What is a Kype? A kype is a hook that forms on the lower jaw of a male trout, salmon or steelhead, during spawning periods. This is their badge of power and dominance, that is unique to only these species—a sign of a warrior. From this mark of strength comes the title of our magazine, KYPE.
VOLUME 8 ISSUE 1, 2017
Kype Magazine Boise, Idaho firstname.lastname@example.org
www.KypeMagazine.com Kype Staff Publisher: Aileen Lane Cover Design: George Douglas Editor: Peggy Bodde Columnist: Marty Heil Columnist: Graham M Moran
Publisher’s Cast: (A.Lane)...................................................................4 Diane Michelin: The Artist Behind the Brush (A.Lane)............................6 Tenkara Wanderings: The Evolution of Tenkara in America (G.Moran).....12 Book Review: Addicted to the Rise: A Dry Fly Book (A.Lane)....................15 Southern Scribbles: The Cottage (M.Heil)..............................................16 Book Review: Fins ‘N’ Grins (A.Lane)......................................................20 All Kinds of Luck (C.Cantella)...............................................................22 Featured Guide: Duane Redford............................................................26
COPYRIGHT Kype Magazine © 2017 MKFlies LLC All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication m a y b e c o p i e d o r reproduced in any way without the written permission from publisher.
Fishing Tenkara in an Inflatable Craft (D.Beaudieu)................................30 Tying the Realistic Salmon Fly (M.Morphew).........................................34 An Unbridled Hope (A.Rosu)..................................................................36 Passion for the Fly: Learning & Teaching (K.Berdine)..............................42 Snook (D.Zielinski)...............................................................................44 Tales of a Size 30 Hatch (G.Baca).........................................................48 Thoughts...Pheasant Tails, Pocket Water & PBR (S.Stankus).....,,,..........53 Road Trippin’ (R.Russell)......................................................................54 39 Pounds of Teeth in a Donut Part II (L.Booth)..................................62
Skwalas: The bug of myth and legends. I thought for the longest time I was searching for Bigfoot; you hear about it but never see them. I heard talk in the fly shop that the Skwalas were hatching so I bought some Skwala flies and went to the river only to never to see a rise to the fly. I had a couple of fish look only to return back to the rock they had come from. Then, I found cutters from River Road Creations and started my quest to make the perfect Skwala and the rest is history. I had made a realistic Skwala and returned to the river. Only this time I had an epic day of fishing and hooked and lost one of the biggest fish on that river. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and the memories those pictures bring back was worth the price of admission. Don’t tell anyone, but they really do exist! Now time to find Bigfoot. ~Ken Held
Publisherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cast When Rock Music, Fly Fishing, and Veterans Unite! by Aileen Lane
Photo by Grant Taylor
Bio: Publisher of Kype Magazine Fly Tyer & Owner of MKFlies Pro Staff Tyer for Deer Creek UK Type of Fishing: Fly Fishing Location: Boise, Idaho Sedona, Arizona Websites: KypeMagazine.com MKFlies.com
Contact Info: email@example.com
hat happens when rock music, fly fishing, and veterans unite? Last Fall, I was very honored to be part of Lanes Laireâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Rockin for Vets! helping bring awareness and raise money for a wonderful organization called Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. Lanes Laire, a progressive, edgy, classic rock band donated a portion of their proceeds from their concert last Fall in Los Angeles toward PHWFF. Kype Magazine reached out to the fly fishing community to help raise more money for this wonderful event. The concert was such a memorable show. It was very touching to listen to veterans Michael Escarcida and Lisa Ornelas share their stories with us and the impact PHWFF had on their lives. And of course, Lanes Laire put on an incredible musical and visual show with so much talent on stage. I would like to give a Heartfelt Thanks to: Kesley Gallagher, Sedona Fly Fishing Adventures, Dream Cast Idaho, Jim Wiley, Les Booth, Mud Dog Flies, Moonlit Fly Fishing, Kenny Berdine, Charles Cantella, Divine Rods, Chris Schatte, and Ryan Russell for their support. And be sure to check out Laines Laire! Click on the YouTube Button to view one of the songs from the show. KYPE
Diane Michelin The Artist Behind the Brush By Aileen Laneby
1. Hello Diane! Thank you so much for taking the time to interview for Kype Magazine! First of all, where did you grow up? I am French Canadian, born in Montreal, Quebec. I grew up with my adoptive parents in a lovely environment outside the city in Laval and was encouraged by both of them to express and educate myself. They didn't go to school past grades 6 and 9, and they knew that a higher education would be a good asset in my future. I was fortunate enough to have parents who gave me a sense of pride. I studied at the University of Quebec and received a BA in Education. I became an elementary teacher for 18 years. This allowed me to teach in France and later in Ontario, where I slowly learned English. Before my teaching career, I went to Paris to study for one year at L'Ă&#x2030;cole des Beaux-Arts. . 2. How did you get into Fly Fishing? What is your most memorable experience in fly fishing? Who is your greatest influence in fly fishing? Where do you enjoy fly fishing the most? I never thought that one day, I would meet my second husband, who was already an avid fly fisherman, and move away from Ontario to be closer to the Sacred Waters of northern British Columbia. We love fishing the wild rivers of the Skeena or the Nass and their tributaries for the last wild steelhead migration still existing. My most memorable experience wasn't necessarily on the river, but as a guest invited to A Graceful Rise, an international exhibition where 50 women from the fly-fishing community were invited by the AMFF (the American Museum in Fly Fishing) in June 2011. These three days spent in Manchester, Vermont was an eye opener for all of us. Meeting the legendary Joan Wulff was a blast. We had lunch together and she spoke about her husband, Lee. I talked about my fear of losing my husband, Deni, to lung cancer. But, after 6 years, he is alive and well with one lung. Miracles exist and fly fishing is a huge part of that. We bought a house on Vancouver Island, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve exercised our mutual passion since 2000.
3. Which came first: fly fishing or art? What do you look for when choose your next subject for painting? Who is your greatest influence in art? I started drawing at the age of 4, after watching my dad draw the head of a lion in just few minutes. I was blown away. I was always fascinated by the artistic scene. After a long career as a synchronized swimmer and coach, I started oil painting to occupy my free time away from the pool. My parents never wanted me to follow an art program, not believing too much in it. But after 18 years of teaching, and in the process of a divorce, I decided to jump into being a painter full time. So, in 1990, I stated my career as a professional watercolor painter. I belong to many art groups and follow many workshops in Ontario (Haliburton Fine School of Arts, Cape Code School of Arts). I also presided for 3 years as the president of BRAVO (le Bureau des regroupements des artistes visuels de l'Ontario: a group of French Visual artists of Ontario) and laterâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;fly fishing came to me as the most important subject to paint.
4. Do you remember the time when you first realized that art was something you absolutely had to do? It is funny how a star shines above your head. Just prior to meeting Deni and starting my life with him, I was at the end of my rope: my money in the bank was dwindling and I was realizing that I couldn't continue alone to do everything (marketing, exhibiting, producing, etc.). I almost quit. But love came along with my husband who became my agent, my life saver, and my best partner in crime. I know how liberating it is to paint: you are in your bubble, you forget everything, and your focus is just a sponge. I finally found my reason to be. 5. Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven't yet? Our life is not long enough to realize all our dreams but I am content. Art has always been part of my upbringing. I also followed for two years, a college program in theater and drama. Producing a play each year in my classroom was part of me and a way to let the students express themselves outside the rigid academic program. My quest to express myself is part of my being for sure. Playing an instrument would have also been sweet.... but what I want to do for the future is to learn more about my craft, be more immersed in the art and participate more in the watercolor scene. KYPE
Female angler, Jennel Swenson, is hopeful while fly fishing with a pink woolybugger (look in the upper left corner) for migrating king salmon in Pulaski, New York as the morning mist burns. KYPE
Beautiful brown from South Eastern Oregon, photos by Rachel Morgan.
The Evolution of Tenkara In America Tenkara Wanderings bBy Graham M. Moran
he Past. There has been a growing interest in a style of fly fishing known as tenkara. Tenkara is a Japanese form of fixed line fly fishing introduced into the United States in 2009 by Daniel Galhardo of Tenkara USA. I was an early adopter of tenkara as a viable form of fly fishing. As an early adopter, I experienced the amazing benefits of tenkara before it became popular. Along with enjoying the awesome simplicity and fun of tenkara, I also witnessed some very negative responses from the Western fly-fishing industry.
T Kype Columist: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tenkara Wanderingsâ&#x20AC;? "Graham Moran is the president and CEO of TenkaraGrasshopper Media, LLC. He also has the responsibilities as the head blogger and administrator of TenkaraGrasshopper.com . If you can't find him at home, he is likely on the stream as a Tenkara USA Certified Guide. If he is not guiding or blogging, he is commonly spending as much time with his wife and children as possible."
In the early days of tenkara in the United States, there was a close-minded attitude about this style of fishing. One fly-fishing luminary even called it a fad. Tenkara was discussed in derogatory tones and was said to be nothing more than cane pole fishing with no connection to traditional fly fishing. Even though there were a number of negative attitudes running rampant in the fly-fishing community, there was a core group of anglers who fully embraced tenkara. Under the unofficial leadership of Daniel Galhardo, those of us who were early converts to tenkara grew from a small cadre to an expanding community of tenkara anglers. Age had no bearing on who became part of this group. Besides the older guys who had been fly fishing their entire lives, there were young people who were just getting into fly fishing. Young kids were being introduced to fly fishing through the medium of tenkara. And with this growth in the tenkara community, another amazing thing began to happen that would virtually blow the fly-fishing industry wide open to the reality of tenkara. Within two years of the introduction of tenkara into the United States, tenkara-specific blogs were popping up all over the internet and the world.
At first many of these blogs were written by anglers who wanted to share the joy of tenkara they were experiencing fishing. In some cases, these blogs blossomed into online business sites. A few of the blogs started selling tenkara- specific gear to online consumers. Tenkara blogs werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the only forums to grow tenkara into business channels. As a number of early American tenkara anglers dove deeper into the practice of tenkara, new business opportunities sprang up. One angler, Brandon Moon of Moonlit Fly Fishing, started creating tenkara-specific furled lines to sell to other tenkara anglers. Streamside furled leaders appeared on the tenkara scene. One particular tenkara blog, TenkaraBum.com, run by Mr. Chris Stewart, was an early blog endeavor that became wildly popular. In the years since the TenkaraBum website went live, I have watched Mr. Stewart become one of the big hitters in the tenkara community. As a blogger myself, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen this website grow into a thriving community of tenkara anglers and consumers. I have been keenly aware of what Mr. Stewart has been doing, and I have not copied anything he has done, but I have followed his lead with my own website, the TenkaraGrasshopper.com. With the growth of tenkara blogs and tenkara accessory companies, another related development showed on the horizon. Guiding tenkara, which had never been offered in America before, became a way for early American users of the tenkara method to share what they had been learningâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;beyond their blogs. Guys like Paul Vertrees, myself, Bob Ivins, and Steve Conrad all became members of the Tenkara USA Guide Network early on. There were many more individuals who joined the ranks of the early tenkara guide family. It was amazing to watch the growth of the Utah Tenkara Guides, consisting of Rob Worthing, Erik Ostrander, and John Vetterli. These guys created a guide service in Utah solely focused on tenkara. It still amazes me to this day how successful they have been in the expansion of their services. The Present. Skip forward to the year 2017, and even more encouraging things are happening in the tenkara world. There are now a number of tenkara rod manufacturers who are competing with each other: Streamside Furled Leaders, Dragontail Tenkara, Teton Tenkara, Zen Fly Fishing, Tenkara Rod Company, and Badger Tenkara. Each company has offerings for the budding and experienced tenkara angler alike. With the growth of the tenkara rod companies, the fly-fishing industry is starting to recognize that tenkara is here to stay. And even those who initially thumbed their noses at tenkara as a fad have come around. Tenkara is now even being recognized by many of the icons of the fly-fishing world with big names that include Pat Dorsey, Lefty Kreh, Tom Rosenbauer, and John Gierach. The fly-fishing industry is slowly embracing the prospect of anglers fishing in the tenkara style. A case in point is the 13
appearance of more than one tenkara company at annual fly-fishing shows around the country. It was amazing to see several tenkara companies at the Denver Fly Fishing Show in early January 2017. I firmly believe that the fly-fishing industry is coming to terms with the fact that the followers of tenkara are growing. The crowds at the fly fishing shows and the number of inquiries made about tenkara in fly shops are proof that interest is on the rise. As a tenkara guide, I could not be happier to see this turn of events in the development of tenkara in the United States, and for that matterâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;around the world. Conclusion. Tenkara has gained a foothold in the United States and around the world and is here to stay. The sport has overcome all the nay-saying and hubris in the traditional fly-fishing arena. I am happy to say that I am a member of the tenkara fly-fishing community and look forward to a bright future for tenkara and fly fishing in general. Share your love of fly fishing and/or tenkara with those around you and watch the world become a better place. Make sure that you stand up for your rights to have access to cold, clean, fishing waters so that those in future times can enjoy the same feelings we get from fishing right now. Always remember, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Tug Is The Drug!â&#x20AC;? Tight lines and Tenkara until next time!!! KYPE
Addicted to the Rise: A Dry Fly Book I
by Aileen Lane
first met Nate Brumley about eight years ago at a fly-fishing show when I started dabbling in fly tying. I greatly admired all the beautiful flies by his company, Dry Fly Innovations. Still do. All the flies they offer are dry flies. Only dries.
I enjoy fly fishing with dries, and I do so at every opportunity I get. But, what about when you don’t see any action on top? And especially in the dead of winter? I, like most fly fishers, will tie on a nymph or streamer instead. Nothing wrong with that, as it is all part of the joys of fly fishing. For me, however, there’s nothing better than seeing the nose of a trout come up to the surface to take my fly. When Nate wrote his book, Addicted to the Rise: A Dry Fly Book, I could not wait to learn about the art of dry fly fishing. I usually like to skim through the pages of a book, checking out photos and any topics that catch my eye. But, Nate’s book was an enjoyable and informative read from page to page. Nate explained very clearly his style of approach, where fish hang out, rise of a trout, delivery style, and dry flies simplified—yes, simplified! How many of us try to fill our fly box with so many variations of the same fly? I, myself, enjoy tying a variety of patterns, but end up actually fishing with only a few—simply changing colors and sizes. Nate’s book includes his fly-fishing journals, where he clearly describes everything he observes on the waters, what he’s looking for and why, his problem solving, and how he selects his flies. He also adds photos of the flies, as well as recipes. One of my favorite chapters is “Fine Details” in which Nate explains in great detail all the things you need to consider to help make your dry fly fishing more successful. This chapter discusses topics that include fly rod set up, important details about flies that will make a difference on the water, and conditions of the environment. Nate has also included a great resource for selecting your flies and organizing your fly box: The Master Index Appendix. It explains the fly categories, how to prep your fly, present it, and how to fish well in different water conditions. Nate includes a very helpful color-coded chart of each fly. Finally, Nate offers a valuable guide for seting up your fly box that will make your fly-fishing experience more efficient and organized. A 90-minute DVD is included which ties in information from his book and a 1-year subscription to his fly-fishing blogs, spanning over 8 years. If you are interested in how to become a more skilled fly fisher overall, I highly recommend Nate Brumley’s book, Addicted to the Rise: A Dry Fly Book. This is not a book that condemns or looks down on other types of fly fishing; it is simply a book on how to make you better at dry fly fishing. KYPE
The Cottage by Marty Heil
Kype Columnist I’ve been tying and fishing since the late 70’s. Blessed to travel and fish all over but my heart lies with the small wild fish of the southern Appalachians. I fish waters big and small every chance I get from coast to coast and across oceans, but my soul sings best in those small wild waters I grew up on. I fish mostly for Salmonids but hit warm water now and then as well. Specks (Brookies) are my true love. I’m a bamboo and dry fly guy mostly but my purist rants are made with my tongue firmly in cheek. I make my home near Nashville, Tennessee (no, I don’t sing or play guitar.) Marty.firstname.lastname@example.org
he brisk morning breeze coming in the window gently stirred the steam rising off the fresh coffee. Amazing how the moor managed to be both lush and desolate at the same time. Hard to tell how long the perfect solitude and routine of daily fishing and life in the tiny rented stone cottage had gone on. Weeks? Months? Long enough that the wound causing the convalescent leave had ceased to be truly painful.
At some point, it had faded to more of an ache and just a little bit of real pain as he waded in the perfectly clear, cold water. The wool uniform trousers didn’t offer much protection but issue was close to free, and the canvas waders the previous tenant had left in the cottage were beyond the faintest of hopes. The best Hardy rod and reel he could afford in London leaned seductively just in sight by the door. It felt as if that last leave before the continent and trenches had been a century ago. Just the thought of the trenches sent an involuntary shiver down his spine, one he’d have tried to hide were he not so perfectly alone. Time to tie a few flies before heading for the water. His Wickham’s Fancy and Iron Blue Duns were poor compared to the remainder of those he’d picked up in London, but the fish didn’t seem to mind all that much. He heard the water before it appeared in the mist. The landlord had seemed amused by the idea of fishing such small water and warned that he’d only find “nae but wee browns.” “You’ll nae see a salmon boy-o,” was a comforting prediction that guaranteed the peace and tranquility his soul needed and none of the jarring noise, cacophony of civilization, and people he seemed less and less able to handle. And no one was around to hear him at night dreaming and waking himself several times in a cold sweat.
