Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pesky Little Suckers

When I was out guiding the other day with my client John, I spotted some circular depressions in the streambed in faster water. I knew immediately what they were so I started looking around for the culprits. It did not take long for me to find them- sea lamprey (Pteromyzon marinus). I pointed them out to John then proceeded to catch one for him to see. He then insisted on getting video of me doing it again. I also thought it would be cool to get some underwater video of them spawning. 

As damaging as these fish can be to game fish populations, they do have a very cool life cycle and I am fascinated by them. One of these days I will write about them more in depth. But for now enjoy the videos I have of these pesky little suckers!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

That was an awesome weekend! Started off with a trip to the Orvis Flagship Store in Manchester, Vermont. What a great place to spend a day! If you haven't been there yet you really should go- it is VERY cool. I tied flies, presented a Warmwater 101 talk, and helped out with a Fly Fishing 101 class. I worked with an 8 year old boy helping him learn how to cast and then "hook" velcro trout... he had a lot of fun! 

I got to meet some great folks down there too. I connected with one of their casting instructors, Peter Kutzer, and spent some time tossing a couple of rods out on the casting pond. I was very impressed with the 10 foot 7 weight Access... definitely a great carp rod in the making... I am also checking out a prototype fly line... so far the thing is really impressive. It will be something that you big fly chuckers (like me) will appreciate a great deal!

Sunday I guided Kenny for the second time this year. We were out after trout and definitely found them. The bluebird skies didn't help our cause much though. Wild browns are pretty spooky to begin with and low, clear water with a lot of sun doesn't help. We did get a couple to play. The big story of the day was the fallfish. Kenny was pretty psyched to get into some bruiser fallies! The first big one was 16"! That was a corker of a fallfish. He got a few smaller ones but also got into two more Master Class fish- both 15" fallfish. 

The absolute best part of the day was when he got one of those 15" fish on- I watched the take. I had him fishing a bugger/Eggi Juan Kenobi combo (we were working a pod of big suckers). I watched big fallfish come up and slam the EJK  and another similar sized fish started chasing the bugger then grabbed it. He had on two Master Class fallfish at the same time. I got down there ready to land the pair but the two struggling against one another caused the bugger to pop out of the second fish's mouth. Pretty funny!

Yesterday I met up with an old friend and got out after some warm water critters. There were all sorts of everything around. I don't know if I have ever seen as many big panfish as I saw yesterday. There were 8-10" pumpkinseeds everywhere. It was pretty incredible. We both started out with a Master Class pumpkinseed each. Awesome fish! A 9" sunnie is nothing to laugh at. I will be heading back out there this week with my 2 weight to really get into them!

I saw this big bass and I had to have it. It was a big pig of a bucketmouth. I am not normally all that excited about LMB (largemouth bass) but this one was huge! I really worked it and worked it. Finally I got it angry enough that it grabbed the fly. It took off and was actually dragging the canoe around. When I got it to hand it measured 24". My fist fit in its mouth with room to spare. Definitely my personal best LMB. My only regret is that I didn't weigh it but using charts online it is likely that the fish was around 8 pounds. It definitely felt about 8.

I got into a decent gar there too- 42". Got to show Frank what a gar was all about. It was definitely a male in spawning condition. Had the evidence in the boat to prove it. Yuck is the word that sums that up best. Frank was pretty psyched to get into his first pike on the fly! It really hammered the fly!

We hunted for a bowfin all day for Frank. We had a lot of shots at fish. They were acting a bit funky. There was a front coming through and that may have had something to do with it. The water temps are still a bit low in this area so that could have been part of the problem too. We hunted and hunted. He was hooking fish (after I taught him that a dry fly hookset would not cut the mustard) and losing them (holding the line or the reel handle is not recommended if you want to land big fish). There was a lot of just plain bad luck too. A really nice fish turned into a long distance release. I was getting worried. I haven't had anyone blank on bowfin before. 

It was getting to the 11th hour... starting to get dark. The fish were in shallow and seemed to be on the feed. Frank spotted one and dropped the fly in front of it and WHAM! The race was on. It fought really well and burned through the weeds and dragged the canoe around. I hopped out of the canoe and netted the fish. I am very persistent when it comes to getting folks onto bowfin. I will work really hard for it! It was a beauty too! 29" and 9 pounds! A Master Class bowfin for Frank!

All in all a great few days! More coming soon!

Things are on fire now! Come out and get into it! Email me at or visit my website for other contact information

Friday, May 25, 2012

Another Great After School Special!

John came back for another After School Special this week. I will let the pictures (and the smiles) speak for themselves. The hot weather has the smallies almost done their spawning run. Tons of rock bass around. John graciously allowed me to fish for a while with him. I got my personal best rocky on the fly- 11"!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gar-reat Fishing!

Personal Best Longnose Gar.... 'nuff said.
51" (Thank you Marty Siekiewycz for the photo)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Awesome Afternoon Special Trip!!!

You can't help but smile when you have bowfun!
One of my long term clients wanted to get out and after some toothy critters yesterday and took advantage of my killer "After-School Special".  We got out and within the first 10 minutes of being on the water we started to see some pike. Not just any pike, but some SERIOUS pike... Big mamas in shallow water... the game was on!

We couldn't get any of those bruisers to play so we headed into the shallows for some "bowfun". The amiable Amia calva was more than willing to come out and play. They were all over and smashing flies like it was going out of style. We found some nicely colored up males. Those things just love my Mr. Bow-regard flies! The highlight of the bowfin was a fish I noticed in some weeds by a tree. I told John where to put his fly, to move it a few inches that way, then a few inches back toward him.... then BAM!  The fish hammered the fly. He never saw the fish... He said he didn't even need his eyes open to do it! John suggested I carry a blindfold and have people "blind fish" for bowfin... might have to give it a shot!

