Posts tagged “Streamers

Weekly Review

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If you missed the F3T in GR this past weekend, Koz has got you covered with a recap

Found this killer PT nymph variant  at Frankenfly

Matt Barthels will be tying big streamers at the Muskegon River Fly Shop soon, get in while you can fit in

Get your fill of #glassisnotdead here (Spoiler Alert: theres some badass photos)

Bucket list fish Golden Dorado is explored at Gink and Gasoline

Funny stuff over at Windknots and Tangled Lines, be sure to watch out for the fresh water sharks and Great Lakes Whales

These guys seem like fun:


The Ones that Keep Me Coming Back

Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught.  ~Author Unknown

Far more often than any of us would like fishing outings conclude with thoughts of “what the hell happened” or “what went wrong” instead of the glorious celebratory end to the day that we all yearn for.  As I look back upon my past few years pulling streamers I have experienced a fair amount of success and have been fortunate to come face to face with a number of quality trout.

Thats all fine and dandy, and I feel honored to have been able to put a fish in the net – but thats not what drives me.  I am unequivocally motivated by the fish that I had brief encounters with.  Those ones that showed themselves in a lightening quick flash as soon as my streamer descended into their habitation OR the ones that charged the stripped bug all the way to the boat and inexplicably turned away without commitment OR (and the worst ones of all) those fish that ate or tried to eat and in a fit of excitement and stupidity I trout set the shit out of and they quickly came unpinned.

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I spend way more time than I should trying to figure out how to elicit a reaction from a predatory fish with a brain the size of a dime.  I lose sleep at night because of it.  It’s a sickness in which there are only 2 cures – more whiskey than my bank account could afford or more time spent on the water.  The biggest problem is, far more times than not I have a brief encounter with a fish that undoubtedly in my mind looks somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 times larger than it really is if I were to actually catch it and get a tape on it.  The fish that we don’t catch seem to always be potential record breakers that would land us piles of “thumbs up” on Facebook, never before seen levels of street cred, piles of endorsement, and an endless stream of friend requests from women not trying to sell us Oakley sunglasses (seriously, what’s up with that on Facebook right now?).

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The persistent challenge that exists of cracking the code of trout drives me.  If it were easy I don’t think I would do it as much.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not saying that if I had the ability or opportunity to walk out my door and start railing 30″ giant browns one after another any day of the week, that I wouldn’t do it.  Of course I would – I’d also probably be unemployed.  What I’m getting at is that the ever changing challenge of catching these fish on streamers is what gets me going.  If I could go out and rail 30″ giants, I wouldn’t feel the need to devote so much time and energy into figuring this stuff out.

The sad fact of this is….this is a game you can never really win.  There will be days that you are ahead in the score column, but in the end the fish will always be victorious more times than not.  So, the reality of this is I’m going to spend an enormous portion of my adult life trying to win at a game that is impossible to win.  Sounds like a great plan to me.


Welcome to Ameautre Hour

When Chief first asked me if I would contribute to this prestigious fly fishing blog, I figured someone blasted him in the head with a musky streamer on a back cast. Then I thought, what if someone has finally recognized my true potential as a savant fly fishing blogger, and now is my big chance to amaze the Internetz with my skills and knowledge?! Unfortunately, my dreams of winning a Pulitzer were quickly extinguished as he revealed that the segments were to be focused towards fisherpeople (I see you fisherladies!) who are new to fly fishing — and as I was the noobiest of noobs he knew, I’d be a perfect candidate. But, I’ll still take it!  Everyone, welcome to amateur hour!

First things first: being “new” at fly fishing is incredibly relative, as there are so many different facets to this sport. So, even though I definitely want to make true newcomers feel at home, some of you pros may find something useful here, as well. With copious ways of putting flies in front of fish, in just as many geographical and seasonal scenarios, there are always opportunities to jump back on the new guy bus. A grizzled, seasoned fly-chucker can find himself lost in the sea of kindergarten supplies as he finally delves into tying his own flies. Or an “out-west” angler who’s used only a 5wt and dry flies to seduce trout-skis from soothing, unobstructed meadow streams may find himself moving to Michigan. As such, he may be coerced into a 20ft, 15wt double-handed skagit rig, and may try to throw six-inch articulated piles of marabou and deer hair for steelhead in large rivers filled with sunken trees that have magnets tied to them (true story: MI rivers are where kitchen magnets go to die). Odds are he’ll be forced down the skill ladder lickety split and feel like it’s his first time on the water when that slab of chrome runs under a log and makes him a fool. But to me, this is what makes fly fishing so great. It’s really hard to find yourself bored or unchallenged (or with a healthy savings account).  Hopefully, this will be a place we can all come together and talk about how lost we all can be in this sport — and maybe even ways we can navigate learning it better.

