Monday, June 15, 2009

Taming the Tiger....Rocky Mountain Tiger Musky

Oh my… I suppose you could say that I got a tad bit busy…OK... very busy. I've got a lot coming up. Probably too much on my plate but I'm going to try and get this updated... key word... plate ha ha ha

This winter the thought of Tiger Musky grew stronger every day. Grizz dubbed it “mushy musky brains”. Months down the road we realized this quote was more than spot on. The past spring the crew slipped up to the north scouting, fishing, studying and waiting for the right time to hit it. For two-months we pounded the banks, or as my good fishing buddy says ‘mowed the banks’, tied flies, changed tactics, lines, read books, talked to the old guards, studied videos and learned a ton about leaders, etc, etc. It never ceased to amaze me how picky these fish can be so a full arsenal is a must.

They’d chase our fly all the way to the boat, for 10 casts, then, out of nowhere they attack with authority. The first hit is what drives us. It’s a fantastic feeling to experience, one I will always long for, one everyone should encounter. Now losing a fish to a poor hook set also comes with a feeling, doesn’t matter that your turn on the front of the boat is over but the disappointment with yourself to negotiate within a spit second angle, power and leverage. These critters have exceptionally hard mouths, bony mouths; occasionally he standard strip-set was swiftly out maneuvered. A more direct approach by setting head on, rod aimed straight into their eyeballs, countered their maneuvers quite nicely… a little tip that was pickup by doing some homework. BUT even then it as amazing how long they’d fight before relaxing their powerful jaws and releasing the harmful hook covered with fancy materials back to the angler.

Over time word spread as others were reading the same chapter. The fish were beginning to get hammered. The parking lots were filling up; a few times twenty trailers neatly parked could be counted just in the lower lot alone. We observed dozens of fish with large rapalas, flies, hooks and leaders stuck in their jaws. Two of these fish were seen from a short distance jumping high in the air and shaking their heads trying to dislodge these foreign objects. One in particular leaped a few times and you could clearly hear the rattle of the jerk bait. I know we were just as guilty of being parted off as anyone, it really made us think about our strategy and about our own personal philosophy. For us it’s mainly due to using mono incorrectly, as in too light for the job. It’s was a card toss really; using wire yielded us fewer fish this year than last, also fewer strikes. But all fish were landed if hooked. Mono on the other hand was very successful and our hits tripled, causing our success rate to go up but getting parted off brought the ratio back down… what to do. So we took a stab at trying to break it all down. This is the fun part in fishing, the learning. The issue is using light mono, say 20-25lb, while it preformed OK for smaller fish the larger 30-40+ ers snapped it like a giant breaking a toothpick. Not good. We upped the ante and settled on 40-50lb, so far its work well for us. Don’t get me wrong, guys do well with wire but for us and our style of fishing, as the season grew busier and bustling with people, fishers and wake boarders, wire was getting rejected more often than not. So for now, were going with what we know learned ; )I’m certain there are those that will say the complete opposite and I’d love to fish with them to see their style… as you can never learn enough.

All in all the season was a success. It was a great chapter in our early stages of Musky fishing learning. Good friends, good food, bad weather and odd camping arrangements made for an awesome adventure. I can’t wait till next year!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Three Days of Poor Etiquette

I was a bit tied up with work for a few weeks, after some serious long hours and no sleep it was time to hit the road. Grizz, Spicy (Nick G), and I geared up and headed out. We knew we might have some weather ahead but nothing prepared us for the events that took place for the next 3 days.

We poked around a few spots, checked some ice off lakes and enjoyed three days of rain, wind and snow. Fishing wasn't off the hook… err… on the hook, but it was fun and yes some catching was had. Every fish we hooked on this trip was well earned, conditions were not ideal but they presented a great problem solving situation. Making your brain think a little bit harder is a good thing sometimes. It was a great learning trip!

The biggest factor we encountered was the other fisherman. Everyday we were "high holed" by some punk. For years, we have never had issues way out here in the back woods with other anglers, hell most of the time, on this river, you never even see another person. That has always been the beauty of it.