After a couple of hours of hunting in the shallows for bowfin (there were a ton of big bass and big panfish too!) we started back looking for some pike. It didn't take too long before John had one on- a really nice one too. We landed that fish got some pics and headed up toward the spot where we saw the larger fish. He picked up another smaller fish that fought and ran really hard. It wasn't long after that that he had a very aggressive take that had some serious weight behind it... then it was gone... The end of the 80lb flouro bite tippet was cut cleanly at a very acute angle. It was one of those big pike and it just severed the flouro like a hot knife through butter.

Who has the bigger smile?
It was getting pretty dark as we got off the water but we saw one more fish, a fish that John (who fishes the lake regularly) called the "biggest fish he has seen in the lake". It was a feeding carp in about 2 feet of water. It was a good sized fish, my guess would be around 20-25 lbs. There are bigger ones out there, much bigger... Want to find out how big? Come out with me sometime this summer and find out for yourself!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Its On!

It has been a pretty busy week... really BIG stuff happening... will tell the news when I can (it could be a while). In the mean time, back at the Hall of Justice....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Looping The End of a Fly Line

I really prefer having the end of my fly line to have a loop in it. It makes it much easier to replace a leader, put on a sinking leader or add on a sink tip. The loop really adds versatility to your fishing. I do prefer lines that have welded loops already attached but sometimes those have to be replaced. What I really do not like in the least are braided loops (the Chinese finger trap style ones). I have had those fail too many times. I had one fail with a client last week on the water. I did a quick field repair and got him back fishing, but I would much rather avoid the problem altogether.

So when I get a line that doesn't have a welded loop on it (on either end- more on that in a minute!) I make a loop myself. I thought I would put the instructions for doing that up so other folks can do it. I cannot take credit for this- Dave Whitlock and others have been doing it for years. So here goes- you will need the following:
Fly Line
X-acto Knife or razor blade
Bobbin with thread
Superglue- the brush on is the best!
The first thing to do is to cleanly cut the fly line at a very acute (sharp) angle. The longer and straighter the cut the better. Make sure it is a clean cut without anything hanging off the edges. This cut is very important- it will lead to a clean whip finish in the long run. The more acute the cut the less of a bump you will have in your line which will let it pass guides easier.

Cutting the acute angle
When you have that acute angle cut apply a little bit of super glue to the exposed surface and glue that to the fly line about an inch or so back forming a loop. You will want to hold onto this until it hardens, especially if your line has a slick coating. Once that has hardened then add some more super glue between the lines to get them parallel to one another leaving a loop on the end. Hold that until it dries- be sure not to glue yourself. Using the brush on type will help tremendously with that!
Gluing the end to the main line

To finish off use your bobbin to wrap the whole thing with thread. Use a thicker thread like you would use for bigger flies or even rod wrapping thread. I like to use a different color a lot of the time because it can work as a strike indicator for you or give you an indication where your line ends. Make the wraps pretty tight and cover everything from where you want the loop to start all the way to past where the cut line meets the main line. Put on a couple of whip finishes and coat the whole thing with super glue (or your favorite knot glue). I use super glue because it holds fast and does not make a bump after it dries.
Glued loop

One trick I use a lot with this is to put a loop on the back end of my line. I can change out lines much easier this way. I tie in either a Double Surgeon's Loop or a Perfection Loop with the loop being about a foot long. That way I can pass a line spool through it. It also passes the guide really well. This really makes changing lines a lot easier. Of course it is a lot easier to have an extra spool.... but they aren't always cheap!

Hope this helps folks out! I haven't had one of these fail...

Wrapped, whip finished and waiting for glue!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bernie on the Water!

My long time client Bernie Moore took full advantage of my after school special yesterday- and had a blast! He had a new 5 weight outfit that he wanted to christen and what better way to do that than to get into some bronzebacks!

18" to kick things off!
We hit the water around 4. We had a bit of a slow start- the bright sun may have been a factor in that- and we had a bit of a failure of a braided loop resulting in a lost leader. I only mention that because I have seen it more than a few times and I make my own loops with the fly line. I will do a tutorial on that sometime soon, but I did a quick field replacement while Bernie fished with my rig. That got things started off right! The Zombie did the trick once again!

19" smallmouth!

Bernie picked up a nice rock bass with his new rig and shortly after that he got into smallie. It was a nice 13-14" fish and he was pretty excited about it. He said (and I quote) "Those 13-14" fish put up the best fight!" replied that I thought the big ones weren't half bad either. We tested that theory shortly after that with a 19" bruiser. I think that Bernie changed his mind on what bass fight the best!

20.5" and 18" double!
After Bernie landed 10 fish (including a decent little rainbow) he graciously allowed me to fish with him (thanks Bernie!). I picked up a couple of nice fish- starting out with a 19" fish. To close out the day we got a double! Just an awesome day on the water! Bernie is a blast to spend the day with and I was very happy to have him out with me again. I did leave the Boga-grip at home this time though....

I will be running the After-School Special until Mid-June. Trips start around 4 and will go until it gets too dark to fish. Smallmouth are a great option but there are also pike, trout and other options around the Burlington area. With a price of $125 it is a deal not to be missed!  Email me at or give me a call at the number found on my website
Piggie bass are on the menu!
That is the smile I like to see on a client's face!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bum Rap

It is that time of the year once again... suckers are out in force and I am loving it. These fish get a bum rap but they are great fly rod fish and put up an excellent fight, especially a big redhorse!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How to Catch Smallmouth Bass in Spring

 Check out my latest piece for the Orvis News Blog... the smallies are filtering in and this will give you some good advice about getting into some!

 If you want some first hand education in stalking and catching some of these bass, send me an email at

Tight lines!