Tuesday Bananas

Illegal Fly Tying Business Busted

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Kalamazoo police arrested a couple suspected of operating an illegal underage fly tying operation this past week in the quiet neighborhood of Milwood.  Search warrants were issued following an eight month sting focused on Jerry and Betsy Hankin, suspected of forced child labor involving their three children.

School representatives reportedly tipped off police in early 2015 when it was learned that the children were nicknamed after popular trout and steelhead flies. “After one of the kids was asked to be referred to as Glo-Bug we didn’t think much” noted Principal Gabe Henderson, “but after his sister mentioned that her parents now call her Size 22 Adams at home, we found that unusual”.

A grizzly scene awaited police in the basement of the home.  Although well adorned with high quality materials, tables and vises, the rest of the basement looked like a Barny-themed sweatshop.  Even more disturbing was the music being piped in which included “The hackle on the fly goes round and round” and “Itsy bitsy foam spider”.

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Attempting to defend his actions, Jerry Hankin stated “It’s not like we’re making them smelt iron, we pay them better than adults doing the same work in Kenya and Detroit.”  Hankin continued extolling the virtues of having flies tied by children such as their amazing dexterity and ability to tie the smallest flies with ease.  Hankin also commented that they exude a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction after 14 or 15 hours at the vise.

Commenting on the arrests, local fly shop owner Dale Schwartz stated “I’m shocked, I wasn’t aware that we could even buy flies tied by adults”.  Schwartz later asked for his statement to be redacted.

Tuesday Bananas*Tuesday Bananas is a weekly satire article meant for entertainment and laughs.


Mitt Monkeys Top Arkansas Invasive Species List

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has issued an Invasive Species Alert for Mitt Monkeys, replacing the Northern Snakehead as one of the top threats to state waters.  Unsurprisingly, the alert coincides with the annual winter migration of Mitt Monkeys to the warm and friendly White and North Fork Rivers.  Employing a multi-media approach, the Commission has strategically placed billboards on I44 and other common northern routes of travel displaying the the familiar circle-backslash symbol over a monkey and the phrase “When it comes to invasive species, Zebra Mussels aren’t alone, Mitt Monkeys go the F back home!”

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The Commission’s Invasive Species page provides the following detail:

Origin – Native mostly to Michigan they have been found to originate from nearby states including Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. Irritating numbers started appearing in the late 1980’s. This detestable species is known to inhabit AR watersheds during winter and early spring. Appearances range from hipster to dumpster diver but most are characterized by mismanaged facial hair, a propensity to go shirtless in temps above 40 degrees, are often seen consuming BBQ like a swarm of locusts, and generally act like they own the place.

Damage – Voracious consumers of craft beer and beef jerky, the species is known to choke out native fishermen by blanketing local streams. Millions of dollars are spent annually to discourage their travel to AR. They attach themselves to local bars, restaurants, women, and hotels, sometimes for weeks at a time.  If they spread they could disrupt the natural order of fisheries in the US.

Prevention – If you encounter one, don’t try to kill it. If engaged in a conversation, residents are strongly discouraged from suggesting fly patterns or alternate fishing techniques as they can be met with intense opposition. Deterrents include commenting on slow fishing, salad bars, math, and expensive shuttle rates.  It is rumored that they can carry disease so handling is discouraged.

“It’s time we stop with the southern hospitality and put our boot where the sun don’t shine” commented resident and outspoken monkey opponent Hank Himler.  “Last year they burned our dam”, referring to the Bull Shoals disaster, “and this year it’s time to send them packing”.  (Click to read about the assualt on the Bull Shoals dam)

Northern snakehead, feral hogs, silver carp, and now Mitt Monkeys. Time will tell as to whether AR survives this year’s infestation and if anything can be done to slow the annual Mitt Monkey invasion.


Mitt Monkeys Top Arkansas Invasive Species List

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has issued an Invasive Species Alert for Mitt Monkeys, replacing the Northern Snakehead as one of the top threats to state waters.  Unsurprisingly, the alert coincides with the annual winter migration of Mitt Monkeys to the warm and friendly White and North Fork Rivers.  Employing a multi-media approach, the Commission has strategically placed billboards on I44 and other common northern routes of travel displaying the the familiar circle-backslash symbol over a monkey and the phrase “When it comes to invasive species, Zebra Mussels aren’t alone, Mitt Monkeys go the F back home!”

