Two Different Experiences

September is gateway to the fall, and it has become my favorite month to fish. After a busy summer with the smallmouth, I take some time to relax and fish. I thought I would share two experiences, which were radically different in some ways but completely the same.

Last week, I visited muskie land for a chance at a big fish. They are one of my favorite recreational species. I was fishing alone and it was extremely windy, so fishing was uber challenging in this vast, open area. After two solid mornings, several fish had followed my shiny flies to the boat, but no connection. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever catch one. After numerous casts, zilch. I texted with Jon Ray and he said “chartreuse”. I took his suggestion. Literally on the first cast, I caught the glimpse of something beneath my fly. Soon the shadow disappeared, but something told me not to rush pulling the fly out of the water. I did a figure eight with my rod tip. I had never caught a musky with a figure eight, and my expectations were low. On the beginning of the second figure eight, a wide bodied fish exploded after my fly from under the boat. Soon he was hooked! It was one of the most exciting strikes I have ever had for any species. The fish was landed–it was a good sized fish, not huge, at 36″ in length.

Upon returning home, there was some time set aside to prepare for the fall season. In addition, I was hoping to accomplish one other fishing goal, to catch a brook trout in its fall spawning colors. There are numerous small creeks with brook trout in my area–in fact there is one in my back yard–so you think that this would be an easy task. This was not the case. I went to a stretch of a local small stream that is rumored to be great for brook trout. On the first day, I had several fish rise to my hopper pattern, but was unable to connect. Suddenly, a nice trout rose to my fly as it fell out of the grass on the bank. Much to my chagrin, my glee turned to horror. Normally I love brown trout, in this case I was disappointed with the 13 inch butterball on my line. I caught one more brown trout that day. The next morning, four browns as well as two rainbows we caught, but still no brookie. Finally, while swinging a wet fly, a tug registered on the line. I was frustrated when the fish was missed. The process was repeated, and again the fish took. I missed him yet again! I surmised that this must be a brook trout, as a brown trout would never be this stupid. On the third cast, I watched this nice trout follow my wet fly and it took. After a brief struggle, an 11″ jewel was at my feet. This moment was just as thrilling as catching the musky.

Fishing is always fun. Challenging fish make it more rewarding. This sounds like something a guide would say but the fish that you work for really are the most memorable. During the month of September, there are many challenges for the willing angler. Whatever fish you prefer to catch, get out and enjoy this great time of the year!

Kevin Feenstra’s Photos

Sun Shirt in WY

20150823_130236

Dan Challa sent in this great pic of himself sporting the Mangled Fly Performance Shirt and a beautiful cutthroat from his recent trip to WY.  Thanks for sharing Dan looks like a great trip.

 

 

Mangled Fly from Alaska

Kean Oh sent in this image of his mangled fly Pollywog from his Alaska trip.  With the Hex Camo Hoodie in the background.  Thanks for sharing the image Kean.

On a side note, should have the shopping cart back up to date in the next few weeks.  Will have NEW HeX Camo Hoodies in stock again.  Thank you for your patience.

IMG_1686

Scott fly rods

Review: Scott Tidal Muskie/Pike Special Rod

Chasing Muskies on the fly isn’t for everyone. Even the gear guys call it the “fish of 10,000 casts” (so, how many false casts is that?). But if it’s your thing, you’ll know pretty quickly. From the first eat, I fell in love. After a couple of years at it, I felt like I was putting the pieces together and wanted my own rig. As a huge fan of Scott fly rods, when the Tidal Muskie/Pike Special was announced, I knew I had my stick and placed my order. Yeah, I know, should have cast it first. But I own a bunch of Scott rods and there’s not a loser in the bunch.

Building on the very successful Tidal series, the Muskie model has a somewhat different taper, as well as an extended fighting butt (more on this later).  Scott doesn’t list a line weight rating, but Scott’s Midwest rep, Jerry Darkes, told me it was rated as a 10/11 weight.

First impressions were exactly what I’ve come to expect from Scott – tight wraps, their beautiful unsanded blank, and solid, but not flashy hardware. If you need bling, these guys aren’t your company. But let’s be real – if you need bling, you’re not fly fishing for Muskie.

