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About Obie

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    Smallmouth Bass
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  1. Lamark's theory was in part predicated on the idea that offspring inherit the traits their parents develop through their lifetime. If you dock a dog's tail, its puppies will have docked tails. That's a testable hypothesis, and we know through experimentation evolution doesn't work that way. Darwin's contribution isn't that he developed the first fully-formed theory of evolution. It's that he developed a theory of evolution that still works today. He didn't simply re-invent the wheel.
  2. Wisconsin DNR has county maps showing streams with trout populations, broken down by those with wild fish and those augmented with stocking. I'm not sure if the base would be included, but it wouldn't hurt to check their website. Many bases have a rec building where you can find information for on-base hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities, even equipment rental for fishing, kayaking, etc. You may look in to seeing whether Ft. McCoy has one as well. Good luck!
  3. Common names can be confusing, with similar or identical names applied to different species. What I think you're referring to as redeye (or Coosa bass- M. coosae) look a little bit like a smallmouth, a little bit like a spotted bass. They're native to SC as well as AL, GA, parts of TN and NC, and they've been stocked in a few southeastern streams outside they're native range, ostensibly because they can persist in smaller creeks than the native smallmouh. I've only fished for them in Tennessee, and few exceeded twelve inches- not tackle busting smallmouth, but a neat fish that lives in some awfully pretty streams. Like smallmouth they tend to hang out in moving water near boulders, logs, and patches of emergent aquatic vegetation. They tend to eat aquatic bugs and crayfish, maybe the occasional small fish. The ones I found weren't picky- buggers, leeches, and sparkleminnows all worked well. They weren't shy about taking anything off the top, either- large sponge spiders, small Gurgler-type flies, small deer-hair sliders or cork-bodied Sneaky Petes, and those light blue Shenandoah Popper patterns (don't know how else to describe it, but googling "Shenandoah Smallmouth Popper will get you images) all worked well. Good luck!
  4. Honestly, I'd just do a kiwi muddler type fly- natural zonker strip on top, lighter body (chenille, dubbing, sparkle braid, pick one), and a spun head of natural deer hair. They work. Another thing to bear in mind is that breeding fatheads look totally different, a whole lot darker- nearly black.
  5. Obie

