Saturday, December 8, 2007

Quotes

"I didn't know of a better feeling than to be fishing and having enough time..."

"The biggest things a steelheader or Atlantic salmon fishermen can have - not counting waders and a stipend - are a big arm and a room temperature IQ."

Thomas McGuane - An Outside Chance - 1990

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I know a guy...

...a pretty good guy too. Sent me these pictures. Recent pictures. Taken in the upper Midwest. These lakers were hooked on a white deceiver fished from shore on a sink tip. He got 12 fish in 30 minutes...(I think that's what he said) I'm pretty sure he got 4 in 4 casts. Now, Lake Trout season is closed on this particular body of water...so I'm pretty sure he was fishing for another species. I do know that the fish ranged in size from 28"-33". I also know he is my friend because he told me all about where to go and what to use, even said he'd bring me to the spot. As for the rest of you, you'll just have to enjoy the pictures. (Evil Laughter).



Friday, November 23, 2007

28 and Clear

At 6:30 this morning I was knee deep in a decent surf in southwest Florida. I had just waded in and was going to fire a streamer into the pilings off of Naples Beach, when a young guy (a kid, I'd call him) about 20, called out from the beach. I turned around and saw a this guy standing just above the wet sand line and waded back to him. It turned out he was a new resident of Naples Florida, fresh in from somewhere in Italy, walking to his job at Hooters. He told me that he just got a "fly pole" and didn't yet know how to use it, though he had tried it out a few times. I said that he ought to try the beach since there was plenty of room to cast. Having said that, I cocked back and let the fly sail into the Gulf. BANG! two strips in and I hooked a spanish mackerel. His eyes went wide and I felt kinda bad, since it's NEVER quite that easy. I released the fish while I continued to chat with him, and in mid sentence about some insight on the finer points of fishing with a fly, I cast again...BANG! I hooked a Jack Crevalle. He bid me a good day, while I released the second fish in as many casts, and took the sand route to Hooters. I suspect he may bring his rod to the beach someday soon.

To recap, yesterday Dale and I spent the day with Capt Alan Hedstrom out of Sanibel Island. Capt Al, is a northern Minnesota transplant. Dale had hired him last year and so when he said that they had caught some snook, I was ready to go. Well snook we found. Not a million, but enough to keep your attention and enough to be thankful that I wasn't viewing the helium filled Macy's Day parade (sponsored by Lunesta). "Hey here comes the 5 story bee from the BEE Movie!" I also managed a strange feat for any mid-westerner who hasn't spent much time in the salt, and, judging from Capt Al's reaction, maybe strange for anybody who HAS fished in a lot of salt water. I caught two Blow Fish on a clouser minnow. (see below) What you won't notice is that Capt Al is holding my rod and the Blow Fish for the photo. Frankly, I wasn't sure how to handle that thing.

So, the trip is done. It was sunny and hot all week, and now it's clear and 28. The family is home safe and sound, tan and happy. I caught my first redfish, snook, lizardfish, pinfish, blow fish and Bonito. The rods are all rinsed and drying as are the reels. It's Friday night and I'm home just in time for the weekend.

Blow Fish #1 as held by Capt Al.


Dale fishing it easy.


Local angler, in the required uniform, fishing the pilings.



Me and my eldest daughter, evening fishing on the beach.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

84 and still sunny...

Been giving the beach a flogging up at 5:00 and breakfast after the fishing at 9:00. Evening fishing too. Out at 4:30 or 5 til dark... A few small jacks and a few small mackerel, but nothing to brag about. Dolphins are mucking around and the Pelicans and Gulls have been spending time on their feet.

In other news, I have a guided trip scheduled for tomorrow (YES I KNOW IT'S THANKSGIVING) with an outfit out of Ft. Myers. We are gonna try to corral some snook and redfish around Sanibel Island. While you all are making stuffing and gravy, I'll be trying to cut the wind on a Mangrove bank with a PE minnow.

