2016-2017 NZ Season Starts with a Bang

New Zealand guide, Martin Langlands, recently sent some photos of the big fish they are taking this year. The season starts in October for some of the South Island streams, with others opening in November. Martin reports that the fish are in exceptional condition this year, and will only get better as the summer comes on and the food supply increases. Right at the moment, they have some good mayfly hatches, and are taking some really big fish on the dry. Arne from Norway nailed a big 8-pounder, and John from Australia topped that with a 9-pounder. Let me remind you that these fish are plenty spooky, so long leaders are essential, and good casting paramount to success.

If you have New Zealand fever (it’s never gone away for me), then get in touch with Martin at Trout Lands—see Links to right. You can’t go wrong.

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Good work Arne!

 

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And good on you, mate!

Fly Cast Painting

Ben Miller, an artist living in Bozeman, MT, recently sent me some photos of his very unique work. He calls it Fly Cast Painting. Using a piece of yarn attached to his fly rod, he “casts” his abstract paintings to reflect the character and mood of Montana rivers. They are lovely—see them here.

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Each piece of Ben Miller’s Fly Cast Art reflects the character and mood of a Montana river on a particular day.

Fall Albies 2016-2

Chuck Furimsky and Capt’n Jake Jordan have been doing some serious damage to the egos of North Carolina albacore. The gave a goodly bunch of really nice fish a good flogging a couple of days ago. My, my what good sized allies. Chuck hit several in the 20 pound plus category. If I hadn’t been told it was him, I would not have recognized him in the photos–he was grinning so broadly that even his characteristic handlebar mustache was hidden!!

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Now let’s see, where did you say to cast, Jake?

 

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Grunt it out Chuck. That’s quite a fish!

 

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And a second one as big as the first!

The Great Pumpkin (trout)

Yes, Charlie Brown, there is a Great Pumpkin, and he’s a trout; at least according to Marc Williamson.

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Fall Albacore 2016

The big storm is over, the east coast is more or less back to normal, and the Albies are in and nipping. My good friend, Chuck Furimsky, chased them with our mutual friend, Capt’n Jake Jordan in North Carolina. The Albies were most cooperative, and Chuck nailed a bunch, including the nice big one pictured below. Albacore are tuna, and they fight as if Satan himself was chasing them. They are not only speed demons (as are all the tunas), but they have endurance that is the envy of any iron man competitor. When you get a hook in one, might a well figure it will be a battle royal and then some-hang on. If you up for a try, get in touch with Jake (see contact info in Links at right under Capt’n Jake Jordan) and sling some line at one of the hottest fish in the sea.

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Lake Michigan Browns 2016




         Looks like the big browns are back in the Lake Michigan tributaries. John Beth was searching for them last week, and he found them in one of our favorite streams. He got really excited when he landed a big female of 29 inches and 15 ½ pounds on a dead drifted egg fly, fished blind into a deep-water slot. After all the photos and congrats, he straightened his shoulders and moved on, fully satisfied with the day. Well, he decided to fish an orange streamer for a while, and on the third cast into a nice slot against the far bank, saw the enormous mouth of a 34 1/2 inch 18 ½ pound male inhale the fly. Talk about being on a high. Those two brown trout had a total weight of 34 pounds! That’s some kind of fishing.

By the way, these things fight well, too!

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15 1/2 pounds–whee.

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Then, this mouth came out and inhaled the fly!

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Look at the rest of the fish that was attached to that big mouth. Yes, John, I would smile, too!

 

 

 

Last Day Ritual

My long time friend and fishing companion, John Beth, has a ritual of fishing the last fay of the inland trout season in Wisconsin with gear from modern fly fishing’s earliest beginnings (the mid to late 1800s). His reports are always fun because I can see him stalking the spring creeks of SW Wisconsin with his greenheart rod, brass Hardy reel, silk line, and early 20th century, gut-snelled wet flies from L.L. Bean. This is the same John that wields his graphite rod and size 22 and 24 Tricos on the Bighorn, and streamers and egg flies on the Lake Michigan tributaries for the big salmon and browns.

His day was a great one, actually with nice sized browns grabbing the wet flies handily in the morning, followed by some great fishing with terrestrials in the afternoon. A nice brown fell to a midget hopper and then came the crowning glory of the day, an 18 inch rainbow on a size 16 ant. What a great way to celebrate the ending of the inland trout season. Gotta love it

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Browns of this size took the smelled wet flies very well in the morning.

 

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A nicer afternoon brown that took a midget hopper imitation.

 

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The big rainbow that inhaled the size 16 ant imitation very softly.

Theo’s Eel Skin Rattlers

Theo’s at it again. He loves to use freshwater eel skin for many of his long flies. When wet it undulates, well, like an eel. And then adding rattles? Wow. He will be fishing with Chuck Furimsky later in November for striper and blues off the New Jersey coast and promises to send along reports on the effectiveness of these imitations. Can’t wait.

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Theo’s Eel Skin Rattler–notice beads inside EZ Body and long tapered tail of fresh water eel skin.

 

Lake MI Kings in Wisconsin 2016

 

 

My long-time friend, John Beth, and his friend, Scott Allen, just returned from a trip to a Lake Michigan tributary, fishing for kings and browns.

Wisconsin has experienced more than its share of rain this year, and the river finally fell to just a little over 300 cfs. John was understandably anxious to get over and see what was going on. The water was still dirty, but fish could be seen splashing and moving, and so he and Scott stayed and fished. John nailed a king of about 15 pounds, and then a bit later, Scott hooked into a nice one. He had not caught kings before, so John coached him on putting the fight to the fish. No success. And then the fish jumped, and the reason was obvious—it was a really nice one. Scott fought, John coached and fretted, and finally the beast was subdued—but not before John had to reach arm deep and grab it by the caudal peduncle and shove it into the net. It was a 28 ½ pound king, 39 inches long. That was ol’ fighter! No wonder Scott had a hard time.

John, knowing that browns are usually in when the kings come in, and eat drifting eggs, drifted his egg fly down over a lip and into a deep hole and nailed a 28 inch, hook jawed male. Great battle, and great photos to follow.

Nice work, guys!

If you live anywhere close enough to Lake Michigan to get to a tributary, get there. Now is the prime time, and the fishing can be outstanding.

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John’s king–nice but Scott has got you beat.

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At a boy, Scott. Nice, nice salmon.

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And, John, nice, nice brown.

Theo’s New Rattle Flies

My friend, Mr. Goldbead, Theo Bakelaar, from Holland, is constantly coming up with great ideas for using gold (and other color) beads. His former rattle streamer used a loop of nylon on which the beads were strung (see here). His newest version uses a mesh body of EZ Body with the beads inserted in the body. There’s a bit more noise because the beads are freer to move and can clink against the hook shank. The fly is tied upside down to minimize hookups on bottom structures.

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Beads are inside EZ Body. Great rattle!

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Some other color options, note gold beads inside EZ Body.