Day one with Captain Gabe Nyblad, who owns Tail Chasin’ Charters, ended with my first tarpon. The day started slow but gradually built momentum and finally peaked, just as a good day should.

Earlier in the day I got a bite from the first juvenile tarpon Gabe put me on. Then hours later I connected with the first shot at an adult but I blew that chance with a short strip strike followed by a big, very bad, trout set.

Though thankfully after a few more shots I was given another happy tarpon that engulfed the tiny fly, I did’t trout set and after several good jumps and a big run we put the silver beauty next to the boat for a pic.

On day two we fished miles of beautiful flats and varied species with a couple shots at permit and many chances at barracuda, juvenile and adult tarpon. With a combination of poor casting and much less agreeable fish we had little luck getting anything on the end of our lines. Though my friend Jack did manage his first permit using a live shrimp. With permit everything happens so fast, so it’s all very exciting. Adding to that excitement was that a shark flashed on Jack’s hooked permit making Gabe crank the big motor that in the trimmed position sprayed water for thirty feet in a successful attempt to scare away the shark.

We picked day three, because of the weather forecasts, to take my wife and daughter fishing in Gabe’s bigger boat. On this day clouds and wind were on the menu but it couldn’t have worked out better, because what would have been a tough flats day ended up being a perfect day to soak a chum on anchor and fish for everything that swims.

We caught dozens of species including my twelve year old landing two, near hundred pound sharks with no assistance. We actually had two sharks eaten at boat side by grouper, wow. At dinner that night my daughter commented on the cycle of life. She caught a yellow-tail on a shrimp, then we used the yellow-tail to catch a three foot shark who was then eaten by an enormous grouper.

Captain Gabe is a patient and hard working guide who knows where to find fish and then how to hook them. There was never a moment when I thought that we would be better off with another guide. I would without hesitation recommend booking a trip with Gabe.

Sorry for only my tarpon pics that are from Gabe’s phone, no download cable for my camera to show you all the other cool stuff.

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Michigan Public Radio had an article on the future of pacific salmon in the Great Lakes. It doesn’t look to promising if your a fan of the salmon. I get that the lakes are changing and pacific salmon aren’t a good fit because they need large populations of baitfish but is anyone talking about increasing stocking numbers for atlantic salmon, steelhead and lake run browns.

To read or listen to the Michigan Public Radio article click here.

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As many of you know, steelhead fishing has been very good this season.  Last week, Bill from Chicago booked me for two days.  The first day we did well on the traditional steelhead routine, netting several nice fish.  Toward the end of the day Bill says, “Had a great day, but what about tomorrow, can we do something different?”

I tell him that we can try for drop backs and trout in the holes, maybe throw some streamers, we could head to the lower river or we could even try another river.

He asks me, “What about dry flies?”

“No.”

“Can you catch steelhead on the surface?”

I say, “Very rarely and not here,” but I do tell him that a few are caught in the summer and even mention Matt’s fish from last summer.

Bill asks if I’ve ever tried these fish (spring spawners) on the surface. And again I say, “No,” and add, “Bill, these fish often spook when they see an indicator.”

He follows up with, ”Well if you were going to try, what would you use?”

“Bill, it just won’t happen but to answer your question, it would be low light and I’d probably swing a big mouse, but again, surface fishing would be a waste of time.”

Then Bill asks the final question, “Can we try a mouse in the morning?” and I can only say “Yep”.

This post is from April 1st, 2012 and you can view the entire post by clicking here.

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Several times a week I reply to folks interested in visiting Beaver Island for the first time. Beaver Island is the perfect place to bring your family for fishing, relaxing and a little fun on the beach. Though it also works for a buddy trip, fishing all day and then having a few beers with dinner at one of the island’s pubs.

When To Visit?
We are on the island from late May through early August each year and you should feel confident booking throughout that time. Earliest in the season has the biggest fish (pre spawn) and hottest fishing when the weather is cooperative. Though with the water in Lake Michigan still cold your rarely without a jacket and waders until July and when the weather turns gray and cold so does the fishing.

As the season progresses, the fishing becomes more dependable and so does the weather. Though with Lake Michigan warming and the spawn a thing of the past the fish have less reason to come shallow, so there are simply less fish on any given day when compared to earlier in the season.

Another point to mention would be that earlier in the season we are more often wade fishing to very shallow fish, then as the season progresses we are spending more and more time targeting deeper tailing fish from the boat.

How To Get To The Island?
Most people will want to get themselves to Charlevoix Michigan, about an hour north of Traverse City. From Charlevoix you will take one of the Beaver Island Boat Company ferries. The ferry cost is $65 per person and takes about 5 hours round trip. You can also fly with either Island Airways or Fresh Air both services have several daily flights to and from Charlevoix and Beaver. The flight cost is a little more than $100 per person and takes about an hour round trip.

If your flying to Michigan there are a couple choices. You can get a rental and make the drive to Charlevoix and then take one of the above mentioned options. You can also fly into Traverse City and have either Island Air or Fresh Air pick you up in Traverse. This option is very convenient and affordable if you have several people in your group. You can also charter them to and from other airports but the price goes up the further you get from Beaver Island. Give the air services a call for current pricing.

Oma’s Taxi also shuttles people to and from Traverse and Charlevoix, last I checked it was $89 one way, a very economical option.

Where to Stay?
There is just about every type of lodging option on Beaver Island, ranging from reasonably priced hotels to plush beach house rentals.

Hotels Listed Somewhat in Order of Price:
Beaver Island Lodge – Beautiful view overlooking the north end and outer islands with fine dining on site.
Oak Woods Lodge – Within walking distance to town, Teresa is the best hostess I’ve ever seen and runs a very clean place.
Harbor View Motel – Nice clean place overlooking town and the harbor.
Erin Motel – Right on the harbor and downtown!
The Brother’s Place – Dormitory style lodging but very affordable and close to town.

Bed & Breakfasts:
North Island Outfitters (Shanoule Lodge) – A beautiful log lodge.
Lazy K Farms – Located on a horse farm.

House and Cabin Rentals:
McDonough Rentals – Several house, cabin and apartment options to choose from. Tammy does a great job with the rentals and we have a lot of people stay in them.
Isle Haven Resort – Neat place located on the harbor just outside town.
Visit the Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce site for many more house and cabin options.

Car Rentals:
Beaver Island Marine
Gordon’s Car Rental

Other Services:
Happy Paddle – Bike, kayak and paddle board rentals.

Camping: There are two campgrounds on the island, click here for more details.

Food and Dining: There are several options for dining on the island ranging from everything between fine to ice cream shop burgers and pizza and your in luck because they all have good food and service. There is also a very nice grocery on the island with everything you need to cook whatever you’d like.

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