Smallmouth On The Fly

Smallie On The Fly

Smallie On The Fly Caught By Katie Blizzard

Smallie On The Fly

Smallie On The Fly Caught By Austin Green

We are having a great season of smallmouth bass fishing! Katie Blizzard and I have been tearing of the smallies since late-April and we are continuing to catch them extremely consistently. A lot of the bass are on the smaller side, but we are also landing some hogs! The bass are extremely eager to take black wholly buggers, bucktail minnows, and Pat Cohen’s Fat Head Deceivers. While fishing deeper holes, a good sinking line is a must. Otherwise, fat-shooting head bass floating lines are the way to go. A good, short 6 weight is our go-to. We use FlyStik’s and CLAs from Ross–paired with Sage or Airflo Bass Taper fly lines.

-Austin Green

Diaries Of A Musky Addict

“Diaries Of A Musky Addict” is a teaser cut from the documentary “Pursuing Esox: Pike, Musky, and Pickerel On The Fly.” The documentary explores the cultural phenomena surrounding the world of Esox fishing on the fly–the tying, the boats, the people, and their obsessive lifestyles. “Pursuing Esox” is filmed and produced by Austin Green Weinstein (austingreenphotography.com), photography and filmmaking student at the Maryland Institute College of Art (portfolios.mica.edu/austingreenphoto) and founder of The Uncommon Angler (theuncommonangler.com)

This film has been made possible through the support of Charlie Gordon – Buffalo Shoals Guide Service (buffaloshoals.com), Pat Cohen – Super Fly (rusuperfly.com), Justin Damude – HIPTOTHESTRIP (hiptothestrip.com), David Hegburg – Streamer Junkies (streamerjunkies.weebly.com), and Ron Poehailos & John Jinishian – 3-TAND (3-tand.com).

A special thanks to Jeff Brennan, Katie Blizzard, Ty Loomis, Jon Zukowski, Rob Lepczyk, and Morgan Kupfer for helping me organize, and execute this project!

Music: “Super Heady Spiritual Gangster,” By Soohan (From the album, “Made In Baltimore”)

We would also like to thank Flymen Fishing Company, Great Feathers Fly Shop, Tight Lined Tales of a Fly Fisherman, Keystone Fly Fishing, Rip Lips Muskie Flies and CCA Maryland.

“Pursuing Esox: Muskie, Pike, and Chain Pickerel on The Fly”

I’m proud to announce that The Uncommon Angler, in collaboration with Austin Green Photography, has begun filming “Pursuing Esox: Muskie, Pike, and Chain Pickerel on The Fly.” We would like to thank The Orvis Fly Fishing Blog, 3-TAND Fly Reels, Scientific Anglers, and all of the individual fishermen who have reached out to help make this film a possibility! We still have over a years worth of filming to go, but we are so excited to be well underway! Here is a small gallery of images from our filming so far!

Austin Green's Muskie Penetrator Fly and 3-TAND's T-90 Fly Reel

Austin Green’s Muskie Penetrator Fly and 3-TAND’s T-90 Fly Reel
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Jeff Brennan Navigating Our Approach

Jeff Brennan Navigating Our Approach
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Accidental Walleye!

Accidental Walleye!
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

My Father And I Searching For Muskie

My Father And I Searching For Muskie
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Muskie Flies, Otter Creek's Overgrown Pale Ale, 3-Tand's T-90, and the Orvis Helios 2.

Muskie Flies, Otter Creek’s Overgrown Pale Ale, 3-Tand’s T-90, and the Orvis Helios 2.
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Accidental Walleye!

Accidental Walleye!
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

 

TLTFF Beaver Island ’14 – Day 3 – Guest Post

Our Tent! - Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island

Our Tent! – Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Day 3 – June 21st

As with any fishing trip or vacation, sleeping in is a pretty tough task to accomplish. We all woke up right around 7:30am to a cool, sunny morning on the lawn of The Fisherman’s House. Four bodies in an 8-person tent was perfect, it kept the tent warm while also giving everyone enough space for the night. The air was crisp and the day had already started to shape up to be perfect. We all changed and threw on some warmer clothes before walking down the street to the deli for breakfast. We soon found out we were in for a treat from that point on when it came to eating food at or from the deli. A cup of coffee and a breakfast fit for a king was all it took for us to get ready for a day of fishing and exploration on foot around the island.

