If you haven’t checked out what’s happening on the PM, you should.

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!

big-michigan-brown-trout

Tomorrow though, I’m actually headed down to Tennessee to pick up the new SmithFly R&D vessel, stay tuned for more info on that. Stoked!

Mad River Float

I had the opportunity yesterday to float the Mad River in my friend Donnie’s new Hyde Rocky Mountain Skiff.

It was a tough day to be out on the river. We were originally slated to be fishing a Musky Tournament in the creeks where the guys in the bass boats with conventional tackle can’t go. But an all day soaking rain on Saturday had muddied up the creeks. So we went with the back-up plan to float our local trout stream in hopes that a slightly rising river would move the fish out from their holes. In a testament to just how dry we’ve been here lately, even after the all day soaking rain, the river barely budged up an inch. The Mad was still low and gin clear.

On top of the gin clear water what we found was a day with 20-30mph winds and fish that were hunkered down. On days like that with little to no bug activity, except for a spotty, late-day, midge and BWO emergence, are the perfect kind of days for throwing big streamers on full sinking lines. Huckin’ meat is not something I do with confidence, but is in fact one of Donnie’s favorite things to do. I rigged my 8wt and brought 5wt for back up. He rigged an 8wt and a 5Wt with full sinking lines.

We threw cast after cast covering water like mad men, banging the banks. And by the afternoon we were beginning to think the skunk was there to stay. It was pretty brutal. We should have moving more fish and at least getting some good follows by that time, ut between the two of us had only had two strikes and a flash or two.

At about 2:30 the fishing got interesting and we started to see more fish. I’m not sure if it’s the location or time of day and conditions or what. Who knows. But the river started to heat up after 2:00.

We managed to have shots at a few really good fish. I missed hooking up with a nice 20″ fish in a spot most people wade right through. He swiped at the fly but wouldn’t really commit. Angler error.

Donnie saved the day though with a killer 25″ Brown Trout.

Donnie threw to s a spot that looked absolutely featureless and un fishy in the traditional sense. Nothing un-usual or interesting, just another spot in the miles of river we covered that day. But out of this featureless nothing -to-write -home-about hole a nice fished rolled up on his yet-to-be-named secret sculpin pattern. Donnie missed his strike. In a knee jerk scared-as-shit reaction type mode Donnie threw back the exact spot with a splat that would make a dry fly purist cringe and what the text books tell you will send trout running to the next county. However, the trout in a similar knee-jerk scared-as-shit kind of way hit back in an epic boil of splashing water, and hooked up.

With 12lb tippet on there, Donnie horsed him to the net and we had him in the boat. What a doozie! Great job Donnie. That one nice fish turned a tough and frustrating day into a great and memorable one!

Throwing big meat, is a one or two fish a day game, it’s about size, not numbers.  That’s something you hear over and over again, and that’s because it’s true. Brutal or not it’s worth it and that’s why we do it.

New Tee

So if you aren’t a fan of Jason Borger’s Fish, Flies & Water, you should be. Yesterday I received my new brown trout t-shirt in the mail, and I am proudly sporting this beast at the office today as indicated by the stupid picture below. I’d rather be out chasing steelhead on the Vermilion, but you know, that doesn’t pay the bills. The fish on this shirt is mean looking, so mean you’d think he’d bite the balls right off of a buffalo. You’d better head on over there and order yourself one, before they run out.

That fish means business.

LDR and proof of concept


The scene of the LDR.

Slurp. Fish! The trigger finger slams the line tight to the cork. Rod arm goes high. The line goes tight, and shakes. The slack is slowly payed out under the trigger finger and line wakes through the water towards the opposite bank. After the slack is payed out it tightens around the butt, panic ensues, more slack is pulled form the reel. Feet pound through the water over to the sand bar to keep the line from going too tight. The unpredictable spectre beneath the surface closes the gap by  just six inches and pays some slack. The loop under the butt is freed and the reel clicks, slowly at first and then with more consistency. The drag is tightened slightly. The tip of the rod points straight down but the spine points straight up. Pulling back on it just makes the reel click more furiously and accomplishes nothing. The worthless click and pawl of the reel doesn’t really do much of anything. The palm goes to the reel and line pays out in a herky-jerky fashion. The rocks crunch under foot chasing the shouldered goon downstream. The palm heats up and reel spins more, the feet can’t keep up. The line leaves a stiff wake in the smooth water, and the feet bash the earth and furiously splash water in all directions. The palm slows the reel, heat and pressure. Then POP! Loops of limp spaghetti fly through the air and pile at your feet. Long distance release but proof of concept remains.

New world record brown trout, and it didn’t come from the White or Little Red river system!

New world record trout, perhaps?

New world record trout, perhaps?

Rockford angler Tom Healy hooks 41-pound brown trout that shatters state record

by Aaron Ogg | The Grand Rapids Press

Thursday September 10, 2009, 1:50 AM

ROCKFORD — Tom Healy floated along the Manistee River in Manistee County on Wednesday morning hoping to hook a few salmon, but the longtime fisherman’s fate was much weightier.

The 66-year-old Rockford man wrangled with a 41-pound, 7-ounce, 43.75-inch-long brown trout for 15 minutes before hauling it into his boat. The fish breaks the species’ state record and awaits verification by world record keepers as the largest ever caught.

“When we hooked it, we knew it was a big fish,” Healy said. “How big, we didn’t realize.”

Officials with the state Department of Natural Resources’ fisheries division Wednesday checked out the monstrous grab and said it meets all guidelines as Michigan’s new champion.

“This is one of the most amazing fish I’ve seen in my life,” said Todd Kalish, fisheries supervisor for the Central Lake Michigan unit, “a real testament of the world class fishery Michigan provides.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for someone like that.”

Healy, 15-year fishing buddy and East Grand Rapids resident Bob Woodhouse and guide Tim Roller of Cadillac-based Ultimate Outfitters caught some salmon before hooking the big one near the Bear Creek access point.

Healy said the fish tried to jump a couple times, but he was able to wrestle it in open water with his Rapala Shad Rap lure and Cabela’s rod and reel.

“The reality of it is, I was pretty doggone lucky,” Healy said.

“It’s just one of those things.”

The previous brown trout state record of 36 pounds, 13 ounces was set in 2007 by Casey Richey near Frankfort Harbor.

The current world record is held by Howard Collins, who caught a 40-pound, 4-ounce brown trout in the Little Red River in Arkansas in 1992, according to the Florida-based International Game Fish Association and the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Hayward, Wis.

Won’t you take me to, Skunky Town.

Getting ready to head, the sun looked cool.

Getting ready to head out, the sun looked cool.

I hit theMad River this morning. I think the reports have been written more in the interest of keeping people away than keeping them informed. The never ending negatitivty about the water levels and weeds, is complete hooey. Yes, the river is low, but the fish were rising all morning. In fact I played out the insult picture below. As I was tying my first fly of the morning a nice brown came right out of the water and flew through the air not more than 20 feet in front of me. Alas that was as close as I would come to bringing one to hand this morning. Rises were everywhere and the BWOs were plentiful. I found a few tricos too, which might have been what they were keyed in on, because they didn’t want anything to do with my BWO imitation. I tried dredgin the bottom with Zebra midges, and Copper johns, and even slung around a big old ugly wooly bugger and still cam back empty handed. Of course as murphy’s law dictates I ran into a good ol’ boy with spinning rods in hand in the parking lot who had two nice fish in the cooler that he caught with Colby cheese. Hmm if I put cheese on a zebra midge is it still fly fishing?