RETURN TO VERMONT PT 2
lake champlain and lake carmi
as ive said many times before ken makes an outstanding breakfast probably due to his younger days as a server in burger king (when i found this out mid trip i then proceeded to say "do you want fries with that " everytime he asked for something much to my amusement" ) , anyway we decided this day we would head out to the big lake "champlain" where i had an amazing time last trip with all sorts coming to the boat so i was kinda pumped for doing this , ken had checked the weather and although windy it was due to flateen off early evening so we decided it would be pike time . i still hadn't got a champlain pike yet so was something i was keen to get into and ad to my list .
we made up the rods before we took off , so much easier just to break em down and store ready to throw together and get fishing asap , i also love kens boat , perfect for zipping about in the shallow water and have some great memories of the last trip on this so was kinda cool to be in it again and ken has it fitted out to be fly fishing friendly , great boat .
ken had chosen the launch spot the aptly named "rock river"
of course there was a bridge over it so as every fisherman all over the world does i went and looked over it , had to be very carefull though crossing the road as the cars come from the opposite direction , which is actually really bizarre for the head , if youve been to the states youll know what i mean . thankfully i got to look off both sides without becoming road kill .
actually talking about road kill , ken is hilarious when driving as youll be going along quite nicely chatting away when he will make a weird guttural sound and slow down turn to you and say "did you see that" , this is the point that you realize he has seen dead meat on the road so its kinda like a tye it or fry it situation and if its a fry it well that whats on the menu for the night , i have become quite good at diverting his pea sized brain away from roadkill so thankfully we wont be having flattened skunk at this evenings bbq ...............close call though
one thing i have noticed with ken is that his boat launching skills have improved no end and most of the time he actually gets the boat in first time and usually on the slip , he also has upgraded his engine so looking forward to this one
so the boat in the water and straight away im seeing loads of small baitfish on the surface and occasional splashes where predators are hitting them , fascinating to watch if i had bought the 3 wgt with me i would have chucked on the small minnow flies i tied but i didnt and ken was keen to get out on the lake chasing pike , just the place looked very fishy ......oh well next time maybe
as i was standing in the water , looking at the baitfish i saw this bloody snake coming straight at me , sorry i dont do snakes i was out the water in a flash leaving one croc in the mud , nope aint doing snakes , so after it had slithered away into the rushes i retrieved my croc and jumped straight in the boat ,much to kens amusement and i believe he uttered the words , stupid rock tosser
a couple of shots of the rock river apparently theres quite a lot of carp in here , imagine if this was the uk it would be lined with people with bivvys and being charged 50 quid a day to fish it lol anyway mabey on my next trip ill get a chance to fish for them .
so lake Champlain , let me tell you if you didn't know , the place is big let me give you a few facts
size -435 square miles of water
length - 120 miles
width - 12 miles at its widest point
depth - average depth is 64 feet but the deepest point is between Charlotte vt and essex ny where it goes down to 400 feet
amount of shoreline - 587 miles
islands - 71
watershed - 8,234 squre miles
there are - 318 bird species on or near it
has over 90 species of fish and is considered one of the top 5 bass waters in the usa
oh and theres champ (the U.S equivalent to nessie) but thats a different story
so we headed out to kens favorite hunting grounds on missisquoi bay which by the way is around 14 miles wide at its widest point and an average depth of 15 feet , although the water was a lot shallower at the moment due to lack of rain so we were fishing in the 6 to 10 ft bracket .
we headed out and it was clear to see ken was on the ball and putting us on marks he fishes himself by lining up shore marks , something i also do myself , constantly watching the shore and looking over his shoulder .
ken cut the engine and we slowed down to an almost stop then flies hit the water , ken did say the water was very colored and indeed it was a lot more colored than my previous trip to the point i could only see the fly a few feet away in the water.
almost straight away ken was into a fish (the boy knows his stuff )
after a lively and spirited fight a fine slab of vermont snotrocket was in the boat , things were looking good
i had opted to use one of the new Shakespeare agility 2 fly rods on this trip , i actually bought it as a back up for my pikesabre but as it happens i was so impressed with it i just used it for most of the trip the rod itself is pretty much an upgrade from the previous agility fly rods they had out , this was the #10 wgt which i coupled with a fast sink #11 line ,handled it brilliant with big sinking subbugs , in fact every cast i was into the backing and this was into the wind , a serious bit of kit absolutely recommend it either for a back up rod or a first pike fly rod , you cant go wrong for the cash.
after ken fish i changed over to a classic big 12 inch red head flash fly , hoping to get a reaction from the flash rather than seeing it as an item of food , im a great believer in winding up the predator even if it aint hungry , get something past it to annoy it and 9 times out of 10 it will smash into it .
this is where things went dreadfully wrong
we started drifting over big weed channels so i put the fly at full line length in between the weed a gap of about 3 feet all the way down the weedline even with the wind i was impressed i got it where i wanted it , when the fly was around 20 foot from the boat , BANG the rod arched over and i knew straight away this wasnt a pike , as i got the fish under the rod i looked over to see a massive paddle like tail of a largemouth bass , ken was "dude thats frikin massive" as he said that the line went loose as it dived , for a moment i thought it had come back up so i stripped the line and came to where the braided loop should have been .
