If you would like to learn more about one of the most diverse rivers on the east coast stop by the South Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm. The Brandywine river is a unique river in that it is a cold water Trout river up north, a blue ribbon Smallmouth Bass river through the main stem and, in the tidal section, the sky in the limit as far as available species. I will discuss, in depth, each section covering locations, gear, flies and techniques during my presentation "The Brandywine River a tale of three rivers". With over 35 miles of fishable water right in our back yard, the Brandywine has something to offer everyone. The South Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited meets at the Square Circle Sportsmen of Camden County. The address is 97 Clementon road west, Gibbsboro, NJ 08026. For a Google Map link Click here. For a link to the Ray Neirle website click here. If you are in the neighborhood, or you would like to learn more about this great river stop by Wednesday night, you will be glad you did. I look forward to seeing everybody there. Till next time...
One of my visions when I started "Irish Flies" was to pass on my passion for the sport to as many people as I can. A great way for me to do that is through video. As much as I enjoy writing this blog I understand in today's day and age people read less and watch more. Through the marvels of modern technology I can now carry a small, lightweight video camera on the brim of my hat and film my exploits. With the addition of my GoPro Hero 4 camera I now have the ability to bring live fishing action right to your monitor. Now, I will be the first to admit I am no Cecil B. DeMille, and this whole video editing thing is new to me, but I think you will enjoy the stuff I am working on. BTW, did you realize by the time you upload, edit, add effects, compress and then upload the finished product to You Tube or Vimeo you invest about an hour of edit time for every minute of finished product! I hope that time gets shorter as I get more comfortable with the camera, the software and the editing process. I did have a ball working on this first one. The first video is about 6 minutes long and was shot on the White Clay creek as I Nymphed up a few Stockers. The funny thing about video is you can not hide a thing. If a cast looks like crap, it will look like crap on video. If you break your wrist too much (which I did) you will see it. Even if you fish for nearly 20 minutes with the line looped over the butt section of the rod and didn't even notice it (look for it, you will see it) it will come out on the video. I learned a lot shooting and editing this first one and there will be many more to follow. Please take a minute to check out the O'Neills Irish Flies You Tube Channel, if you are inclined subscribe to the channel and you will get an notification each time I post a new video, or just keep up with the blog as I will post a link to each video here. I hope you enjoy "Nymphing the White Clay" As always comments welcome. Till Next time...
To visit the Irish Flies You Tube Channel click HERE
You may have noticed that I missed last weeks blog. I apologize for that as my goal when I started the site was to blog once a week. Realistically, I know that there will be weeks without a post. If I do miss a week, like last week, I want there to be a good reason and 3 days in central Pennsylvania fishing Penns Creek is about good as it gets. I was fortunate enough to get invited to the Ciardi Ciardi & Astin fly fishing invitational. This exclusive, invitation only event, was hosted by Dan Astin at his beautiful Camp Honey Creek. Dan has his property listed, and it is available to rent through the Home Away dot com web site. I took a bunch of pictures, but the pictures on Home Away do a far better job of Showing off Dan's beautiful property. To see the pictures, or to book a trip click the picture of the lodge below. Located in the heart of Pennsylvania's Limestone waters Camp Honey Creek is a fly fishers dream come true. If you are headed to the central PA area check out CHC, you will be glad you did!
As mentioned this was a innovation only event. I was fortunate that my longtime friend, John Massey, was able to find a spot for me. John is a manager at the Christiana Cabelas store. Cabelas, along with many other great companies like Straub Beer, The Passionate Palette, and Penns Creek Guides were sponsors of this great event. It was a proud moment for me to see my name and company logo on the event banners along with so many other great companies. This really validated what I am doing and made me feel like I belonged.
The actual event day was to be on Monday and we were there a day early. As beautiful as the camp is and as excited as we were about the event, for me, the main reason to head to Central Pennsylvania is for the Trout rich, Limestone bug factories that have made this area famous. We headed out to Penns to try to catch the evening rise. Having never fished this river before it didn't take long for me to realize I wasn't in Kansas anymore! I have spent my fair share of time chasing wild fish around here, but let me tell you this area is NOTHING like our fishing down home! The first thing I noticed is Penns is a big river, much bigger than any river I have Trout fished before. Size wise it is similar to the Brandywine, but that is where the similarities end! The bug life in this river is insane! As soon as we got there I turned over a rock, one rock, and found no less that 12 Grannom Caddis cases, half a dozen Hendrickson nymphs, and several smaller, un-identified clinger nymphs. All under one rock! The trees were full of Caddis flies and toward the end of the evening I managed to stick 2 good fish on a LaFontaine Sparkle Pupa. Fish quality, bug life and river size are some of the obvious differences to our local fishing. One that is not so obvious is the river flow. The Central Pa rivers have a much higher gradient than what we are used to locally, even the water that looks like it is moving slowly is actually ripping. It is very easy to end up on your wallet in this river (thankfully I did not). Never again will I scoff at people using a wading staff, for the first time in my life I wish I had one! We fished out the evening and headed back to the camp for dinner.