Last weekend I got to get in my first real outing chasing ski’s with my new stick. This was my annual pilgrimage north with Capt. Jon Ray and my Dad. JR pulled us into this crazy pursuit a couple of years back and Dad and I both took to it right away (he boated a 40″ that first year). This year I was armed with my new stick, a fresh Scientific Anglers Mastery Wet Tip Express 350 grain sink tip line, and a STUNNING Abel Super 9/10N in Muskie graphics.

The first thing I noticed when casting is that this thing is a cannon – launching a big fly and a heavy line a long distance is no problem. Back cast, wait for the load, and WHAM! But more importantly for me was accuracy. I found I could sidearm under overhanging tree limbs, hit kill holes, and generally put the fly where I wanted it with tremendous ease. As I said to Jon – “this rod casts better than I do…”. The morning of the first day we encountered some pretty serious wind and the Tidal really helped. Just by tightening up my loops I was able to maintain the control I needed. Even backhand casts gave me the same feeling of power and accuracy.

The extended fighting butt is another huge advantage. I’ve heard experienced guides say that up to 50% of their fish came from figure-eights at the boat. But figure-eighting all day is physically exhausting. The extended fighting butt enabled me to add a two-hand grip that increased rod control and gave my casting hand a break. At a recent lecture by Muskie guru Blane Chocklett, I learned another use – casting. By locking the extended but to your forearm, you spread the load out, making it easier to throw heavy flies all day. Sure enough – it works!

On the afternoon of our first day, I got to test the fighting prowess of the Tidal Muskie. We’d just moved the boat up river to a new area. On my second cast I see the perfect eat. This big girl just engulfed my fly. A hard strip-set and it’s ON! The fight is an area where this rod shines. I had plenty of power to direct the fish, gain line, and generally control the fight. The rod flexes deep to the cork without a moan, groan, or complaint. A little deft network from JR and I’m on the board!

With my other Scott rods, particularly streamer rods, I’ve found one small issue. You have to tape the ferrules. It’s the same on my Scott Radian 907/4 which I use streamer fishing for trout and smallmouth bass. If you don’t tape the ferrules, they loosen, the rod casts like pooh, and you run a greater risk of breaking a rod. I find that if I wax the ferrules once, and then tape with every use, it’s all good. A minor drawback for an outstanding rod.

If you’re looking for a great Muskie rod at a moderate price, I highly recommend the Scott Tidal Muskie/Pike Special. A solid value on a great performing rod that’s made in the U.S.A.

-Sean-

Clean your waders and boots

This was sent to me by the DNR and wanted to share as more and more invasive species enter our water systems, it’s becoming very important to clean our waders and wading boots.  The .PDF  is an 11 page document discussing wader & boot cleaning.

Hi Jon,

 

I was recently passed a note from you to Jim Dexter regarding what you should be recommending to people for wader and boot disinfection. There are many disinfection options for waders and boots. The methods that I typically recommend include:

 

1) Soaking in Virkon Aquatic for up to 20mins. (http://www.wchemical.com/products/biosecurity-supplies-disinfectants/virkon-auqatic/virkon-aquatic-10-lb-tub-virkdlb0010.html)

2) Putting the waders/boots in a chest freezer between uses

3) Cleaning/scrubbing and soaking in hot water (140F)

4) Bleach (1/2 cup to 5gal water) or 409 solution work for waders, but recommend Virkon over these options

 

If using chemicals you should always rinse your gear with water afterwards.

 

I think that it is also important to point out that just simply inspecting and thoroughly brushing and rinsing your waders/boots is a method that can greatly minimize the risk of spreading invasive species. The key point would be to keep a close eye on the crevices and grooves near the boot laces and on the bottom of the boot because those are the locations where aquatic invasive species typically go unnoticed.

 

I have also attached a paper for you to read if you get some time and are interested that discusses wader disinfection and New Zealand mudsnails.