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

When we got back to the house, the outgoing anglers we just finishing packing up and loading up the trucks to head to the airport. One angler, Tom, stayed for the final half day of the guided trip and I believe the others left due to work obligations. Tom was from Colorado and had some great stories to tell of his experiences in Tenkara and fly fishing his way around the “Centennial State”. He was relatively new to the sport and fell in love pretty quickly. It was great hearing how fishing Beaver Island gave him even more of a drive to go out and fish abroad more, including a plan to fish some salt later this year down south.

Tom loaded up to head out for his final half day and we decided to throw together our gear and walk down the street to the opening of the harbor known as Gulls Point or Gulls Harbor. Kevin and Evan had given us some advice for fishing the flats by foot and pointed us in the right direction. We checked gear and doubled checked equipment before making the 1/4 mile walk down the street. Along the way we couldn’t help but stop and snap a few photos of the amazing offerings of Beaver Island.

Captain Steve Martinez's Ford Expedition And Guide Boat, Carp Diem - Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island

Captain Steve Martinez’s Ford Expedition And Guide Boat, Carp Diem – Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

The Coolest Ride On The Island, An Old Jeep - Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island

The Coolest Ride On The Island, An Old Jeep – Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Good Morning Beaver Island! - Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island

Good Morning Beaver Island! – Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

A few of us were stopped by locals who were super stoked to see fisherman on the island and especially fly anglers. Everyone on Beaver knows the Indigo guides and what they do. Carp are no strangers to the locals as they see them cruise the flats and work the grasses right behind their houses often. The Indigo guides have been guiding Beaver for over a decade now. Kevin was the first shortly followed by Steve. Austin signed on about three years ago and was able to learn the ropes pretty quickly having already been a seasoned guide down in Chicago, IL for smallmouth, carp, pike and other great lake species. During a conversation later in the week with Kevin, he had brought up an amazing statistic he had been told by someone from the Chamber of Commerce on Beaver…that Indigo’s operation was responsible for bringing almost $200,000 in revenue to the island. That right there was amazing. Not only the large amount of money, but that a few guys, doing something they love, can help a place they love thrive. It was an awesome circle that made Beaver Island all that much more special knowing we could give back thanks to what the great guys at Indigo were doing.

Antique Boat Parts And Barge - Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island

Antique Boat Parts And Barge – Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

"Fishing Village" - Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island

“Fishing Village” – Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

After having a few photos snapped by locals on both cell phones and snap and shoots for the local paper…we headed down into the water. The sights of Beaver Island consume you, from its natural beauty to the overall culture of the island. Beaver Island Head Light stands at the end of the road, right at the opening to the harbor as a beacon for ships coming into one of the deepest harbors an island on Lake MI has to offer. Standing in its shadow, overlooking the flats of Gulls Point was one of my most memorable moments of the trip for me.

Lighthouse, c.1870 - Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island

Lighthouse, c.1870 – Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Flooded Grasses, Beaver Island, MI - Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island

Flooded Grasses, Beaver Island, MI – Fly Fishing with Indigo Guide Service on Beaver Island
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

 

As we headed into Lake Michigan’s waters for the first time of the trip, we decided to stay in pairs. Austin stayed with Mario near the point and Luis and I ventured down the beach a few hundred yards. It didn’t take long to find fish cruising the flats as they came in waves. We parked near the big white rock that sticks out of the water which made for a great vantage point for one angler to spot for the other. Countless fish came in and cruised by, none willing to eat. It took me quite some time to adjust to casting far ahead of the fish and intercepting them with my fly, a great piece of information passed on to me by the Beaver Island veteran of our trip, Luis. I would go on to find this was essentially the most effective way to get an eat out of these Lake MI carp.

