We decided to write this blog as a way of sharing some of our stories from past experiences fishing, tying flies, guiding, and traveling. Most of which are completely 100% true except for the names of people, some stories are slightly embellished and some are mostly made up. It's really for you to figure it out and for us to have some fun writing down some of the truly good memories we have had while immersed in fly fishing.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tripletail Submission

The guys from the Mr. Nice charter operation landed this monster Tripletail on a fishing charter this past week. Naturally, I was intrigued because I had never really heard of a Tripletail let alone really expected it to look like this! Capt. Tripp Walker explained that this time of the year if they can find some flotsam (any large floating debris) they can usually find some Tripletail! This is an exceptionally large one considering they grow "up to 41lbs" and this hog was pushing 30. 

Other interesting facts about Tripletail.

- The name "tripletail" is given because of the fish's three rounded fins: dorsal, caudal, and anal.

- Tripletail are well known for their unusual behavior of floating just beneath the surface with one side exposed, mimicking a leaf or floating debris.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Helios 2 is Coming!

Like most fly fishing junkies I get amped up on new gear. This was launched yesterday! The Helios 2 is finally making it's way into the foreground. I for one am pumped up on this rod. In my mind it's going to be hard to beat what they have out right now, but it seems like an upgrade on an already pretty awesome product. Read up. Let me know what you think. The promotional video is pretty sweet too. Made in the USA, can't beat it. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Massive Mako on the Fly!!

Larry Kuhns brought this video to our attention and it is unlike anything I've seen before!  Field & Stream does an excellent job on their fly fishing blog entitled Fly Talk.  This installment showcased a fly fisherman who hooked into a 500 - 800 pound Mako during a catch and release tournament in San Diego, California.  Click the link to watch the video, its incredible to see the raw power and excitement of the fisherman!

"Our friend Conway Bowman and his right hand man Captain Dave Trimble put on the Flying Mako catch and release fly fishing tournament every year in San Diego. The purpose of the tournament "is to promote sustainability, conservation and sound management of mako sharks and other apex predators.
The proceeds from the tourney are donated to the Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research. This year entrant Mark Martin used his boat to guide friend and fellow angler Alex Beck to what looks to be a mako shark estimated to be between 500 and 800 pounds.
The anglers ultimately did not land the fish, and people I've talked to have varying estimates of its size. Landed or not, this is one of the most amazing videos of a fish fight I've seen in a while. I mean, can you imagine hooking this thing on conventional tackle, let alone a fly rod?"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cusack's Alaskan Tesitmonial

This post started as a comment on our Cusack's Fishing Report Post. Tim Donahue and his son Adam were recently at Cusack's Lodge and had an excellent trip! These are some of the pictures he and Adam shared with us as well as a wonderful commentary on his experience. Looks like they had some awesome fishing! As always feel free to contact us at flyfishingfiles1@gmail.com or bob directly at bobcusack@aol.com if you have any questions or inquiries about fishing with the myth himself in Iliamna, Alaska. For now enjoy the spread. 

My Son Adam and I just returned from fishing with Bob Cusack. One of the best trips of my life. This was a graduation trip celebration, the deal with my son was out of college in 4 years we go fising in Alaska. We picked Bob after doing a couple of months of research. What sealed it for us was talking to Bob on the phone, his 40+ years of experience kind of quietly comes through. It was obvious he knew his stuff.

I don't know where to begin, the experience far exceeded our expectations. Both from a fishing experience and just being with Bob and his wife Lula. Every day fishing was great. We had a couple of days where we caught over 100 fish each on one of Bob's secret spots. Our weather was good except for one of the days where it was really blowing too much to fly or even go out in one of the little boats. Even on that day where most guides would say its too cold or rough to fish Bob came up with a plan. We had a late breakfast and fortified our spirits and put on the life jackets. Bob took us out in his big enclosed boat and we took off after the Sockeye which were just starting to come in. As Bob said we damn near got blown off the sandbar in gale force winds but we brought home some fish. That day that should have by all rights been one of the crappiest ended up being our second most fun day thanks to Bob.

As for our fly-in trips, I've been around a lot of pilots both private and commercial. I worked at an airport as a teenager flown some myself and have flown almost 2 Million miles commercially and charter for business. I'll just say I've never met a better instinctive pilot than Bob. 

Bob's wife Lula provided us with outstanding dinners each evening. Her culinary skills and creativity made each meal something we really looked forward to. Bob cooks a pretty mean breakfast. I went up with the intent of losing some weight but I gained 5 pounds. 

