Tag Archives: fish

The Biggest Mistakes of Fly Fishing

  1. DSC_0124Flies. One of the first mistakes you can make when fly fishing is choosing the wrong flies. While it is important to try to match the hatch, it is also important to keep trying different flies until you find the right one. It’s best to cast for a few minutes, if after a few minutes you haven’t received a bite its time to change flies. This can be very difficult if you cannot see anything hatching. That is why one of the best things that you can do is stop at a local fly shop and ask what fish are hitting on, or you can read updated fishing reports from the area.
  2.  Line Mistakes. a) Mending the line is so important when fly fishing. Mending the line helps the fly to drift naturally down the river and keeps the fly line from spooking the fish. It is also important to mend the line gently. If you pull up too hard then the fly bounces or moves in an unnatural motion. b) Setting the drag wrong. If a fish gets on the line and you do not have the drag set appropriately the fish will get off. Either the drag will be too loose and the fish will take too much or the drag won’t be set at all the fish will snap off the line due to sheer force.
  3. Back Cast
    Back Cast

    Bad Casting. Casting is detrimental to fly fishing. If your cast does not straighten out onto the water or slaps the water too violently, then your cast has failed. If you cast too often your cast is failing. It is important to let the cast drift and then re-cast again. This is especially important in a big open river. If you are fishing a narrow stream with a lot of undergrowth and a small area. It is understandable that you will have to make more casts to hit the water correctly. Try to make every cast count and remember to pause on your back cast. It may feel awkward, but if you watch your line on your back cast you will see exactly how long of a pause you need rather than guessing and erring on a cast.

  4. When you go. The day and time of day plays a large part in when you should go fly fishing. It is important to do your research and find out what times of day there are hatches, as well as monitor the temperature of the water. Trout prefer colder water. If it is late July and 100 degrees and you are fishing a small stream, that water has warmed up and the fish will be lethargic. It is best to fish early in the morning and at dusk in the hottest summer months. However, I have seen fish go crazy at a mid afternoon grasshopper frenzy. Just be sure to watch the hatch and get out fishing early enough to enjoy the cooler water.
  5. Small open stream
    Small open stream

    Not being Stealthy. Fish get spooked. If you are able to fish over a mound or are able to fish from a location that gives you a low profile, you have a better chance at catching a fish since the fish cannot see you. This is especially important in those small streams in an open field. Try to fish far enough from the bank so that the fish will not see you as well as making sure your shadow is not unnaturally over the water. This little stuff really does make a difference.

If you can avoid these mistakes, you are already on your way to being a better fisherman or woman. Of course there are plenty of mistakes that can happen on the river, but these are 5 that are easy to avoid and learn from.

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10 Reasons Why Fly Fishing in the Off-Season is Better

First and Foremost, I apologize for not writing in so long. The month of October was a bit crazy for me. I went on vacation then came back to 5 midterm papers and two exams. Also I started planning my wedding and booked all of my main vendors! It was such a relief. I hate planning anything, at least anything but fishing trips.

One of my favorite things about this beautiful place I live in, is the transition the from the hot green New Mexico summer to the beautiful golds and oranges of the fall. The greatest craving I get during this transition is a great bowl of green chile stew as well as a full day of fishing. So if you are a winter lover like me, get out there and catch some fish! Here are 10 of my reasons why I love to fish in Fall and Winter:

1. Cold Water and Fat Fish Trout prefer colder water. Towards the end of summer the fish are lethargic and existing in minimal numbers due to the dangerously warm waters that we see in late July and throughout August. By the time the weather cools off and the water cools with it, the fish are ready to start biting again. The fish have been eating all summer due to the mass amounts of hatches that summer monsoons bring. Catching a fat, 12+” brown trout in a tiny mountain stream is a blast!

Cebolla River--October
Cebolla River–October

2. Adios Warm Weather Only Fishers The weather is getting colder, and most of the tourists who fish are gone, and the warm weather only fishermen and women are headed back to their safe warm home while awaiting the warmer weather of the next summer. There is nothing wrong with being a warm weather only fisher-human. Fishing in the cold is hard. I never used to fish except in the summer. Now that I have the right gear, a stronger will, and the desperation to get out and fish, fishing in the cold weather is much easier. It’s not that I don’t love people, I do! I just prefer not to see people on the river while I am fishing.

