First off, I want to apologize for the lack of posting lately. Full time work + full time school = not much time for fishing.
Fortunately, after stumbling across an event on Clif's blog, I decided the drought needed to be over. So after my test (yes, an algebra class on a Saturday morning. blech.) I headed over to Nate's Hooked on Fishing trout pond to get some instruction in the way of fly fishing.
Right after I walked into the complex, Jonn headed me off and started me off with some fly-less casting lessons. Turns out my self-taught casting method was too long of a cast and didn't come to enough of an abrupt stop to shoot the line out. After a few casts, Jonn realized that something was wrong with my line. After some examination, he figured out that my fly line doesn't have a taper, which is not very conducive to beginning fly fishing. He went to get one of his rods for me to use, and while he was over there, I helped Clif land a nice trout and snapped a pic for him, which will probably be up on Lunker Hunt later on I imagine.
After lunch (absolutely amazing fresh grilled trout and a burger), Clif and I headed to the other side of the pond where there was a little inlet streaming in. After a bunch of casting and a couple missed hooksets, I hooked into this guy:
(Thanks to Clif for the net and camera work)
We continued to fish that section next to the inlet with good success. I caught 5 more, roughly the same size or bigger than the one above. I tried to get some good pictures but it was becoming apparent that I was putting too much stress on the fish so the only other good picture of a trout I have is of this one, which I think is my third or fourth of the day:
I think he was about the same length as the first one, just a bit skinnier.
Clif had to leave for a bit so I was on my own for awhile for netting fish. Caught two while he was gone, of course, my largest of the day was one of them. It was awesome to fight him out on the flyrod, let him tire himself out and then lead him into the net. He was so big that I had a hard time with it. It was very difficult to get him unhooked and I had to let him recuperate in the net for a bit before he swam off but off he went eventually.
A little bit later, Jonn let me try out his Sage Largemouth rod. It has a really heavy line on it and shoots out line like a rocket. It made me, a total novice, feel like I was casting like a pro. While casting the Sage, I didn't have many bites but I did hook up one time. When I was stripping it in, it wasn't fighting like the rest of the trout I'd caught all day. Turns out it wasn't:
A bass! Woo! Great way to end the outing. It started raining and the event was coming to a close. I chatted with Jonn a bit about line and rod options, said thanks for the lessons and headed home.
Overall an awesome reinvigorating day on the fly. Thanks to Clif for helping me land fish and snap pics, to Jonn for the lessons and letting me use his awesome equipment, and to Nate for putting on such a great get-together.
I would suggest my readers (all four of you) to follow Nate's blog (linked above) and support his Hooked on Fishing ponds in any possible. From what I've read and heard, they do some great things for kids and handicapped individuals in the Peoria area. I'll definitely be looking out for ways to help out.
UPDATE: Nate has updated his blog with pics of the event here. Most of them were taken before I got there. You can see the inlet that Clif and I were fishing four pics from the bottom.
UPDATE DOS: Clif has his version of events along with a really cool video showing how good the fishing was here.