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Clan of Aquasquatch Inhabits Northern MI River

In addition to blistering cold and a massive snowpack, the Polar Vortex of 2014 delivered a clan of Aquasquatch to the sleepy town of Baldwin, MI.  Only two confirmed sightings of the beast, believed to be a cousin to the Yeti said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal, have ever been recorded.

On Friday February 14, Paul Sullivan was spending the day in solitude fishing what open water remained in the flies only section of the Pere Marquette River when a large Aquasquatch surfaced from the water in front of his eyes. “It’s head rose from the middle of the pool slowly with a steelhead in its maw” said Sullivan who managed to survive the encounter by urinating in his waders before scrambling away.  It’s believed that Aquasquatch detest the smell of human urine.

“We’re hoping they clear out of here when winter ends, if that ever happens” stated Ben Hopp with the US Fish Wildlife.  USF&W has been studying the creature and offered the following survival tips during an encounter:

1. Douse yourself in human or cat urine before heading into the woods. Another option is to smoke menthol cigarettes but most people choose the urine because menthols are disgusting
2. If chased, run backwards, it confuses them
3. Hold your right hand out with your ring finger down. It is believed that this is a greeting gesture made by the creature and may buy yourself time

bth_Aquasquatch_zpsf41797f0Bob demonstrating the familiar gate and hand gesture

Extreme caution is recommended to those planning to fish these waters over the next few weeks. Fishermen are urged to be prepared for an encounter and to have a partner if planning to venture out (preferably someone you can outrun). We will continue to provide updates on developments of this bizarre phenomena.

Tues bananas

Spring Swinger


Great Lakes fishermen tend to shelve the swing gear in favor of other techniques in the spring.  Opportunities do exist when water temps bump a few degrees during the pre-spawn window and later on while fish are dropping back.  This pattern evolved out of a deep desire to swing up spring steel when fry are abundant in softer water often getting kicked out into the main current when water rises.

Eumer teardrop tube 22mm
Senyo’s laser dub (minnow belly)
Hareline dub (silver)
Senyo’s laser dub (fl. fuchsia)
Gadwell fibers
Egg yarn
3-D molded eyes pearl white 2.5
Clear cure goo thin

Scandi vs. Skagit Dispute Turns Peaceful Speyclave Into MMA Smackdown

Tues bananas

Newaygo, MI – The much anticipated 2013 summer speyclave this year took a strange turn when local spey fanatic Brian Murphy overheard big Jim Mortensen comment to a newbie two-hander that Skagit fishermen are “low brow knuckle draggers”.  Accounts of what happened next are mixed but most say that Murphy, known to be hot-tempered at times, strode over and delivered a deft throat punch to Mortensen.  The big man dropped like a stone and then rose to deliver a flurry of punches and elbows to the stunned Murphy.  It was later revealed that Mortensen is no stranger to a good dust-up as he’d started a local “fight club” in the late 1990′s accounting for his short-lived teaching career.

Clave attendees then formed into their respective allegiances and attacked like clans on an ancient battleground.  Card tables flew into the air, folding chairs were repurposed into weapons, and the chili cook-off became a sloppy mess of tangled dudes.  Grievances were aired at times.  ”You cast like a bag of dicks” yelled Jeff Kerber as he delivered a vicious right cross to Alan Jarvis and “This is what you get for low-holing me” growled Brian Quinlan as he locked Tom Shepherd in a well executed rear naked choke hold.  The melee seemed to slow until a group of casting demo participants got wind of the brawl and charged up the hill, waders and all, to give the battle a second wind.


The arrival of five squad cars with sirens blaring and lights blazing signaled the end of the smack down.  Everyone seemed to come to their senses, feeling somewhat ashamed.  In the end, no charges were filed although the Clave was banned from the park indefinitely.  There is a rumor, however, that Mortensen’s fight club is back on and well attended.



This is a swing bug tied intruder style with a Eumer tube cone up front.  The cone helps keep the bug from collapsing and allows the ostrich to move and pulse through the swing.  I also tie this pattern in black / copper and olive / copper with or without the egg head (finishing with schlappen).   This is my go-to bug when water is high with good stain.

Bend out the Mustad hook and cut it close to the chartreuse ball at the back of the fly once the bug is finished.

photo 1

Trim about half of the Polar Chenille fibers then tie in and wrap forward.  I also use the black Polar Chenille with this color combo.

The Clear Cure Goo application locks the cone in place perpendicular to the shank so that the bug runs true.


1. Mustad 36890 sz 1/0
2. Beadalon .015″ gauge
3. Gamakatsu Octopus sz 4
4. Senyo’s Laser Dub fl Chartreuse
5. Hackle Purple
6. Ostrich Purple
7. Uv Polar Chenille Silver
8. Flashabou Grape
9. Ice Dub Uv fl Hot Pink
10. Clear Cure Goo (Thin)


Drops suck.  For me, a dropped fish on the swing is more painful and unforgettable than one lost with any other method.  Maybe it’s because only so many fish will run down a swung fly or that the rig, from backing to the big hook dangling on my intruder, should stick and stop a school bus.  Standing in the run with nothing but dejection and disappointment plain sucks.  So, what do we do other than check the rig, take a pull from the flask, and get back at it?  I’ve been asking that question a lot lately after dropping fish after fish last fall.  A few things have come to mind that I think are worth sharing.

First off, try to play some scenarios through your mind of how you plan to land a fish in a particular run before you get into the fight.  Let’s face it, there’s plenty of time to check the lay of the land between casts when swinging.  Use some of that time to consider the best way to get the fish to hand or, at least, how to avoid the things that will put a quick end to the fight and maybe the outing.  Think about that log upstream from you that could make things rough if the fish runs upstream or the hole that will swallow you up if you decide to head down with the fish.  If you are in a boat talk about what the plan is if / when you get one on that can’t be horsed in without pulling anchor.

Second, during the fight try to keep the angle of the rod low, especially when the fish is close, and change directions on the fish from time to time working to keep downstream pressure when possible.  Bob pointed out from that video that I maintained the same upstream pressure on that fish for over 2 minutes (most of that video was chopped off).  In fear of letting the fish take me down and into deeper water I buried my feet, cranked the drag up, and decided to play tug-of-war.

Last, bring a net.  Yes, it’s cool to tail fish and I’ve done that plenty but that last minute of the fight can get pretty dicey if you have to tail it yourself.  A switch rod or a spey can get pretty awkward when you have fish up close.  It took me 2 rods breaking before I realized I needed a different strategy.  Also, fighting the fish until the fight is gone and its floating is no way to treat the fish.  Too much lactic acid in the fish will send it to the turtle buffet even after you see it swim off.  There are some great smaller nets that won’t break the bank.  Get one

Get a game plan, be smart about fighting the fish, and put it in the bag when it’s all over.  I’m convinced I would have brought more to hand last year if I had taken a different approach.  The swing game is rough, give yourself a chance and get the fish back in good shape.