After burgers and dogs on the grill we all gathered around the fire pit so Dan could lay out the events for the following day. We were to go to a beautiful mountain lake in Poe Paddy State park for a sunrise breakfast (he was not kidding about the sunrise part as the wake up call was 4:30 AM) After breakfast we would fish out the day and meet back at the house for dinner.
My buddies and I decided to fish the same area as we did the night before and we were on the water by 8:00. I decided to walk up river a good ways from where we fished the prior evening and it took me about an hour to get to the spot where I started to fish. Plenty of Caddis were coming off, but no fish were rising to them, so I tied on a nymph rig consisting of a Caddis Pupa, a Caddis Larva and a #16 Flashback PT. The fishing was buy no means easy, but I did manage to land 3 fish while fishing out the morning. Long around 12:30 I was feeling the effects of 2 late nights, 2 early mornings and several hours of wading through a tough Penns Creek. The sun was high, the bugs had stopped and I was tired. I took my pack off, laid down and took a nap right there on the river bank. Why is it that outside sleep is some of the best sleep we ever get? About an hour later John walked up just as I was waking up. We sat on the side of the river and talked for about another hour. This was nice as John and I have kinda lost touch over the past few years and it was good to re-connect. Here are some of the pictures from the morning.
Back at the house we were treated to more Hors d'oeuvres and drinks than any man should have access to. All of this before a seven course meal prepared buy the Passionate Palette with beer pairings by Straub Brewery. Dan gave a very nice speech thanking everyone being a part on the weekend and he made a special mention to one of my buddies Rick. Rick is the camping lead at the Cabelas store, he was also in the 101st Airborne and was medically discharged from the Army after being wounded in Iraq. As he stood up to acknowledge the applause for his service I had chills, it was a class act to acknowledge his service, the reception was even better. Now, on to dinner. It may come as a surprise that I really am not a beer drinker. Go figure, my last name is O'Neill and I don't really like beer. My ole man always says my mom picked up the wrong baby from the hospital. At any rate the only thing to drink on the table was beer so I figured when in Rome...The pairings were very good and for the first time I understand the "experience" of eating and drinking paired food. Some of the beers were quite tasty with the foods we were eating them with. All was going well until about course #5 then I could feel the effects of designer beer, some with 7.9 % alcohol. I slowed way down and finished out the meal and had a great conversation with Tom Doman of Penns Creek Guides about the area and what it has to offer. One way or another I will be back on a regular basis. I understand now why so many people have re-located to the central PA area. It is truly a fly fishers dream!
First and foremost I need to thank Dan for inviting me to take part in this great event, your generosity is overwhelming. I also need to thank my buddy John Massey, I am glad we got to spend the weekend together and I hope we can do it again soon. I would also like to thank all the new friends I made over the weekend. It was truly a great experience, one I won't soon forget. Till next time...
Well, as I type this I am fresh off of our local Shad river. The run has been slow and here is what has been going on the last few days. The cold snap we got last Thursday really stalled the run. Last Friday and Saturday guys were finishing for 2 to 3 hours and catching 2 or 3 fish, not the kind of numbers we are looking for. Now, this week things have been a little better...A buddy of mine from the salt water club was down on Monday and landed 25 and lost another 10, much better numbers. On Tuesday morning another friend of mine got "the mother load" and had steady fishing for about 3 hours. It seems like the morning bite is been more consistent than the evening. As mentioned, I fished this evening for about 2 and a half hours. It was a slow pick, and I guess I landed about 10. Better than it has been, but still not what we are looking for. I found myself using more weight than I usually do. Getting "down" seemed to be the key. I also noticed they weren't really hitting hard, it was more of a pick up rather than a hit. Many times feeling like I was stuck on the bottom. The water temp was 60 degrees so it should be "on" any day now. I am leaving Saturday morning to fish Penns for 4 days so I wont be able to communicate, so good luck to all that head down and give it a shot. Till next time...