Saturday, September 12, 2020

Alaska

 


Today, is the first Saturday after Labor day which I have not spent travelling to the Alaska Peninsula seeking huge silver salmon for the past 30 years.  Alaska became my go to adventure in early September visiting first Painter Creek Lodge and later years fishing out of Pumice Creek Lodge.

  Both lodges are fantastic, but nothing beats Pumice Creek Lodge where clients had the option of fishing for giant silvers on the Cinder River or fishing for loads of arctic char on Lava Creek. 

I really miss the flying in the small planes to the river and seeing abundance of wildlife including giant brown bears and trophy moose.  The silver fishing on the Cinder was beyond belief as most cannot imagine landing over 100 silvers per person in a day!  The Cinder Silvers are some of the largest on earth with the average going around 14 lbs and pushing up to 20 lbs.  We waded the river alone, never seeing another fisherman in all my years on the Cinder as its remoteness made it out of the way for the Bristol Bay Lodges floatplanes to reach.  Many great friends were made including GAry LaRose and Jon Kent, lodge owners.  Great guides such as Rudy McPherran and Todd Byrd always looked out for us and for bears.  ONe year, friend Peter Furber from South Africa came along.  The fishing was outstanding and all Pete could say was "WOW, I COULD NEVER IMAGINE".  Alaska and friends will sorely be missed as the bar is set too high as the doors of Pumice Creek Lodge closed its doors to fisherman last September.  Luckily, I have thousands of photos, hours of footage, and countless memories to remember the Best Fishing Offered in Alaska for the rest of my lifetime!  

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Jurassic Lake Lodge/ Argentina Update


 


Jurassic Lake Lodge which is located on Lago Strobel in the remote Patagonia Area of Argentina.  The lodge sits within walking distance of the mouth of the Barrancoso River which is the only significant tributary.  Earlier this week, I was able to talk with lodge owner, Carlos Lopez Casanello.  Carlos says the Lago Strobel area has received the most significant snowfall in the past 20 years which should make this upcoming season the best in many years--if it can get any better than last year in my opinion.  The high water will eventually push tens of thousands of huge rainbows into the river. 
The rainbows here get huge, I would say the average is 12 pounds with daily catches of 50 to 100 rainbows being the norm.  During one's stay I would say they have a 50% chance of landing a trophy rainbow pushing the scales upwards of 20 pounds.


  Last season a few friend and my guides saw the largest rainbow our eyes have seen as we all figured it went over 40 pounds.  So giants are indeed swimming in these virgin waters where clients of Jurassic Lake Lodge has sole access. 


I have also heard rumors that Argentina might resume International and Domestic flights in October.  So, if you are after the largest rainbow of your life get in contact with me and will put you in contact with Jurassic Lake Lodge.


  Openings are rare but am sure there will be select dates open this season due to cancellations( I have a few openings in my group which is scheduled to arrive in early October).  The season at Jurassic runs from October through April with outstanding catches during all dates mentioned.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Venice LA Bull Reds..August 10 to 13


 

With the covid still causing havoc on International Travel, I decided to head back to Venice, LA for another crack at trophy Bull Redfish under the guidance of Captain Keith Kennedy of Born To Fish Charters.  I was fishing in Venice a few weeks ago and had a great trip. Recently, a  trip to Papua New Guinea postponed so was anxious to get a replacement trip in.  On August 9th, I flew with my brother, Bill,  out of O'Hare Airport on a full American Airlines plane to New Orleans.  At the New Orleans Airport we met up with friend Etan Zimmet and rented a car for the 1 1/2 hr drive to Born To Fish Charters based in Boothville, LA.  The weather forecast was ideal with winds being exceptionally low for the entire stay.  Fishing for redfish for a few years, I have found that the wind is the main factor determining catch rate.  Low to zero wind means lots and lots of big reds. 
This theory once again came true as we landed a total of 166 bull reds with the largest weighing in at 32lbs.  The average redfish I estimated at 20 to 22 lbs.  Our best day was a total of 61 reds in perfectly calm waters where the water temp was 90.5F.  The top lures were 6 inch Bomber Mud Minnows in either black/ char or rootbeer/ char fished behind a Blabber Mouth popping cork rigged on a 8/0 circle hook.  A few reds were landed on smaller poppers and prop baits made by Kermett Adams.  During the stay I was able to test out a spinning rod made by rod maker Buzz Butters of B & B Custom Fishing Rods based out of Ripon, WI.  The 3 piece rod was perfect and I landed a bonus    6 ft foot shark.  In all this was the best trip I have taken for redfish. 
Captain Keith knows where the big reds are located.  He provides housing, tackle, and meals which are simply delicious.  With International trip being grounded, Keith has filled fast.  A few openings remain this season and Keith is taking reservations for 2021.  This is in my opinion the best deal available for quality fishing usually only found Internationally.  Get a booking while they exist.  You can contact Keith at 504-908-3108

