Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Angler Interview- Ken Capsey

Ken Capsey- Fly Fishin' Rock and Roll Redneck
I met Ken Capsey at a Trout Unlimited meeting that I was speaking at. He was super pumped to talk to someone else that fished different fish like he did. Well, at least someone else that loved pike and musky... We started fishing together after a while and have had a blast out on the water for a little of everything. Ken writes a blog called Pike Adventures that you should check out if you haven't already. He ties some pretty sweet flies and has a great time fishing them too. 

How did you get into fly fishing?

How did I get into fly fishing....well that love affair kicked off when I was 15. I owe a lot to my Uncle who was a fly fisherman for trout.
He had a fly vest full of dries and streamers and I was in awe! His favorite fly was a hornberg. He had a Fenwick which I started casting with to mud puddles in his driveway. I practiced a lot ...not with distance but trying to be accurate. I remember 1 lesson that sticks in my head every time I fish. "he says it's not the stuff in front of you that will hang you up... remember whats behind you" that's always been good advice.

Ken fishing a classic outfit- nice shirt too dude...

 Do you remember your first set up?
My first set up was a old martin 2 piece rod and a tuna can reel. Foam handle.. the whole thing was like 25 bucks. A very cheap set up for sure. One thing my uncle told me and I think it's a good lesson to all beginners. Don't go out and buy top of the line stuff till you figure out if you like fly fishing or not. Lots of guys buy the top stuff and then it's left in the corner or lucky us...put in a garage sale!!!

It seems like you have a bit of a nostalgic streak to you with your passion for older fiberglass and bamboo rods. What is it about classic tackle that you enjoy so much?

Classic rods and reels....well that goes deep. I could go on and on about this subject but I will keep it simple. Vintage tackle was the standard back in the day. Joe Brooks is one of my all time heroes. He was a pioneer and all the fish he stuck on those bamboo rods...well that's got to be gospel. Really maybe even casting the old Fenwick back in the day stuck me with something...who knows. I feel that those rods and reels stood for something. I've got pictures of guys landing muskies with bamboo rods....'nuff said. I got love for the vintage gear and will continue to chase all sorts of finned friends with it!!

You and I both share a passion for the predators. What is it about pike that gets you so fired up?
Ken with a Master Class pike- sweet fish man!

Esox lucius. A predator with 700 teeth. I love em. Maybe it's the bad attitude they have. The last minute hit by the boat killing your streamer and explosion as your fly hits the water before your first strip. I love the streamers I fish with for pike and pickerel and "musky " (not caught one yet). Pickerel are a top favorite for me. I hear people say all the time ahh pickerel anyone can catch those. I say sure but when you try and target the bigger boys then anyone just ain't catchin' those. I love spring early summer and fall right up to ice up for the Esox crew. I don't target pike in the hot summer. Pickerel are ok to target right now but pike go deep and I don't like to stress them.

How do you think the pike fishing is on Lake Champlain and could it be better?

Lake Champlain is an amazing fishery plain and simple. Personally all the work that Shawn Good is doing makes me very happy and proud to be a Esox fly nut. He is on the right path for sure. I would love to see sections of the lake closed at certain times so the pike can be left alone. I would love to see the catch and keep regs changed and the length limits changed. People though I know it's there right to keep fish could really benefit from more C-n-r (catch-and-release) practice. I thank every angler that knows me and my love for pike when they say "hey Ken caught a nice pike and I let her go"...that makes me happy...real happy.


I saw last year you got into a few pike/pickerel hybrids, has that been common for you?
Esox lucius x E. niger
The I've caught only 3 in my life. 2 one nite in May and 1 the nite after. Totally rad but not common for me. I would love to see them more abundant. They are a cool fish , a cross between pike and pickerel meshing two cool predators... what more could a pred head ask for???

The other fish you love to target are bass. Do you have a preference between smallmouth and largemouth?

