Friday, May 30, 2014

More local

If local is good, more local is better.  I met up with JP at the local water after dark and wrangled a pile of white bass.  I brought the 6 wt switch and worked it out two handed style until giving up and booming hail mary's single handed.  Just before quitting time, a carp boat came through all lit up and I couldn't help but think that it looked for all the world like one of those spaceships that abduct people...

....Aaaah fishing local.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


When you return from a bonefish trip to the Bahamas and a carp/smallmouth trip to heaven, nothing grounds you quite like fishing local.  It's that time of year again and I wadered up after the kids went to sleep and pocketed a spool of 2x and a headlamp to see what was happening on the waterways close to home.  Though it might not be a saltwater grand slam, smallmouth, white bass and walleye after dark, 2 miles from home is at least a freshwater grand bunt.
Dinker, but it counts!

Whitey on the deceiver, how fitting

Walleye to round it out.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Open the Door

McSteel and I talked about it after our last mission of Carp'n the Door.  We went late last year and we figured earlier this year.  We suggested to our wives that camping might be fun and they bought into our pitch.  Back when we started this discussion I was sure to remind my lovely wife that it was a fishing trip but that camping would be fun and the kids would have a blast...
When I reminded her of the mission objective just days after a week in the Bahamas....I got the look.

And you know, she was right in giving me the look.  Selfish bastard.

Despite the ill timed trip and the "look", McSteel and I made it out and did our best.  We saw a grand total of 6 or 7 carp, two of them were pigs tailing in the marina of one of DC's quaint little towns on a day when we took the families to town to mill around and buy ice cream cones and didn't even consider bringing rods.  Our Bad.

I pushed McSteel around for day one and he has an eye for spotting smallies.  He managed to bring a couple to hand and it would have been a bad fishing trip if they were 13 inchers.  But they weren't.

The second day I started the afternoon by motoring and rowing but before long McSteel offered his services on the sticks and I figure I might as well soak a fly.  The outcome was a nice SMB and I was thrilled to be in clear fresh water and feeling the tug.

The next fish came ( I swear this is true) when I was standing on the deck talking to McSteel about the slooooow long strip that the bonefish guides prescribe when they see a fish eat.  I was actually demonstrating the move, finishing with a short quick snap of the wrist to signify the hooks set when you can feel a bonefish has eaten.  At that precise moment, in 12 feet of water, a smallie decided that it liked the way I was moving the fly through the demonstation...and ate my fly.

We marked that fish on the rod and I put a tape up against it when I got home...20 inches.

Not too bad for a demonstration fish...

Part of the trade off of going out in the battleship chasing Carp and whatever (the whatever in this case being monster smallmouth) was that I needed to take the dog.  The wives and kids wanted to go for a bike ride and the pooch isn't formally trained in bicycle etiquette.  So this weekend I introduced Thor to boats.  What I learned is that my dog can drink Green Bay water and live, he likes to see fish being caught and that he will certainly be invited out for the next boat fishing trip.  Good dog!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bahamas Day 6

The final day broke gray.  I went through the ritual of downing my coffee, lacing up my boots and heading down to the dock.  It was apparent that the guides all knew it was gonna be a lousy weather day...the rain was coming.  ET put the screws to the Beavertail Skiff and shot us over to a flat adjacent to the lodge, fishing us close to the door for a quick getaway when the ceiling dropped on us.  I lost the game of rock, paper, scissors to CA which meant that he was up first on the casting platform.  (He has an uncanny ability to beat me with rock every time.)

ET pushed Craig for his allotted 30 mins, getting a few shots at bonefish close in...which is the only place we stood a chance of seeing them with the steely light bouncing off the water.  When my turn to take the deck came we hadn't gone far when ET hinted at raingear.  I stood on the deck with the wind at my back and the rain pelting me and watched a shark fin cut the top of the shallow water.  I decided that taking casting practice while standing in the deluge was a good idea so I fired off 3 or 4 shots and was grinning under my hood because I'd actually came pretty close to hitting him in the wind and rain at 70ish feet.  As I stripped the 4th cast back, a wake peeled off from behind the shark and tracked my fly.  I heard ET say "Stop It!" which wasn't a scolding, but rather instructions on how to fish the bonefish that had been following the shark and was now tracking my fly.  In the rain.
But I'd already lifted up to recast and by then the bone had disappeared under glare.

A few minutes later the rain slowed to a drizzle and I looked back to see two bonefish tailing behind us.  ET said the water was too shallow to pole through so I bailed out and followed them on foot.  As luck would have it, the second fish turned and started my way.  At 60' I pasted a cast out and would have been completely out of luck if the fish hadn't sped up, tilted and wagged his tail out of the water right where I knew my fly to be.  Tailing fish, strip set, fish on.

That was to be the end of the show as the dark clouds gathered and thickened across the entire horizon.  The winds kicked up and we beat a hasty retreat back to camp where a fresh pot of coffee was brewed and the skywatching ensued.

Two hours of coffee later the rain slowed again and I grabbed my 6wt and headed off on foot to the snapper hole where I found some willing eaters.  Thinking that the weather might subside for the afternoon, I made my way back to camp and suggested we go out and find some alternate species to pass the time.  ET, CA and I headed to the sharking grounds with a bucket full of chum.

After we'd bloodied the water and CA got his shark fix taken care of for the afternoon, the rain stopped and we traded the 10's for the 8's and got back to the business of bonefish.  Through a combination of poling and wading we ended the day with a few more bonefish to round out the trip, which, in my mind, was just gravy.

Looking for the dead and dying

pre-storm tailer

Sea Turtles....all over the flats

CA hooked up to a lemon

Passing the time in low light

in the Bahamas it's pronounced Shawk.

Gravy 1

Gravy 2

Gravy 3

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bahamas Day 5

I'm falling behind on my posting so I am going to make this a pictorial post.  Let me just say that on most trips there is usually one day that stands out as the trip maker...that would be this day. ET guided hard and with his pushpole magically pushed the skiff from bonefish to bonefish while keeping us in a circle of high sun and great visibility.  On one occasion as a shark was tracking a bonefish that CA had hooked and was fighting, ET splashed his pushpole and confused the shark into tracking the pole instead of the fish....when the shark was within range he gave it a quick prod with the pole and sent it scurrying.  CA landed the fish and I jumped out to of the skiff to get some photos.  ET kept his eyes open and repeated the shark prod again while I was ignorantly knee deep taking shots...Mad guiding skills. 


Look "through" not "at" the water

CA hooked up

Bonefish vanishing point

Highsticking boatside

Last burst

going back

CA with a nice Bahamian Bonefish

High tide edge hunting


Yours truly...into one

Grip and sunmask

Tide in the mangroves

Masterful guide

ET releasing a nice Bone

The backdrop

To swim again

heading out

Coral outcrop

CA full flex

CA another bonefish

ET release after reviving a deep hooked fish

ET lifting one for the camera...

CA Shark Wrangler - After hours on the lodge dock.