Note: There is a chance that some of you may get this twice, if that happens, sorry.
The Really Big One That Got Away.
By Mike Hogue
I can count on my hands and toes the times that I have caught some really nice fish. I am not talking about your solid 14-16" trout or your 2 lb bass or even the odd 10" bluegill. I am talking big haugs. You know the Jimmy Houston stuff you see on TV or from those Banjo minnow commercials. ( Okay I know we all fly fish and we NEVER use alternative tackle and should never watch these stupid cable fishing shows, but just the same two guys in a boat doing the grin and grab does have a certain red neck appeal on a lower level.) Well son! That's a beauty! Odd both my Mom and my wife dislike these shows. I wonder why?
Well it happened to me. Yeap I caught one a real arm bender......well sort of. To begin with my wife knows me all too well by now. She never believes a single word I say about the fish I catch. Since I let them go and I have no proof, they are all nice fish. If I ever catch a fish it is always a trophy which seems to grow each time I talk about it. I never really set out to lie or tell tall tales its just that each time I tell the stories the fish seem to keep getting bigger. For example a nice 14-16" rainbow is now suddenly this mutant steelhead which weighs in at a hefty 20 lbs. Of course all of the pictures never quite turn out. I have excellent pictures of my shoe, my hands, a few rocks and well if you sort of look over here and see that blur, well by golly that is a really nice fish!
A few weeks ago my wife and I set out on a float trip down the West Branch of the Delaware. We had been bumming because the water was so low around here. The various streams where we fish were way below normal so when we heard that the West Branch was running high, we packed up and headed out.
The Delaware River system ( for those unfamiliar with the North East ) borders the New York , Pennsylvania border and is basically the water for New York City. The system has more or less 3 dams which are tail water fisheries. These rivers are very different from the southern tail waters or even western ones. These waters are managed strictly for water use. Typical tail water rivers like the White fluctuate a great deal, whereas the Delaware tends to be more like a giant spring creek with really long, large pools. The fish can get really picky because they have such a long time to see your stuff. Getting skunked here can happen with such a maddening frequency that it is enough to make you take up golf and get some of those high water pants.
We had floated a fair amount of the river. Both Laura and I weren't having much luck. Laura switched to using a Turk's tarantula and I started using a woolly bugger since the water was fast and pretty dirty. Our logic was to try and give them something big which they could see. I also had the added benefit of using a bead, thinking maybe I could club one of them or at least stun one.
As I drifted down below a bridge ( actual location withheld to protect the fish) , I came across a bank which had been rip rapped with large chunk rock to protect the bank. I figured well this looks like a great place. I cast up into the rocks and made some hard strips back. The first few casts I got hung up and had a hard time getting the fly to drift right so I picked up the line and headed down stream. I tossed the woolly up in the banks again and I thought I got hung up again. It seemed like I was on a log. I kicked over to try and release my line, when bam! I realized I had a fish on when the fish took off. At first he had no idea he was hooked and then the whole world broke loose as the fish realized he was caught and didn't like it one bit. He took a turn and headed out in the stream. I got him up and saw this fish.......Yowzer! It was Shamoo, the killer brown. It was at least 24" long and had biggggggggg shoulders and was as thick a New York strip steak.
I almost had a heart attack. Wow! The biggest fish of my whole life. I knew that Laura would never believe this, so I had to get it's picture. I kept the line tight against the fish and started for the shallow water to get his picture, when I got the line twisted in my fins. Then it happened, nothing, the line went limp and I broke him off. Opps.
Dejected I headed down stream. I later caught up with Laura and she I asked where I had been. I explained the whole story, she just nodded and went," Unhuh. Yeap. Sure anything you say dear!"
That was the rest of the story. Gooooooood day.
