Posts Tagged ‘Doug Schlink’

Brûlé McSprat

November 9, 2012

This pattern is a hybrid of a Green Rat body (sans rib) and a traditional Spey fly, and was designed specifically for the beautiful Petite Cascapedia River.   The first few days following its baptismal, it accounted for 6 rises, 5 solid takes and 4 lovely June salmon to net.  It deserved a proper name!  “Brûlé”, its birthplace – “Mc”, in honor of the McWhirter Clan who’ve run Camp Brûlé for 4 generations – “ Sprat”, a contraction of Spey and Rat. Thus born and duly christened, “The Brûlé McSprat” was conceived and tied by Doug Schlink, but this particularly stunning rendition was tied by the eminently more talented hands of master tier, Ben Bilello, www.benbilello.com/salmonflies/.

Born on the porch at Camp Brûlé – June 16th, 2011

Tip: fine gold oval

Rear Body: bright green floss

Veil: bright green floss

Spey Hackle: Blue Earred Pheasant, palmered thru front body

Front Body: Peacock Herl

Throat: Teal

Wing: Bronze Mallard

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Bonefishing in Winter Water Temps

September 28, 2011

One of the top 3 questions we get asked is, “When is the best time to go bonefishing?”  While the answer varies on the anglers’ expectations and their destination, here’s a good argument for fishing the winter months by Doug Schlink of Angler Adventures

For years I’ve heard that you shouldn’t go bonefishing in the winter months (December, January, February, even March) because of the risk of cold fronts.  I’ve also heard and read that bonefish are temperature sensitive and it’s futile to fish in water temperatures under 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Hogwash!  In 25 years of booking bonefish trips and making plenty of them myself, I’d like to offer my “observations” on the subject.   While I haven’t adhered to strict scientific doctrine, I always carry a stream thermometer on bonefish trips and check water temps frequently.  And in my opinion, it’s more important which direction the water temperature is moving. 

Yes, when a cold front pushes in and chills the water temps on the flats below 68 – 70 degrees, bonefish will start moving off the flats if they feel the temperature dropping, into deeper, warmer water.  It’s generally accepted (and I agree) that smaller bonefish are more sensitive to cooler water temps and the bigger boys will stay up on the flats feeding longer with dropping water temps (and be the first to return on rising temps).   I know a few trophy bone hunters who go in January so they won’t have to weed through the smaller fish!  As the water temp continues to drop, the bigger fish will also move off into deeper, warmer water.  But I’ve witnessed bigger fish feeding on the flat until temps hit 65 degrees.   If the temp continues to drop or holds steady at less than 65, fishing will be slow.

However, bonefish need to eat, and by design, they take their nourishment on the fertile, food-rich flats.   Deep water is Slim Pickens for a bonefish so they don’t like to stay there long.  It’s been my observation, that even when air temperatures are in the low to mid-60’s, if the sun is out, the flats will soak up the sun’s radiant heat and warm quickly.  As soon as the bones sense the water temperature is rising, they will return to the flats and feed voraciously.  And the fishing can actually be fantastic.  I’ve experienced this on numerous occasions, but perhaps the best example took place in late February on Grand Bahama a few years ago.   

North Riding Point Guide Bully with a Huge winter bonefish

Notice the Fleece? And the 14 lb January Bonefish?

My fishing buddy, Mark Hatter and I arrived during a “cold front”.   The water temperature on the flat was 63-64 degrees our first morning.   But the sun was strong, and the flat was soaking in the radiant heat, and the water temp was rising.  We barely got line stripped off our reels before we were making shots at hungry bones.   The sun held and the water temperature continued to slowly rise (I checked it several times during the day), and the bones fed like gluttons all day!   At 3:30 pm as we reeled in, I checked the temperature one last time – 69 degrees.  We had boated 32 bones, all between 5 and 9 ½ pounds, and the water temp never even hit 70 degrees!  It was a spectacular day of high quality bonefishing – in the dead of winter, on the tail of a cold front – when you’re not supposed to go! 

I’ve had other similar experiences that support my position.  And on the flip side, I’ve lost fishing days to wind and sideways rain in April and May, so called “prime time”.   The weather can bite you in the tail anytime.   The guy who said, “the best time to go fishing is when you can get away”, may have known something the “experts” didn’t!   So…Fear Not Winter Bonefishing!  You might just hit some of the best bonefishing you’ve ever had!

Want to learn more about bonefishing bonefishing in the winter months or go on a winter bonefishing trip – Call Doug in the Angler Adventures office (800-628-1447 / 860-434-9624) or email Doug@AnglerAdventures.com.

The Vulcan Grilse Grip

May 11, 2011

For those of you planning an Atlantic salmon trip this summer, here’s a tip from Doug Schlink you might enjoy. 