It would be ideal to have a trout or two for supper, but the tinned beans were pretty good and there’d been enough death for several lifetimes—he didn’t want to see it at the end of his line. Plus, the gamekeeper was likely to bring some venison again soon. The music of the water and feel of the current biting his leg and tugging his trouser managed to be both painful and utterly comforting at the same time. He stood a few moments soaking the gut leader before casting. There were no rises yet and no need to hurry. No need to rush. He had long since stopped counting days and the end of his leave was so distant that staying at the cottage seemed an eternal possibility. The thought was as heavenly a one as his mind could conceive compared to the mud of the trenches and hell of the gas. The beautifully spotted brown that showed gold high above the water as he leapt crashing down on the fly sparkled and shimmered. Deride wee fish all you like, but the sheer joy of a leaping take from a wild fish of any size is hard to resist if one has any soul at all. Hard not to laugh and smile anytime it happens, let alone on the first cast of the day. Come to think of it, this spot had produced a joyous rise early. It was hard to conceive of a more perfect way to begin a day. He laughed out loud as the brown dashed back under the rock and threw glistening diamonds of clear water in his face. Hard to describe the deep happiness and peace the rising fish and flowing water brought to his heart and soul. Gently, with all the stealth he could muster, he eased up to a boulder to cast to the pool above. The deep slower water always held good fish, but these old fellows could get spooky and required more care and patience than their more excitable younger brethren. It took a good deal of will power to resist lifting early as he saw the shadow detach from the bottom and drift up under the dun gliding down the current: Herculean restraint worthy of a saint. The bigger fish peeled silk off the wildly singing reel at an alarming rate. He turned her just before the current would have made landing her impossible. Releasing her and seeing that big tail take her lazily back to the stygian depths was immensely satisfying. Hard to get his mind around so many hues adorning a single creature this side of heaven. Gold, umber, red, blue, olive, brown, and countless unnamed shades so beautiful and vibrant they defied description. Sometimes a moment of peace and beauty hits the heart and soul so hard that all the pains, scars, and detritus simply fall away leaving one pure and whole if only for a moment. The recurring wet footprints, moved coffee cups, and cold drafts make the little cottage difficult to rent. The small water and wee fish far from salmon attract few fishermen. The locals also claim good whisky tends to vanish. I say sometimes a soul isn’t lost or stuck, but rather right where God wants him to spend some time. Some of Gods souls that have served their time in hell, spend a little time fishing before he brings them home. 17
Not all ghosts are happy but some are. A wee, a month, a hundred years since the trenches…it’s hard to tell when the fish are rising, and you’re at peace. KYPE
A Fisherman’s Psalm By Marty Heil The Lord is my ghillie I wander not alone Amongst His flowing waters Cascading o’er the stone He guides my feet along the path Drawing me toward the light His Angels paint the streamside Wildflowers blooming bright Though I have walked in darkness He has gifted me with love Gently set down on me Winging as a dove I feel his warming gift of Grace Shining warmly, brightly on my face Surely goodness and love they follow me And may His commands flow from me Thanks to His waters and His word I shall wade the glimmering pools of Grace And fish in the glory of His creation With joy and gratitude in my heart and soul All the days of my life Tight lines -m 18
Fins ‘N’ Grins: Searching for Balance Between the Family Life and the Fishing Life
bBy Aileen Lane
Fin ‘N’ Grins, by Charles N. Cantella, is a light-hearted, amusing, and fun to read book filled with a series of adventures about the life of a fly fisher who is trying to balance his passion for fly fishing with his family life. As an avid fly fisher myself, I can truly relate to the author’s pursuit for time on the water. However, after a day of fishing, it’s not the numbers of fish landed that really matters. What truly makes a great fishing adventure is the story behind it, the time spent alone or with friends on the water, and the journey that brought them to that moment. However, you do not have to be a fly fisher to appreciate the stories by Mr. Cantella. His wonderful adventures are a joy to read and well written. It’s a great book to pick up after a long day when it’s time to enjoy some relaxation and humor. KYPE About the Author: Charles N. Cantella is a writer from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he lives with his wife Megan and their children Colin and Anna. His work has appeared in Hatches & Rises, the award-winning newsletter of the Penn’s Woods West Chapter of Trout Unlimited. He may be reached at email@example.com Fins ‘N’ Grins: Searching for Balance Between the Family Life and the Fishing Life is now available on Amazon.com on Kindle and Paperback. Get your copy today! Other Customer Reviews: Just wasn't long enough. Loved the stories and felt he is a guy after my own heart. Flyfishing is a way of life, for some of us. Definitely recommend it for guys that have the bug, ladies too. ~Allen This book takes you on a journey of fishing related escapism. The short stories will bring a smile to your face and leave you longing for more. The stories sound like what if would be like if Jimmy Buffett traded his Ocean rods for fly fishing rods. Well done! ~A.B. Harmer This book is such an easy read. The words flow as if you are with the author as he tells the stories around a campfire. I enjoyed every minute, and will be waiting eagerly for Mr. Cantella's next outdoor adventures. ~A. Miller 20
All Kinds of Luck by Charles N Cantella
Charles N. Cantella is a writer from P i t t s b u r g , Pennsylvania, where he lives with his wife Megan and their children Colin and Anna. His work has appeared in Hatches & Rises, the award-winning newsletter of the Penn’s Woods West Chapter of Trout Unlimited. He may be reached at c.n.cantella@hot mail.com
9:47 p.m. It was almost 10 p.m. when Dean and I found ourselves eating pizza in the corner instead of sitting at the tables like the other diners in Smilin’ Gerty’s Pizzeria. This was due to the fact that Gertrude, (Gerty, of Smilin’ Gerty’s fame), didn’t want us dripping all over her chairs and ruining the carpet. Truthfully, she didn’t want to serve us at all, since we were soaked and stunk of river water and body odor. But ultimately, she decided that river rat money was just as good as anyone else’s money. However, she made it abundantly clear that we were not to sit on the chairs, and we were not to drip on the carpet. She found a piece of cardboard for us to stand on, and Smilin’ Gerty wasn’t smiling at us— that’s for darn sure. So, we stood in silence, scarfing down our pizza, wondering why everything had gone wrong. Was Dean the cause of our bad luck? Was it the banana that had snuck aboard incognito? Was it the palomino trout? Or was it some kind of unholy union of all three? Whatever the cause may be, if I don’t see Dean or a banana for another twenty years, that’ll be just fine with me. Novelist Craig Nova wrote, “Friendships are often formed while fishing.” Not this time, Mr. Nova, not this time. 9:15 p.m. Standing in the parking lot near the take out, our guide, Skeeter, (after securing his tip) informed us in some very colorful language, that if we ever needed a guide again not to call him. Ever. He went on to tell us, in similarly graphic and colorful detail, of several other simply awful alternatives that he would prefer over having to spend another day with two pieces of work like us. The way he said “pieces of work” led me to believe he didn’t mean it as a compliment. The way he tore off out of the lot with wheels spinning, gravel flying, and the boat narrowly missing Dean by a few mere inches further confirmed my suspicions. That the boat missed hitting Dean was just more luck, whether it was good luck or bad luck depends on which of us you asked. 8:55 p.m. “It’s getting dark out here. It’s hard to see the rocks” Dean whined from the bow. “Shut up, Dean, and keep looking! You wanted the front of the boat and you got it! Put on your big boy pants and look out for rocks! The rain is starting up again!” I barked from the back.
BAM! We hit another rock. “DEAN!” shrieked Skeeter “If you’re not gonna be a look out, then get out of the way so I can see where the heck we’re going!” Instead of being shamed into manning up, Dean hunched over and hugged his knees in some sort of pseudo fetal position while Skeeter rowed like mad to get us off the river before dark. People drown on this river every year. Skeeter didn’t want to become one more statistic, though I’m not really sure he was too concerned about me and Dean. 8:35 p.m. “Hey, I think the rain is letting up a little. We should probably make a break for it now,” Dean declared. He was trying to sound like an authority on river travel instead of like the person who had caused us to be soaking wet and hours behind schedule in the first place. But he did have a point: it was the first noticeable break from the rain we’d had in the last forty minutes. Back into the river we waded, hobbling and stumbling over rounded, slippery rocks until we got to where the boat was anchored. While Dean and I stood in the river securing the boat so Skeeter could bail it out, Dean declared that he wanted to sit in the front. Skeeter and I glanced at each other, both of us realizing that fishing was over for the day. Now it was a matter of getting off the river before the storm started up again, and it was too dark to navigate. If Dean wanted the front of the boat, he could have it. 8:00 p.m. There are certain places you don’t want to be when a storm blows up and the lightning starts to fly: near water, under trees, or out in the elements. And that’s exactly where we found ourselves when those tiny rumblings we’d heard all afternoon finally hatched into a full-blown storm. What started as a few haphazard raindrops became a wall of water so thick that for a time neither shore was visible. Rest assured, there are no atheists at times like this. When all you see is water in every direction, you can bet that everyone is praying to someone. Fortunately, Skeeter was able to get us to shallow water which allowed us to anchor, clamor out of the boat, and scramble to shore. The rain was merciless, and the wind delivered it from every direction. As we stood shivering and soaking, Dean chose this moment to further solidify his place as wacko du jour. “You know what we should do? We should build a fire. Does anybody have matches or a lighter?” “I do, Dean.” I grumbled through clenched teeth “…and newspaper and kindling. They’re in my backpack. The one you knocked into the river.” “Oh” he stammered “So I guess they’re not waterproof?” “No Dean,” I mocked. “I couldn’t find any waterproof newspaper.” 6:55 p.m. Thunder was getting louder, echoing off the mountains and rumbling down the river canyon, making it difficult to judge just how close the storm was. But with the cloud ceiling dropping and the wind picking up, Skeeter made the call that we needed to high tail it down river. We donned what little rain gear we had. But where was Dean? We screamed and shouted his name to no avail. Dread at what may have happened to our maligned companion settled like a rock in our collective stomachs. Last time we saw him, Dean had waded to the far shore to work over a rising fish. But now he was gone. He was under strict orders to stay within sight of the boat. Did he hook something big and follow it downstream and out of sight? Not likely with the way our luck had turned this afternoon. Maybe he’d been knocked off his feet, hit his head on a rock and was being swept downstream toward the rapids and eventually the 20foot waterfall… Again, not likely with the way our luck had soured. So, with a storm bearing down on us, and with time no longer on our side, Skeeter had no option but to cross the river and look for Dean, all the
while burning valuable daylight. Keeping visually locked in at the last spot we'd seen Dean, Skeet struggled with crosscurrents, rocks, and sandbars to keep us on course. Halfway there, we spotted Dean coming out from behind the shoreline shrubs. He smiled, waved and gestured to the roll of toilet paper in his hand. “Sometimes you gotta answer Mother Nature’s call!” he joked as he waded back out toward the boat. “Yeah but you always answer your guide’s call! Get in the damn boat!” Skeet shouted. He was not joking. Skeet glared at me, and I shrugged. Dean boarded, and we headed down river in silence as the first drops of an hour-long deluge began. 2:15 p.m. Skeet game-planned our afternoon as the final bites of lunch were being finished. “Below here, the river widens and shallows up a bit. There’s only a few channels the boat can get through so I can anchor, and you guys can wade if you want. With this nice weather, you guys will dry up in no time.” He looked directly at Dean, who was unwrapping a muffin he pulled from his backpack. “Stay within sight of the boat. If you can’t see me, I can’t see you. Sometimes you can see me. and I still can’t see you. It’s a big damn river. It’s your responsibility to keep yourself visible and to listen. Do you understand?” Dean nodded. “None of that stuff you pulled over at the island, jumping out of the boat and all.” Dean nodded again, while taking a bite of the muffin, sending a brigade of crumbs tumbling out of his mouth. “What are you eating? I don’t remember bringing muffins.” “Had ‘em in my backpack. Nut bread muffins from the bakery in town, I got one for each of us. Want one?” “Nut bread, huh? Sure. Toss me one.” Dean lobbed a muffin to Skeet, who quickly swerved to avoid the projectile, allowing it to land in the river. “What’d ya do that for? I woulda eaten that.” Dean whimpered. “The bakery in town puts bananas in their nut bread. Bananas are bad luck, nimrod! I specifically said no bananas! Now toss the other muffin in the river and get as many of those crumbs out of the boat as you can before you curse the boat!” Duly disciplined, Dean sacrificed the muffins to the river and picked up a few crumbs and tossed them into the river as we ventured forth in search of trout. The fishing would be harder now than it was in the morning, Skeet said. Dean had cursed the boat by bringing those damn banana nut muffins. 1:15 p.m. As we rounded the bend, the island came into view. Gorgeous and tree-covered with a sandy beach that promised the perfect setting for lunch, the island called to us. Apparently, it had called to Dean a little too loudly because before anyone expected it, he leapt over the gunwale and into the gin clear water, expecting to wade that last few yards. The problem with gin clear water is that six-foot-deep water doesn’t look six-feetdeep. So, a very scared, very wet Dean tried to scramble back into the boat pulling my backpack into the river in the process. Chalk it up to bad luck. Another problem with crystal clear water is that you can see a back pack on the bottom of the river, but it’s still a pain in the ass to retrieve. Luckily, Skeeter had a Shepard’s hook of sorts and was able to haul it back up, soggy, but intact. Everything was there, soaked, but intact, except for the zipper-pull that my daughter had made just for my fishing backpack. “It’s a good luck charm. It will keep you safe, Daddy,” she told me. It did keep me safe, from everything but Dean. But now my good luck charm, with all its inherent good luck, was nestled somewhere among the rocks on the bottom of the river. Skeet just looked at me as he handed me the bag, “He’s your friend.” I smiled weakly. It was my fault Dean 24
was here. I had no defense against that. After landing at the beach, lunch was served. What a glorious day to be on the river! I mean, backpack incident aside, we had an awesome morning with smallmouth, browns, rainbows, and even a palomino trout. Skeet wasn’t too crazy about the palomino. “Crazy voodoo fish,” he called them. “Banana fish,” he said. “Nothing but bad luck,” he claimed. We just laughed. Silly superstitions. Who believes that stuff anyway? It was a good, solid fish. It jumped, fought, and ran, just as well (maybe better) than the others. I know there’s a lot of mystery and superstition around fishing, but seriously? Whoever heard of a bad luck fish? 12:10 p.m. The cast, the drift, the mend all looked perfect. Maybe Dean wasn’t such a bad guy after all. A little quirky—yes—but at least he was a decent fisherman. And then his line went tight, and he was into yet another fish! What an awesome morning! The fish were active and hungry. Easy, but not too easy. Then we saw that he was solidly into a bright orange palomino trout. We cheered! Skeeter groaned and quickly netted and released the fish, without even getting the fish on board and without any chance for a photo. “Why don’t you like palominos? Are they bad luck?” Mocked Dean. “Today could be the best day I’ve ever had fishing! Maybe today will wind up being our best fishing day ever!” he laughed as Skeet explained that palominos look a little too much like bananas, and he’d just as well avoid anything even remotely reminiscent of bananas. Call it what you want, but somehow Dean’s comments must have angered the god of karma, because from then on, our day had taken on a decided turn for the worse. 7 a.m. “Hey guys! Glad you’re here. My name’s Skeeter. I’ll be your guide. I understand you guys went to school together but then went your separate ways. Now twenty years later, you’re playing catch up. So, I guess this trip will be a reunion! Glad to have you along. Fishing’s been good the last few days. The guys at the shop have been reporting some nice fish. Couple of browns nudged the twenty-inch mark. We’ve been having a string of good luck lately. Weather has been steady, with nothing on the radar but blue skies.” And as an afterthought, he knocked on the wood of the oak tree (fishermen as a general rule are a superstitious lot). “So I hope no one brought along any bad luck, bad karma, or bad juju with them. No bananas tucked away for a snack, or anything like that.” Dean and I just laughed. Bananas? What kind of bad luck could bananas bring? KYPE 25
Duane Redford Minturn Anglers, Minturn Colorado USA Senior Guide and Guide Manager I guide mainly in the beautiful Vail Valley, on the Eagle River in central Colorado. There’s roughly 70 miles of the Eagle River freestone to fish from Leadville to Gypsum, Colorado. We catch smaller Brown Trout and Brookies up high at elevations over 10,000 feet and the size of the fish and the Rainbow and Cutthroat strains become larger and more prevalent as you fish your way downstream to elevations bordering 6000.’ The middle sections of the river hold fantastic trout and a few miles of private water only Minturn Anglers can wade. The lower sections of the river return to un-crowded public water and holds good numbers and sizes of both Rainbows and Browns. The Eagle River is a rough and tumble blue line that has plenty of fish and plenty of bugs to feed them. It’s a well-kept secret. I got my first fly rod when I was nine years old. I grew up fly fishing the lakes and streams in the White Mountains of Arizona, and my love for chasing trout has never faltered. In fact, it has become more powerful as I age. I was a school teacher and coach for twenty two years, and retired to become a full time guide. To me, guiding is about teaching; it’s as simple as that. It’s just as rewarding for me to have a first-timer client catch a fish on a nymph drift, as it is for an elite client to catch one tucked in an impossible spot, on the surface. It’s about the pursuit and controlling the variables in a systematic way that continues to drive me to learn, and the more I learn, the more I teach. As I grow older, the real challenge in fly fishing is to overcome what Mother Nature throws at me. I don’t have control over what she’s going to do, but I do have control over how I deal with less than perfect conditions. So in my challenges lie my rewards. The first book I wrote was a compilation of over five years guiding on a tough, hard hit tail water on the Front Range of Colorado. The famous South Platte is a great place to cut your teeth guiding, because each day is a challenge. I kept impeccable notes in a journal, and began to see trends, patterns, and a systematic step-by-step approach to success. As I wrote it down, The Fly Fishers’ Playbook was born. This book has been a huge reward in that I get to travel the country speaking about fly fishing allowing me about thirty presentations a year. I am currently cranking out my next book that deals with that which is hidden in plain view in fly fishing. Hopefully, it will be completed by the end of 2017. I have a pile of memorable days on the river, but one stands out that I’d like to share. I was with a long time client named John on the South Platte River downstream of Deckers, Colorado. Every morn26
ing for the past three weeks the Blue Wing Olives would begin to pop at exactly forty seven degree water temperature around ten in the morning. You could bank on it. Therefore, I was carrying two rods — a three fly in-line nymph rig, and the other a two fly double dry rig. We’d nymph in the morning until the water hit its mark before switching to the double dry rig for the surface action when the time was right. This day, for some reason, the forty seven degree water temperatures came and went without a single fish nose poking the surface. Mother Nature had decided something different for this day, and held the Blue Wings back. We still caught fish under the indicator until it became time to head back to the truck for lunch. After lunch, I decided we would move back upstream to where we left off, and began to blind nymph a large bend. Soon, I began to see Blue Wings coming off all around us, and the fish began to greedily slurp the duns. I looked behind me on the bank for the double dry rigged rod, and noticed that I had left it back at the truck. “Not to worry, John.” I said. “Want to have a little fun?” John nodded in agreement and I set out changing the nymph rig. I was running a San Juan Worm, a black soft hackled Pheasant Tail, and a brown foam- back emerger. I discarded the weight, slid the indicator almost all the way to the fly line, and “greased” the San Juan and the tippet between the flies with a silicon floatant. Knowing this rig would float within a couple of inches under the surface for only three feet or so, I explained to John that we need to cast three feet above the fish we pick out, minimize movement, and only show the fish the flies. We stayed there for a good portion of the afternoon, picking off fish after fish. The skinny rig was born, and has been in my bag of tricks since that day. Hundreds of clients have enjoyed the skinny rig, and it was special this past October as I filmed John hooking a fish on the skinny, for a presentation I developed. As I mentioned earlier, I get a kick out of every level of angler moving trout on a fly rod. I simply enjoy time wading in the river because we can approach it systematically in a cause-effect relationship. Whether we fish for a half or full day, we will take a measured, full on river assault approach. We may nymph, dry/drop, and streamer fish a run before we proceed to the next one in a calm and relaxed manner. If you fish with me for a half or ¾ (6 hours) day, I’ll certainly have snacks waiting for you; if we book a full day, lunch will be provided. 27
For lunch, we will find a nice place to set-up near the river; bank-side lunches usually consist of a good sized sub sandwich, fruit cup, Greek pasta salad, chips of your choice, and dessert. Cold beverages are available upon request. At times, my clients will desire a more in-depth meal, and we will grill steaks or chicken, have corn on the cob, potato salad, and my wife’s delicious “dump-brownies” to go along with cold beverages. Every day on the river is a blessing, I really feel that way. The older I get, the more I enjoy sitting on the bank soaking in everything the river has to offer. My goal as a guide is to strive to raise the level of every angler I’m with, every time out. I enjoy the challenge of fly fishing, the opportunity to fish with folks from all over the world, and especially time in the great outdoors. Fear No Water! KYPE Contact Information: 970-827-9500 Minturn Anglers 303-868-2524 Duane’s Cell# firstname.lastname@example.org @flyfishersplaybook on Instagram Author- The Fly Fishers’ Playbook 1st and 2nd Editions, Stackpole www.askaboutflyfishing radio broadcast www.flyfishersplaybook.wordpress.com Watch Duane on Youtube Fly Designer with Montana Fly Company
Fishing Tenkara in an Inflatable Craft By Daniele Beaulieu
Montreal, Quebec, Canada I started fly fishing western style in 2000. In 2014 as started fishing exclusively Tenkara after I saw that style of fishing in a fly fishing show in Quebec, Canada. I bought myself 3 rods and from them never stopped. I started my little business selling Tenkara rods and accessories called Tenkara Canada.net Avid of Tenkara, I do a lot of fishing in rivers all across New England, USA I do some conference, seminar, happening and fly fishing shows in the province of Quebec, Canada to let people learn more about Tenkara fly-fishing.
