Lake Huron Flats Smallmouth.

21 05 2018

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, Tomorrow……

That was the song, and the video of Deadpool singing it, stuck in my head all morning long this past Saturday.  I had decided to go up to Port Austin to fish for Pre-Spawn Smallmouth’s on the flats several weeks ago and of course the weather turned to crap.  The rain pretty much covered the whole state so I wasn’t alone.  I made the most of it though.  I had a friend along (Non Fishing Muggle Type) so we stopped at the Farmer’s Market in Port Austin.  Bummed around Caseville a bit and stopped at a local beach near Grindstone City where i skipped stones to help pass the time.

At one point we stopped at a public access area and found about 2 dozen fishermen wading the bay and doing a whole bunch of casting and not a lot of catching.  I was beginning to think that my weekend was going to be a bust but as the day progressed the rain let up and the wind slowly began to lie down.  We went back to the same public access spot in the evening and this time all the fishermen were gone, except for two that looked they were done for the day.  I started to talk to them and they said they were waiting for their friend who was still out there.  Sure enough, about a quarter mile out there was one lone fishermen casting away.  They said he was catching fish and a minute later I saw his net hit the water.  That was all the convincing I needed.  On went the waders,  broke out the Orvis Helios 7wt, tied on a weighted sculpin and started the long trek out.  Eventually I reached the end of my wading depth limits (Damn my “S” gene) and started casting.  It took a few minutes to knock the rust off but eventually I was making a decent enough cast.  I just hoped they were far enough to get to the fish.  A couple of minutes later I got my answer.

After that it was pretty much game on for the next hour.  I was far enough from the other guy to keep from interfering but close enough so we could talk.  We were both catching a lot of fish but the majority were in the 12 inch range.  About 30 minutes later his friends started yelling and he took that as his cue to get going, not that he wanted to but they were his ride.  He wished me good luck and headed back to shore.  After he left fishing slowed up for a bit but not enough to keep me from leaving.  I was hoping for a bigger fish and after about 10 minutes I had one.  He wasn’t going to break any records but he was still one of my bigger Smallmouth on a fly.

After a quick pic I sent him on his way and got back to business.  Every time I caught another bass I would tell myself this would be the last one and I would head in.  After 13 fish I finally did, it helped that I ended it on a good note.

 

All told I ended up catching 13 and losing 2.  Not bad for a little over an hour’s worth of fishing in a place I never had been to before.  Earlier in the day I was sure the whole weekend was going to be a bust but instead it turned out to be one of the more enjoyable times I have had fly fishing.  I’ll definitely be coming back up here again to do this.  Doubt it will be this year but the more I think about it, staying home next year and taking long weekends to local spots is sounding pretty good.  Next time I’ll bring my kayak along.  A group from the Michigan Fly Fishing Club were up for the weekend and most of them were fishing the local rivers to avoid the wind.  I found out later that some of them did pretty good.  As for me my friend and I we went to dinner, sat around the bonfire for a bit and then passed out in my camper.  The next morning the wind had picked up overnight and there were now whitecaps in the area I was fishing 12 hours earlier.  I took that as a sign to just pack up the Mobile Steelhead Command Center and head for home.  Via the long way so I could check all the ports along the Thumb to see if anyone was catching anything.

The Sculpin Pattern that caught them all.

 

 

Advertisements




Labor Day Weekend Fin and Feather Extravaganza!

5 09 2014

It’s not to often that I get to combine my favorite past times in to one weekend but when the opportunity presents itself I take advantage of it.  Or in other words, when opportunity knocks……Shoot!

It all started on Friday evening.  Earlier in the week I had made plans to meet up with my friend Dave and his son on the Huron River in Dexter for some smallmouth fishing.  We  had talked to some of the guides at the Huron River Fly Fishing Festival a few weeks earlier so we thought we would give it a shot.  Dave had arrived earlier since I had to work so I met him on the river.  Fishing was slow but we gave it our best shot.  I ended up catching one small fish on a foam hopper pattern I tied up the night before.  Dave caught one as well but I can’t seem to remember what on.  I think it was a streamer patter of some kind.   I didn’t stay long, I still had to pack for my trip north.

