Silver Stoat

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    Jon A

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  1. I've been following this one. It's good stuff. I've only been fishing up north for a few years (8 apparently, time flies). I've been watching and learning from guys I fish with, and the single most valuable piece of advice I've taken has little to do with how you fish; whether swung fly, egg fly, bead, indicator, or egg sack. It is that the angler that moves will have a better chance at finding and hooking more fish. It's funny that we all focus on tackle as the main concern when fishing for steelhead, when it's what our legs do that seems to matter more (IMHO). Beyond finding fish, the beauty of moving is that one learns new parts of the water, and literally provides more experience in a day's fishing. As a lazy fisherman, I'm glad I've fished with guys who have more adventure for what's around the next bend. Usually it pays dividends.
  2. Thanks Mike. Personal journeys. I sure was proud to have him with me up there.
  3. It was a year of some enjoyable firsts in our house. My son accompanied me to the big estuary in the spring and tangled with his first stripers. He remarked on the way home that he liked the smell of fish on his hands, and that made me smile. This was our first year fishing from a peddle kayak. New horizons and lots of fun. Somewhere along the way my kid managed to land the first weakfish I've ever seen. We rounded off the year with his first trip to the Salmon River in up-state NY. I expected we wouldn't spend much time fishing, but not a bit of it: the kid didn't want to leave.
  4. Whether weight is in a fly or affixed with shot is splitting hairs and, again, only for the individual user to be content with, or not. I find such technical debates to be pretty dull, particularly when they serve to create cliques and exclusivity in a sport that should never be these things. Why one angler even cares to mention the use of an indicator to another beats me entirely if fishing is the only aim. Often it isn't, I suppose. I know that's not your intention. You are commenting from a personal stand point for the sake of an interesting discussion, which is refreshing. I take these things to be cultural differences. Sinking lines and weighted flies aside, fishing the Salmon River in NY couldn't really be more different to fishing for trout or salmon in the UK. For one thing it's almost entirely free and entirely open to everyone (at least for now.) No beats. No cast and step. But there's something deeper. What we know as fly fishing in the UK isn't the same as what we know it to be in other countries. I wondered for years why "soccer" - the global game that I love - wasn't more prominent in the States. I came to realize the obvious: that Americans created their own sports - Football, Baseball etc - and have no need to set them aside for my tastes. When in Rome, as you say. Besides, I've learned a lot of new things fishing over here that you might also be open to. I'll go one further. From a background fishing floating lines and wet flies exclusively for brown trout, I've learned to fish in many different ways for many different species (forgive the personal aside, but I'm realizing that if I'd stayed in the UK I may well now be a coarse angler as well as a fly fisherman. That makes me smile). Back to Rome. The Great Lakes fisheries are American Football to our soccer. A Jetboil to your old Kelly Kettle. Both have different histories. The rivers here aren't our wild salmon rivers of home. They were created in the 1950s and 1960s to stimulate interest and local economies. They grew up as different cultures. I'm sure you're someone who will have an open mind to new things, then take them or leave them. Chuck and duck for steelhead isn't really the fly fishing I once knew. Neither is indicator fishing. The former is easily the most monotonous way I've found to cast a "fly" - more sedentary, less graceful, and almost as tiring as casting a 3" brass tube from a 15' rod on Upper Floors. Yes, it may as well be using a float rod, which absolutely would be more effective (My son made some pretty nice drifts on his first trip a few weeks ago! Again, forgive the personal journey.) So, you ask, why do we fish with so much split shot and with methods a step removed from fly fishing? Ultimately there's only one reason, Mike. These steelhead can warp a man! I hope you find out for yourself next autumn when you hook into your first of many 10 pound bars of chrome! Cheers - Jonny
  5. That's an interesting one, Mike. Do you think a heavy sink line and 3" brass tube is an efficient and honest way to catch salmon in the UK? Because there's no more traditional way to fly fish for them on the swollen upper Tweed in November. The nice thing about the great lakes tribs is that they offer flexibility in how you wish to fish. No need to chuck and duck if you don't want to. You have miles of water to swing flies on a floating line if that's how you want to do it. Both work.
  6. Waders are a bit of a con. They're typically way too expensive for the longevity one should expect. Buy a nice fly rod for $300 that lasts a lifetime; spend the same on waders and get 2-3 seasons? Rip off. I look for sales always. Just snagged a pair of Beans Kennebec with the zipper for $90. Good waders and I don't care if they die after two years.