Monday, July 27, 2020

Daiwa Ballistic

In preparation for my July trip to Russia (postponed till 2021)  in search of huge taimen, I faced a decision on the choice of spinning reel I would use.  Last season, I used a 5000 Daiwa Ballistic while battling big bull reds and Jack Crevelle's in Venice, LA.  The Ballistic is an extremely light yet strong reel.  It is encased with an ultra-tough Zaion Housing and has lightweight airplane tough aluminum gears in a magsealed housing which prevents water intrusion.  The 5000 model is small for it's number size and would compare it to a 3000/4000 size on other brands.  The largest Ballistic is the 6000 model which is more like a similar 4000 size.  It weighs only 11.1oz and packs a drag of 26.4lbs.  The retrieve is 5:1:1 and it holds 240 yards of 40lbs braid.  Last week, I took this reel to battle the Venice reds and give it 5 stars.  When compared to others such as the Shimano Stradic Cl4+, the Ballistic wins hand down in terms of lightweight and drag.  So, before you purchase another spinning reel, check out the Daiwa Ballistic.  It comes is sizes 1000-6000.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Venice, LA Bull Redfish for July 20 to 22

With the covid virus putting a stop to many International Fishing Trips this season, I was extremely anxious to wet a line and experience some world class fishing action.  I have fished for big bull reds in the past and always said this is a trip that compares to the best fishing in the world.  A few months ago, I contacted Capt. Keith Kennedy of Born To Fish Charters and booked a 4 night/ 3 day fishing package.  I have fished with Capt Keith for many years and he is a great guide always putting us on fish.  I was going with friends Cole Lundquist who has fished with Capt Keith numerous times and Mike Sadar who was coming for his first trip to the Gulf.  On July 19, I flew out of O'Hare Airport on American Airlines without any problem.  The flight was about half full.  We landed in New Orleans and rented a car to drive to Keith's which takes about 1.5 hrs.  Keith supplies all housing, meals, and tackles.  His meals are simply delicious.
  During our stay we had cajun shrimp, Blackened redfish, deep fried redfish and shrimp, and bar-b-que ribs!  A day or so before we arrived the winds switched to the SE which are not ideal.  However, Capt Keith as the norm put us on numerous redfish the first morning.  We landed a total of 29 bull reds and 1 Jack Crevelle, lost numerous reds and battled a few sharks.  Our best tactic was using BlabberMouth popping corks with rootbeer/ chartreuse plastics.  We rigged the plastics using Gamakatsu Inline Octopus Circle SE 8/0 #265418 hooks.  The wind was too strong to use topwater Whopper Ploppers and others.  The action continued throughout the day.  On our second day we awoke to similar conditions.
  The action started out nonstop for the first hour as we probably landed over 10 bulls with my largest at 26lbs landed on the first cast of the morning.  The action slowed as sharks invaded our fishing grounds chasing the reds away.  We landed a total of 20 bulls with another Crevelle landed.  Having fell in love with Giant Trevally fishing out in the seas of Papua New Guinea, I enjoy battling these Jacks on light tackle.  Also the bull reds put on numerous drag burning runs.  On our last day the action slowed as the winds increased with an incoming storm.  However, a few big bulls were landed by all.  All it all it was another great trip with Capt. Kennedy. I experienced no problems at all travelling in and out of the Airports due to virus concerns!   Was great to finally get out and landed some quality fish.  I will be heading back for another round with the bull reds in a few weeks and later this fall.  Capt. Keith has a few prime days remaining this season.  With the International destinations come to a halt, his bookings are filling fast.  Give Keith a call at 504-908-3108 to get into some World Class Fishing Action which last throughout the year! 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

