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Why????

Lately it seems I have been asking myself why or why not a lot. Although the question of why is coming up a lot more than why not.

I keep hearing about people dying way too young too.  This makes me question a lot of what I do. It reminds me that things happen and not take anything for granted. You don’t know when your last day will be so live every day to the fullest.

Why do we spend our healthy, able bodied, years working and saving hoping to still be healthy when we are old?  Why do we work jobs we don’t like just because they are secure? Why do we waste so much time doing work around the house on nice days when we could be doing something we love? This is something I have been doing less of lately as seen by my yard.  A very wise man said you can’t catch a fish with a lawn mower and they don’t sell fishing rods in the lawn and garden department.  Why are we so afraid to fail?  Why not take a chance on that idea and see what happens?

Every Monday through Friday I walk into a job that I don’t really enjoy. I ask myself why but I know why.  It pays well and has good benefits.  My wife works there so I could keep the same insurance if I left.  I could make the same money or possibly more doing things I enjoy a whole lot more.  The difference would be I would have to work a lot harder to make that money and be away from my family a lot more.  I have no problem with the hard work but I wouldn’t like the not being home with my wife and kids as much.  It seems like I am already always working now.  Then there is my pension plan. I am one of the few people left that were hired under the old company and still have a pension plan. If I live to 55 and am still in good health I will be sitting on a good chunk of money between it and my 401k.  I could retire and instead of being a weekend warrior guide I could be a week day warrior not dealing with the crowded river on the weekend. Then again I could spend the next 17 years going to a job that I don’t enjoy only to die right before retirement. This has been my biggest WHY question lately.  Why take that chance? Why not take a chance on doing something that you enjoy?  Walking into work the other morning I thought, the only difference between this place and prison is the angle of the barbed wire on top of the fence.

I have ideas in my head and I think it is time to act on them.  Some of these are ideas that I started working on and never finished. Those will be first on the list. Then there are others that require some start up capital. Hopefully the first ideas can fund the next ones. Maybe just maybe I can break out of that “prison” .

This goes along with my “F it” list post.  Live life the way you want. Don’t do things that don’t make you happy. Don’t worry about the people that disagree with you or don’t believe in you.  There is always going to be someone with nothing but negative to say. Block them out.  They will likely be people who aren’t happy with their own lives or people who are in the business that don’t want competition.

Remember having an idea in your head and not acting on it is like having a fly in your box and never fishing it.  If you are asking yourself these same questions maybe it’s time to fish that fly.  Also, if you are looking for a partner shoot me an email if you think it’s an idea I would be into.  I am always open to discuss business ideas.

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A couple weekends ago my friend Jamie and I took our annual trip up to the Adirondacks and stay at the Hungry Trout Resort. I have wrote a few reviews on The Hungry Trout and they are all still spot on. If you are looking to fish the West Branch of the Ausable River it is the only place to stay in my mind. They will help you in every way they can to get on the fish.

I always say if you want to catch a trout on the Ausable go to the Hungry Trout Fly Shop and buy what they tell you is working. This year was no different. Even with 7 boxes of flies in my vest I took their recommendation and added a few more flies. As we hit the river the first afternoon trying out a spot we had never fished before I wasn’t so sure about the fly I had tied on. In the back of my mind I thought this thing is huge and is never going to work but they had suggested it so I was going to fish it. After quickly fishing one section I moved up stream and was surprised by a large brown trout that smashed that big fly only seconds after it landed in the water. I was no longer doubting the recommendation.

Over all our trip this year was very good. We avoided a lot of bad weather that hit around us. The one thing this years trip lacked was fish numbers. The ones we caught were nice fat trout but we just didn’t catch as many as we normally do. This left me wondering why and bothered me for a few days until I took the time to play out the 3 days over in my head. This is something I normally do when fishing isn’t what I thought it should have been. I want to figure out if it was just fishing or was there something I did wrong.