Oh, and perhaps the biggest success of the trip, my daughter Cam can get the diving ring from the bottom of the shallow end of the resort pool "all by herself". She's 3 and a half. Way to go Cam!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

83 and sunny



Greetings from Naples Florida. Day 2 of a week in the sunshine state. To recap, the flight with the two little ones was uneventful...and that's a good thing. Spent day one getting situated. My father in-law, Dale, did a little bait fishing off of the Naples fishing pier and I watched...Chaos. 300 people gunning for all matter of sea life 15 feet off of the water. That evening I decide to wait for the din to settle on the beach and then started flinging a deceiver along the surf. I fished parallel to the beach so as not to hook a tourist with a double haul. I managed one small Jack Crevalle. Once the crowds left completely I turned my focus to deeper water. I immediately started hooking spanish mackerel. The farther I cast the bigger they seemed to be. With the sun setting fast I switched to a crease fly and added two ladyfish to the daily bag.

Day two: Left the resort at 6 am with Dale for a trip into the 10,000 Islands with Captain Aaron from Everglades Angler. We left the marina in his 18' Hewes and found birds working the Bonito in the gulf. We raced out to the fracas and I hooked up soon thereafter. I was fishing an 8 weight with a 100' wf 9wt line and 300 yards of gel-spun backing...most of the backing was in the water when I eventually started gaining line. Blistering runs. Blistering. Well that fished popped off but I did manage to boat two as did Dale on his spinning tackle.

Once the melee died down, we beelined it into the Mangrove Islands and started fishing for the target species of the day, Redfish and Snook. We fished hard and were rewarded with a few Jack Crevalle, Dale brought in a couple sea trout and spooked two decent cruising snook.
I added a decent Spanish Mackerel and we kept searching. Eventually our Guide Aaron said "redfish at 9 o'clock, drop it into the hole in the mangroves." I false casted, hauled and released. "Good" said Aaron, "now strip...strip." 75-80 feet away, the redfish turned and swallowed my EP fly. I caught a redfish. One Redfish spotted, one Redfish caught.



Dale added 2 small snook to the growing roster of boatside attendees. Shortly after I added my first snook.

We ate our lunch, fished a few more islands and motored back to the Marina.

So...not too bad for day two...tomorrow is day three and I plan to be on the beach at 5:30 am for some more fishing. Good night from Naples.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Crashing Bait II



next time, I'll bring these and my boat...

crashing bait

I love that term. Crashing bait. It sounds like a fin and gill train wreck. I was on the big river last weekend. The water was too cold for SMB's and so I thought I might just whack another 2 pound highfin carpsucker like last fall. The steady drone of a merc 9.9 plowing water across the flat bow of a kicked can aluminum jon boat nudged me out of my numb fishless trance. I was standing on the boat launch so I edged downstream a bit and nodded as a greasy local crashed into the concrete ramp. "Howdy", Says I. "Anything?", says he. "Nothin." says I. "Saw fish crashing bait down about 3/4 of a mile." Says he. "Below the eddy above the island?" Says I. "Yep, that's the spot." Says he. "Whaddya doin down there?" Says I. "Trappin' coons, get'n off the couch mostly." Says he. "Kinda cold for smallies..." Says I. "Maybe Pike..." Says he. Then "and I didn't bring a pole." And I didn't bring my boat, thinks I. 3/4 of a mile from bait crashing and no boat.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Change is good

I love when things change...like when they put a new seam placement and zipper color on the 2008 Simms G3 waders and sell the 2007 at 30% off (plus free shipping). I had my last pair of G3's for 5 or 6 years and they have slowly become 1 part Simms to 2 parts Aqua Seal . They fit like a pair of sweatpants and Simms has taken very good care of me in the customer service department.
If anyone is looking for a new pair of waders...now might be a good time. I even found the "New Guides" on sale for $259....sheesh I should buy a back-up pair.

Permit me...