My siblings and I in the Cebolla
My siblings and I in the Cebolla “River” Valley in the Fall

3. Beautiful Fall The Weather is colder, the leaves are changing, and the summer rains are long gone. There is nothing more beautiful that the gold and bronze colors of the Fall here in New Mexico. The golden leaves against deep green of the pines as the leaves begin to change. The contrast of the golden dried out long grass against the earthy browns and greens of the stream.  The Cebolla stream valley is one of the most beautiful places I have fished in the early fall. You can see from the picture here that the aspens are turning orange and that the grass is a dried sandy brown. This valley is located in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico behind the Seven Springs Hatchery. It is the perfect place to begin your fishing adventures in the summer and end them in the late fall before the snow closes the road.

First time Fishing the San Juan was in January!
First time Fishing the San Juan was in January! “Burrr- Cold”

4. Snowy Scenery I’m not sure if it is only because I am a desert rat from New Mexico, but when I see snow, it makes me extremely happy. The cold is a monster for fly fishing. Keeping your hands and fingers warm is impossible, you dread every snag, and pray that you won’t have to reach your arm in and pry your fly off of a branch or rock in the river. My first time fly fishing in winter was in January at the San Juan and it was icy cold. There were so few fishermen in the braids I couldn’t believe it! Usually you see a person on your right and left, no matter where you are on the river. Fishing in January was a whole new experience. It was quiet, cold, and it felt like it was just my Dad and I on the river alone. Although it was cold for us, the weather was perfect for the fish. It was this January fishing venture where I caught my first fish over 12 inches!

5. Clear and Gentle Water Now that the mountains are cold, the summer run off is over, and the sediment has all settled, the water is clear as can be and the current is not too daunting. The clear and gentle water means you can say goodbye to the bulky strike indicator and use a dry dropper combo on its own. By taking off that extra weight on your cast, you can plan sneaky, beautiful, well-placed casts into the perfect eddy to catch that fat fish.

6. Fall Hoppers The weather has cooled off and the grasshoppers are slowing down, but the fish are still hungry. There is nothing greater than seeing a fish literally gulp at a big grasshopper dry-fly. I have seen tiny 5 inch fish grab at a big hopper. I have seen a big 20+ inch fish gulp at a hopper. Fall fishing with a grasshopper dry-fly is a blast if the fish are biting at the top of the water.

7. Post Fishing Reward There is nothing better than getting packed up after a long cold day of fishing and heading to the nearest place to get a beer or even a nice warm hot chocolate.

Broncos, I Love you, but Sundays are for fishing. Sorry, Kylie
Broncos,
I Love you, but Sundays are for fishing.
Sorry,
Kylie

8. Football Keeps the NFL Fans Away Everyone who knows me knows that I would rather be out on the river than stuck at home. I am a Broncos fan, my grandparents live in Denver, they’ve had season tickets for centuries, my Dad watches every game,…. blah blah blah….. Take me fishing instead! I’ll put it on the DVR if I really want to watch it. A lot of other people are not like me. For example my fiancé hates having to watch games after they happen because he already found out the scores. People who are die-hard NFL fans will most likely spend Sundays at home. If you do not mind the cold of fall and winter fishing, go on a Sunday.

9. Sales Sales Sales In the winter most fly fishing shops and companies do big sales, whether it is just an off-season sale or the full on Black Friday blow out, fall and winter is the best time to find great deals on fly fishing gear. Also be sure to check Groupon, Living Social, and Amazon local for guided trips that are on sale during the off-season.

10. Fall and Winter are Just Better than Summer I may just be an anti-summer, cold weather loving, type of girl, but to me it is much better to be cold than hot, and I think the fish agree. I always catch more fish in cooler weather than warm weather.