In this case I think it was both but more to my fault. When we arrived we took the advice from the fly shop and headed out to the river. Our goal this year was to fish some new spots rather than just going to the same spots we always fish so that was what we did this first night. The first mistake made was fishing too quickly. Many of my home water streams are smaller and only hold a fish or two per spot. This being said it is normal for me to hook or move a fish in a spot then move on if nothing happens in the next couple casts. On days when the fishing is really good on the Ausable this is fine as you will find fish that want to bite in every spot. When the fishing is slow you need to slow down change flies and fish each spot hard. I also need to remember that there is likely 20 or 30 fish in that deep hole not the 1 or 2 that would be in the shallow spot back home. Even given our rushed approach we managed to land a few fish and see a few more. Then mistake number two happened.

Since having kids I don’t do a lot of drinking. I don’t have a lot of time for one and for two I don’t want to feel like crap the next day. That being said the first night in the bar I proceeded to suck down 12 or so beers leading to a not so pleasant next morning. Not getting up as early as planned was OK because we were going to check out some more new water that took some hiking to get to. This was a beautiful stretch of water that I am sure held some very nice fish. I can’t wait to get back and fish it again with a clear head and a full stomach. We zeroed on this stretch of water and quit early due to wanting breakfast. Lesson learned. After breakfast that day we stopped by one of our regular spots and were shocked to see no one was in it. We then proceeded to put a hurting on a bunch of chubby brown trout which made us feel a little better about the morning. That evening I made the same mistake as the first evening and just fished too fast but found a couple fish to play.

We learned some new spots and a couple new techniques. One that was very cool and I am looking forward to doing again next year. Overall it was a great trip and in review I learned even more than I thought I did. The fish might have kicked our ass this year but we will be back for them next year if not sooner.

Again if you want to spend some time on the Ausable River give The Hungry Trout a call. Between great lodging, a fully stocked fly shop, excellent guides, and a Bar/Restaurant on site you can’t beat the place.

As you know I don’t normally promote other guides on my page. However, seeing how Rocky is in Tennessee he isn’t exactly competition.

I had to travel to Knoxville for work so that meant I needed to look up the fishing opportunities. I came across a few guides that offer drift boat trips so I sent some emails looking for an afternoon trip if I could fly in early. Rocky emailed me back within an hour or two. There were others that emailed me back but it took more than a day. As a guide I always respond to emails right away so Rocky got my business. We set up the trip within an email or two and kept in touch over the next month or so until it the date arrived. He was always prompt and friendly when answering my questions and I had a lot of them.

The day of the trip arrived and of course the weatherman was actually right that day and the weather wasn’t looking the best. Due to the threat of some good storms we set up on a section of water we could motor up-stream and work back down to the ramp just in case we needed to run for cover. I was more than ok with that. I will fish in anything except lightning.

I knew we were fishing for big fish when I was handed an 8 weight rod with a 350 grain sink tip and a medium size streamer tied on the end. I say medium-sized because we fished much larger later on. I was pumped. I don’t get a chance to fish this way often. We motored up to the low head dam and started back down. The first pass down stream I connected with a nice feisty Rainbow Trout that found its way to the net. Not the huge fish I was hoping for but a good start anyway. Over the next few hours we found a some more fish that wanted to play but my ability to connect with them and put them in the hoop was lacking. The weather also was constantly changing. The skies cleared and the sun shined bright. Not exactly what I would call good trout fishing weather. Overall the catching wasn’t great but the fishing was excellent. I will definitely be coming back for revenge.

Rocky is a professional guide with top quality equipment. It was my first time casting a Orvis Zero Gravity rod and now I want to buy one. Everything from the boat to the reels were in excellent condition. A condition that isn’t always found on a guide boat even though it should be. It was obvious that he has a vast knowledge of the area waters and how to fish them in various conditions. I would highly recommend anyone coming to the Knoxville area to give him a call and set up a trip.

The fishing is very good for brown trout, king salmon, and steelhead.  The lake has been producing good numbers of browns and kings out of Oswego. From what we are seeing so far the fishing this fall is going to be excellent on the river again.  Charter captains are seeing good numbers of fish hitting the deck each trip out.  The Walleye fishing at night has been excellent as well. I have some openings for Walleye trips.