When not watching YouTube videos of how to catch steelhead on midges and blue winged olives, Adam hones his magical levitating abilities.

When not watching YouTube videos of how to catch steelhead on midges and blue winged olives, Adam hones his magical levitating abilities.

But, as this is amateur hour, I feel the need to prove I’m not some retired river rat masquerading for fake Internet points, and actually someone who is still finding his way around this sport. Even though I can hold my own with the puffy-jacketed, flat-brimmed, old-timey-cigar smokers in a fly shop conversation, I assure you, I still really have no idea what I’m doing. Sure, I tie my own flies (with a vast variance in skill and outcome), have multiple rigs, can tie blood knots in my sleep and have a fairly decent overhand cast (also with varying skill and outcome), but there are plenty of things that still make me Mayor of Newbville. To show you how fearless I am, let’s examine a few of my fly fishing flaws on the Internet, shall we? What could go wrong!?

  • Despite how much I think/talk about fly fishing and with all the money I have put into this never-ceasing obsession, I really don’t even fish that much. It’s not because I don’t want to; I just live on the wrong side of the state in relation to the “good” rivers. Add in life events, other hobbies/passions, and life/family obligations, and it doesn’t amount to too many hours in my waders. I’ve made the best of it (high five to my wife for being awesome, and my Father-in- Law for keeping me from drowning!) but this is the number one reason my progress in becoming a better fly fisherman has been so slow. As my uncle always says (after mocking me and claiming  “trucker” hats are for Ashton Kutcher wannabes): “You gotta go to know.”
  • I’m TERRIBLE at roll casting. Seriously, who has fly fished in Michigan for as long as I have and can’t freakin’ roll cast?! It’s touted as one of the easiest forms of casting and the basis for a good majority of more complex casts — and I’m just the worst at it. A benefit of this (and being really tall), though, is that I’m pretty good at retrieving flies stuck in overhead trees!
  • Real talk: I only barely understand what the crap skagit or scandi or switcheroski fly fishing is all about. I mean, I think I get the premise of it, maybe? Some fisherpeople were having a hard time throwing big flies or rigs and were all like, “Hey, let’s come up with this new form of fly fishing where we make the rods impossibly long so no one can walk through the woods with them and then, THEN, let’s change how we classify all the lines and come up with even crazier ways to rig them up! That will totally make it easier to cast this size six wooly bugger with extra flashabou!” And after THAT, someone over in the corner shouts “Hey! You guys ever heard of centerpin fishing? It’s the only way to fish indicators now!” I’m pretty sure centerpin is a bowling reference somehow…but that’s about all I understand here.
  • I have never in my life fished from a drift boat. Walk-in only. I’m always so jealous of you guys in your fancy, zero-displacement luxury crafts, stealthily making your way (except you guys that can’t use oars) between boat-only honey holes while drinking beer, taking naps and warming yourself over Mr. Buddy heaters. (All the while staring as we earth-bound plebeians are struggling through tag elder with our skagity switch rods you tricked us into buying, and wading up to our belly buttons navigating around private property.)  It must be a magical experience.
  • I can’t tie anything smaller than a size 10. I seriously don’t understand how you out-west guys make nymphs sized in the 20s. I honestly struggle to tie most nymphs that aren’t wooly buggers, eggs or caddis flies (large ones, anyway), as my hands shake like I’m on an eightball of coke (I most definitely am not; I’ve seen The Wire), and there is just so little space to work with, I usually end up with some pretty disproportionate-looking barely-nymphs. Good thing pulling streamers is so fun!
  • Reading water is still like watching a foreign film with no subtitles for me. I can kind of get the gist of what’s going on under there and can usually understand the obvious spots… .but really I’m just guessing most of the time.  Again: a skill best learned by actually being on the water.
  • Finally, I only have ONE fly fishing sticker on my truck… and it’s not even that big!  Blasphemy.