im still having nightmares about this because the loop was completely gone along with leader , and i dont know why , i tye all my own loops and have never lost a fish yet , i test all before i go on the water in fact i have a routine when i rig up , i have no idea at all , suffice to say it lost me my biggest largemouth this is going to haunt me for a long time . nothing else i can say about it
as i was re rigging ken hooked into another pike , they really fight these champlain fish
they also have a great silver/white color about them , as per normal picture taken and the fish was released without harm and with a big swish of its tail it went back to the depths surley my time would be next .
things then started to get a little hairy weather wise , the predicted calm down of wind didn't really happen but everything looked perfect the sun was starting to set it was still warm you'd think the predators would be all over the flies .
but no something didnt feel right we chopped and changed flies from surface flies to bottom flies , bright colors to natural colors nothing was going down , the wind was starting to really push us and ken made the call to head back into the shore , safety always comes first and you dont want to be in trouble on a lake this size , the ride in was quite lumpy right till we got into the mouth of the river so the call was right , although we did chuck a couple at the river mouth but ken said he did have fish from this area but as he said it was usually when there was more water in it .
but hey we certainly tried
so we hitched the boat up and headed back to kens via the local shop for movie snacks (we are both big horror movie fans )as we stood by the checkout the lady asked ken if that was all , ken said yes and of course i said "are you sure i thought you wanted some trojans for you and boris the animal later" always makes me laugh ken not so :-)
where ken lives is actually quite rural and very dark , not much in the of street lights and to be honest i kinda like that , so as we were travelling back along a darkened road ken was like "holy crap look a ufo " i turned to my right and there was some quite bright lights just above the treeline a fair distance from us . "ken bro thats a fecking helicopter" "its not look at it " "bro its got a flashing light at the back and underneath and besides if a ufo was here they are looking for intelligent life to abduct , your quite safe bro " "ken - so you fancy carmi tomorrow bro . dumb redneck
last time i was here i had an absolute blast on this lake had trophy sized smallmouth bass great yellow perch and rockbass so this time i was looking forward to tackling the pike on there
targets acquired or idiots loaded up , take your pick .
carmi what can i tell you , well
around the lake is 7.5 miles with an average depth of 20ft and around 33ft at its deepest so actually quite a tasty predator water , besides pike there is a whole host of other species in there as well .
ken did say that this was around the time he started fishing carmi for pike so hopes where high
ken doing his location finding thing . we hit a few of kens favorite spots and fished large white bucktail flies on sinking lines , this was one of kens patterns which he showed me how to tye , well actually he was tying it and when he finished i stole it , well he already had one so he didnt really need two did he , and it looked great in the water , a pattern ill be making a few up off for those rare days i get on the water over hear .
indeed carmi is a beautiful lake and to be honest looking around it could have been any one of a number of lochs in scotland , i always notice that Vermont is so like Scotland in so many ways , well except for the cool food like pumpkin doughnuts , seriously pumpkin doughnuts are so good and java monster coffee , hell we drunk so much of this and the other energy drink that actually turned our pee luminous green , whic was somewhat worrying
anyway i digress , so we went from spot to spot trawled the bottom got in among the weed but not a touch , we then headed across the lake to a more rocky bottom spot and hear we actually had a few hits mid water but couldn't connect so after a while and with the sun starting to set we headed across to the other side again where i had some great smallmouth before , 1st drift ken had a nice smallmouth but that was about it , i had noticed that the water was a lot more coloured than last time i was here and i was thinking mabey id left it a little too late coming over but as ken wasn't catching i really didnt feel that bad i mean this is his backyard .
but hey thats fishing and to be honest floating around with ken all day is a blast the fish are a bonus
so we called it a day and headed somewhat deflated back to the launch and back to kens to discuss plans over a bbq (thankfully not roadkill) and have a bash around on his quad all good fun
so today was a bit of a none start which was a bummer for me but hey thats fishing and to be honest we had tried lots of different things and methods , but i suppose if it aint happening it aint happening nothing you can do about it but i was out with dan the following day as ken had to work chasing wild brook trout and wild rainbows in shallow water .
ken has his own unique way of getting the bbq started and i suppose its making the best of his best natural resources
so we enjoyed the rest of the evening eating bbq around the outdoor campfire discussing what was happening and what the plans would be for the coming days and trying to avoid being bitten by weird flying stuff and off course when we had done we retired indoors to annoy alexa with my funny accent , she dosnt quite understand when you call her a dick :-)
kens wife Naomi had also prepared pizza for us which actually was better than the stuff you get delivered so we chilled out and started to watch hellraiser , actually quite funny because ken was asleep within the first 20 mins of the movie , i resisted the urge to shave his eyebrows off which believe me was quite hard
so another day done and another to look forward too .
part 3 ill be heading up some remote places with brother dan looking for wild trout stay tuned for this next week