September 30, 2015

Here There be Monsters….

This summer was a great summer for big fish, with more huge fish caught than any year I can remember.  It wasn’t, however, a good year for taking pictures and video.  Not really sure why, it just didn’t happen.  One of the exceptions was this clip, although all I ended up with was the measuring of the fish.  I took the GoPro off for the still pics, and released the beast before I could put it back on.  Even though the video and pictures were minimal, I have a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that we had the absolute minimal impact possible on this magnificient creature, an extremely short, intense fight and never lifting her out of her natural element.

Awesome!  Just plain Awesome!




July 21, 2015

Tying Phil’s Purple Dude

Purple Dude Title


Phil’s Purple Dude is a simple, effective and durable baitfish pattern.  Derived from the “Purple Death” tarpon fly and tied with synthetic materials, this is a great dark day pattern that belongs in your flybox.

May 10, 2015

Polarizing Sunglasses

We have all heard about the benefits of polarized glasses for cutting glare when we are on the water. I would say most of us take it for granted that polarized glasses are a critical part of our equipment.

Yet, every summer I see anglers getting into boats with poor quality sunglasses, often just a tinted lens!

With that in mind, I took a couple pictures this morning – one with a polarizing filter and one without. The difference is very pronounced, so much so that I would expect anyone can see the value of the polarizing lens, fisherman or not.

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There is a nice pike here, and you can see it if you look closely.


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With a polarizing lens, the pike is obvious to even the untrained eye.

Note:  These photos are completely un-retouched.  No Photoshop effects of any kind.

All fishermen should wear polarizing glasses, regardless of fishing style.  If you plan to sight-fish, not having polarizing glasses will ruin your day.








March 31, 2015

A Case for Topwater

There is fishing, and then there is FISHING!




Everybody has a style of fishing that does it for them.


For some, it is jigging walleye. Short lines, tight connections, a gentle tap, and then Bamm! (Don’t scoff, I personally know guys like this!)


A delicate cast, a perfect drift with the right pattern, a subtle rise, the fly disappears and you are tethered to a cartwheeling jewel. A couple minutes of give and take, and you release a nice trout back into the gorgeous stream he calls home. Purists have said for decades that “dry fly, stream trout fishing is the only true flyfishing”.


For some, it’s a sunny, relatively calm day hunting the flats. A little nervous water, a silvery shadow, the tip of a tail breaks the surface, a long precise cast and a couple twitches later your drag screams as your quarry bolts away.


Some guys find no substitute for huge, chasing fish that are many times larger than they are, less about finesse and more about “mano a mano” duels than can go on for hours.


The “Silver King” has many devotees, and it is hard to fault their enthusiasm. Tarpon has it all, sight fishing, size, spectacular leaping ability, incredible tenacity and toughness (so much so that many anglers jump their tarpon and then break it off, unwilling to subject the tarpon, and themselves, to the grueling battle that will otherwise ensue!).


Chasing steelhead in freezing temperatures, noodling catfish, wrestling golden dorado, tigerfish or other exotic species – I could go on for pages and pages, and not come close to them all.  For most of us, our ultimate fishing experience is not the one that is in our back yard. The novelty of only occasionally experiencing that thrill is part of the allure.


The point of all this is this: There are styles and types of fishing that are more “fun”. One of the most fun styles of fishing I know is topwater. Topwater fishing is exciting! Many species can be fished on the surface. The best part of sight fishing is the “take” – topwater brings the take up to the surface where you can see it.   Almost any fish you catch is more exciting if you can see it eat(the only possible exception might be hooking something and having no idea what it is until you get it to the boat. I would argue that that is anticipation rather than excitement, but…). Fish that eat at the surface are more likely to jump. And it can be effective! Sometimes, it is the best way to trigger fish. You can fish topwater with almost any gear, spinning, casting, trolling or fly – they all work at one time or another. The best part is: there is most likely a fish near you that loves topwater!




For me, that fish is Esox Lucius, the Northern Pike.


Pike can be voracious, devouring anything that moves. When a pike strikes, it is among the most vicious of all fish. Nothing in fresh water is faster for a short range burst. And they love topwater!



A good topwater bite can leave you breathless.  There is anticipation, sometimes followed by a sudden blow-up.  Spectacular!  Other times you can watch the water bulge as a fish streaks towards your fly from 20 feet and crushes it.  Epic!


Gives me chills just thinking about it…