Untitled
The Commission’s Invasive Species page provides the following detail:

Origin – Native mostly to Michigan they have been found to originate from nearby states including Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. Irritating numbers started appearing in the late 1980’s. This detestable species is known to inhabit AR watersheds during winter and early spring. Appearances range from hipster to dumpster diver but most are characterized by mismanaged facial hair, a propensity to go shirtless in temps above 40 degrees, are often seen consuming BBQ like a swarm of locusts, and generally act like they own the place.

Damage – Voracious consumers of craft beer and beef jerky, the species is known to choke out native fishermen by blanketing local streams. Millions of dollars are spent annually to discourage their travel to AR. They attach themselves to local bars, restaurants, women, and hotels, sometimes for weeks at a time.  If they spread they could disrupt the natural order of fisheries in the US.

Prevention – If you encounter one, don’t try to kill it. If engaged in a conversation, residents are strongly discouraged from suggesting fly patterns or alternate fishing techniques as they can be met with intense opposition. Deterrents include commenting on slow fishing, salad bars, math, and expensive shuttle rates.  It is rumored that they can carry disease so handling is discouraged.

“It’s time we stop with the southern hospitality and put our boot where the sun don’t shine” commented resident and outspoken monkey opponent Hank Himler.  “Last year they burned our dam”, referring to the Bull Shoals disaster, “and this year it’s time to send them packing”.  (Click to read about the assualt on the Bull Shoals dam)

Northern snakehead, feral hogs, silver carp, and now Mitt Monkeys. Time will tell as to whether AR survives this year’s infestation and if anything can be done to slow the annual Mitt Monkey invasion.


Hexito Epidemic Threatens Great Lakes States

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The University of Michigan Department of Entomology confirmed this week one of the most bizarre cross-species developments in the insect world. “Hexito” is the a name entomologists are currently using for the mosquito and hexagenia hybrid recently identified near the rivers of Western Michigan. “This is the biggest piece of news since Blake O’Neill bungled that snap” commented a U of M spokesperson.

Increasing reports of anglers reporting encounters with wasps and other stinging insects while fishing the late night hex hatch peaked the interest of local fisherman and entomologist Aaron “Cal” Naughton. “I wasn’t taken seriously at first” Naughton stated, “because everyone thought I was trying to start wild rumors to keep out-of-state anglers from taking my favorite water”. “I’m not going to kid you” Naughton goes on to say, “I almost pulled my heater on the guy from Tennessee I found standing in my favorite water last July”. The hex hatch has become a true “shit show” as indicated by hundreds out-of-state license plates spotted at any given riverside parking lot in June and July and now has become even more life threatening.

According to Naughton, receding high water events leave mosquito and hexagenia larvae sharing the same brackish, silty ecosystems. It’s theorized that male mosquitos often confuse the large hexagenia females with their own species and attempt, with some apparent success, to mate.

Naughton successfully captured several Hexitoes and his is research revealed them to have all the characteristics of adult hexagenia with one startling difference, each had a sturdy proboscis capable of puncturing a soda can. “It’s pretty terrifying” commented Naughton.

Naughton’s research has revealed some startling facts about the hybrid creature including an extended life cycle as a mating adult of up to 40 days, typical of the mosquito and unlike the hexagenia which survives for only a few days as an adult. Limited research also indicates the hybrid’s distaste for blood containing alcohol, seemingly good news to hex anglers. Another deterrent, according to Naughton, is the scent of most brands of liberally applied cheap women’s perfume.

What was thought to be a rumor started by locals looking to fish their own water without out-of-state anglers to deal with has now become a huge discovery. MDNR is expected to issue public service announcements this summer warning fishermen of the dangers related to swarming Hexitoes.  Anglers planning to venture out this summer are encouraged to bath in perfume and bump up the BAC before heading out.

Tuesday Bananas


Deadliest Catch Kalamazoo

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The Discovery channel announced today that filming for season 13 of the hit TV series Deadliest Catch will take place on Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. “We’re stoked to get in that water and go toe-to-toe with the crazy stuff swimming and crawling around in that cesspool” stated Andy Hillstrand, co-owner and captain of the Time Bandit. Crab wrangling captains and their crews will be dredging some of the deadliest creatures known to slither and scuttle beneath the surface of Michigan’s deadliest river.

