than Sean and Conor.  I so wanted them to get into some fish.  There was one moment, as I was standing by Sean’s side showing him how to drift his dry and watch it closely when a golden came up and broke water trying to get the fly.  Set the hook!  Set the hook! I yelled, but too late.  But I thumped him on the back and shouted, “Hey, did you see that?  A fish came up and tried to eat your fly!”  “Yeah,” he said, and a huge, HUGE smile spread across his face.  “That was neat.”  Anyway, we decided to go fish another spot, also mentioned by WtW.  We parked and hiked down for about 10 minutes and came to a likely looking spot.  I was working hard with Sean so he could get his first fish.  As we moved upstream, Conor started to fish the water we had vacated and after about 5-10 minutes started getting hits on his dry, but he missed it each time.  Sean asked if he could try a streamer, so I asked Conor if he would mind, and he didn’t and stepped aside.  We tied on one of RS2’s small streamers, a black bugger type streamer with a white conehead.  We floated it downstream past where Conor had been getting hits and Sean started stripping it in.  Mark had now returned from further downstream and watched.  “Will a little golden trout take a streamer?” we  wondered.  Strip, strip, strip, BAM!  Fish on, baby!  And just like that, the skunk is gone and Sean has his first trout on a fly, and it’s a golden trout!  Yipee!


 
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Papasequoia
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Re: Academy graduate strikes gold for his first!
Reply #1 - May 19th, 2006, 7:33pm
 
Whew!  With that pressure off, we just try and see if Conor can get a golden.  As he is casting into a likely spot, the warden comes walking down.  This is the first time in my whole life I’ve ever had an encounter with a warden.  He’s a nice guy and we chat for a bit.  Even though I’m not fishing I offer to show him my license.  After thanking him for taking care of our resources he heads off for the hike out and we keep fishing.  Mark comes back and says that he found a spot that looks like the fish are concentrated and asks if the boys want to give it a go.  So, Conor makes a few nice casts and BAM!  First golden ever for Conor!


Yes, the Royal Wulff recommended by folks on the Kern FFF pays off in gold.  Sean and Conor take turns at this hotspot and soon Sean gets his first fish on a dry fly too,

 
Well, the clouds have now thickened considerably, and Mark has a long drive back down to Orange Co. ahead of him, so we hike out to the car as a few drops fall on us.  Sean ended up with three fish and Conor four.  I don’t know who is happier, Mark and I watching them catch fish, or the boys themselves.  “Man, flyfishing is cool!” says Conor as we hike out.  “YEAH” agrees Sean.  I guess it’s a tossup.  In any case, it is four happy fly fishers, two old and two young and new, who drive back down out of the mountains on this gorgeous day.  
 
Jon
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Re: Academy graduate strikes gold for his first!
Reply #2 - May 20th, 2006, 9:40am
 
What a great story Jon!  Smiley
 
It's so rewarding to see how the kids have taken to fly fishing. I'm sure all those who helped make the Academy possible, appreciate your telling it.
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Re: Academy graduate strikes gold for his first!
Reply #3 - May 20th, 2006, 3:24pm
 
Great post and beautiful pics. Thank You.
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Re: Academy graduate strikes gold for his first!
Reply #4 - May 21st, 2006, 4:59am
 
I'm smilin' .....great stuff Papasequoia!  LEW
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