Friday, May 20, 2016

Memorial day and bass fishing

This is the second year I'll be attending the annual get together of the Michigan Virginia Mafia, better known to this group of characters as the MVM.
For the past 10 or 12 years the same guys have been getting together to fish Lake St. Clair and it's smallmouth bass, all catch and release.
Members include Marke Cicero, John "Mini" Maniaci, Bill "Mac" McElroy, Scott Hammer, Carlos "C" Hathcock III and Shawn Dalton.
The late Ken Neeley, owner of KD Outdoors in Waterford is considered a member and throughout the week is honored and well thought of by the group.
This gathering includes lots of good food, plenty to wash it down with, great humor, lots of fishing stories and remembering those that are no longer with us.
It's absolutely held at the right time, right around this countries Memorial Day celebrations where we remember those that have given everything for all of us.
Butch Runyon pictured with his dad's WWII canteen cup.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Magical trout opener

On the Manistee River, about 45 minutes toward late afternoon turned out to be magical. Until then, the wind was blowing upstream or from the south. It blew steady and chilly.
We woke up to temperatures in the low 30-degree range. No one was in a hurry to get dressed for a go with the long rod.
Following breakfast, I head to Frederic to see old friend, fly fishing guide and fly tyer Sam Surre. I was daily confident he would be at home, holding court to friends about all things fly fishing and other subjects.
"The weather has thrown everything off," Surre said. He was referring to warmer weather several weeks earlier that had triggered a good hatch of bugs. Colder weather put a stop to that, driving bugs away and trout that weren't interested in rising for the sake of rising.
Surre feels things should improve later this week. "Warmer weather is supposed to come in later in the week which should turn things on again," he said.
About 3p.m. Rob Ward and his buddy since high school days Andy Gordon began making noises about suiting up to fish.
A few minutes after they got into the river, I walked down to see how they were doing. "There's a hatch right now," Rob said as he set the hook and missed a fish. "I've caught three right here," he said.
I got into waders and rigged up my 3-weight with a tiny olive on it. As soon as I was in the river I noticed fish rising all around me but they didn't want my fly.
I'm not good at insect identification or fly identification. If someone asks what I'm using I usually hold it up for them to see or say, "one of those little ones that's grey and black."
Although I lack in certain areas, I have paid attention and from Surre how to approach feeding fish.
I noticed a lot of bugs in the air, some dipping down to the water surface. I thought those were Hendrickson's or Hennies as the more experienced refer to them.
Taking the fly off that wasn't attracting any hits, I luckily found a small Hendrickson imitation of some kind. No sooner had a begun fishing it than I began getting trout rising to it.
As I was fishing an active trout, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a huge fish, probably over 15-inches clear the water after a bug.
Surre's lessons began paying off. Slowly and carefully I moved downstream stopping above where I had seen the rise.
After a least a dozen casts I finally manage a drift right into the lunch room of the fish I had been watching. He went for it and i set the hook. Feeling a good strong pull I thought for sure I had him.
However, he thought otherwise spitting the hook right back out. So goes the trials of fishing. That's why it's not called catching.