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

Luis and I traded off turns casting at fish while the other sighted them. At one point, while Luis was on the rock and was spotting a pod of incoming fish for me, I looked down and had a 12-15lb carp incoming at around 15ft from my right foot. I stood as still as a statue and watched as the amazing fish cruised right on in and out of the flat in front of me, coming within 8ft of me as if I wasn’t even there. All it took was for me to slightly move my foot, less than an inch, to spook him out of sight.

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

As more and more fish came in and out of casting range without a single hookup, we decided to move down the flat and get more chances at new fish. One thing we noticed was that the carp would cruise the edges of 1-2′ of water and 4-6′ of water, right along the shelf/dropoff. The would come in as single fish all the way up to pods of 8 with most being pairs. With a lot of variables coming into play on Lake MI, from light currents to wind to sun position and more, there is a lot that factors in to making the right cast at the right distance to get your fly in front of the fish at the right time…something I struggled with for the first hour or so.

With multiple fly changes as well as casting strokes, we didn’t have a single hookup…despite somewhere around 50 shots. Luis decided to venture further down the beach while I waved for Mario to come join me. Austin had headed back to the house to change as the waders he was using had a decent leak. That didn’t stop him from capturing shots of town and getting some video footage.

Mario and I picked up where Luis and I had left off and traded off spotting and casting. With great vantage points from large boulders in the water, we continued to spot countless fish coming into our casting range but again, without success. As we moved from spot to spot, we found it was hard to find an area without fish as long as you find those parts of the flats with good edges into deeper water. With clouds of midges buzzing behind us, making it seem as if the shoreline was smoking from the giant columns of bugs, we decided to finally throw in our hat and head back to the house. But, not before a few more casts at incoming fish. As I gave Mario clock directions for the fish, they came out of the glare and into his casting distance. With a phenomenal cast, he lined up his fly for success. Within a few strips, he striped one last time and raised his rod tip. As quickly as his rod doubled over, it had straightened back out… We both looked at each other with the same amount of disappointment but couldn’t help but laugh and high five before heading back down the flat to the light house.

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

As we walked back towards the house talking about life and fly fishing, we noticed Austin in shorts waist-high, fishing the flats within the harbor. These flats were different than the rocky-bottomed flats around the island. Sand had deposited itself along the southern shoreline along some grass beds making for a gin clear, white sand flat. The water Austin was in was about 2′ deep and he was motioning to us, as we walked towards the water, to slow down and be quiet. He was stalking fish within the grasses, some right at his feet, off the shoreline where homeowners had given us permission to fish. I unfortunately did not see his motions and spooked a few 15-20lb carp out of the grass. Luis shortly joined us and we chatted about Mario’s unbuttoned carp and the fish on the flats around Austin. We paired up again and Luis and I continued to talk and began to plan out the evening. Mid-conversation, I see a dark figure behind Luis and turn. As I look down, a massive carp was cruising within 3′ of Luis’ foot. We both froze, individually trying to figure out what to do. Just as we both motioned to cast, the fish fled into deeper water.

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

It’s amazing how these fish sneak up on you, it happened numerous times throughout the week. And their senses are absolutely amazing. All it takes is one small step, the ratting of a rock, or the drop of a GoPro on a boat…ah hem, to spook these fish. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me they had farted and a nearby fish spooked.

We decided to wrap up the fishing around 3pm and head back to the house. Luis had headed back while Mario and I were fishing on the flats and picked up dinner for the night. Since it was technically Day 1 of the hosted portion of the trip, there would be a “meet and greet” cookout at The Fisherman’s House with all of the anglers and guides. We decided on a grill-session with brats, burgers, and dogs along with brews and bourbon to bring everyone together. While we waited the two other anglers (Joel and Cheryl), headed in on the 5pm ferry, we showered up and reminisced the day on the deck…of course with a lot of bug spray and a little bit of beer.

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

The Indigo crew showed up, shortly followed by our other two anglers. I fired up the grill and cooked away as Luis and Evan prepped some brats in beer and onions on the stove. After they were properly marinated, we threw them on the grill with all the other fix ins. Dave and Andrew (whom were on their own Beaver Island solo trip) showed up and pulled in with Andrew’s Towee behind his truck after a long day on the water. As the night went on, we were all able to formally meet and chat about Beaver Island, fly fishing, Tennessee, gear, life and more…all bringing something different to the table. It was a blast, one of those moments that made this trip unforgettable…brotherhood bringing a bunch of people from different walks of life together with one common interest/love.

