Friday, November 2, 2012

Tony's muskie

Tony's story in Tony's words:

It took about 15 years, but it was worth the wait.  On October 6, 2012 I finally broke the seal on my quest for the Muskellunge with a dandy 48”er to take home the green jacket at ESOX XVIII where I/we were “seeing double” – almost.  The spot: Onigum on Leech Lake between “fallen tree and Higgin’s daik”.  The lure: sauger patterned double (bull) daig.  The story: After I lost a nice 45”+ fish, Mike Ringer, Karl (K-Ral) Reynolds and myself puttered our abysmal rental, that could go no faster than idle and came with a dead trolling motor, back up to the top of our drift on Onigum.  Accustomed to disappointment, I managed to shake it off and kept throwing the double daid.  Twenty minutes later a broad-shouldered musky followed the daig, mesmerized, infuriated, or both by the tantalizing twin tails.  After several figure eights, I switched to a slow large circle and the musk took the bait.  I fought the fish for maybe five minutes and then Ringer sacrificed the body and hand-landed the monster.  K-Ral manned my phone’s camera like any good Best Buy executive would.  A careful reader will notice the key to our success: broken boat, no net, and no camera.  I’m hopeful this was the first of many, but if not at least I can look forward to defending my title in song at ESOX XIX “the musical”. 

**normally we only post fish stalked on the fly, exceptions are made for fish of a life time and for Tony

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

MN Labor Day Weekend Hogs

Steveo breaks in Bart's new rod by landing a massive 21"+ smallie and a 10lb+ pike both on top water poppers, on same previously mentioned (never in name) secret river somewhere in MN.   Not bad boys... how did you pull this off labor day weekend?  

Monday, July 23, 2012

PM Mousing

Went mousing Saturday night on the PM.   It was the kind of trip that really had nothing to do with numbers... an amazing evening/night.  Floating the PM in pitch darkness brings out the animal instincts and (as my wife would say) engages the reptilian brain... you see/hear more than normal, you feel the line 100xs better (and the fly moving for that matter) far better than you do in daylight.  The rio lumalux line really helps.
It was only my 2nd mousing trip ever in a drift boat.  While you go (and spend huge marital capital to get basically 2 days 1 night off to make it happen) to hunt the big boys who only feed at night... you realize that the odds are still pretty long for tying into a true trophy.  I felt like I played par golf.  I was on it for the most part... and felt relatively dialed in.   I felt like catching one of those hook jaw browns, that looks more alligator than fish, even though the odds are better at night, is still pretty much like hitting a hole in one, or chipping in from 90 yards for eagle.  
I think I landed 5-6 fish in the 17-19 range, a few smaller... but nothing over 20"... but also none of those, " I want to carve my brains out with an infant baby food spork" moments that haunts you for the next 5 years of your life.  While those moments "bring you back"... I've got too many of those self-inflicted missed fish wounds from yanking the fly away on the pre-mature visual hook set (I guess that's an advantage of night fishing you can't see the fish coming in for the take), or any number of equally bone-headed maneuvers...     
It was a good time.  Can't wait to go again. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

More MN Smallie action

The MN crew chasing some tails on super secret off the grid water "somewhere" in northern MN.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Up at 5am, home by 11:30pm. Feels good to know I still have those trips in me.

Up at 5am.  6 hour float turned into 10 hour float due to 30 mph winds pushing us upstream for the last 5 hours.

Upon arrival to the launch, lightning rolled in then cleared.  Fishing for the first half of day was producing big time.  First 5 hours were such that every cast was made with anticipation of a strike.   In the middle of a hot section where I had the same fish strike my foam fly 5 times on the surface (theory: lightweight fly kept getting pushed out in front of fish's mouth or something very weird but not as weird as having no hook), Bart's reel had a major malfunction while fish was on.... and then off.  The Lamson completely came apart at the seams... literally.

By about 3pm the wind started picking up and temps dropped.  Weird high pressure blowing in from the north shut the fishing down and made casting very interesting.  I took a hook wrap gently around my ear, to the back of my head, the my love handle and once to Steve's mid back that let out a yelp....

Anyway, the wind gusts felt much like those terrible high wind, terrible viz days attempting to saltwater fish only because you are there and planned the trip months in advance... but you have no business fishing.

Steve-o once again redeemed the afternoon with an hour of precision casting to within inches of the bank.  That mixed with his bulldog persistence landed him the last smallie of the day.

Good times.  sooooo good to be out.  needed that badly.

