Monday, January 31, 2011

Wonderfully Deep

Not Quite As Deep
but deep enough

.. The neighborhood is looking clean. Snow always does that. This winter is certainly not as cold or deep as just a decade ago.
.. There's only been a couple of days below -30° F, and we've not been the coldest place in the nation as was common in the recent past. We've not seen more than a single blizzard. We've not seen a "2-foot dump." And we've not seen much of the sun.
.. The Gulf Of Alaska Low has been fairly weak, the arctic air has stayed to the north and east of us, and despite the considerable grayness, it's been a salubrious winter by historical standards. Those low, gray clouds are mom's comforter.
.. Time was when there were tunnels to front doors and thermometers broke in the week-long cold spells. Now there's barely 4' of snow on the ground and it's ablating rapidly in the warm dry air. Roofs are being kept clean and not a single one has collapsed in the last 3 years.
.. The snowpack in the mountains is holding it's own and the rivers have only a very few small icebergs. Fish are leaping after midges, twigs, and bits of flotsam just like it was early spring. In fact there have been spring days colder than today: and there will be again.
.. Starting tomorrow we will return to a brief encounter with a real winter: 7" - 10" of snow and temps falling briefly to about -20° F.
.. It's been so nice lately that we took a moment to visit the neighborhood shops in town. It's novel to chat with the neighbors in a setting other than the post office, or the grocery store, or the hardware store.
.. Yes, it's deep: wonderfully so!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Always sweet

Great images, no nonsense.

If you don't have focalFISH on your feed reader, you are missing out.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Just Like Falling Dominoes

With A Complex Result
see the ecological transformation of
flathead lake

.. By now, it would seem, that interested and informed fly fishers are aware of the Lake Trout situation in Yellowstone Lake. They are probably aware of the rapidly vanishing native species in Yellowstone National Park, as well.
.. Sadly many of our neighbors, (guides and feather merchants as well,) have poo-pooed the need to do anything about the conservation of native species. They say, sadly: "A trout is a trout, is a trout. I just want to catch them."
Opossum Shrimp

.. Many of our influential neighbors and famous fishers have remained silent on the matter; avoiding the scoping meetings and public comment forums that the NPS has held on the current EA for the Native Fish Conservation Plan, (LINK #1, LINK #2.)
.. We read with great interest the recent article in NEW WEST. The story is about the complex interaction of species in Flathead Lake.
.. A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details how the introduction of a small non-native crustacean, (the Opossum Shrimp - Mysis diluviana,) has totally altered the ecology of a large lake.
.. It has changed algae production, nearly eliminated Kokanee Salmon, enabled Lake Trout population explosion, and endangered the native Bull Trout.
.. The paper details a classic example of a trophic cascade that has been well documented since it's inception in 1968.
.. The excellent summary in New West informs us that the introduction of the shrimp to were to provide food for Kokanee Salmon which were planted in the 20's. As it turns out the shrimp devoured the Kokanee's food and proliferated.
.. Their population explosion provided an abundant food source for the introduced Lake Trout and allowed the Lake Trout population to grow to the point where the Kokanee Salmon and the Bull Trout are now being eaten at a rapid clip by the Lakers.
.. Another by product of the trophic cascade is the increased growth of algae.
"After the mysis explosion kokanee disappeared, bull trout declined, and lake trout came to be the dominant top predator, according to the study. This led to an increase in algal production because the shrimp ate up larger zooplankton, decreasing their levels and allowing smaller types of zooplankton to proliferate, Stanford explains. He says this changed the way the zooplankton “mow the lawn,” or consume algae: smaller zooplankton are less efficient consumers and allow algae room to grow."
.. We note that "simple" is seldom a concept that can be applied to ecological change. Both Yellowstone National Park and Flathead Lake, (as well as many other areas around the country and the world,) have suffered the consequences of actions in the past.
.. "While the future might hold unexpected outcomes, for now fisheries managers have their hands full dealing with the legacy of shrimp and a misinformed decision from the past."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Z Fish Report (1/27/11)

The 80º water is getting kind of confusing as to where to find the fish. If you find the concentrations, you do excellent. If you don’t find the fish in the pockets of clean water, you get skunked. The Terrafin Satellite chlorophyll charts make this very clear. The chart shows clean water at the 100 fathom line and about 6 miles out. This holds true to the south, with clean water going for miles. But, straight out in front of Ixtapa, the water turns off colored again at about 16 miles. Plus, a large area of green water seems to be pushing down from the north.