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

As the night wound down, Dave and Andrew headed off to their motel as they were departing the next day. The guides headed back to their place after setting up a tentative plan with Luis and I for the morning…Day 1 of guided fishing. All in all, despite not catching any fish, it was an amazing day. We had spent quality time together and overall had been able to relax, enjoy our mini-vacation and first full day on the island. Life was good, and the dawn Day 4 of the trip was hours away…it was time for some quality shut-eye in preparation for yet another amazing day.

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

Photo By Morgan Kupfer

Written By Morgan Kupfer – Originally Posted On TLTFF
Photos By Austin Green Weinstein and Morgan Kupfer – Austin Green Photography

 

 

 

 

New Hampshire Fly Fishing – Spring 2014

The first fish of the trip! A six pound brown caught by Mike Terrien on a Gunpowder Custom Tackle white "Squishy!"

The first fish of the trip! A six pound brown caught by Mike Terrien on a Gunpowder Custom Tackle white “Squishy!”
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

During the fall of 2013 The Uncommon Angler crew gathered in New Hampshire for the first of many trips to come. Although the numbers of fish caught were few, all had a good time. The outcome was another trip planned for the spring of 2014. After a brutally cold and snowy winter in the Northeast, I was eager to begin chasing fish once again, especially with good friends.

New Hampshire Brown Trout - Fall of 2013

New Hampshire Brown Trout – Fall 2013
Copyright 2013. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

New Hampshire Fall 2013

New Hampshire Fall 2013
Copyright 2013. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Early spring angling was more difficult than the previous season due to the seemingly never-ending winter. Pond fishing was exceptional once air temperatures began to rise above 50 degrees. River fishing was not an option until about the last two weeks of May due to continual runoff.  This was a difficult circumstance for me because I enjoy fishing rivers and streams more than any other type of water. Although still waters and spring hatches are enjoyable, I love finding a particularly fine stretch of riffles or a nice deep pool to cast into. Trout, bass, pike, and salmon are some of the species I like to pursue most in rivers. Having knowledge of each species and the types of water that each inhabits is essential to consistently finding fish throughout the year. Spring is the prime time to find any species in every body of water. This was the goal for the spring ’14 Uncommon Angler trip, set for the last week of May.

The Tahoe Packed And Ready To Go

The Truck Packed And Ready To Go
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Nothing Like A Little North Woods Advertising To Welcome You Into Town

Nothing Like A Little North Woods Advertising To Welcome You Into Town
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Austin Green, chief of The Uncommon Angler, and myself had been in contact with Mike Terrien of Burlington, Vermont for some time before the trip, and decided to invite him to join us. Having only met Mike once before in person, not on the water, but rather at a Phish show, I was eager to cast a fly with the guy. Mike was making the trek from Vermont to New Hampshire the evening of the 23rd, while Austin was driving north from Maryland. The plan was to convene in N.H. at my house and fish the morning of the 24th. On my drive to work I received a call from Austin notifying me of a car accident he was involved in. A vehicle had side-swiped him on the highway while driving through Pennsylvania. The news was at first an end to the trip before it began, but luckily the damage to Austin’s truck was minor. Without a passenger side view mirror and a lengthy scrape alongside the car, Austin continued on his route north.

Jon Zukowski Showing Off One Of His Pike Flies with the 3-TAND T-90 Fly Reel

Jon Zukowski Showing Off One Of His Pike Flies with the 3-TAND T-90 Fly Reel
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

It was around 11:00 p.m. when Mike pulled up the dirt driveway in front of my house. He transported his fishing gear inside and shortly after began tying a large pike fly. I instantly knew he was a serious angler and an exceptional fly tyer. Our plan was to whip up a few flies as we waited for Austin to arrive, and then get some rest so we could fish early the following morning. We could not have been more wrong about this plan. When Austin finally arrived at 1:00 a.m. we began drinking Fiddlehead Brewing Company’s Second Fiddle, an extremely hoppy double IPA which comes in at 8.2% ABV. Before we knew it, we were all tying flies and discussing the days of fishing to come. As the common phrase goes, “time flies when you’re having fun”, this was indeed what happened, but instead could be more properly labeled in our case, “time flies when you’re tying flies”.