MEMORIES OF ALASKA

31 years ago, I decided to fulfill a dream and head NORTH TO ALASKA to land monster silver salmon.  I fished for silvers ( cohos) in my backyard, Lake Michigan, but was tired of the crowds and having steel mills for scenery.  Images of virgin, uncrowded rivers teaming with salmon went through my mind.  After lots of research, I booked a week at Painter Creek Lodge on the Alaska Peninsula.  My dreams were met as the King Salmon River was chocked full of silvers while Painter Creek was stacked with sockeye salmon and arctic char.  I met numerous fantastic fishermen along the way.  Angleo, George, the Jarvis brothers, and many more remain friends to this day.  As the years passed, I would venture for 2 weeks to the Land of the Midnight Sun.  Week 1 would be with the Jarvis brothers and I catching huge halibut out of Valdez or Homer before heading to Painter Creek.
Our best year saw us put 12 halibut over 200 lbs into the cooler of which 2 were estimated at 300 lbs.  Also numerous huge lingcod and numerous species of rockfish were landed.  One year we put out shrimp cages and wound up with hundreds of giant prawns!  At the lodge, owner, Joe Maxey and Jon Kent would arrange for me to spend the stay in a tent on the Pacific on Amber Bay.  Joe would land on the Pacific beach during low tide and drop my guide and myself off.  The fishing was insane.  Huge silver to 20 lbs were landed all day.  My best day was over 150 silvers landed on a spinning rod rigged with a pixee spoon.  We were the only fishermen at Amber except for the numerous Brown Bears where my guide always had a rifle in hand just in case.  One year we walked upon a sow with a cub.  Luckily after a shot was fired into the sky the bears ran off without inflecting any damage!  On August 23, 2000 while returning from a successful halibut trip, we heard on TV that Joe Maxey was killed in a plane crash flying back to the lodge from Amber. 
We were shocked.  Flights to Amber were no longer an option in coming years.  In 2005, I was sitting alone in the King Salmon Airport.  Normally others heading to Painter would be present. The PenAir pilot informed me that the Mount Chiginagak Volcano erupted a few weeks ago sending an acidic discharge into Mother Goose Lake and the King Salmon River.  While at the lodge I saw countless dead salmon filling the river shallows which has an orange tint with a sulfur odor.  The salmon would not return for a few years.  During the week, Jon introduced me to Gary LaRose who owned nearby Pumice Creek Lodge.  I hired Gary to drop me off on the Cinder River so I could catch some silvers.  The results were spectacular as the silvers were huge and abundant.  After numerous talks with Gary and Jon, we decided the best option for me was to book future trips with Gary as Painter was going to fly fishing only lodge.  I absolutely fell in love with Pumice Creek Lodge.
  We would fish alone at the Cinder River for silvers or Lava Creek for char.  100 + silvers per day per person were the norm on the Cinder and they were even larger than the huge Amber silvers.  Gary LaRose and his lab Cinder, more or less became family.  Guides Rudy and Todd were 2 of the best guides to date.  Countless friends were made.  In 2020, Gary decided to retire and stop booking fishermen.  This left a void in my heart which, remains to this day.  The base was set too high at Pumice Creek to go to another Alaska Lodge.  Sitting back and looking at old photos and video, I was blessed to fish both Painter, Pumice, and some saltwater.  Plus having the honor to meet such great people.  Boy do I miss Alaska!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Fishing 2020

Am sure everyone out there has cabin fever including me.  Due to the coronavirus, our lives have been drastically put on hold.  Dream fishing trips to lands outside the USA have become a hope.  When International Travel can begin is in question with a few countries saying they will not open anytime soon, maybe not until 2022!  So, what is a person to do who wants to wet a line?  A few friends have recently been fishing locally in the USA.  Friend, Gary Clark has been fishing for big largemouth bass with Capt. Durwood Day on Lake Toho in Florida.
Durwood has years of experience in getting clients huge bass.  Dr. Clark has said the fishing has been redhot.  Durwood can be reached at 407-719-0215.  I have a few trips booked this summer with Capt. Keith Kennedy out of Venice, LA.  Capt. Keith runs Born To Fish Charters and puts clients on huge bull redfish year long.  Keith provides everything from meals, lodging, and tackle.  Keith can be reached at 504-908-3108.
If my International trips indeed do not come about this fall, I am sure I will be reaching out to Keith for more trips.  Good friend, Larry Walker, is always posting photos on Facebook holding giant largemouths over 10 pounds he lands on local lakes in Texas.  Recently, Larry and friend Jim Schmid fished for monster alligator gar on the Trinity River with Capt. Kirk Kirkwood.  Both Larry and Jim had great trips landing gar over 100 lbs.
Capt. Kirkwood can be found on Facebook.  Maybe I will have to get my boat running and head back up to Northwest Wisconsin to restock my freezer with walleyes.  I would tend to believe the fishing is currently on the slow side due to cold weather as it snowed here last night in Fond Du Lac, WI.  So, if your hope is to wet a line this season, International travel unfortunately is probably not in the cards, so look at the good old USA for some action!  Keep on an eye on Facebook and other publications to see when this virus nonsense will finally end and allow folks to live out their dreams!