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This makes me want to… February 16, 2014 No Comments

…Get some new shoes and start skating again. It would surely be a good way to break my already weak ankles in between fishing outings.  Gonz… all time greatest.

And this one… 

 

Push the reset button would you? February 9, 2014 No Comments

 

launch

The name, Hatchless, its a good name. Its one that says what we are. We are at heart streamer guys. Its what we love to do. I can’t and won’t speak for the rest of the guys involved with starting this blog. They are welcome to chime in. Personally, I am in a transitional period between being the streamer junkie and the big fish on dry fly junkie. I’m pretty sure my partners will refer to me as a “tweed” and make me start my own blog because of it.
That said, winter streamer fishing is a shit ton of fun and since those other two won’t come around for it I’ll write about it as a “tweed”.
Its a team sport as much as any boat fishing is if not more. I love the fact that each and every fish caught or even turned is described as a “we” thing. If it isn’t that way with the crew you winter fish with you’re doing it with the wrong people.
Case in point from a recent trip and a fly shop report on that trip:
 ”It was a typical mid-winter trip. We got both vehicles stuck. Our anchor rope froze. We moved two fish and hooked one big one that was lost, amidst a flurry of gator-rolls, right at the net. Hot streamer colors, if you could call them that, were yellow, olive and white.”
That was the briefing of the whole report. Notice that the word “we” is employed. There is a reason for it.
Winter is tough and it makes the best of us. It freezes our nuts if we don’t dress for it.  It gets us stuck at the launches. It shows us how weak we are or conversely, how strong we are if we prepare for it and show it who’s boss. It shows us that there are some great fish out there that are willing to eat a well placed fly if you are willing to go and show it to them. Personally, I think the best thing is that it really shows us how two or three anglers can sit in a boat for a few hours and really work together to make the absolute best of what is perceived to be a bad time for most people and have a shit ton of fun in the process.
It showed us the same thing can happen on a longer and colder float the next day. I missed the good one that ate. I can’t say “we” in this case because I missed the fish. It was my fault. I missed it. I missed two more also. Not as badly though. The second two were drive by’s. We also got the truck stuck at the launch again. Again. As in both days…
The second day truck fiasco about killed me. I seriously felt sick from pushing it out. Over exerted and WAAAAYYYYY overdressed for the occasion. Thankfully there was a smiling Jordan and a craft beer waiting for me at the boat. It REALLY tied the room together. It was my savior in the form of a Bell’s Smitten. Its funny how shoving on a 6000lb+ truck for 15-20 minutes will wear you out. Even funnier how a beer can re-fuel a tired soul. It is proven. It works. I’m lucky I didn’t get hypothermia from all the sweat.
Back to the above mention of change…
I have become a dry fly addict. The change has been coming for a bit. I have long been searching for opportunity to fish THE hatch. All of them have eluded me until last year. I finally have had the chance to fish all the big ones. Chasing, hunting, and hooking big fish on dry flies has been a closet dream for several years. Last year it came to a head. I can’t wait for it all to start again. If I can land half the big fish I hooked and lost last year, this year will be gold.
Until then, bring on the streamer days. I’ll miss them in the time in between now and the next big streamer time of year in the fall. The good thing is that now I am in love with the time in between. Bring on the bugs and the madness of identifying, matching, and throwing the right thing to the fussy big ones that won’t eat out of stupidity.

Spinnin”… July 27, 2013 No Comments

I shouldn’t have another beer. Not because I’ve had too many (for a change) but because I have to get up early to go fishing. SPIN fishing. I’m heading out tomorrow with Doug (the SOB that pretty much learned me most of what I know about FLY fishing) and my dear old Dad. We’re going out on Doug’s boat on the big lake. Lake Erie. I’m kinda stoked about it for a few reasons.

One, I don’t get to fish with my dad enough. By “enough” I mean ever. That needs to change soon. His old fly rod was the first one I ever had in my hand. The whole damn thing is his fault and he needs to own up to it at some point.

Two, Doug taught me a LOT about this game and I want to spend a day learning more from him. Even if it has to be with a spin rod in hand.

Doug and I have already discussed the fact that I don’t need to wear a shirt modified by my own hands NOT to have sleeves (or sides for that matter. Its the style). I don’t need a trucker hat with a logo specific to tits, ass, grass, or any other awesome thing that a trucker hat might say. And lastly, no shoes with fucking black soles. They’ll mark up the boat. I may wear my catfish hat. It would seem appropriate for the occasion. Spin fishing and all.

There are some hog smallies out there. If we get one or two I’ll try to remember to post a pic.

In the meantime, I wanna wish our friend Gwen Junker the best of luck in the big canoe race tomorrow! Kick some ass out there lady!

Since we’ve been gone… June 8, 2013 No Comments

Been gone for a bit on the blog. I was real close to just giving it up. There are so many blogs these days and I’m growing tired of all the BS.

