Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sights & Sounds Of Spring

LET'S GO TO CRAIG !
Fish The Lowlands !
travel to the south !

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.. The evacuation of West Yellowstone by fair water fishers is in full swing. Car doors are slamming, diesel engines racing, farewell's are being shouted. The sounds of Spring have reached our little town.
.. For the faint of heart and leg it's time to extol the virtues of any place else.
.. Good! Be gone and spend your carbon credits on av-gas, diesel, and unleaded gasoline.
.. The truth of the matter is, (we can hear the neighbors moaning,) the best fishing and catching in the neighborhood is right now. It will continue for the next 3 or 4 weeks and you have to be here to appreciate it.
.. We're not wealthy enough to travel to exotic locations like Craig, Montana or Last Chance, Idaho. We can't afford the gasoline to venture much past Moose Creek on the Gallatin River.
.. It's nice to see that others have the chance to visit renowned fisheries and sing their virtues. Cell phone pictures, gorgeous digital images, commercial movies, glorious adventures of Spring fishing everywhere but here. More power to them.
.. We've had over two feet of snow in the last few days and it's snowing right now.  The trees love the nitrogen rich snow. It's wet and heavy. It has the moisture needed to nourish the trout streams for months to come. Wealthy migrant fishers run from it and revel in the glories of lowland fishing. Bless their psyche's.
.. There will be no better fishing or catching around here, at any time in the coming year, than right now, (Yellowstone Park included!)
.. In fact, the best catching in all of Montana may be just two or three days away. But, you have to enjoy catching fish until your arms ache. You have to want to take fish bigger than your forearms. You have to be willing to find the sparse open water in the estuaries and spring holes on Hebgen Lake.
.. This is not fishing for the inflated egos of glory water fame. This is not fishing for those that wish to fish in the footsteps of famous fishers. This is fishing for those that wish to make their own footsteps. This is neighborhood fishing of the finest kind. And it's catching better than anything within 500 miles, or more, right now!
.. The rivers that feed Hebgen Lake have pushed into the ice and opened up the estuaries to the point that the fish are competing with each other for scraps of flotsam at the edges of the ice.
.. Those dark shadows, fifty feet in diameter, in the bits of open water are hundreds of hungry fish. Fish that haven't seen open water for five long months. Fish that have eked out a living from the sparse benthic morsels of an ice covered world.
.. It's not "ice-out" yet. However, Grayling Arm, Madison Arm, South Fork Arm, of the lake are all clear enough that it's legal to fish. And just today, Grayling Creek pushed past the lake shore into the ice.
.. Many folks come to see and catch on Hebgen's shores during ice out. That's still a few weeks away. But right now, (with knowledge, good legs, a snowmobile, and a few flies,) fish will be hard to not catch. Certain local knowledge and a great deal of caution must be employed.
.. Fishing must be done in the lake, not the streams or rivers. Thin ice and surface water demand that you know just where you are in relation to the lake shore and the lake bottom.
.. Happily very little gear is necessary. A single fly box, a stout rod, a stout leader, and hooks that won't straighten out when the battle is joined.
.. There are no secret flies. The neighbors are divided about the types. Most use bits of flashy fluff. Rock Worms or Fuzzy John's are in the majority right now. Small streamers and wet flies are in the minority. Both will catch fish. The argument is over which bunch and type of fly will catch the most  --  and biggest!
.. Right now the bison are dropping calves, the first osprey's have arrived, there are midges on sunny days, and fish are stacked like cord-wood in the small bits of open water on Hebgen Lake. The neighbors are loving it, the others are streaming out of town in lock step with their companions: getting warm and telling stories. We're loving it here!
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“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
. . . . . . .  Henry David Thoreau
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The gataride does the business....

Well done to Andrew Murphy who got this clonker of a bass today in very tough conditions on the Zonk Gateride Edomae Laser. Some great fishing being had at the moment roll on the next set of good tides.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A great morning session...

After the disappointment of last night, losing a decent sized fish I was determined to get out this morning to try to make up for my error of not checking my drag last night.

