Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

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.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

 

 

Read Full Post »

As I look back on this years salmon season I can’t help but think about how blessed I am to have such great customers.  This year was with out a doubt my best year as far as guests go.  I sent out a few messages to past customers in August and filled most of my open dates in just a few days. It is a great feeling to have people come back year after year.  The remaining dates were filled by September by new customers some of which are now repeat customers as they have already booked future dates.  In this business you never know who you are going to get. Every guide has stories of people they couldn’t wait to get off the boat.  This year I never had a trip where I felt that way and it was great.

We spent the season casting or trolling lures and baits even when others said it was to warm to get them to snap. Day after day we proved them wrong taking plug bites on 70 plus degree days with water temps in the high 60’s.  When we got to the ramp we may not have had as many fish on ropes as others but we didn’t snag ours.  The only way the snagging mentality is going to change is if it starts with the guides.  I know for a fact I changed a few peoples outlook on salmon fishing this season and I am happy I could do that.

Overall the Salmon River was crowded most of the season but 99% off the people were friendly and moved out of the way of the boat. There are always going to be the guys who hate the drift boats but I think the number of them is getting smaller.  Most people are realizing that it’s not that big of a deal to wait or take a few steps back while the drift boat goes through. They are also realizing that many times the boat gets fish moving around and they hook up right after the boat passes.

2017 Salmon Season was my most fun season by far.  The only problem I had was that my son is now old enough to realize that dad is gone all the time.  This really hit me hard when he told my mom that dad couldn’t play with him because he works all the time.  There will be some changes next fall continuing until the boys are old enough to understand why dad is working 7 days a week for 2 months.  I will be running less trips and spending a few more days with family.   That being said I have already been booking 2018 salmon trips so if you have dates you want to fish with me I would recommend getting them booked soon.  I will be blocking off dates on my calendar on http://www.fisherguiding.com as they are booked if you want to see what is available. This should be done by the end of the week.

If you were a guest of mine for the 2017 Salmon Season thank you for making it awesome and I hope to see you again in 2018.

Read Full Post »

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about fishing and how I got started. I think back to the days spend rowing the wooden row boat in front of camp from sunrise until I heard the call that breakfast was ready or the days spent fishing for whatever would bite in the creek next to the house.  Those were simpler slower times.  I didn’t have a truck so I had to fish wherever I could walk or ride my bike to.

Most days were spent fishing the creek by the house.  These days I live on the other side of that same creek but rarely fish it. To tell the truth fishing the creek took a big down turn when I got my drivers license. There was no longer a reason to fish that little creek. I could drive to bigger “better” waters.  Never mind the fact that I had caught bass, pike, fall fish, chubs, suckers, bullhead, rockbass, and steelhead from that creek. Now I could drive and I was going to fish other places.

One place I spent a lot of time even before I could drive was Mexico Point. We fished from the break walls mostly. That was except the nights my friends and I camped out in the yard so we could sneak out and ride our bikes down there to fish at night. Yup we snuck out to go fishing and there wasn’t even any beer involved. I am not sure why we thought the fishing was going to be better at night. We never really caught much. I do remember catching a large eel one night though. Man that thing put up a fight.

Today I took a drive to Mexico Point to look for some perch but mostly to enjoy this warm afternoon before tomorrow’s cold gets here. I remembered spending hours out on the break wall casting lures into the lake and dropping curly tail grubs down in between the rocks. I am going to slow things down a bit this summer and go do exactly that a few days. We always caught fish back then so there is no reason why I wouldn’t now.

I am also going to spend more time on my creek. I know the fish are there.  I see them when I walk along it yet I am always rushing off to fish some place else.  I only have an hour and it’s a half hour drive but away I go. That is going to change this year. If I have a hour to fish I can spend 55 minutes of it on the creek rather than 30 some place else.  I am looking forward to teaching my oldest son to fish too. The creek is a perfect spot for kids.

I feel the world has become so fast pace that we don’t even escape it on our fishing adventures most of the time. I know I don’t at least. It’s always rush to the spot, fish later than I should, and rush back home.  People need to slow down and get back to where they started once in awhile. This summer that is exactly what I am going to do. Don’t get me wrong I have a whole list of new places to try and new people to fish with. However, at least a few days are going to be spent on the waters I fished as a kid and at least one day a week will be right on my own property.