    Bonsai Garden

    Dig the Fortress of Solitude, but no backyard is truly complete without a hammock .
  6. Dan, those top ones look great for smallmouth. Are they weighted at all? I could see them swimming just under the surface around dusk and being absolutely crushed.
  7. "There is a random element in all behaviors, however. Not all behaviors can be logically explained, at least not from our perspective. Sometimes trout just seem to do things that defy any explanation. Sometimes, I guess, so do we. What cannot be explained from our point of view may make sense to the trout, though." That's all anyone's saying, and it's right there in the first link you provided. Operant conditioning is a perfectly good explanation for some observations, but not every observation. Saying it's the only explanation, that all others are somehow illegitimate- it's dogmatic. So is arguing the only "legitimate" patterns are the ones we and the fish agree look like food item X in the 45 minutes a day, two weeks of a year, that fish is feeding exclusively on that species at that stage and nothing else because a fish that eats a dun and a dun and a dun is selective but a fish eating a dun and a scud and a dun isn't. If the point of fly design is creating patterns that solve angling problems,ignoring the times an imitative pattern doesn't work is probably more dangerous to the sport than varying a pattern to try and get an eat.
  8. Any fish that grabs an artificial over a natural is being selective, whether it's a loopwing dun or a Royal Wulff. It isn't that the fish is mistaken in selecting the attractor versus the imitator, it's that "attractor" and "imitator" are human constructs which don't apply to fish. That a fish chooses a Royal Wulff during a hatch doesn't mean the fish isn't selective, it means we don't understand what's going on. For all we know it's imitative of some doulble egg-sac'ed monstrosity that's more calorically valuable than a more imitative offering. If the difference between a "legitimate" fly pattern and another is whether a human being can construct a narrative as to why that fly was chosen, that's an awfully anthropocentric position for someone who insists on tying flies for fish and not fishermen. And honestly- if a fish can distinguish between an X-Caddis, an Iris Caddis, and a Tup's Indispensable, who's to say they can't distinguish between an Adams and a Purple Haze, or a foam hopper with two sets of rubber legs and one with four sets of rubber legs? If you're a very selective fish then by definition you ARE looking for the minute differences between derivative small nymph or foam hopper patterns. It's an argument for the current state of fly design, not against.
  9. And the distinction between attractors and imitators is, again, made by anglers instead of fish. There are anglers who successfully fish Royal Wulffs to selective trout during heavy hatches, there's anglers who forego dogma entirely and throw beetles or ants during blanket hatches and they catch fish consistently, too. I guess what I'm trying to say is I understand Juracek's position that the best patterns solve problems. What I and others are saying is there's multiple ways to solve those problems, sometimes those problems don't need to be solved in the first place, and sometimes solving those problems is more important to the angler than it is to the fish. If the goal of fly design is creating patterns which catch fish, then whether John Juracek peers into a fly bin and sees patently derivative small nymphs is entirely irrelevant- he's not a fish.
  10. I understand his premise, I just think he's wrong.The first Trudes were tied as a practical joke in the early 20th century and they've been catching fish ever since- they spurred the development of everything from the Picket Pin to the Sofa Pillow to modern stonefly and terrestrial designs. It's still a commercially tied and extremely effective pattern a century later, but using Juracek's rubric it's a failure in fly design because it wasn't created to solve a fishing problem. IMO that doesn't mean the Trude's a bad fly, it means there's some flaw in his metric. When we realize there are perfectly effective, long-lasting patterns never designed to solve a fishing problem, it becomes immediately clear Juracek's underlying premise is false. I'd be more confident fishing a fly designed by Pablo Picasso than a rod designed by Pablo Picasso because you actually can incorporate physics and math into designing a new rod model while there's a hundred thousand variables governing why a fish eats a fly- of which we only understand a fraction. It's the difference between engineering and biology. But my biggest criticism of the article is it simply isn't a failure of modern fly design. The Trude's something like 113 years old, and decades before that dressers were creating patterns to memorialize people as much as to solve angling problems. If modern designs are a failure for this reason, so's the Jock Scott. Orvises' online fly catalog lists 72 mayfly dry patterns, if at least some of those aren't "legitimate" patterns designed to solve angling problems, surely some of the 107 mayfly dries listed in Dette's 1935 catalog are just as suspicious. The Wulff series of flies only really differ from each other in body and hackle color. The original name was changed to incorporate Wulff, one of the most recognized names in fly fishing at the time, in an attempt to brand the flies and sell more product. Modern fly designers are only as guilty as Dan Bailey. We can debate whether it was more or less prevalent now than they were in the past, but the "failures" Juracek's talking about aren't modern, and they don't represent a trend. The things he's trashing are just as much a part of the sport as the things he's advocating.
  11. There's a couple big Cumberland tribs in middle Tennessee with excellent smallmouth fishing. If it wasn't the folks at Fly South outta Nashville guiding, I'm sure they'd have an excellent idea of which watershed was featured on the show.
  12. Thanks for the update. Like phg I was surprised the highest diversity wasn't in the southeast. With its varied climate and topology, its long record of isolation, and its general stability (having not been glaciated or inundated by seas for a couple hundred million years), the southeast USA has the highest levels of aquatic biodiversity of any temperate region on the planet, and has the highest richness of other aquatic taxa such as fish, freshwater mussels, crayfish, aquatic snails, and amphibians. I wasn't all that surprised to read it was NY at one time, maybe an artifact of more mayfly specialists living in the Northeast than other regions of the US. To be fair, many of the diagnostics used to separate subspecies are more than skin deep, not just about color and comparative size. But I'd generally agree- designating subspecies and even species is often pretty arbitrary. Cutthroat trout in the Yellowstone group (Bonneville, Colorado, Rio Grande, Snake River Finespot, and Yellowstone proper) all look pretty different, but genetically they're almost indistinguishable. The opposite happens pretty regularly, too- cryptic diversity. A madtom species from Drainage A is by all accounts indistinguishable from the same "species" in Drainage B, then you run the genetics and they're very different critters. It's only been in the last 20-30 years that we've been able to really understand the number of genetically distinct species out there, their relationships with one another and within the tree of life. There's no "standard" definition for subspecies, or even really for species- and they've never been applied uniformly. As a field biologist I frequently griped about having to distinguish between two closely related or morphologically similar species, having to preserve hundreds or thousands of specimens and spend hours in a stinky lab going through them. I've also had to talk with a lot of taxonomists and a lot of endangered species guys who brought up a good point: even in science it's tough to ignore our anthropocentric bias, and just because we don't understand the significance of big spots vs. fine spots, or 63 breeding tubercles vs. 77 breeding tubercles, or a dark bar at the caudal peduncle vs. a dark crescent at the caudal peduncle- doesn't mean it's insignificant. It is a little arbitrary, it is a little subjective, but many times assigning subspecies is simply about recognizing the diversity within a "known" species, so that diversity may be better protected. </nerd talk>.
  13. Just some basic no-fun caddis larvae and pupae for spring fishing. Can't come soon enough!
  14. I'm not sure what fish feel, if anything, but I reckon they don't feel much from being hooked. And of all the ways a fish could go (otters, eagles, etc), a hook doesn't seem as threatening. That said, for most fish species far fewer than <1% ever make it to catchable size, much less their first or subsequent spawns, and that larger fish produce more and better quality eggs. They're also an important component of the ecosystem; I was just reading an article about how populations of orcas on the west coast are driven by production of coho salmon in the Columbia River system-fish all the way up in Idaho wind up growing whales. It's a judgement call- I wouldn't let the harm of hooking or playing keep me fishing, but I understand why it'd make other people uneasy and I respect that. To me the important part is respecting the resource, understanding fish (especially breeding-size individuals) aren't some trivial component of the population that can easily be replaced, and realizing when you're out on the stream- you're a visitor. There's other critters who actually rely on the health of the system- you're just a guest. Humility, I suppose.
  15. I think I found this through the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF), but I've found this website immensely helpful in designing fly-tying courses and explaining concepts to those interested in fly tying. It's been an invaluable resource.
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