On checking the forecast last night it was giving a strong breeze from the North not ideal but I still set the alarm for 6am and was on the rocks by 6.40 chucking my feed shallow into filling gullies as the tide proceeded to push in.

As I arrived I noticed some sprats jumping out of the water and I could see terns working the water not 30 yards from the shore. Anticipation was building....

Almost immediately I had a follow from a nice fish, and after half an hour I had 2 3lbers and one just over 5lb landed with countless follows and one lost fish. The place was simply alive with bass, the days you dream about....



After a lull in activity I struck lucky again as I was reeling my feed shallow back in with the rod tip held upright I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a a big spikey dorsal fin and tail half out of the water homing straight in on my lure, with an almighty thump my feed shallow was seized by the fish no more than 6 foot in front of me the fish immediately turned on the water and I knew straight away that this was a nice fish. After an initial run of well over 20 yards the fish held up and did the usual viscous slashing on top of the water after an almighty tug of war where the fish really put my injection under serious pressure I managed to slide the bar of silver of just over 9lb onto the shore. Shaking uncontrollably after such an epic fight I popped out the hooks put the camera up onto a rock and set the self timer for a quick snap and back she went strongly......



All the fish were caught on the feed shallow sardine, a lethal lure over shallow ground.


Mornings like this don't come around to often, but it makes it all worth while when everything finally comes right.


Tight lines,

James.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Pinhole Easter

ON THE RECORD
Image submitted
LION GEYSER
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.. Just submitted a pinhole photograph to WORLDWIDE PINHOLE PHOTOGRAPHY DAY gallery. Taken yesterday at about 3:30 PM during a light snow flurry at Old Faithful. The data for submission is:
Canon 30D, short extension tube & black cardboard with electrical tape seal. Tin foil pinhole, f256, 1/3 sec. Snowing lightly.
.. Snow has continued to bless us with it's presence and it's been wet and warm. About 12" during the last week. It is usually melted by mid-afternoon. Snow cover on the ground is down to about 3 - 4 feet and melting at a pace that will nourish trees and rivers alike.
.. Fishing & catching continues to be between good and spectacular down canyon on the Gallatin River. Very few midges, but some brownish mayflies are showing up. Fish are eating nymphs and small streamers. There are only a few reports of exceptional surface catching: we're headed down canyon now.
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Hamilton's Store #101 & Light Pole
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Z Fish Report (4/23/11)

I delayed posting this fish report an extra day, hoping something would break loose, and it didn’t. The full moon period is just beating us over the head, and we can’t change Mother Nature. The 80º water is just 6 miles off the beach, with the deep blue 84º water at 14 miles.


About the only decent report for the blue water this week was Adolfo on the panga Dos Hermanos. At 16 miles, he released two sailfish.

Cheva, on the panga Dos Hermanos II was with combination spin / fly fishing client Steve Turpin of Atlanta, Georgia and got several sierras, black skipjack tuna, and missed a couple of roosterfish on the fly. The smallest we estimated at 25 pounds and the larger one may have gone 50 pounds.
Ed Kunze
To order a copy of my fishing book about fishing here on the West Coast of Mexico:

http://www.mexperience.com/store/vuitem.php?itemid=13&sc=KUNZE-13

Thursday, April 21, 2011

One very happy angler.....


Worked very hard for this fish but it was well worth the wait, the smile says it all....


Tight lines.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

employing your vision


It is always the same when I close my eyes:

The popper bounces along.

chug.

The sun is bright in the southern sky and I can feel my skin burning an outline around my sunglasses. The line feels thick and heavy, tacky between my fingers.

chug.

There should be fish here. There should be fish everywhere and maybe I have caught a few but maybe I have just arrived. I can't be sure.

chug.

I don't hear wind, breathing, water, birds. All is silent. There is no soundtrack, no special effects, no foley.

chug.

Sometimes I manifest a take, a splash, a tight line that sends little diamond sparkles when it stretches taught away from the surface.

Other times I don't and the popper just floats, over and over through the same ripples and the same dancing sunlight through the same three of four seconds of river. Three or four seconds is not a lot of river when you think about it. It would be asking quite a bit for a willing fish to reside in those seconds. But all it takes is one. One second of flowing water to make a difference. Sometimes you wait days, months, years for that one second.

Sometimes it never comes. But on the good days it does.

chug.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Mighty Xlayer....

Its a very simple method casting the xlayer up current and letting it bounce down current, and with the joys of braid you can feel every knock as it trundles through.

Anything out of the ordinary and I strike or lift into it, if your xlayer becomes weightless lift into it as this might be a fish after picking up your soft plastic, this happened to me a couple of times today its vital you connect with the fish quickly as they can drop the soft plastic as quick as they pick it up. I also had some very subtle bites and missed a few fish but thats all part of it. And your always going to get the fish that really smash your xlayer...the ones we all love!!

It is important to match you jig head size to the speed of the current you are fishing it into. Too heavy and your xlayer will not bounce through the current, too light and it will flow through too quickly.

A simple but lethal method for bass. There are some excellent reports coming in at the moment around the majority of Waterford marks.



Tight lines,

James

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Obligatory Bison

GENEROUS SNOW PACK
No Muddy Water - Yet
very few visitors
The Stroll
(note injured horn)
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.. It's incumbent upon every visitor to Yellowstone National Park to photograph a bison in the road. So we did. They look less stressed from the continuing winter than was to be expected: the ones that survived.
Gibbon River At National Park Meadows
.. Our brief reconnoiter was just to Old Faithful for ice cream and then back to town for chores. We only stopped briefly to view the waters. We did see fish rising in Biscuit Basin. Must have been the phantom midge hatch.
Firehole River Just Above The Falls
.. The roads are mostly clear of snow but the continuing snowfall, (4" today,) will keep most visitors in their cars, (a fairly normal way to "see" Yellowstone - anyway.) There are only a few pull-outs that are navigable, while most have between 2 and 4 feet of snow blocking passage.
Nez Perce Creek At Grand Loop Road Bridge
.. The snow is wind polished and crusted; some of the 4 foot deep snow banks even held our considerable mass and girth as we ventured close to the waters for a better view. Persons of the rotund variety, (including us,) could easily find themselves chest deep in the white stuff if imprudence wins the day.
Upper Gas Station At Old Faithful
.. The river edges are still covered with overhanging cornices in many stretches. Too close a look and cold and wet awaits. The warm meadows and geyser basins are clearing nicely but not a trace of green grass is yet to be seen.
Old Faithful Inn
.. We did some dry-run photos for World Wide Pinhole Photography Day and have about mastered the digital techniques. The large format pieces are at the processor's right now. We'll see: aiming, exposure, reciprocity effects, and film choice are variables that we're not very conversant with yet.
..Time is precious right now and we'll continue to monitor the snow melt and grass greening inside Yellowstone National Park. But, the trip "down-canyon" to good fishing gets shorter every day and the gradual warming, punctuated with some spring snowfall, is making the trout crazy. We'll be there tomorrow.
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Opening Day Ice Cream
Biscuit Basin Bridge - Digital
Biscuit Basin Bridge - Digital Pinhole
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Z Fish Report (4/14/11)

With the clean water at 6 miles and deep blue water at 30 miles, the Terrafin Satellite Surface Temperatures are showing an average of 83º water to way out past the 80 mile mark. I have never seen water this warm during April. There sure seems to have been some current changes this last couple of years.

Paige and Charlie Walters with Francisco and a nice tuna
The offshore fishing is still on the slow side for the billfish, however lots of yellowfin tuna are being found in the blue water. Mike Buckley of the super panga Huntress emailed me this: Paige (age 8) and Charlie Walters (age 12) from Madison, N.J. took advantage of the excellent Yellowfin Tuna fishing on a recent trip on the Huntress with Capt. Francisco, each landing 3 nice tuna and hooking and releasing three others. All the fish were caught right on the 1000 fathom line on the edge of the blue water. Numerous longlines on the 20 mile line may account for the lack of Sails in the area.