Gordon Griffiths Ceramic Tip Bobbin: This is short stubby bobbin with brass feet. The feet are recessed to fit Danville spools. Bobbin is ideal to use for making bass flies or spinning hair. Very Nice! $6.50
More Glue Sticks: Last year's big seller is back in more colors! Choose from Hot Yellow, Neon Pink, Neon Fire Orange, Pearl or Glow in the Dark. Use for Moe type bonefish flies or use on eggs, or make your own egg sucking leeches. $2. 00/pack
New Age Chenille: This is all the rage out west, many stores have not been able to keep this in stock! I have had several colors custom made for me which are available only from Badger Creek Fly Tying. This chenille is a three way mix of colors. Choose from Midnight Fire ( Black with Blue and Red Crystal Chenille), Cherry Chocolate ( Red and Brown with Red Crystal Chenille), Henry's Lake ( Tan and Brown with Copper Crystal), Snake River Woolly ( Olive and Pearl) and White River Sculpin ( Tan and Olive with Green Crystal). $1.75 or get all 5 for $7.50
Polar Chenille: This is a very long pearl chenille which is a bit finer than Estaz and is somewhat similar to the material we use on the Gold Trash Woolly. Great for fall steelhead or salmon. Choose from Black, Purple, Hot Pink, Chartreuse, Olive, , Pearl, Tan and Root Beer. $3 a pack
Tyvek Sheets: This is actually paper which is totally waterproof and indestructible. It is almost impossible to tear this. It can be cut with ordinary scissors and will suck up marker like a cheeser drinking beer at a Packer game! Use for wings, wing cases, stoneflies, caddis or crickets and hoppers. It is really cool. $1.50
Adhesive hook magnets: These are a pack of 4 round magnets about 1" in diameter. The back is sticky and you can stick them to your bench. Holds hooks and keeps them from moving around. Also use to dry hooks. I stick them to the edge of my desk and place freshly glued flies on them. Unique and hard to find. $1.50 for a pack of 4.
Hook and Hackle Pliers: These are the old push button style hackle pliers. The bottom has a button you push and use to hold hooks. Great for demo work. Use as a hook handle to prevent hooking the kids. Great for making hot glue eggs. Very high quality. Small or Large $3.50.
Rainy's E-Z Leg Tool: This has a hook tip you use to make knotted legs. Knots legs quick. Medium size with a brass handle. Great! $8.50
Dyna King Hook Bowl: For those that are lamenting the absence of the old Perry hook bowls I sold for several years, these are great. Made out of solid aluminum, machine turned. Dump a box of hooks in and never loose them again. $19.00
Dyna King's Voyager 2: This is a great vise at really good price! The Voyager as all of the features of its bigger cousins such as machined parts, stainless steel, brass or aluminum parts. Comes with a bobbin rest, carrying case, choice of standard or midge and your choice of either a ped best or a c-clamp. Here's the best part: Price: $219.00
Whiting Streamer Packs: For those looking for hackle to make small deceivers with or Catskill skaters this is it! Use for Black Ghosts, Feather Wing Streamers ect. Packs have loads of hackle in it. Choose from: Natural Grizzly, Natural White, Light Dun, Black, Yellow, Chartreuse or Orange. $7.00, Dyed over white only
Fishing Report: The recent rains have started bringing some fish in. A few fish have been spotted at the Inlet fish ladder. Some salmon have been caught in Fall Creek along with a few browns. Runs are just starting and the fishing is getting better. Egg sucking leeches, chartreuse streamers, woolly buggers, small black stoneflies and some small eggs are good bets.
Some lake run fish have also started in the fishing section of Salmon River too. Cohos and other monsters are coming in. Steelhead have been spotted along with some fall browns. If the weather turns cold or we get more rains, look for runs to kick in, pack it up and head north.
Usually I have a list of specials, this month I have a very special one of a kind item for sale. As some of you know, I have an older truck. We decided it is time to get a newer one. Space requirements and well the new one looks just too cool so it was time to trade. I am selling the truck myself to get a better deal. So here goes.....
For sale: 1988 Ford Ranger XLT: King Cab, with Black Aluminum Topper. Back gate comes with collection of unusual fishing stickers such as the Stop Global Whining ( Given to me by Gary LaFontaine), new Windshield, newer back bumper, newish transmission, air, Am/Fm cassette stereo. Tan with 120k miles. Free floor and bed matts. This has been on many fishing trips and has brought me home successfully from MN, Idaho, Yellowstone, NY, Arkansas and all sorts of remote spots. A few rough spots but very comfortable and runs great. Nice work truck or first vehicle for the students. $2,500 OBO. I will deliver to a reasonable area for viewing or your driving pleasure.
As usual if you want to be deleted from this list for any reason, let me know. How you enjoyed this! Contact: Mike Hogue, Badger Creek Fly Tying, 1408 Hanshaw Road, Ithaca, NY 14850. 607-266-0736. Email: Mike@eflytyer.com, Web Site: www.eflytyer.com