Sunday, July 31, 2011

Perched on the Edge....

Perch flies ready to rumble!
So I am not always chasing huge fish. Right now I am on a perch kick... I really want to get both my Master Class yellow and white perch. I actually hate to put them as "yellow and white perch" because the yellow perch, Perca flavescens, is the only perch of the two while the white perch, Morone americana, is actually a bass. Technically speaking, the white perch is the only true bass in the lake (largemouth and smallmouth are actually sunfish). Of course the white perch is also a fairly recent addition to the lake's ichthyofauna, getting here sometime in the 1980's via the Champlain Canal (that is the thinking and it seems correct).  

Enough of my fish geek-out there.... so I need to get both that are over 13" for the Master Angler Program. I have a spot picked out and I think it could be good!  I am all set to go with these additions to my fly box:
On the advice of Ken Capsey, I tied up a couple of Brook's Blondes. He has done really well with this classic fly so I thought I would give it a go myself. Of course I had to DP it up a bit with a tung-cone and some eyes....

Buggers are a staple in the perch box. Simply put- they work.

Chartreuse and white Clouser minnow. Perhaps the greatest fly pattern of all time. Thank you Bob. And for you guys who hit Champlain routinely with the long rod- if you don't have some of these with you then you won't get as many fish as you could....

Not for perch. I know that there are a few sheephead where I am heading to. So, ya, I might end up with a bigger fish in the boat too. Fingers crossed.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Angler Interview- Brad Bohen

Brad Bohen with a big girl!
I would imagine that more than a few of the folks who read my blog know that I am a musky nut (among other things) so it was natural that I would end up getting in touch with Brad Bohen of Musky Country Outfitters. Brad is a total musky nut that has been guiding muskies on the fly for a while now and has been VERY successful with it. If you haven't seen the trailer to Zero to Hero you really need to check it out! 

Brad and I have been talking all year and we had hoped to get together for a nice long outing on some of my rivers this August but scheduling conflicts have prevented that... but we definitely will be hitting some water together before too long!

How did you get into fly fishing?

Drew, first of all thanks for the cross-pollination project;)  We are both super passionate fly anglers.  I'm honored to have you consider my opinions worth posting.  Thanks for having me.  I got into fly fishing early in my angling days at age nine.  I was already a rabid angler at that point and one day at a winter time sportsmans expo I saw Steve Rajeff casting at the Scientific Anglers booth.

I was taken instantly by watching him dance that line out above our heads.  My father enrolled me in a fly tying class that same winter and from there it has taken me all over the country and now back to Upper Wisco where I get to truly live my passion.  I just turned I have been at it for a fair spell now;)

What is it about the fly rod that makes it your tool of choice when chasing the big dawgs?

The fly rod became my musky hunting weapon of choice about eleven years ago.  I had fished musky with gear for a couple of decades and even did some guiding for gear clients back when I lived in Afton on the St. Croix.  After I finally caught my first musky on the fly after more than a year of trial and lots of error I was fully hooked.  Last season I had 161 musky landed on a fly in my boat.

Fly rods are flat out deadly in the right hands.  I really recommend a good, balanced 10 weight set up for this game.  Time on the water with a 10 weight will bring out the best caster in you...

I have often thought that muskies were suckers for flies- the natural movement of materials, the variety of presentations, things are a bit more subtle. What is your take on that?

Proof of the power of feather and fur!

I have put the flies up time and again against gear and live bait presentations.  I get to fish with a wide range of anglers from all over the map...and I travel to fish a great deal myself.  I know that flies will outfish everything else most days.  I'm not boasting just putting out facts.  Sure the live bait has it's times as does a prop style top-water or a walk-the-dog stick bait...gear and conventional tackle and techniques produce do doubt.  But for my money I go with the hair, feather, flash of one of my predator patterns.  Certainly the fly will take pressured fish is a new look but it goes far beyond that.  I could keep you busy for a week answering this question.  Lets just say that I'm a firm believer in the power of the fly to get it done with the top predator fish.

What is the craziest thing that a musky has done when you or a client has had it on?  

Man that is a tough one...the adrenilane induced episodes that a musky attack prouces are strange...some individules get overcome with emotion...buck fever it is know as up here...and they do the silliest things.  I once had a man start quacking like a duck...he was overcome...he acted like that for 10 minutes then sat down and composed himself.  It was very funny.  After that he did not want to fish for musky anylonger.  He stuck with bass for the remainder of the day.

