Monday, July 27, 2009

Team Dramamine

Remember the time when you were 20 years old and bullet proof? I remember the days putting on my Marine Corps uniform and feeling that way. Well these past days going out and trolling for salmon would put me back in my place and remind me how old I’m “being out of the Marine Corps for 17 years”. We set out for Ludington, Michigan at 1930. We arrived at the launch site a little later than planned “due to our driver had a little lapse in navigation memory”, but that was ok by me Lake Michigan was going nowhere! Mike the fishing would prove to be just as hot buddy! We shipped out of the boat launch to fish the area called the bath tub to the stick! The bathtub was more like a very very shallow depression. We ran out there in 1 foot or less waves that day. I was feeling like a little boy going fishing for the first time. Eric L was kind enough to be willing to take a true greenhorn trolling for King Salmon. I thought to myself sure it would be tough we got the whole lake to find fish, but never truly grasped the concept until after our trip how much of a science it really is! I noticed on the color monitor that was the fish finder a huge ball of something down at 50 FOW “feet of water”. We placed our down riggers at 35-40 FOW using Lyman plugs. I had Eric write a little about the plugs. Eric L writes, "I was introduced to Lyman plugs a few years ago during a fall trip to Ludington. Plugs have always been a late season staple for great lakes trollers but most of the plugs used are hollow plastic with a Dacron & bead chain harness to hold the hooks. Lyman lures are wood plugs, made in Canada with the hooks permanently attached. The action of these wood plugs is where I believe their advantage lies. Not only does the plug swim like any crank bait but it also has a random darting / searching motion that have to be seen to be appreciated. I have found these plugs to produce year round and I always have at least one in my spread. Good colors are your typical greens, silvers, blues, and my personal favorite glow mother of pearl. These plugs are a little hard to find but well worth the effort, as was proven once again on this last trip where they accounted for over 70% of our total catch including one beautiful 18 lb male Chinook." We hooked up on our second pass with the full lead core going off c click click click click click click click click…… the reel went screaming as Eric yells fish fish fish! Eric gave me the rod and it was fish on! I was amazed on how I could still feel the fish even though it was anywhere from 100’-200’ away and on heavy tackle! So there we were a double within 1.5 hours or trolling. Good electronics and a keen since of what to look for were key in hooking fish on this trip. With the day rolling on we would hook 7 and land 6 on Friday. We would go back the ramp late on Friday and get to camp. The following day would be a whole weather different day! We awoke to 10-20 knot winds and we heard the surf pounding the break wall! We set out in the boat that was build for this type of fishing! Everyone except Mr. Bulletproof took Dramamine! This would prove to me that I’m that old! We hit the open water and due to Eric super coxswain abilities we trolled on! Eric new his limits! All boaters should have their head screwed on tight when getting on the big water! We got slammed by 2-4 waves all day from sunup to sundown! All of a sudden the full lead core goes off on my side, and I set the hook on a fish that said let go for a walk! He took more line off the reel, and I got nervous! I was really nervous! The lake was raging and I was fighting a big fish. This fish would take probably about 100 more yards of line out until I got it all reeled in. I reeled him close the boat and finally saw just how large he was! He would be about 19 pounds and still really not happy with the Lyman plug in his mouth! That King headed straight for the planer board we had out on our other line! I thought you have to be kidding me! Eric said ok hold on hold on and said hmm lets adjust a little! Eric would reel in the planer board and I continued to fight the fish. Erics’ dad Mike was at the helm at that time and oddly enough when the fishing was good he would always be driving! Well after holding my breath and praying to the great king in the sea Eric would net the fish and the Lyman plug just fell out of his mouth! I nearly fell to my knees knowing it was all pressure keeping that fish hooked! I held the rod high keeping maximum pressure on the fish ensuring a better hook and land fish ratio! I was amazed at the strength of these fish. We all cheered and slapped the king in the cooler! Then the long 8 nautical mile ride home started! Well with 4 foot swells and me just finishing my last cigar for the day we headed in. I was ok for the first 4 nautical miles, but then Mother Nature made my belly turn to jelly! Everything started to get warm on my body! My lips began to dry up and I knew this was not good. Mike started to get bad also, and Eric was like this is fun “yea right”! For a solid 20 minutes I felt like true crap! I was amazed at the feeling. I never ever had this before so not feeling so bulletproof I stared at the blackest horizon I could find and concentrated on it. We made it back to our safe harbor. Eric and I pulled to boat to the dock on the windward side and Eric said,” wow that guy is coming in to fast watch him smoke the dock”! The guy smacked the stuffing right out of the wooden pier that the dock was attached too. He ripped his antenna off the side due to the boat dipped like a football player lowering his shoulder! So we headed to the nice campground for the trip! We then decided to sleep in the next day. I went to take a shower and the monsoon started! We missed it by seconds lightning and wind. I curled up like a little puppy in my sleeping bag and fell fast asleep! I could have slept on a bag of nails that night. We awoke to blue bird skies and a lot of wind well not as much as yesterday! We trolled the same areas, and got blanked that’s fine with me I thought. We went to fish out of Pentwater, Michigan for the evening bite. We would go and find our next lodging camp ground. Now when you think of camping you probably don’t think about how close to your neighbor you will be. At Charles Mears State Park you would be so close to your next door neighbor you could hit them with a spit wad up wind! I caution all people who would go there to camp if you want quiet days, and quiet nights’ buddy this is not the place! If you like parking at the mall at Christmas time and setting a tent there this place is for you. The lake at this location would show us a little love but not much. I did catch a Lake Trout on one of my tube flies on a down rigger! That was cool to see that fish on my new creation! We would run form a storm or two but with Erics good coxswain abilities and taking no chances we remained safe! I do have to comment on three idiots kids who saw us towing a large boat with a large truck and kept on staying at the fuel pump not letting us pull up to the pump! I walked up to the car and asked them are you done? They said yes they are waiting on some one. I said well can you move so we can fuel up due to your done? He said no we are waiting on our friend. I said you pulled up here to gas your car, and since we are taking up three counties with our vehicle I think you should be kind enough to move so we let traffic through, and park in front of the building where your friend walked in. He sat there and I pulled out my Marine tone and said move now! He moved me mugging me the whole way, what a little tool-bag! Well we drove home after fishing the same water on Sunday morning! Beat down and tired, and yet one more scenic tour “lol” we made it home safely! Thank you Eric, and Mike you guys are good folks!
Tom G.
2-5's and 2-2's ! !

