Category: Guest contributor

Quick-thinking fisherman performs emergency rescue, lands mirror carp

John Tegmeyer and his daughter got more than they bargained for when they caught this beautiful mirror carp. (John Tegmeyer)
John Tegmeyer and his daughter got more than they bargained for when they caught this beautiful mirror carp. (John Tegmeyer)
By John Tegmeyer
Guest Contributor

It wasn’t until recently that I once more began fishing in earnest. My uncle taught me and my sister to fish when I was 11. From then through high school graduation I was on the water as often as possible.

Once I began college though, I didn’t have time for it and that trend continued when I moved to LA. After researching various fishing holes around the city my curiosity piqued in regards to the LA River.

I grabbed my pole and some corn and have been enjoying fighting the carp ever since. The day this picture was taken started as most of my other fishing days. I packed a bag with corn, drinking water and of course mine and my daughter’s fishing poles. After getting our hair rigs set up and cast out I explained to her about knowing when a fish was biting.

It wasn’t long after that when her rod started twitching. I set the hook for her (she’s 3) and immediately something felt wrong. After a few confusing moments the problem was obvious–a coot had become tangled in her line.

Without anything to cover the poor bird with I had to improvise by using my t-shirt. Once I could see properly, the coot had only tangled her foot in the leader and wasn’t hooked at all. Her safe release was met by applause from onlookers who had gathered.

No sooner had I released the coot than the unmistakable scream of a reel filled the air. This was a good fish and with an audience there, I felt the pressure to land it. After seven-eight minutes, I pulled out this beautiful mirror carp. I had never caught one prior to this and I was quite excited. After taking a few photos I let the fish go. I hope to catch more just like this one.

Kids’ Post: from driveway casting to catching craziness, 34 fish in one day

Fishing in the real thing sure beats casting practice on the driveway, especially when you hook up 34 times! (B. Roderick Spilman)
Fishing in the real thing sure beats casting practice on the driveway, especially when you hook up 34 times! (Roland Trevino)

By Julia Spilman
Guest Contributor
Age 11

Ever fished on a driveway?

Neither have I, but on Saturday morning, my dad, Roderick Spilman, an amazing fly fisher, taught me how to fly fish. He helped me with my wrist movements and showed me how to arrange my rod in just the right position to catch a fish. When I was basically perfect at casting, we took off to the LA River.

When we arrived, we got started immediately. We caught a few fish (Tilapia and Bass) at the first spot but not enough for us to be satisfied. We decided to move downriver where my dad’s friend, Roland Trevino, was. I wasn’t exactly eager to go into the rapids, but I did anyway. It felt good to get my feet wet and cool in the refreshing water.

My dad cast a few times in the pool of water directly in front of us. Almost instantly a fish tugged on his line. My dad brought it in telling me to always maintain pressure on the line. I was as startled as he was when he brought in a bluegill. We had never seen a bluegill at the LA River before.

I used my Practicaster and cast in the same direction as my dad. I stripped the line with short yanks. I felt a tug and I felt the fish pulling on the line. I was surprised to get a tug so soon, and I pulled in the line like crazy. When it was finally in, we noticed that it was a bass. It was smooth and not as wide as a bluegill. It was shaped like a long bullet. My dad was happy that I had finally caught a bass. After all, I had never caught one before.

After that, we took turns. Every time someone caught one, we would switch the two weight and Practicaster back and forth. After passing the rod back and forth multiple times, we decided we would try another part of the water. We moved up into the calmer water where Roland Trevino was. He moved aside and we slid into his spot. We didn’t have too much luck there, and we only a caught a few tilapias and another bluegill, so we moved back into our old spot. It was already evening, and we decided we would leave after a few more casts. A few turned out to be quite a bit.

We kept fishing and passing the rods. It felt as if the water was not as strong, but I knew that I was just getting used to the current. The activity seemed to die down, until I felt a strong yank on the line. I was a little bit anxious that I would lose this next fish, so I made sure I was calm while I brought it in.

What a splendid way to end the day. Can you say "ti-la-pia?" (B. Roderick Spilman)
What a splendid way to end the day. Can you say “ti-la-pia?” (Roland Trevino)

My dad grabbed the line when the fish was close enough and grinned. I turned to look at the fish, and, in his hands, I saw the biggest tilapia I had caught. He handed it to me and I unhooked it and felt its long smooth scales. It was so beautiful I felt like I was dreaming. I loved its red tipped fins. It looked as if its fins had been dipped in a vibrant vermillion color. I held it out for a picture, full of pride.

I released it and looked at my dad, thankful that he had taught me how to fly fish. While we drove home, I counted all of the fish we had caught which added up to be a whopping 34 fish. I don’t think I will ever forget that day when my dad and I pulled in so many fish.