I know that I have had many heartbreaking moments with big ‘skies. Tell me about a couple of yours… the most painful ones please…
This is one client fish that didn't get away!

Oh got to bring up the hauntings that the big fish stick us with huh?  Last season I had a client tie into a 40# class fish in a rapids.  He was over 80 years old but a tough angler...been all over and boated 150# tarpon...but that big musky whipped him.  At one point he looked back at me and said"What do I do?"  I yelled - "Hang on for all you are worth Ronnie"...and I tried to row it out of the rocks...but that big fish swam into the boulders and got wrapped...and it was game over...that one hurt.  The season before I had my number one client Derek Kuehl out...we were with the then owner of Boulder Lodge Mark was again fall...again Chippewa River...Derek has caught many, many big fish on a fly.  He lives in Hayward and he gets out at prime time more than any other angler.  He is a total addict....anyway D has the chops and I enjoy fishing him...that day he hooked the single biggest musky I have seen anywhere...tough break it took deep and downstream of the boat...again I was in a rapids and holding with a strong backstroke on the eddy line...D got excited as we knew he stuck a big one...never before had I seen a big rod bend so deep...unquestionally a huge fish...and he lifted it up on a snubbed line...he should have given some line...let the fish was hooked up in the top of the mouth in the short rakers...tough spot...and when it got to the surface it shook and the fly came just sat there...we all got a good was HUGE...over 55" for sure...maybe 57"?  Heavy...heavy beast of a fish...haunts me does every time I fish...I wonder will I ever see another to match that one?

If you were talking to someone that is just getting started with musky on the fly, what would your best piece of advice be? 
Brad heading to some sweet water rigged and ready!

Hire a guide...go to learn technique and rigging...if you want to come up to speed quickly.  Fish the fish with gear some to get a feel for the species...get a few under the belt so to speak.  Or can go from the get go with the fly gear certainly but I think the best anglers come from some gear fishing background.  The musky is unlike anything else...what they put you difficult at times to get a strike from...spending time on the water is must be out there a great deal...then you have to keep you fly in the water...seems simple...but too many anglers cast too much...they start thinking of casting again before the current presentation is even close to being completed.  To me I live for the last five feet of every cast.  I do not want it to end...learn to keep it deep at the boat...the top half of the rod should be in the water and you stir the soup pot over and over...until you are sure nothing is lurking...remember musky can travel over thirty feet in under one second...a blink of an eye...that is what it takes...and that is what you are out there working hard for...hours and hours and sometimes days of effort...bam!  Deal sealed...zero2hero and all that...

I certainly have my own leader rigs that I use with toothy critters and my musky rigs are a bit different than my pike rigs. Are you willing to share what your terminal tackle looks like?  

Mine is a simple set up...lots of trial and error when I was first starting out.  Everyone should find their own system that works for them mind you.  You have to be responsible and confident for your own system...but I have no problem sharing mine...100% Seaguar Flourocarbon.  On a 10 weight I nail knot 24" of 50# and to that I attach via a uni-to-uni connection a 24" section of 40#...this piece I put a large perfection loop on the end...then I loop-to-loop or the handshake connection with the fly and 18" bite guard of 60# or 80# flouro that is open loop knotted to the fly...very simple and easy to change flies...I keep at least 10 or more patterns rigged with bite guards always...we will get the odd cut off...we deal with is part of the game...something about using hand tied knots and no wire keeps it pure...or thats what we tell ourselves!  Ha!  No fault in wire if that is your I said everyone needs to fish their own system to be responsible and confident.

I know musky are your primary game, but what else do you target on your home waters? I would imagine you get some other fish when you target muskies too (I have slammed some huge smallies myself).  
A client this year with a bruiser smallie!

Oh yes...all the predator fish are welcome...smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike and the odd channel cat are the other common predators.  I enjoy all these species...and we will at times get side tracked for a short spell with each of them...hey, good fishing is good fishing eh?  But we always return to the musky hunt...we are sickos;)

Zero to Hero has been a huge success- I know that there was a whole lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ at the local showing of the Fly Fishing Film Festival during your segment. How are you dealing with your new found fishing fame and all the travel time you got in earlier this year?   