Cheva, on the panga Dos Hermanos, had a couple of great days also. The first day they worked the area south and heading for the antennas, catching 20 large jack crevalle and 2 large roosterfish. Today (Thursday), at 14 miles they found the yellowfin tuna, and caught so many they ran out of live bait.
Ed Kunze
To order a copy of my fishing book about fishing here on the West Coast of Mexico:
http://www.mexperience.com/store/vuitem.php?itemid=13&sc=KUNZE-13

There Is Hope

JUST 90 MILES AWAY
Grass Is Growing
.. And the fish are hungry! Just had to run down canyon to join the throngs of urbanites on a blustery but sunny day.
.. The catching was nothing to write home about. Steady, nymphs, windy, and crowded.
.. But then again it's a day away from the beautiful whiteness that is home.
.. Yellowstone National Park opens tomorrow, not for fishing but for viewing. If the weather and the government cooperate we'll buzz in there and have a look around

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Crappy Times.....

Working, trying to make money, but still times are hard.
As much as I really hate to do this, I must put this fella up for sale.......
As much as I wanted to get out on the salt, to try to catch some tarpon or shark (maybe it's a bit of jealousy) like Alex has, alas I have not been able to break this guy in. Its all new and will stay that way unless I win the Lottery.

Loop Opti Salt 12wt rod
TFO prism 11/12 reel
Scientific Angler Tropi-core 475 grain line

If you or anyone you know has any interest I will take a reasonable offer.

kyle@fatguyflyfishing.com

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April Bass...

We fished a few marks in the last couple of days that had been producing fish over the last set of good tides and even on the slacker tides there is still good fishing to be had.

Fishing over some extremely shallow ground the lures that are working well for us are the megabass x-140 and the Feed Shallow.






Tight lines,

James.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Anticipation


"There is no better moment than this moment, when we are anticipating the actual moment itself. All the moments that lead up the the actual moment are truly the best moments. Those are the moments that are filled with good times. Those are the moments in which you are able to think that it is going to be perfect when the moment actually happens. But the moment is reality, and reality always kinda sucks." -Lewis black

-Alex who knows that hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, or so he has been told.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Rumor Of Spring

CATCHING IS GOOD
The Snow Is Deep
visitors are scarce

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.. There are fish to be had, (more about that in a moment.) Descending from our little village into the lowlands of western Montana gives one the feeling that Spring will indeed arrive.
.. It's interesting for us to visit the giant megalopolis that is Bozeman, Montana. We do it once a year to visit our tax attorney. A double dose of reality!
.. We enter a rat maze of elbows, autos, and hominids. The bustle is frightening. What can be so important that rushing about is mandatory?
.. We've endured Boston and New York at Christmas time. We felt the same frenzy in Bozeman.
.. The local residents thought that the 4" of fresh snow was intolerable and the dreary day made them grumpy. They were actually jostling each other in line as they rushed to pay money for their treasures.
.. There are things at work in the city that we don't understand. We didn't wait around to investigate.
.. The wonder of it all is that our whole village could fit in the parking lot of the Walmart store. In fact, the day we visited, there were more people in Walmart than live in our town.
.. We enjoy the thought that the people who live in the maze can buy more of everything in Walmart than is for sale in our little town. There are even souvenirs of Yellowstone; they don't even have to visit us.
.. We've received about 2 feet of snow over the past few days. It's rapidly melting and we can see the pavement of the streets in many places.
.. The trout in the Gallatin River are suffering withdrawals. There have been so few fisher folk that they are feeling neglected. They are eating anything that floats by in the hope it has a hook in it: they need to sharpen their reflexes for the onslaught that will come with the sun.
.. We'll say it just once: 53, 59, 66, 69, Taylor Fork! Fish near those mile markers and you will be surprised at your catching success.
.. We saw a few midges but didn't bother to tie any on. We fished late in the afternoon through the intermittent snow and broken clouds.
.. The fish were willing and were just where you would expect them to be.
.. Drowned Adams dry flies and Prince Nymphs were our choice. They didn't disappoint. Fish were gobbling things throughout the water column. and seemed unafraid of the surface or the thin water. The water is, according to local lore, too cold to fish. It was cold!
.. We've had our civilization-fix: thank you. But we'll be running down canyon over the next few weeks; at least until the good parking spots become crowded.
.. Yellowstone National Park opens this coming Friday. We'll visit for a look-around. There may be indications of new holes or debris piles. We, however, will wait until the massive discharge abates before selecting any ripe locations.
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Jackson Athlete...

