31 March, 2010
30 March, 2010
29 March, 2010
26 March, 2010
25 March, 2010
24 March, 2010
22 March, 2010
Beautiful sunny day. Started off pretty cold, but warmed up fast as the sun rose. Unfortunately, this had two effects:
- Turned the fish off. I was switching up flies, holes, depths, drifts -- every trick in the book. I got one solid fight, and one quick on-and-off but nothing landed.
- Brought the crowds out. This was pretty shocking as my last visit was a snowy February day where I saw not a soul. Yesterday, a dozen boats and as many walk-ins.
Now for the good part -- I got two on! And most everyone I talked to on the river had experienced about the same. It was a TOUGH bite. This is definitely testament to the growth in my skills. Thanks to Jon, Schultzy, Tommy, and other knowledgeable friends who've helped me learn, I can at least go out with a reasonable expectation of some success.
Photos soon, I promise!
19 March, 2010
One of the first things I pick up on with outdoor brands is tone and style. Much like Simms, the folks at Scott have this down. It's clear that while they know their target market. The copy in their catalog and on their web site balances the fine line between having fun, and taking your passion seriously. Scott rods aren't for the casual once-in-a-while user. These are serious sticks.
But I have little respect for brilliant brands who can't back it up. And to this point Scott delivers. With best-in-class construction, exceptional engineering, and innovative approaches all make them just a little bit better than competitors. What's interesting to me about Scott is that this approach seldom means cutting edge "out there" technology. More likely its about carefully selected components and processes so the whole is greater than the sum of parts.
One of their coolest elements is the "Classics/Concepts" series. Every year they do a couple of unique rods for some specific purpose. This year the concept rod is the Fiberhammer (cool name, eh?) switch rod for swinging steelhead flies.
I own two Scott rods already. My S3 in 9'6" 8-weight is the ideal stick for indicator fishing for steelhead. Its responsive with great line feel, but its got the backbone to stop a charging fish from making its way under a log. Although its in the entry-level series, my 6-weight A2 is simply amazing. This rod just plain makes me a better caster. I can't explain it, but there's some sort of Colorado magic pixie dust in this thing. I can cast further and with far greater accuracy with this rod.
For me, one of the best tests of a successful brand is that it leaves me wanting more, even when I don't NEED it. I want to replace my low-end TFO 3-weight with an A2 or A3. Do I need it? No. But it'll happen in time.
If you haven't had the pleasure of a visit to the Scott web site or better still their beautiful catalog -- I highly recommend it!
18 March, 2010
But then there's Spring. And you just never know with Spring. Today, it's supposed to top 60 degrees with bright sunshine. Cool, except I'm stuck in the office. This weekend? Mix of snow and rain and temps topping out in the high 30's. Awesome. As I reflect, maybe it's early Spring I'm not that wild about. Once we get some rains to wash off the roads, and the temps in the rivers top 40 consistently then things start to pick up. But I'm always itchy right in this transition. Can see the things I want to do are close at-hand, but not QUITE ready.
Ahh well, this too shall pass. That's the nice thing about Michigan. Don't like the weather? Wait a few minutes.
17 March, 2010
Only one way to satiate this beast -- river time.
16 March, 2010
Of course, thinking about these two elements made me think of a dozen other things I enjoy about it, but I think these two are the magic -- at least for me.
15 March, 2010
The redesigned St. Croix Traveler rod cases provide maximum protection for your prized rods. They are constructed of a durable Cordura covered P.V.C. with foam-padded ends to protect the rod tips. They have divided nylon liners which provide added protection and eliminates the need for a rod sock. ...
Protection for Float Rod
Pros: UNIQUE, Functional
Best Uses: Centerpinning
Describe Yourself: Avid Fisher
Had a very difficult time finding a case that would protect my Raven float rod. Standard fly tubes are too small to accomodate high-frame guides. This St. Croix case was perfect solution! Available in a wide range of sizes to exactly fit my 13' 6" three-piece! Glad I found it!
Dad and I booked a trip with Brad Petzke of Rivers North for early June. Looks like we'll be floating the upper Escanaba river chasing trout. Brad says we picked a PRIME slot. This guy knows every nook and cranny of the Central/Eastern UP, so we should have some fun and learn, to!
