Monthly Archives: January 2020

Fly of the Month – Satkowski’s Battletoad

Guest Blogger: John Satkowski, Toledo, OH, fly tying demonstrator and instructor, you can find him @ River Raisin Fly Company on Facebook


The rivers near home were all blown out due to some storms we had roll through. I had been thinking about some frog patterns I have been working on and one day it just clicked in my head. I was looking at some tutorials online from Johnny King and his “v” style tying would be great for not only the head of the fly, but the whole body as well. I tie a couple of baitfish imitations this way and thought I could pull off the shape of the frog as well using this style. The first couple flies were a bit too large but did get hit, but were kind of tough to throw with the materials I was using and were not hooking fish well. I switched over to some Fuzzy Fiber and ditched the shank and stinger hook configuration and this pattern was born.

With the rivers about two feet too high, I would have to find somewhere else to fish. I ended up going with my fishing buddy Andy to a series of ponds that he knew about. I brought out the frog and fished it around some lily pads and over the top of some weedbeds and it absolutely got slammed. I did have a bit of an issue with the weeds so I went back home after fishing and started playing around with some weedguards. The final design swims underwater very naturally with its long legs kicking, just like that of a real frog. A lot of frog patterns are made only for the top, this pattern gets down and swims just like a real frog evading a hungry bass. It can also be worked a little quicker and you can bulge and skip it on the surface for spectacular strikes. This is a fun pattern to tie and an even more fun pattern to fish. It is not that hard to tie, especially after you master the “v” tie style. Come tie my Battletoad and take it out for an evening, you will not be disappointed. more…

Mack Attack!

Guest Blogger: Capt. Jim Klopfer, Sarasota Fishing Charters

Mack Attack!

Joe made a long cast, allowed the fly to sink for several seconds, and then began the retrieve. On the third strip, the line was yanked violently from his hand! Joe was shortly “on the reel” as the fish made a blistering run. After a tenacious battle, a four pound Spanish mackerel was brought alongside, hoisted for a quick photo, and then released to please another angler.

In some regards, Spanish mackerel are an under rated gamefish. In Florida, tarpon, redfish, bonefish, permit, and snook get a lot of press, but “Spanny-macks” are a terrific fish to target on fly! They are fast, aggressive, beautiful, abundant, and great eating for anglers who want to keep a fish for a meal.

Spanish mackerel range and habits

Spanish mackerel are a pelagic species that are found along the US coast from Texas, around Florida, and up to the mid Atlantic states. They can be caught in the inshore bays, along the beaches, in passes and inlets, and in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Ideal water temperature in from the upper 60’s to mid 70’s. more…

Going Up North

Guest Blogger: John Satkowski, Toledo, OH, fly tying demonstrator and instructor, you can find him @ River Raisin Fly Company on Facebook

The coffee was hot and the last drop of grease from my sausage breakfast sandwich was still lingering on my top lip as we crossed the threshold of the Zilwaukee Bridge. When you cross the bridge, you kind of know you are “up north”. Trout of any species were the target and we were going to fish hard for the next two days. We usually leave southeastern Michigan at 2:00 am to get to the river by a little before first light. Michigan’s Au Sable River is one of my favorite places to fish on this earth and I consider myself lucky to have it located in the state where I was born and raised. The river has brook, brown, and rainbow trout in many areas along the scenic banks of northern Michigan. Its beauty is only matched by its rich history and conservation.

The moment you step out of the car, you are greeted by the wonderful aroma of pine and the kind of air that catches dreams. The ever present bald eagle soaring over the river in the distance or the almost audible hum of the many prolific hatches on this historic water engrain themselves into your memory. Whenever life becomes a little too real, I close my eyes and return to this magical place in my mind. Even just driving to the different places to fish offers a glimpse into the logging life of northern Michigan and the Grayling area. If you are not into fishing, there certainly is enough beauty and history to study but we were here for the fish. A quick stop to the Old Au Sable Fly Shop gave us a bit of insight into the current hatches and water levels. I laced up my boots, put my pack around my back, and started down the steps to take my first step into the sandy, crystal clear waters. “Au Sable” in French means in the sand and you will find these sandy banks all along the river’s edges. more…