  7. The optimal weight of a fly rod and reel comes down to what you like. Too heavy leads to fatigue, but much lighter rods dispense with the "feel" of what's happening at the business end. Being able to feel the weight of a rod helps me hook fish. YMMV. I've been fishing the no-frills TFO Pro II 9' 9weight for some time and it's hard to imagine a better balance of cost and quality (and solid return policy). Paired with a Colton Terrapin reel, which so far seems indestructible, the whole rig cost less than $500. Good luck with your search.
  8. After tarsal tunnel surgery and sciatic issues the least two years....I agree with Cheech. Age is some scary ****.
  9. Thank you all. I really didn't expect him to stick it out, but he just wanted to keep fishing. It was a pretty awesome time :-)
  10. I went to the Salmon River, Pulaski, last week. This year, for the first time, I had my 11 year old son for company. It was a memorable trip for us both, and I wrote this short summary of it, and made this little film. Perhaps some of you will appreciate my excitement for this trip, or are looking forward to similar adventures of your own. The Habit of Steelhead. Bill’s fish runs up and across, wrapping a submerged limb, then out and quickly downstream, into the backing to find a protruding, mid-river tussock. Miraculously still attached, she uses the river’s breadth, pulling a big belly of fly line under the water, a long way from where this started - more backing out. He shouldn’t land this fish. But finally, not quite spent, into the shallows. After all this improbability a botched net job provides an air of bad feeling all around, especially mine, the net man. Apologies are made and no hard feelings. It can happen. Steelhead fishing is a sensual affair. The fish are shiny prizes: pristine despite their bastard status in the Great Lakes tributaries. The Salmon River, all carbide scars and high-trafficked byways, is a quality fishing river. Riffles, pools, runs, twists and braids that split the main course into rivulets and island adventures. The woods are the real deal. The lake effect weather is too. Fishing hours are governed by competition for bank space, food, wool and dryness. Dead salmon lay here. The reason we and the steelhead are here. Hanging bent from log jams. Lying as the high water left them - once good looking fish. Sizable. And their smell. The scent tells you you’re back. Like a place you grew up. Visiting grandparents. Stoking distant home fires. Wool blankets and thermostats. Absolute comfort. The smell of the laundry at the cabins hasn’t changed for eight years. The recognition is unambiguous. This is now officially a habit. We’ve come a long way, driven five hours over the Hudson to one of the most depressed areas of New York State to fish for the ultimate pleasure. My son said it is the salmon graveyard. Amish traps don’t bother with lights. Make sure you miss them on the drive to your early morning spot. Over three days the river is big, then is dropped by a half, then another quarter of itself (Winter will arrived in 12 hours and river levels need to be managed.) Mid morning on your second full day you hook a 10lb buck on the fly rod. More backing and into the pool way below. Strong, strong fish. That logjam should see him free, but after three passes to the net he’s done. On his first visit to the big river your son crouches and lifts the net, bringing the fish in as you should have. Neither of you will forget this journey away from home. Jon Atherton
  11. If I know I'm going into real open water (rather than close to shore/salt-marsh stuff) I like to go with another kayak angler. It might seem daft, but two heads are better than one when it comes to safety. There's a lot to be said for establishing your own experience and knowledge, but the few times I've been in unexpectedly hairy seas, the fact I was with another angler helped me rationalize potential danger and get back safely. Good luck with your new boat! Jon
  12. " agreed to follow these guidelines when you joined. We ask, as we did in the User Agreement you saw when you registered, that people treat each other the way they would like to be treated. We ask that you are respectful. We ask that your criticisms be constructive. We ask that you are patient and polite."
  13. It's a pity this forum is brought down by a few that don't want to follow the rules.
  14. Stocking foots, for both fresh and salt water. About 3 or 4 years ago I took the leap and got a pair of Korkers Whitehorse with replacement soles. They have been absolutely fantastic boots. Light, very durable, and the soles work perfectly switching from felt, rubber, to large spikes. The real bonus is the boa system - no more struggling to remove boots after full day on the water.
  15. This is the crux for me. The shore. I fished it exclusively with a fly rod for a decade, and it worked very well, though I contend I was selecting smaller, sub 40" fish. But I didn't once think of moving away from the fly rod. No need. Then I launched a kayak, and it was a quick decision to diversify and pick up the right tools for the situation. Sometimes that's still the fly rod, but I'm better prepared now with multiple options. Jon