I'm keep a low profile...I prefer to let the fish do the talking.  I really enjoyed that experience of making the film and then touring around this past winter with the F3T gang.  I'd love to do another film...the right one...and look forward to more of that.  But I live to be on the water with the Tribe...and everything else is just windown dressing.  The fame opens doors and provides opportunity.  For that I'm thankful.  I'm just a regular jerk on one end of the line waiting for a jerk on the other.  All I have done is allow my passion to guide me and the way I choose to live.  If folks are interested in that I'm tickled!  I am very proud of the moive and think it will is a great snap shot of a beautiful time and place in angling history.  Robert Thompson made a very accurate and real film...he got it right.  To be a part of that was personally very rewarding.

Seems like this year has been pretty awesome for muskies already… got any lines on any real brutes? Or are you collecting addresses for the fall bite?  

Lots of address collecting!  Ha!!  I'm THE MUSKY PIMP Drew...I gots a little black book filthy with addresses;)  But we have been knocking em pretty good this season.  Having three top guides in one outfit here at Musky Country Outfitters is really of us is on the water all the time...lots of cross-pollination...lots of war room talks...Porter, Fischer and two other crazies - Musky Intern Erik Thue and Fly Tier Chris Willen are all part of the squad up here.  All we do is focus on the place which we call The Musky Lab is really remarkable...a dedicated musky fly fishing headquarters...beat lab and portal to the musky side...we will end of boating over 300 musky this season I predict.  That is a great deal of data we are I said my little black book is THICK Drew;)

I know you were chasing muskies on bamboo… how has that been going?  
Awesome fish! Even more awesome on grass!

That is my new deal...I got a fat 40"er on the 'boo awhile back...simple pleasure...really cool!  Made my entire season...on foot...wet wading...big swirl...great battle...right to my feet the way I like it...:)  Everything else is gravy now...great place to be eh?

It is hard enough for me dealing with winter in Vermont and having limited angling opportunities. How the hell do you deal with winter in Wisconsin?  

I leave! (BEST answer EVER- DP)

So your world record fish was pretty incredible and the story is awesome. What was the best part of that whole experience- the fish or the company? 

over 100 inches of musky in the boat!
Man it has to be both...I keep tight with my angling pal Derek Kuehl who shared in that double catch -Thunder and Lightening on a Clear Day...the guide Tom Greenup is still around the area...we have went our own ways but I still talk to Tom every now and then.  That catch was a remarkable one and the three of us will have that to remember and share all our living days.  I still remember it all vividly!  Wow what a moment...when we finally boated both fish and put the tape to the big gal!  Thrilling and to have successfully released both - they are still out there;)

Do you consider your dog to be part of your critical musky gear? (I can’t bring our dog along- a toy poodle is definitely in the “bait” category- yea, lay it on me about that- but she is a great dog!)  

Yup...Penny is my best fishing bud.  It's HER boat by the way.  I'm just the unit with the thumbs;)

Blood is part of musky fishing. What was the worst bloodletting event you have dealt with? 

Brad and Penny

I have musky scars on every finger and knuckle and then some.  It's part of the game as you say.  I think bogas are fine if you are a pussy as are gloves. safe.  I'm stupid and tough though.  Call it macho or what have you.  I like to grab onto those beasts on my own terms and let em know who is boss...I caught you bitch!  Now submit!  I have some nerve damage in a couple of knuckles and generally have a fresh wound or two if I'm living right.  I'm no role don't try my moves at home kids;)

What kind of gear do you keep in your bag of tricks? Anything that you would suggest to noobs? (I definitely have a few things that I want to have around when I am after big fish with big teeth).  

Hmmmm, bag of tricks?  My bag of tricks is simple...I live near great musky water, fish every chance I get with the best anglers in the sport and despite being a bit touched in the head manage to catch a few yawning every now and then.  I'm only fussy about the flies I fish.  Only Primo Tail for me!

We both tie some big ass flies for big ass fish. I think the most critical part of the entire fly is the hook. I know when I started out I used some crappy hooks that were barely sharp enough to sink into butter let alone musky jaws. What are your favorite hooks?  

Owner and Gammy are killer irons...the B10S stinger is the bomb and has proven to us it is top shelf.

Has anyone stepped up and asked to produce Brad Bohen signature flies yet or are you on your own? 

Available soon (I will put up the link as soon as it is ready!)
I have my own brand about to launch called Primo Tail.  We have been working on it for five seasons...the first four patterns - Beauford, Hang Time Optic Minnow, Sponge Bob and the River Pig are a complete selection of top to bottom predator killers in their own right.  All are tied right here in Musky Country by musky anglers.  No short cuts.  No doubts.  Primo Tail...uncompromising from start to finish.  We collect all our own bucktail and take it raw to finish.  We'll be adding materials and other items later this fall.  New patterns will be introduced periodically.  I'm counting on the brand to be a big hit.  I think it will.  At least the fish tell us it is!