Both Adam my son and I really enjoyed talking with Bob and Lula each night. For us it was like staying at a close friends home. We have been back home in Ohio for almost a week and I have to admit re-entery was tough, we both miss being up at Cusack's. As I have told my friends back home, my memory of the secret river was to be out fishing where there was no evidence of mankind all day catching so many fish my arm was tired. Looked up in the sky and saw three Bald Eagles flying over head at once. Bob thanks to you and Lula for a trip we will remember all our lives.

I had a feeling I'd be seeing that mouse! 

A couple of big male sockeye! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Destination: State College, PA Spring Creek

Spring Creek is what I would consider my "home creek."  The great thing about Spring Creek is that there are so many different spots to fish.  Specific spots will remain untold but the insects, and other inhabitants of this beautiful creek make it a sought after location to fish before you die.  

Notable hatches to fish include an incredible Sulphur, Blue-Winged Olive, Caddis, and Light Cahill hatches, just to name a few.  When the insects aren't on top of the water, a fisherman can usually go subsurface and produce large fish.  If the water is up or off colored Spring Creek can be incredible area to sling big sculpins, slumpbusters, wooly buggers and any other type of big meaty fly.  I spend countless number of hours fishing this creek in pursuit of big brown and rainbow trout.  I even managed to catch a 14" tiger trout that I think escaped from one of the hatcheries during a flood.  

This is the stream that taught me how to fly fish and for that I consider myself incredibly fortunate. I am lucky to have the opportunity to fish it for hundreds of hours each year.  One thing that is unfortunate is that up until this year, I never carried any type of camera on the stream.  I've caught a bunch of fish over twenty inches and at this point all I can do is think about some of the insanely large trout that I've had on the end of my line on one of my favorite streams in the world.  But you know what, I can recollect every single one of those fish in my mind! 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fly Spotlight

Are you looking for the fly that's going to bring up those small mouth and chase up a large brown trout in the right conditions? Well the Morrish Mouse could be just the thing you were looking for. It has the right float and the right look to entice those fish looking up waiting for a little mouse or shrew to fall in the water so they can gobble them up. I have caught some big fish on this pattern throughout the years and a mouse strike is like nothing you've ever seen before it is one style of fishing that will keep you coming back for more.

HOOK: #4 Tiemco 5263.
THREAD: Black 3/0.
TAIL: Brown rabbit strip trimmed to end tuft.
BACK: Black closed-cell foam trimmed into a long taper at the rear.
BODY: Spun dark cow elk or suitable alternative hair, trimmed.

Where they will give you a step by step process of creating this little guy. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Patch Man Do Fishing Trip!

Recently, Danielle and I had the opportunity to go out and spend a day on the Patch Man Do together. Captain John had heard that maybe there were some Pompano running through the area and he wanted to check it out to see if we could find them. Of course who am I to turn down a day on the open water... Luckily, Danielle was off from work as well and I could finally get her on a boat! We had a blast out there catching all sorts of fish... unfortunately none of which were pompano. I also happened to land my first bonefish.. Who needs to be in the flats? 

Species the Patch Man Do found for us this trip included:

Black Groupe
Mangrove Snapper
Lemon Shark
Cubera Snapper
Blue Runner
White Grunt
If you want to see more check out this short video and some pictures from our trip on the patch man do!!

 Patch Man Do 
**There is some graphic material in this video

**It should be made clear that in the video Captain John removed the head of the shark to bleed the fish out. If you don't bleed the fish the urine that is in the blood stream will spoil the meat. So since we were keeping the animal for dinner it was essential we didn't allow the meat to spoil. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Spring Creek Submission!

Special thanks to Bryan Doyle who sent us a beautiful picture of a Brown Trout taken on Spring Creek.  The picture shows how big the trout was but I'm sure it was a treat to witness up close and personal!  Harry "The Intern" Tomlin does another excellent job in pointing fly-fisherman in our direction. Thanks Harry!

Hello, I was in TCO today talking to Harry Tomlin and showed him this brown I caught last week on Spring Creek along Benner Pike in the McCoy section. He was impressed and told me to email the pic to you guys. I figured it was close to 20 inches.

Nice catch Bryan!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Destination: State College, PA Spruce Creek

Bob Kalantari hoists a torpedo sized rainbow!
Destination Part 3 is all about Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania.  When you think about Spruce Creek, you immediately think of Wayne Harpster, Jimmy Carter and all of the famous people who frequent its banks in hopes of catching a massive trout.  We don't have the luxury of spending thousands of dollars to fish any of the private sections of Spruce Creek, so we are "stuck" fishing the public water.