am a river fly fisher, which means 95% of the time my feet are in a creek, stream or river, but the summer of 2016 was awful, as the temperature and humidity made the water hot and low. It was so bad that the rivers I fished in were almost empty, so I decided to take my float tube and inflate pontoon boat to explore ponds in northeastern NY, more precisely, the Adirondacks: a giant playground with access to many ponds.
One advantage of inflatable crafts is the number of pockets where you can put things such as water, a raincoat, something to eat and much, much more. These crafts are easy to transport as you don't need to have a big truck or even a roof carrier. I learned to love fishing from these crafts, and here are a few helpful tips to help you fish tenkara successfully from an inflatable craft: How to fish tenkara from an inflatable craft: Cast where you want the line to go or by letting the line fall into the water and then palm away. Don't forget to put your rod in at an angle if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re fishing for big fish. When fishing from an inflate pontoon, you have your oar in your hands, so put your rod end underneath one of your legs and the rod tip on the top of one of the inflate keels. Don't forget to maintain tension on the line when landing a fish, which means if the fish swims toward you, step back and palm away from the fish. Don't let the fish go behind the float tube or pontoon.
Safety: • Remember that tenkara rods are an electrical hazard, so be careful if you are in the middle of the pond. If a storm hits quickly, just throw your rod in the water; they float. • Always wear a life jacket. • Keep a rope in the boat in case someone has to tow you. • Keep patches on hand in case of a leak. • Do not overinflate the craft in warm weather because warm temperatures will cause some inflation. Pros and Cons Float tubes: • Small and lightweight. If you’re carrying the tube through a trail network, like those in the Adirondacks, a float tube is the perfect choice. • Tubes make slower progress in bigger ponds and shouldn’t be used in ponds larger than 20 acres. • You’re submerged in the water, so beware of leeches if you are fishing in shorts. Inflatable Pontoons: • Pontoons are faster than float tubes and work well in bigger ponds. • You sit out of the water, so navigating through lily pads and undergrowth is easier. • You can palm in both ways. • Pontoons are compatible with rivers. • These watercrafts are heavier, bigger, and require more time to assemble and disassemble For additional tips, see one of my online videos: Float Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dME3F7WwDSg Inflatable pontoon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3sIuGLGsIo
Locally owned Fly Fishing Guide Service for Sedonaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beautiful Oak Creek Canyon and Verde Valley. Also serving Northern Arizona and Silver Creek in the White Mountains. Book it & Hook it! www.sedonaflyfishingadventures.com Sedona, AZ 86351 928-451-0492 email@example.com
Tying the Realistic Salmon Fly by Mike Morphew
Mike now lives in a quaint little town in Texas, and serves as board member of the Austin Fly Fishers Club. Mike ties at local shows as well as being a regular at the Sowbug roundup in Arkansas. Stop by Mike’s website at www.mm-customflies-realistics.com
am originally from England and have been fly tying and fishing for trout, salmon, and saltwater fish for as long as I can remember. I am self-taught and was introduced to the art of tying at the age of 12 when I watched the master, John Veniard, tie at a show in London. I stood for hours mesmerized by his skills at the vise, and at the end of his session, he gave me all his scrap materials. That was it. I was “hooked.” There was no Internet in those days, so I scavenged local libraries to seek knowledge, and then of course, I practiced and practiced. Fifteen years ago, I became fascinated with tying “ultra realistic” insects as a challenge to my tying skills. I found that the intricate thread work I needed to tie realistics helped me enormously when it came to tying standard flies. I tie realistic patterns mounted in box frames or glass domes for clients. They make great conversation pieces. Of course, these are not for fishing but for presentation, as I would not like to lose one of these in a bush or tree. In 2003 I was asked to create a salmon fly display for Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, which I created and then presented to her. I am the recipient of the International Federation of Fly Fishers Bronze and Silver awards, and I’m working on my Gold. Although I find it fun and challenging to tie realistic flies, my true passion is tying and creating patterns for trout—my first love when it comes to casting a line across a river or lake. I am a pro-team member of Deer Creek, which produces the best UV resin and is used in the production of the stonefly. The large stonefly (Pteronarcys Species) that I have tied for this article is a fascinating tie, not only because of the details required, but also because I like to think of the days when I have witnessed huge hatches whilst fishing and have caught samples to take back to the tying bench to copy.
Mike Morphewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Realistic Stonefly Segmented body: Swiss straw / raffia, tied onto wire to create the detached body Tail: stripped hackle stem Legs: broom bristles and thin tubing/ for larger patterns I use broom bristles inserted into porcupine hair Eyes: very small mono nymph eyes Thorax: built up with vernille and covered with Swiss straw Wings: the ones I have used in the example are from Hemingways, but sometimes I will cut acetate sheet to shape, score with a needle to create the veinin, and color with a Copic pen Antenna: the fine points from peccary hair The thorax is coated with Deer Creek resin, and the whole fly is colored with Copic pens to recreate the natural colors. KYPE 35
An Unbridled by Allen Rosu
he charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope. – John Buchan
Allen is working on completing a collection of short stories. During his free time, you can find him on one of the many rivers and lakes in northeast Ohio. firstname.lastname@example.org
The faint sound of the rushing river could be heard in the background. The air smelled of the spring thaw—earthy, warm, and new. Mike looked forward to the first fishing trip of the year. It felt like a new beginning. The past didn’t matter; it was a rebirth. A new future that could be created without any debts to the past. An unbridled hope. As he walked around the bend, Mike stood on a hill overlooking the Chagrin River that wound through the valley below. This was the kick-off moment of the trip every year. The water looked like an emerald ribbon in the setting sun. His eyes followed the curves of the river to his favorite spot. A fly fisherman stood there, knee deep in the water, casting into a small pool at the bottom of a set of rapids. The pool had boulders where the steelhead trout would hide as they alternated between swimming in the current and resting before they continued their journey upriver. The excitement of the first fishing trip of the season took hold, and Mike’s pace quickened along the dirt path that would take him down to the river. The trees at the top of the valley had begun to bud, while the ones nearer to the valley floor were still trying to recover from the cold winter. Mike broke from the dirt path through an opening in the thicket. Branches scraped his waders, as he walked on last autumn’s leaves blanketing the ground. The path gave way to a bed of river rocks of various shapes and sizes, worn smooth by years of river current washing over them. He slowed his pace so he wouldn't twist an ankle. As he neared the water, the sounds of the rushing river drowned out his footsteps. The smell of clean water filled the air. As Mike neared the
fisherman, he noticed a familiar bushy, white beard. Mike realized he had seen the man on the river before. An older man named Walter. Walter had on waders and a heavy plaid shirt. He wore a light-blue fishing hat, with flies of different colors hooked to a white band that circled his crown. Mike stood at a distance and admired the smoothness of Walter’s casts. The casts were perfect, as he positioned the fly behind a small rock rising out of the water on his left. Walter watched his fly float downstream, then pulled it from the water once his fly line went taut. Mike watched him for a few minutes as he repeated the process. Fly casting was its own art form, and Walter was a master. Mike walked along the opposite bank towards Walter. Even though this part of the river measured over 50 feet across, it wasn't considered good etiquette to fish across from another fisherman. Mike cupped his hands, so he could be heard across the river, “You mind if I fish on this side, just below you?” “Heck, no, I don't mind. The more the merrier," Walter replied, without interrupting his fishing. “Thanks! Any luck today?” “A few, but I expect them to turn on anytime now.” The hour before sunset promised some of the best fishing for steelhead during the spring. Mike set up on the opposite side of the river, downstream enough so he wouldn't interfere with Walter’s fishing. His hands shook from excitement as he pulled out one of his fly boxes. It had been almost six months since his last fish. Way too long. Different colored flies of various shapes and sizes lay in the box greeting him, waiting to be selected. The water was a clear green, so he decided on an olive- colored wooly bugger. The body of the wooly bugger imitated a small caterpillar, two inches in length. The front half of the lure was the body with a small hook and a tiny, gold-colored, beaded weight placed at the top of the fly resembling the head. The back half of the fly had an olive-colored feather designed to cover the hook and flutter in the water. Mike’s hands trembled with excitement as he tied his line to the fly. His attention was diverted by the sound of splashing water and a howl of excitement from Walter. A fish broke the river's surface, and the fight began. The chrome-colored steelhead, a foot and a half long with a dark green back, leapt again from the water as it tried to shake the fly hooked into the corner of its mouth. Walter’s fly rod arched under the pull of the fish, and he let out a loud rumbling laugh. The fish swam back and forth in the current as it tried to loosen itself from the fly. Walter reeled in line with each pass of the fish, until it finally flopped in the shallow water at his feet. Mike watched as Walter reached down and grabbed the slippery fish on the first try with an experienced hand. In seconds, Walter removed the hook, then knelt to place the steelhead back into the current
where it swam away, disappearing into the depths of the river. "I have a camera,” Mike called out to Walter. “I could take a picture of the next one if you want." "Nah, I have enough pictures, but thanks," Walter said, as he checked his fly to make sure it wasn't bent or broken. Again, he cast back behind the small rock he had been targeting, and the fly landed exactly where it had countless times before. Mike began casting his olive colored fly about 20 feet out and to the right, toward a dark- colored spot near the middle of the river. He felt the fly hit bottom, and pictured it drifting and bouncing off the rocks until a fish would spot it and take the bait. He reeled in to cast again, when he heard Walter hook into another fish. “Ha, ha, ha! I told you they would turn on soon,” Walter laughed. “Always about this time before sunset.” Mike watched as Walter’s steelhead did a similar dance as the last one. Again, Walter landed and released it quickly. With a quick flick of its tail, the steelhead swam upstream into the current and disappeared. The thought of changing to a different colored fly crossed Mike’s mind, but he decided to stay with the olive wooly-bugger. If he didn't get a strike, he would change it to something darker. He watched as Walter caught three more steelhead, each time bellowing a loud, rumbling laugh that echoed through the valley. The fish he caught were getting progressively bigger. Mike estimated that the last one Walter caught exceeded two feet in length and weighed at least five pounds. Mike decided to ask Walter what type of fly he had been using. He waded across the river downstream so as not to disturb any fish that were around. The current of the river was strong, and it pushed against his legs. He reached the other side and walked along the bank until he reached Walter. “You're really catching them today. What's your secret?” Walter looked up at him, the smile almost hidden underneath a bushy white beard. A small patch of yellow stained the right side of his mustache. “Young man, I'm over 80 years old, and I've been fly fishing on this river for most of those years. If you got a light, I'll give you my secret.” “Deal,” Mike reached into his inside his tackle box and pulled out a box of matches he kept there in case he needed to make a fire. “Thanks, kindly,” Walter pulled a pipe out of his pocket, and clenched it between his teeth at the stained part of his mustache. The smell of cherry wafted around them as he puffed on the pipe until it stayed lit. The cloud of smoke dissipated. Walter handed the box of matches back to him. Mike held up a hand and said, "Keep ‘em." "Thank you,” Walter said as he tucked the matches away in his shirt pocket. “So here's my secret," Walter held up a black wooly-bugger, two-thirds the size of the one Mike had been using. Walter turned it between his fingers and Mike saw the evening light reflect off the sparkles of blue mixed in with the black. The fly didn’t have a bead-head to weigh it down. “On a bright day, this time of the evening, you can't lose throwing this fly. What are you using?” Mike showed him the larger, olive color fly. “Ah, that’s why,” Walter said. “You need to go smaller, darker, and don’t use any weight. You’ll get ‘em.” “That’s it?” “That’s it. Sometimes, it’s all in the little details.” 38
“That's a nice-looking fly,” Mike said, “where can I buy some?” "You can't," Walter said. "Maybe something close to it, but I make these.." “It's a nice piece of work. I still need to learn how to tie flies.” "It's easy once you play around with it," Walter said. “I tie these watching TV anymore. Could do it blindfolded.” Walter opened his fly box and plucked a few flies out of it, “Here, take these.” handing him four of the flies. “Let me pay you for them at least?” “Nah. I like to teach newbies how to steelhead fish. Just pass it on to a newbie someday when you come across one.” “Thanks. My name is Mike, by the way.” It was obvious Walter didn’t remember him from a few years ago. “Mike–I'm Walter.” “Thanks again for the flies.” “Like I said, put that one on, and I can almost guarantee you're going to get one,” Walter looked in the direction of the setting sun. “It's about time for them to feed too. You'll see. It'll be like Mother Nature flipped a switched, and they'll be all around us. We should get set up.” “Where will I be out of your way?” “You're not in the way, go ahead and set up where you were. You'll probably see the fish first, so just cast in front of them, and let this fly drift in front of their nose. They'll think its dinner, and take it!” “I guess I’ve got no excuses now,” Mike laughed. “Thanks, Walter!” Mike crossed the river, and positioned himself so that he and Walter were across the river and to each other’s right. Mike replaced his fly with the one Walter had just given him. He cast out the fly, which didn't go as far as the larger olive one. Then he got used to the fly tapping along the bottom of the river. The steelhead showed up, just like Walter said they would. At first Mike saw a few shadows to his left, creeping towards him. The shadows glided in and out of the strongest current that ran in the center of the river. He stopped fishing for a moment to watch as the shadows paired up, split apart, or tucked themselves in behind a boulder near the bottom of the river. The steelhead could have easily seen him had it been brighter. Mike decided to test his luck and move closer. “As long as I don't step into the river, they shouldn't see me,” he told himself. Mike cast out towards his right and watched as the fly drifted back towards his left into a hover of a dozen steelhead. The fish were holding around a large boulder in the middle of the river. Small, dark shadows darted and swirled around the fly, as if they wanted to play with it. The fly drifted through all the steelhead, but none of them took the bait. Mike pulled in his line and cast the fly back up river. The fly drifted through the cloud of steelhead another six times without any of them trying to take it. Doubt entered Mike’s mind, and he thought about switching to another fly. The thought of standing next to the stream with steelhead swimming all around as he tied on a new fly didn’t appeal to him. He decided to keep casting with the one Walter had given him. The steelhead lined up behind the large boulder, facing into the current. To make sure the fly could get down deep enough after it passed the boulder, Mike added a small pellet-sized lead weight onto the fishing line eighteen inches above the fly. He clamped on the weight and cast out ahead of the boulder. Mike watched as the fly floated down the main current in the river. It dropped behind the boulder. The line stopped. He pulled back hard on his fly rod to set the hook. The line went tight, but the fly didn’t budge. Mike held the rod steady for a few seconds. The line still didn’t move. He knew then he’d hooked the boulder. Mike reduced the tension off the rod. He tried to loosen the fly from the rock by waving the 39
tip of the fly rod around, but the hook wouldn’t come loose. Pointing the rod at the rock, he held the line tight and took a few steps backwards. Tension built up on the fishing line until it snapped. Mike grabbed the end of the line as it floated around in front of him. He opened his fly box and pulled out another one of the flies that Walter had given him. He tied on the new fly and added a smaller weight onto his line, this time a foot above the fly. Mike took two steps to his left so the boulder would now be a few feet to his right. He cast the fly to the right of the boulder and watched as it drifted left, across the boulder, and dropped down behind it. On the third pass, the fly stopped again. He raised the tip of the fly rod high into the air. The tension of the line bent the rod into an arc. Mike could feel that the line wasn’t moving. Hung up again. Mike could feel the fly line begin to give under the tension of the rod. He looked down to see where his yellow colored fly line disappeared into the water. Just a few feet in front of him, the last light of the evening reflected off the side of the largest steelhead he had ever seen. Mike felt the fish pull back against the rod as it righted itself behind the boulder. He could barely see the outline of the fish as it floated against the current, either indifferent or unaware that it had been hooked. Mike pulled up on the rod tip again to apply pressure. The fish didn’t budge. He lowered the rod tip to a 45-degree angle, and tried taking a step backwards. The tension on the line built until the fish turned enough to reflect the light off its bright silver flank. He managed to move the fish, but it resisted, determined to go back behind the boulder. The fish continued to pull against the line and slid past the boulder into the middle of the river where the current ran strongest. It realized that it was hooked, and darted up river. A large, bulging wake on top of the water caught Walter’s attention. “You got one, Mike?” Mike didn’t have time to reply, but he didn’t need to. The steelhead jumped out of the water in front of Walter and fell back into the river with a large splash. The fish pulled the line from the reel so fast that there wasn’t anything Mike could do except hold on with both hands. The fly line ran through the guides as the drag on the reel let out a high-pitched whine that Mike had never heard before. The fish swam past Walter and continued up river. “Whoo wee!” Walter said. “That’s a hot one!” “I’ve never caught one this big!” “I’ll bet you she’s at least 15 pounds!” Walter shouted. “Don’t try and sauce her. Take your time.” Walter reeled in his line to make sure he didn’t get tangled up. “I’m just trying to hang on,” Mike said, as he watched the fish continue up river. He looked down at his reel and watched as the bright yellow fly line continued to be peeled off without any sign of stopping. “Can you turn her? If you can point her nose downstream, it’ll wear her out quicker.” “I’ll try,” Mike said. He tightened up the drag so the reel would be resistant against the pull of the fish and let out less line. Mike took care not to tighten it to the point that the line would break. He saw the end of the yellow fly line, where it attached to the white backing. The line continued going out, but slower. “I’m into my backing now. I’ve never seen that before.” “You got a good one there,” Walter said. “Is she slowing down at all?” “A little,” Mike said, walking upriver towards the fish. Walter set his fly rod down at the river’s edge and picked up a net he had there. “I’ll try and net her for you, if you want.” “Thanks. I can use the help.”
Like a baseball reaching its apex before falling back to the ground, the fish stopped its progress upriver and began drifting back towards them. Mike reeled in the line as quickly as he could but lost the weight of the fish on the other end. The yellow fly line covered up his backing again on the reel, and Mike breathed a sigh of relief. “Is she still on?” Walter asked. “I’m not sure,” Mike said, reeling in line. The tip of Mike’s fly rod began to bounce again as the fish jumped out of the water about 30 feet from them. “I guess that answers that,” Walter bellowed a laughed. Mike applied even pressure on the rod, turning the large steelhead out of the current and downstream. The fish submitted and drifted towards him with the river’s current. “You must really have her hooked well,” Walter said. “I thought she was going to take you to Pennsylvania!” “I know it,” Mike grunted. “She’s a fighter.” The fish continued to swim towards him, until they both saw a large dorsal fin sticking out of the pool of water between them. “She is a big one,” Walter said. “Let me see if she’s played out,” Mike said, as he pulled back on the fly rod. He followed the yellow line with his eyes into the pool. A large tail emerged from the water. It looked wider than both of his hands put together. Mike saw his fly, “Looks like I have her snagged underneath the tail.” “I figured that’s why her tail popped out of the water first,” Walter said, as he waded through the pool towards the fish with his net, “I think I can net her for ya.” He leaned out with the net to scoop up the fish. The steelhead spooked and ran, this time downstream. The drag on Mike’s reel whined again as line stripped off the reel. The fish headed towards a set of rapids. Both fishermen followed the fish on either side of the river. “Looks like she still has some fight in her,” Walter said. “You need to keep her out of those rapids or you’ll lose her.” Mike pulled back hard on the rod to try and halt the steelhead’s progress towards the rapids. He felt the weight of the fish increase as the current pushed it downstream. He walked over the slippery rocks towards the fish, reeling up line as he went. The fish drifted only a few feet away from the rapids. The current pushed the steelhead onto a large shallow area of limestone where it ran aground. Even in the setting sun, its large silver body shone on top of the limestone, its gills opening and closing. The steelhead’s nose pointed downstream as an inch of fast running water ran around it on both sides. Mike walked up behind the steelhead, keeping tension on his rod to try and hold it in place. The large body of the fish began to wriggle, sliding it across the limestone and into the deeper, fast running current of the rapids. Mike’s line snapped and the rod whipped straight. The steelhead swam away leaving a large wake that the turbulent rapids swept away. KYPE
Passion for the Fly Learning and Teaching by Kenny Berdine
hose who have this passion know: fly fishing, like so many other hobbies, takes a lot of practice and learning. Practice is the best and only way to get familiar with the equipment you use. I live in Washington, Pa and have been a fly fisherman since I have been 12yrs old and tying flies for almost as many years. I have always been a freshwater type of person, mostly for trout, but recently started chasing everything that swims! Catch me on Facebook, Instagram or twitter I am the owner of Fly Tiers Anonymous www.flyfishing.flytiersanonymous.com www.flytiersanonymous.com
Your journey starts by going to a local fly shop where you can choose the right fly rod and flies suitable for the water and fish you want to catch. The fly shop employee should be able to help you choose the right equipment and get your fly rod ready to go. Once you’re home with your new purchases, head to the yard for some casting practice. Casting lessons may be in order, and most shops have classes or will help with this. Now you’re ready for the next part of your journey: head for the water. Even before you start fishing, you’ll want to learn what to look for and the questions to think about. It helps to go with a seasoned fly fisher. You can also talk to people or look for what’s on the water, in the water, and around the water. Your nearest water may be a river, pond, lake, or a mountain stream. What are the conditions? Is the water low and clear, calm, high, or muddy? What, if any, hatches are going off. These questions and observations are all part of the learning process. All of these factors affect how you fish the flies you fish with. Learning the water is valuable: where the fish are and how to cast to them. Now would be a good time to learn some insects and the flies that match them. Again, your local shop or fly fishing community can help you select flies in the correct color and sizes. Then, you’ll move on
to learning the various leaders, tippets, and knots to use. Well, are you ready to fish? Seems like a lot to learn just to go fishing, but after learning and practicing, fishing is like most things and becomes second nature. There are many things to learn, and I have only touched the surface. Fly fishermen are a different breed of fishermen that arguably connect more directly to nature than any other fishermen. So as I close this out, please share your passion and love of the water with someone else who may need guidance and help as you did once. That kid down the street or your own kids or the veteran who only wishes he could learnâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;take them and teach them what you know, and pass the passion on. KYPE
Snook by Dave Zielinski
Dave Zielinski is working stiff during the week and an obsessed fly fisherman his spare time. He designs and crafts wooden drift boats suited for the Eastern US rivers he calls home. He has a passion for all aspects of the sport and prefers do-it-yourself trips off the beaten path. Dave lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters, who also row drift boats, cast flies at fish and spend most of their time outdoors as a family. He can be reached at thehappytrout@yahoo. com
Snook!” I say to myself albeit aloud as the last set of waves washed back the surf. Frantically trying to locate the fish again, I wave the line in the air, ready to drop the fly in the snook’s face. Too much time has passed. She’s gone. “Aw crap,” I mutter to myself, still staring into the crashing waves. It’s been three days since I’ve seen a fish. “Damn wind. Waves. Grr.” Insanity. What’s the definition? Something about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Yeah, that. Well, at least it’s not musky fishing. At this point, I talk to myself a lot, mostly profanities, or an occasional “There’s one!” and sometimes to shake out an awful 1980s arena rock anthem like “Sister Christian” that I heard on the radio in my rental car. “mmmmmMMMMM MOTORIN” Yeah, now you’re hooked too. I walk a couple miles on the beach, looking like a cross between a storm trooper and some kind of terrorist covered head to toe in long sleeves, pants, gloves, and face mask to hide from the sun. The middle-aged beachgoers look at me funny and say things like “Are you cold?” “What are you fishing for? “Fly fishing? …here?” Occasionally, locals out for a morning beach walk will stop and say, “Oh, Snook? Last week they were all over the place. The water was so calm,” they say. Not knowing how much proverbial salt is being poured into my wounds. It looks as if I’m walking aimlessly with a fly rod to the casual observer, but I’m quite fixated on what could happen at any time now. So far though, the days have been filled with looking at tides, planning where to be, monitoring the winds and praying for clear surf. But it’s all good. It’s fishin. I haven’t seen another fly fisherman since I’ve been here. It’s kinda like paradise, and it beats working for the man. Despite other people on the beach, I’m alone: working out strategies and plans in my head by myself. I’m good with it, but it’d be nice to have a buddy around to be miserable with. Not to mention if I were to hook a good fish, it’d be awfully hard to get a good picture. The boys back home would call BS on any fish stories without proof. On a lot of these trips, nighttime is the right time for retying leaders, rigging a different fly, looking at google earth for other options, and pouring over
weather reports. I have a few drinks and go to bed. Tomorrow comes fast, even though it doesn’t feel like it’s fast enough. If I’m lucky, I’m tired and maybe a little drunk so I fall asleep quickly. Somehow, I can’t get myself out of bed back home to go to work on time, but here, in paradise, I’m up as soon as daylight peeks through the blinds. A quick glance at the clock says it 6 a.m., and I’m ready to make it happen. I throw on yesterday’s shorts and a clean shirt to check off the first order of the day: coffee. My morning ritual here is a quick ride to a coffee shop for two large dark roast whatever-is-on-tap-today, as long as it’s strong. After, I stop by a promising inland pond that I scoped out on Google Earth last night and find cichlids, bass, and gators. Bugs are bad, so I leave for now. I make that walk to the beach only to get there and see 3’ crashing waves. “Sonofabitch!!” Now what? Three days of dirty surf is enough. Options… what else is there? The snook on the beach are the big draw, but they aren’t the only show. Inland ponds? Tidal creeks? Canals? It’s nice to have options. For this reason, I brought a new tool in the kit: the inflatable SUP (stand-up paddleboard). Fly fishing from a SUP is starting to be a thing, and it’s one more way to open up possibilities previously out of reach. I’ve made the trip to Gulf beaches to chase snook for several years, with only minimal secondary fishing options. If the winds blow up the beach, you’re likely not fishing much. This year, the inflatable SUP went with me, partly as an insurance policy, but partly as a tool to explore some of the other options in the area. It’s been a game changer. In many cases, the SUP gets you across mud flats that can’t be waded and non-motor zones, and it provides a perspective well above that of a kayak or canoe. SUPs specifically designed for fly fishing are stable platforms, carry a huge capacity, and travel compact under the 40 lb mark. But back to the snook at hand. I still haven’t touched a big one yet. After spending some time exploring new areas, finding micro snook, micro poons, cichlids, and snapper, I need a real fish. I need to find new beaches. Clear beaches. Beaches cranking with bait-smashing snook. Snook fishing on the beach is a solitary all-day affair with a fly rod. Some will argue low tide is better than high, but the fish are there regardless. You can do this all day. Sight fishing at its best, with crushing eats and committed fish in inches of water. Fish range from 20-40” in singles to groups upwards of 20 fish. It sounds all too good to be true, and sometimes is. Weather will stick it to you on some days, and other days it will be glassy, and the fish will crush a poorly presented fly ten feet away. Those days, when it all comes together with light waves, clear surf, and a constant supply of fish will have you booking next year’s trip before you leave. Every year between May and September, the snook start to pour out of the mangrove rearing grounds of the Gulf of Mexico and make their way along the Gulf Coast beaches to do their annual spawning. Because they’re broadcast spawners, they don’t make a nest. They use the shallow beaches to distribute their eggs which eventually wash back up into tidal creeks and mangrove roots to grow into baby snook. And—there are millions of them doing this right now. This is the time to be a fly fisher, staring at the beach, looking for groups of fish willing to smash a baitfish pattern. Hunting for the big girls. Snook are a funny fish. Born male, they pull a hermaphroditic switch somewhere between 1 and 7 45
years of age and become female. A large majority of big snook on the beach are females, followed by the smaller males in wolf packs. Unlike a lot of fish fixated on spawning, the big girls are also very willing to eat while cruising the beach. On more than one occasion, I dropped a fly on a group of oversized snook and had two fish competing to close the gap to inhale my fly. On some occasions, these fish will also re-school once hooked giving you a potential shot at the other fish in the same group. There is no secret strategy to these fish. When the snook are present, you’ll see them. Get in front of them, cast the fly, and pull it away fast. If they are in an eating mood, they will eat. I haven’t had much success at casting to snook that are spooked or casting to snook and stripping a fly towards them. They’re too smart for that. The weather eventually turns around. Hopefully in in time for a few good days of sight fishing before boarding a plane home. It’s a great feeling when I make that walk to the beach and finally see soft breaking waves on a rising tide. “Oh crap” has turned into “Ooooh baby.” A little more sun overhead will make the fish spotting terribly easy. And it does. The snook are there. Lots of them. Big ones. And they eat. I still haven’t seen another fly fisherman. All is right with the world. Next year’s trip… booked.KYPE
Tales of a Size 30 Hatch
by Gary Baca
Gary Baca is a retired school Principal. In his recreational pursuits, when he is not fly fishing in Alaska and Canada, he divides his time between writing, art and travel. As an author, he has written and published two books. In addition to his literary interests, he is an accomplished artist, specializing in both oil painting and sculpture. His art work has been displayed in San Francisco, Carmel, Southern California, Alaska and Ireland. His home and art studio are in Castro Valley, CA where he and his wife, JoAnne, reside.
hat started out as a practical joke, had taken a serious turn. But there they were, smaller than life in a local fly shop in the Bay Area where I live. The package read: straight eye, 3x wide, 2x short, curve shank, fine wire, bronze, size 30. My God, what could they possibly be used for, micro fishing for guppies in an aquarium? Fascinated by their miniature size, I immediately thought of John Poirierâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;John at his vice with the hand/eye coordination of a Waterford crystal cutter. For John, fly tying had become a passion. When it came to matching the hatch, his determination was set like a law in natureâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a thing one could not challenge, qualify or diminish. The devilish grin that suddenly crossed my lips revealed my inner thoughts. How he would deal with a size 30 hook in his vice? I remembered that John once invited me along to fish a favorite stretch of water on the Crow's Nest in western Alberta, with the caveat to bring along a wide selection of small flies. As it turned out, my definition of 'small' had missed John's mark by a wide margin. After an hour or so on the water, I was still looking for my first strike while John was on a roll. The big rainbows were rising to his miniature marvels like my dog rises to smoked salmon skins. By the end of the day, I walked away frustrated and dejected, but not empty handed. In my clenched fist was an unruffled cache of size 20 rejects. Then it struck me! A box of size 30 hooks for John's Christmas present would the perfect gift, an immovable object for an irresistible force. What a stroke!
In early September, I arrived in Fernie, B.C. in time for the fall hatches on the Elk. John greeted me at the local RV Park almost before I had time to unhitch my travel trailer. I wondered if my whimsical Christmas gift had been taken seriously. As we relaxed over a fresh brewed pot of coffee, he produced a sample of size 30 miniatures he had tied for my approval. In response I produced a magnifying glass to study and marvel over their sheer beauty and craftsmanship. “These are for you.” John said. “I'm also returning some untied size 30 hooks, just in case you want to give it a try.” I thanked him, ignoring the gauntlet that he had causally tossed at my feet. Great little pieces for the showcase, I thought, but quite useless on the stream where it really counts. By mid-September, fishing on the Elk had started to peak on a stretch of water we call 'the hatch' because of its prolific insect activity, the big native cutthroats, had begun to crowd the shallows. My good friend and fishing partner, Sam Caravetta, who could read the water with the eyes of a hawk, was fishing ahead of me up stream. Stopping long enough to survey the water, he shouted. “I can see the big cutties rising close in, but I can't make out what they're after.” But I was already on the mystery hatch, and had stopped fishing long enough to position myself on a large rock near the water. There, in full view, just below me, several large cutthroats, 16 to 17 inches long, had come out of the deep water to position themselves in the shallow pools near the bank. I watched silently as they rose straight up as if to kiss the surface of the water and then descend, before rising again. Occasionally, they moved laterally a few inches, calculating the distance, speed and azimuth of an oncoming target. Then, having determined the point of interception, they timed their vertical rise to the precise moment their prey passed directly overhead. It was pure ballet and I had a front row box seat. “I think I've got one.” Sam called as he made his way over to where I was standing. I watched eagerly as he opened his hand to reveal the insect that had excited the big trout. There barely visible, was an ant-like insect, 1/8 inch long, dark brown body, with clear shiny wings, crawling around in the palm of his hand. My first thought was one of astonishment, then bewilderment. Nothing in my fly box would remotely come close to matching this little puppy. Still unconvinced that trout were rising to such a trivial insect, my only recourse was to challenge 49
Sam's evidence. Not an easy task. Sam was born on the river and was rarely wrong in matters pertaining to its habitat. A moment later when I casually mentioned to Sam that he might be mistaken, he laughed. Pointing to the water, he said, “Take a closer look.” I did. The surface of the water was covered with ant-like insects, dark brown in color, 1/8 inches long with clear shiny wings. To change the subject, I quickly drifted my size 20, blue wing olive over the bow of one of the feeding cutthroats and prayed for a response—anything! “I've already tried that,” Sam said, “You're wasting your time.” Back in my travel trailer, I sat at my vise and weighed my options. With a probable hatch of the same insect the next day, and no middle ground in sight, there was only one direction to go. Smaller! I could start with a size 20 hook and slowly work my way up the scale. A pact with the devil might be a better plan. There was no time for acclamation. It was size 30 time or nothing. The thought occurred to me that I could always use the size 30 flies John tied for me. But that wasn't an option. I had known, from the time I was a child and tied my first trout fly on my father's old Thompson's vise, that I would rather catch a single fish on a fly of my own design, than a dozen caught on a fly tied by someone else. I reached up in my storage cabinet and retrieved the packet of size 30 hooks John had given me. Carefully I emptied the contents on the table in full view. If my goal was to dress a size 30 hook, my first objective was how to get one of the hooks off the table and secured in the jaws of my vise. After several failed attempts to pick up one of the tiny hooks with my bare hands, even that task seemed insurmountable. That evening a summit meeting was held around a campfire. John, who worked during the week days joined Sam and me for an updated fishing report. Having received advanced word of our failure to identify the hatch that day, he was anxious to discuss the issue. “Probably midges.” he said opening the discussion. “I'm not so sure.” I challenged. “Well, I can tell you that most trout streams contain a healthy population of midge larvae on the bottom. The Elk is no exception.” “Aren't they like caddis,” Sam asked. “They turn to pupae before emerging from the water?” 50
“That's correct,” John said. “The hatches occur during daylight hours throughout most of the year, most likely until the Elk freezes over.” “Most likely until hell freezes over,” I countered. “If you're trying to match the hatch.” “They sure can swarm at times.” Sam said. “Funny, I never really thought of them in terms of exciting the trout like they did today.” “Few fisherman do,” John replied. “I'd venture to say that on a par with caddis, mayfly, and a few terrestrials, they are considered by most fly fisherman to be the least important of the aquatic insects.” “Try telling that to those big cutties that were rising today,” Sam said. “I'll bet those big fish had to consume a couple of dozen of those punkies just to get a taste.” “John, I've never seen anything like it,” I added. “I could have reached out from the bank and touched a half dozen of those big fish using a short stick. My father use to tell me that if you can see the fish, they can see you. Yet, those fish were so busy feeding, they didn't even notice me, or most likely they didn't care.” “Did you try catching any?” John asked. “With what?” I said. “Maybe if I had a net. I tried floating some size 20's past their nose, but as Sam pointed out, it was a waste of time.” “So what's your game plan for tomorrow?” John asked. I glanced over at Sam and he hunched his shoulders. We continued to chat into the evening, planning a Saturday morning breakfast on the river, and a chance for the three of us to fish a stretch of fast water known for big trout. With John having to work the next day we called it a night. Before leaving, I turned to Sam. “One thing bothers me,” I said. “I checked my McClane's and their picture of a midge doesn't look anything like the insect we encountered today. Their illustration has segmented body with wings to the side like a miniature dragon fly. Our mystery insect has an antlike body that would suggest that it comes from a different order of insects.” “So it goes.” sighed Sam. We agreed to go back to the 'hatch' early afternoon for another try. That would free the morning and give me some time to prepare. I tried not to think about what that entailed. The thought of using one of John's size 30 flies again crossed my mind. Forget it! I would either tie my own fly or go to the river empty handed. I could already sense a love/hate relationship starting to brew as I ducked under the covers and prepared for a restless night of sleep. Up early the next morning and fortified with a second cup of coffee, I cleaned my glasses carefully before taking a seat at my vise. Using my dubbing needle, I was able to isolate one of the tiny hooks from the pile resting on the table. Too small to be picked up with my hand, I wet one of my fingers and was able to lift it off the table surface. With no tweezers in sight, I picked up my scissors and edged the point close to the hook. The tiny hook jumped off my finger and stuck to their magnetized tip. In a short time I had it secured in my vise. I sat back for a moment and tried to visualize the finished design I was about to create. Glancing at the real specimen, I thought, what part of the insect first catches the eye of a waiting trout? During the hatch the day before, those trout were looking for something, not just grazing. They had already determined the defining characteristics of their prey; size, color, shape and probably a few other subtle earmarks. I again studied the tiny insect, searching for clues or any distinguishing marks. The delicate, rather large transparent wings immediately caught my eye. Quit possibly the reflected light coming off the wings would be picked up first by the trout waiting downstream. Then I made a prediction. If the design of my artificial fly is the correct size and body color and 51
tied with prominent cellophane-like wings, then the trout will mistaken it for a live insect. It was only an educated guess, but enough to formulate a working hypothesis. Before starting, I reached over to my CD player and inserted a newly purchased Bach orchestral work, by The Academy of St. Martins in the Field. My nerves needed calming. That afternoon, Sam and I climbed down the embankment carrying our gear and walked over to the river's edge. Sam immediately spotted several big fish rising in the shallow water. “Well, well, you're in luck.” Sam said. “There's a bunch here waiting for you. I'm going to set up my Coleman and brew us a cup of coffee before I watch the action begin.” I could barely contain myself as I opened my fly box. Using tweezers, I plucked out a size 30 specimen and then secured it firmly with the aid of my hackle pliers. But in the next instant, everything came to a screeching halt. Much to my shock and dismay, my 3 lb. leader material, .006 in diameter, was too large for the eyelet of my size 30 hook. I quickly tried some 2 lb. at .005, with the same results. Now I was in a real bind. Then I remembered that someone had given me some 1 lb. leader material, probably John, when we fished the Crow's Nest. Convinced that I would never use it, I tucked it away in a back pocket of my fishing vest. As I passed the leader material through the eyelet of my size 30 fly, I shook my head in amazement. The diameter was .004. That evening, John joined Sam and me around the campfire for another conclave. I waited patiently for the first round of talks to begin. “So how did you boys do today?” John asked. “Didn't catch a single fish.” I said. “Didn't catch any?” John said with a surprised look. “That's right,” I replied trying to keep a straight face. “I didn't catch any...but I sure did match the hatch! Those fish came off the bottom after my fly repeatedly with no hesitation, like...like it was a real insect. Better than a real insect!” I proudly proclaimed. John squinted his eyes in confusion. “But...you didn't catch any?” “Nope,” I replied. “Not those big cutties, not on a size 30 hook and 1 lb. leader. I might just as well go bear hunting with a switch. Besides, that takes real talent. And John, you weren't around today to show us how to do it.” John's eyes widened with sudden interest. Looking over at Sam, he said. “I've got to hear more about this!” I never enjoyed a better evening of talk among friends, I decided. KYPE
Thoughts... Pheasant Tails, Pocket Water, & PBR by Shawn Stankus
Started fly tying and fishing when he was 11. Riding along with his grandfather as they chased the stocking truck from stream to stream solidified his passion for fly fishing. He guided during college and now fishes all year long on the classic trout streams of central Pennsylvania.
or years I have been walking the trout streams of Pennsylvania and fishing the amazing stretches of the no kill waters. I have learned so much about the insect life, reading water, and the pockets where some of the biggest wild browns I've ever caught hang out. I have had great mentors over the years to guide me on how to cast, tie flies, and general knowledge to help me along the way. For me, fly fishing is more than just a leisure activity. For me, it is a place I can retreat to, disappear in, free my mind and become part of the natural world. This is my church. As the sun disappears over the mountain and the woods melt into a silent, mystical calm, I can't help but fall in love with this beautiful, stress free place. It is a place where there are no worries, there are no phones ringing or bills to pay. It's just you and the water, and the only thing you need to worry about is what fly this 20 inch brown is willing to take. Not what you have to do for work next week, not what chores need done around the house. It is just you and that special place we like to call fly fishing. So when I'm alone after a long day of fishing pheasant tails and pocket water, I like to set up by the camp fire with my journal in hand and a nice cold PBR in the other. I reflect on the amazing evening I just had and thank the God above for such a great day that was spent in the beautiful world. For us fly fisherman, we have it made. We have such a peaceful sport that we can call our own. I just don't know what I would do without the getaways that this sport provides. It makes me a better father, husband, brother, and son, and it made me the man I am today. So the next time you are getting frustrated because you can't figure out what fly Mr. Brown wants, just remember to stop, take a breath, and look around you. It is something isn't it? What would you do without this? ~tight lines KYPE 53
Road Trippin’ How My Girlfriend and I Traveled the West and Landed More Than a Dozen Trout Species in 9 Months by Ryan Russell
Owner/ Guide – Arizona Fly Fishing Adventures www.arizonaflyfishingadventures.com 480.721.2820 FB – Fly Therapy Instagram - @flytherapy
Check out this great video by Ryan!
reetings from the desert! If you read my last contribution, it was about the reintroduction of Gila Trout to Arizona. In that article, I mentioned a $5-dollar trout poster I used to have hanging on my wall. Well since then, my girlfriend, Judy, and I have landed almost all of them. The funny thing is that we didn’t even realize we were doing it. We were just doing what we do best: road tripping. Judy and I met almost two years ago. It was a pretty typical meeting…I was a disaster (still am). She is gorgeous and likes me for some reason I can’t figure out. Truth be told, she loved fishing before we met but had done nothing but a bait-chucking. Over the first few months, she went out fly fishing for carp with me on a regular basis and was developing into her own fly fisherwoman. Training her on spooky grass carp may have been the best thing for her as she excelled quickly. Fly fishing became our glue, and soon I had a full-time partner for all my roaming and wandering. After a year of being together and fishing non-stop, I wanted to show her more, explore more, and invest all my free time in planning trips for us. Being a fly fisherman in Phoenix is about as tough as it gets. Water and fish are slim pickings. The state of Arizona has a put-and-take attitude toward conservation. Catch and release are foreign topics for most fishermen down here. You have to travel great lengths to find some decent water. There are only so many rugged hikes one can take, only to find a trickle with a bunch of people and a few abused fish. Sometimes it seems more like hiking than fishing. I wanted Judy to see everything: strip streamers for bullies, chuck attractors at cuttys, and nymph for in-town rainbows and cut bows. I wanted her to see all the things I had seen and more. I am a notorious road tripper. I have been since I could drive. I used to drive myself all over the state of Idaho as a teenager because I was one of the state’s best golfers as a youth. State tournaments were the norm. With my
dad also on the road as a salesman and my mom at home with 3 younger kids, I had to hit the road alone all the time. When I graduated from high school, my family moved to Arizona and I was left behind in Pocatello playing college golf for Idaho State University. After a year of that, I ended up delivering glass all over Idaho. I would leave at midnight from Boise and drive to Idaho Falls and back. I became extremely familiar with the entire state. A few years after that, I ended up moving down to Arizona with the rest of my family. Then back to Idaho. Then back to Arizona. You get the picture. Making the journey sometimes happened 4-5 times a year. Fast forward 20 years, and I have seen almost every piece of land between Tucson and Riggins. 2016 was a perfect storm for us to do a ton of fly fishing. Looking back over the year, I realized that we had landed over 12 species of trout. We also fished in seven different states (Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and New Mexico) and did some fishing in Rocky Point, Mexico. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this was a pretty awesome accomplishment. In fact, we did it all within about 9 months. We landed the usual browns and bows, but we also caught apaches, gilas, brooks, tigers, Bonneville cutthroats, Colorado cutthroats, cutbows, bull trout and even some baby steelhead smelt. We had trouble finding the big Westslope cutthroats, but we managed to find a few smaller ones. We also made or first visit to Pyramid Lake to chuck meat at the famous Lahontan trout. Each trip was unique and filled with adventure. It was amazingly perfect. I had to pinch myself because I was living my personal heaven. My dog, my lady by my side, and a wide world in front of me…what else does a guy need? Nothing. I thought it would be a good idea to write about this. Not to give away any spots or shut down a hot spot. Only general areas will be mentioned. I want to inspire you, the reader, to get out and cross off some of these trout from your own bucket list. I want you to see the things Judy saw. The rest is up to you. Road trips require proper planning, prep work, and equipment. You need to know where you’re going, make sure you have supplies, plan for emergencies, and be prepared for anything. Last year we made it through two flat tires and a dead battery. We also witnessed others’ misfortunes, like a guy puncturing his gas tank. Make sure you don’t drive drowsy, and take naps if necessary. 16-hour car rides will make you drowsy, rested or not. Don’t take chances. Stay safe and you’ll be guaranteed a good time. We travel light and mainly roll with a stocked 75-gallon Canyon cooler, a decent cabin tent, a nice air mattress, fishing gear, and clothes. Most things you can incorporate while you’re out on the road, such as a bite to eat somewhere special. You can also crash at a hotel room every few nights for showers and clean up. Extra things I love to mix into my trips are food, music, and local beer. These are road trip enhancers. They also stimulate the local economies and help people find new experiences. Check out the local events while traveling because you don’t want to miss out on those amazing sights, sounds, and flavors. Spring – Treefort Music Festival – Boise, Idaho Brown Trout – (Salmo trutta) Rainbow Trout – (Oncorhynchus mykiss) CutBow – (Oncorhynchus mykiss x clarki) Bull Trout (missed) – (Salvelinus confluentus) There are a few times a year that I yearn to go back to Boise. At the end of March, the South Fork closes. Around the same time, the Treefort Music Festival is happening. We decided to hit the road and made a 16-hour drive through the night to the South Fork. Whenever I drive through the night, I make sure that I have a couple of Rockstars handy, and my old windshield delivery days kick in. It’s always good to have a partner riding shotgun. Judy relieves me when I’m tired. We ended up on the river and 55
fished most of the day. We stayed in downtown Boise and made that our base camp. We ended up pulling off a sweet fish bender. The Treefort Music Festival has over 400 bands in over 20 locations in four days. Local brews include some of the best you can find. We fished by day and partied at night. The Boise River tributaries contain some very sizeable trout. Rainbows, cutbows, and native bull trout are all present. Over three days, we hit the river three days in a row. I was happy because Judy got into her first “River X” brown trout. We also landed some nice rainbows, a couple cutbows, and some whitefish. We were in bull trout country for a bit, but it was more about teaching her how to work streamers, cast upstream, and strip back. We had a great time, and Judy came to know what I was talking about when I would ramble on about “back home.” Boise was a big winner by the end of it all. It was a bit chilly for an Arizona girl at the end of March, but the food and drinks warmed her up. We wandered downtown and found the bluegrass bands at Pengilly’s. One band in particular blew us away: River Whyless. I also introduced Judy to some other local eats and drinks. We hit West Side Drive – in for Finger Steaks, Guido’s for Pizza on 5th, Goldie’s for breakfast, drank a bunch of Payette Mutton Busters, and Sockeye IPAs. We also like Addie’s downtown for breakfast and Bitter Creek Ale House for a great tap selection. Downtown Boise rocks this time of year. There are dozens of restaurants and venues all within walking distance. It’s the perfect weekend to travel and chase fish. On the way home, we agreed that this would be in the mix as an awesome weekend option every year.
Late Spring – White Mountains, Arizona Apache Trout (Oncorhynchus apache) Tiger Trout (Salmo trutta x Salvelinus fontinalis) In the late Spring, I made a purchase and bought us a two-person pontoon boat. It’s basic, but it works great. I covered the two bladders with wood decking covered in artificial turf, so we could stand and cast. I also added some Sawyer SST Oars, a nice 50-lb trolling motor with a battery, and before you knew it—we were off exploring the mountain lakes of northern Arizona. Towards the end of May, the White Mountain Apache Tribe slashes permit prices for some lakes that hold Apache Trout. Before May, access is $300 per angler or more. Thinking ahead, I purchased permits a few months in advance because they sell out so quickly. We were excited to practice with our new watercraft. We enjoyed the White Mountains, and it’s probably our nearest get away with a drive time of four hours. Over the course of a couple weekends, we explored six lakes and eight creeks. The fishing 56
was only hot in a couple spots, but that’s the game down here. There’s a lot of pressure from anglers, but the further away you get the better. It was an excellent time for Judy to see her first Apache trout. We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon landing a bunch of them. Besides the Apache trout, AZ Fish and Game had stocked small tiger trout in four lakes across the state. One of them happened to be in the area, so we hit that lake as well. We had a great time and it was good practice for Judy. She was the only one to catch one of those tigers! It was her first. I didn’t get mine until later in the year. Rumor also has it that tiger trout exist naturally in a couple Arizona streams where brook trout and brown trout meet. After all the fishy research we did, there’s no doubt we have a good idea how to find fish up there.
Summer – Northern Utah Bonneville Cutthroat (oncorhynchus clarki utah) Grayling (Thymallus thymallus) In the summer, I usually take at least ten days off to roam and fish. This year I decided to spend an extra day or two in Utah. I got to spend time with my brother, Kip, who had just started his own fly- fishing journey which was nice. I got word from a buddy about where some grayling were not too far from his house. There were tons of them and we caught dozens, so I didn’t really count my catches. Grayling don’t count… do they? Either way, it was a great opportunity to show him a few things before moving on and cruising toward Idaho. I had a date with some carp at Blackfoot Reservoir, but on my way up, I managed to stop on a river in northern Utah where I found some Bonneville cutthroat trout. They weren’t sizeable, but they sure were beautiful. They loved Arizona Wandering’s mini-hopper pattern. I tie a cheap knockoff, but they still gobbled it up. We were only there for a few hours before sunset, but it was amazing to spend some time in such beautiful country. Utah is also the nearest state with fry sauce so make sure you hit the local Arctic Circle and snag yourself some French fry goodness. Summer – Central Idaho Westslope Cutthroat - (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi) 57
Bull Trout – (Salvelinus confluentus) Steelhead Smelt – (Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus) After moving through northern Utah, I busted up a sweet Mirror carp on the east side of Idaho with a couple buddies, and then made my way into Boise to wait for my lady to fly in. While in town, I had an opportunity to do some glass work for friends, which helps when I travel. I installed a windshield for my buddy Steve Adkins in exchange for a pair of his custom MT Nets. I also had time to fish in town with a guy I’d been wanting to spend time with. Wes Atkinson and I knocked out a fun in-town float, which was a highlight of the year for me. It’s amazing how you can find new fish right in the middle of town. Floating is the way to go on the in-town Boise River. It made me remember the good old days when I would float solo on my pontoon and close down the river three times a week. Even after fishing that river literally hundreds of times, it felt brand new again. After getting reacquainted with my hometown, it was time to pick up Judy from the airport and show her some backcountry. We made plans to spend about five days in central Idaho, during which time we attended a small Harmonica Festival. Small mountain towns are awesome for summer fun, and Idaho has literally hundreds of them. They often have little festivals and local events that are one of those road trip enhancers I talked about. Friends are also road trip enhancers. My buddy, James, was able to get away for a couple days and join us. James had just had a baby and had been busy with that, so I wasn’t expecting him to hit the road with us, but he did. I’m very glad he did, too, because James is a pretty important person these days when it comes dealing with Idaho laws, and I believe in the future he could be involved in shaping some of those laws. I think it was awesome for him to experience and develop his own relationship with all the natural things we need to protect. He is also a beginner, which is something that I love because it gives me an opportunity to teach, pass on some knowledge and witness someone grow into fly fishing. James was meeting us for a couple of days in the middle of our journey, so we headed up north and started cruising dirt roads. This is where we are most at home. At that time, Judy and I had been together for about a year and a half. It is amazing the type of fishing routine we have developed. It’s ours, and it’s comfortable. We felt at home and never wanted to leave. I tried to apply the Arizona in us, and we fished the creeks and streams instead of the main river system. The goal was a monster bull, and some chucky westslope trout, but what we ended up finding was a small bull trout, a few westslopes, and about a hundred steelhead smelt. Late summer, the salmon had already made their journey and the bull trout seemed to be gone from the usual spots, moving far up into the systems. I did manage to find one in a pocket while tossing an olive streamer pattern, and when removing the hook, I noticed it had another bait-style hook already deep down in its throat. I was always trained to touch a bull trout minimally, keep it wet, and as with all trout—immediately release it. I have a personal 5-second rule I live by and don’t keep fish out of the water any longer than that. I quickly tried to wiggle out the hook and perform a quick minor surgery but noticed the hook was deeply lodged and removing it would likely harm the fish more, so I left it alone and back it went. The fish didn’t even skip a beat and bolted right back to his spot. We arrived at our spot a day before the Harmonica Festival and were lucky to snag a sweet spot. It was busier than I had ever seen it. Mountain folk love to have fun, and 58
they love their harmonicas. Blues Traveler and other harmonica greats have all played up there in the pines. This year, Tony Holiday and the Velvetones were the headliners. We spent two days driving around hammering steelhead smelt and listening to great music at night. Don’t laugh, but it was easy to get lost in the baby steelies. It was excellent dry fly practice for us. The fish often weren’t bigger than eight inches, but they would blast our flies when we hit the water in the right spots. We packed up when it was over and made the long journey home after that, but all the memories are still in my head like it was yesterday. Late Summer – S. Utah Brown Trout – (Salmo trutta) Brook Trout – (Salvelinus fontinalis) Tiger Trout – (Salmo trutta x Salvelinus fontinalis) Colorado Cutthroat - (Oncorhynchus clarkii pleuriticus) Rainbow Trout – (Oncorhynchus mykiss) After driving through Utah so often over the years, I started stopping and noticing places on the way instead of passing straight through. After Judy got on the plane back to Phoenix, I lingered in Boise for another day and then made my way back to the desert. I decided to use the same method and spend a couple of days slowly working through Utah. I had been passing up great water while driving in the dark for years. It was time to start fishing them. I hit a couple creeks and rivers along the way down and had instant success. I found that the smaller waters don’t attract big crowds and hold some very nice fish. When I got back to Phoenix, Judy and I decided to make a quick turnaround and headed up to explore central and southern Utah. I had discussed brook trout with my buddy, Stephen Gerber, earlier in the year, and we had some spots we wanted to check out. Stephen and his brother were coming up the weekend after us, and we agreed to swap some intel. The trip was half as far as going to Idaho, and we left late in the evening. Judy woke up to a beautiful creek. I immediately got out and started working my way upstream and down. After finding some nice browns in the morning, we made our way up to central Utah and through Bryce Canyon National Park. The views were stunning as we drove up the mountain to around 9,000 ft. There were a series of high mountain lakes with an interconnected trail system. We fished six out of the nine lakes and had an absolute blast enjoying the sights. The campgrounds weren’t even full on Labor Day weekend! I lucked into a nice tiger trout on my first few casts. We also hooked into a few others, but we were struggling to keep fish on. Judy hooked into a beast near a log and lost it at the net. The big, red belly flash she saw still haunts her. Central Utah isn’t just home to monster brookies. Brood stock Colorado cutthroat trout, tiger trout, grayling, and rainbows are also in the central Utah lakes. We weren’t having the best success on the lakes, and we decided to head back down the mountain with the intention of heading to the north side. Instead, we stopped at a small creek on the way down and found a ridiculous amount of brookies and Colorado cuttys willing to play. They weren’t the sizeable monsters we had read about, but they were everywhere. Being small water experts, we made short work of the creek and let the afternoon slip away. With only one day left, we decided to head back toward Arizona instead of to the north side of the mountain. We managed to find two more creeks on the way back that yielded a gorgeous campsite and some very nice brown trout. I landed a buck at dusk that was a nice treat. Judy also 59
found a gorgeous specimen in a back-alley run. The black leeches we tied up were very successful and were getting knocks wherever the fish were. It was so amazing to watch Judy work her own runs and disappear to do her own fishing. Since meeting, I’d say she has been out over 200 times and definitely knows her stuff. It’s special to share a hobby like fly fishing with someone you care so much for. We spent all year together chasing fish across the West, and it was a great way to finish off Labor Day weekend. At this point we had already accomplished our trout species binge. During this weekend alone, I caught five different species of trout in 48 hours which I thought was as amazing as it gets. Early Fall / Winter – Pyramid Lake - Sutcliffe, NV Lahontan Cutthroat Trout – (Oncorhynchus clarkia henshawi) This year we were invited out to the Pyramid Lake opener by Whitney Inmon and Guide Jose Luna. I was excited because I had spent a couple days with Whit before, and I thought she would be a great person for Judy to meet. I have been very fortunate and know dozens of fly fisherwomen whose skills are the best around. Whitney is one of those, and it was good for Judy to interact with and watch how she operates. As for me, I was looking forward to meeting Jose and some Lahontan Trout. The Mid Opener is pretty much a party. Fishermen from all over the West gather for this weekend. Me, I faded out early on both nights. The fishing was surreal during the day. We were blessed with decent weather and the bait balls of Tui chub were making their rounds around the beaches. Even though tons of people were there, we had no trouble finding a beach to chill and cast. Whit and Jose invited some other fishy people too. Gerald and Giezi from Utah were there, and we also met Kerry Dalton Sundahl and Ryan Dangerfield. Ryan, like Jose, is also a guide there. They are both top notch guides and available for hire. Both are easy to find on Facebook and other social media sites. Ryan was having great success picking up fish left and right. He was kind enough to show me the fly he was using, and I made some adjustments. My original fly choice was close but was a bit too olive and needed more white and silver flash. Luckily, I had tied a variety, and Judy and I tied the flashier versions on. The next two days were so relaxing. Cast and cast again. Judy really found her form using the heavy sink tip line and her 8-wt 11’ Orvis Clearwater Switch. The sink tip helped her feel the line, which forced her to adjust her rhythm and tempo. It was so cool to watch this happen as she started casting out further and further. Before I knew it, she was mixing in a bit of a haul. We started to get into our groove and hammer fish, and it was time to leave all too soon. We only had a few days and found ourselves wishing it had been two weeks. Judy still says that a Pyramid trip should be in the mix every season. Thank you to Jose and Whitney for reaching out—otherwise we may have not made the trip. Oh, and we will be back because it was Judy’s favorite! 60
Eastern Arizona Gila Trout - (Oncorhynchus Gilae) I have already written about the reintroduction of Gila trout to Arizona in a previous Kype issue, so I’ll keep this short. Gila trout season is Oct through the end of March. It makes a great location-specific road trip for someone who wants to see a Gila up close and in person. What was memorable about this trip was that I was able to take my brother Kip up the mountain and teach him some small water techniques. The beauty of the canyon in which the stream resides left him awe struck. It blew his mind. I encourage everyone to go on this trip. Everyone should do it once. Incredible sights, waterfalls, and fish all in a gorgeous little slot canyon tucked away from the world. Make sure you have a high clearance vehicle and be ready to hike. This year was absolutely amazing for me. Along the journey, I made many personal changes for the better. I noticed that I was more focused on someone else’s fly-fishing journey beginning, rather than being obsessed with my own. The long hours behind the wheel, arguments, conversations, random stops, bathroom breaks, fish, music, snuggling and everything else in between is hard to capture on paper. It doesn’t translate. Fly fishing brings people and couples together. It binds us and has kept us together for almost two years. This doesn’t sound like a long time, but when you add up all the adventures that we’ve had during that time, a lot of relationship building has happened during a short time. We have developed specific behaviors and routines that work together for our mutual benefit. We can break and set up camp in no time. We can prep food and help each other without even talking. The most important things we develop in this life time are relationships, and this has become one of my most important and best functioning ones. Everything we’ve done together has shaped us into that. Come to think of it, fly fishing has helped me maintain many relationships that are much needed. I’m much closer to my brother, Kip, now that he’s into the fly-fishing life. No matter what happens, fly fishing will always be a huge part of each of our lives. I am thrilled to have been able to pass my knowledge on to Judy. One of my greatest pleasures is watching her fish and witnessing her growth right before my eyes. It is an amazing gift to share. I hope all of you reading this find inspiration in it and use the information to guide you into your bucket list of fish. We drove as far as 22 hours to get to some of these spots. How many are within your reach? You never know— you may share those experiences with someone new and help create an everlasting bond between both of you and a bunch of trout. KYPE
39 Pounds of Teeth in a Donut by By Les Booth
Creative Information Architect. Forty plus years graphic design, photographer, writer. Thirty-five plus years in technology. BSc AgSystems Management, Purdue University. Outdoor communicator. Lifelong outdoorsman. If it's about Story, I'm game. Native Hoosier. But home to all open, healthy water and elevations over 2000 feet.
Part II Kawishiwi Monster BOUNDARY BOUND The sound of tires sliding on gravel —going from high speed to a grinding, sliding stop— awoke most of the people in the cabin. One fellow sleeping on a couch under the front window rose, rubbed his eyes, and looked out just in time to see a mob of men storming the cabin. “Everyone up, they’re here! Get up!!! The Eauclarians are HERE!!” Before anyone could plant a foot on the floor, the front door was flying open with shouting men streaming through the front door. Eyes sputtered open. Hearts pounding. Fear gripped the gut of everyone. “OK! Where’s your leader? That ‘Les’ fellow. Put ‘im up now and the rest of you can go. Where is he?” Before any of the cabin folks could speak a little guy squeaked out, “Here he is. I got’im!” As the guy struggled to say something, four large men grabbed him and dragged him out the door over to a tree where a noose awaited, still swinging from a fresh toss over a low limb. Just as the four Eauclarian goons were about the stretch the poor fool’s neck —a shot rang out! “Step away from the man. Or I’ll start dropping all of you,” came the voicefrom a silhouetted figure in front of the line of vehicles. “Move! Or I’ll start with the two guys holdin’ my friend. Take that noose off of his neck, then move!” The crowd began to move into a mass of seething mood. “One of you,” said the figure with the gun, pointing to the guys on the porch, “Get that man back into the cabin.” Quickly two of the men ran over and retrieved the shaken man and closed the door behind them. The fellow, shaken, asked the two other guys, “Who’s the guy with the gun?” “Why don’t you know? He’s the ….....” RRRRRannnnngggg! RRRRRRannnnngggg!! RRRRRannnnngggg!!! “Whaaaaaaaaaa….t!!!!” shouted Ed. Everyone was now wide awake, fully alarmed and wondering what was going on. “You OK, Ed?” asked Stan, stumbling from the cot. A bit-stunned and profusely sweating, Ed looked around the room wide-eyed
and dazed. “Ed? Are you OK?” asked Stan again. “Oh. Yeah.” said Ed a bit dazed,” Just a really weird dream.” Then Ed explained the dream. Rubbing his neck, Les said, “Hmm. You didn’t happen to catch the name of the guy who shot up the night sky, did you?” “Nope. The alarm went off and scared me half to death. Never heard the name.” he replied. By now half the group was up and milling about. A line was forming at the bathroom and the day had begun. After Ed’s dramatic awakening, dawn rose bright and promising. What a relief Ed’s dream was just that: a dream! No circling of militant Eauclarian crazies. Our little fishing enclave prepared for the day with an air of expectation. Today was the day they were to hit the Boundary Waters for real —to bask in all it could offer. At the breakfast table food was inhaled: cold cereal, eggs, bacon and hot cakes. There was little chatter. What there was, avoided the lurid conjuring of Ed’s permutation on the previous days disastrous events. Everyone tried to forget the Euaclairville Horrors! It was the intentionally ignored monster-in-the-room. Breakfast over, the group broke away with each person packing up their gear and loading it in the van. Shortly after, as the first rays of sunlight peaked through the eastern tree line, the van was loaded and saying good-bye to my son and the sanctum of SEP. We snaked down the long drive to the spruce lined asphalt strip that is, US 53. Heading south, we picked up eastbound MN-1, with Ely, the small sleepy Minnesota town, one of three main gateways to the Boundary Water in our sights. A descent enough road, MN-1 dished up a stark visual as to what the Boundary Waters would look like if it had not been protected from human development mentality. Eye-opening, I assure you. 63
A quick stop in Peyla, MN, and we were back on-the-road again. A few minutes down the road Carmen asked, “Uncle Les?” “Yes,”I replied. “Are there big fish where we are going?” Reaching up, I pulled a fading photo from the visor I’d been holding for just this moment and handed it to Carmen. “Here you go, check it out.” Carmen took the photo, studied it, then both a gasp and a wispy whistle were inhaled by a big gulping sound! “Ohhh Woooow! Uncle Les. Did you catch this fish?” “Sure did. Recognize the little guy next to it?” Carmen studied the photo. Then his eyes popped! “It’s Aaron!! The fish is soooo big!” “Sure ‘nuff! Aaron’s nearly 7 and there are BIG fish in the Kawishiwi.” The others now strained to see the photo as Carmen passed it around. Ed spoke up. “Hey Les, isn’t that the fish on your wall?” “Why, yes it is Ed,” smiling at his winking grin. Oh yeah. Eddie’s my straight-man. In every situation we have been in, I can count on him to move the tenor of any moment to the next level, every time. “So,” piped Jon, waving the photo, “there must be quite a good story behind this picture. Eh?” “Right-you-are Jon-boy! There is quite the story on the finding, catching, transporting, storing, taxidermy, delivery, payment, investigation, the …. “ Tony stopped me in mid-word, “OK! Enough with the bullet points. Just tell the story,” he said with a big grin. I grinned. I love it when a story comes together. KIWISHIWI JOURNEY It all began with a canoe trip in July 1980. My friend Chuck invited me and my family along on a trip with 17 other people for a week long foray into the Boundary Waters. Destination: the Kawishiwi River system. An experienced and thorough planner, it seemed Chuck had nearly everything but the weather under control. And the weather was so good on that trip, it seemed he had finally figured that out, too. Chuck had asked me to provide fishing assistance for the trip. No problem, I loved fishing. Something he knew little of, and cared even less about. Duck hunting was a whole other world. But fishing… NOT. Initially, folks showed a lot of interest, but a few flagging attempts sank it pretty fast. It took a couple of days, but by day four there was a regular crowd waiting to try out their luck. Then their efforts began to pay off. Fish became a regular on the menu and interest reignited. Seems, fishing-for-fishing’s-sake, and not so much, for-catching-fish, moved in as a priority. Works every time, when you’re not trying to run a stringer. We had good walleye fishing and our appetites loved it. But the anglers grew antsy. They dreamed of 64
‘Big Fish’. I assured them — daily —Big Fish lurked close-by in the dark Kawishiwi waters, but catching them would require a plan. “OK Mr. B, what’s the Plan?” they asked. “Oh, I thought you’d never ask,” I said with a big grin. “The Mr. B Formula for Successful Fishing: F+L+P=S or Fish + Location + Presentation = Success, has been shown to be quite successful.” I said, “Well ...the Formula isn’t actually mine. Meaning, I wish I had, I hadn’t thought of it. It came from a book written by a couple of famous fishing brothers.” One kid piped, “OK then. Say I want to catch a big pike. What do I need to do?” I do love it, when the opening call, falls right into my lap! “The Northern Pike is a keystone predator. Top of the food chain. Biggest teeth. Your first, need-to-know is...‘F’... Fish. Learn everything you can about the pike. Its food, feeding habits, reproduction and response to weather and seasonal change. Do pike feed, rest, hide, swim, reproduce, and react to its environment the same as pike in any other point on the compass? Important to know! Next, you need to know… ‘L’… Location. Find out where a pike lives? Water, of course, but which kind— lake or stream? Where do you look for pike on a map: north, south, east or west? Once you have the water type, you need to know WHERE in-the-water to fish for pike; during the day or night, in any season, any weather; looking for its food, resting or on-the-move. Otherwise you’ll spend a lot time casting over ‘empty water’. With your information on Fish and Location, you’re ready for... ‘P’... Presentation. It’s time to formulate how to, Catch-the-Pike. As a managed game fish, so you’ll be using some type of rod, reel, line and bait or lure to catch your pike.” Picking up my fishing outfit, “This is a good start.” It was a Shakespeare graphite casting rod with a Daiwa Goldcast spin-cast reel. Snapped to the 7” wireleader rig, tied to the 7# test, Trilene line, was a Mepps #5 Musky Killer, spinner. “Step this way,”motioning to the water where we cleaned cookware,”... quietly please, into my Laboratory.” As we carefully walked to the cleaning station, I had them hold back from the edge about 8 feet. ”Now, look into the water. Look beyond the surface. Look for the slightest movement; any object that seems to be out-of-place. That, to our mind, generally is a fish. Then just watch, observe it.” After a couple of minutes the fidgeting started and I intervened. “Alright. Let’s move, very quietly and carefully, a couple of small steps forward and stop. Look again and be aware of movement.” I directed. After about 30 seconds, one girl started jumping up and down making a lot noise. Calming her down, I reminded them, sudden movements and loud noises scare the fish. I turned to the very excited girl and asked, “What did you see Abby?” “I saw minnows, Mr. Booth. I saw minnows!” “Good. Minnows are good,” I said, aggravating the guys, who thought she was WAY over-reacting to... minnows.
“It’s good to notice the minnows. They tell you something important about the area. They tell you, ‘Food is here; we like it and we’re eating it.’ What they don’t tell you is, bigger fish know they are there, too. And even larger fish, know the bigger fish—and the minnows—are there. All the way up the food-chain, to where the PIKE now knows where to go for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” I didn’t think the guys were buying it. I was readying a killer-defense when there was an audible, “Ohhhh! Myyyy,” sweeping the crowd. Then -the crowd- suddenly, took a collective step... BACK! I saw the shadow appearing in the water— bigger and bigger. As the shadow grew, so did the audible, “Ohhhh!” Finally a large pike well into the 20# class, hovered, not 6” below the surface in the very spot where the minnows had been. The silence was deafening. Finally, one of the younger boys squeaked out, “Can we wait to go fishing for a while? Please?” “Yeah...” came the group echo. The group just stood there spellbound as the large pike hovered, then slowly moved off back into the dark waters of the Kawishiwi. “Pretty neat, eh? Learn anything?” I asked. “Uh… I’m NEVER going swimming here again,”came the reply from one of the girls. Several heads were shaking in head-banger-motion agreement. “What?” I asked in mocked shock, “didn’t you believe me? Y’all know I wouldn’t lie to you.” “Oh we didn’t think you’d lie to us Mr. B.” said Abby. “It’s just, we didn’t think they’d be... THAT BIG!” Just then one of the little boys started jumping up and down pointing, “He’s eating one of the walleye fishes!” Sure enough as we all turned to look, a large pike, maybe the same one, had just finished thrashing a 2 lb. walleye, now locked firmly, crossways, in his mouth and gliding off into the darker water. “Well! There ‘ya go. See, there ARE big-fish here,” I said. More head-banging-head-movement in agreement. “That pike’s done eating cause it’ll take couple of days to digest that meal. Meanwhile he’ll be, as-wesay, ‘off-feed and inactive’. I guess we’ll have to hope another shows, right?” The crowd was still in shock. No reply and no takers on the offer to fish. That’s OK. They’ll be back. They’re gut-hooked now. KITCHEN ROCK CONFUSION A couple of hours later, while waiting for the camp's errand-canoe to return from a firewood run, I killed some time by casting out from the 'kitchen area'. Sure. Why not tempt the fins-of-fate. The minnows had returned, so kitchen rock was offering chum a la mode. I thrashed the waters with the Musky Killer, with no success. I decided to change lures to one I hadn’t tried. I scoured the tackle box and found an old lure—ancient really! It was a 3” Heddon River Runt Spook Sinker that had been my dad's favorite lure. He used it to catch a lot of belly-bustin’ bass, large and smallmouth over the years. So, in honor of my dad, who died 2 years earlier, I began casting for my lucky draw. On the third cast I was shocked by hooking into a nice pike. I was being schooled on the finer points of pike fishing. The 5 pounder came to hand and my conversion deepened. Odd, but this pike didn't really rouse much excitement in camp. Were they already callous to big pike? I priested it, added it to the lunch menu and cast again. And again. And again. And … nothing. 66
Still no canoe. Time for a switch-up. I moved around the point nearer the shore. Here the rock slopped gently to the water line, to roughly 3 to 4 feet. Weeds, rocks and log were visible. A haven of smallmouth cover, not to mention pike. Avoiding the snags would be the big test! A casting arc of 90° to my left, to 60° to my right would cover the water. Any more to the right and I’d be fishing the bank. The first four casts tagged at 100’ came up empty. Same arc again, at 70’; empty. The plan was to continue casting, dropping back a few feet to around 20’ from my position and repeat. I figured the canoe would be in by then, so I could get in some ‘real’ fishing. First arc of casts complete, I was just starting the casts on the 70’ arc for the second time. I won't say I was complacent but anyone else would. I was definitely day-dreaming when I made the 7th cast. As a result, I veered a bit too close to shore at the outer edge of a nice weed bed, 40 feet off the shoreline. At first I thought I was too close to shore and rip-reeled the lure back afraid I would end up snagged. But, I stopped because the cast ‘just looked good’ out maybe 55-60’ ,a bit shy of my target arc, but looking promising. I continue reeling in on-cue and in-stride. OK contemplation time. Here’s where we need to have a discussion about ‘complacency and fishing’. It just should not be allowed to happen because this is when the proverbial — Crap Happens! — is most likely to take place. The -ONE- you live to regret. So, what was I being complacent about? Two words: wire leader. On my 4th cast, second shot at the 100’ target arc, I noticed the lure action was off. I reeled in and removed the wire leader and tied the lure directly to the line. I tossed the lure out, 10’ or so, and reeled in. I repeated this a dozen times or so, varying the speed and rhythm of the reeling. I could see a marked improvement in the lure action. So I decided to give it a couple of tries. My thinking had become biased; focused on a smallmouth bass hitting this bait. I got complacent and blanked the idea of a Pike. I forgot about the… teeth!! Light line, only 7# test, and no leader protection with my Dad’s favorite lure in tow in pike water with a verified monster only hours earlier, how do you spell INSANE? I don’t know about you, but I’d say, ‘No Wire Leader’ is a really good start! Two twinges hit me near simultaneously. You know the ones, it’s when you suddenly realize something is not right because of the nagging in your gut is really grinding. Well, this was one of those moments. At stake: • My dad's favorite lure was out there, unprotected, vulnerable • Something very large, ominously dark, was rapidly closing in on that little lure It’s always, a very queer sensation when that feeling hits. It's the feeling you’re inside an episode of The Twilight Zone. You're standing perfectly still yet everything around you is moving at break-neck-speed! You can’t stop or move away. You become trapped. A mere observer in the destiny of the moment. The fish hit and time stood still. But I didn’t! Muscle memory. Shock. Sheer terror took hold on Kitchen Rock! All, in utter silence. 67
I don't know why. I guess I was dumbed, numbed and stunned, in-the-moment, by the surprise of the hit. I could see the big, dark form making, what I would later learn as the, “serpentine movement of a power-strike”. The fish lunged onto the little lure as I began reeling-to-save-the-River-Runt. I was moving amazingly fast, yet, I felt paralyzed. I had thought, for so many years, I wanted more than anything to be right where I was: right then and there. Big monster fish raging at the end of my line; battling for the whole enchilada. But, actually being there, I was in a very different story. I was responding in sheer terror mode! Don't read me wrong, I was NOT afraid of the fish. I was afraid I would lose the fish AND my dad's lure. The thought of that double-failure sent shivers of disgust, rage, anger, disbelief… surging throughout. I wasn’t mentally prepared to remain calm, cool and collected in the face of a full-on battle with a big, brawny, toothed Esox Lucius! At this point, I was nothing more than a Banty rooster in the talons of a chicken hawk! With nothing more than seven-pound-test line without a steel leader, or any protection against her big Esox choppers, I just knew this was the end of an era for that little Heddon lure! In the face of what could only be described a loathing of inevitable failure, I gripped the wholly inadequate little reel and began trying to gain line on the pike. I brought the line tight, then leaned into that wee little graphite rod and into the fish as much as I dared. Pumping -and reeling in slack- with each handle rotation, driving: I HOPED, the hook or hooks, deeper home! I didn't have to wait long for the fish's response! We, the avid, rabid consumers of fishing magazines, TV-shows, campfire and bar stool fishstory BS; who gaze upon photos of huge fish, busting forth from their watery lairs, into acrobatic airborne leaps, with rapped amazement and jealousy, only imagine the sheer pleasure; nothing more. We imagine how magnificent it would be, to be THAT Fisherman. The cool one; the fortunate one; the Lucky Joe; in the photo. Bending forward and playing line in an instantaneous reaction to save the catch. Oh, to be them! There! Little did we contemplate then; let alone realize; sitting comfortable on our cushy imaginations, just how terrifying the very act would/could, actually be. NOT A CLUE! Nor could we truly imagine the sheer surge of exhilaration, the adrenalin rush such a moment would bring. Blood pressure spiking, 30 points, in under 2 seconds! Terror does that! But OH MY! What a thrill. Well, thrill it is, assured! That is, until that adrenalin spike begins to fade. Then you feel like some68
one has just snapped your lifeline! Fumbling with reel, rod and what to do next was my nextphase: confusion. For the fish, there was no confusion to its action. It danced on its tail, slinging a massive head back and forth with a furry that, well, amazed me; frightened me; and assured me of one thing: I was gonna lose that lure! My faith not only waned, it vanished! Still I stayed with it. Reeling. Pumping. Pushing the rod down; to the left, to the right, hauling back and reeling. I felt like the spindle on a bucking machine! That's when I noticed them: the weeds. They hung. No, DRAPED! over the fragile 7# test line like laundry from a family of 20! I groaned. The chances for successfully NOT losing dad's lure were again reduced. And yet again I stayed, if not focused, at least with the program. She took more line, faster than anything I'd ever experienced. The little Daiwa reel was performing, but for how long? I didn’t know. I just jammed the rod down into the water and started pumping the fish back, while reeling up the slack. It took a few times, but it began to work. The fish stopped jumping and I didn't care. My worry now was just getting her to-hand without all that weed draped-over-the-line! What seemed like 30 minutes later, but no doubt less than 5, I sensed I was gaining-ground on the fish. I concentrated on keeping up the pump-and-reel-motion in a pattern that alternated between steady and erratic. This change-up-style was my hope to put the fish off-balance and me in control. And maybe, just maybe it would wear-down quicker. AGONY ECSTASY MOBIUS The picture. I’m kneeling on the upper level of the Kitchen Rock with the rod stuck into the water making a good deal of commotion by the pumping and reeling action. I am not consciously aware of MY OWN - regular self-correction, flagellation and cheerleading outbursts. Unbeknown to me, I had drawn a crowd. Yep. Everyone in camp was there watching the 'crazy fishing-guy' do some really crazy 'fishing-type stuff'. My son, a mere 7 years green, attempted to saddle up next to me. But my wife very wisely held him back. Motherly instinct would NOT allow him near such a 'disaster in the making'. Very observant and wise on her part. She's a saint, a station in life to which I unfortunately provided a great deal of assistance. People began asking, "Uh, Mr. B, what are you doing?" I responded, "Working very hard at NOT losing my dad's favorite fishing lure." Someone asked, "Did you get it hung-up on a rock? I can swim out ....” I chopped the rest of the comment off. "No! I am NOT stuck on a rock. It’s stuck in the mouth of a very large fish, with sharp teeth! So PLEASE - be quiet!" I hammered a bit too loud and cranky sounding! At that moment, for the first time in 15 minutes the fish decided the leap out of the water; and it was a 69
