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Tuesday Bananas

Bananas: Fly-Tying Edition

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If, like me, you have an Instagram feed filled with strangers who share the passion of fly fishing, you’ve no doubt noticed that the big deal right now is streamers.  It seems like everyone and their brother is coming up with new ways of slapping a fancy head on a couple of wooly buggers that are joined together by coated wire and plastic beads.  But rip’n and swing’n streamers is a ton of fun and for those that TYOF (tie-your-own-flies…it’ll catch on, trust me), putting them together is the ultimate way of flexing your creative muscle and earning sick social media cred.

So, as a budding tier , I thought I’d get in on the game before it’s over and come up with some new patterns myself.  The following are some recent creations I’ve conjured up based off of trends I’ve noted on Instagram and Facebook.  I’ve shared as much of my recipes as I can….but honestly some of it is just pure unaccountable genius that comes from bourbon and copious amount of snack foods from the health food aisle at Kroger.

First up….I call this the Fire ‘Tot Jr.  I derived this pattern from the growing trend of using “masks” for the heads of streamers such as the Fish-Skull brand helmets (which in keeping with the tradition of natural materials for flies, are made from real fish skulls. Gross right?!)   For the FT Jr.,  I’ve made my fish helmet extend a….bit….longer down the body of the streamer.  I’ve also taken the little “cone thing” that goes with the Salmon Snake pattern, cut it in half and used it on the front of the mask to help with the dive and wiggle of the fly.  The hooks are custom made “triple B10s”…but as a friend-to-the-fish, I’ve bent all the barbs so they won’t get hurt.  Rounding it off, we have a dubbed collar and legs up front with (of course) copious amounts of marabou out back.  This is a big hit for Michigan Salmon and Steelhead.

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Great fly pattern to work into holes from the top of the run!

My second pattern came from watching Chief Rocka’ have a pre-mid life crisis last year with Muskie streamers.  Looking more into these patterns, I’ve decided that there are three things you MUST have.  More deer hair than you can possibly imagine, Game Changer levels of articulation and massive proportions.  What I’ve done here is taken that to extremes…so much so that I need three vices to make it.  For hooks, I’ve selected four that Tiemco list as suitable for Blue Marlin and something called a Giant Trevally (I have no clue what kind of fish that is…I’m afraid of the ocean so I’m not Googling it).  I’ve wrapped each hook with a full pack of buck tail and distributed at least three packs of Flashabou throughout the pattern.  The fly is garnished with some wing feathers from a red tail hawk to give it extra enticing action when you do the required Figure-8 move! Get meat!

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Deer hair gives bulk without weight so it will be a cinch to cast.

My final pattern is aimed at the more artistic tyers who design patterns that look so lifelike, you’d think it were a real critter!  Some of you tiers out there are crazy talented with spinning deer hair, shaping “game changer” materials or crafting resin into super realist streamers and to emulate that style I’ve chosen to create a lifelike baby trout pattern.  This streamer was made 100% with a hot glue gun, sharpie markers and googly eyes.  I have some improvements to make in my next rendition so it’s OK if you don’t quite see the “fish” shape in the pattern.  When it’s wet and moving in the water is when it all comes together.

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So real looking that it smells bad if you don’t use it soon after tying.

To wrap this up, my last fly here is not a new pattern but more of an idea for an accessory.  It’s a known fact that by adhering large quantities of fly fishing brand or shop logos on your truck windows, laptop, boat or family pet you increase your chance to catch fish by eleventy five percent.  So why not put them on our streamers as well?  If you can super glue googly eyes to a streamer, you can sure as heck glue a small decal on there as well.  By doing this, you not only increase your odds of hooking fish, but you increase the odds of getting high fives from your brahs when you show them your Bugger Box.   And if you are a fly shop owner or fly fishing gear manufacture, what better way to advertise than to have your logo hanging from trees and logs along the riverside by means of snagged flies?  This is my MBA at work here people….

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Look for your favorite fly fishing blog logo in a tree near you!

 

**Special thanks to all you folks out there that share your fly tying creativity and talents with us hack trying to better flies!