Lastly, I just wanted to let you all know that I have convinced Diego to let us do a super outdoorsy and adventurous honeymoon. We will be driving to Yellowstone for a few days and camping either in a car or in a tent and the from their drive up to Glacier National Park and stay in a cozy cabin. I am curious if any of you have camped Yellowstone and fished, and if so where is the best place to tent/car camp near great fishing in August?

How to Fly Fish the San Juan and be Successful

This weekend my Dad and I decided it would be a good weekend to drive from Albuquerque to Farmington, NM to fly fish the San Juan river. We left Saturday morning and fished through the afternoon, and fished all day Sunday. Our experience on each day was a little different because of the different locations at which we chose to fish. The difficult part about fishing the San Juan is technique truly does differ depending on where you fish, the quality of the water, and what the fish are biting.

San Juan River, NM February 2015 26.5 inches
San Juan River, NM February 2015 26.5 inches

First, I am going to tell you a little bit about the things you need to Fly Fish the San Juan. To fish the San Juan you need a light, long, soft, yet durable rod. I fish with this 9′ Sage Rod I got from my Dad. It is soft, that means it bends well with a fish on, it is light, but it is also designed to cast well through the wind.

I can tell you first hand that this rod is one of the best rods you can have to bring in quality water sized fish! I fought a fish for half an hour, on a drift boat, with a guide back in February with this rod. I tell you it was on a boat and with a guide because those conditions and that help make fishing easier. If I had been wading and without the extra pair of hands/ ability to follow the fish, I’m not sure I would have landed it. All of us (Dad, the guide, and me) believed that if I had not been using my sage, this fish would have snapped off my line.

Abe's Fly Shop 1791 NM-173, Navajo Dam, NM 87419
Abe’s Fly Shop
1791 NM-173, Navajo Dam, NM 87419

Secondly, flies are super important! On the way up it is important to  stop by a fly shop near the San Juan and ask them what seems to be working fly wise. My dad and I have always stopped at Abes. They are friendly, have a large array of flies, and they know what is doing well. At Abe’s, we bought about $80 worth of supplies including, leader, tippet, and teeny- tiny flies. I always find it kind of funny that these big fish can be caught on such tiny flies.

Water Filter Used to Drink From the River
Water Filter Used to Drink From the River

The last few things you need are waders, sunscreen, and drinking water. You cannot fish the San Juan without waders. Also, New Mexico weather is so ridiculous it can be hot sunburn weather in February all the way to the end of October. On that note, I am not good about drinking water when I fish, and I need to be better. One of the things that helped this trip was my Dad brought his water filter. This was nice because we didn’t have to weigh our vests down with bottled water. I was nervous at first, but the water tastes delicious, and truly is clean after filtering with this bad boy.

This trip to the San Juan was a lot different than our February trip. This time we waded both days, and we were not with a guide. I did not catch the catch of the week, but every fish I caught was over 15 inches. It was an absolute blast!

On Saturday, our first day, we decided to fish below the Texas Hole at the Muñoz campground/ day site turn off. It is easy to recognize this spot because at the parking lot there is a giant green pump house. This site does require quite a walk to the great fishing on the back channels. At this fishing site you have the choice to fish the main channel or the back channels. We chose to to fish the back channels, and we chose right.

Dry Dropper Set up with Tiny Flies
Dry Dropper Set up with Tiny Flies

While fishing the back channels at the Munoz site, I started with a dry dropper combo. I set the two flies 16-18 inches apart and used one split shot at the knot of the leader and tippet to give it some weight and get it to the bottom of the river to the big fish. Above that, I put on a small strike indicator. A strike indicator is absolutely necessary. You WILL NOT feel these fish bite. This is a lot of weight to cast out. The first few casts will probably be sloppy, mine were, but after a few casts it will begin to feel normal. The key for me is to be sure to pause when I bring my cast back behind me, so that the line can fully straighten before casting forward into the river. The picture here on the right gives you an idea of how small the flies are in comparison to my finger nail.

