March 30, 2012

Carp Fritters

More fried goodness from the carp fly chef...

Carp Fritter
Carp Fritter
Carp Fritters
Carp Fritter anyone?

March 29, 2012

Pimpin' Ain't Easy

I love it when goodies arrive in the mail. Check out the new tee from Musky Hustler, courtesy of Geoff Samples. Like it on Facebook!

Musky Hustler
It's even better when Geoff tosses in a few "extras"!

SA swag
Hell yeah! I'm sexy and I know it! Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle yeah!

March 27, 2012

Spring Sucker Nymphing Tactics

Fly selection when working the spring spawning run can be critical. Hatches are very sporadic and light when they do occur and the pickings are slim, as there just isn't the diversity of emerging insects during early spring as you find later on in the season. Caddis and midge nymphs are always a safe bet to fish through out the year as they are always present. With early spring, however, I often think of the other March Madness, the stonefly hatch.

Staging fish aren't always interested in feeding, as they have one thing on their minds, spawning. And rarely do I find suckers feeding on the surface due to their subterminal mouths. So I fish low and slow. I like fishing tungsten weighted stonefly and drake nymph patterns like my Thunderbird, Boreal Bomber, and Fresh Pimp nymphs and bounce them along the bottom. Every so often a fish may take an emerging fly on the rise, at the end of the drift, but this is not typical during the prespawn phase. If you need more weight to reach bottom, throw on some extra lead. Suckers will hold tight to the bottom and will only feed if a fly is easy pickings. I like to utilize tightline nymphing during this time of year, as I can better detect the subtle takes. Bouncing the fly on the bottom using your rod tip will also add to the detection as well as help give your fly the appearance of a dislodged nymph tumbling along the bottom of the stream bed.

Fresh Pimp
This isn't bobber fishing or fishing for stockers, this is a numbers game. Getting your fly in the zone is crucial, as are the repeated runs and drifts of your nymph. Fish may spook and get lined, but they'll quickly roll back into their hold in the current seam, jockeying for precious spawning gravel real estate. It is to your advantage that you can keep drifting your fly through the zone in the hopes of an eventual hook up.

mayfly nymph
Your ROI (return on investment) may be low but if your put your time in, you will rack up the numbers of caught fish.

March 26, 2012


Spring is running well ahead of schedule here in the Great White North, with the second earliest ice out on Big Detroit Lake, just barely missing the earliest ice out ever recorder in 1910 by one day. For a little perspective, the average ice out date for Big Detroit Lakes is April 19. To say that spring came a little early this year is an understatement.

perfect run
The arrival of warm temps and early ice out threw a little curve in my game. The key to spring fishing is water temperature, though the photo period does play a role in fish activity and spawning. Water temps have of coursed risen earlier than the normal and so begins the chase of running fish. A few early scouting runs didn't produce any results, though I was only off by a couple of days. Diligence this time of year pays off as a single day can bring in hordes of fish staging for the spawn. As is the case around here, seasonal stream closures in a few areas that are designed to protect vulnerable spawning game fish throw a wrench in my fishing hot spots, as these spots are sanctuaries for many sucker species in addition to northern pike and walleye. That's where being adept at using a Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer, Google maps and aerial photos can make the difference between being on fish and being shut out.

white sucker
white sucker
My timing was perfect; schools of suckers and no crowds. The advantage to being on the ball when scouting is beating the crowds to the punch. By the time the local brigade arrives, I've already had my fun playing out these staging suckers. The bonus of these stream closures is that since the suckers spawn after the walleyes, the closed areas provide a haven for these spawning suckers until the fishing opener arrives. A little relief from the spear chuckers and bowfishing crowd never hurt anything.

trash fish
Trying not to foul hook a sucker when they are stacked up like cordwood can be a challenge. Every once in a while, even while I'm trying to be careful, you hook up with a trash fish... the bottom-feeding walleye.

March 19, 2012

Tommy Two-Tone

Experimenting a little with some two tone body coloration. Perhaps the changes are too subtle, but they still look deadly.

two tone
two tone
two tone

March 16, 2012

the buff

Shadow dancers of the prairies, you intrigue me. You captivate me. You move me.

I'll be back for more.

March 15, 2012

Shag Carpeting

Some more experimenting with the shag dubbing, even a little tweakage with the venerable Carp Crack. Only one way to see if the fish like them....


March 14, 2012

Disco Biscuit

Disco Biscuit
Introducing the Disco Biscuit, decked out with with some shagtastic dubbing. All that's missing is the Naugahyde leisure suit, platform shoes, and disco ball.

March 13, 2012

Scruffy Looking Nerfherders

More tweaks of the original Critter Gritter. I found these mini centipede legs from MFC the other day and figured they would add the perfect complement to the marabou tail section. While the medium sized centipede legs looked great and proved successful on the water, the mini legs may be a bit more understated.

cg burnt orange
CG olive
So far I'm digging the Hot Craw orange and olive the best. This may just be the final tinkering that this fly needs...


March 12, 2012

Party With Sluts

Winter seemingly lasted only a couple weeks around here this year, an odd departure from last year's season of doom and gloom and record snowfall. I'll take it.