This stretch we picked a legal access point. It was a long, long walk in but it should be worth it. Knee deep in mud we trudged around the swampy vegetation, skirted deep pools filled with quicksand type silt, and encountered a down pour before we finally reached the spot. Slowly working our way up stream we rounded the bend and ran smack into a group of people. What the hell?? Where did these guys come from? How did they get here? So now this run was beat, we decided to hike back to the car. That's when we found out he answers to our questions. They parked down lower, jumped the fence and trespassed in order to get ahead of us! License plate… Colorado.

This spot guys were actually running, no, sprinting to get to the water before us. Interesting is that we were already fishing!!! They raced down to get to the good stretch above us. There was another guy already fishing on the opposite braided channel at the head of the run. I was coming up the bottom. These guys proceeded to wade right above my run, right through the fish only to run up to the good run above me. The run I am slowly working up to.

I did what any other guy would do, I yelled at them!! They acted like I wasn't even there. I was pissed by this point. My two options were to either shove my rod up you know where or wade away. I was so mad I had no choice but to wade away. I linked back worth the guys from the other braid and we actually watched more guys show up, run to the water

and all weeded out the old man. After getting back to the parking lot we couldn't help but to go look at the license plates… yep, just as we thought. Way out here, in another state, we are getting "high holed" by our own!! Utah license plate after Utah plate lined the lot, figures. I expect to see this on the Provo Rivers but not out here. What a shame!

Last spot on our list is a busy one. Knowing that we showed up early in hopes of finally getting some good water, lucky for us the camp ground is still sleeping. We rigged up and hit the water. I guess we must have woke some folks because the next thing we knew some dude walks right up to the best hole in the river, cuts us off and "high holes" us!!! Once again the lack of respect is disheartening and is now trying all of our patients!!! License plate… Utah!! Again!

For three days we dealt with sheer lack of angling respect. I guess the only thing to do is what we do back home… flatten the situation by releasing hot air ; )

Friday, June 5, 2009

Catch and Release Photo contest _FLYFISHERGIRL.COM

FLYFISHERGIRL.COM hosted a photo contest....The topic was Catch and release.

My friend Mark (Yuhina) called me to ask if I could participate. He mentioned that it was a great cause and the website is fantastic, its good to support the good core folks.. I poked around and quickly decided that regardless of a "contest" format, it truly was a great way to get educated. Not only for old timers and gurus but the youngsters as well. There was something for everyone. Folks submitted many personal experiences and emotins whil
e enjoying their time spent on water.

Essays/photos --> click here

Go czech out the site. It's very cool --> click here

First prize - Helping to create good catch and release techniques

Second Prize - Redington Reel!

My entry..

Catch and Release is an just a way of life for some. Letting a fish go and gentle handling have always been apart of the fishing experience. It's great to see that large trophy fish swimming off into the sunset, but for the many, trophy's are not a reality. The local and exotic wild place is a gem hidden amongst the glam-fish. Quietly tucked away in pristine water lies a different kind of trophy... a pure strain native Cutthroat. These small creatures of water get the same respect and the larger breeds and require the same amount of reverence when handling. Although for these fish, their life depends on breeding, not growing to be a trophy wall hanger, but for their genes to survive the test of time.


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A few other release shots...

One of the last strong hold for Cutthroat in the west... South Fork of the Snake. It's always a pleasure and an honor watching these fish swim away. The department of fish and wildlife now asks you to now kill Rainbow Trout as they are crossbreeding with this sensitive fish. Just a thought I had while I was looking for photos to post.....I wonder how many catch and release core fisherman will sacrifice one non-native specie to save a another... something to think about in the future as we follow the water and chase the fish.


The last of the release shots... self sustaining wild brown fishery high in the desert of Utah.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Published_This is Fly issue #17

Published --> This is Fly

A tag-team effort. A story based on the mad man "Cheech" and his tying sickness ; )

Corey Kruibosh shot the photos and did a terrific job. He has got some serious skills. Check out his site for more awesome pictures.

It was a fun project working with these two creative guys. I'm certain we will all be seeing more of these dudes in the future.

Corey's site -->
Cheech's site -->