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Snook & Redfish

I have a trip planned for mid November. I'm heading to Naples FL. for a week. The guys down at Everglades Angler told me that Snook and Redfish will be my best bet and I am considering hiring one of their guides for a day. I don't know squat about Snook or Redfish. I know very little about saltwater angling in general. I do know that these are the types of situations where I will spend 47 hours at the vice tying 11 shades of still-born squid emerger patterns in sizes 24-3/0. I'll pore over maps, charts, forums, reports and gossip columns trying to crack the nut. I also know that despite my hard work and research...I'll have a great time. It's the paradox of my angling life: Fear the unknown and numbness to the familiar. Ok, maybe it's not quite that extreme...but that's the gist. I always have a great time when I haven't got the foggiest notion of what to expect. I also suspect I could have a better time at home if I always approached my fishing with that perspective. The danger with observation and learning, especially as it applies to fly fishing, is that the more you know the less you'll be willing to venture. I tend to think that the guy nymphing with a deer-hair mouse who is absolutely clobbering big fat fish may not be an anomaly. I have a friend who asked me to tie him some size 10 mahogany spinners. I wasn't aware that he was fishing the isonychia spinner fall, so I asked him about it. His reply: "Oh, no I like to swing a them down and across...". Like I said. So despite the revelation that learning is my own undoing, I'll continue to study the tides and read the latest "Snook Book", right after I finish up the slate gray and light olive still-born squid emergers in 1/0, 2/0 and 3/0 and maybe a dozen deer-hair mice with a size 10 mahogany spinner dropper.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Don't ask...

I just had a flashback... of being 11 years old, walking up Highway 1 in Northern Minnesota with a childhood friend of mine, our pellet guns over our shoulders and toting a taxidermy stuffed Iguana by the tail. Just to see what the traffic would do.

Oh yeah and it was the dead of winter.

This is a reasonable re-creation of the event except we aren't in the photo and we were carrying the iguana.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Answer me this:

If you had just 1 day left to fish and you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?

I'll Start...
I'd go to: Belize to fish Permit.
Here's why: Gin clear water, warm sunny weather, sight fishing wary prey after an intense stalk, mind blowing runs when hooked...and wet wading. Plus, wailing on alternative species off the edge of the flat if there are no tails in the air.

Post to comments and let me know what you'd do.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Get back to work!

So I am. Back to work. Made my first sales trip to the new territory last week. Maine, Vermont, New Hampshuh, Massachusets, Rhode Island. When I took the job I was 2 months through reading Lou Tabory's book Inshore Fly Fishing. (I cannot recommend it because I have zero point of reference, although I have a sense that he may comprehend a thing or two more than most on the subject). So when the "man" said "Your territory would be....", I immediately zoned into stripers. When I came to, he was shaking my hand and mumbling something about making a great addition to the team.
So as I was saying I was out in "the territory" last week and the first door I walk through I see two guys looking at the local paper (I was in Northeastern NH). It took me a second to focus on the picture above the article they were talking about. It was a picture of a guy holding up a Big Ass Striper. So that was an easy ice breaker. We talked fishing. They turned out to be nice guys . (I have their number and I fully intend to get them drunk and make them slur all of their secrets at some future date.) Three sales calls later I walk in and there are 2 shadowboxes on the wall containing classic Carrie Stevens-esque flies.



So now I'm thinking. Is this a sign? An Omen? As I was processing this, my (small, narrow) mind does what it often does during complicated and unsolvable processes and jumped to a side item thought, a footnote on the original idea. The footnote became the new idea and I completely forgot about the "Omen Factor" until 5 minutes ago.

The original subject of this post was going to be "good fishing found where you look for it".
These two guys at the counter were trying to make it through another day at work and, unable to do it, turned to discussing just what they were going to do once they were punched out of that underpaid and overworked segment of their day...they were going fishing. And they were fired up. I've seen this same thing happen in St. Louis MO, McAllen TX, and Jupiter FL to name but a few.

The point is this: Home waters are great. Comfortable, familiar and close...but there is an absolute steamer trunk full of exceptional fishing water out there. Don't get too smug and cocksure about being the king of your own turf and master of your watershed. And I say this for two reasons:
1. You don't get to heaven by catching the most sea-run gar on whatever creek runs through your back yard.
and
2. Somewhere out east or down south or up north or out west or in St Louis there are two guys fishing (stripers for example) on an ocean you vaguely remember from 6th grade geography and they are having the time of their lives...and if you were there, you would be too.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back to the crick.