The Salmon River is still running at 350 cfs and has steelhead top to bottom.  I floated Altmar to Pineville Monday evening and couldn’t believe the number of steelhead up that high still. There are also large numbers of small stocked trout.  Try not to abuse these fish as they are the future of this fishery.  We made a couple moves Monday because in some spots we couldn’t keep them off the hook.  The smallies are starting to enter the river as well.  A few very nice ones have been caught so far and it is only going to get better. I will be offering Smallmouth Bass float trips all summer. These are spin or fly fishing trips.

Salmon season dates are almost full if you want to get on the river with me this fall you better call with a deposit very soon.  I have September 8th and 9th open. Last year we were getting them up river with no one around on this weekend.  This year if they aren’t in the river yet we can troll the lake or fish the estuary in my recently purchased Lund. This boat opens up a lot of options for the early season. These dates won’t last so call soon if you want them.

 

There really isn’t a lot to report other than the fishing is good and getting even better. Everyone is catching fish right now. With a good number of fish left in the hatchery this is going to be an extended season for sure. I believe the colder temperatures have caused the fish to trickle out of the hatchery rather than come in large groups. Add these fish to the fish that spawn in the river and it makes for a great season that will last into mid May for sure.

There are also still fish spawning and fish that haven’t started to spawn yet. This past weekend one of my customers caught a dime bright hen that’s eggs were still tight. Check her out on my Facebook or Instagram page.

The best baits seem to change from day to day but for me it has been beads and egg sacs over anything else. All fished under a float. The plug bite has been inconsistent with some guys getting them on plugs but most not doing any real numbers yet. With this weeks warmer temperatures I expect the plug bite to really turn on if the water temperature goes over 40 degrees.

If you haven’t made it up yet the time is now. I am fully booked with the exception of doing an afternoon trip but I likely can find someone who has an opening if needed.

I will be posting a lot more as we transition into summer. Well at least I think we are going to transition into summer. Either way after this weekend it is on to Walleye and Pike then it will be Brook Trout and Black Bass. I still have some openings for the summer trips. I will be offering float trips on the Tug Hill area streams with my new Smith Fly Raft.

On the Ice At Last

Today was the first day I was able to get on the ice this year. I have been trying to get out but it seems like there has been something going on every nice weekend.  The weekends nothing was going on the weather was so cold I didn’t want to leave the house.  I don’t mind ice fishing when its zero or less outside as long as I am already on fish. I don’t want to be scouting in that weather.

Today I had to sign my son up for baseball at 11 so I figured I would get out for the afternoon.  I stopped by the tackle shop for a couple new jigs and some bait. The lady behind the counter told me good luck I hear they got a foot of snow up that way.   This was not encouraging but I was going ice fishing so off I went.

I pulled into the parking lot at the Elm’s golf course where I planned to walk out from. However, when I got there I realized I couldn’t even see the ice from the parking lot. The wind was ripping and blowing snow all over.  After a few minutes of contemplating braving it I decided to go check Green Point. I pulled there and it was better but still not very good so it was off the Lake View.  I arrived at Lake View at the same time as a couple other guys that were heading out and there was once shanty out there already.  Again the wind was ripping but I had made up my mind I was going to give it a try. I unloaded the 2 man shanty from the truck bed and filled it with gear. I have a single man as well but the plan is to fish with my oldest son and wife tomorrow so I figured I would just deal with dragging it so I was ready for tomorrow.  This tuned out to be a mistake.

As I drug the shanty to the ice I realized I never put my ice cleats in the truck. The ice was snow covered so I didn’t think it was going to be too bad.  As I started out onto the ice I realized I was wrong. The ice was smooth as silk underneath 3 to 4 inches of snow making dragging the shanty very difficult. With no other choice, well besides going home, I pressed on.  I tried multiple techniques to move myself and the shanty with out falling.  No of which worked all that well. The third time I fell I decided that was where I was going to fish.  I cut two holes and set up the shanty.

Anyone who has set up a shanty in high winds by themselves know what kind of shit show that quickly turns into.  After a brief fight I was inside somewhat out of the wind. I cleaned out the hole and dropped in the Vexilar. I saw I was in six feet of water and there were fish down there.  It took a couple tries to figure out what they wanted but then I had my first blue gill hooked. It was a decent one around 8 inches. I say around because it fell off the hook and managed to land right back in the 6 inch hole which it more than covered before it flipped and swam away.  I wasn’t happy about that but hey at least there were fish there and they were what I wanted.  The next few minutes when well as I landed a few nice gills and placed them in my bucket.

