Our first day on Beaver Island I walked out to the beach and spotted the carp. Main Island, wadable. Tight to a rock. Knee deep water. A pod of them. Probably 8-10 in all. All of them over ten pounds, the biggest of them pushing 30.
Last year I didn’t see one carp on the flats of Big Sand Bay. You don’t see fish down there too often. We didn’t know that when we booked that place. But this year we stayed closer to town near a point where Dave Hossler caught a nice one last year. So I thought the fish might be there, but now I had a bead on them.
I tormented them for hours. They tolerated me but for the most part ignored my offerings. A good couple follows, a turn, a few refusals, one good solid take, one head shake and the fish was off. Nothing. After that, they moved into deep water. I toyed with them the next day too, and the following day, but to no avail.
Later, Kevin told told me that those fish had been played with so much that they simply won’t eat a fly anymore. They’re just too well educated in the way of the fly. Alas.
I had two days booked with Steve the first member of the SmithFly Stream Team.
It was the day after JP‘s Carp Trip, and the weather was much better than when Cameron’s Trip was there. However, the Mayfly carp funk was still in effect. Even the uneducated fish weren’t eating like they normally would because they were so stuffed with mayflys. Again, alas.
The wind was blowing a bit the morning we went out. It was choppy with 2 footers projected for the main lake area. We headed a spot called Indian Bay where there’s a dock that leads to a trail into an ancient Indian Burial ground.
We found a decent number of fish, and the mouth flaring meant that they were eating.
After about 6 casts I layed one out to a large carp headed straight towards the boat. One long strip, and pause, the fish chased. I bumped it a few times, and let it settle. He charged it, flared his lips, and ATE the fly in eight inches of gin clear water, 10 feet from the bow of the boat. When the fish came tight, my leader was almost in the tip top. He rolled up on the surface and his big wide flank of gold shined in the morning sun. Steve let out an affirmative but understated, “NICE DUDE!”. I thought that fish would be in the net in a second. But as soon as the fish laid eyes on the boat, he turned tail and screamed away from us in a panic. He pulled the drag out smoking fast right to the backing, and then, NOTHING.
The line was dead. Fish off.
That was a good sign. Maybe the mayfly carp funk was over? Maybe the day would be better.
But it really wasn’t.
We fished the rest of the day, and found quite a few more fish on the various flats around garden and hog island. We found lots of lookers and one other hook up with accompanied LDR, but that was it. Maybe it was me? I dunno.
To save the day, and avoid being totally skunked, Steve took us to a known smallmouth hang out and we landed and dandy smallie. But it’s NOT why we go to Beaver Island. I love smallies but Beaver is about giant CARP — on the flats.
In Beaver’s defense, my skills just aren’t where they need to be, yet. You have to be able to know EXACTLY where the fly is, many times in choppy, wind-driven, water by watching where the end of your fly line is. You have to be able to move the fly the right way — one big strip, and then little bumps. You have to be able to put the fly in front of the fish in the right way, at the right depth, at the right time. And I’m just not there yet, it also helps to be a MONSTER caster, which I’m not. So really, it was probably , for the most, what I like to call operator error — me.
The fishing really compares to what I’ve read about Permit fishing, and no I’ve never landed a Permit, or even seen one in the wild.
It’s difficult and that’s what keeps us going back. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Kevin suggested maybe I should take up Steelheading in Washington State, it might be easier 🙂
I’ll be posting a series of posts about other aspects our trip to “the rock” as the locals call it, here in the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled.
The guys over on Trek Tech Blog put the Digi-Pouch through a couple months of tests and wrote a nice review of it. While not strictly fly-fishing it’s a great testament to the usefulness of our gear in extra-piscatorial activities. It’s a brave soul that straps his wife’s DSLR to his pontoon boat in a gear test, but I appreciate the faith in our gear! Pay them a visit to read the whole post.
SmithFly Digi Pouch, $60, www.smithfly.net.
The Good: Keeps your DSLR and car keys dry as a bone. Room to boot.
The Bad: Still looking for it.
The Ugly: The light grey color doesn’t match the rest of my mint green and burnt orange fly fishing gear.
The SmithFly Digi Pouch is an 18 ounce roll top dry bag (6” Diam x 13.5” H) that is designed to accommodate a Digital SLR camera while on the water. Like the other modular pockets and packs designed by SmithFly, the Digi Pouch attaches to SmithFly’s base vest and waist packs utilizing the military derived MOLLE (pronounced “Molly”, like the lady) system.
Over a period of 3 months the Digi Pouch was strapped to my waist while wading through my favorite fishing grounds and to the side of my pontoon boat while punching through rapids. Though I do not typically carry a large heavy camera with me while fishing, I stole my wife’s DSLR and stowed it in the dry bag for testing purposes.
The Digi Pouch easily contained the Canon EOS Rebel XTi with the base 18-55 mm lens attached. The throat of the dry bag is very wide allowing the camera to be easily loaded and unloaded and the roll top portion of the bag is tall enough (10”; approx. 3 rolls worth) to give the user enough room to adequately seal the bag over large bulky items. The Digi Pouch provides complete brief submergence-proof dryness to your goods as long as the opening rim surfaces are clean and pressed firmly together while rolling the bag closed.
At the risk of you all thinking I’m becoming a Gink Whore (which of course I am) I’m posting another link to the inimitable Gink and Gasoline today.
At min 1:57 you’ll see Louis rocking the Digi-Pouch on the Owyhee river. See I’m not making this stuff up, and neither are they.
They were sponsored by one of the “big guys” in the industry and had the pick of the litter when it comes to top notch gear packs bags etc. But what was he using on this adventure — his SmithFly Dii-Pouch. Word.
The other main point that I think this series “OFFICIALLY” marks is the addition of fly fishing into the pantheon of adventure sports. Its been a long time coming but fly fishing is no longer viewed by the outside world as boring, or old fashioned, or stuffy, stodgy, uninteresting, or elitest. It’s becoming viewed as fun, fast, thrilling, breathtaking, adventurous, action packed, dramatic, inspiring, heady, and every bit as lunatic fringe sport as every other X Games event. Not that I think this “legitimizes” the sport of fly fishing or ads anything of value, just that the perception of the sport from the outside uniformed observer’s perspective is shifting, which is cool.
So yeah, later this year a SmithFly Digi-Pouch will be standing at the South Pole, so that’s cool.
Louis Cahill, photographer and fly fisherman extraordinaire has a great write up on the SmithFly Digi-Pack. I think the “changed my life” part may be a bit of hyperbole, but overall I think he likes it… what do you think? See quote below.
Full text on the Gink and Gasoline Blog.
EVERY NOW AND THEN A PRODUCT COMES ALONG THAT CHANGES YOUR LIFE.
An innovation that suits your needs so exactly that you wonder if you’ve been talking in your sleep. Some gadget, like your iPhone, that leaves you wondering how you lived without it.
Well, I have been talking. For some time and not in my sleep, to every manufacturer of fishing packs I know about making a truly waterproof pack that I can trust and is large enough to carry my camera. No one listened.
As it turned out though, I was not the only one thinking about this problem. While I was talking to the big guys, a clever fellow in Ohio by the name of Ethan Smith was solving my problem. There in the shop at Smithfly, Ethan was changing my life.
As you might guess I carry an insane amount of gear when I’m on the water. Along side my fishing pack with its six fly boxes, eight spools of tippet, split shot, line dressing, water bottle, net, and so on, there are two Nikon DSLRs, an array of lenses, a flash, batteries, data cards, lens cloth and the kitchen sink.
This all started out in a backpack containing a waterproof Pelican case that weighed forty pounds. Try hiking, wading and fishing with that for a day. Not only was it killing me but it took forever to get to my camera and I missed too many shots. I eventually discovered small dry bags made for kayakers and they were an improvement but I had to carry four of them and they were so small that I couldn’t carry the camera with the lenses I wanted on it. I had to assemble the camera, in the river, every time I took it out of the bag.
Then I discovered the Smithfly Digi Pouch. The Digi Pouch is a super heavy duty dry bag that offers not only safety for your gear but amazing versatility. It works as part of the Smithfly modular system and attaches securely to the Smithfly Switch Belt. The system is brilliant in its simplicity.
The SmithFly 3X Pouch is now available.
Groceries, meat, gym socks, heavies, call them what you want but now you don’t ever have to leave the big stuff at home ever again. The 3X is our biggest pouch yet and will hold more than you can imagine and remain comfortable all day.
It’s is designed to fit across the outside of the Switch Bag and also be a comfortable foundational part of our Switch Belt. It is zippered all the way around on three sides to allow for complete access to all you gear with a flip down front. The inside has four divider pockets to keep you stuff organized. The front panel is covered with three rows of MOLLE webbing that let you hook up our other pouches and components like a 1X or El Poquito. The back has four MOLLE straps to hook it up to whatever platform your hauling that day. It will work by itself on any wading belt out there and it will also hook up to just about any backpacks or sling packs with any size webbing anywhere on them. Now that’s flexibility!
Size: 12″ x 6″ x 1 1/2″
Availability: Currently In Stock; usually ships next business day.
Check out Third Coast Fly’s recent PM report for some nice trophy shot action, makes me think I need to head that direction sooner rather than later.
What’s making me want to head up there you ask?
Oh you know, just your average 27″ brown teeerout hoovering up eggs behind spawning steel. DANG!