The next morning I was up bright and early for my first stop, Auburn Michigan and my friend Barry’s house.  We were going crow hunting so after a quick bite to eat we were on our way.  Our first stop was near Sanford lake on some state land.  We heard crows off in the distance so we took up hiding spots and turned on the caller.  The crows never came in so we packed up and moved on to the next spot, sort of.  When we got to the end of the road there were several crows sitting out in the middle of the road.  We turned around and set up again.  This time they came in but to far out of range.  After a short ride we set up in another area and a couple of crows snuck in behind us.  Barry was able to knock one down and that was it.  Just as we were packing up the storm clouds started to roll in and the rain came down.  Oh well, so much for crow hunting.  I said my good bye’s and headed up to my parents in Oscoda.

The next morning found my father and I on Lake Huron in hopes of catching a few salmon.  We set up about a mile out from the river and ran spoons and plugs.  There weren’t many boats out, only about a dozen and most of them out on the horizon.  We gave it our best shot but all we really did was wash lures.  Around 10 we headed in for breakfast.  A little later, as we were putting the boat away, I heard some crows mouthing off across the street.  I quickly grabbed my stuff and took a short walk.  I found a small group of scrub oaks to hide in and then turned on the crow distress call.  It didn’t take long and soon I had a crow in range.  1 quick shot and he was on the ground.  I missed a second one flying behind him and quickly re-loaded.  A couple of seconds later 2 more came in and after 2 shots they were both down as well.  I love early season stupid crows.  The remaining crows quickly left the area so I gathered everything up and headed home.

The following morning found me standing waist deep in a small inland lake for the early Goose and Teal opener.  This was the first early Teal season in Michigan in almost 50 years and I was going to give it a try.  I had shot both teal and geese in years past on this lake but without doing any pre-season scouting I wasn’t expecting much.  I did have plenty of wood ducks and mallards fly around me but no teal or geese.   It was a pretty uneventful morning except for the part where I waded into a hole up to my neck in mucky water.  What Fun!

After a hot shower and some lunch I had my Dad drop me off at Foote Dam so I could try some more smallmouth fishing.  I took the fly rod along but with the wind picking up I decided to stick to tossing tube baits into all the log jams.  Fishing was pretty easy with lots of smaller bass in the 8 to 10 inch range.  Not exactly the size I was looking for but I was catching them pretty regularly.  Eventually I did find some bigger fish but unfortunately I lost them at the side of the boat.  I still need to remember to set the hook harder.  The main thing is that I was catching more and bigger fish and learning more about the river.  When I first started fishing here all I caught were rock bass and 1 smallmouth.  since then I haven’t caught any rock bass and more smallmouth.  Now I am catching more and bigger fish.  Hopefully soon the bigger fish will out number the smaller ones.  I may even use my fly rod more once I get a little more confidence with the area.  This trip was cut short though by the rain.  About 30 minutes from where I was going to be picked up the clouds opened up and down came the rain, in buckets.  A wet ass twice in one day.  What Fun!

That was the last of my fishing any hunting for the weekend.  Home was a long drive away and I was tired.  I would make a few stops along the way but eventually I got home around midnight.  I had a long day of doctor’s appointments ahead of me and I needed some sleep.  It won’t be long and squirrel, grouse and woodcock will be open and I will be headed north again.  Until then I’ll get some rest and prepare.

Huron Sunrise Dam Water Stupid Crows Smallie





A Unique Way to Get an Accurate Fishing Report.

20 03 2014

Used to be that in order to get any type of a fishing report a fisherman would have to call (yes, actually use a phone) a local bait shop.  This info was iffy at best since the bait shop owner wants to make money and he isn’t going to sell any bait if he says the fishing sucks.  Of course there was always word of mouth, the old reliable “My cousin’s, uncle’s, brother twice removed from his friend’s aunt caught fish yesterday” report.  We all know how well that works.

Today though we have an over abundant amount of information literally at our fingertips.  Thanks to the internet, smart phones and savvy tech nerds we can now access a litany of on-line sources.  Club web sites, message boards, forums, state reports and social media have completely changed getting an accurate fishing report.  Some of it is good but also some of it is bad and when it’s bad it can really be garbage.  The task now is to determine what a credible source is and what isn’t. 