Lots of driving, sleep deprived!

Well just got back last night from Lake Michigan, and I'm pretty wooped! In the next 3 days I will post the trip report!

Tom G.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I will be leaving for Michigan soon!

I must warn you there will be blood and fish porn hopefully. We will be using some trolling tube flys that I have tyed up. My family would like some salmon, and that’s what we will be trolling for.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

O Rubber Lips with a side of Smallie and a Sprig of Gar

Fished in Ohio today and I was on the prowl for Mr. Rubber Lips. This time of year is the only time I sight fish for anything. Most of the tributaries here in southern Ohio are low. I took out the switch rod and went to the river. The morning coolness would slow the carps’ metabolic rate a little, and would give me ample time to stalk Mr. Rubber Lips! I would look from a high bank and spot fish, and then traverse the river to fish from the opposite bank to cast into their feeding lie. I put on an olive tube tied with olive Finn Raccoon and olive flashabou. This tube would be a 1/2” copper tube followed by a number 2 red octopus style hook. I started with 8 pound tippet “mistake”, and proceeded to watch the fish feed. Their tails would come across the top of the water as they made their lazy way up stream. I waited until the sun broke the tree line and shined down on the water for about a half hour. I used a 3.5 foot section of T8 accompanied with a 3’ section of 8 pound tippet. I was casting from 30 feet away to ensure I would not spook the quarry. Carp have an amazing knack for knowing where any angler is at any time once you enter there domain. I think me casted 3 times and then the carp picked up my tube fly and did one head shake and broke me off! I must have sounded like a little school kid yelling that someone stole my lunch money. I was so happy and mad all at the same time. I swung a fly and the carp took it. Not only did the carp take the fly on the swing, but broke me off and left me standing there as if to say now what! I would tie on another fly “but leave the 8 pound test tippet on dumb move”. I would tie on another leach/sculpin pattern this time and this fly was more elaborate than the other I had lost previously. Well remember when your teachers used to say to you history does repeat itself? I found another willing participant to take a fly, but this time it was in faster deeper moving water. I would set the hook it would turn sideways in the current and snap my tippet like it was horsehair tippet. I was a little sad but I had no one to blame but myself! I needed to change my setup but I did not and I paid the price. I would site fish to six other carp much smaller than the others with no joy. I would pick up and access the river just above the estuary water. I would find four smallies that could not refuse my shad pattern. I also jumped a 24” gar today that took an olive leech spey. All in all it was a great little outing. I really recharged my batteries. I sat upon a gravel bar today to watch the birds, and to smoke a cigar to think about Buckeye. I was home early but happy.
Wade Safe, Tom G

