Monday, September 22, 2008


I'm sitting in O'hare this morning on my way to LA for work.

Scanning the crowd I noticed a young couple, (in their 30's) vigorously scrubbing their hands with liquid/gel hand sanitizer before launching into their lunch from McDonalds.

Am I alone in seeing the irony here?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Vineyard

I was on Martha's Vineyard last week.

I was working.

But, I always have an 8 wt. with me while I work.

Actually, I grabbed the wrong tube and I had a 7 wt. with. It got a little doggy with the 300 grain streamer line that I had intended for the 8 weight, but luckily, I also had my 8 wt. floating redfish line along and it made casting off the Big Bridge Jetty a little more tolerable. Punk Blue's were chasing bait and the miniature blood bath was worth the price of admission. I landed one small blue, admired the teeth that everybody tells you to avoid and then spent a little time talking to the locals about the fishing. Later, I witnessed a feeding frenzy beneath the pilings of the Big Bridge. Bass or Blues (I'm not sure which) of about 8-10 pounds were rasing holy hell. A Bonafide Blitz. Too far from the bank to attempt a shot and even if the locals weren't lowering all manner of bait over the railing and into the fray, it would have meant a pathetic dap and probably a damaged, if not lost, flyline.

The Island

Big Bridge, Martha's Vineyard

The fly should match the bait...not catch the bait

Two weekends ago.

I took my 4 ( & 1/2!) year old fishing on the mighty W. She fell in on the first cast. I had her in ankle deep water on the edge of a sand shelf drop and she put her whole body into the cast. Like a kid with a baseball bat that weighs too much, the force swung her around and into the drink she went. Crying. Cold. Damnit. I put a jacket around her, put her back in the boat and anchored at a fishy spot so she could eat lunch and warm up. I caught a walleye and a smallmouth while she eased out.

Sandwiches and chips gone , she decided to fish again. I took a seat and encouraged her with "nice cast!" and "you are gonna catch one this cast for sure!". She actually hooked three bass and a walleye of about 2 lbs. on her lead head jig and Mister Twister. I haven't taught her about setting the hook yet (she just keeps cranking) so they all made it close to the boat before making their escape. She was thrilled nonetheless. Better than the fish were the utterances of a 4 1/2 year old. While eating lunch she informed me that "tortilla" was Spanish for "chips". And on one particularly nice cast I said "That cast was money!" to which she replied " the bank."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Reel Drag and The Greatest Lake of all...

After the last trip out for Stripers and the mishaps I had in the Bahamas with my Orvis Mach reels (The drag had miserable start-up and then surged causing more than a few lost bonefish), I boxed them all up and sent them off to Orvis.

Back to the drawing board on my reel inventory.

I did a fair amount of research and discussed reels with more than a couple reel experts. I narrowed it down to two. The Tibor Everglades and the Nautilus NV 8/9. From what I could gather, the Tibors are bomb proof and proven. The Nautilus reels haven't been around as long but they are lighter, less expensive (by about $125) and the spool sizes seemed to be closer to what I was looking for. I called a shop that stocked the Nautilus NV and pulled the trigger. I also picked up a Scientific Anglers 300 Grain Streamer Express Clear Tip line. As a side note the guys at the shop filled my reel with backing and lined the reel for me prior to shipping it. Kudos to John and Will at Chicago Flyfishing Outfitters for setting me up right.

With a trip planned to the North Shore of Lake Superior for the long weekend I was pleased to see the UPS truck on Thursday afternoon.

I have a thing for fishing Lake Superior. I grew up on the Lake and took it for granted as a kid. Since moving away from it's shores in 1996 I have come to appreciate it like no other aqua-graphical feature on earth. It never fails to surprise me that I can stand on the shore, pitching a 4" fly (at most 100',with a tail wind) and connect with a resident. I've had the pleasure of hooking walleye, northern pike, small mouth bass, whitefish, steelhead, coaster brook trout, lake trout, atlantic salmon and pacific salmon from it's shores. Still, the odds are not good... Keep in mind that Lake Superior is an
ogliotrophic (google it) lake while you read these facts:

"Not only is Lake Superior the largest of the Great Lakes, it also has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in the world. It contains almost 3,000 cubic miles of water, an amount that could fill all the other Great Lakes plus three additional Lake Eries. With an average depth approaching 500 feet, Superior also is the coldest and deepest (1,332 feet) of the Great Lakes. The lake stretches approximately 350 miles from west to east, and 160 miles north to south, with a shoreline almost 2,800 miles long" Quoted from

What this means is that fishing Lake Superior is to cast your fly into a body of water that is as vast as freshwater lakes get and it doesn't contain many fish...statistically it should result in nothing but a wet line and cold fingertips.

And 7:30 am after casting and retrieving for 2 hours the deceiver stops. The line sizzles through the water and all I can see is a tail fin cutting water for 100 yards. The Nautilus reel sings a smooth, unwavering hymn to the fish gods and I watch the backing unwind twice as fast as the machine at the flyshop put it on. Standing on a rock in Lake Superior absolutely stunned and amazed that despite the odds, it's happened again. Thrilled to have connected and praying to all the gods and saints whose names I regularly use in vain, I put the backing back on the spool followed by 20' of the flyline. The fish is tiring but isn't quite ready for the grill and lemons. It makes a few hard short runs before I'm able to steer it onto a low spot on the rock I'm standing on. (End of fight scene)

Chinook Salmon, or Kings as they are called, can grow to a massive size. Check out the posts on Buster (and Buster and Buster ) if you want to see what a real King looks like. Mine was 27" and weighed a little over 7 lbs. But, it was a hot fish that helped me verify that the reel worked, and that statistically, statistics are no reason not to fish when you get a chance... even if the lake has 3,000 cubic miles of water and almost no fish in it.

Oh, and the little ones are delicious