Editor’s note: The following weekend, Roland Trevino, who took the accompanying photos, and his son, Ansel, caught 32. This is a great fall for fly fishing.

Snap, crackle, pop (per): Homemade Tenkara fly fishing meets bad-boy bass

Here comes popper! (Roland Trevino)
Here comes popper! (Roland Trevino)

By Roland Trevino

Guest contributor

The heatwave had imprisoned me indoors, and on the first cool day in over a week, I looked forward to an evening  of catch-and-release fly fishing on the LA River.   My friends would meet later to continue our ongoing competition, the object of which was generally vague until one of us caught a big fish, many fish, or a really interesting fish.  Today I aimed to set the bar pretty high – and I did!
I took my 4-foot ultralight fly rod and used no reel.  I have found this setup to have serious limitations, yet these are easy to overlook as it casts great in tight conditions and is ridiculously fun to use.  I was armed with a small array of poppers and beadhead chironomids.
My beadhead fly went mostly unnoticed, excepting a beautiful yet naïve 4-inch Green Sunfish.  I switched to a size 14 popper and the bite was on!  The serenity of the river was shattered as the bass violently struck the popper like an 11-inch  locomotive.  This is no sunfish, I thought, as the fly rod almost bent double.   I held my breath and tried to keep the line tight as the fish broke the surface, trying to throw the hook.   Then it seemed to dive down – perhaps looking instinctively for a submerged branch to break the line off against.  A friendly onlooker watched the battle and inquired about what “bait” I was using.

Bass a poppin': Eleven inches that fell for a No. 14 popper. (Roland Trevino)
Bass a poppin’: Eleven inches that fell for a No. 14 popper. (Roland Trevino)

When I landed the bass, I snapped a couple of quick pictures of it, measured it against the fly rod, removed the hook with my hemostat, and released it back to the river.   As I watched the bass swim back down to the depths, I felt honored and excited to have caught this fierce and beautiful fish — I was also glad to have photographic proof for my incredulous friends.

Their arrival was marked, as per usual, by a mocking remark about my casting — but I knew today’s competition would be mine – or would it?

Whoa, yeah, L.A. River yields second bass!

Nothing like catching your first fish on a fly --  a baby bass, no less. (Mark Gangi)
Nothing like catching your first fish on a fly — a baby bass, no less. (Mark Gangi)

By Mark Gangi
Guest Contributor

I brought my friends, Bob and Michelle, to the L.A. River for a casting lesson one day before they left on a trip to Montana and the Madison River. They were blown away by the river, as most are when the visit it for the first time.

I wasn’t expecting to catch any fish, as the moss was high and water, low.

When Michelle got the hang of casting and mending, I was showing her how to work a pool by taking a few steps upstream and — wham — a beautiful little bass smacked the crayfish pattern I had tied on.

So, her first fish on a fly rod was on the L.A. River.

“I can see how this could be addicting” was her comment between smiles.

Young L.A. River cowboy learns carp are slipperier than you might think

By Ansel Trevino

SLIPPERY: Sometimes you have to think fast to get that beauty shot. (Roland Trevino)
SLIPPERY: Sometimes you have to think fast to get that beauty shot. (Roland Trevino)

Age 11
Guest Contributor

After a long productive day of catching moss with my dad, we decided to move a bit more south on the river.

We were there for about 15 minutes, when suddenly the rod tip jumped. During the fight my arm started to hurt — I wish that rod had a fighting butt.

Once the carp was landed, I gently lifted the fish to find the carp was barely hooked.

The fish squirmed out of my hands into the water, and I quickly scrambled to grab it again for the picture.

Once released, the fish waited there in the water for a few seconds, then swam away.

My hands were still shaking with adrenalin.

That was fun! I look forward to going back.

Pu-l-l-l-l that carp, but don’t break your fly rod!

Wait a minute ... why didn't I bring my 7 weight? (Ken Lindsay)
Wait a minute … why didn’t I bring my 7 weight? (Ken Lindsay)
By Ken Lindsay
Guest Contributor

I went down to the River today for a couple of hours and ran into a Fishermen’s Spot customer, Keith Mosier, who was fishing it for the first time too.

I had a tough time hooking fish but, the one I did hook was big and broke me off on 2X.

Keith Mosier nabs his first L.A. River carp. Oh, yeah! (Ken Lindsay)
Keith Mosier nabs his first L.A. River carp. Oh, yeah! (Ken Lindsay)

Keith told me about a group of feeders that he had found and we went to take a look. They were tanks!

Keith graciously let me have a shot at them but I could get no love. He stepped back in and immediately hooked a nice one that took him down stream about 50 yards but he finally was able to land his first carp on a fly and I was on hand to take some pics.