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Pollution May Be The Asian Carp Solution

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Severe weather in the Midwest is taking a toll on Lake Michigan waterways as urban chloride pollution from 50 years of heavy winter road salt application has turned sections of area rivers turgid with nearly a half million tons of salt discharged into storm sewers each year.  Since 1960 when the use of road salt began, the salinity levels in the Chicago Area Waterway System have steadily increased to the point now that sections are now classified as salt water.  While Lake Michigan is relatively unaffected, thanks primarily to the reversed flow of the Chicago River, its immediate inland rivers no longer resemble fresh water.

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Surprisingly, this salt pollution has resulted in an intriguing opportunity in the war against Asian Carp. During the fall of 2016, an independent scientific coalition calling themselves SADSACS, Scientists and Democrats Seeking Asian Carp Solutions (Republicans commented that they have their hands full with an invasive species of their own) tested with favorable results the release of several predatory salt water species in a section of the Cal-Sag Channel.  A 6 ft hammerhead shark reportedly survived for 18 hours in the channel until it was caught and eviscerated by a local catfish angler confusing the giant fish with a mutant channel cat common to the area.  Despite the loss, SADSACS confirmed that the shark remained confined to salt laden waters of the channel.
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Hammerhead sharks were selected based their affinity for not only Asian carp but for anything remotely edible including small appliances, discarded auto parts, and empty cheese whiz cans littering the rivers.  The sharks are expected to live quite comfortably until carp eventually arrive in the kill zone. Watersport restrictions are being considered but debates are ongoing as to whether the waterways in question could become any more hazardous.

Confirmation that the salinity of Chicago and NW Indiana water has attained levels high enough to host ocean predators is seen as the likely solution to the Asian Carp conundrum.  In a related note, scientists in San Diego, CA recently provided disturbing evidence that hammerhead sharks are becoming increasingly tolerant to freshwater ecosystems.  When asked about a future involving the great lakes teeming with sharks, SADSACS representatives commented “Let’s just solve one problem at a time”

* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week satire column intended for entertainment purposes only.  No fish were harmed in the creation of this post.


Nestle Admits No Ice Mountain In Evart, MI

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Consumers of Ice Mountain bottled water were shocked this week when news of the deception was announced. For years, area residents have been on the lookout for the Ice Mountain that can be found on Nestlé’s bottled water taken from Evart.  “It’s adorable how the local folks think that there is an actual ice mountain” commented company representatives.  When asked if Evart’s residences are dim-witted, the response was about as clear as a bottle of zebra mussel filtered Muskegon River water “they’ve let us take nearly 4 billion gallons of groundwater from them since 2005 for free, what do you think?”5612036-ice-images

Upon hearing the news, residents were quick to dispute allegations of having a gullible nature.  “Of course we knew there was no ice mountain and yes, I checked again today to find that Evart is not in the dictionary under gullible” commented local resident Dale Gunderson.  To their credit, some area residents confused the 2,500 foot pile of off-spec water bottles near the company’s bottling plant as the ice mountain.  “In the summer when that bottle mountain gets hot, the sun shining through the BPA cloud is downright beautiful” mentioned Gunderson.

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“Look, their high school team mascot is literally a babe in the woods” commented company representatives, “we just can’t help ourselves”.  “In fact, it was kind of a joke when we asked for another hundred million gallons of groundwater but they just smiled and said sure, why not?”

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When asked why Evart doesn’t drive a harder bargain or at least charge a fee for groundwater sold for profit, town officials commented “we heard you can’t put a price on Pure Michigan so of course that’s why it’s free”.  The future is definitely uncertain at the headwaters of the Muskegon River as species indigenous to the watershed prepare to feel the full effect of the Nestle crunch.

* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week satire column intended for entertainment purposes only.  No fish were harmed in the creation of this post.

