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OldredbarnNovember 6th, 2014, 12:13 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
A question back to you, Spence. Do you differentiate the classic trout streamers from the Michigan Big Ugly you would tie? Is there even a question as to whether that would qualify as a fly?


When they legislated for flies only here it turned out that the only thing that was regulated was that "fly" at the terminal end of the leader. We had some old-time residents that fought like hell against this, as well as catch-and-release stretches.

I use to run into this guy that would tell me he had owned his cottage since the 30's and was therefore, in his opinion, "grandfathered". He tied a bunch of feathers to something weighted and would walk down the middle of the "Holy Water" casting it towards the banks with a spinning rod. He was probably legal.

I had dinner last night with an old friend that is a keeper of the tradition of the old classic Au Sable area flies. He is, in my opinion a state treasure, but he was born and raised in Grayling and still pokes fun at folks coming from elsewhere telling folks in Grayling what to do. During those times it got fairly animated and some folks still won't speak with each other.

My friend ties at all the state-wide shows and has a crank bait on his tying bench with two treble hooks hanging from it and a perfectly tied parachute on top of it. He also has a rubber worm with a parachute tied to it...He told me once, with a devilish smile, that "Us boys from Grayling have been known to wrap hackle around a spear."

These issues aren't going away. Maybe we are trying to impose a tradition from a bygone era that just doesn't apply any longer. With the worlds population not shrinking the pressure these trout are under isn't going to ease. Eventually "wild" trout will disappear and we will end up relying more and more on the hatchery truck and an artificially manufactured experience.

To the question of the "Big Ugly" vs the Carrie Stevens type streamers...The Big Ugly was/is the antithesis of those old lures. The Big ugly had unpainted bar-bell eyes and lead wrapped under the body...It's action was jig-like and it sank to the bottom like an anchor...I do differentiate the two.

The saving grace of that ugly old thing was, in my experience a bit different than your comment, the fact that the trout would often short strike it and clamp down on the long marabou tail...I'd roll the fish and see this monster brown and creamy yellow hog roll, and then it would let go.
Smallies aren't such delicate diners. :)

Just to be clear here. I have fished all my life. I started as a dink in a rented boat in back bays along Chesapeake Bay with my sailor father near Norfolk VA. I was a knee high fishing with my great-uncle up on the break walls at Manistee and Frankfort in the late 50's-early 60's before they introduced the imports (Salmon & Steelhead) in to Lake Michigan...We harvested Perch and carried them home in one of those large metal pails that folks used to fill up with warm water and stand in them to wash...A lot of friggin' fish! :)

What I'm trying to say is that I wasn't born in to this tweed and Hardy fantasy. I morphed in to it. I have fished with probably every method in my life short of snagging (which was legal here at one time) and using a spear.

I really don't care what the thundering herd wants to do...Like you I fish my way. I'm not really trying to tell folks what to do, just posing questions.

As my old buddy Bob Dylan use to sing, "These Times They are a Changin'"


The elemental one being, is it only about catching big fish? When I'm standing knee deep in my creek, my answer is a resounding no.

I spent my summers on my grandmas farm up between Clare and Cadillac...A shack that was built by my namesake Spencer Beebe, my grandmother's dad. I ran with the local boys, most of which I was related to somehow. We boys would walk a couple miles to fish under a bridge that M-115 ran over...There was a low spot on the gravel road we would walk and there was a swampy area that always held water...All of us, of varying age, would stand there whip it out and see who could piss the furthest into the swamp...It is a right of passage. :)

Spence



"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Kschaefer3November 6th, 2014, 1:04 pm
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
I do love your enthusiasm for the "old days" and your anecdotes to match. I am certainly not trying to peg you as being oblivious to fishing outside your tweed and Hardy fantasy. I know that is not the case. I'm also not trying to say that you living in said fantasy is bad. It is your fantasy to live, like my fantasy is mine. Just like you, I'm only posing questions.

These issues aren't going away. Maybe we are trying to impose a tradition from a bygone era that just doesn't apply any longer. With the worlds population not shrinking the pressure these trout are under isn't going to ease. Eventually "wild" trout will disappear and we will end up relying more and more on the hatchery truck and an artificially manufactured experience.


I can't say I don't have concerns about the future of wild trout. Overpopulation and the increased carbon output thereof doesn't bode well for a fish that likes cold water. I'm not quite as pessimistic though, that wild trout will cease to exist, at least not in my lifetime. If I am in fact wrong, I think trout fishing will be the least of my concern. For instance, wild trout are at their highest levels in WI right now, and MN can't be far off. I can drive 30 minutes from a semi-major metro area and catch wild trout. I think that's pretty damn cool.



To the question of the "Big Ugly" vs the Carrie Stevens type streamers...The Big Ugly was/is the antithesis of those old lures. The Big ugly had unpainted bar-bell eyes and lead wrapped under the body...It's action was jig-like and it sank to the bottom like an anchor...I do differentiate the two.

The saving grace of that ugly old thing was, in my experience a bit different than your comment, the fact that the trout would often short strike it and clamp down on the long marabou tail...I'd roll the fish and see this monster brown and creamy yellow hog roll, and then it would let go.
Smallies aren't such delicate diners. :)


Obviously they represent vastly different fishing styles, but the question was more posed from the perspective of being damaging to fish, which I believe is the basis of the "flies only" water, correct? From that angle, the two aren't all that different, IMHO.

Smallies certainly aren't dainty eaters. On more than one occasion smallies in the 17-20" range have taken 9-12" musky flies with reckless abandon. They are impressive predators to be sure.


Just to be clear here. I have fished all my life. I started as a dink in a rented boat in back bays along Chesapeake Bay with my sailor father near Norfolk VA. I was a knee high fishing with my great-uncle up on the break walls at Manistee and Frankfort in the late 50's-early 60's before they introduced the imports (Salmon & Steelhead) in to Lake Michigan...We harvested Perch and carried them home in one of those large metal pails that folks used to fill up with warm water and stand in them to wash...A lot of friggin' fish! :)

What I'm trying to say is that I wasn't born in to this tweed and Hardy fantasy. I morphed in to it. I have fished with probably every method in my life short of snagging (which was legal here at one time) and using a spear.


This I know, sir. I've read many of your posts, with many stories from times past. I respect that you have your opinion of fishing, and that you do respect others as well.


I really don't care what the thundering herd wants to do...Like you I fish my way. I'm not really trying to tell folks what to do, just posing questions.

As my old buddy Bob Dylan use to sing, "These Times They are a Changin'"


The elemental one being, is it only about catching big fish? When I'm standing knee deep in my creek, my answer is a resounding no.


I don't follow the thundering herds all the time either, although some methods I choose are the current craze. I'd imagine at one point in time your chosen methods were as well, no? Not that you choose them for that reason, just as I don't either.

Mr. Dylan was a wise man to sing those lyrics as they are ever relevant.

Agreed, it isn't only about big fish, although I do love big fish. It is about so many things, catching fish being one, but many more things far from catching fish. Regardless of size, I just enjoy streamer fishing. From an articulated 6/0 streamer for muskies to #10 buggers for trout. The jolt of a savage take is as exciting for me as seeing the nose poke up to sip my well placed fly. I also love working every nook and cranny of structure and finally seeing that yellow/brown/orange flash come out of the spot you knew it would. If I were all about big fish, you can guarantee I would be out dunking worms. :)
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