Wednesday, June 7, 2017

That Sinking Feeling

At left, a bastardized version of the Red Ass as a flymph.

TMC103BL in size 15.

Chartreuse Uni thread because I had it in the bobbin holder this morning.

Waxed pheasant hen tails (trout cannot count!).

Red wire - medium - for the abdomen.

Possum (Wapsi Awesome Possum in this case) for the thorax. Loose dubbed and picked a little.

Speckled Hen soft hackle. One and a half turns only.

Nice pronounced Chartreuse head.

I wrote of last weekend's outing that I was inadequately targeting fish on the bottom of the streambed. This fly will be my dropper on a dry-dropper rig. The wire will do for me what I need in the gentle flow I will fish Saturday night.

I'll probably use a medium Michigan caddis of a CDC DHC variety or a Jingler tied with a wrapped bit of foam in the underbody for flotation if I get around to finishing the flies.

I'm going to get my dozen of these Red Ass whipped up first.

I'm after nice browns this weekend and there is no reason the last six hours of light on Saturday will not yield some lovely fish. I'll be on the water until true dark.

Supper ?

Leaning towards smoked polish sausage on a grill gate beside the campfire.

Breakfast on Sunday morning?

Cat head biscuits and spicy sausage gravy. Strong coffee and lots of it.

You'll be sorry to have missed it.

I'm missing a dinner Saturday with some of my favorite trout fishermen; but, there are only so many weekends in June and come November, I'll be wishing I was out on every one of them.

I have to go. The river knows my name and its whisper calls to me more than a lover's coo.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Tungsten 1P

I wanted to say a few words about the Marmot Tungsten 1P tent tonight. I've some pictures of the thing drying out yesterday after I dashed home to meet a social engagement.

It's amazing gear. 

It's a one-man tent that sleeps much larger than that. The vestibule holds a generous allowance of boots, backpack, and utility gear.

It weighs something in the low 3 lbs. with tie-outs, stakes (MSR groundhogs), and the footprint (included in the price).

Above, the front. The tent opens on the right and the vestibule is the part extending as a beak..

Side view. The tent door flap is on the far left of the picture as is the vestibule.

The back. I've staked out the back for full summer ventilation here.

Side view. That's the included footprint drying  beside the tent and a construction trash bag at the far right of the frame which I use to loose pack when wet.

I put the beast up in the Wisconsin Driftless less than a half-hour before a serious blow. The roar was enough that I suspected a tornado coming over the hill.

The tent didn't flinch. This is a tough piece of well-designed gear.

Stormed on me camping beside the South Branch of the Au Sable Saturday night. No worries. I went to sleep with the sounds of decaying thunder and the certain specific dialect of raindrops off pine trees on the fly of my tent.

The tent goes up in three minutes. It holds you, your gear, a journal for your notes, and a decent book from those of someone else. 

It holds all those things dry.

The ventilation is excellent.

Trout camping has opened up water three and four hours north of here on a "no hassle" basis. I like fishing through the evening until true dark and returning to a campsite and a fire I've staged for just a match.

I'll sleep on the ground; but, I use a pad by Klymit ( here )  which turns a campsite into a lush bed. This "dash up, camp a night, and dash back"  is an incredible indulgence.

It helps that I love a good camp breakfast.

One day I'll be confined to the likes of a light trailer for base comfort. For now, I've got it pretty much like Ernie had it though with added benefits from modern materials.

Try some trout camping. The Tungsten line of tents by Marmot are "trout fishing" tough. (I've the 3P model, too).


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Fish Not Pictured

Dward Tract fishing report, Manistee River, MI.

At left, a fine example of my recent fish photography. A lovely brookie was in this paw an instant before the shutter snapped. He's out of frame in this yet not quite in the water.

I went to the Au Sable / Manistee region for a trout dash camping trip this weekend. Gates had this as the sign: a classic.

I caught these. The big one - a lovely nine-to-ten incher - flipped out of my hand in the upper picture. Those I captured on the digital film roll looked more like this little guy. Lovely, though a little bleached. Only the large fish had a lot of heavy shading.

I can't tell if this fellow has nice color or not. Lost on me.

I fished using this nice little 7' 2/1 #4/5 by Chris Lantzy. It's a lovely mortised handled split cane rod here mounted with a Douglas Argus wearing Wulff TT in #4. The rod does fine with the #4 or the #5 Wulff line.

My Hardy Marquis is spooled with the #5 but that reel does not like grit at all. I fished it in the Wisconsin trip and it saw a little of the milkshake water. All cleaned-up now but I think it is about to be shelved for a Red Truck.

Chris' rod is a joy to cast and will roll cast the snot out of the Wulff lines. Perfect for the tight confines seasoning the Deward tract on the Manistee.

Beauty shot of a guide on the mortised rod with the Deward tract Manistee in the background at Stump Forest.

Above is "the hole" I worked on Saturday afternoon. It was a development exercise I set for myself.

I figured three catchable fish lived here in the bend (probably more like fifteen). I was determined to fish for them with dry, soft hackle wet, dry-dropper, weighted flymph under a wool tuft (indicator), and streamer.

You can see the cover, the current, and the dark turn of a hole which is a good six foot deep over there. The water in the foreground was about fourteen inches deep on my shin. I sat, thought, planned, and observed.

I slowed down and contrived to catch three fish.

Flies used.

I studied the hatch. It was largely mosquito as shown here for size.

Pictured is an old old ginger-caddis leftover from before I started tying cdc-DHC exclusively. Not a bad tie, though.

Maybe a little head heavy. Size 16 here.

My hook left less sting than this smashed fellow. He was not a practitioner of the barbless philosophy.

Girding my loins using the default Michigan mosquito repellent: heavy sleeves.

And "no joy."  I fished from a low angle slightly off and upstream so as to use the current to help me with the submerged obstructions.

I stayed low so as not to soil the hole. I got into position and sat for 20 minutes waiting for my bank-side footsteps to fade from memory.

No joy. Odd.

Otter? Osprey? Brown trout in the hole?

I failed the exam. There is something here I did not know or did not execute correctly.


I took nine fish off this stream. Five I took wading downstream returning to my put-in. I "jigged" my soft-hackle in the drift downstream 50' in front of me (full line head + leader) loosing one and hooking five.

What? Why?

My upstream soft-hackle efforts full of concentration and stealth yielded worse results than "playing" a brown partridge-and-orange downstream in the main current drift. No hatch. No spinner fall. Partly cloudy day with a 10 - 12 mph irregularly gusting wind. I had waded up the stream long enough before to consider it fully rested.

Was I "chumming" the stream with my steps? I didn't think so but the results might say otherwise.

My delicate and dedicated fishing of "the hole"  pulled nothing. The fish I did catch from upstream presentations came from places unremarkable (not a visible seam off a sweeper or on/around a obstruction).

I  fished "water" and not fish. I used the "9 box" method of dividing the stream into three ranks (rows) and three files (columns) upstream but within my reach. I fished closest to me across the rank, then the next rank upstream. Then the next. Three or four steps and I repeated.

I have this nasty nagging feeling I'm too high in the water column for fish feeding close to the bottom while lying in the micro draws and troughs of the streambed.

I suspect. I suspect. I postulate. I guess.

I think I am fishing shallow. I will amend the effort next weekend on that trout dash upstate.

Beauty Shot of gear:

I love my Finn Utility side bag. It isn't perfect; but, neither am I.

It's lovely gear. It needs a little Lexol in this snap.

Spike Burger and waffle fries. Fished shallow or deep, these hook me every time. Forbidden food.

"Not for Bears."

The evening fire as I read and smoked the last of some Briar Fox from Cornell and Diehl. Sad to say, it hasn't become a favorite blend.

Next up is Sextant by G. L. Pease. Yes, it is slightly cased by rum -- as if that matters a damn bit.

I've nothing bad to say about a little rum casing in the tobacco from time to time.

Rum is a fine substitute for Irish Whiskey or a decent scotch  in a glass when you're pressed to it.

One must remain flexible, after all.