And all this holds up with what we are experiencing this week. Adolfo, on the panga Dos Hermanos, found a concentration of sailfish releasing 6 one day, and then going back and releasing another 6 for his clients. But, Martin, on the Gaviota, released 6 one day, went back two days later and got Zip. It just seems to be feast or famine.

Santiago on the super panga Gitana made a long run for tuna. He found them too; but at 59 miles and darn close to where the ocean drops off the earth. They got a dozen yellowfin tuna between 20 and 40 pounds. He told me this morning at the pier they actually ended up at 72 miles when they were done.

But, again, going back to the Terrafin Photo, the 60 mile mark is just at the back edge of the off colored water. The tuna were in the clean water.

There were not many reports on the inshore this week, but Adolfo did tell me he was going north today because there were a lot of sierras up there, small to medium sized jack crevalle (4-10 pounds) and a few small roosters (6-12 pounds). These all translate to a lot of fun with light tackle or a fly rod.

Ed Kunze

A day on the water...

I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours yesterday with James MacSweeney on board his boat "Bass Bandit" in Cork harbour. Conditions were against us with a howling north easterly the fishing was going to be very hard and to be honest I was not too confident as we loaded up the boat in Monkstown for the off.

On our way to the first mark James showed me all the nooks and crannies that he knows very well all around the harbour where he has had some really nice specimen bass last season. There is some serious bass ground around cork harbour and Im already looking forward to getting down to fish some of these marks in summer.

Anyway we arrived at our first drift where James reckoned we would have a good chance of getting some cod on soft plastics. This sounded interesting as Id never had cod before on sp's....loads of things were running through my head like will this work? and will cod really give much of a fight or will it be like bringing in a dead weight?

They really do hammer these soft plastics

Happily the questions I was asking myself were answered pretty quickly as I got my soft plastic bouncing on the bottom i felt a solid bite I struck and FISH ON!! and this continued on each drift after with a couple of double hook ups this really was curing the winter blues and the lack of bass around at the minute!!!

My injection was seriously tested by these smashing codling they ranged from 3-5lb and boy do they go..... a different fight to a bass but when these fish are hooked at a good depth they do not give up easily. As you try to bring them to the surface expect vicious head shaking and line being stripped off the reel when the cod go on long powerful runs....this is proper fishing for this time of the year.

We ended up with a some really nice cod and I managed to sneak out a nice pollack, James aslo got broke up by two seriously good fish, maybe a big pollack or big cod but whatever these fish were they went on huge runs thats simply could not be stopped. I suppose a good days fishing would not be complete without the "ones" that got away.

If you want to contact James you can reach him on , weather it be some cod on soft plastics in the next few months or bass on surface lures in the summer and autumn, the fishing that can be had in cork harbour is awesome.

Tight lines,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pepperidge Farm's Golden Bait Fish

Body - Goldfish, cheddar flavor.
Hook - Daiichi 2546 Salt Water Hook Size 2/0-4/0

Target Species:
Drunks in the kitchen

With a soft, subtle presentation to the counter top this fly can bring heavy action when the target species is near. The action on this fly is not crucial, in fact you want as little movement as possible or target species will spook. Let them come to you and be patient.

I recommend throwing this fly with 8wt-12wt, depending on the average size of the species of your area. A 15lb-20lb hard mono bite tippet is also a good idea.

Have fun and tight lines,

Update: I have gotten a few emails and calls regarding this fly and others for different targeted species. Due to the interest the research team at FGFF has been called back to the lab for further, round-the-clock analysis of a few other patterns and concepts. The reports and research will be posted as soon as it is available. Thank you. -A

Just In

The hits just keep coming...

The woman behind the counter generally wouldn't give you too much shit, and that was all right.

It was a place to go. A place to stumble when you needed that last 6-pack, 40oz, can of cope, taquito or thirstbuster. A place where you knew you could make it back because it was a line-of-sight deal and no matter how hopeless you felt you could always see your way home, even if crawling tore a hole in your bag and you lost your peanut M&M's somewhere along the way.

