Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Orvis Video Series- Lessons

I recently stumbled upon this great resource from Orvis.  They have created a fantastic video series on How to Fly Fish.  Learn from their pro anglers about everything from Roll Casting and Nymphs to fishing the Saltwater Flats, as well as targeting specific species.  I was very impressed with the amount of videos available.  The other great thing is that most of them are under 5 minutes long so you can whip through them all or watch them multiple times to master a certain technique.  I will certainly be watching many of these videos again while I wait for the weather to break.  Remember, if you can't get out on the water, tie the pop tab off a soda can onto your tippet and practice in your yard.  There is very little pressure when fishing in your yard and you can focus on the techniques you learn in their video series.  There is also a link to it here.

Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center

One of the reasons I love fishing in the Mid-Atlantic is that we have the luxury of experiencing all sorts of different bodies of water.  If you can deal with the traffic getting to your destination in and around the area, we have great opportunities to chase many species of game fish in almost every condition possible.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Properties Change

When I got my first sales job out of college, my manager gave me a book to read.  It was called Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson.  The book describes how variables change in ones personal and professional life and how four (characters) adapt or don't adapt to those changes. Two of the characters in the book adapt to the changes and are successful in finding a new cheese source, while the other two "Hem" and "Haw" argue with themselves and demand to know "Who Moved My Cheese".  I am thankful that he gave me this resource because it taught me life lessons that I still utilize to this day.  I was a young "know-it-all" out of college and quickly realized that my cheese would get moved many times.  I recommend that you read this book.  It is well worth it.

This hunting off-season is proving to be full of change for me.  One of the properties I have access to is an 8 acre parcel.  The lady who owns it has it zoned agricultural and needs to have livestock on it this year to keep her in good standing.  Now 8 acres is fairly small and livestock need room to roam and feed.  She plans on putting up an electric fence around the property and in front of the tree where my stand is, leaving only a small space available to bow hunt.  The property is basically a large field with one cedar tree large enough for my stand.  Another property (50 acres) that I bow hunt on is being logged commercially this spring.  It has been marked for logging roads and basically any tree bigger than 24 inches around has been targeted.  As hunters we know that these are two huge changes.  I remembered the book my manager had give me 12 years earlier and thought about it a lot.  What characters would I resemble as the things around me changed?  Would I just give up on the 8 acre property where I had great luck in the past?  Would the deer still travel on the same trails across the larger property without the safety and security of large trees?  If you read the "Spring is Here"  post, you'd know that I like to use this time to reflect and plan.  I've been giving these two scenarios a lot of thought the past couple weeks upon hearing the news and I am going to adapt rather than settle.

Things can change for the better or for worse in both your personal or professional lives.  As summed up in the book, it is important to remember the following things:

Change Happens
Anticipate Change
Monitor Change
Adapt to Change Quickly
Enjoy Change!
Be Ready to Change Quickly and Enjoy it Again

Please stay tuned because I will be posting updates on here of how I react and adapt to these two scenarios and hopefully provide some insight for those that have experienced situations.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Oh, The Weather Outside...

It's funny how weather can change from year to year.  I just started this blog style format and was reading through the old fishing reports as I switched them over from the last website to this one.  From year to year, weather can change somewhat drastically on the same date.  Below is a fishing report from March 29th, 2013.  As you can see, it was over 50 degrees and pleasant.  The water levels were somewhat high, and the water was stained, but we were still able to fish.  Last year and this year have been quite the opposite.  A late snow storm in 2014  added runoff and turned the rivers into chocolate milk until mid-April and this year looks to be about the same.  I distinctly remember fishing the Monocacy two years ago and the success we had finding fish in deeper holes.  With light snow showers throughout the day yesterday and a high temp of 42 degrees today, I know for certain I won't be repeating those same successes.

One thing is for certain, sooner or later Old Man Winter will release his grasp and I will be out fishing the waters I love so much.  With forecast temperatures in the upper 50's for most of next week, the fish will continue on to their normal business.  The only undecided factor is if the fish will cooperate when I get out there.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Introduction to Fly Fishing

First off, don't let the title fool you.  I'm not here to try and teach you anything about fly fishing....yet.  At this point, if you've ever picked up a fly rod, you're probably as advanced as I am or possibly more.  I just wanted to share with you how I got started in the sport.  15 years ago when I was in college in Western MD, I was given a fly rod along with a DVD copy of "A River Runs Through It" for a birthday present.  I had no idea what kind it was, what weight it was or how to cast.  All I knew was that I had every intention of figuring out how to use it effectively enough to catch fish. Somebody at a local fly shop had told me to tie a soda can tab onto the end of the tippet so I could practice casting without hurting our pet ducks, friends or myself.  It worked and yes we had pet ducks in college.  While my fraternity brothers were playing horseshoes on a Saturday morning and drinking beer, I found myself out in the parking lot practicing casting to designated areas (while drinking beer).  Slowly but surely I was actually able to hit what I was aiming for.  Now, being new to the sport, I thought fly fishing was only for trout and I could only use the rod when I was out there.  After college, I went back to bass fishing with traditional tackle in rivers, ponds and reservoirs where I lived in the central part of the state.  The fly rod and the DVD both collected dust.