On the more serious side

Nestle is working to double-down on bottling groundwater from the headwaters of the Muskegon River.  Osceola County and the DEQ are set to approve an increase of nearly 2.5 times their current withdrawal, amounting to about 576,000 gallons-per-day or 210 million gallons-per-year.  One would think that the DEQ would advocate the resource but they’ve instead quietly given their seal of approval despite less than favorable computer modeling data concluding that a massive increase in Nestlé’s harvest of Muskegon River tributary groundwater may not be favorable for the watershed (not to mention the big picture issue of millions of additional plastic bottles set free in the world – not exactly environmental stewardship at its finest).

For those interested in voicing an opinion, public comments on the Nestle proposal (http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-odwma-ehs-nwsu-nestle_section17_application_533989_7.pdf) are being accepted until March 3, 2017.  Comments may be sent to deq-eh@michigan.gov


Swingers Unite

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Fly fishermen choosing the alternate swing lifestyle have found themselves the subject of ridicule and jeers from nymphers, pluggers, centerpinners, and spin fishermen.  Although the method held mainstream appeal in recent years, it’s no longer the case as swingers are increasingly bashed for their choice of piscatorial presentation.  “It’s bad” commented Dale Farner, “I’ve been locked in the Pine Street outhouse, my truck tailpipe jammed with spawn, and the other day a Tenkara guy shoved me and called me a loser”.

Swing fishermen have recently realized kindred spirits with the original swing community.  “It’s no surprise” commented lifetime swinger Jim Barns, alongside his frisky wife Betty, “we all love to hook up”.  Citing additional similarities, Barns went on to comment “think about it, we both use intruders when conditions are right and we all like to work with jungle cock when we can get our hands on it”.  As it turns out, swing fishermen have recently taken a page from their kindred spirit brothers and sisters and have adopted the swingers pineapple as the international symbol of their preferred pastime.

“I don’t miss having that awkward conversation with new fishing partners” says Farner, “we both know what each other wants so we get right down to business”.  Nowadays, Farner is often seen browsing around local fly shops wearing his pineapple trucker lid.  “You’d be shocked to find out who swings these days, the camo wader crowd is surprisingly open”.

So if you’re finished being rejected by pals when you mention breaking out the spey rods and fat lines, take a cue from the original swing crowd and slap a pineapple decal on your bumper.  Whether swinging for steel or swinging for real, both groups agree that the tug is the drug.

* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week satire column intended for entertainment purposes only.  No fish were harmed in the creation of this post.


FishBrah App Release Announced

Buckle up brahs, the much anticipated FishBrah app is set for release on May 1.  This killer app is stacked with everything a brah needs to max their stream creds.

Brahs can tune up their streamside photo’s into epic shots.  Can’t grow that bro beard – no problem.  Forgot to sport that flat-brimmed hat today – gotcha covered.  Didn’t want to bring your psycho dog in the boat but want him in your shots – can do.  Want to spice up that shot with a flowing red cape – Done!  Just drag and drop from their extensive menu of goatees, bro beards, muttonchops, gangsta lids, and superhero accutraments.

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Right On Brah!

And it doesn’t stop there.  FishBrah ensures that photo’s posted to social media sites will get proper billing.  Want to kick off your post with 25 thumbs up – you’re covered.  Are you tired of aunt Betty commenting about your “pretty fish” – now her posts just say “right on brah!”  Are you done with those snarky comments like “that’s my favorite spot” or “I remember when I caught that fish” – they’re outta here.  Protect your prized posts and be the hero you deserve to be.

FishBrah IS the must-have app for all troutbums and brah’s.  Get yours May 1.

Upgraded versions of the Brah app will:

  • Allow you to auto generate a photo slide show that plays bluegrass music while transitioning from photo to photo
  • Post automatic comments to your buds social media updates – using phrases like: “so sweet”, “yup!”, “get some”, “rad”, “duuuude”, “boom”
  • You will be able to swap out the fish in your picture with the hot trendy fish of the year, options include: musky, carp, pike, catfish, bluegill, taimen, and bluegill

*A small upcharge is applied for premium features. 