We have just got in some of the much talked about Jackson Athlete lures.

We currently have the Jackson Athlete slim series in stock.

14FS (floating slim 21g) & 14SS (slow sinking 25g)

Due to inside moving weight system long casting distance is easily achieved and this lure works great in rough conditions as the athlete is very stable in the water.

Both the 14FS and the 14SS have a mixture of rolling and wobbling action both being medium divers.


140FS slim 21g (Pearl)

140SS slim 25g (chartreuse with orange underbelly)

Tight lines.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Z Fish Report (4/8/11)

The warmer 82º water is definitely moving back in earlier than expected, and the good fishing we usually get in May and June should soon follow.


Currently the clean water is just 4 miles off the beach with the boats averaging a sailfish or striped marlin a day each. However, the inshore action is still holding strong, with the roosterfish making an early appearance. Normally we start targeting roosters from about mid-May, but Adolfo, on the panga Dos Hermanos, went south to the antennas and releasing 5 from 35 to 45 pounds for his French clients. The fish were taken on slow trolled live bait and surface poppers.
Adolfo with a small rooster

Cheva, on the Dos Hermanos II fished inshore with Troy Sturm of Minnesota for one day. Troy and his wife caught about 20 fish, including lots of sierras, a few chulas, and a couple of other species.

Ed Kunze
To order a copy of my fishing book about fishing here on the West Coast of Mexico:
http://www.mexperience.com/store/vuitem.php?itemid=13&sc=KUNZE-13

My friend Snots


My friend Snots he's a hell of a guy.
Let me tell you why,
He's the epitome of predatory.

My friend Snots he's a hell of a guy.
Let me tell you all why,
He drips with slimy satisfactory.

My friend Snots is a heck of a joe.
You should watch him go!
Hangin' in the weed line,
With a sharp curve of teeth shine.

My friend Snots has little concerns,
About the flies that he spurns.
Until the line pulls tightly,
With an angry steel finality.




-Alex who loves him some pike and Primus.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Some good reports coming in....

The bass fishing is really kicking off here, with reports of some excellent lure fishing all along the south east coast.

Heres one from a quick session I had earlier, the xlayer doing the business today.




During the last couple of sessions we have noticed the bass have been nipping lures and are not smashing them like you would expect in the summer months, moving to smaller lures such as the Zonk 77 or megabass edonis seems to be working well for us at the moment, something to try?


Tight lines,


James.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pinhole Fly

FLANGE FOCAL DISTANCE:  44mm
Subject Distance: 1 inch
[brief report]

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.. Not art, not clear and sharp, but we like the novelty of it all.
.. Got another 4" of wet snow last night.
.. Snow pack is now 120% of historical snow water content.
.. Gloomy weather leads to indoor entertainment.
.. The whole damn house is getting documented with pinhole photography. We'll not bore you with details. This shot makes pretty good wallpaper.

*******
.. Midges and giant streamers sighted in the environs of Craig, Montana. Get thee to the "Mighty MO."
.. Lower Gallatin River Canyon heating up like wildfire. No stonies reported but the fish are taking giant subsurface offerings.
.. The Madison River in the lowlands, where open, is seeing the first of the mayflies and squadrons of snow flies are permeating fisher folk's orifices. Might be a good time to visit.
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