Many years later, after getting married and getting more traditional pets, I was out in the garage arranging my hunting gear after the season ended and saw my fly rod laying there.  Sure, I knew that trout fishing was little more than an afterthought at that time, but I started to wonder if I could take the little I knew and target a different species of fish on larger waters.  After a quick YouTube tour and reading several articles online, I knew how I was going to revive my fly fishing hobby.  I found a gently used Orvis Clearwater Rod and Reel combo at their outlet store in Rehoboth Beach, DE while I was there on a work trip.  I added the bass bug line from Scientific Anglers and I set out on my first adventure.  With a handful of poppers and streamers, I headed to a small lake down the street from where I grew up. Almost every fly I threw was lost in the trees behind me.  Luckily the only thing that was hurt was my pride.  Fishing from a a bank was way different then wading out into a stream in Garrett County.

I have come a long way since that first day with my new "bass rig" and now chase bass from my kayak where I know I only have open water behind me.  As mentioned in the "About Me" tab, I just started tying my own poppers and streamer patterns ( I will have more about that at another time.  This is the next phase in my fishing life and I'm excited for what lies ahead.  I am looking forward to learning new fly patterns, learning to fish for new species and trying new waters.  I hope you visit again to follow along with the successes and failures.

Whatever your choice of gear may be, or whatever you enjoy fishing for, it's always important to remember how you got there and where your own journey started.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring is Here

"October Lull versus "Late Winter Lull"

Spring is finally here in MD.  The weather is becoming more tolerable, the snow has been gone for more than a week now and the sun is warming up the waters.  With this transition, wildlife is staging for the next period.  Many outdoor enthusiasts refer to the October Lull in deer hunting as the slowest time of the season.  This is a period where the deer have moved away from their summer patterns but haven't quite started the rutting phase.  Deer sightings are often few and far between and bucks seem to go nocturnal.  The October Lull provides hunters with time to wander into the wetlands and shoot ducks or check trail cams to see if there are any newcomers before the rut takes off.  The Winter Lull doesn't provide many opportunities in the field, but does allow for an individual to focus on this years upcoming goals or food plot improvements.  It provides a time for me to relax, rejuvenate and prepare for whatever comes next.  Whether its chasing turkeys on a brisk spring morning with weapon in hand or dusting off the kayak to go after pre-spawn smallmouth bass, the upcoming season provides excitement and anticipation of a new year.

Both of these time periods provide a chance to focus on what you want to accomplish in the upcoming weeks or months.  Of course, you could also use it to knock off a few "honey-do" list items or spend quality time with family and friends before its time to disappear into the woods again.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Eastern Shore

Last night I drove down to the beach for a work trade show.  When I was growing up, I always remembered my dad saying that when he crossed the Bay Bridge, he could almost feel his heart rate go down and a feeling of calm would overwhelm him.  I travel across the bridge many times throughout the year either for work or play and I have to say, I get the same feeling.  Something about Maryland's Eastern Shore is just relaxing.  When I was younger it was probably due to the fact that I knew I was going to the beach for a week and I'd have the sand, sun, family and friends to keep me company.  Nowadays, vacation is only one reason to cross the bridge and it only happens once a summer.  The other reasons are for hunting, fishing or work...

Work...Crossing the Bay Bridge can be relaxing and exciting this time of year for many reasons.  It might start with the rafts of divers floating on the big Chesapeake still hanging around from the winter.  It might start with the boats on the water and the promise of warmer weather and water.  Driving along Route 50 provides lots of sights and allows the imagination to wander.  Shiny new center consoles stand alongside long abandoned crabbing vessels in the boat yards along the way.  Miles and miles of fields with plenty of views of deer and turkeys feeding at dusk.  Cruising along at 55 mph with minimal traffic, I saw over 100 turkeys in 5-6 different flocks along the way.  I look at farms and wonder what's going on at my lease and instantly become transported to a few weeks from now chasing turkeys at first light or to the fall with anticipation that a whitetail buck will make the wrong move within bow range.  I wonder what is lurking through the wood line staring at the does feeding in the field.  I wonder what stories could be told by those commercial fishermen and the abandoned fishing vessels.  All of this makes the travel away from my family a little bit easier.

Hunting/Fishing....If you're reading this blog, the paragraph above explains every reason why we as outdoor enthusiasts love driving to the other side of the bridge.

Wherever your mind takes you or whatever your reason for traveling is, enjoy your surroundings, enjoy the peace and quiet and allow your heart rate to settle while you breathe in the Eastern Shore air.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ducks Unlimited Film Series

Great new video series from Ducks Unlimited!  First two episodes are available now.

DU Conservation Class

Improved Sky Angler format and Introduction.

Hey everyone!  Welcome to my new blog site.  I have changed some things around in the way www.skyangler.com will now be run.  I wanted to provide better pictures/videos and more detailed descriptions of the trips I take.  Please bear with me while I try to make the transition.  I work full-time and have a wife, a 3-month old son and a 15 month old Doberman "puppy" that also require my attention.  

If this is your first time discovering Sky Angler, let me tell you a little bit about me and what I try to do.  My name is Sean and I am a native of Maryland.  I grew up fishing all over Maryland and Virginia.  As I got older I got bit by the hunting bug as well and have several leases throughout MD and family property in VA where I enjoy chasing turkeys, whitetail and waterfowl.  I have a ton of hobbies that keep me busy along with my personal life, however I really enjoy getting after river bass with my kayak and fly rod.  I just started tying my own streamer patterns and poppers (stay tuned for further updates on that).  The old website had fishing reports and gear reviews.  I wasn't quite happy with the format of the reports because it limited the details/data/information I could add in a limited space.  With this new blog-style website, I can provide more information as well as ideas and thoughts that pop up in my head (hopefully you will also find them interesting).  During this transition, I am attempting to switch over all the old reviews and reports to a new style while keeping a similar format.  

Thanks for stopping by!