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Fish Farmageddon

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***Folks, we interrupt your regularly schedule programming to bring you a special feature on the issues going on regarding the proposed fish farm on the historic Au Sable river.  While the information here may read as outlandish as other Tuesday Bananas articles, it is not embellished, nor is it satire.

A dangerous cocktail of entrepreneurial myopia, county officials willing to pimp out a priceless and fragile resource, and an agency asleep at the wheel has been poured in northern Michigan as the largest fish farming business in the state gears up for production just upstream of the famed Holy Waters of the Au Sable River.

Harietta Hills Trout Farm is on the verge of turning a simple caretaker arrangement with Crawford County to operate the historic Grayling Fish Hatchery into wads of cash as they plan to ramp production up from 20,000 pounds of trout annually to 300,000 pounds.

The East Branch of the Au Sable literally runs through the hatchery where river water is directed into rearing areas called raceways then right back into the river at a rate of 8.64 million gallons per day. Hatcheries with far less production are required to operate wastewater treatment systems with settling ponds and chemical treatments to bind and drop out phosphorous and other pollutants. But let’s not talk about that in the face of economic prosperity for Harietta Hills. Also, let’s not even mention the risk of introducing invasive species and disease to the Au Sable as hundreds of thousands of pounds of trout are moved in and out of the place each year. While we’re at it,

Let’s not ask why a study wasn’t required to understand impacts to pollution intolerant aquatic invertebrates such as mayflies, stoneflies, and caddis when a giant trout toilet is constantly flushed into their faces.

Let’s not discuss prudent lease requirements to rear only native species such as brook, brown, and rainbow trout OR discuss the effect on wild fish when farm fish, hopefully not exotics, escape into the Au Sable.

Let’s not get upset about the site’s MDEQ pollution permit that actually states “lowering of water quality is necessary to support the identified important social and economic development in the area”.

Let’s not ask about the moral hazard of Harietta Hills self-monitoring water quality by collecting their own weekly pollution discharge sampling and why it’s not done on a automated and continuous basis.

Let’s not discuss what happens when mass quantities of hatchery fish are treated with formalin, better known as formaldehyde, to remove parasites allowing residual chemical to flow into the river OR what happens when some knucklehead employee dumps 20 gallons instead of 20 ounces into the river.

Let’s not ask Harietta Hills why they need to go from 20,000 pounds to 300,000 pounds of trout in order to make the tourist attraction profitable.

Let’s not ask why Harietta Hills isn’t having to put up financial assurance such as a performance bond or environmental pollution coverage to restore damage that may be caused.

Let’s not ask MDNR or MDEQ why they are willing to allow phosphorous levels to increase with seasonal, summer fluctuations, instead of requiring more restrictive limits during the time of year fish are most stressed.

Let’s not discuss permit bypass provisions which allow, during unavoidable events including property damage, for effluent limitations to be exceeded.

Let’s not discuss the risk of whirling disease, known to increase when raceways are filled to capacity.

Harietta Hills says they are simply responding to a seafood crisis and that we should get behind them.  It would seem that their motives are a bit less altruistic and a bit more capitalistic.  Regarding economic benefit, just how many jobs will this will actually create, maybe a couple?  How many jobs do we stand to lose if guides, restaurants, hotels, and retailers, are unable to make money off the amazing fishery that exists today?

Allowing a giant trout farm in the headwaters of the AuSable is simply bananas.

Go to Anglers of the Au Sable webpage to learn more and make a donation.


Heavy Expectations for Flint River Bass

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Credible reports of behemoth smallmouth action resulted in Bassmaster rescheduling this year’s Classic, previously scheduled for Tulsa, OK, to the Flint River in Michigan.  Toxic river conditions will likely result in lower than normal catch numbers, however, lead-infused bass have tournament officials expecting record breaking tournament results.  Anglers able to haul in just one or two of these metallic monsters are likely to break the 65 pound longstanding tournament record.

With the tournament merely weeks away, anglers are scrambling to decorate their hazmat suits, a requisite given the nature of conditions, with sponsor logo’s and color schemes unique to each contestant’s image. Monofilament and fluorocarbon lines simply melt when exposed to the Flint River so anglers are spooling up with a variety of braided metallic products capable of withstanding the extreme environment. Expect to see boats coated with impervious truck-liner materials and anglers waving metal detectors instead of relying on traditional sonar equipped fish finders.