Warm temps this week and some rain to clean off the roads means cycling season at least FEELS like it will be soon. Dropped the road bike off at the shop for some attention yesterday -- shifting adjustments, wheels trued, and bars re-taped. I figure it's been a while since it had professional attention, so its time. Looking forward to getting out on the road. My mileage dropped off last year, so I've set a goal of getting back to 100+ mile weeks this summer.
And, finally Dad and I met up with Uncle Bill and my cousin Travis at the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo on Saturday. Made some more plans for May steelhead trip to the UP. Should be a fun trip and it's possible Travis may even join us this year. Right now we're trying to figure out what waters to target.
Meanwhile, I'm itching to get on the river. But I heard from several PM/Manistee guides that with the rapid disappearance of Winter this past week the rivers are WAY up and really unwadeable. Bummer!
12 March, 2010
We both agreed that while one option with guiding is a knowledgeable partner to try new stuff, we really enjoy the learning aspect. You can pick up so much about gear, rigging, technique, tactics, reading water, and more from a day with a guide. So, now we're looking at early Summer trout on some of the UP backwaters. In addition to Atlantics, Brad specializes in finding cool fish in some pretty out of the way places.
After the presentation and a great chat with Brad we headed to dinner. It was fun to relax and plan the Spring fishing trip. Where to go, what gear to bring, who might be joining us. That planning and scheming make it so much more fun. We're excited as both Dad and I know about 500% more than we both did a year ago. This Spring maybe we'll CATCH fish (other than the trout Dad got or the half-dozen suckers I encountered). We had several steelhead on last year, but no one landed any. Likely a combination of gear (light tippets) and technique. This year, I'll likely do a mix of indy and centerpin fishing, perhaps some bottom bouncing on the Manistique, and may try my sink tip for stripping streamers on an inland lake we know of that's got some nice trout.
11 March, 2010
10 March, 2010
09 March, 2010
08 March, 2010
04 March, 2010
The other day, I waxed my skis after the last outing. As I was doing it, I thought it was likely the last time and that this was "putting them up for the year". Last night I walked past my road bike and started to mentally itemize all the clean-up, tune-up, and prep I want to do over the next month. Yesterday I got my Ross CLA 3 set-up with a sink-tip for stripping streamers. Even did some more fine-tuning on my centerpin reel in prep for the April UP steelhead trip. This weekend I'll probably clean my target rifles and do some maintenance on the handguns now that the days are warm enough to sit on a concrete bench at the range.
03 March, 2010
This reel is part of my main summer fishing rig for trout and smallmouth. I've had some of my nicest, most pleasant outings with it. Some highlights:
- My first evening on the AuSable last May during an excellent Hendrickson hatch; both my first time on the Holy Waters as well as my first experience with a big hatch.
- A pleasant evening camping and fishing at the Clay Banks on the Pere Marquette in July. One of the most relaxing trips I've had in a long time. Caught two nice trout, followed by a meal grilled over an open fire and a great night in a tent.
- Fishing the upper Huron, five minutes from home, for smallmouth during the hex hatch last summer.
- An evening on the Two Hearted River in Michigan's UP. Unfortunately it was during the mosquito hatch! But solid two-fish night, followed by a campfire on the shores of Lake Superior and a great dinner.
Looking forward to some more fun with this rig this season!
02 March, 2010
My theory was that re-rigging is a PAIN. Snip the fly off, remove the reel/spool, install the other reel/spool, re-tie the fly/streamer. Easier to just have a dedicated rig and this makes it really cheap. I've done this with my steelhead gear with great success. Plus, I can see times when I might want to switch over, even for just a few, and try a different technique. My logic is that if it's easy to use, it's more likely to actually GET used!
But, I'm a big believer in the old "you get what you pay for" adage. I'll be curious to see product quality when it arrives. If nothing else, it will be nice to have a back-up rod handy for heavy-duty applications.
01 March, 2010
But with 43 degrees and sunny forecast for Saturday, I think the die is cast. C'mon Spring! If I can slip in one more day on the slopes, that would be cool. But if not, I'm good.