Bass buggin is a love of mine as well. It's hard to say Drew. I love throwing my big weedless bugs in tight cover with those 7ft 9-10wt bass tourney fly rods. Yankin' a big ole bucket mouth outta thick cover just seems too hard to pass up. The hotter the better for me. Early morning and evenings I like to target largemouth unless it's overcast. Then smallies a.k. Mr. Bulldog . I live right on PRIME smallie river by my house. It's just too good sometimes not a bad thing. Crayfish patterns...woolly buggers ..damsel flies "and yeah the old fiberglass rods with vintage reels and flies" you can't ask for a more enjoyable experience. I grew up on the Missisqoui and have a ton of love for this river..I love those fish equally I guess...

Ken showin' the love... please don't kiss the fish Ken...

 Speaking of bass, you and I are teamed up to fish in this weekend’s Ditch Pickle Classic. I think that us “Bass Assassins” will tear it up pretty well, what do you think?

 The tourney dude...hahahah I've got high hopes and lots of Kleenex for the other competitors. Just kidding it's going to be fun and for a good cause too. Catch and Release fly fishing and the Friends of the Missisqoui. 2 positive things going on!!

Fishin' redneck style...

 You have quite a fleet of boats- what do you have and what purposes do you use them for?
My boats...have a few i guess. Basically the Whale as I call it is my 14ft v hull with a 10horse mariner. She is a rad little boat good for the river and small pike lakes I got. Then my favorite is my Grumman 16ft Johnny with a 40horse and casting platform. The ultimate rig for pike and lake , river fishing. I have a 12 ft v hull row boat which you fished out of for pickerel with me. I call that the "crap a craft" That is a good boat I got for free and she ain't much to look at but puts ya on fish!!! Then there's my refurbished know that story Drew.
Innovative fly patterns have been coming out of your vice for a while now. Can you tell folks about some of the flies you have developed?
My fly patterns. I love to tinker at the vise dude. I love pred flies. I love natural materials: feathers, bucktail and marabou. I don't think there is a synthetic out there that matches those 3 materials. My "Money in  the Bank"  pattern is one of my top pike flies. The love the articulation the bucktail provides and the movement in the water. You and I saw it in action on your home water for pike last year...good stuff. I have another fly for pike which I call "Ugly Betty" natural materials and a foam disk head when fished on a intermediate line moves like a Zara spook under the water. 

Money in the Bank in action

Where does your inspiration for these fly patterns come from?
I credit a lot of my ideas to my friends and a love for tying. I love Dave Lindsay's patterns , Brad Bohen's natural musky flies and good friend Barry Reynolds pike snacks.

We were talking recently about fallfish. I know you nailed a couple of corkers the other night. What is it that you love about our largest native minnow?

Ken's latest fallfish catch
Fallfish are underrated. I get razzed about catching them at work but I don't care. The are a hard fighting fish plain and simple. I would take 1 decent one over 20 stocked trout any day. They take flies hard and fight like you stole something from them! And for some reason they remind me of bone fish?????

Recently a well known Vermont guide got you into a species you hadn’t ever caught before. What was it and did you like it?

Drew Price was kind enough to paddle this redneck around and get him into his 1st BOWFUN...bowfin. A truly awesome experience dude that I won't forget. They are the junk yard dogs of the wetlands for sure. They have teeth attitude and love noise. If your a toothy pred fly guy like me and want to take a warm water bad boy go for bowfin and look up Drew he's got them dialed in!!! Sorry about the boat seat dude!!

Ken is all smiles about his first bowfin
 Are there some other local fish that you haven’t caught yet but are on the to-do list?
hahaha put me on a few of those guys as well which peeled my line out in warp speed. SICK stuff! Now I have mentioned before about the musky on the Miss deal. It's like you said "a needle in  a haystack". I would LOVE to see the muskies stocked and return to the Missisqoui.  So yeah musky on the hit list... Gar another prehistoric bad to get one of those as well. If it's got teeth I'm game!!!

Ken, if you were given an all expenses paid trip ANYWHERE on the planet to fish for anything you wanted, where would you go and what would you fish for?
I would love to go to the amazon. SOOOO many crazy fish with teeth and the peacocks are rad too!!! I would love to included my good friends as well.

So, in conclusion, what team do you think is going to take the Ditch Pickle Classic?

BASS-ASSASINS dude watch out cause were rippin lips and kickin some BASS!!!!!



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