Smoke On (and off) The Water

  • By: Thomas R. Pero
  • Photography by: Thomas R. Pero
Cigars

Cigars and fly-fishing go together. Norman Rockwell may have portrayed a genial, grandfatherly angler serenely smoking his pipe, but the irascible Vincent Marinaro, wizard of the Letort, counted the rhythm between a brown trout’s rises while puffing on a Havana Punch-Punch. And Robert Traver, the wise old Michigan judge and novelist, offered this advice in Trout Madness (1960), one of my favorite fishing books of all time: “If you are hardy enough, smoke Italian cigars. They smell like a burning peat bog mixed with smoldering Bermuda onions but they’re the best damned unlabeled DDT on the market; all mosquitoes in the same township immediately shrivel and zoom to earth.”

Times have changed. Today’s fly fisher looking forward to adding a fine cigar or two to his or her next watery adventure is confronted with a confusing thicket of hundreds of brands in thousands of sizes. Which to choose? Let me make it easy. Here are my picks for six superb hand-rolled smokes in a range of taste, sizes and prices. These cigars draw beautifully and burn evenly. Each one is extraordinary.

The Best of Muskie Country

  • By: Brad Bohen
  • Photography by: Tosh Brown
Towee Boats - Guide tested skiffs.   

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  • Best Place to Catch Your First Muskie
  • Best Place For A 50-Pounder
  • One River For Eternity
  • One Fly For Eternity
  • Must-Have Meal
  • Best Bar
  • Best Nightlife

Muskie Tribe

  • By: Brad Bohen
  • Photography by: Tosh Brown
brad_bohen_muskie_tribe.jpg 

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I used to be a blissfully happy trout angler living a normal life in southwest Montana, catching dozens of fish a day on tiny dries or great big streamers. I had a job, a life, a routine. Now I’m a bachelor living in the Wisconsin northwoods, packing a fly box the size of a briefcase, and I’m happy when I boat a single fish in a long day on the water. My only routine is treating chronically slashed-up hands and healing my pride after it is trounced by what has become the focus of my life—the muskellunge.

So why did I give up trout and take on this highly predatory and confounding fish? The answer is this: The pull of my home state was too strong to ignore, and I wanted to rediscover myself, find my soul, on the water, while mastering what many considered an impossible task—regularly taking muskie with flies.

Presentation

  • Photography by: Tosh Brown
Tosh Brown Fmt

Blake Brown takes his shot at “cruising” carp near Spofford, Texas.

Blowing it Up

  • By: Robert S Tomes
  • Photography by: Tosh Brown
Blowing It Up    

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Whether you realize it or not, modern fly-fishing is guided by an age-old code of conduct with specific rules that help you catch more fish and, in some cases, keep the peace. Among those rules: don’t spook the fish; don’t drag your fly; keep your tip up; let the fish run; and never, ever give away a friend’s secret spot.

That’s all true in the world of trout, but in the Midwest and its emerging world of muskie fly-fishing, anglers are smashing those rules by blending elements of conventional and saltwater techniques, including big flies and figure-eight retrieves, to take muskie, with regularity, on flies.