With trout season winding down, I thought it necessary to hit the crick for an afternoon to see how the browns weathered the summer. JP joined me for a leisurely fish on BEC. I took my 7'6" Schroeder 4 wt, because it seemed the appropriate tool for the day, and an appropriate tool for the my target species (and because, with all the SMB fishing on the big W this year I haven't had a chance to fish much cane).
Well the gods were smiling; The fish were up, eating whatever stage of the baetis hatch that drifted by. Obviously you can dredge nymphs with just about any rod, but when you have a bamboo rod in hand, it's so much more enjoyable to flick dries and emergers.
So I did.
I won't talk about the size of the fish because A. I didn't measure any of them, and B. I know that only one of the browns I fooled was over 10". BUT, the day was dry, the fish were rising and the company was good. Quite honestly, I was just happy to be back on the crick one last time before the season closed.

On second thought, a 20" brown would have made a better story...
...next year.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Kids.

This blog is really about me spewing angling non-sense...But, since these are two of the biggest reason I don't fish as much as I used to, I thought I'd give them an opportunity to plead their case. If and when you care to...spawn with purpose.

video

video

Checkin' in.

K sent me this pic that T-mos snapped whilst we were on the Nipigon.
Since content and updates have been slow in coming around here as of late, I just wanted to let anybody who pokes their head in to know that I am not dead. Just newly employed with a wife and two kids, one of whom is cutting her first teeth. (Not a pleasant experience for anyone involved I assure you.) If any of you get a moment, K has put down a few of his thoughts HERE.
Book mark it and hang on. He has been known to have some good ideas and should he decide to share them with you....well... just check out his blog.

K & E sinking, swinging and seeking auspice.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Heritage


That's my daughter Cam with her Grandpa Dale (My wife's Dad). Last weekend Cam joined Grandpa in the boat to watch him pick his herring nets. In the background you can see Dale's house which is built on the plot that his grandpa Chris purchased in 1906. If my math is correct I witnessed the 5th generation of herring fishing on this particular slice of Lake Superior's North Shore.

Equally fascinating to me is the fact that my grandfather logged the forest around this area. I wonder if these old time loggers and fisherman ever crossed paths...

Heritage.

For more information on the local fishing history please stop by The North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum in Tofte MN. http://www.commercialfishingmuseum.org

Monday, August 27, 2007

Speaking of sink tips...

I spent a day on Lake Superior with my father-in-law, setting herring nets and then trolling for lake trout and salmon. When push comes to shove and you need to go deep, an 8 lb downrigger ball will beat a sink tip every time. (They just don't cast very well). We smacked a number of trout and I had a blast. Thanks Dale, for letting me experience the big lake from your boat.

Fulfilled Obligations

If you read back in my first post http://snakeguides.blogspot.com/2007/01/bacon-did-it-so-i-should-too.html
you see that I mentioned a trip to Ontario's mighty Nipigon River for T-Mos' bachelor party.
Well... we went. This was my third stop to the river that has the distinct honor of being home to the world record brook trout. I towed Jon Johnson up from WI and met my brothers for a day and a half of sink tips, sculpin patterns, 25 mph winds, rain and Brook Trout.



Suffice it to say I had the smallest boat on the river and possibly the only Jon boat in all of Canada. The Chinook were running and the other boats spent their time pulling plugs and gutting fish on the boat ramp. K, T-mos and yours truly spent our time casting sink tips and streamers against the bank and through as many greasy seams as we could find. The operation went like this: One guy fished from shore while the other two jumped in the boat and fished while we held with the motor in the current or back rowed in the eddies. The wind was blowing like Dizzy Gillespie and there were white caps on the river. T-mos pulled first shore duty and withing the first couple hours gave a whoop. K and I motored over and were treated to a shit eating grin and 20 inches of Nipigon Brook Trout. It was inevitable. T-mos ALWAYS gets it done...and he was fishing his two hander. (Probably the only Snap T being performed in Northern Ontario that day.)