Let’s start with the bad; after all bashing something is a lot easier than giving a source credit, specifically message boards and forums. 

There is more to social media than just Facebook and Twitter.  The advent of the Public Forum has given people the opportunity to post just about anything their heart desires whether it is true or not.  Political rants, bashing the local DNR and fishing regulations, criticizing other fisherman and questioning what someone caught is more the norm nowadays.  I’m not saying they are all like this but there seems to be a growing number of haters out there.  The reason is that a lot of people use these forums for more of a bragging page than anything else.  Someone will come on and say he caught a limit of fish and when asked where he will respond with “I caught them on the Detroit River between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie”.  Gee, thanks for nothing.  For those of you that don’t know that section of river is over 30 miles long.  This kind of thing drives me nuts because the people that post these same vague reports are the same people that are constantly using this source to find and locate fish.  Nothing like spreading the wealth.  Years ago I quit one forum because someone accused me of posting his “secret” location on my club website and ruining the spot.  He saw 3 (that’s right 3) boats on that section of the river the next time he went out and because of me I ruined everything for him.  News Flash, that section of river is right next to a Senior Living Center that is full of spies.  That’s right, spies who look upon that river all day long and tell their kids and grandkids when they see boats out in front of the building fishing.  Second News Flash, fishermen have been catching fish on that part of the river for the last 100 years.  Nothing new there, move along, try again, have a nice day.

Now I’m not saying the info posted is pure garbage but the reader has to sift through the report and pull the useful information.  I’m not talking color, size or exact location.  Those variables change daily if not hourly.  The main thing I want to know is time.  Just how long did it take to catch that limit?  I learned this little tidbit many years ago.  A friend of mine and I were heading out one evening when another boat was just pulling in.  I asked how they did and one guy said we got a 3 man limit as he puffed out his chest.  Another fisherman climbed out of the boat and stretched his back while he complained about being in the boat for 12 hours.  That’s 12 hours for 18 fish or 1.5 fish per hour.  That isn’t exactly tearing them up.   After that evening I ask two questions from any report, how long and what time of day.  I’ll figure everything else out for myself. 

Now for the good and it is a pretty easy solution but one that seems to be lacking for a lot of fishermen.  This one is so easy it’s stupid but for some it seems impossible.

Friends.

Yep, that’s all there is to it.  I’m not talking Facebook friend but people you actually talk to and fish the same areas you do.  Once you build up a group of friends that fish like you do info comes free and easy.  Creating this group is pretty easy too; all you have to do is help and give an honest report.  Pay it forward as they say.  For me this all started when I met a local fisherman called “Sparky”.  He took me fishing on one condition; I would have to return the favor to someone else.  Since that time I have given several seminars and helped many fishermen learn how to catch walleye on my beloved river.  Some have bled me dry of info and then disappeared but there are others that have stuck around and they make it all worthwhile.  I can call, text, e-mail or even yell across the river to any of these guys and they will tell me the where, when, how, why and on what’s that are working for them.  Even during my tournament I have had people tell me what is working for them and I have done the same.   With a group of close fishing buddies it’s all about everyone catching fish, not out doing everyone else (though winning my tournament would be nice).  

I can never understand why some people want to be so secretive.  I know of one old timer that will only fish at night so no one can see where he is fishing and another that purposely hides himself bringing in a fish from anyone who may be watching. 

Really?  Is that necessary?

We all started out the same way, not knowing anything and trying to figure out how to catch fish.  A kind word and some constructive help goes a long way.  A lot more than a turned up nosed and ignored questions.  Granted we can’t change the world but at least we can make our little part of it better.  It’s something to think about the next time someone asks how you did at the dock.  You never know what it could lead too.  I used to keep to myself a lot but thanks to giving a few seminars and helping people out I have standing invitations to fish on a dozen different boats for Walleye, Trout, Steelhead, Perch, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Muskie from Northern Lake Huron to the Western Basin of Lake Erie.  All I have to do is call. 

Never would have happened if I just said I caught fish between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.