It was the place across the street, the store, the K, or the market (if you grew up in some backward-ass place).

Whatever you called it, it's gone. Goddammit.

The second let down of the new year.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Whats to come...

This time of year is not easy for us lure fishermen , fishing is difficult to say the least . Now if we got a week of westerly winds and the water cleard up we might be in with some chance but I would say that is wishful thinking . Myself and James have been doing a bit of bait fishing over the last few weeks for cod , coalie , flounders and always trying for a bass . To be honest I have forgotten how much I enjoy it and I am kicking myself I did not do more of it over the winter months . Saying that I can not wait to get out with the lures especially when seeing pictures like these.
These are some pictures James Mac Sweeney sent us. (Pictures courtesy of David Gauduchon)

James MacSweeney is a bass guide in Cork harbour , he sent me these pictures last week of a day out with a client last summer . He certainly got me thinking about the season ahead . What a fish and just before this fish was landed James lost a fish at the boat which he estimated to be at least 2lb heavier . James knows his stuff and puts his clients on fish so if you are heading to Cork harbour you wont go too far wrong booking a day out with James you can contact him at

It's Just Nuts

Fish Completely Bonkers
the worms crawl in

.. It is the best of times and the worst of times. Fly fishers below the ice, and fly fishers in open water are using the same flies and doing very well.
.. It's so good that fish are jumping into waders. It's so bad that exotic license plates are outnumbering the neighbor's plates.
.. The switch to artificial worms is early this year. There are some skeptics that poo-poo the San Juan Worm as not fly fishing.
.. Well it may or may not be. Orvis sells them in their fly catalog. Orvis also sells several other "non-fly-fishing-flies." The neighbors love them. The fish eat them with gay abandon.
.. Even the Gob O Worms has made it appearance early and is scoring fish in the 5-pound class, (through the ice.)
.. And then there's the fly at the top of the post. We don't know it's name but it comes from England. We committed the unpardonable sin of stealing it from a neighbor's fly box while their back was turned, (toward us and behind a bush.)
.. We have apologized and further humbled our self in the effort to find out the name and source for this segmented wiggler - to no avail. Our misdeed has sealed the lips of the former friend. The damn thing looks like it's molded of vinyl or some such and reminds us of a sunfish lure, (even though it's not yellow. Now there's a thought!)
.. Several times each year we receive grief in major doses from the neighbors for revealing secrets of place or kind. This post is sure to bring down a flood of ire as well.
.. For the uninitiated we show the various non-flies that the neighbors are using right now. These things are usually tied at home but, many are now available commercially. Even if you eschew their use, they will provide excellent conversation starters and stoppers.
.. The San Juan Worm is often called THE DEVIL WORM. It has become a staple of fishers that want to catch fish. Many pretend it's an imitation of a Herculean blood worm. That may be. Perhaps fish dream of these things and lose control when one floats by. Currently the red variety is in vogue on the rivers while the purple or two-toned variety is being used under the ice.
.. The Gob O Worms is a much disparaged cluster of San Juan Worms on the same hook. It has the distinction of being invented locally, (or so we've been told.)
.. It can spark vile and evil outbursts from fishers that are usually friends, (LINK.)
.. It is featured on websites around the region, (LINK,) and is now sold commercially by Idylwilde Flies, HERE. And sold as well by the Driftless Angler, HERE.
.. Purple, puce, flesh, and red colors are all being used right now. The fish are inhaling these at a record pace.