We had a great time winter fishing up north and down south again in Arkansas on the Little Red with our guys down there. The winter fishing up north was the highlight for me. So much fun. So quiet on the river. I more than enjoyed my time fishing with the guys from up north. It isn’t for everyone. The fish are far and few between but the lessons, the solitude, and the good times were well worth the cold.

Can’t wait to get back down to the Little Red. It is a ton of fun.

I’m probably gonna have to turn in my streamer card soon. I had to turn in my punk rock card when I started fly fishing. Too much hippie shit. The dry fly fishing bug has a hold on me. I could be infected. The June fish was caught on a Brown Drake Spinner. I still get geeked on the days when tugging the bug is the ticket but we’ll see what happens…

 

Here’s a few pics of a bunch of fish caught on streamers. All but one. Right now, that’s the one that means the most to me.

June

March

Feb Little Red

Feb on the Little Red

Feb on the Little Red

Feb on the Little Red

December

December

December

Some Pics November 3, 2012 No Comments

Some good lookin river.

Some trout that has been working the shoulders.

Some good lookin fly that didn't produce.

Some funny shit.

Some carp battle.

Some pike's dream girl.

Some good lookin sky.

Some legendary signage.

Some shitty place that apparently doesn’t allow fishing.

Some passed out mofo at Fish Camp.

All is quiet… September 29, 2012 No Comments

This blog has been a sleepy place lately. It needs a refresh. Its in the works but for now this is what I have as a platform. I will leave the refresh to the guy that knows how to do it. I don’t. I can just type shit when I’m a little drunk and feel like it. Like now.

Fish Camp (formerly known as Man Camp) is just a few weeks away. For now we have low water and that sucks. Last weekend’s trip that was forecasted to be crappy weather all weekend didn’t play out the way we hoped and the weather was mixed sun, rain, rain and sun, rain, and some really promising blasts of wind that should have brought the crap we’d hoped for but didn’t. We still had fun regardless but some real shitty weather would have been more fun. There’s a special thing to finding the right cedar to hang under while you wait for the shit to blow over just enough to get back at it. It didn’t happen and that’s fine. Fish still made their way to the net. No big ones but big enough and just enough to make a great day of it. Lance was the king with a small, nameless fly tied by a friend from the Windy City. He kicked our butts with that little shitbird all day and then again with a Butt Monkey that I tied. I fished the same Butt Monkey and still couldn’t hook them with about as many strikes. Some days you eat the dog, and some days… You know the quote. If you don’t, shame on you for not knowing the good ones from The Big Lebowski. But still, hard to beat a good long float with great folks with a big fall sky on the river. We fished again Sunday in similar conditions on a stretch closer to home. No dice. Well, one small fish. So, not no dice but it may has well have been. And I neglected, after an embarassing battle at the launch with my boat and my front wheel drive vehicle, to cover my boat on the very short drive back to the pad. My boat is now covered in sand from the road. I hate that shit. More than anything. This is very “un-dude dude”. That shit will need to be dealt with before the next float.

So, tis the season. Its the season when the streamer nuts get out and do their thing. Its a battle. A struggle. It sucks mostly but you have to understand that going in. Prepare for the let down. Its my motto now. Its easy during the summer months to strike out on streamers and be good with it but now we are coming to the time when fish are pre-spawn. They have to eat. They should devour any fly that is thrown within a few feet of their territory. That’s what the textbooks say. It should be a no brainer. Easy as pie they say.

Horseshit.

We can’t control the weather as we learned last year and the weather is key. I’m pretty sure at this point that Pure Michigan controls it based on the travel needs of our fellow tourists. I guess that’s good. Good for the state and it’s tourism needs but JEEPERS! What about the trout anglers?!?!?

Pbbbbbfffffttfttttt…..

I guess its fine. Bring the floods. Noah’s drift boat is ready and waiting in the garage up north. If the floods don’t come, I will be prepared with a box full of small flies that I’m ashamed to toss at the fish the are willing to eat them. When in Rome….

 

Move in Weekend June 2, 2012 No Comments

Sarah (aka: “Wifey”) and I made the trip North with Uhaul trailer in tow on Memorial Day weekend to move some furniture up to the new pad. We took off early Saturday to avoid the mess of traffic and it paid off. No traffic issues but we were greeted by a sign announcing a fugitive on the loose at about mile marker 212ish. About 10 miles south of our exit. WTF? Long story for the residents of the area the dude escaped in but short story/non issue for us as he was still about 20-30 miles south of our place, luckily. Sounds like he had a rough week. Duh… What did he expect? He was roaming the woods on the first big travel weekend of the year up there. He lasted a week in the woods in a pretty remote area. All in all, he was lucky he didn’t get shot by a resident. The cops got him, well… actually, he gave in by Monday morning. Apparently the dude was in rough shape. Like I said, its a wonder he didn’t get shot by someone not in uniform.