Creatures in the K-zoo are evolving at an unprecedented rate thanks to toxic sediments, oil pollution, and thousands of industrial waste discharge pipes pumping up the flows and the biodiversity of the watershed. Despite the expectation of casualties during filming, the Discovery channel could not pass up the opportunity to raise the bar on the fleet and improve ratings that have flat-lined in recent years.

“It was a tough secret to keep with those giant boats being launched last week” stated the shows production manager Jimmy Slaussen. Harpoon stations, grenade launchers, and mounted machine guns were but a few of the many alterations made to the fleet to put down whatever might get hauled aboard and fend off locals rumored to be downright terrifying.

Northwestern captain Sig Hansen opposes the decision and has declined to join the fleet during the K-zoo venture. “It’s asinine! I’ll take my chances on the Bering sea in January” commented Hansen.  Captain keith Colburn of the venerable Wizard is rumored to have swapped out his crab pots for bear traps.

Narrator Mike Rowe is no stranger to the area having filmed 34 episodes of Dirty Jobs during the many oil spill cleanups that have taken place on the K-zoo. The channel is rumored to be filming a number of spin-off shows in Michigan including Allegan Bush People, Moonshiners of Hesperia, Naked and Afraid in Baldwin, and Fast N Loud – Muskegon River Jet Sleds.

Tuesday Bananas


Area Guide Injured Falling Off Soapbox

The signs of spring in northern Michigan are finally here. Robins and Starlings have returned and eventually the sound of Spring Peepers will begin to fill the meadows and ponds. Other signs, and with similar regularity, are those like Brady Huff who take it upon themselves to lecture all that enter the hallowed waters of our state in pursuit of fish on the fly. When moved to preach, Brady can be seen scaling his giant soapbox to deliver his views on fly fishing to the humble and ignorant members of the fly fishing community. Towering over the obtuse, the witless, and the misinformed masses, Brady delivers his sermon from high above. His aged and weathered soapbox, adorned with fly gear stickers of all shapes and sizes, appears to waver high in the air as his sermons rage on. Seemingly incapable of supporting his large and intimidating form, his soapbox has withstood years of foot stomping, pounding, and infantile abuse – until today.

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During an impassioned speech on the tyranny of beads and chuck and duck tactics, the soapbox gave way sending him to the ground atop his beloved podium in a flop that would have made Chris Farley proud. When the dust settled and everyone was accounted for, Brady was slow to rise but eventually got to his feet to deliver some insufferably self-righteous words before collapsing once again. Some say his soapbox finally gave way under the weight of hypocracy that had burdened his station for some time while others believe it was simply a matter of mass and gravity.

Since the fall, Brady has experienced symptoms of paranoia, a distorted sense of time, and random thinking believed to be from a mild concussion or years of heavy marijuana use. Given the recent tragedy, and irreparable damage to Brady’s soapbox, it is rumored that he will be gallivanting about on a high horse next spring.

Tuesday Bananas


Fly of the Year Awarded to the Turk-u-lated Egg

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Wellston, MI – It was a very tight race for the Michigan Fly of the Year announced this week in Wellston and the winner, the Turk-u-lated Egg, was no stranger to many in attendance. Just in time for the spring steelhead run, this fly goes deep, penetrates deep, and brings home the meat. The Turk-u-lated Egg, a slight variation on the infamous Turks Tickler, is a staple fly for those ready to rake some gravel.

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“The crowd went bananas when that curtain dropped” noted Mark Nader, attending his 18th consecutive ceremony. Nader, a local guide (spring and fall-only) is a big fan of the heavily weighted egg and provided the crowd a tutorial on how to deliver the heavy fly by tucking his head low and simulating the requisite lob cast. Scars on Nader’s neck and shoulder offer a cautionary tale for those who lose focus.