The River With A Dense Fog In The Distance

The River With A Dense Fog In The Distance
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead!

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead!
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

When it was finally time to set our alarms for the morning we noticed we would be getting an hour and fifteen minutes of sleep. This realization was the first step towards an all-nighter, the second was more beer, more tying, and a late night breakfast. When the clock hit 3:30 a.m. we loaded the car and set off. Driving through an early morning fog was a feeling that I missed very much after the long winter. There is an eerie, almost mystical sense associated with driving through a dense fog that I cannot fully explain, but really enjoy.

Mike Terrien His Smallmouth On The Fly

Mike Terrien His Smallmouth On The Fly – Orvis Helios 2 and Mirage Fly Reel
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

New Hampshire Smallmouth

New Hampshire Smallmouth
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

After parking the car at our first fishing destination we rigged up our rods and walked to the river prepared to catch some trout. We began fishing expecting one of us to hook up within the first few minutes. After an hour and a half of ruthless sleep deprived casting we determined that it just wasn’t happening and decided to move on to another location. After arriving at our second spot Mike instantly hooked into a decent sized smallmouth. A few moments later Austin hooked and landed another bass. The morning was fishless for me, but I knew the week ahead would surely bring something good to my hand. At this point we were losing steam from no sleep and decided to head back to my house and relax. Of course we skipped out on rest and went right back to tying flies. The skewed sleep patterns of an angler are certainly hard to explain to a normal human being, a.k.a a non-angler.

Mike Terrien And  A Huge Brown Trout

Mike Terrien And A Huge Brown Trout
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

After a hearty meal we actually went to bed at a reasonable hour (before 1:00 a.m.) so we could wake up and fish the entire day. The following morning went similar to the previous except a trout was actually landed by Mike. It was a gorgeous football of a brown, which was estimated at 6 lbs and 20 inches. After Mike’s hookup the crew was stoked for what the rest of the day would bring. Although it was an excellent day of fishing with friends, missed fish and empty beer cans were all that came of it for me.  Satisfied with his fish, Mike decided to hit the road and head home to Vermont after our day on the water, while Austin and myself planned our next days approach to pike fishing.

My First Pike On The Fly

My First Pike On The Fly
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

A Deathly Pike Setup: The 3-Tand T-90 and The Rio Outbound Sinking Line

A Deathly Pike Setup: The 3-Tand T-90 and The Rio Outbound Sinking Line
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

The next day brought intervals of rain, not too heavy that it would put the fish down, but rather energize them. After casting for a short period of time Austin hooked into a good fish. I positioned myself below him in order to net the fish from the water, but quickly noticed something bizarre about it’s appearance. After several quick runs I got a glimpse of the fish, which was not a trout to my eyes. Despite having no wire tippet on, Austin managed to land a decent sized pike, which measured around 32”. It was a great start to the day and was the first pike Austin had ever latched into.

Jon Zukowski And His Monster Brown

Jon Zukowski And His Monster Brown
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Notice How The Fish's Fat Engulfs Jon's Fingers

Notice How The Trout’s Fat Engulfs Jon’s Hand
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

As Austin and I were about to head to another location I decided to take another few casts into the swift current. Moments later my line was tight and being ripped off the reel at lightening speed. “Fish”, I yelled to Austin who was upstream at the time. He quickly came to me with the net ready. The fish was staying down deep giving some serious head shakes. I claimed a brown trout was on the other end, but after the pike hook up earlier I knew that anything could happen. Seconds later a massive brown was thrashing on the surface. After a few more runs the fish lost steam and was swaddled in the net. A high five was issued after gazing at the brown that we estimated to be ten pounds and 25 inches. The fish slammed a new variation of an old classic I have been working on lately, a grey ghost tied with laser dub, craft fur, lateral scale, and blue frost fox tail. It was the first fish I had taken on the streamer, more appropriately, the first fish to annihilate the fly. It is a wonderful feeling to hook and land a fish on a new pattern, that was to be honest, a total experiment.

