I was all amped up after giving my talk at Desert Fly Casters last night. It went very well and when we got back to Steve’s house at 11 pm there was no way I was going to try and sleep. Instead, Steve and I each grabbed a beer and watched a cool DVD called “Once in a Blue Moon”. It’s about the mouse hatch in New Zealand. I hit a mouse hatch in New Zealand many years ago and the DVD brought back incredible memories. We didn’t get to bed until 1 am.
It was no easy task, but we got up at 4 am to head to Bartlett Lake to chase down some bass. We were the lucky guests of Skyler Clark, a really nice kid about 22 years old. Skyler works part time at Sportsman’s Warehouse while going to college and is a friend of Steve and Cinda’s. He’s also one heck of a bass fisherman and last Saturday his boat took 10th place out of a field of 60 in a bass tournament on Bartlett Lake.
Both Steve and I were a little groggy out of the gates this morning. Steve could hardly tie his fly on. However, once on the lake and after a few casts the body completely forgets about how tired it is and before we knew it we were concentrating on our fishing. It took me about ten minutes to realize our fishing was not going to be that good. I began by popping the shallows. It was great looking water but not even a small largemouth stirred. Steve was dredging streamers on a sinking line and Skyler was using his bait caster with all the right lures – but nothing. I think the field of 60 competitive bass anglers last weekend really educated the bass.
Despite the lake being full of bass, Steve and I landed four bass on the fly and Skyler landed about a dozen while using every trick he knew with his bait caster. It was slow to say the least. And the biggest bass were a couple of 14 inchers that Skyler dredged up. Not exactly the hawgs we were hoping for. Nonetheless it was a gorgeous morning on a spectacular desert setting. But at noon we reeled in and made a dash for some carp lakes. Skyler had never caught a grass carp and Steve and I knew we could probably put him on one.
We didn’t have a lot of time for carping because we had dinner plans at Eddie’s House. By the time we fought our way through the Phoenix Arizona traffic and arrived at the urban lakes we had an hour to fish. It was calm and a scorching 100º! Both Steve and I knew although miserable for us, the grassies would be feeding. We split up and started beating on some fish. I got my grassie the other day so I rigged a nymph and hammered away on some nice koi. I even caught what appears to be a giant goldfish. It’s definitely not a normal koi because of its long draping fins.
At the end of our hour Steve, Skyler and I met on a school of grass carp that were feeding vigorously. I was taking some photos of them and Skyler made a cast. Most of these grassies refused the offering but the last one in the rear of the school couldn’t resist. Skyler watched the grassie indulge his fly and set the hook perfectly. Five minutes later, Skyler had his first grass carp.
Tonight Steve, Cinda and I had a scrumptious dinner at Eddie’s House. Chef Eddie Matney is a great friend of ours. Eddie fly fishes like crazy and therefore Steve and Cinda have known him for years. I met Eddie in Jackson Hole with Chef Michael DelMaria whom we had dinner with on Tuesday night. Chef Eddie fishes the Jackson Hole One Fly Contest every year. This year Eddie led his team to a top ten finish by scoring 9th among all individual contestants. Not an easy thing to do when you consider there are over 160 individual contestants. Eddie’s House is located in Scottsdale on Indian School Rd. Every course of our meal was phenomenal to say the least and I highly recommend a visit to Eddie’s House if you have the chance.
The warm weather fishing is over for me for a couple weeks. I’ll be leaving Arizona early tomorrow morning fat and happy and ready to play with my local trout. Expect a few good stories from my neighborhood but the big news is I’m off to Africa in less than two weeks to chase a subspecies of tigerfish that was discovered in 2008. I will be part of the latest Confluence Film project hosted by Tourette Fishing in Tanzania. More on this trip to come in the next few days.