Ok, I’ll leave you all with a video of one of the Golden Girls roll casting like an absolute BOSS….since I clearly can’t.

Joan Wulff: The Roll Cast


Fantasy Football Ruined Fishing

For the second consecutive year I commished a fantasy football league filled with a bunch of fish heads.  A motely crue cast of charachters all bound together by our strong affinity to chase fish.  I quickly found out that there is 1 thing these yahoos take as serious as fishing, fantasy football!

I spent most of my season last year getting repeatedly curb stomped but had a good time doing it as the near daily trash talk added good commentary to give me quick breaks from my work day.  This year, I decided I’d spice up some of the weeks by publically calling out particular opponents on weeks I faced them and challenge them to a “side bet” of sorts.  Well, unfortunately for me those curb stompings from last year carried into this year and it didn’t go well for me.

Throughout this I discovered I may have a bit of a repressed gambling problem, as the typical wager was 3 articulated streamers and each week I lost I would just double down the next week to try and win some bugs back.  Let’s just say I burned through a lot of materials this year.

However, thats not where my punishment ends.  Oh no…that’d be way to easy.  My poor decision making and inability to set a good roster of players continues to punch me square in the throat.

Twice this year I lost to Jeff from Fly Fish the Mitt and had to contribute to his already loaded streamer box.  Being that I was going to be fishing with him on this past Sunday morning, I worked late into the night spinning up a version of Galloup’s Boogie Man.

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Jeff, not one to shy away from rubbing a bit of salt in a pal’s wound decided he would immediately lace one of his winnings up and fish it right out of the gates on our streamer escapade.  I quietly chuckled to myself as I sat in the rowers seat and watched him struggle with the bug getting fouled around itself, as it appeared that I unintentionally provided him with a “dud” that had too much space between the hooks and not enough beads to prevent the hooks from becoming entangled with one another during casting.  “Serves him right” I thought – but of course outwardly I appeared apologetic. “Jeeze man, I’m really sorry.  I thought I tied those perfectly.”

A simple adjustment, opening the loop of this cast up a bit, allowed him to accurately sling the bug without it getting tangled.  No worries, the color combination is surely not one we’ve ever seen  work in this particular river – he even commmented on it himself.

That’s when the throat punches started rolling in.  On his first shift he brought a few fish to hand.  Then on his second shift, Mike Tyson punched me square in the neck and this fish decided this terribly tied bug looked good enough to eat.

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He continued to fish the fly for the entire day and of course landed not only by far the largest fish of the day, significantly more fish than I did as well.  Wasn’t it enough that I just paid my dept and suffered the humilation of proclaiming my Fantasy Football superiority only to be embarrased?

Stay tuned for the report following me paying my bet to Dan, as I practically have to row him around the river the whole day without me even fishing.  Fantasy Football sucks.


Weekly Review

weekly review

 

Fly Fish the Mitt, Jeff Cole Farms a Giant

I’ve never in my life taken one picture nearly as rad as any the have at the G&G Photo Contest

Hands down, without a doubt –this is my favorite fly to sling for bass.

#somestreamerchick with another cool vid.

Not sure winter works like this but Fontinalis Rising gives it a shot.

Koz at True North Trout Wraps up the Fly Tying Celebration


My Top 5 Streamers for Trout

This is my list and only my list.  Not everyone will agree with everything that is on here, that’s cool – we all have our own favorite patterns.  The important thing is that you are fishing a pattern that you have an extreme amount of confidence in.  Having the confidence in every cast is important to anyone’s success.  Here are the bugs that give me the most confidence:

  1. Galloup’s Heifer Groomer (Yellow).  Big fish and streamer aficionado Kelly Galloup created this relatively simplistic pattern that imitates an enormous variety of food opportunities for fish.  It’s easy to see, it’s easy to cast, and it moves and darts around and can simulate either a fleeing or injured baitfish or sculpin.   Find them here.Heifer Groomer smallest
  2. Danny Ward’s Double Deceiver (Cotton Candy). Truth be told, I was a bit dissapointed at how this bug swam when I first started to fish them.  It didn’t give that long side to side swimming action that most other Double Deceivers I’d fished before.  But then, magic started to happen!  This pattern was responsible for more 20″+ fish, in the group of guys that I fish with, throughout 2014 than all others combined!  The thing that I realized is this – this bug swims exactly…EXACTLY…how a bait fish would swim.  Quick twitch, short bursts – its perfect.  Just adds to the age old question of, “do your flies catch fisherman, or do they catch fish?”  Connect with Dan on his Facebook page. there is not a nicer, easier  guy to do business with. double d
  3. Strolis’ Headbanger Sculpin.  Pure and simple – it looks realistic, it moves realistic, and it fishes deep just like a real sculpin would.  In higher water this is a bug of choice.  In deeper pools and runs, this is a bug of choice. 
  4. Galloup’s Boogie Man (White).  A big wool head that pushes a lot of water, and a large mallard flank on the rear hook creates a realistic swimming action to this pattern.  Once again, this fly is general enough that it simulates a multitude of different food sources for trout.  I carry 4 different color combos in my box.Galloup\'s Boogie Man
  5. Cohen’s Slop Mop.  Pat Cohen really pisses me off – he does things that are absolutely un-natural and seemingly impossible with deer hair, and makes it look so easy that it instills in me a false sense of confidence and hope.  I will then sit down and try to re-create exactly what he does step by step and it comes out looking similar to a 3 year old’s coloring book – messy and all over the place.  Pat has an unbelievable amount of creative talent and he spins up wild streamer patterns that look like works of art and fish even better.  See the link here for more color combos.  

Game Changer (Poor Man’s Version)

An extremely interesting streamer pattern that has been gaining a ton of momentum and interest lately is the Game Changer – originated by Blane Chocklett of New Angle Fishing <- Click there to see more about Blane.  My version is no where near as good looking as Blane’s or as Pat Cohen’s renditions (click here to see Pat’s at Super Fly).  Actually mine really looks nothing like theirs….I suppose I’m going to have to work this one through the water pretty fast so the fish don’t have much time to study it!

game changer


Zoo Cougar Variant

It is incredibly difficult to improve upon a pattern that is already at the pinnacle of streamers as far as production is concerned.  However, there are times that subtle changes in either coloration, movement, size, or flash will increase opportunities on those really tough days.  Here is a different version of Galloup’s Zoo Cougar that I have fished successfully for trout and smallmouth.

ZooCougar variant

  • Thread: GSP Olive
  • Hook:  Size 2 B10s
  • Tail: Hot Orange Marabou + 3 strands of copper flash on each side
  • 1 Green Speckled and 1 Orange Speckled Rubber leg on each side
  • Body: Florescent Chartreuse Diamond Braid
  • Underwing: White Calf Tail
  • Overwing: Gold Mallard Flank
  • 2 sets of  Green Speckled and  Orange Speckled Rubber leg on each side
  • Head: Spun and trimmed Olive Deer Hair

Sculpceiver

A great streamer pattern that sheds water well and is easy to cast – but maintains a larger profile and moves extremely well when fished with a sinking line.  This pattern moved several large trout and even a few early season steelhead last year.

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  1. Rear Hook: B10S (size 2 or 4)
  2. Tails: Schlappen
  3. Body: Cactus Chenille
  4. Underbelly: Senyo’s Lazer Dub (minnow belly)
  5. Overwing: Farrar’s Flash Blend
  6. Flashabou
  7. Connection: Beadlon & Beads
  8. Front Hook: B10S (Size 2 or 1/0)
  9. Reverse tied Bucktail (on top and bottom of hook)
  10. Body: Cactus Chenille
  11. Overwing/Underwing: Reverse tied bucktail
  12. Underbelly: Senyo’s Lazer Dub (minnow belly)
  13. 2nd Overwing: Ferrar’s Flash Blend
  14. Flashabou
  15. Deer hear trimmed slightly larger and wider than normal

Video put together by Jeff Cole