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:
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.
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?).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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.
- 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
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.
- Rear Hook: B10S (size 2 or 4)
- Tails: Schlappen
- Body: Cactus Chenille
- Underbelly: Senyo’s Lazer Dub (minnow belly)
- Overwing: Farrar’s Flash Blend
- Connection: Beadlon & Beads
- Front Hook: B10S (Size 2 or 1/0)
- Reverse tied Bucktail (on top and bottom of hook)
- Body: Cactus Chenille
- Overwing/Underwing: Reverse tied bucktail
- Underbelly: Senyo’s Lazer Dub (minnow belly)
- 2nd Overwing: Ferrar’s Flash Blend
- Deer hear trimmed slightly larger and wider than normal