The New Pike Setup: 3-TAND T-90 Reel, Orvis Access 10wt Rod, and My Blood-Orange Pike Deceiver

3-TAND T-90 Reel, Orvis Access 10wt Rod, and My Blood-Orange Pike Deceiver
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Exploring New Water

Exploring New Water
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

The next day we decided to take the beginning of the day off and actually get some rest. As morning turned to afternoon we decided to go after some pike at a location that I had never fished before. We loaded the canoe with our gear and set off. Casting to the banks repetitively is the name of the game when pike fishing in early spring or fall. Our 8 and 10 wt. rods were tossing large (6-12 in.) flies without issue. I was utilizing my Sage Flight rod, which has been my go to river rod for several years now, while Austin chucked flies with a 10 weight Orvis Access and 3-TAND T-90 reel. The fishing was relatively slow until Austin latched into a smaller pike, but it spit the hook seconds later. We decided to switch banks as we paddled back up river. Within minutes I hooked and landed a small pike. Though it was no trophy I still got quite a rush as the fish hammered my fly. The fish inhaled the fly deep into the back of its mouth, so we decided to keep the pike for a feast. Both Austin and I had never dined on pike and figured it would be a good time to try.

Stocked Up On Fiddlehead's Double Fiddle And  The Alchemist's Heady Topper

Stocked Up On Fiddlehead’s Double Fiddle And The Alchemist’s Heady Topper
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

When we arrived home we cleaned the pike and cooked it simply with bacon, salt, and pepper with a side of fiddleheads. It was a local feast with great flavor. Paired with the meal was Lawson’s Finest Liquids Peril Imperial India Pale Ale, a limited release beer brewed for the Lawson’s 6th anniversary bottle sale. I had been holding onto the brew for a few weeks to share with Austin, which we decided was to be drank only after catching a pike. Since we had both caught Pike it was our time to indulge. Peril comes in at 11.0% ABV with serious grapefruit and hop flavor and aroma. This is apparently accomplished utilizing a triple dry-hopping process, which Sean Lawson can only lay down with such perfection. We were also lucky enough to indulge in a bottle of Lawson’s Double Sunshine. Other beers cracked throughout the week included the renowned Heady Topper (DIPA) from the Alchemist, Focal Banger (IPA), Beelzebub (Imp. stout), and Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout (Barrel aged Imp. stout). We had consumed a beer selection that was undeniably “world class.”

Jon Zukowski And A Gorgeous New Hampshire Brook Trout

Jon Zukowski And A Gorgeous New Hampshire Brook Trout
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

The Beautiful North Woods Region

The Beautiful North Woods Region
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

The next several days did not include much fishing, but instead moving. It was the end of the month and I was set to move out from the house my girlfriend and I had been living in for the past three years. It was one of those moves where you stop and ask yourself “how the hell did I accumulate so much shit?” Although a U-Haul would have been suitable we instead loaded my Subaru countless times until the house was empty. Definitely not an enjoyable experience, but it had to be done in order to chase fish the following days. After one morning of moving Austin and I decided to hit a favorite remote brook trout pond to catch the evening hatch. After hiking to the pond we loaded one of the canoes that awaited us and set out. A handful of trout were rising, but not enough to target with a dry fly. We started out stripping bright colored buggers just below the surface and received non-stop action. After landing several fish each we decided to switch to dries due to an increase of hatching insects. The next few hours were filled with brilliant takes on the surface and many hookups with fish in the 5”-15” range. It was the highlight of the week for both of us. There are few things in life that equal a good hatch on a remote pond where it is just you, the fly, and the fish.