Critter Gitter in pumpkin
I'll take anything I can get, in fact. I am a whore. A fly fishing whore to be exact. I love spending countless hours down at the river brothel, diddling away my time and getting my flies wet. I like to make sure I have enough lead in the pencil to get my flies down and dirty. I like riding them deep. That's where all the fun is.

pumpkin dub
Hot Craw dub
I spent some time the previous weekend concocting up a wicked brew of dubbing batches, Hot Craw and Pumpkin. Similar to my burnt orange dubbing variety, I used a base of squirrel, hare and rabbit. I added some Finn raccoon to the base fibers as well. Along with a medley of antron, floss/rayon, and other polyamide fiber goodies, I added a few extra trade secret ingredients. I also mixed up some of the highlight colors to lend to two complements that I hadn't previously utilized, hot orange to the Hot Craw dub, and highlander green and chartreuse to the pumpkin dub. As per the usual, the true essence of a spectral blend of translucent fiber based dubbing is difficult to capture on film. You'll have to trust my judgement and my word for it when I say that it is awesome.

I can tell you that black crappies know how to party. This playah loved him some Critter Gitter. I hope the carp come to party too. Looks like I'll need to make a booty call and pay a visit to their crib.

March 10, 2012

2012 F3T Minneapolis - They came, they saw, they partied

The 2012 F3T show in Minneapolis played to a sold out crowd. Folks were waiting at the door in hopes of extra tickets, there was even a criagslist ad asking for any miracles. Standing room only and the folks were loving it. Plenty of yipping and hollering at all the high definition fish porn showing on the big screen. This year's show was far and away the best event since the film tour starting coming to the Twin Cities 4 years ago.

clist ad
There was plenty of swag to go around, and a few big winners. Plenty of goodies doled from show sponsor Scientific Anglers; glad I was there to represent!

set up
film tour hats
SA stepped up huge with their VIP after party. Their impromptu tickets were baller, embossed even! Some good eats from Pepitos satisfied all of our appetites. And after a few Nordeasts brews and a shot of Makers, this was the perfect cap to an awesome evening.

golden ticket
brotherly love
It's always great recconecting with old friends, guide buddys, industry folks, and meeting new faces. Had a great time befriending the show hosts, even if one of them needed a hemorrhoid pillow haha. Already looking forward to next year's show. Bigger and better!

March 7, 2012

2012 F3T Minneapolis Almost Here!

Just a friendly reminder to check out the Fly Fishing Film Tour show in Minneapolis at the Parkway Theater at 700 PM this Friday, March 9.

Don't forget, there will plenty of giveaways and free swag to be handed out by the show sponsors! I've also got a few goodies from Mountain Khakis to give away after the show, including a bunch of gift cards and swag. See you there!

March 6, 2012

Grateful Tweaker

The hard part was coming up with the gestalt and basic configuration of the Critter Gitter pattern. Now that I have that, it's all about the tweaking. Let the fun begin.

critter gitter - olive
critter with tail
I know that the simple marabou tail will prove effective. However, being a carp fly, it seems almost obligatory that there be rubber legs. So, I added rubber legs, centipede legs to be exact, because I like how the variegation acts like a bullseye drawing a predator towards the fly. The exact length of the legs, though, is yet to be determined. I'll have to conduct some field trials to observe if the legs foul on the hook bend, or if they affect the way a fish takes the fly. Either way, this meaty morsel will be sure to plump up a cyprinid like a Muffin Top.

muffin tops
muffin top burnt orange
I know, it's a hard job, but someone has to do it.

March 4, 2012

PSA #7: Free Advertising

Free Advertising
Step One: Schlep your wares on your innocent, unsuspecting kids. Note daughter's gangsta pose.
Step Two: Release them out into the public.
Step Three: Wait for the sales to roll in so you can support your Hurricane High Gravity habit.

March 3, 2012

What You Think I Do

fly carp meme
Figured it was about time I jump on the bandwagon and do one of these for carp...

March 2, 2012

Big Meat

Landing Strip
Now THIS, is a Lake Michigan carp fly, the John Holmes of carp flies. The Landing Strip proved me well out on the flats of Lake Michigan and Beaver Island, mimicking a round goby, the forage of choice. The fly also managed to put me on some carp and smallmouth here in Minnesota too, likely representing a sculpin, frog, or juvenile smallmouth. Those smallies are indeed cannibals. Careful around those pike too, as I've had a few of these bit off by those toothy critters. Better use a wire leader in esox country.

Landing Strip
Yes, that fly really is four inches long, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. And yes, carp do eat flies that big. Big carp.

March 1, 2012

Critter Gitter

Introducing the Critter Gitter.

Critter Gitter
If there ever was a carp fly to personify Marc "Rowdy" Crapo's bodacious beard, this would be it. This fly has scruffy written all over it. I know the carp will be kosher with it because let's face it, they are no strangers to beard and mustache culture, rocking their Fu Manchus.

Critter Gitter
So what's hiding underneath the beard?
"You know they say that Chuck Norris is so though, there is no chin under his beard?
There is only another fist"

Critter Gitter
What next? I'm thinking I should tie up a darker rust colored variation in honor of Matt Dunn's mantastic beard. Perhaps my best work yet....