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Tribute to Buckers "Buckeye Gribble"

I’m here to talk about one of the best things that have happened to me. Buckeye our Cairn terrier was put to sleep today. He was a diabetic, and got injections 2 times a day. He was a fighter and is a terrier through and through. He gave us many moments in our life we will never forget. We watched him grow chew on shoes, and grandmothers’ furniture like he was a beaver! He loved socks, and often handpicked them fresh out of the dirty cloths basket! He often liked some really bizarre things we won’t mention on here! He would always be on his time schedule, and did not have time for anything else! He lived 24/7 in an air-conditioned/heated house! He never wanted for anything; we gave him things whenever he wanted it. We loved Bucky as much as a child. Today we get asked if we wanted kids we always ask them why we would want children. It is always funny to see people’s reaction to the question asked back at them. Buckeye was a learning curve! He loved to escape out of his baby gated area! He once annihilated his stuffed bed to the point we were picking up bedding for a month. We once caught him hanging out of a hole that he himself chewed at the top of the gate when we arrived from the Platinum Dragon for dinner. He laid there in the hole whining for help wagging his tail saying to himself “I’m so busted”! He was always happy to see us, and cheered us up when one of us was down. He loved socks and would go great lengths to get one! He would actually talk to us in his little doggie lingo howling and doing a bizarre gravely rolling of the tongue. His diabetes would be his worst enemy. Over time Bucks would isolate himself from us and everything from time to time. This was really tough to watch. This was coming from a dog that at one time would run around the house when he could see at mach speed. Buckeye went blind a little over 2 years ago and adjusted well to as well as anyone expected him to. Buckeye I just want you to know you are loved and will always be loved by us. Take care, and I hope you have plenty of socks and hedgehogs to chew up there! Ole friend its been 9 agonizing years and the wound your passing left is as raw then as it is now.  I miss you and love you.  I miss your toe kisses and your love affair with my socks.  Rest in peace ole buddy.  

Love Ralph, Carolyn & Jimmy Choo, and Jaxson!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Swinging Flies

By Tom Gribble

There was a time when this tactic was as popular as fishing with worms and a bobber. I have only been fishing with a switch rod for about 6 months now. I have noticed most of my trout streams down here in Southwest Ohio are being overrun with agricultural runoff problems. This is killing the bug life, and needs to be addressed. I know farmers are some type of sacred cow, but how can they continue their practices with such reckless abandon? Just because they don’t live down stream of their pollution, and they don’t see it why does that make it ok? Why when a person lets there raw untreated sewage flows directly into the creek or river the landowner gets fined and the local EPA has them fix the problem. The farmer gets what fines, and who regulates them? From what I can tell the farmers are not regulated on what and how much they can discharge into a body of water. Back to my original point sorry for the rant. An underwater moss is slowing down the emergence of nymphs to the surface, and thus a lot of hatches are being affected. The best way to cover such waters to find actively feeding trout is to swing flies. I’m going to be purchasing a new switch rod 5 weight to chase trout and several other species. I have been monkeying around with a few soft hackle patterns. I hope you enjoy the flies I have tied. These patterns are tied on size 16 Tiemco Dry Fly hooks #101.