spectacular leap. Everyone in the entire peanut gallery gasped! My son was the first to speak, "Don't lose it daddy. We can take it home for a pet." The raucous laugher from the gallery, fortunately, masked my 'less than acceptable for a Church Youth Group’, uttered reply! I must say. Timing is everything. Despite my muddled thinking amid the confusion, I did notice an important development: the weeds were gone! I was now fighting the fish with a clean line! Suddenly, I had been given lift, optimism stepped-up a notch. I could sense a presence and looked behind to see my good friend Chuck coming up behind me with an axe. Normally this might send a person into a bit of nervousness. But, I knew this was what Chuck was born thinking a landing net looked like! Yes, he bludgeoned everything over 12" with an axe-head. No question. The ideology of C&R was utterly lost on Chuck. As calmly as I could, I said, "Chuck. If you so much as go near this fish with that axe, I will toss you and the axe conjoined into the water. Understood?" "Whoa! No need to get personally violent.” he stammered, as he immediately put his motion into reverse. Slowly the big fish tired and I was able to bring her to the shallow just to the right of Kitchen Rock. Once I saw how big the fish was, I decided to photograph it, have a fiberglass mount made, and release it back to thrill again. I asked my wife to get the camera. I didn’t have a landing net, so I had to land her by hand. Normally, for a pike that I’d harvest to kill, I’d use an eye-grip; a stronger and more secure hand-hold, but damaging to say the least. Since I intended to release it alive, that option was out. Alternatively, I opted for a shallow-hold in the gill-plate. I stepped in, inserted my hand and lifted the huge fish up, out-of-the-water, turned and took two large steps ashore to an amazingly silent, astounded crowd. Then they broke out in cheers and applause. Scaring me and the fish, who easily broke my light hold, falling to the ground flopping. It didn't have a chance. Chuck pole-axed her in an instant. That 'Live-Release', was just tossed out the window. I looked at him with a “death-in-five” glower. "What?” he asked. "That thing was gonna to bite somebody's toes off. I had to stop it." "No it wasn't and you did not have to hit it." I scowled. “ I had intended to release it back into the water. But not now." "Man! I'm sorry. I had no idea you would toss that big of a fish back! Why would you do that?” he offered. "To let it live and grow bigger.” I said. "Oh? I never thought of that.” he replied unconvinced. I looked at him and said, “You know, Chuck, I should toss you and that axe into the river… but, I know you are limited in your thinking when it comes to fishing. So, I’ll give you a by on this one. Just don’t let it -EVER- happen again. OK?” “Sure,” he said with the look that told me, ‘Not a chance.’ I knew it and what’s best, he knew I knew.I gave him a shoulder punch and he punched me back. I hoisted the big dead pike over to the water, stepped in and washed it clean. It was then I realized: This was a big fish. Maybe …. this could be a 70
record northern pike on a 7#test line without a protective section-leader. It was big. But I didn’t know how big exactly. As I thought about all this, the picture taking began. Everyone wanted their picture taken with the big pike fish. GLORY FISH Shortly after all the hullabaloo died down, Jim, the guy gathering firewood, returned. Seeing the action, he asked, “What’s going on?” His son Jeff began telling him when he saw the big pike. “Wow! Looks like you caught the Kawishiwi Monster.” And the name stuck for the rest of the trip. He turned to me and asked, “So, how much does this Monster fish weigh?” I told him I didn’t know for sure. The scale I had only weighted to 10 pounds and it pegged! “Bummer. It looks like at least 20 pounds to me.” I agreed with him saying it was at least that big. Then I remembered a formula I had read about, used to gage the weight of a fish by taking measurements of length and figuring volume. It had been used successfully for bass and a few trout and salmon. But, pike were not mentioned. I borrowed a tiny 12” tape measure and measured the fish out at just over 47”; its average girth was roughly 24 inches. Using these measurements and what I called my newly constructed, IFFI formula, I put the weight at roughly 27 pounds. One of the older boys said, “Do you think this is a record of any kind Mr. B?” “I don’t know Denny, but it might be interesting to find out.” “Why don’t we paddle to that fishing lodge on the map? It can’t be more than 5 miles away from here and find out.” said Jeff. I walked to my tent and pulled out the trusty Fisher map and studied the route. It wasn’t real clear, but there did seem to be a lodge of some sort about 5 miles downriver. Fisher maps are known for being notoriously unclear and unreliable when it came to current-day, land-based locations. The rapids and portages were quite accurate, but little else. I considered. Five miles by canoe isn’t a big deal. I’ll take Denny and Jeff with me and we’ll be back well before dark. Maybe with some very interesting ‘fishing news’. We loaded up the fish in a loaned nylon duffle, slipped into a canoe and headed off for an assumed, and a not-atall-definite, destination. After a couple of hours we arrived at the spot on the map. To a surprise. Nothing. Not even the hint of a lodge. Well, Fisher didn’t disappoint but we were disappointed. We had just paddled for 2 hours. The ride was fun, the scenery great, but, there was no scale; no Hoorah for a new record. Nothing. Only buzzing mosquitoes. Denny and Jeff just laughed it off. Denny said, “Hey, we knew we didn’t have a guarantee, so it’s OK”. Yeah. I guess it had to be OK. No other choice, really. But I was still miffed. Besides it was 95°F out and the fish was on its way to becoming less than appealing! I wasn’t sure how well this fish would hold up until we got back to Ely, sometime late the next day. A lot of heat and time lay between us and then. Our attention now, was focused on the matter at hand: getting back to camp. None of us were eager for a 2hour against-the-current paddle, if we didn’t have to. Fisher was again consulted. We seemed to catch-a-break. A small lake that offered a portage short-cut. We paddled for it. Finding it became a game of hide-and-seek, but after about 30 minutes we stumbled upon it. We made the short portage in good time and were across the lake and ready to be onto the next portage. However, the next portage offered two interesting obstacles: 1. A long, mostly up-and-down hill, several times, portage; 2. he greeting on the shore. We expected the long portage, it was on the map. Not a big deal. We didn’t have much to carry: canoe, two paddles and 25# of smelly fish. This last item lead to the worrisome nature of the ‘greeting on the shore’. Spelled out in rocks was a single word; in large 4 feet tall letters; B E A R! 71
Yes, the unknown author had our rapped attention. Also of note - the name of this lake - Lake Bruin. Not knowing if the word was a prank or a warning, was a bit more than unnerving. Oh! Our luck seemed on a southerly course for sure. Denny and Jeff looked at me with a look of, ‘Ok boss. What do we do now?’ I just said, “Denny you have the canoe for the first quarter-mile; Jeff you have the paddles and I have the attractant!” That last element raised eyebrows quickly. Jeff looked at me and said, “Are you for real? Attractant.” I said, “Well, if there really are bears active in the area, this smelly bugger will no doubt let us know. So let’s get a move on!” Duties in order, the caravan took off uphill across the portage. We hadn’t gone 100 yards when we heard the bear just off the trail. It was obviously running in a direction opposite us —but we didn’t stay around to determine that. We were off, running down-the-trail at a rapid pace: canoe, fish and paddle-man. Canoe and paddle-carrier swapped, but I lugged the fish the entire 1.5 miles. We finally broke out of the woods and hit the water. The canoe came off of Jeff’s shoulders and in mid turn, took to the air and slammed with a loud, cacophonous boom onto the water. An idea, better as concept than reality, had Jeff swim a bit to retrieve the canoe. Mental note for next time: Might sound like a good idea, but flying the canoe is not! Finally back to shore to two very nervous partners left stranded, got busy. Paddles, fish and personnel were into the canoe and off in mere seconds, glad to be water borne. We watched, but no bruins showed themselves. Really? Any respectable bear would be trails away after all the noise we made: 25# of smelly fish or not! We paddled for about 40 minutes before finding our next and last portage. We didn’t see or hear any bears on this portage. But this portage would prove to be the real test of our stamina. The portage was far more level than the last. But what was lost in hills was more than made up for in swamp, mud, leeches, mosquitoes and black flies! We had just entered the Boundary Waters own special version of, Hell. No bears were to be found. For no sensible bear would enter into this mire! The portage was nearly 3 miles long. Up to this point I had experienced a couple of pretty hellish portages: long, slippery, crooked, and hard to follow. But this one soon became my ‘No.1 Portage from Hell’ really fast. Almost from the moment we stepped ashore to begin the portage, we were engulfed in mosquitoes and black flies. Fortunate to have a bottle of DEET between the three of us, we liberally applied. But, it seemed to only entice the biting, flying vermin. Seriously, the thought crossed my mind about stories read of people dying from so many bites. None in the Boundary Water, at least, not in modern times to my knowledge, but in upper-Canada, for sure. 72
Then it hit me: mud! I stopped. Halting the group, I dropped the fish and began lathering on the foul smelling mud we’d been wading through, all over my body. The other two guys followed suit. I coated the duffel in mud, too. Before long we looked like the Asaro mud men of Papua New Guinea! But, we were finally mosquito and black fly free! Each time we stopped we re-coated with mud. It was nasty, but it worked. When we stepped onto the water’s edge 3 miles and 3 hours later at the end of the portage, it was nearing dark. We were very hungry, horribly dirty and covered with bites under-the-mud. The fish? Oh, it was really beginning to smell! We had been out, paddling and crossing portages now for almost 7 hours. Mental note: What seems like a shortcut, rarely is; retrace, if at all possible, initial route. We decided to wash our hands so we could hold the paddles better as we paddled back. Not sure how far that would be though I thought it should be close. We kept the body of mud-coating on in case the mosquitoes and flies were as bad going back. Fortunately, the bugs were minimal and camp was close. We’d paddled only a half-mile when we rounded a large rock island, and there it was — Home Sweet Camp! We paddled up to Kitchen Rock, docked and got out. As we stepped up on the shore, we are greeted by a chorus of laughter and pointing fingers! Sure enough, we looked — and smelled —a ferocious sight. But even with being the butts of good laughter, we were glad to be back. It didn’t take long to let the river wash the mud off. Jeff and I took the canoe out into the middle of the river to a rock we’d seen before. One small point was above the water while the rest of the visible rock was submerged about 8 inches below the surface. I had 3 large rocks and a length of rope to secure the bag’n’fish. I tied the rope around the duffle strap, then around rocks on each end. I placed the rocks on each side of the big rock in the river and one rock near the middle of the bag. I knew the water would be cold enough to help slow down the decomposition of the fish. I just hoped that turtles and other fish would not find it and tear it up overnight. We were headed out before noon to the take-out point the next da near where we had thought the lodge would be. K. LEVIATHAN II The next day we broke camp around 9AM and headed for the take-out point. On the way out, our boat, my wife and son and I loaded up ‘The Fish’ into our canoe and caught up to the rest of the group. What the day before was for us three guys and the fish only took two hours to cross, took a bit more time with the full group. We finally arrived just after 12 noon. Our scheduled pick up was for 2pm, so we had a couple of hours to get all the equipment across the portage. The portage was quite fortunately wide by portage trail standards, and well maintained. But it was still nearly 2 miles long and primarily UPHILL! A group of three guys took off up the trail to check it out and come back with any report we might need. In the meantime, since I was not among that group, after unloading our canoe, I tied the ‘fish bag’ off in a nearby riffle of cooler water for keeping. I then took the canoe back out for some exploratory fishing. I paddled out about 200 yards into an edge lined with wild rice and began casting. I decided to prospect the waters with a large white Bucktail Hair Jig tipped with a rubbery white curly-tail lure. I had a couple of noticeable ‘bumps’ on the lure during the 4th and 5th cast. Then on the 6th I had 3 very hard bumps. I cast out just beyond where I had on the 6th cast and retrieved, with a countdown for 5 seconds then a slow lift and relax to countdown 3 seconds. I repeated this 5 and 3 count back to the 73
canoe. Out at about 20’ on the second count, the line just slammed off to the right; the line going out like a run-away train. Unlike the day before, I didn’t remain quiet. I let out a very loud, ‘WOW!’ whoop and it echoed around the bay bouncing off the water and wooded shoreline. Very quickly I was into another battle again with the same fishing outfit, but this time with a 7” wireleader section. A crowd began gathering on the shore by the take-out watching the 2nd big-fish-fighting-action in two days. After about 2 minutes of running deep against the drag in a right, then left, then ahead motion, it doubled back on me. I had to reel like mad! Finally catching up with it as it was near the 20’ spot where it took the jig. I still had no idea what it was yet but assumed another large pike, by the feel. The fish zigged left and arced totally around the canoe bow making me now continue the fight, on the left side of the canoe. The fish ran out straight for 45 yards then zipped a 90° turn right, again arcing across the bow line. This time, to the right side. All the movement had turned the canoe nearly 180°opposite the original direction of the fight, such that the fight was happening right in front, out about 100 yards, from the crowd on the bank. From the crowd came several shouts, “Don’t lose him Mr. B!”; “What is it Mr. B, another Pike?”; “How big is it Mr. B?” I only half heard the shouts, as my attention was on the fish. It took another run, straight back at me causing me to again reel-like-a-madman; stopping out about 20’ from the bow of the canoe. But this time it came up! And OH MY!! Did it ever come up! Head thrashing, body jolting back and forth, climbing for the sky, the massive Northern Pike acted like it was taking off on a flight plan booked from a destination miles away! As I drove the tip of the rod into the water, there was a very audible, collective GASP! along with several ‘WOW!’ expressions from the shore. The pike’s aerial launch halted by my action, it crashed back to the water with a splash that sounded of a large wooden fencepost crashing into the water. The instant the pike hit the water, it dove down and under the canoe. Due to the tension of the line and rod, the canoe pivoted around 180° so fast I was nearly thrown from it! I thought sure the line would give and/or I would be tossed out. No sooner had I recovered from this unexpected performance than the fish instantly reversed it all; doing it again. I was beginning to hear the sound track of Jaws at about this time and thinking of the infamous line, ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat!’ In all the movement, down and under and back, the canoe had creeped to now only 45 or 50 yards away from the entire gang on the bank. Before the fish made it all the way to the point of its original, underthe-canoe-run, it veered left, then back right, back left, back right… as if it were tacking in current like a sailboat in the wind. And I must say, if it was trying to wear me out, it was working!! It seemed like we were in this tug-o-war for 10 minutes, but it had been only 3 or 5, very active, minutes. I was tired and really not sure of the outcome. I knew I really didn’t want to lose this fish. It was a MUCH BIGGER fish. You know, there is an old maxim that should be kept close-in mind: If you don’t learn a lesson 74
the first time around, you WILL get another chance to live it. And this is just what happened in the next couple of minutes. I had once again gone complacent, and lost, even for the briefest of moments, concentration. It’s like animals have an extra sense to detect the ever-so-slightest, lack-of-concentration in their adversaries giving them the briefest of options for a get-away. Because, on the 4th cycle of back-and-forth, as the big pike doubled back for its 5th cycle, heading left, it shot up out of the water, not more than 10’ from me, in the mid-ship position of the canoe; less than 6’ from the tip of the bow! Being disconnected and distracted, I failed to respond in time with a proper downward thrust into the water of the rod tip. Instead, I reacted. I brought the rod UP and BACK right to oppose the jump. Big Mistake! A that instant, the big pike opened its massive jaw and out came the ½ ounce, banana-head Bucktail jig, sporting an impalingpotential, 3/0 hook, flying back at me like a heat-seeking lead missile!! I didn’t even blink, dodge or attempt to get out of its impaling path. I just stared. The whole world within my field-of-view went into slow-motion. I watched the now free-to-fly-big-pike continue to climb to an astonishing 7 feet, before it tumbled out of the air and back into the water with another BOOMING splash. I just watched. The fish fell out of the sky. The water boiled at the point-of-entry. The big jig hit me square in the shoulder – banana head first – and dropped harmlessly into the aluminum canoe, banging around like that misplaced pocket knife in mom’s dryer. Still… I just sat there, stunned. Watching the canoe-rocking ripples of wave radiating from the big pike re-entry zone, making their way outward past my peripheral and into the memories of, ‘what might have been’. It was the sound coming from the bank, an assortment of groans and cheering, that brought me back slowly to reality. Automatically, I reeled in the line, clipped the jig off the line and put it away. Then made my way back to the middle of the canoe, took up the paddle and covered the 40+ yards to the bank. I was smothered in congratulations, ‘Wow what a big fish’ statements and slaps on the back. I was still numb. I pulled the canoe up onto shore, turned it over to let the water drain and stared out onto the water … trying to retrace all that had just taken place in less than 15 minutes. It was mind boggling! I would have to say that was the most intense fishing experience of my life. I could only hope for more near it; like it; pray one might even exceed it. EPILOG The Kawishiwi Monster made it out that day, but not before it slimed a kind, young teenager who carried it up to the pick-up spot, then had to wait in the 95°F heat for an extended 1.5 hours. The hot showers we enjoyed on our return to the Outfitters facility were all the better for this young lady; who was rewarded with her choice of dinner. Our family treat. The name ‘Ralph’ somehow got attached more solidly than Kawishiwi Monster and that is what has stuck to this day with the odd-out, occasional reference as, Ralph, The Kawishiwi Monster. The fish was given a male name, though in reality it’s a she and not a he. Another bit of pike knowledge added. 75
Ralph’s track from Ely, MN to my wall in central Hoosierville, was an equal match of a story. Calamity. Loss. Forgetfulness. Despair. Arrival. Damage. Reparation. Aggravation. Finally … Frustration and Forget it. Maybe one day I’ll write a story about it. But the big girl sets on my wall, alongside the official letter that says she was the proud winner of a prominent Minnesota Newspaper Big Fish contest —hold not a world record, but the Minnesota state record for 7# test line... for that week. “And that guys, is the story of the Kawishiwi Monster.” I said as we pulled into the sleepy little town of Ely, Minnesota. “So, Carmen, we’re almost there. Are you ready to begin our official BWCAW Adventure?” “You bet Uncle Les! I want to catch a Kawishiwi Monster just like you.” he gleamed. “Atta boy! We’ll do what we can to make it happen.” I assured him. “You do have a leading line this time, don’t you, Les?” piped up Ed, sporting his usual wry grin. “Oh, indubitably my dear man. Indubitably.” I replied. At that we drove into the parking lot of the Cliff Wolds Outfitting Company. I pulled into an empty parking place, cut the engine and turned to the group. “OK guys, this is where our Adventure begins!” The van cleared like a kicked ant hill, we were now only moments from beginning our long-awaited trip into the BWCAW. Little did we know what amazing twists and turns lay ahead. “Hei,” said Ed as he passed Jon, on his way to the check-in, “You sure put some teeth marks into that donut.” Jon replied with his mouth half-full of donut and coffee, “Yaah laek a turty-nun poon paek puttin’ eez twooth iun a doonoot.”
How to use the IFFI: ((Girth x Girth) x Length) / 800 = weight in pounds – girth and length are inches – Example: If the fish’s girth is 15 inches and its length is 29 inches, the formula would be used as follows: 15 x 15 x 29, divided by 800 = 8.16 pounds Then the ".16" or "16/100" is converted to ounces (multiply by 16) .16 x 16 = 2.56 or 3 ounces So this fish is 8 pounds 3 ounces. KYPE
“...Lanes Laire’s debut album is a quality creation.” - Project Daybreak
“…”Lanes Laire’s debut album is a quality creation.” - Project Daybreak
“intelligent prog with an itching sense of melody.” - The Moshville Times “…intelligent prog with an itching sense of melody.“ - The Moshville Times “...Laire is an apt craftsman and he knows how to make a song...” - Progarchy “…Laire is an apt craftsman and he knows how to make a song…” - Progarchy
Resurrection of Black Lanes Laire - vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass pedals Matt Bissonette - bass Gregg Bissonette - drums Jeana Olivia - harmony vocals