My favorite time to fish this area is when the temperatures aren't too warm and when the flow is normal to above average. The higher flow will allow this section to hold some of the bigger fish.  That being said I love fishing it throughout the fall, winter and spring months prior to the dog days of the summer when I give the fish a rest due to the intense heat.  

One of the things that amaze me every time I hook into a gigantic fish there is that so many times the fish lay underwater completely hidden to the naked eye.  Some of these monsters barely have there backs covered in the water they're hiding in.  

I have had the opportunity to fish here a lot and each new trip I take to Spruce Creek I often am reminded about specific fish at different sections of the stream.  Sometimes I find myself wondering if one of the huge fish and I will get to meet again.  A story that I often tell first time fisherman that go to Spruce Creek was originally told to me by my father and occurred while he was a graduate student at Penn State.  He was fishing a section of the stream when he was greeted by a female mallard and its nine ducklings.  This was nothing new and he took in the small, newly hatched ducklings as they were approaching the area he was fishing.  Next thing he knew, an carnivorous trout exploded above the waters surface and the ducklings had no idea what just happened.  After the crime scene calmed, my father was shocked! What just happened in front of him?? He recounted the ducklings and noticed that there was now only eight ducklings...  To this day I recreate what that scene would've looked like and I often wonder what that toad of a brown trout would've looked like out of the water.  

If you need any other reason to pursue Spruce Creek, below are a few pictures that document some of the fish who in the past have been fooled by a fly.      

Snowy rainbow caught on a frigid winter day.
Brian caught this on a #16 prince nymph.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cusack's Alaska Lodge Fishing Report

Let me preface this by letting you all know that Bob Cusack wrote this piece, the entire piece. I didn't edit this just to make him live up to his reputation haha, this is really how he talks to me. He is a character and that's why we love him and that's also why you should fish with him. Check out www.cusacksalaskalodge.com for more info on Bob or contact him at bobcusack@aol.com or 907-571-1202 who knows he may have still have a couple spots open this season!

Lula and I both miss you characters this summer. I miss you two bum fucks. After these two I realize you two were geniuses. I don’t know how I could have thought you two were dumb fucks. Forgive me and please come back – you better know better than that! 

I just dropped off two fishermen from Ohio – Tim and Adam Donohue (father and son). We had a great time with them this week – they enjoyed your secret fishing hole and caught 100 rainbows each. They did a lot of mousing and streamers. The week before, Nevin Cooley and Dave Cahill fished in the same spot. Each of them caught about 50 fish. Nevin pulled out 3 nice lake trout fishing a mouse, and Dave caught about 5 grayling out of a pool that was 5 feet below where he was wading. It was blowing 50 mph when I dropped Tim and Adam off. They will pass through 60-70 mph at 2000 feet on the climb out from Iliamna – might have to clean themselves on arrival in Anchorage. They were catching sockeye off the point when it was blowing 70 mph. Damn near blew them in the lake, but with a shot of scotch and a good cigar we had a blast.  

Remember that slew where you and Kirk caught those big pike? Well one of my guides, Trevor, was exiting it into the main river when he spotted a big pike swimming with a 20 inch rainbow in his chops. He was guiding Lee and Mark Bellinger who are from PA. They came up with Nevin and Dave. Trevor has a great video of it, but I can’t send it due to the bandwidth. So when I get out of here I can email it to you. However, I will send a photo – no, it’s not as big as yours, but he did see several twice as big as the one with the rainbow. Anyway, Trevor slipped up behind this fish and threw him up on the bank. The rainbow was dropped in the process, but Trevor landed on the pike. I am sure it was a relative of the one you caught. Trevor said it was right outside the slew and there were a bunch of rainbows hitting dries. He never caught pike before and a week earlier he picked one up by the lip- he is learning. 

Other than that things have been pretty much boring. Oh ya, remember that old Magnum Research 45/70 pistol you used to tote around? Well I was coming across the portage at 11:30pm. I ran into 3 bears – a sow with cubs. They were unusually close (20 yards) by the time I saw them. I didn’t feel like screwing around with them so I fired one round and it didn’t kick or make much noise. I gave them another shot and all seemed normal. They ran off. When I glanced down I saw that I blew off the entire 10 inch barrel. I know I am fast but not fast enough for the 2nd bullet to catch the 1st one. I guess the 1st one got stuck in the barrel. I am hoping to get another barrel put on it. I’ve been lucky lately.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Destination: State College, PA Fishing Creek

Part 2 is all about Fishing Creek. Fishing Creek became my favorite home river this year. There are so many advantages in my mind to being on that river. The most important is the peace.. On Fishing Creek there aren't people every where and you don't feel like you have to cover your fishing hole because people don't low hole you there. The fish are bigger and they are smarter. It's a challenge every time you fish it and that makes it awesome.