Pre-spawn on the River M

Just the facts:

Fact 1: Arms/shoulders sore... hands swollen from landing fish non stop for 2 straight days
Fact 2: two legitimate hogs... taped over 20" (Joel & Steve)
Fact 3: countless (prob 25) shy of the 20" mark in the 18- 19 7/8 range
Fact 4: 175+ fish among four guys over 2 days.
Fact 5: Catching fish like that is dangerously greedy... could ruin us for awhile

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

66° north - Jonas Ringman

This post is from Jonas Ringman a guide from Sweden. We met recently after exchanging a reel on ebay and he was cruel enough to send on these pics of some truly mind-altering browns! Jonas I will be forever haunted by these photos, the colors on these browns are insane. Hopefully, someday... someday... I'll get to stalk some fish like these with you! Add this to the bucket list.

66° north

Fishing in the far north of Sweden under the midnight sun. These browns are “top of the pop" fish from a summer season in my home waters in northern Sweden. Fishing starts in early June when the midge and stonefly hatches start and then peaks in late July with both large caddis, baetie and terrestrials like the lapland bibio pomonae. But it´s not until after most insects have died that the hogs enter the pitcher. Under second half of august when the nights starts to get dark and cold the hogs enter the rivers and make their way up to the spawning gravel. The best fishing time is dusk til dawn, with the dark and rainy night often producing the best fish. 7-8 wt rods with sinktip or intermidate shooting heads and 20lbs tippets is necessary to cope with wild native browns reaching 10-15lbs. Large tubes make for clumsy midnight tumbles when you brawl with a true hog and she takes you down a rapids.
© Jonas Ringman

Photo credits
Picture 1(049.df.jpg) small brown trout © Jonas Ringman
Picture 2 (SKA_2319.jpg)medium browntrout © Marcus Hallquist
Picture 3 (DSC_3301-2.jpg)large browntrout © Lars Ringman

Contacting me for guideing thru email or me directly on or +46733028652

Additional comments from Jonas:

Sure you can spend your winter days tying flies, watching tv or even work overtime, saving up for summer adventures. But i´ve got an addiction, much like gambling i guess, i just can´t stop my hunt for trout.

This winter, from Nov to the beginning of Feb, i did 80 days in the Swedish Baltic archipelago. Most days where OK, with temps over 32F and moderate winds.

After a week or two fishing saltwater in freezing temps, the skin on your fingers cracks and your back hurts after hours of deep wading and float-tubing.

In Stockholm archipelago there are some 35,000 islands and maybe 50 or so silver chasers,this is a cult or more like a sect, a sect of silence and secrets.

In the early years of the 90´s sea trout fishing was incredible, old timers talk about never doing a blank day! With average fish weight 4-6lbs and hogs reaching 10-20lbs, those where the dancing days!

This winter I made close to 80 trips, 6-10 hours days, landing 10 or so trout. A couple of fish around 20 inch, one after spawning 26 inch fish, but not quite silver more like stainless steel.

We have some "steelhead" runaways, fish bread for p&t lakes, hard fighting fish but i guess not what you would call a steelhead.

Kharma revarded me the last day fishing this winter, before leaving for the far north, a hog of 32 inch 12lbs silver bar, making all stormy days worth the pain.

Driftless March 2012

Benny and I spent 2 days chasing fish in driftless this past weekend. The highlight was hanging with Ben - it's been a while since we've chased fish together, or just hung out period. The fishing was mediocre, but it was awesome to get the 4wts out and be stoked about 8-12 inch trout... again. We enjoyed meeting Steve and Deb who put us up in their cabin (search Mayflylodge) on the bad axe. The low point of the weekend was realizing that we were short (or completely out) of scuds right when we realized that they were the meal-ticket.

We fished the west fork of the kickapoo, bishop, timber c, spring c., and bohemian. Hilariously, we tossed big streamers for a while (sex dungeons, etc.) thinking we could coax out the hogs... before we threw in the towel and accepted that we were probably just freaking out the fish. Unfortunately we saw zero bugs coming off the top, as the baro was headed in the wrong direction and the temp (after 10 days of 70s and 80s) was stuck in the low 40s both days. I had a great time on bohemian tossing wholly buggers - even in small water (the width of a sidewalk) the brownies are the alpha dogs. Watching a 12 incher shark follow your streamer in small water is just as thrilling as a 2 footer in big water (well not quite.. but fun nonetheless).

Monday, February 27, 2012

Eric's tarpon

Still haven't heard the story... but here's the photo of Eric's tarpon from Keywest.