Monday, June 23, 2014

Bamboo, Bass and Bugs

I didn't get Monday Morning Coffee done today, but I wanted to get something up on the blog. I'm starting to get this back-log of trips and posts, and I don't want to let FR to continue to languish away. So here's a trip report. 

I got a message from Facebook friend Lee that he would be up north attending a bamboo rod event in Grayling. He's one of those people who like or comment on your social media posts but you don't know from Adam. He seemed like a decent guy and so I told him I'd take him fishing. He's a bamboo rod builder from southwest Michigan. 

Lee and Alex watching the rise

As it turned out he had also contacted my friend Alex Cerveniak and so the three of us fished the South Branch Au Sable Thursday evening. The bugs were scarce and the fishing was kind of a dud, but we agreed to meet again on Sunday and do some flats fishing. Lee had a 7 weight bamboo he wanted to flex on some carp and bass. 

Sunday came and we met early. We parked and started hiking down the beach trying to get away from the crowd. 

We didn't get far when we saw a pod of dark shapes in the surf- carp. We gave it a shot but the fish were restless. There was a hard northeast wind blowing and I wondered the effect it would have on the fishing. I also wondered how it would affect Lee's bamboo. 

We hiked for nearly an hour to the spot I had in mind. After some tricky wading in heavy current across open water we got into some sheltered bays and started fishing in earnest. 

The carp were a complete bust. The northeast wind had them skittish and spooky. Any time a boot or fly touched the water they scooted out. We didn't actually see that many carp. We saw a few dozen whereas my last trip I saw hundreds. 

The bass were another story. We weren't out long before Lee was into a small bass. It put a pleasing bend in his rod and a smile on his face. 

Then he found a pod of them in a spot of green water with obvious big boulders. He landed two fish before I could even get there. Most were small, but Lee caught a decent one and we had much larger fish chasing our hooked fish. 

After that we hopped over into the next back bay and went to town. We got several fish in the 4-5 lb. range. It was fantastic.  The carp remained aloof to panicked. 

Around 5 PM we looked at each other. We were sun-tired, wind burned and cast-sore. We had caught about forty bass between us. It was a slow day for the location, but still a great day. After the first hour we never saw another soul. It was just us, the wind, waves and seabirds. 

And some fantastic fishing. 

We hiked the north shore back. The midge hatch began in earnest, and they lifted from the low shrubs like black smoke. We had to wear our buffs to keep them out of our mouths and noses. The whine of their wings drowned out even the surf and wind. 

That's not smoke

And when we got back to the car clouds of mosquitoes, big as bats, brought us back to earth. Almost. 

Lee Slikkers photo
Lee Slikkers photo


  1. Wow, I almost felt like I was there. I even got bit by a mosquito there at the end.

  2. The bugs have been horrendous here in the far west Chicago suburbs as well. No matter how warm, I am covered head to toe by the time dusk rolls around.

    Looks like you had some good fishing at least!!

  3. As long as you're on the water it's fine. As soon as you leave it gets bad. Good reason to keep fishing.

  4. Jason, great write up and a great trip! Thanks again for inviting this "stranger" along with you on your home waters...I'd love to do it again sometime and my goal is to get in better shape so I can enjoy it more and walk back even further along those islands. Cheers!

    1. Lee- it was great to have you along. Any time bud.