The best hatch, in my oppinion, on Fishing Creek is the Grannom hatch. It is the first major hatch of the season and it's your best bet to find some dumb, hungry fish. This year it was tremendous fishing, the fish were hungry, and the water boiled. I had my best Pennsylvania days on Fishing Creek during the Grannom Hatch. This year it was late March into early April. The prime time this year was the first week of April. That said it's usually a little later than that, but everything was early this year. 

Now let's give it over to Pat Williams, for some more of his infamous fish porn and some good stories from this year on Fishing Creek. 

This collection is from Fishing Creek fish caught at the end of spring (about May 25 – June 25). It should be clearly stated though that Penns Creek is in no way fishable now due to high water temps, and probably won’t be until early fall. All of these pics were taken from fish caught on top using my own adaptations (to mayflies, stoneflies, or similar caddisflies) using that widow's web wing material, similar to that clacka caddis pattern I gave you guys earlier tied by Walter Wiese at Parks Fly Shop in Gardiner, MT. They were also all caught around dusk or at night. Below are stories/captions for each photo.

This fish was caught on Fishing Creek during an evening filled with dark blue sedge fluttering over the water. I’ve only caught this fish once, but I know where its home is, and I can always instantly ID it by that beacon of a flaming red tail. It’s not the largest fish, but more of a further example to illustrate just how pretty Fishing Creek trout can get. It was sipping bugs under a tree branch hanging over the water, providing it protection via wiry branches, creating a dome-like structure over its feeding lie. However, there was an opening in the front, and a cast with a slack leader about 5 ft upstream allowed for the perfect drag-free drift to this feeding brown. It was taken on a #12 black caddis pattern.

The next day (after the red-tailed fish was caught), this brown was caught under a similar tree branch structure sipping dark blue sedge in the evening. It was feeding literally right on the bank, and took the same fly as the red-tailed fish. For once, I was not fishing in my typical solo psychopath fashion, and was with someone else that day. I would like to thank Andy Reynolds for taking this shot.

I thought I was lucky the first time I got a large tiger on Fishing Creek, but this second one confirms that the horseshoe is still firmly imbedded in my ass. This one was not as big as the last (about 13”), but it was every bit as unique. I caught this one on top with a #14 light cahill pattern just after dark at about 9:30. There were lots of risers right before dark, but this one started eating very aggressively right as the last light of the day was fading. I actually fished this same spot about 10 days later and once again caught this tiger after dark on top, this time on a #14 rusty spinner.

This is another angle of the same tiger which highlights its insane kype. This thing literally started to bend right after the crease in its mouth and at no point stopped its curvature. I would say that relative to the lateral line of the fish, the point at the bottom of its jaw was probably bent upwards at least 45 degrees, something I have never seen on a 13” fish. This tiger even developed a small notch in its upper jaw just so it could semi keep its mouth closed. The first tiger I got on Fishing Creek was much more pretty, but this one was UGLY, which sometimes is just as good.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Destination: State College, Penns Creek

As most of you know State College, Pennsylvania has been home to Kirk and I for twenty something years now. We have grown up fishing there and learned how to fly fish on our local streams. It wasn't until working (for a brief period) as a fishing guide there that I appreciated how far people were willing to travel to get a Central Pennsylvania trout on the end of their line.

This will be a multi-part series depicting several of our favorite streams the best hatches and the best time of the year to fish.

The first is Penns Creek. Penns Creek is located about 30 minutes East of State College with the easiest access being in the town of Coburn. Penns Creek is one of those rivers in our area that it would take many years to explore the whole river and it's intricacies. It has access points the are available to the angler entirely by dirt road, and not well maintained dirt roads... It has secret spots and spots a car cannot take you.

The best hatch on Penns Creek is assuredly the Green Drakes. This hatch brings people in from all over the country to hit the drakes just right. For that same reason this is not the best time to fish Penns Creek unless you want to fish with the crowds or fish entirely after dark. If I were to choose a time, I would head out to Penns Creek in Spring, March or April. Early March would be good, you could still hit some Hendrickson's possible see some early March Browns and some Grannom Caddisflies as well.

Helping us with this series is Patrick Williams. If you don't know Patrick, he was the president of the Penn State fly fishing club and has become a friend through fishing stories and shared experiences. He is a great fisherman, an innovative fly tier, and a skilled photographer. Here are a couple of fish from this year and the stories to go with them.