Anyway, that should have taken the edge off but instead only served to make me twitch like a pennyless meth head. We continued fishing and I almost fulfilled my lifelong dream of catching a 20" brook trout when the fish I'd hooked transformed into a 5 pound Northern Pike. Now normally I'd have really enjoyed that fish, but as it was, it left me with case of Fontinalis Interruptus.

We continued...at around 5 pm K asked to be dropped off on a rock downstream where we had seen Steelhead and Salmon thrashing about earlier in the day. As T-mos and I pulled the boat away and headed for a seam to work, I looked back to see K double hauling a sink tip off of the rock in the middle of the Nipigon while 12,500 cfs of cold lake Nipigon water roared past him on all sides, slowly eroding his perch. My only thought was that at sometime in our lives as brothers he had learned to trust me. While Kevin worked the water accessible from his 100 square feet of granite, T-mos and I motored up to a likely seam. T-mos took over the oars and held me in the bionic eddy while I sunk and swung a size 4 brown bugger through the seam. On the 6th or 40th cast, my line tightened up, I set, and began gingerly stripping in line. The fish rolled near the boat and I said "Laker." T-mos disagreed and I prayed he was right. I got the fish on the reel as T-mos beached the boat. Already soaked from the rain I jumped into the water in my hiking boots and, after decades of dreaming and planning, wrapped my hands around 21.5 inches of pure wild Brook Trout. I hugged T-mos, gave out a war whoop and stood in the Ontario rain in a trance. And then, I climbed back into the boat and began to cast again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

River Day

Todd and I got on the water at 7 am and fished until 4 pm. We managed a fair number of smallmouth and a white bass or two. We had a great day considering it was a scorching 467 degree day (not including the heat index). Todd introduced me to a couple of minnow patterns he fishes up in his neck of the woods. I will be tying a few dozen of these flies because, as the pictures indicate, they work. (Aim high Todd...about 4 feet high.)




Monday, August 6, 2007

Trout?

As of today I have been a stay at home Dad for two and a half months. My youngest daughter is currently sleeping soundly downstairs and I am updating Snake Guides for all of you folks who are sitting in your offices watching the clock and looking for a diversion from the daily Grind. Lest you look on me with envy, let me say that the grass is always greener. Although I love my kids eternally, changing shitty diapers at home on a perfect fishing day isn't much different than what you all are doing...Does anyone know where I can get a floating infant seat for my boat? Ok, back to the point. Trout. Haven't seen one. Haven't fished them in god knows how long. Summer 2007 will go down as the summer of Daddy Day Care and smallmouth on the Wisconsin. Craig and I hit the river last night for a quick fix. Pounded up a few fish and then made a perilous voyage upstream to the landing just before complete darkness shrouded our plodding. Which brings me to another point. If any of you are ever thinking of securing a boat for the Wisconsin River, don't buy a motor bigger than a 9.9. You will never safely run at full throttle even with a 6 like mine. At first I tried to read the water to avoid the evils of schoals and downed timber. Now I try to memorize the runs as much as I can, run at 1/4 throttle and keep my eyes glued to the depthfinder. On the run last night I managed to bury the skeg in gravel twice and bump one dead head and a rock. Treacherous demon, this river.




More Pics from the Wis River

Shocks was kind enough to send along his photos from our trip on the Wisconsin River near Merrill. Luckily he got a picture of the other fish we caught.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Non Target Species

Tim and I hit the river yesterday. On the water at 6 am and fished until 3. We brought in a number of smallies including a flurry of fish that were stacked in a back eddy under the foam. We had to anchor in pretty heavy flow but the action was well worth it. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the day was the presence and apprehension of what my buddy Shocks calls "Non-Target Species". In addition to the smallmouth we also brought to hand: 1 Northern, 2 Channel Cats, 1 Mooneye, 1 Walleye, 3 White bass and a Gar. Pretty interesting water. Take a look.