Midge Hatch
Midge Hatch

After a one mile walk and some wading, my Dad and I found a good spot with plenty of fish. The water quality was superb, we could see the fish at the floor of the river, which of course means, they can see us. The best part of the back channel spot we found was the bugs. You grow to love these annoying little creatures as a fly fisher. The midge hatch was going crazy the minute we got started fishing at 12:00. This picture doesn’t even do it justice, they were everywhere and the fish were going wild!

Notice how clear the water is, you can clearly see my boot.

Munoz Fish in the Net
Munoz Fish in the Net

Although the fish were biting off the top more and more as the hatch continued, I was not tempted to switch to a dry fly. I was getting plenty of bites from the bottom. We fished for 4 hours, pretty much in one area. In that time I caught and landed 5 fish. That is not too bad considering the fish I was catching were big fish! Every fish I caught was taking on average, 8-10 minutes to bring in. I have a lot of patience once I hook into a fish. I let them tire themselves out rather than reel them in quickly. My Dad is the opposite. He lets them run a bit and then gets them in quick. I like  love fighting a fish. I am pretty good at it, and love the feel of that line zinging out as the fish runs and the sound of the reel spin when I am reeling. Letting the fish run and taking my time is how I have become a successful fisherwoman on the San Juan. Stay tuned for a video of me fighting a fish!

At around 5 we finished fishing and decided to begin the long walk back to the car. We could not find anything but game trails to follow, which led to us bushwhacking our way through reeds taller than me, and bogs stinky as can be. Eventually, a very sore Mike and Kylie arrived at the car and decided that we needed beer. My Dad had a fantastic idea that we should drive from Farmington to Durango and get dinner and beer at Steam Works Brewery.

You can what alcohol percentage I opted for by the small glass.
You can guess what alcohol percentage I opted for by the small glass.

They had my favorite type of beer, a sour beer. Their sour beer is called the Ale Sabor and it was AMAZING! At a pretty high percentage of alcohol, I felt all my soreness go away after 2! I could have drank the whole barrel it was so good! The food was equally as fantastic. We had the nachos as an appetizer and I had the fish tacos, which were magical. After dinner we went back to out hotel in Farmington and prepared to wake up early the next morning and fish some more.

Day 2– Sunday

On Sunday, we decided that we should fish somewhere else, and continue learning how to fish the San Juan. We still had enough of our teeny tiny flies to keep fishing. Our starting point was at the Texas Hole, WHICH WAS PACKED! The Texas Hole is the most popular fishing spot at the San Juan. It is where every guided trip starts, where all the boats can take off, and has something like 10,000 fish in less than 1/2 a mile (according to a guide we used). We were not able to fish this spot and decided to go above the Texas hole into the braids. I did not have any luck in the braids. I waded on, finally my Dad and I got to the main channel and we were able to find a good spot. We could see the fish in the shallows right ahead of us. I was practically on the bank fishing. I was using roll casts so as not to get snagged in the bushes and trees. Suddenly, my Dad started catching fish before me. Let me make myself clear– this is miraculous, he never catches a fish before me! As you can imagine I was pissed! I could not figure out what he did that I wasn’t already doing. His answer was just as frustrating. He told me “I guessed. I just lift my rod every few casts to make sure I don’t have a fish on.” Yes, my Dad caught the first fish by guessing. At that point I too tried this ridiculous strategy. I had zero luck. My Dad caught two more.

My Dad, proud, rubbing in his first catch.
My Dad, proud, rubbing in his first catch.

Completely frustrated I set up a cream colored dropper on my line, and decided to cast into a little bit deeper water right off the shallows. I saw my strike indicator stop moving just a tiny bit and set the hook! BAM! Fish on!

Fish Number 1 on Day 2
Fish Number 1 on Day 2

Here is the crazy thing, the strike indicator never left the surface of the water. It barely moved, in fact, my clue was the strike indicator DID NOT move. I could not figure out how the fish could do this. The size of this fish and the size of the flies gives me the answer. These big fish simply wrap their mouths around the fly and when they open back up, the fly isn’t in their lip because I didn’t set the hook. Their big mouths can just gulp bugs.

In a sense you do have to guess which strike indicator movement is a bite. On this second day of fishing, the fishing was so much harder, and before I caught this fish and figured out what to look for, I was so frustrated. Day 1 we caught a big fish an hour. Day 2 I had caught 1 fish in four hours. Now I was ready for them! I had figured out the strike indicator clues, and I was ready to catch fish.

My plan worked and I hooked into a big fish! I was fighting the fish so long my Dad took the chance to video tape it on his phone so that I could post it here. The video quality and filming isn’t the best, but my Dad’s commentary is pretty funny.

Fish Caught after a fierce and exhausting battle!
Fish Caught after a fierce and exhausting battle!

Lastly, I want to recommend Rainbow Lodge and Resolution Guide Service for anyone interested in taking a guided trip to the San Juan. Steve Gill is the amazing guide that we used back in February. He was so unselfish and knowledgable about fly fishing the San Juan. Also, I am pretty sure there is a picture of me and my record fish on the wall!

Thanks Everyone for taking the time to read, and hopefully watch the video. Please continue to share and tell people about my blog. I love seeing new readers everyday!

Valles Caldera National Preserve Fishing

Valles Caldera National Preserve, located in the Jemez mountains of New Mexico is a prime spot for outdoor activities. The preserve is an amazing place to go for the day to hike, fish, drive, or bike. The cost is $20 a vehicle for a back country pass, and it is so worth it! The only time of year I have been is during the summer. Its up higher in altitude so it remains relatively cool, and there is always the chance of an afternoon rain. The sights and views are nothing short of fantastic, even with the burn scar the preserve suffered back in 2011.

My first visit to Valles Caldera was June of 2014, my Dad and I went to try it out after hearing about the beauty of this place. We chose to fish the San Antonio, which starts in the northernmost part of the preserve and flows west. It starts out as a narrow stream, not more than a a yard or two wide, at times even less. Further down the stream it widens and gets a little more shallow. In order to fish this small stream you have to feel comfortable casting into a small stream. Your cast will make or break your fishing in the small streams. Stealth and accuracy are your best friends.

First Fish at the Valles Caldera San Antonio
First Fish at the Valles Caldera San Antonio

First thing you’ll notice is the width of the stream, although it is narrow, there are good enough holes, up against the banks, for the fish to hide out. The key is casting from further away from the stream, and longer upstream than you typically would in such a small stream. My Dad won’t agree with me, and neither will “expert fly fisherman,” but I don’t think you need to let your fly drift to far downstream. I tend to only hook fish the minute my fly hits the water. Keep in mind I have only fished Valles Caldera in the summer months. The fly needs to be dry and big enough for you to see it, but not so big the small brown trout can’t grab the hook. You WILL NOT always feel the fish bite, there are some small fish in there! Watch the water, watch your fly, and wait for a fish mouth to gobble it up. Polarized sunglasses are a must have when you fly fish anytime any where so that you can see the water and that fish mouth.

When I fish the Valles Caldera I use a dry fly. Usually a grass hopper or a mayfly. Honestly though, if it has a tail or legs, and you can see it, give it a try. If after 20 minutes you haven’t had a single bite, switch it out for something different.

That View, Those Rain Clouds, Perfect Stream Fishing
That View, Those Rain Clouds, Perfect Stream Fishing

The best fishing I did in Valles Caldera was this summer, and I was fishing with different variations of elk-hair caddis and mayflies, all dry. One of the reasons the fishing was great was the time of day. I always try to start fishing before 10 AM. I think of it this way, the fish like to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner just like us, and of course they’ll take a snack if it is prepared beautifully.  In the morning they bite, and at around 2-3 PM something is usually hatching, and that is prime time fishing. I’ve also heard, but not yet tried, night time fishing. Apparently brown trouts turn into voracious hunters when the sun goes down. Okay, back to my trip, the other reason it was such great fishing was the weather. Rain brings fish. I don’t ask questions, I just know that I catch fish when it rains. The dark clouds, the blazing lightning, the roaring thunder, and the cool rain scared people off, but not me. I came to fish, and I was not ready to quit. I put on my poncho, prayed that the lightning didn’t hit the bright yellow girl holding a nine foot metal rod, and kept fishing. It was so worth it! I was catching fish after fish. They were all average 8-10″ browns. They were hitting quick and hard.

