Tuesday, August 14, 2012


When I decided to start a blog, the hardest part was coming up with a clever name.  Weeks were spent trying to come up with something clever and catchy.  It had to be related to fishing, but not so serious, like “EXTREME MIDWEST BASS FISHING,” because, if you can’t tell, I’m rarely ever as serious as a heart attack.  But a recent fishing event came back to me and provided all the inspiration needed for a name for a blog.
scenic stretch of the Milwaukee
Milwaukee River
It was a warm July evening.  My wife was putting our little girl to bed and I had a couple of hours to sneak out and wet my line; I had recently tied a batch of black Woolly Buggers that I was excited to try out.  I drove a little north of downtown Milwaukee to fly fish a stretch of the Milwaukee River near the Capitol bridge.
This July was hot and dry, so the water was low and warm, so warm in fact, that as I put my feet into the water, I had to look down to see if I really was in the water.  I was.
I waded across the river to a boulder at the head of a deeper pool that usually holds fish.  This day it held suckers, but no bass.  An overhanging willow tree also failed to produce fish.
I made my way toward another spot a few hundred yards upstream and across the river.  A pool with numerous boulders and a couple of fallen trees in it.  Plenty of cover for bass.
The first few casts drifted and swung through the pool with no strikes, but eventually there were hits and misses, there were fish in this hole!
small smallmouth bass
Milwaukee River smallmouth
Finally, there was a strike and a successful hook set, and an eight inch smallmouth bass was reeled in and landed.  A few more followed, ranging in length from about seven to twelve inches.
After the bass stopped hitting, I started to head back downstream.  There was a pocket of still water completely cut off from the current by boulders, and I could see bass in there. There were a lot of weeds between me and the still water, but I decided to trod through rather than circumvent them.
I started casting into the pocket and stripping back, but had no hits.  The bass in there were rather small anyway.
At this point, I started to walk back to the point where I initially entered the river to try one last pool, usually the best pool.  I began to trod through the growth again, and just as I reached the edge of the weeds, I kicked what I thought was a large log.  But this was no log, as it began thrashing about, scaring the hell out of me!
My heart felt like it was going to go all Alien on me and burst through my chest!  I’m scrambling to get away!  What is it? Is it a longnose gar?  A snapping turtle?  A walleye?
The monster made it’s presence known from under the weed line, it was, in fact, as they say, more afraid of me than I was of it.  It was a great big common carp, about the largest, most harmless fish in the entire Midwest, if not the world.
I was relieved, and I kind of thought to myself, “What the karp!?!” as I thought about a Magikarp evolving into a Gyarados and using Dragon Rage.  I laughed a little, and texted my dad about it, still shaking so bad that I almost dropped my phone into the river. 
I continued up to the next pool and caught several more nice bass, all on my hand tied flies.  Some on a San Juan Worm, some on Scuds and some on Woolly Buggers before calling it a good day.

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