I have seen some pretty weird things happen on rivers and lakes in both Vermont and New York. What kind of oddness have you run into?  

Every day is odd in my life Drew...I'm a freak what can I say?  The other day I was naked and getting sexy with my girlfriend on a beach.  Hey it was hot and we were all alone or so we thought!  Around the corner on this little inlet stream comes a boat with a guide and two clients.  SORRY!  Wow, that was sort of embarassing but fun at the same time.  I live life to the fullest.  I'm happy.

If you were able to fish anywhere in the world for any species of fish, where would you go and what would you target?  

Alta River Norway....Duke of Roxbury beat for the big gytefish...Atlantics like Ernest Schweibert wrote about in the classic Night of the Gytefish.  That hands down would be my pick.  But there is so much out there I want to do.  I hope my angling allows me to travel and fish around the globe in the future.  I have never had a Passport but am obtaining one.  Until now I have really enjoyed exploring the good old USA.  And I still have a great deal to sample here at home.  That has been my creed to myself.  Fully take in that which is close to home first.  Travel after.  I'd love to do Cuba.  Just made a fun new Mate in a fellow named Stu from New Zealand...I suspect we will go over there and have a visit soon.  We are old sign shooters from way back we are!

So when am I going to have a chance to put you in a boat with me and what do you want to catch?  I hope you can deal with standing up in a canoe (I know it is not the luxury accommodations of your drift boats).   
Soon to be seen in Vermont! MCA meets MCO!

Soon Drew!  I wish we had our collective shit together more and we could follow through this August with our musky trip in VT.  But we both have busy lives keeping our guide business up and running and all the other plates that must be spinning in order to make it happen.  Soon and I would really like a bowfin!  Hey Thanks Again for the interest and the opportunity to answer some questions.  It has been a pleasure!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Rusty Spinner: A Primitive Experience

It was a GAR-gantuan good time! I love this shot!

I had an opportunity to guide a fellow blogger, Rusty Spinner, yesterday and we had an excellent day out on the water together!  Check out what Rusty had to say about it here:

 I had a great time putting him on his first bowfin and gar. I really need to start keeping track of how many folks catch their first bowfin and gar with me.....

Here are some shots from the day:
First bowfin ever!  We boated over 30 lbs of bowfin in a few hours of fishing...

Rusty looking pretty pleased with his first gar!
Show me another Vermont fly fishing guide that has put a client on a 46" fish this year.....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

More First Bowfin and Gar...

Seems like I am the guy you want to talk to when you want to get your first bowfin or gar! I did have a client out this week after carp, but they just weren't cooperating. Hey, they were acting like carp! They are definitely a very challenging fish.... and I have a great deal going on if you want to learn how to catch them- $200 for a 6 hour Learn to Champlain Carp guided trip. Email me for details.

I still have to write the full story of the Ditch Pickle Classic, but I thought I would share a couple of shots of pike nut Ken Capsey. We didn't find a lot of bass, but we did find a whole lot of gar. Considering that Ken had never caught one before, it was time to check that off the list!
Ken with his first of another toothy critter to target!
Ken's second longnose gar! He was lovin' this!

He did find out what happens when you have a very slimy, thrashing fish in your hands....
 Good friend and awesome photographer Kurt Budliger got out with me the other day too. We were hoping for a variety of fish, but the gar and carp weren't too cooperative (neither was the wind!). But of course my old buddy Amia calva came to the rescue... unfortunately Kurt's TFO rod wasn't up to the task. It snapped in half on me when I had one on (after only a few seconds of having the fish on... still landed it though!)
Kurt with a very nice bowfin.... Sorry about the rod...
 Hot and steamy was a good description of the weather when I took out Jesse Haller of the Middlebury Mountaineer the other day. I love it when I can show an experienced guide something new!  Jesse took to bowfun like a duck to water!  Here are a few of the 7 bowfin he landed.
Jesse with his first bowfin and looking pretty pleased about it!

Who has the bigger grin?

Only half an inch away from Master Class.... you should have seen the two other ones we didn't get to take....

The Redington Predator showed itself to be an excellent rod for the pursuit of bowfun!