Later in the afternoon, post rain, a hatch opened up. I couldn’t tell you what it was. My insect education isn’t quite there yet, but what I can tell you is that it had a tail and was most likely a may fly. Now, most people will tell you to match the hatch to your fly and you will catch fish, but I get a little more creative than that and usually do okay. These small stream fish are not too picky, and do not see as much action as the big river, quality prize fish get. I matched the color, and cast my dry elk haired caddis into the stream. It is bigger and bushier than a mayfly, and the fish loved it! It would hit the water between a pile of a drowning mayfly, also known as a fish all you can eat buffet, and the fish would choose the elk hair caddis instead! It was a NY strip steak versus a filet!

Mouthy Fish, Great Size
Mouthy Fish, Great Size
Not too Bad for a Small Stream
Not too Bad for a Small Stream

Anytime I have fished the Valles Caldera I have caught 10-30 fish ranging from 4 inches to 12 inches. If you are looking for size, Jemez stream waters are not the place to fish. If you are looking to catch fish back to back to back, and have a hell of a view while you are doing it, then Valles Caldera is the place to go!

Cows are frequent on the road and near the stream.
Cows are frequent on the road and near the stream.

I know I need to stick to my strengths, and mainly tell you about fly fishing, but I think I have told you enough of my Valles Caldera fishing secrets. I have to show you a few other reasons why visiting the Valles Caldera is such a rewarding thing to do. I live in New Mexico. I was born and raised here, and I had no idea this diamond in the rough existed. New Mexico is just one of those places, it always has something more beautiful, more special, and more unique around every corner.

When we went to the Valles Caldera it was Elk calving season. All the elk mamas were having their babies. Valles Caldera has one of the largest, if not the largest, elk population in New Mexico. We had the chance to see a baby elk and a mama grazing, and when that mama elk saw our car she took off running to draw us away from her calf and the calf dove into the long grass, to hide until she returned. It was a beautiful moment to witness.

There are also a ton of grazing cattle who call the preserve their home in the summer. Believe me when I say, they are not afraid of people, or cars. They will invade your space while you fish, and take over the whole road while you are walking or driving through. When I got close enough to moo at them on foot, they did eventually run away. Also, notice that this is a dirt road. It is not always a smooth ride, and if it perchance rains, you will need all-wheel drive. Plan on an hour drive from the ranger station to the stream.

Now the best part of my 2014 trip to the Valles Caldera with my dad was not the fishing. Wait! Don’t curse me, The picture explains it all! On our way back to the entrance from fishing there were three horses waiting for us at the gate. My Dad and I are horse crazy, well animal crazy.

Friendly Car Intruder
Friendly Car Intruder

We want all the animals to be our friends, and when we saw those horses we couldn’t resist! We rolled down the windows to give the horses apples and breakfast crackers, and it was an amazing mistake. One of the horses would not leave me alone after his apple treat, and stuck his entire head in our car, and nudging my head for more apples.

Needless to say, Valles Caldera is a magical place. If you are a nature lover, if you need

Average tiny browns, not big, but lots of catches.
Average tiny browns, not big, but lots of catches.

some rest and relaxation, if you want to catch and release a ton of fish, then the Valles Caldera is a place you need to go visit. I encourage everyone to be a tourist in your own state, province, country, and even city. Doing things like this make for a great adventure!

Thanks again for reading, and please continue to share my blog. I am really starting to get excited when I post and see more and more people who read about little old me, and little old New Mexico fly fishing!

Last bits of important fishing advice: when fishing protected waters always use single barbless hooks. This is better for the fish and gives other people the chance to catch the fish you return to the water! Always have a state fishing license, and lastly, I wish you good fishing, cast your heart out, curse when you miss a bite, and smile when you hook ’em!