Disinfection of three wading boot surfaces infested with new zealand mud snails (PDF)

 

ESPN 30 for 30

FIRST PITCH

Good Friend Jeremy Turner shared this with me, if you can find this episode make sure to check it out.  Mangled Fly has worked with Jeremy before and his music talents are first class. – www.hearjt.com

 

This Friday, September 11th, ESPN will premiere a new 30 for 30 film after the national moment of silence. First Pitch tells the story of President George W Bush’s ceremonial pitch at the World Series in New York, on October 30th, 2001. The film was directed by Academy Award winner Angus Wall and I was fortunate enough to compose the original score. It’s a project we’re all quite proud of and I hope you get a chance to see it.

Mouth of Flash – Pic of the Day

 

 

 

_MG_3701

A northern pike with a face full of Whiting Farms hackles and Hedron Flashabou

 

Help stop the spread

The DEQ has announced that it has found two new invasive species in Michigan rivers. The Pere Marquette River near Ludington has New Zealand mud snails and the St Mary’s river has didymo (rock snot). Read the announcement here, by the DEQ.  Both of these species are very harmful  to our rivers and the fish we pursue.

To stop further spread of these invaders wash all of your equipment thoroughly, including your warders, boots and boats after getting out of the water is mandatory. We all fish multiple rivers, we need to be vigilant to keep the remaining waterways free of these pests.   Cleaning wading boots and waders is key to stopping the spread of invasive species.

Waders and Wading Boots – should be dried inside and outside throughly. This is especially important during the summer months when perspiration may build up in waders even with gore-tex and other breathable fabrics.

  1. Clean off any mud, sand or other fine debris before leaving your stream or lake. This is especially important if you are fishing a stream or lake infected with rock snot AKA Didymo, zebra mussels or New Zealand mud snails. Use fresh water if you have enough to do this. Otherwise using the stream or lake water you are fishing in will help to keep the critters where they started.

  2. A good stiff vegetable brush will clean off mud and debris off the soles, welts and other parts of wading boots and the soles of waders.

  3. Allowing boots and waders to dry in the sun will help damage invasive species. On waders make sure to dry the outside, then turn the gravel guards up so they will dry under them.

  4. Build a simple but effective wader drying station by purchasing a four post prebuilt type hat rack at Lowes or Home depot. Attach it to the wall studs with a 2 inch screw in each end. Hang the waders by the suspenders with an open post between to allow the waders to drape open a bit. My station holds the waders about 2 inches above the floor.

  5. Allowing waders to dry throughly between uses will generally kill the common aquatic invasive species. The suggestion is to dry for 5 days minimum between fishing trips.

  6. Wading boots should be laid out to drain and dry completely between uses if possible. This is especially important with felt soles. Beginning in 2011, all major wading boot manufacturers will no longer offer felt soles. Sticky Rubber, Aqua Stealth, soft rubber Vibram soles, Eco-Trax soles are a few of the substitues on the market.

  7.  Other Methods

    • Soak your waders and boots in hot water over 120 degrees for at least 30 minutes will help to kill most invasive species.
    • A combination of hot water and salt solution can also be used. See Controlling the spread of invasive species for the mixtures.
    • 100% vinegar is an alternative to salt.
    • Do Not use 409. It will eat your waders, is hard on the environment and is illegal too.
    • Use a high pressure sprayer to clean wader soles and the cracks and crevices inside and outside the boots will help. Then soak in a hot water bath.
    • I scrub my boots and waders in a hot water bath to remove the left over mud, stream debris, etc. and allow to completey air dry before using again.
  8. Take the Clean Angling Pledge and follow it.

If we want to continue to have some the best fishing in the United States we are going to have to stay on this. Please tell your friends and fellow fishermen about this problem and be part of the solution!

Erik Rambo with a great pic

muskie release

Pic of the Day – Muskie Release

muskie release

 

Wanted to say thank you for the patience as Mangled Fly Media comes back on-line.  No need to talk about the struggles of the past few weeks, only that new stuff will be coming on-line again soon.  Bear with me as fall is a busy time, but promise to make up for it with quality content. The Muskie Adventure season has just started and already looking like it will be a great season.