This brown was caught on Penns Creek on a day when there were a million bugs on the water. Sulpher, cahill, and large BWO spinners were floating everywhere, while small sulphers, orange cahills, light cahills, dark blue sedge, tan caddis and stoneflies were also buzzing around in the air. Fish were rising in some fast riffles, and while tempted to throw on a rusty spinner (spinners were easily the dominant food source on the water), I instead decided to go big or go home, and present a fly the fish would not be picky about. I had seen a couple large slate drake duns popping earlier in the day, and put on a #10 imitation. It took maybe 3 at most drifts over each rising fish to result in a take. This fish was feeding right at the head of the large riffle, and this take was the first rise I saw from it. I was actually casting to get a drift over a fish that was rising about 5 ft downstream of where this one was.

Again on Penns Creek, and again when there were tons of spinners, duns and caddis on the water, several fish were rising in a big pool. I tried the slate drake again, but with no takers. I switched to a rusty spinner, but again nothing. I was seeing a few giant stones (eastern cousin to the salmonfly, a legitimate #2 size fly) in the air as the evening light started fading. I had tied up a few patterns to imitate these monsters, and actually pulled a fairly large fish on one behind a boulder earlier in the day when prospecting as a dry-dropper. The fish apparently were keen on these slabs of protein at this time (about 8 pm), despite the fact that none were on the water. When this pattern drifted over the previously picky rising fish, they would literally roll on it. The only thing I could think to compare it to in PA was the first few days of the periodical cicada’s a couple years back. Many good fish were taken on this pattern, but sadly several either broke off (this pool is about 6’ deep with lots of boulders and wood on the bottom) or spit the hook on me. Luckily, this fatty didn’t, and you can see the #8 foam stonefly still in its mouth (the hook size is an 8, but the foam goes well beyond the bend of the hook extending out the back, the total length of this fly is about 2.5”).

I went to Penns several times to try to hit the drakes during the constant high water and scattered storms occurring during the hatch. These outings were made more interesting due to the fact that in late may I had broken all of my trout rods in a 48 hour period, which has to be some kind of record. Luckily, I was able to borrow one of the Penn State flyfishing club’s 8.5’ TFO rods for a substitute. One night I got there at about 7, walked far downstream from my car into the woods to a section of flat water which I hoped would still produce rising fish despite the milk chocolate consistency of the water. I got to my spot and rigged up and caught a few rising fish when clouds turned to rain, and then more rain. I forgot my rain jacket this day, but being wet didn’t bother me as long as I was catching fish. I then saw a flash followed by a loud crash of thunder when lightning struck the ridge just above where I was fishing. I decided that waving a 8.5’ graphite lightning rod while immersed in waist deep water was not the smartest idea, and decided to wait out the storm on the bank. The lightning got more frequent, and the rain started coming down harder, and by hard I mean God was breaking the seal all over me. I sat in a ditch and got pissed on for 45 minutes, and by the time the storm passed it was almost dark. I was soaked everywhere, including inside every inch of my waders, but hearing the slurping of fish once again taking green drake duns lifted my spirits. It turned dark and fish were still rising. I caught several but this one was the best of the night (the best that got in the net). All fish were taken on a 2XL #6 green drake dun.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Photo Memories

Just a reminder to myself more than anyone else that it's alway good to be close to water. Life has a way of being more peaceful streamside, riverside, lakeside, or oceanside. Enjoy it. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Patch Man Do Photo!

Captain John Wambolt sent us this picture from his haul this week! Pictured here is a 15 lb Mutton Snapper. The picture doesn't do the mass of this fish justice. It's a nice treat since the Mutton bite hasn't been all that great with the Barracuda and shark lurking around the patch reefs. Thanks for the pic John! 

Tough Mudder Fishing Trip!

Tomorrow marks the day of travel for a pair of the Michelotti brothers, myself and a few others to Mt. Snow, Vermont. We are staying close to the Battenkill River so I'm hoping to get some fishing in tomorrow afternoon and night!

Wish our gang luck as we will embark in our first Tough Mudder which is comprised of a 10 - 12 mile race with 25 obstacles thrown in between the running. If I'm able to move after finishing the race, hopefully I'll be able to get into a few trout!

Either way the weather in Central Pennsylvania has continued its hot ways and I have been giving the fish a rest because I do not want to put any extra stress on the trout. With that said I thought I'd post a few pictures of what would be going on in Alaska this time of year at Cusack's Alaska Lodge!