.. This year many of the neighbors that usually kindly provide us with flies have turned to the Orvis Catalog. There are some offerings that suit their fancy and they bought some for pattern prototypes.
.. The Apps Blood Worm is the current favorite from Orvis, (LINK.) It turns out that the fly is just a San Juan Worm with some "flexi floss" tied through the body and separated at the bow and stern. The little red darling is not as effective under the ice as on the river. But on the river it's quite the phenomenon.
MEDUSA (red)
.. Another San Juan Worm variant from Orvis is the Medusa, (LINK.) This is, presumably, a fly that will not get you funny looks from your friends.
.. It's supposed to represent a blood worm cluster, CLUSTER WHAT? It is sold in several colors which suggests that blood worms are chameleons, or have projectile tongues, or some such. This creation is yet another SJW variant with a fat body and clipped floss.
MEDUSA (pink)
.. The pink variety featured by Casters Online Fly Shop is doing well under the ice. It's being used with bits of garden hackle and the fish seem to prefer the artificial.
.. Most of the neighbors, feel that both varieties are the same species and that the folks that tie for Orvis ran out of red and used pink.
.. A minority opinion is that the red is male and the pink is female. As soon as we capture some in the seine we'll let you know.
.. Orvis is kind enough to provide even another interesting worm imitation called the SHAKY WORM. It's similar to the rest of these SJW variants but has a pretty glossy body. It also comes with a bit of Phly Phising Philosophy.

This is not fly fishing heresy. The fact is trout eat worms and not just the ones we fish with. Worms exist in the stream and imitating a worm with artificial patterns is no different than imitating an insect. If it works, use it. Trout fishing worm pattern in red.
.. We suspect that if these things catch fish in the numbers that the neighbors are reporting that feather merchants across the continent will get in on the selling.
.. It will be interesting to see if the local purists eschew profits for disdainful posturing. Now there's a can of . . . .

Friday, January 21, 2011

Z Fish Report (1/21/11)

With this full moon phase, the fishing has kind of put on the brakes. The 80º clean water is still holding at about 6 miles, but the fleet is averaging only 1 to 2 sailfish a day, per boat. There are still a few dorado out there, and a few blue marlin are being raised.
From this photo by Mike Bulkley on the Super Panga Huntress,
 you can see a broken beak does not seem to affect a billfish.
The fish are here, but just off their feed for the majority of the boats. A couple of the good captains are finding the active fish however, with Santiago on the super panga Gitana releasing 7 for two days of fishing for his clients. And, just a couple of days before that, Adolfo on the panga Dos Hermanos, released 11 in two days.
Leonardo on the panga Fish-On is one
of better captains here, and much overlooked.
He speaks excellent English.
When I asked Adolfo about the inshore action, his reply was “lento”…very slow.
Ed Kunze

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Five And Counting

Slow Start
just friendly news

.. We started this blog about five years ago to let our friends and visitors know what was happening during the open water fishing season in the neighborhood.
.. It seemed easier than constantly answering the annual flood of email that started in April and continued through November.
.. As is often the case, we were wrong. It takes about the same amount of time. But, it's a bit more fun.
.. As a woefully inept computer jockey, we've come to appreciate the fancy blogs with many pages and glorious illustrations. We are awestruck by the daily posts of so many intrepid fly fishers and bloggers. We salute all of you.
.. We've made a few friends along the way and noticed that our annual visitation is now about what Tom Chandler, at the Trout Underground, gets in a day, (about 130,000.)
.. We've learned how to read statistical charts about visits vs. unique visits, (though we don't often do it,) and we discovered which other sites refer to this site with a link.
.. There's even statistics about what pictures were downloaded and how often - my my. You may or may not be surprised by the images that appeal to our readers. They certainly are diverse.
.. Some sites, "out there" were grabbing our posts and re-posting them with no acknowledgment. We wonder why?
.. Pete over at Fishing Jones along with the good folks at Chi Wulff came to our aid and helped us figure out how to foil that sort of thing.
.. Pete has gone through several site hosts and page layouts, (seems to be the norm,) and the folks at Chi Wulff have left the neighborhood but not the planet. We miss their detailed and insightful musings about our neighborhood fishing.
.. One thing seems apparent, Blogs are becoming "in vogue," and "de rigueur." in the fishing world. Manufacturers, feather merchants, guides, magazines, fancy fishers and just plain fishers are getting in on the act.
.. Thanks are in order. Thanks for reading. Thanks for blogging. Thanks for visiting. Thanks for helping.
.. We've learned about videos and posting them, cameras and how to abuse them, multiple page sites, (ours are separate pages,) and many other things that are entirely useless but gently enjoyable time-wasters.
.. We plan to keep it up. As we said, it's fun - and not too hard on the ego. After all, who really wants to know what happened yesterday? Who really wants to know about ice fishing with flies? We would have never guessed!  Thanks again.