Adult, mutli-sea-winter (MSW) Atlantic salmon fish can be captured by hand tailing.  This is accomplished by wrapping your hand and around the “wrist” of their tail (known as the caudal peduncle), just in front of the tail fin, much as you would grasp your own left wrist with your right hand just in front of your hand.   The tail fin on an MSW fish has developed stiff exterior rays, and prevents the fish from slipping through.  

Atlantic salmon that have only spent one winter at sea before returning to the river to spawn are known as grilse.  Grilse are smaller, usually from 20 – 24 inches in length, and have not yet developed this stiffness in the tail fin’s exterior rays.  A sure way to tell a big grilse from a small salmon is to check the development of the tail fin exterior rays.  If they are stiff, and don’t collapse when you try to squeeze them together, it’s a salmon.  But if they collapse, it’s a grilse. 

Doug Schlink with nice looking MSW Atlantic

Not a Grilse

Because of this lack of development in the exterior caudal fin rays of a grilse, if you try to “tail” a grilse with this conventional method, the tail fin collapses and he’ll squirt right out of your grasp!

But if your guide is not handy with the net when you’re about to land your grilse, you still can hand tail him using the technique I call the “Vulcan Grilse Grip”.    Make a “V” or a “peace sign” by extending your index and middle finger of your dominant hand.  With thumb extended, slide this “V” so one finger is on the top and the other along the bottom of the caudal peduncle.  Now quickly wrap the thumb around and close the rest of your hand as if you’re trying to make a fist.  You should now have a firm grasp on the fish!  I’m not sure why this works, but it does. 

A word of caution, never lift a salmon or a grilse you plan to release clear out of the water by the tail.  This can cause internal damage.  Please use hand tailing only as a means of securing the salmon in the water so you can remove the fly and properly release into the current.  If you want to lift a salmon for a photo, use your other hand to gently support the body of the fish, and lift no more than a few inches from the water and for no more than a few seconds. 

Many thanks to angling great Larry Solomon, co-author of the classic “The Caddis and the Angler”, for showing me this technique over 20 years ago on the Nepisiguit River. 

Tarpon Caye Lodge

May 10, 2011

Belize is a great destination for anglers traveling during the summer months due to its neo to sub-tropical climate, whose daytime temperatures only vary between 10 – 15 degrees over the course of a year.  This consistency makes the fishing in Belize fairly predictable, as well as productive, each month of the year.  The following write up by Doug Schink  (doug@angleradventues.com) on Tarpon Caye Lodge recently appeared in The Angling Report.

Tarpon Caye is a 10-acre private island situated 15 miles east of Placencia, Belize in the area referred to as “Permit Alley”.   The Caye takes its name from its tarpon lagoon that reliably holds a resident population of mid size (30 – 60 lbs.) tarpon.  There are also some fair to good bonefish flats in the area, but permit is the main attraction at Tarpon Caye.  On the top half of the tide, permit predictably flood the dozens of flats found within a 5 – 20 minute run of the Caye.  These are skinny, gin-clear ocean water flats and dorsal as well as caudal fins are frequently out of the water.  While you can skiff fish, it’s often more productive to wade these firm, shallow flats.  It’s not unusual to have 20 or more legitimate shots over a tide. 

Typical Permit from Tarpon Caye Lodge

Love at First Sight

 Tarpon Caye Lodge is owned by “Permit Guru”, Charlie Leslie who has spent over 35 years guiding permit anglers on these flats.   What distinguishes the fishing program from more conventional “8 to 4” lodge programs is that they will fish the tides.   ‘We do fishing here’, is Charlie’s motto, and he means it.  If you are there over a full or new moon, your highest tides occur during the middle of the day and thus the best permit fishing will be during the midday hours.  However if your stay coincides with a quarter moon when low tide typically occurs around midday, Charlie will schedule “split day” fishing.  For example, during these tides, you might fish from first light until the permit leave the flats with the falling tide, say from 5:30 to 8:30 am.  You’ll then return to the lodge for a breakfast/brunch, and a siesta.  Around 2:00 pm, you’ll head back out to meet the permit returning to the flats on the incoming tide, and fish until dark.

Accommodations are in basic but comfortable double occupancy cabañas on stilts, each with full tiled bath with hot and cold water and generated electricity. The clubhouse features the bar and dining room where guests enjoy libations and excellent meals featuring the freshest local seafood.

Tarpon Caye Lodge is competitively priced and is currently offering a special for 7 nights/6-days fishing for $1,999 per person double occupancy.

Permit Alley is a challenging fishery to be sure, but if stalking tailing permit on foot on gin-clear flats appeals to you, you owe it to yourself to take the challenge!