Then a gust of wind came up that almost flipped the shanty. I fought to keep it held down as a few things fell off the seat next to me. Luckily not landing in the other hole I had cut that I was now realizing would not be used.  As it settled down I moved my seat position further back as to keep more weight on the back of the sled. I caught a couple more gills all keeper except one. The wind was blowing snow under the sides of the shanty but I was on fish and that was all that mattered. Then it happened, a wind gust so hard it flipped the shanty up on it’s side with me in it. I struggled and managed to hold it from flying away on me. As I got it back onto its bottom I realized it was time to pack up the shanty.  Why didn’t I bring that single man shanty again?

After It was packed up I decided I would fish with out it as long as I could. This was interesting as the snow was being blow into the hole and the Vexilar screen.  I lasted about 15 minutes landing a couple more gills and losing a really nice one that got caught on the transducer.  If I was using a heavier jig I could have lasted longer but the snow in the hole and ice on the line got to be too much of a pain.  When it was all over I had 11 gills in the bucket. Considering this was a complete shit show that only lasted about an hour or so I didn’t think that was too bad. I am hoping for lighter winds tomorrow.

 

 

You often here people talk about fishing destinations and how they are “bucket list”.  These are places people dream about fishing and hope they will make it too before they die. Many times they plan to go when they retire, when the kids move out of the house, child support payments end, and so on and so on.   I have a big problem with this.

First off you don’t know how long you are going to live.  You could die tomorrow, year or in 50 years.  No one knows how long they will live.  If you put a trip on your bucket list and then kick the bucket before you get to go what was the point.  No one shows pictures of places people wanted to visit at their funeral.  They do however often show pictures of extravagant places people visited while they were alive doing things they loved.  Think about when you have seen these pictures. Chances are you thought about how they may not be with us anymore but at least they were able to do things they loved in cool places. This likely brought a bit of a smile or a bit of relief to you during a sad time.

The second problem I have with bucket lists is you don’t know what kind of shape you will be in when your retire or whatever excuse you are using to delay trip of life time happens.  You might not be physically able to make the trip or may experience an unexpected financial hardship at a time in your life you aren’t able to make that money back up. So here you sit wishing you had taken the trip when you were younger. Again you never run into an old man in the fly shop talking about the trips he thought about going on. You will often see that old man telling you all about the places he fished when he was younger though. He will smile the entire time too.

This is why I say take that bucket list and turn it into a F it list.  Go now while you can. This doesn’t just include fishing trips. This is anything you have wanted to do. Find a way and do it.  Don’t have the money?  Find it. Sell some stuff you haven’t used and no longer need.  Get a side job. Take a loan if you have to. That is as long as it wont take food out of your families mouth that is. Now if you are single and it means box mac and cheese dinners for a few months I say go for it.

Now what I mean by a F it list is take that list of places you want to go and prioritize it. Now figure out a way to check one spot off each year.  My personal list has places that are expensive and places that won’t take much money they just require actually going.  My plan is to do an expensive one followed by a year or two of less expensive trips so I can recoup from the big trip. This spring I am going to Argentina to fish for Golden Dorado. To be honest I had no idea what a golden dorado was until I heard about this trip.  I found out a details from my friend Mark and said F it I want to go and I am going to go.  Fly fishing in South America is something I have always wanted to do. I had just planned on going for trout but only because I didn’t know about golden dorado.

I am also going with my family this winter to Mississippi to visit my brother in-law. This will mostly be a family trip but will include fishing for red fish and sea trout. Something I have also always wanted to do.  My wife has wanted to go visit her brother for a long time as well so we are saying F it and going this year while we can.

Many of us has places or types of trips we have wanted to take that are close by we just don’t take the time to do it.  It is time to change that.  Go do what is is you have dreamed about. As my boss always says this isn’t a dress rehearsal, if there is something you want to do you need to do it.  So many people die at young age before getting to do the things they dream about. Don’ t let it happen to you. Turn that bucket list into a F it list today.