Pesky state regulations have kept the Turk-u-lated Egg from being sold legally but this hasn’t stopped those who rely on it to fill their stringer. The Turk-u-lated Egg is brilliantly simple to tie with countless patterns available online. A couple pounds of lead, 1/0 treble hooks, and a touch of yarn is all that’s needed to craft this magical bug. When asked how a fly that clearly resides outside the lines of legality could win the contest, Nader commented “aww, them’s just guidelines – and everyone knows the government is run by lizard space aliens so I don’t pay no attention to their rules”.

The Turk-u-lated Egg has won the Michigan Fly of the Year award 15 out of the last 23 years with an eight year hiatus during which the Michigan Cricket reigned supreme. With the spring run gearing up here in Michigan those braving gravel should expect to hear the familiar sounds of Turk-u-lated eggs crashing through the woods and water of our great state.

Tuesday Bananas


Area Man’s Pants Catch Fire at Flyfishing Expo

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The shocking highlight of this year’s Flyfishing Expo was when Dale Bronson’s pants suddenly burst into flames.  Bronson, a regular attendee at the expo, was delivering a spirited narrative of a recent steelhead excursion when suddenly his pants caught fire.  Those close to Bronson at the time say he was midway through recounting another of his amazing solo fishing adventures when it happened.  The tale reportedly involved him battling an “epic buck that crushed” one of his secret flies.  The quick thinking of bystanders who doused Bronson with cups of LaBatts left him unscathed yet bewildered.

Amazingly, many weren’t surprised including Jim White who commented “The guy has been talking smack for so many years it’s no wonder this happened”.  “I think it all just caught up to him” said Mark Connely, Bronson’s longtime fishing pal until an argument over the best micro brew selection while fishing dries caused a permanent rift in their friendship.

“I may stop following his advice” said Dave Gorsky.  “He seemed so believable and even promised to teach me how to shadowcast this summer”.  Bronson has not made himself available for comment.

Tuesday Bananas


Car Shuttles Dirty Little Secrets Exposed

In a startling new report that blows the cover on over 50 car shuttle / spotting services nationwide, something we’ve all suspected is confirmed – most vehicles shuttled are in some way violated.  Common offenses, and ones that would be considered somewhat expected, include texting while driving (89%), smoking (28%), smoking marijuana (63%), siphoning gas (43%), nose picking/booger flicking (73%), stalking x-girlfriends (22%), fishing through the loose change receptacle for quarters (98%), stopping at liquor stores (21%), and cruising high schools (42%).

Several more incideous behaviors were captured on video including two rival shuttle companies found drag racing customer vehicles, with trailers, on a stretch of road between boat launches.  One trailer jockey took his whole family to the Buford Waterpark for the day in the customer’s Escalade after finding out that the customer was going to try to fish two stretches of river, ensuring he’d be on the water for over 10 hours.

Footage captured of Shuttle Driver being pulled over for doing 85mph in a 35mph school zone.  The driver can be heard giving the police officer a fake name, speeding off after tearing up the ticket issued and telling the police officer to "go taze yourself in the balls bro"

Footage captured of Shuttle Driver being pulled over for driving 85mph in a 35mph school zone. The driver can be heard giving the police officer a fake name, speeding off after tearing up the ticket issued and muttering obscenities to the officer during questioning.

All of this is the work of Jerry Karlin, your ‘average Joe’ trout fisherman fed up with never having any change in his car after his shuttles. “Trailer Jockeys need to elevate their game if people are going to trust these guys anymore” noted Karlin.  Back in 2013, Karlin set out to get an inside look into just what goes on during that 30 minute shuttle from Flaming Gorge Dam to Little Hole on the Green River.  Over the course of a two year period what he found ranged from the expected to the astounding.  Karlin decided to take action and during the summer of 2014 Karlin convinced 250 people countrywide to install hidden cameras in their vehicles in search of the truth and possibly some justice.

Minor damage done by shuttle service in Michigan - client found vehicle in the parking lot this way.  Review of video footage showed that the shuttle driver engaged into a "Car Spotter Obstacle Course" in Plumbs Grocery store parking lot.

Minor damage done by shuttle service in Michigan – client found vehicle in the parking lot this way. Review of video footage revealed that the shuttle driver drove down an abandoned railroad track for three miles at 65 mph

Further inquiry of 10 regional car spotting services revealed that only 47% of shuttle drivers had valid drivers licenses.  Karlin and many others who are just plain sick of these shenanigans are advocating a trailer jockey certification program. Drug testing, background checks, eye examinations, proof of citizenship, and psych tests are but a few of the criteria.  Industry objection to regulation is fierce.  Veteran trailer jockey Skeeter McGavin summed it up in saying “Jockeys is gonna scatter like carney workers on payday”.