Jon Zukowski and John Panakio on Lake Winnipesaukee

Jon Zukowski and John Panakio on Lake Winnipesaukee
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Jon Zukowski And A Lake Winnipesaukee Smallmouth

Jon Zukowski And A Lake Winnipesaukee Smallmouth
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

The next morning we awoke to sunny skies and warm weather. This was a welcome change from five straight days of rain. I quickly determined that it was the perfect day to chase smallmouth bass. I called a close friend of mine, John Panakio (Captain John if you will), who has a humble camp on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.  We loaded up my car and drove down to the lake ready for some bass fishing. We packed the boat and cruised out to my favorite smallmouth location on the lake. Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire, at 72 square miles there are a lot of places to fish. After reaching our first bank we began casting to cruising fish in the shallows. I hooked into a nice bass within minutes, and Austin continued to do the same shortly after. The remainder of the day was one fish after another. Although trout are hands down my preferred species to catch, I cannot turn down a shot at smallies. In the end it was a good day of beers, fish, and friends.

Fresh Water, Fresh Setup: The 3-Tand T-90 Is Loaded With A Rio Outbound Floating Line

Fresh Water, Fresh Setup: The 3-Tand T-90 Is Loaded With A Rio Outbound Floating Line
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Floating For Pike: The Old Town Guide Canoe Can Handle It All!

Floating For Pike: The Old Town Guide Canoe Can Handle It All!
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

The next mission was a float on a new stretch of river where we planned on targeting pike with a shot at some smallmouth as well. After cars were parked in proper locations we began the float that ended up being a skunky one. No hookups, no takes, no fish seen. After the float we portaged the canoe up a rather long trail and headed home. The following day we decided to take another attempt at some pike and bass.

Working Hard For That Next Fish!

Working Hard For That Next Fish!
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Largemouth On The Fly!

Largemouth On The Fly!
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

While driving up to the pond we planned to fish we stopped at a good old-fashioned convenience store for some beers and food. We grabbed a few canned pale ales and a bag of maple bacon potato chips and continued on our way. For a final time we loaded the boat and set out for the day. Although everything seemed like a routine at this point what would come later in the day was far from standard. After a short while of fishing I was into a decent largemouth bass that slammed my fly inches from the shore. After many more casts we decided that the fish had turned off. Although the water temperatures were still cool (50s) the air temperature was reaching into the upper 70s.

Bad Accident, Beautiful Water.

Bad Accident, Beautiful Water.
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

It seemed like a good time to work some big flies down deep with a heavy sinking line. As we paddled the boat back toward the shore I suddenly heard a panicked shout come from Austin who was in the rear of the canoe. Startled, I glanced behind me to see what had happened. What I saw will never escape my mind. Austin was diving off the boat into the frigid waters below. As he hit the water I noticed the tip of his Orvis access 10 wt. slowly fade into the depths of the pond. After a moment Austin emerged from the water, out of breath and out of a rod, reel, and line. I stared back at him in disbelief. At this point I comprehended what had happened and could not believe the reality. As the wind was moving the canoe along, Austin had set his rod down in the stern of the canoe to correct the direction of the boat and his large 3/0 hook must have snagged a submerged log and was ripped into the water.

Bluegrass Heals The Soul

Bluegrass Heals The Soul
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

Stella Watches The House While We're FIshing!

Stella Watches The House While We’re Fishing!
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

As I paddled my soggy friend back to the shore we were both in shock. An Orvis Access rod, 3-TAND T-90 reel, and Rio line were resting on the murky bottom of the pond. The depth was 25’, but without a wetsuit, goggles, a light, and flippers the rod was inaccessible. After contacting several scuba services Austin decided that the price to pay for hiring a diver outweighed the value of the rod. It was a difficult decision, but in the end, shit happens. That night, a heavy session of whisky and bluegrass ensued, helping numb the pain of such a loss and put a cap on our week of countless species.

Goodbye New Hampshire!

Goodbye New Hampshire!
Copyright 2014. Austin Green Weinstein. All Rights Reserved.

 

Text By Jon Zukowski, Photos By Austin Green.

A big thank you to 3-TAND Fly Reels, Montauk Tackle Company, and Gunpowder Custom Tackle for supplying us with the gear that helped make this trip possible!