Monday, August 29, 2011

Hoosiers, Allen's and Fall Fish

Take 7 Hoosiers, a Yank, and what do you get? 

Lunch in a corn field (making everyone feel at home),

 A bottle of Allen's Coffee Brandy (Taste of Maine!), 

Some PBR (Professional Boaters Refreshment- Overbey at his best)

and one big ass chub (first fish on a fly!).

I can't wait until the Indiana crew gets back here!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Apex Predator

"Do these things have teeth?"
Let's just start here. We don't condone it. We don't promote it. We don't try to make a buck off it. It's a shame that they are here, and the people responsible for spreading them around have forever altered the landscape of Maine fishing's on a rapidly increasing number of waters. The responsible parties are criminals, plain and simple, and their decisions have, and will continue, to rob generations of what once was.

Northern Pike are a menace, but they are here, and unfortunately, there is no going back. The spread of invasive fish species in Maine has become so alarming that I am giving some serious thought to pulling out altogether and heading for greener pastures. It seems that their spread has no end in sight, and as they continue to expand, the collapse of more cold water fisheries seems likely to follow- if the Belgrade Lakes are any indication.

That's a pretty tough pill to swallow.

We fish rivers where these fish are present, and we do from time to time hook them, and even manage to land them on 8 pound flourcarbon tippets. So, yes, we are smiling in this picture, because in the moment, it was something to smile about- three guys, fishing on a river, and sticking a big fish in the net (anybody would be smiling with that thing latched onto the end a 6 wt!). But in the big picture, it's a reminder of what we as anglers in Maine have lost, and what we are going to continue to lose in the future.

It was a great fish to catch on a fly rod, and the gentleman who managed it should be proud, and I don't mean to detract from a personal achievement in anyway.

I just wish we had done it in Minnesota, or Wisconsin, or Canada, or where ever the hell these things came from.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sound Advice

Mark and Rich found themselves spending a week catching some R&R in Old Orchard Beach. These guys were fresh off a week-long trip in Dillon, Montana and still had the itch to get out and feel the tug. So, after leaving the women to their own devices in Kittery for the day (tough to guess what they were up to!), the boys headed north to get their fix.

Although they were new to fly fishing, they weren't inexperience anglers. They hooked plenty of fish and had to work for them- making repeated casts with sink-tips and working streamers most of the day. Anybody who has done this type of fishing knows that it will wear you out much quicker than watching an indicator keep pace with the boat all day and making a few mends every now and then.

These guys were great, good humored, patient, willing to take advice, willing to work for a hook up, enthusiastic, and experienced enough to know that not everyday means catching every fish in the river or setting a new IGFA record (although I will say they did hook and land plenty of fish). And also to their credit, they even took the time to practice some fly casting before showing up. In short, these guys rocked, the kind of people any guide would be psyched to spend a day with.

I get to fish with a good mix of people with a wide range of experience levels. I'm sure for some, it may be intimidating fishing with a guide for the first time. It shouldn't be. Keep it light, keep it fun, be willing to listen, and understand that fishing is, well fishing. There are no certainties. In short, be like Mark and Rich.

Here is a great article from MidCurrent on the "Do's and Don'ts of Guided Fishing Trips" . It's worth the read, and full of some sound advice.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Maine Smallmouths: The Rx for Dog Days

Green Trout
Well, we have quietly settled into a nice mid-summer routine. While the trout pout in warm water, we are happy to fish for their green cousins that thrive as Maine's rivers warm up.  The smallmouth fishing has not disappointed, with relatively stable weather patterns, the fishing has been pretty consistent overall. Low angle light (early or late) produces the best shots as decent top water fishing. The mid-day siesta (yes, even the fish have to  nap) is best worked around by going deep, and slowly stripping a tasty treat like a small olive bugger with some black and yellow rubber legs thrown in for that extra bass appeal. Takes can be real subtle! Usually it's a fine line between getting hung up in the basement and fishing slow enough to get a grab under bright skies.

Smallmouth bass are a little different than largemouth bass. Often, crashing a deer hair popper down all day is not going to be the most effective way to fish.  I like to think of bronzebacks as some where between a largemouth and a really-pissed-off-meat-eating-brown trout. They are aggressive, but they still require a certain amount of finesse. Not everyday brings Fat Nancy or  Hog Johnson to the net, but rivers with good numbers of fish per mile can keep things fun and laid back... like summer was meant to be.