Giant Tiger!

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With the fourth annual Bug Chucker Cup ready to get underway Joel Wiebe and I had drawn Twin Lake as our morning venue. Having pre-fished Twin the day before and having a subpar day, Joel and I were less than enthusiastic about drawing it right off the hop.

Friday May 29th, 2015
6:30 am: Alarm clock goes off
6:44 am: Send text to Joel “Don’t want to jinx it but after this morning Giant Tiger is going to want to sponsor us”
7:00 am: Breakfast… translation… coffee and a Gatorade to rehydrate from a few Stanley Cup Playoff beers the night before.
The day started off just like any typical fishing day; with a renewed optimism and a discussion of what we would be happy with at the end of the day. The sessions being only three hours long we decided our goal would be eight Tigers, two of those being Master Anglers… like I said “renewed optimism”. Another conversation that fills the Tacoma on every fishing trip is our very sarcastic discussion on starting flies and fly selection.
Joel: “Let me guess you’re starting with Mudhounds and Micro leeches?”
Paul: “I’m sorry is there another fly I should be aware of?”
Joel: “Backswimmers and boatmen.”
Paul: “How many times have I told you trout hate backswimmers and boatmen.”
Joel: (laughs) “What about the Zuddler?”
Paul: “Never heard of it.” (laughs)

The banter continues back and forth as Joel sorts through his 6 fly boxes and places them on two foam pads for his float tube. I look over into Joel’s fly selection and notice a few Mudhounds and Micro leeches in the mix.
Paul: “Funny I have only been fishing the Parklands for two years yet none of your flies are in my box and a couple of my patterns are in yours.”
Joel: (laughs) “They aren’t in the starting line up yet, this is just my roster.”
8:00 am: We arrive at Twin Lake, gear up and meet some of our fellow competitors.
8:30 am: Joel in a float tube and myself in the pram, we start on the west side of Twin, next to the hill about 50 feet from shore. We come to the conclusion that the best way to find the fish is to cover the water column. Joel starts off with an intermediate slow sinking line and I start with a Di5 (5 inches per second sinking line).
10:00 am: The Fish

An hour or so passes, we decide to pick up anchor and move south, fish a couple hundred feet offshore in about 6 feet of water. I’m slowly lowering my anchor down when I hear the water explode followed by “Yep!” I look up and see Joel has hooked up into a big fish. After thrashing on top of the water for a few seconds, the fish takes a dive down trying to escape. Shortly after the fish surfaces again, when a few fly fishers move in for a closer look and comment, “looks like a 22 incher.” As the Tiger continues to thrash and peel away line back to shore, Joel found the time for a quick rebuttal, “It’s bigger than dat.” (Yes, the fish gave Joel a momentary speech impediment). Then it was back to fighting the fish. She flew out of the water with four consecutive dolphin jumps and another run before Joel successfully netted the fish. I line the Tiger up on the measuring board provided for the tournament and it comes in a shade over 28 INCHES! The tail was two inches wider than the six inch measuring board. A beast of a fish “A GIANT TIGER.” Joel releases the Tiger as we share some laughs, a high five and his smile says it all.

11:30 am: The horn sounds to signal the end of the session.

We get back to shore and I hear a competitor asking Joel how he did and he responds “Not bad, we managed a few fish between us.” Joel being a humble fisherman, I knew it was my job as his friend to step up and boast about his catch (even though his smile clearly hadn’t faded and it was obvious he had a great day). I respond with “Not bad? If you consider a 28 inch trout not bad then yes, Joel had a ‘not bad’ day on the water.” After the shock of hearing that a 28 inch Tiger had been caught, there were congratulations all around.

12:00 pm: Lunch at Persse Lake
Paul: “What fly did you pick that guy up on?”
Joel: (pause) “I switched to a black Mudhound once it clouded over.”
Paul: (laughs) “I’m sorry what? Can you repeat that?”
Joel: (laughs) “I told you it was on the roster.”

The day ends with us driving back to Roblin reminiscing back and forth about the 5 minutes of awesome and random shout outs of “IT’S BIGGER THAN DAT”. Although this giant Tiger was picked up on the fly, shore fishing, ice fishing and spin casting have all yielded huge Master Angler Tigers out of Twin. It was a very fortunate day on the lake and I had front row seats for the show. A new provincial record was set, but Joel and I are both fairly confident there is a “Gianter” Tiger in there.

Joel Wiebe’s Setup
Mudhounds
When fly fishing the Parklands you will see many different set ups; from four weight to eight weight rods, flies measuring half a centimeter to ten centimetres and watercrafts ranging from float tubes to 18 foot Deep V’s. You will also see anglers employing different presentations from trolling flies, using bobbers or casting. They all work, whatever floats your boat… but I will tell you it is hard to beat laying out that perfect cast out and having the water explode a split second after the fly hits the water. Casting was the technique used on this day. Joel’s set up for his massive catch started with a nine foot six weight medium-fast action rod (Sage Launch). The rod was paired up with a Pflueger Trion 6/7 lined with an Airflo Sixth Sense WF6/7 Fast Intermediate. As far as the leader is concerned, Joel simply runs four feet of 8lb fluorocarbon tapered down to three feet of 6lb fluorocarbon. The final ingredient at the end of the fly line was a size two black Manitoba Mudhound.

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Paul Shapka

Paul has slowly been working his way east, fly rod in hand. Leaving the Pacific Salmon of Vancouver Island and wild trout of Alberta in his rear view mirror, he now finds himself dialed in on the trophy trout of Manitoba. Paul can often be spotted in the Parklands on his Manitoba Skiff….aka Jon Boat, with his trusty boat dog Whiskey.

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