Even I got into the act....
  Alright, so here is a bit of a challenge for some of you folks out there. With the high water that hit Lake Champlain this year there has been a whole lot of suspended material which has kept the lake fairly dirty. The amount of debris has been great for filter feeding organisms though... so there have been tons and tons of these things kicking around in sizes that I rarely see:
Big gelatinous blob in the water....
  Okay, so I know what they are but do you?  Let's hear your answers....

I'm waiting to hear from all you brainiacs out there....

Monday, July 18, 2011

Whirlwind Ride!

Bass have no problem taking carp flies...
Wow, where to begin. It was a pretty busy weekend between carp on Thursday, bowfin client on Friday then some awesome bass/multi species action on Friday evening, and the Ditch Pickle Classic on Saturday... man, crazy times. The Ditch Pickle really needs a post on it's own, so I will give a quick update and then hit details on that later on.

The carp on Champlain are all over the place and really doing great. They frustrated me a lot on Thursday. I had one on and it broke me off during a blistering run through some lily pads (their classic trick). Had a couple of other takes but I blew it and didn't seal the deal. I did land a pretty nice bass though. Can't complain about that.
Bernie with a nice bowfin... great picture without the football..

Friday morning put a great guy in the boat with me. Bernie had caught bowfin down south on bass tackle and wanted to give them a shot with a fly. The hunting was tough (it really is hunting as much as fishing- give it a whirl with me sometime and you will see). but we managed to find a few. One of them was probably the biggest bowfin I have ever seen. My estimate is around 13 lbs. Yep, I am not kidding. There are some big dawgs out there for sure. Bernie finally got one to take- and it took hard- it swam a couple of feet to hammer the fly. After a good fight we took some pics with my camera.... and then it happened....
Your intrepid guide willing to do anything for a fish (and his Boga)

Bernie wanted a pic with his IPhone and I had him hold the fish in the water while I got it ready. One good thrash and it pulled the Boga-grip lanyard out of his hands. The fish with my Boga was in the muck on the bottom of this wetland. And it was churned up. Oh was it ever. I tried randomly netting which only made things worse. I could see the fish death rolling but I could not see well enough to net it. So, over the side I went. I felt around with my foot until I found the fish. Then I netted and VOILA!  Bowfin and Boga came up together. Really, it was my fault for taking the football float off the Boga for pics. If it was on it would have been a simple matter. I felt like Chef from Apocalypse Now, but instead of saying "Never get out of the boat" I was saying "Never take off the float".
Nice little pike... Clousers- gotta have 'em!

I drove up to a location that Ken Capsey had told me about to hopefully get into some big white perch. The perch never materialized for me, but some huge bass did!  I was nailing rock bass, smallies, buckets, perch and even a pike (love that 3X Mirage- landed the pike no problem without wire- but please remember I was not planning on targeting pike. If you target pike use wire or you are a moron!). I got a nice bass pretty quickly. The action was off the charts. All on a simple chartreuse and white clouser. If you don't have that fly on Champlain, stay at home. It catches anything. 

Master Class bucketmouth boys!
Here is the story of the day though: I hooked a 6 or 7 inch perch and was stripping it in pretty quickly. It was thrashing on the surface as I was bringing it to the boat and WHAM! this bass comes out of nowhere to nail it. I kept a tight line and hoped for the best. Well, the perch evidently had the fly out the side of its mouth and it got hooked too. The bass jumped a few times with the perch still on and on a final jump the perch ripped loose. I landed the bass too. It was 20 1/4", my first Master Class largemouth for 2011! Pretty cool! Damned big fish too. I could fit my fist in it's mouth....

So I had a great dinner with Brian Price, Ken Capsey and some of the DPC crew. I figured with the action as hot as it was the night before, we were gonna do great for the Ditch Pickle. We caught some fish, some darned big fish too, but that is a story for another day.....

Today's strange picture- self timer in a rocking canoe...

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!!!!!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

More Clients on Fish!

Fishing on Lake Champlain continues to be outstanding.... take a look for yourself and see!  I am booking up so if you want a trip, hit me up soon!

Local Al Holcomb started his day with a nice smallie...

Then caught this 18 pound bruiser!  20 minutes of fighting before it was landed!

Pete from California had a great time chasing bowfin!  This was his first ever!

6 pounds of Amia calva can be a lot to deal with!

This fish drove a hook into one of my fingers!  They are crazy fish!