Do yourself a favor. Slow down a few days this summer and relax fishing for sunfish, creek chubs, or whatever it was that got you started. 20170301_161036

Read Full Post »

It was a cool fall morning when we launched the boats in the dark.  This was my first time rowing down the river in the dark and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I wasn’t going to let me first ever customers know that though. I was lucky enough to have a veteran guide let me follow him down river.  We were the first ones in the river so we had our choice of spots.

At 5:15 am we dropped anchor at tail of the School House Pool. We only had about a hour and a half to sit in the dark and wait for legal fishing hours.  We hadn’t been sitting there 5 minutes when one of my guests cracked his first beer.  They had brought a 30 pack with them so this had me concerned.  I started rigging up the plug rods we would put out at daylight. Once the plug rods were set I made sure our bottom bouncing rods were ready then I drank my coffee while they drank their beer.

When I put out the plug rods at day light there were at least 6 empty beer cans in the bottom of the boat and fish all around us. I was praying we would hit a few fish on the plugs and get them to the net first thing. That was not the case. We had 3 hard hits that doubled the rod over but never hooked up. At that time you couldn’t run bead chains unless you had a special lures permit and being new I didn’t have one.

Now it was plenty light out and we could see the fish constantly moving through the current around us. You could also now see at least 10 empty beer cans in the front of the boat. I pulled in the plug rods and hand them the bottom bouncers. I am not going to lie and tell you we were trying to get the fish to bite. We were trying to line them just like almost everyone else on the river at that time.  I explained to them how to cast just up stream of the fish so as not to spook them and then drift the line back into them. They kept casting right at the fish. I would tell them to cast ahead of the fish and they would cast way upstream and get snagged. I retied and they cast directly at the fish again. I was in trouble and I knew it. After about 2 hours of this and a few more beers the fish were gone and it was time to pull anchor.

When we dropped anchor again there were about 50 in the current right along side the boat. I though we were safe because it was a bit deeper water so they could get away with casting a little too far upstream. They were having trouble seeing the fish so their casts were even farther off target. It seemed no matter what I told them they did the opposite. It wasn’t long before another guide came through saw the fish and purposely splashed his oars through the hole sending them fleeing. I was not happy and never forgot this moment. I didn’t say a word as I was the new guy on the river and I had customers with me. I let them cast for a few more minutes while I regrouped and made a plan. I knew something had to change if I was going to get these guys at least one fish.

We made a big move down stream where I could pull plugs in some deeper water. I knew this was our only chance as they were never going to get one casting.  We fished through the first hole with out a strike. There were a few shots from a liquor bottle taken though. As I was setting rods in the second hole I noticed there were at least 20 empty beer cans in the bottom of the boat. I could tell the guys were far from sober. The second hole was money or at least it should have been. I watched the right rod double over and saw the fish thrashing on the surface. As I yelled “right rod right rod right rod” I rowed upstream as hard as I could to keep the line tight. Of course both guys tried to grab the left rod. By the time they got to the right rod the fish got slack line and came off.

There was only one spot left to try plugging before the boat launch. It was now or never and I was far from optimistic. I put the lures out again and started working them in the current. We were almost to the tail of the pool when the middle rod slammed down into the bow of the boat. I pulled hard on the oars and yelled “middle rod get it and reel”. I told them in the beginning you don’t have to set the hook, the fish will do it for you, just keep the line tight.  When he grabbed the rod out of the holder not only did he set the hook like Bill Dance but he dropped the rod right back down giving the fish the slack it needed. The fish was gone and so was all hope of saving the day.

Back at the lodge they told a bit different story to the owner who they had booked the trip through. They were not happy to pay all that money and not catch a fish. I was given the chance to tell my side  of the story when I stopped in later that evening. I learned a lot in that first trip. First and foremost I needed a special lure permit. Second there would be a limit on how much alcohol was allowed on my boat from there on out. This was when I decided if someone is just looking to catch a buzz they can hire someone else.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »