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Local Dive

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  • Local Dive

    The last month has been a little weird. From Christmas of 2012 through mid-July of this year, I was on the water with a fly rod in my hand just about every other day. The longest I've been without getting out during that stretch was like 9 days. But late last month, my elbow said, "I'm done for a minute buddy." So I've been on the shelf, the buggy whip has too, and I've been quietly losing my mind. Five and a half weeks or eternity, whichever is longer.

    I've been pain free for almost a week, and today I decided to climb back in the saddle, so I went for a milk run on a little dive of an urban creek that feeds our Big Local (the French Broad), looking for some smalljaw brown fish. The arm held up fine and my casting wasn't as rusty as I feared it might be, though my distance control was a bit off and I had a lot of "overs" and spent a lot of time fishing my flies out of the bushes for the first couple of hours.



    What I was really hoping for was a good popper bite. The conditions were right, the timing was right; the damsels were out and about. I was sure that big bug thing would be that fire. Damsel flies around these parts are almost invariably a bright, electric blue, and I was well prepared with an array of blue bugs in various sizes and configurations. Nature threw me a curveball, though. The damsels flitting around this creek were an iridescent red, which really threw off my topwater game. Red was not a color I had the foresight to bring. I got a little love on the blue bugs, but it was mostly a bream bite on top.



    I saw a couple of fish running bait in the shoal water, so I switched over to a streamer to try and get something going. It took some time to get the cadence of the retrieve dialed in, but once I figured the pattern, the bite was on. When they're super aggressive and streamer happy, it's almost as much fun as a good topwater bite.




    Generally, the bass here are not very large; the stream seems to function to a certain degree as a nursery for fish that I suspect often eventually drop down to the big river. The typical fish is probably in the 9-11" range, but, being smallies, they still give a bold account of themselves. Larger fish are around, but you definitely have to work for them. The creek is more to the scale of a trout stream, and it demands stealth, careful water reading, good positioning and accurate casting. It's spot on the spot stuff, and once I got my mojo and distance control back, I started hitting the spots and hooking up with more quality fish.











    The only downer to the day was what I saw along the stream. The abundance of bridges and the close proximity to major surface streets has meant that there has always been a fair amount of homeless activity along the banks of this creek. In the past I've even had people spot fish for me. Today, however, I counted no less than 32(!) different homeless encampments in an afternoon of fishing. The affordable housing crisis is real. I'm blessed to live in a town where money isn't in short supply; I can't help but think we can do better.

    Cheers y'all!

    Dylar


  • #2
    Real nice fish. I am not sure I could have survived your dry spell, I hope the elbow stays solid.
    http://www.bigtflyfishing.com

    Use Promo Code NGTO for 5% off

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    • #3
      good looking bass!
      minimumexposure on IG

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      • #4
        Nice report and some great looking fish
        I feel your pain on the casting taking a toll. My shoulder grinds worse and worse but can't quit swinging the 8 wt to give it a good break. About the longest I can go is 2 weeks without a trip and the pain of not fishing is greater(almost) than the pain in the shoulder.
        Keep the reports coming! Yours are always very well presented.

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        • #5
          Good to see you back in action and posting.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Big T View Post
            Real nice fish. I am not sure I could have survived your dry spell, I hope the elbow stays solid.
            Me too, man. There was no structural damage, just just soft tissue/tennis elbow stuff. June/July was kind of intense. I put in three straight weeks of 8-12 hour days on the water, with a couple of travel days thrown in straddling the end of June and the beginning of July. 10 days at the coast, a lot of it slinging poppers on big water in big wind for big jacks. Then a week of local bluelining to close out July. My "every other day" was turned into "all day, every day," for like six weeks. It was probably just too much.

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            • #7
              Sight unseen, that sounds like tendonitis in your elbow. It comes from repetitive motions, over and over. It sucks, because as you note, the best treatment is to stop whatever you're doing for a period of several weeks. I had it for a period of several months (it was during racing season so I actually didn't stop and just suffered through it).

              If it recurs, worth considering a visit to PT to show the person your mechanics and they might give you some corrective strength exercises.

              This isn't just for your sake - I enjoy your posts and want them to keep coming! Stay well.

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              • #8
                Another interesting TR.

                There is a band you can wear around the top of your forearm just below the elbow that is supposed to help with tendonitis.

                https://www.amazon.com/Tendonitis-Te.../dp/B01H2123YU

                FM
                The tug is the drug!

                "Grow a pear!" - Groundpounder

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                • #9
                  On Casting "Injuries"

                  We have all experienced some sort of discomfort with casting, especially when we have been casting a lot, or in salt where everything is heavier and we want to cast further. One thing to consider is the mechanics of how we cast. When I teach casting I always encourage students to keep their wrist straight and their elbow close to their waist. When you bring the rod up on the back cast you should be compressing your bicep muscle. I have gone so far with some students that I use a velcro band to keep their wrist straight and a piece of cord to actually tie their elbow to their waste band. If we get into a lot of wrist bending and casting with our whole arm, then you will fade faster and develop some soreness. Let the rod do most of the work as a 9' lever and save your arm for 12 oz curls after the fishing.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JOHNKIES View Post
                    We have all experienced some sort of discomfort with casting, especially when we have been casting a lot, or in salt where everything is heavier and we want to cast further. One thing to consider is the mechanics of how we cast. When I teach casting I always encourage students to keep their wrist straight and their elbow close to their waist. When you bring the rod up on the back cast you should be compressing your bicep muscle. I have gone so far with some students that I use a velcro band to keep their wrist straight and a piece of cord to actually tie their elbow to their waste band. If we get into a lot of wrist bending and casting with our whole arm, then you will fade faster and develop some soreness. Let the rod do most of the work as a 9' lever and save your arm for 12 oz curls after the fishing.
                    I never could make that English-style, classic trout weenie casting work for me, so I'm definitely more in the open up the body and lengthen the stroke style that came out of American saltwater fly fishing. It has some advantages, particularly with heavy flies and big wind, but it is more prone to mechanical breakdown than the classic 10 to 2. In this case I'm pretty sure the issue was simple overuse; I fished 52 out of 61 possible days in June and July, on top of 17 days fishing in May, 15 days in April and a fairly busy March. I put in nearly 100 days on the water in 5 months, it was too much. So I'm keeping myself on a pitch count through the end of summer.

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                    • #11
                      Casting Style

                      There is of course no one style of casting we use for each circumstance. An true overhead cast would be a freakin' disaster in a rhodo-tunnel as just one example. Several times in high winds (lakes and salt) I have cast almost parallel to the water just to get the fly in the water! But the big overhand cast done all day long will tire you faster than using the locked wrist, crushed bicep method. It's a matter of physics and conservation of energy.

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                      • #12
                        Trout fishing is like 90% waterloads for me, anyway. Not much "real casting." The overhand comes out mostly for smallies and saltwater. I started out in fly fishing exclusively fishing streamers and salt, and that's definitely shaped the cast.
                        Last edited by Dylar; 09-02-18, 11:40 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fishmonger View Post
                          Another interesting TR.

                          There is a band you can wear around the top of your forearm just below the elbow that is supposed to help with tendonitis.

                          https://www.amazon.com/Tendonitis-Te.../dp/B01H2123YU

                          FM
                          That got rid of my problem. Works like a charm
                          Catch the energy
                          Release the potential

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