Tournament fish, typically released at designated locations following each day’s weigh-in, will be belt-fed into a portable onsite incinerator to assist with the removal of lead from the ecosystem. Remarkable opportunity arises as the world looks toward Flint Michigan to figure out the crisis in their water system.

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* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week column intended for entertainment purposes only.


New Direction for Michigan Fisheries

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The Michigan DNR enthusiastically announced this week that they will be making some exciting changes to their 2016 fisheries plan. Stocking programs previously geared toward rainbow and brown trout, chinook salmon, and steelhead will be scuttled and replaced with a host of species from the Amazon basin including golden dorado, payara, and piranha.  “We figured what the hell? Asian carp are knocking on the door, gobies are everywhere, and zebra mussels carpet the bottom of our rivers. How can we make this place any worse?” commented DNR representative Jimmy Lee Farnsworth.

Most view this as apparent evidence that MDNR has simply thrown in the towel in favor of a shotgun approach with a bit of scorched earth policy sprinkled in. “These fish exhibit a tenacity and resilience to nearly everything Michigan rivers will put in their way from frigid winter temps to springtime floods and summertime heat.

Let’s get a better look at this year’s starting lineup

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Salminus brasiliensis, or golden dorado, are incredibly strong, acrobatic fighting fish that attain weights in excess of 30 pounds. This migratory gamefish will take a variety of streamers, dead drift flies and even surface swung presentations not unlike Atlantic salmon. They sport an impressive set of choppers earning them the nickname pit bull of the trout world.

Payara

Payara Photo Credit

Hydrolicus scomberoides, or payara, are a ferocious migratory gamefish commonly referred to as Jurassic salmon since they are constructed similar to a giant Atlantic salmon and share a metallic silver sheen. The mouth of the payara is what sets them apart from all other gamefish, as they sport an intimidating set of razor sharp fangs which protrude from the lower jaw like two glistening tusks.

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Piranha Photo Credit

Phygocentrus nattereri, or piranha, because, why not? Smaller than the others, they range from 5.5 to 10.2 inches in length with trophies in the 17 inch class. They have a single row of tightly packed sharp teeth that are interlocked for puncturing and shearing flesh. Similar to bluegill in their fight, the real challenge is being able to remove hooks before one’s fingers are removed.

When asked regarding the impact, if any, recreational users of Michigan lakes and streams this will experience, Farnsworth commented “I don’t think inner tube floating is going to be that popular anymore.  Also, anyone trying to snag a Payara is likely to be eviscerated”.  Amazon basin plants are expected to clean up what remains of chinook salmon and most living creatures in the Great Lakes region in a matter of weeks.

It took nearly 60 million years for these fish to make their way to Michigan. No longer will deforestation, illegal poaching, water pollution, wetland degradation and oil spills be what makes Michigan and the Amazon basin so similar. Now we’ll have some of their ferocious fish.

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***If you like Tuesday Bananas and want to show your support, or even if you don’t like Tuesday Bananas and you hate us and want to defile our swag that took painstaking seconds to create, CLICK HERE FOR INFO

 

* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week column intended for entertainment purposes only.


Disorders Among Fly Fishermen Revealed

The Psychiatric Association of America recently updated their exhaustive list of over 500 mental disorders with a number of sport-related conditions. Unsurprisingly, Fly fishermen were found to identify with conditions unique to their sport.fishing

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Fly fishermen are susceptible to this condition following prolonged periods of fishless outings such as the fall of 2015 when most Michigan anglers failed to satisfy their self-imposed hero-shot quotas. Grip-n-grinitis causes frustrated fly fishermen to seek photo opportunities with anything slightly intriguing. Recognizing red flags and knowing the indicators of the disorder are important.