Background of a Fly Girl

Greetings Blogosphere,

I’m Kylie from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I am a fly girl. Fly as in fly-fishing, but also as in pretty cool. I decided to start a blog to share my love of nature and my passion for fishing. For me, my goal in writing this blog is to gain a readership of people who love the outdoors, all fishermen and women, and people who want to read my crazy stories. I also want to provide a voice for women in this male dominated industry. I have a lot of tips and tricks that will really help women get a jump start on their outdoors-womanship. I have experienced first hand the struggles, awesome perks, and unique experiences that come with being a woman in a male dominated outdoors industry. I have faith that this blog will provide everyone, men and women, with a greater love, a growing curiosity, and a silly grin anytime they think about the outdoors.

Kylie, in a signature Red Sox fishing cap and green pull over. (They are lucky.)
Kylie, in a signature Red Sox fishing cap and green pull over. (They are lucky.)
Fly fishing is what most of my blog posts will be about, but I figure I should start from the beginning of my fishing career. In the beginning there was no fly rod and reel, but rather a long drive, a lake, and shiny lures. As a desert rat from New Mexico, you would never think that I would find enough water, enough fish, or enough time to find good fishing, but the secrets of this state are sure to surprise. My family and I live in Albuquerque, and 100% off the time fly fishing requires a drive. Surprisingly, New Mexico is not where I got my start fishing. It required a much much longer drive. My family of five drove from Albuquerque to Minnesota to escape the desert and enjoy a cabin by the lake.

Kissing a tiny, toothy, northern pike.
Kissing a tiny, toothy, northern pike.
It was summer of 2007, and my Dad decided it would be a fun idea to take the whole family, five of us, on a guided fishing trip to a lake in Minnesota. This was not our first fishing experience, but it was our first trip away from a well-stocked kiddie pond. My Dad and I are the only two people in our family who absolutely adore the outdoors, but he never lets any of us run away from adventures. It was a cloudy day (perfect for fishing), and we were all loaded onto a boat with an amazing guide.  While on the boat we caught, large mouth bass, small mouth bass, crappie, and northern pike. This may not seem like a super impressive fishing story, and by all means it was not the biggest fish ever, or the coolest fishing ever, but it was the first fishing trip we took as a family. We ALL had an amazing time, it was so fantastic! After this trip I was definitely hooked (pun-intended).

Largemouth Bass
Largemouth Bass
This picture to the right shows the exact moment when I discovered that fishing would forever be my passion. I hooked into a largemouth, once it was out of the water the guide taught me how to remove the hook and hold the fish with my thumb in its mouth. Feeling that fish, holding it, and releasing it was the moment that I fell in love with the sport of fishing.

hybrid
Tiny Sunfish picture from the web http://web1.cnre.vt.edu/efish/families/centrarchidae.html
Not 48 hours later comes my favorite fishing story of all time. We were standing on the dock of the lake and my Dad and I wanted to try to catch a few more pike off the dock. I was not catching anything, but tiny little sunfish. They were so voracious that they would swallow the hook, which was way too big for them to survive. After I pulled the hook, I would throw the bleeding ones back into the water. Every time that I threw one in, a giant, eel-like, black fish, around 3 feet long, would gobble them up. The next sunfish I hooked into swallowed the hook, and my dad said “throw it all in, just to see if he bites.” Oh boy, he certainly bit it! Sitting at the top of the water was the little sunfish and all of a sudden I see a giant mouth grab the whole thing. My rod tip bent nearly in half, and I yelled for my dad. It was immensely heavy! I couldn’t believe it. I reeled in with all my might and I could see the long, sleek, slimy, body. It saw me too. Just then, it darted off, pulling line, and almost pulling me along with it. It did the one thing a fisherman dreads, it pulled the line (and my rod tip) under the dock. I reeled and reeled trying to get him out from under the dock, but right then the hook shot out of its mouth. The hook was now as straight as an arrow. My dad and I burst into tears of laughter and it will forever be one of our favorite fishing stories to tell, and believe me, we have quite a few.

I’ll try to keep this blog updated with new fun stories, tips, and tricks. Friends and family please feel free to share it and tell people about it. I really would love for this blog to take off. There is not enough information out there for fisherwomen!