We got our stuff moved in in short time and ran the trailer back to Grayling where I had to use a parking lot sign with an old steel rim as a lever to get the trailer off. The drop off place didn’t have a jack to lift the trailer or the muscle to do it manually and with a brown drake hatch/spinner fall coming in short time I was forced to get creative. Apologies to the store for the first piece of angle iron I found in another trailer and bent the shit out of while trying to use to lift that pig off the ball. Lesson learned for them I guess. Read the rest of this entry »

Crickets………. March 31, 2012 3 Comments

 

It has been pretty quiet here lately. Stuff is happening. Not a lot of fishing stuff but stuff none the less.

My wife Sarah and I are… or should I say, were, cabin shopping up in the Grayling, MI area. We have been working with Lance Weyeneth who is a buyer’s broker for the area. Lance knows the area very well and has the tools, sensitivity, patience, and knowledge to put you in the right place to suit your needs. The patience part is and was the key for us. I have had a few face to face conversations with him (and lots of email) over the years based on property searches. He remembers every one of those over the six years we have been talking with him regarding our search. Yeah, six years… Seems like a long time to find a cabin right? Well, I’m in the auto biz, we’ve had set backs, it all adds up to the six years. Like I said, the man has patience.

Anyway, my wife and I went up to look at a place with Lance. I didn’t take any gear as we were going to spend the weekend in Traverse City and make the trek back and forth fro Grayling. We ditched Traverse for Gates Lodge after a night because they had a killer deal on rooms and had one for us. It was closer to the place we were looking at and in a place we would rather spend time in so we bailed on Traverse. Thanks to the Park Hotel for letting us out of our second night there.

Again, no gear and it was 80 degrees… What to do? Borrow gear from the shop? Coulda… Read the rest of this entry »

Little Red River Report. Serious Butt kissing here… Beware… March 10, 2012 No Comments

I’m gonna go ahead and say right from the get go that this report might sound like an advertisement for Jamie Rouse Fly Fishing Adventures. If you have issues with blog posts seeming like ads then you need to stop right here and go read some other fly fishing blog crap. (Ooops! That blog was cancelled… oh well) If not, read on and live happily knowing that we thank you for doing so. Yes, its a long post. So what. Its my fucking 40th birthday so I do what I want!

I like to give credit where credit is due. These guys deserve very bit of credit they get from us when it comes to a few days of hard streamer fishing and just general “bro-ness”. Jamie and his guys are a hoot to hang out with. Guaranteed fun is one of the many things they offer. We booked two days and begged for a third. In hind sight, we probably could have gotten the third had we not bailed out in the morning for another river. But… they were booked and the second river was our plan and how were we to know that the clients that had the next day booked would only fish a few hours and then call it a day? Weiners… Maybe we should have counted on it based on the fact that it was low 20′s and some dudes… well… you never know. We had a plan and we stuck to it. Oh well.

The first day of the two was with Jamie Rouse. Jamie is the head guide of the group of three. A short conversation with him on the phone pre-trip was all it took to know that I picked the right guy(s). Jamie doesn’t put guides on his roster that aren’t streamer addicts. They will fish other methods if you want but they are all true streamer dudes at heart. The other BIG plus is that these guys all know how to fish high water where a lot of the other guide services in the region don’t and won’t. They study and know the generation schedules and they know when and where to be on the 30+ miles of trout water this river has to offer and they can put you on fish even during those high water periods. High water and streamer fishing… hmmmmm… Isn’t that the dream anyway? We had high water during our trip and quickly learned the importance of being in the right place at the right time based on the generation schedule. It can seriously be a matter of minutes/hundreds of yards that changes the streamer bite on any given stretch of water. With these guys, having the boats that they have, their knowledge, and those boats make all the difference. Read the rest of this entry »

No Amount of Planning February 26, 2012 No Comments

I was poking through the posts that never were tonight and came across this one that I typed for our October trip that I did while waiting for the pics from everyone. I enjoyed reading it it so I’m posting it even though its a repeat of an earlier trip report.

No Amount of planning can put you in the right spot at the right time. Period. Every year we plan a trip towards the end of trout season on the Trophy Water of the Au Sable. Every Year for the last five plus years we have planned to be there and have been there at the right time (legally), right at the end of the season. And this year just like the past years we would put flies in all the right places… again. This year, the first year of the new regulations, was going to be different. Its the first year that we could be there later. We could be there after Sept 30th. We could and would be there when the big trout would be on the prowl and in their pre-spawn mode. Feeding on and attacking anything that gets in their zone, their territory. This year the big trout were going to be reckless and stupid and eat flies no matter where the flies were placed. That was the plan until the weather gods came in and said “nope”, this is not your year. The weather gods decided that for our trip, the five days that we spent up north, the weather would be more than perfect… for every other thing that did not include fishing big streamers for big browns.The week before and the week after were perfectly miserable for everything else. Our week was perfect. Perfect for everything but trout fishing.

Read the rest of this entry »

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