During early onset, those afflicted seem enamored with everyday items and often ask for a photo presenting the item, occasionally demanding a measurement. As the disorder manifests itself further, those stricken with the condition exhibit manic behaviors including high-fives and fist pumps following these meaningless sessions.

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     Learn to recognize the signs.  This man is dying inside

If not properly treated grip-n-grinitis can lead to more severe conditions including ED, tourettes, narcolepsy, and eventually heroin addiction. Help is not far away, and in fact, it goes by the name Ohio. Thirty or forty steelhead landed during a weekend trip to steelhead alley typically cures even the most afflicted fly fisherman and temporarily satiates the anglers need for attention.

Tactiphobia

This disorder is an intense fear of fly fishing techniques applied by others that do not resound with one’s personal preferences. Tactiphobics tend to overzealously persecute those who do not subscribe to their definition of the sport with an inability to show empathy for other human beings. Tactiphobics are generally easy to identify whether in person or in online chat forums where they can be found denigrating ideas not of their own. Tactiphobia is a psychopathological condition characterized by fantasies of supreme relevance, over inflated self-esteem, and megalomania.

Concensus among psychologists is that there is no known treatment for the disorder given that those suffering from the affliction have no interest in examining or changing their behaviors and tend to spiral into narcissistic insanity.

As with many conditions, early detection is of the utmost importance. Seek help if you or one of your friends exhibit signs of these disorders.  Learn to identify red flags, whether it’s something as small as asking for a picture with a nicely prepared omelette or large such as witnessing someone enthusiastically bash another angler’s methods.  PAA representatives ask fly fishermen to remain vigilant and stay tuned, clinical trials are underway for over 30 additional Fly Fishing disorders.

 

 

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2016 Fly Fishing Darwin Awards

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2015 yielded a bounty of Darwin Awards in the fly fishing category. For those unfamiliar with the prestigious award, it’s given to individuals who have contributed to human evolution by selecting themselves out of the gene pool via death or sterilization by their own actions. It’s quite apparent that not all fly fishermen are the intellectuals that they are made out to be.

Green River, UT – After talking-up his rowing skills, Joe Pulaski accepted a bet from friends that he could row Mother-In-Law, a class II rapid, blindfolded. Pulaski’s blindfold and 0.2 BAC eventually led to his demise as his boat spun perpendicular to the river and taco’d against the Mother herself in the center of the run.

Baldwin, MI – Stan Hurley was on fire during the fall of 2016. He consistently hooked fish while his friends could do nothing other than work the net. His life and his secret were both given up on a high water day last December in the flies only stretch of the PM when Stan became hung up on the far bank from where he was fishing. Taking a break, his friend Paul saw that he might be able to help and began walking downriver toward Stan who began reefing on the tangle and yelling “I’ve got it”. Fearing his dirty little secret from becoming known, Stan attempted to wade across the river and was carried under to his death. Stan and his spawn sack-tipped flies were both later dislodged from the lumber.

Newaygo, MI – Muskegon newbie boat owner Gavin Hurst was the victim of impatience this past spring when he became frustrated with the pace of a drift boat puttering upstream ahead of him.  Described by his fishing partner,  who miraculously survived the event, Hurst floored his new power drifter to pass on the inside bend just below piano rock at full throttle.  Just as Hurst raised his middle finger to salute the slow moving drift boat his boat caught the front edge of the giant rock, raking the bottom of his boat from stem to stern and exploding the lower unit of his new Mercury.  Hurst was gruesomely impaled by his centerpin rod and did not survive the impact.

Honorable Mentions, those individuals who survived their misadventures with their lives and/or reproductive capacity intact, were numerous last year. For his third year in a row, Hank Peterson found himself in a life and death struggle when he was struck by lightning while streamer fishing the Madison River during a thunderstorm. Following his 2015 event when a pike bit into his femoral artery, most thought Hank would start making better decisions.

Readers are encouraged to cast votes in favor of this year’s winner. Last year’s winner Martin Beele, who removed the front casting braces from his new drift boat for more space, won in a landslide. Cast your votes carefully and remember that style counts, not everyone who dies from their own stupidity can win.