Reservations: Angler Adventures, 800-628-1447; info@angleradventures.com, Additional information on Tarpon Caye Lodge: http://www.angleradventures.com/tarponcaye/

What is a Gyno Crab

December 3, 2010

Dr. Ralph Cifaldi’s Gyno Crab – Tied by Doug Schlink

The Gyno Crab as tied by Doug Schlink

Mid-Morning Permit Snack

Hook: Daiichi X452 or similar in #2 or #4
Thread: Danvilles Flat Wax, Fl. Green
Weight: Lead Eyes – sized to water depth and hook size
Tail: Appx 2 – 2 ½ inches, Polar bear, dyed golden orange (Rit golden yellow dye does it) and barred with a dark brown (*) marking pen
Body: 8 pieces of Tan Aunt Lydia’s Rug Yarn (Antron) figure-eighted in (Merkin fashion) on top of hook shank, and trimmed to appx dime shape.
Legs: 2 (**) Amber/flecked black Sili-Legs, square knotted in (Merkin style), trimmed slightly long (about 1 inch) and set with Krazy Glue (***)

 * I didn’t have a dark brown pen, just dark umber. The barring should be darker – more contrasting.
** While conventional wisdom would dictate 3 legs (per side), Ralph contends permit can’t count, so this is tied true to his original pattern (which worked, so apparently they can’t count).
*** I didn’t have any Krazy Glue handy – just used some head cement. Ralph put drops of Krazy Glue on the legs near the edges of the yarn body (and worked into the yarn slightly) to keep these sticking out at the appropriate angles.

 Angler Adventures 800-628-1447 – 860-434-9624
Fax 860-434-8605
E-Mail:Info@angleradventures.com
PO Box 872, Old Lyme, CT 06371
web site: www.AnglerAdventures.com

Remembering The Gyno Crab

November 26, 2010


NOV 6 – 13, 2004, I was one of a party of 8 very talented flyfishers and great guys who descended on Casa Blanca on Mexico’s Ascension Bay

in quest of permit. The first day out, just a couple were taken, one by first time permit fisher Dr. Ralph Cifaldi. Ralph was using a crab pattern of his own concoction; a variation on the Dorsey Kwan, distinguished by a long tail of amber dyed polar bear barred with a brown marking pen.
  
Taken with a Gyno Crab

"Tara" with a nice Ascension Bay Permit

The second day, there was better success in the group, with Ralph coming in as top rod with a “hat trick” – 3 more permit on this just his second day chasing permit! This piqued our interest a bit more in Ralphy’s unorthodox pattern.

 

The third day, more permit were released by the group, but again the top rod was Doc Ralph, with another hat trick! 3 days into the trip and Ralphy had 7 permit under his belt. The excitement over Ralphy’s fly grew, and being the generous soul that he is, he stayed up late cranking out more of his crab patterns so as to present each one of us with one at breakfast.
 
There was no doubt in my mind what fly to tie on that morning! We ran back into the bay, inside of the tip of Vigia Grande. The wind had slightly clouded the water along the south side of the bay, and my superb guide Manuel (Tarantula) worked the edge between the cloudy and the clear water. Suddenly I spotted a huge permit working up tide toward us. I called to Manuel and he kicked the boat right, and with a couple of strong pushes on the pole put me in position to intercept the fish. I launched Ralph’s fly, it landed perfectly, I made a one-foot long strip and the big fish quivered, lunged forward and ate it. It immediately took off on a searing and what I expected to be a “reel-emptying” run. But about 70 yards out, it just stopped, and slowly pulled. I looked at the bottom and it was moving. Yes, now he was just leisurely towing the boat across the bay! This went on for 42 minutes until finally we got the fish close enough to tail it. But Manuel couldn’t get it over the gunnel! Finally, he went over the side in chest deep water to “wrassle” the beast into submission. We didn’t have a boga grip, but Manuel said his largest “bogaed” fish was 38 pounds, and allowed as how this guy was just about as big! We settled on 35 as an estimate.
  

By the end of the week, our party of 8 had tallied an amazing 35 permit on fly, and quite a few over 20 pounds. And Ralph’s pattern accounted for 17 of these, and the fly didn’t even a name. The last evening, our group sat around the palapa having beers and trying to come up with an appropriate name for Dr. Ralph’s (a gynecologist by the way) remarkable fly. Finally John Canavari burst out, “I’ve got it! The Gyno Crab”. And the name stuck. Google it!
I can’t swear there’s something special about the pattern – maybe it was just a case of a lot of happy permit eating well. But if any fly catches any permit, I want to have it in my arsenal! Hope this works as well for you.

 Angler Adventures

800-628-1447 – 860-434-9624
Fax 860-434-8605
E-Mail:Info@angleradventures.com
PO Box 872, Old Lyme, CT 06371
web site: www.AnglerAdventures.com


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