Monday, August 23, 2010

Sub-Surface was the Ticket

As a true smallie junkie... Will could write the "Kankakee river smallies for dummies" book (and as a dummy I would buy it). Will's smallie experience got us into fish that otherwise would have been much trickier to seduce. The bite was definitely "off" according to the guys at tightlines, because of the weather patterns (sharp drops in temp and excessive rain) that led to a number of cancellations just prior to our trip. We got lucky- the weather was great during our two day stay... but smallies are finicky the fish were definitely still in a bit of a funk. According to Tim and Hunter, the guides we fished with at Tightlines, top water is what they fish 99% of the time, mainly b/c the floats on the "M River" are quite long 8-9 miles... and b/c it allows them to target only the most aggressive eaters. Which makes total sense when the bite is on. In spite of this, after a pretty slow morning on day 1, Will smartly switched it up and started fishing streamers and quickly (as in 10 minutes after switching it up) caught the biggest fish of our trip (see below) on a murdich minnow. It was a fat fat fatty 18" 4lb+ fatty, that Tim thought was about 14 years old. Did I mention it was a fatty? Not a bad fish for Will's inaugural hogstalker post... it's actually hard to really tell from this photo (cause Will's not pulling a Supinsky like I am), but this fish was a wide body and definitely in class above any of the other fish we caught. In all (I believe because we switched it up and fished mainly streamers) we had a phenomenal two days of fishing... so good that I can't wait to be up there when the bite is on, we're definitely going back.

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August "M River" Smallies

We were skeptical when the guys at Tightlines told us to bring 7 & 8 weight rods... but now we get it. I was blown away by the strength of these fish! Pound for pound I don't think I've ever felt a stronger fresh water fish. The 14-16 inchers were the true fighters... they went absolutely ballistic and each time I tied into one (in that class) I thought I had a trophy before we saw the fish. One theory to explain the exceptional strength of the "M River" smallies is the fact that they are 100% wild / naturally reproducing, as the "M River" has never been stocked with hatchery fish. Between the two of us, Will and I caught 6-8 photo worthy fish, none over the hallowed 20" mark (which will definitely bring us back for more, because they are in there up to 22"). Our two biggest were pushing 18" around 4lbs. On this river, some of the best fish were fatties in the 16-17" range. All in all, an awesome time on the water with Will - a tone of good laughs and memories!

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Simmer's sexy brown

Possibly the star of the show... Eric caught this 20incher beneath a spawning steelie. A gorgeous muskegon resident brown that gave Eric a victory in the big-brown contest. Wow!

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Ben's first ever steelie... what a hottie!

Benny (and Doug our guide who promised he'd get him his first) both let out a sigh of relief when Ben landed this one. A strong/fresh fish, who went on a nice anchor pulling run, was probably the highlight of the trip because it was Benny's first steelie ever, and it ensures we'll have many more trips. Nice lid Doobs!

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Graham's only steelie to hand...

I connected with 7 or 8 fish... and this is the only steelie I got "in" the boat. I think I need a lesson in not horsing it. Great times! Highlights include seeing Benny catch is first, and hearing Bart catch his first (I think the entire county of Newaygo heard him) and streamer fishing the PM with Steve... the volleyball, poker, casting contest, and watching Gabe's brothers band also added to off-the river fun. Next year we need to time the run a little better, but I think it is safe to say this will become an annual trip.

Bart's big hens...

Bart lost his steelhead virginity, won the big steelie pot, and landed the most steelies of anyone in the group. Not bad and sweet redemption, since last time he on the Muskegon (about 5 years ago) he got skunked, caught in a downpour storm without a coat, sunburned, and nearly sunk our boat... all in one day. So after his 5 or 6 fish landed, I would say the score is even: Bart 6 Muskegon 6. Not bad given the challenge of sight fishing to small pods of fish at the very tail end of the run.

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Steveo's steelie

Steve's first Muskegon steelie was a nice one, and I think only about 15 minutes into the day on Saturday... a strong fish that finished 2nd to Bart's chrome momma. I thought for sure the ninja was going to boat a dozen steelies and it gives the rest of us renewed confidence that he only boated this one (and also, along with the rest of us, lost about a half dozen others).

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Steveo Strikes again... again..

Steve nonchalantly confirms his ninja status with a second hog on the same day, 26" brown (a female I think), also on a stonefly. wow wow.

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Steveo strikes again!

Monster hookjaw, humpback male brownie. Wow. 22" on a stonefly on a secret river in northern Minnesota

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