Even if Karlin doesn’t get his legislation, the work of the video footage that was captured lead to the arrests of 39 shuttle drivers abusing the job as a means of funding everything from drug trade to illegally transporting bottles and cans across state lines for undeserved recycling refunds.  If you suspect your local shuttle service of foul play just mention that you’ll be fishing with Jerry Karlin on your next trip and rest easy that you’ll be taken care of.

Tuesday Bananas


2016 Release Planned for “How to Catch Fish off Gravel”

If there’s one thing Daryl Starks knows well, it’s raking fish off gravel. Whether salmon in the fall or steelhead in the spring, his tactics have become the envy of every lead-slinger in the great state of Michigan and beyond. Starks has recently announced the publication of his 31 page autobiography titled “How to Catch Fish off Gravel”, a compilation of strategies, motto’s and insights compiled over the last 20 years of bending the law. A few of the more legible chapters are dedicated to rigging, tactics, flies, lifting and positioning.

How to catch fish

Rigging – “Go big or go home”

Starks recommends using heavy duty gear and prefers a converted catfish rod with a bright yellow blank and guides seemingly well suited for offshore adventures. Starks theorizes that yellow rods strike fear in the hearts and minds of fish. When it comes to reels, most anything will work as long as it can hold a minimum of 500 yards of 50lb mono or 30lb braided line. For terminal tackle, the recommended setup involves a three way swivel connecting the line to a bell sinker or spark plug for weight and 30lb mono to a tandem fly rig tied between 6 and 8 feet from the swivel.

Tactics – “If I spot em’ I got em’”

When it comes to spotting fish on gravel, Starks is a Jedi Master. Starks takes the reader through the whole spectrum from spotting tail fins sticking out of water to reading wakes made by milling fish and even using a high powered flashlight at night and early morning to set up on fish. Starks shares some pro tips on securing and maintaining key spawning gravel. These include running between known gravel, key phrases and tricks to use on evicting anyone fishing “his” water, and using dogs and kids to corral fish.

Flies – Tickler/Cricket

When it comes to flies, Starks is not a picky man although you won’t see him using anything lighter than a “Turks Tickler” consisting 2/0 treble hook. Starks encourages readers to dress the hook up as much or as little as you want, typically using tufts of glo bug yarn or pipe cleaner. In recent years he has been known to tie most of his flies on 10/0 weighted alligator snatch hooks, with lead welded directly to the hook a configuration he affectionately calls the “Michigan Cricket”.

Lifting – Finer points of Feeling “Strikes”

In this chapter, Mr. Starks goes into detail about how it is imparative to maintain a tight line so that you are able to at all times sense “strikes” from fish that are on the gravel.  He employs a technique that he refers to as “lifting” that allows him to feel the fish and gives him an advantage on early detection of “strikes”.

Positioning – “Death from below”

When wading the river the angler should try to positing themselves below and cast well beyond and above the target so as not to spook the fish from the giant splash that the large hooks, lead, swivels, and line makes when hitting the surface. Starks debunks the theory of using stealth since the fish he targets are often either too tired to care or keyed-in heavily on spawning.

Presentation – “Finish with a rip”

Stark’s signature move, and everyone needs a move according to Starks, is his rip finish. After guiding the rig through a pod of fish Starks employs a swift rip of the rod as a final measure. Starks signature rip is often said to make the difference between hooking a mere 15 fish per day and hooking 50.

If one were to point out some shortcomings of the book it would be poor illustrations and his creative use of the English language. We had the rare opportunity to sit down with the legend during the recent fall salmon season outside his vintage RV located in the Tippy Dam parking lot on the Big Manistee river. Starks had finished a morning session of roping salmon and had just popped the top on a fresh Meister Brau when our visit came to an abrupt end. Starks spotted a conservation officer checking fish limits, blurted out “interview’s over”, jumped into his RV and sped out of the lot in a haze of black exhaust.

Tuesday Bananas