Monday, February 28, 2011

Meal Ticket takes the west by storm...?

Those that have fished with me over the last few years have almost certainly seen the Meal Ticket come out for action at some point. It has been a go to fly for me for some time and so was one of the first flies I did a detailed step by step of to be used in tying classes. Some months ago I decided to get my act together and submitted it the editor of Eastern Fly Fishing for consideration in their Eastern, Northwest or Southwest publication. I arrived home from the Grand River Fly Tyers Celebration of Fly Tying on Saturday to see a notification from them that it made it to print in the March/April 2011 edition of Northwest Fly Fishing. I excitedly pulled it up their website and, sure enough, there it is on page 68; pretty cool to see as this is my first article to make it to print in one of the major paper publications. I have not seen it in person yet but hopefully have a copy on the way.

The long version of the Meal Ticket step by step was posted a while back, along with underwater video of the fly, at the Steelhead Alley Fly Tying blog.

-mike schmidt

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hog Johnson sighting...

I woke up this morning to an email from ACF customer Brock Dixon that I should check out the recent Moldy Chum SOTM additions. Groggily booted up and went to the site, and...WOOF! Staring back in my face was 28" of Bull Shoals brown trout with an ACF tied Senyo Shaggy Minnow still in it's chomper! Powerful thick old shoulders and a bifurcated top lip to accept the kype...solid fish to say the least. Congratulations Brock and thanks for the heads up.

-mike schmidt

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A couple more flies to Orvis for 2012!

Well, I got more good news a few days ago about some flies I have been kicking around local watersheds. Back on February 3rd I posted the Fuzzy Nibblet and Gorgon Craw here, and now have that official word that Orvis is picking them both up for their 2012 lineup!

These two flies have been successful in warmwater applications this past season, and now, after a clients recent trip, I have been told that the variations that tied on stainless hooks were well received on the Bahamian flats as well.

The 2012 Orvis lineup will be available December 2011, but in the meantime I know a place you can get them to fish this coming season...

-mike schmidt

Monday, February 21, 2011

Step by step: Mike's Voodoo Squatch

Thread: UTC140 denier, tan
Hook1: Gamagatsu B10S size 2/0
Hook2: Daiichi 2141 size 1
Tail: Matabou, tan
Body1: Marabou, tan and yellow
Body2: Bucktail, tan and yellow
Flash: Magnum Holographic Flashabou, yellow
Head: Senyo Laser Dub, rusty bronze and dark tan
Eyes: 3D Epoxy, Super Pearl 1/2"
Connection: Beadalon, 19 strand .018"

Alternative color combinations: All black, olive over tan, green over orange, red over white

STEP 1: With your Daiichi 2141 size 1 in the vise get your thread started and wrapped to the back of the hook shank. Once at the rear tie in point, located above the midpoint of the hook spear, tie a single marabou feather hanging approximately one hook length off the back of the hook. Tightly wrap the material forward about two thirds of the hook shank then return your thread to the mid-point of the shank.

STEP 2: Tie in three strands of Holographic Flashabou in the middle of the strands then fold them back over and tie them securely down, resulting in six strands hanging off the back of the hook. Tying the Flashabou in by the middle prevents the material from slipping out. The Holographic flashabou should be trimmed to be approximately the length of the marabou tail.

STEP 3: Advance your thread forward towards the eye. About one eye width back on the shank tie in a single tan marabou feather on top of the hook shank and one yellow below. The feathers should be tied in so that the tips taper down towards the tail. Once tied in go ahead and cut off the butt ends of the marabou and create a smooth thread head.

STEP 4: Place the Gamagatsu B10S size 2/0 in the vise and attach the rear hook using Beadalon. For this fly it will be approximately three inches of 19 strand .018" Beadalon threaded through the eye of the rear hook and use three size E glass beads to keep the loop closed. Tie under maximum pressure from the rear to the front and back, then tie the fly. If done under maximum pressure with good coverage no further action is needed to secure the hooks.

STEP 5: About half way forward on the front hook shank tie in a single tan marabou feather on top of the hook shank and one yellow below. The feathers should be tied in so that the tips taper down about mid way through the marabou on the back hook. Tying the feathers in like this give the fly a nice tapered profile.

STEP 6: Again tie in three strands of Holographic Flashabou in the middle of the strands then fold them back over and tie them securely down, resulting in six strands hanging off the back of the hook. The Holographic flashabou on the front hook should be trimmed to taper out at about the same point as the marabou on the front hook.

STEP 7: This step involves reverse tying bucktail. Tie in a clump of tan bucktail on top of the hook shank and a clump of yellow below the hook shank, both with the tips out past the hook eye. Add a few extra tight binding wraps then reverse the hair backwards, easily done with an empty pen tube slid over the eye, and wrap down with eight to ten tight wraps.

STEP 8: Directly on top of the bucktail wraps tie in a clump of Rusty Bronze by the mid point and reverse it back over itself and brush out. Tying in the clumps here gives a nice gill effect but more importantly it serves to add some structure for the rest of the head. This stepp builds up the 'under head' so that there is a nice transition from the Laser Dub head back in to the body...maintaining a profile without gaps.

STEP 9: The head will consist of two clumps of senter tied Tan Senyo Laser Dub. Pull out a clump and work it with your fingers so that the fibers go generally the same direction. Push the clump directly over the eye of the hook then use a pair of tight wraps in the middle of the material to hold it in place. Then fold the material back over itself and secure with a few more wraps in front of it.

STEP 10: Tie in a second clump of the tan Senyo Laser Dub just behind the eye in the same manner as step9 then whip finish. These clumps should be fairly bulky as they are meant to push around enough water to really get the back of the fly doing a jig!

STEP 11: Use Loctite Gel, or similar gel glue, to apply a 1/2" 3D Epoxy eye to each side of the fly about an eye width back. Make sure to hold the eyes in place until you can feel them heating up, indicating that the chemical reaction that bonds the back of the eye to the material has taken place.

At about five and a half inches this is a fairly meaty fly. I generally fish this fly on a 6WT throwing 200gr SA Streamer Express Long. Hard jerk strips make this fly practically dance through a retrieve.

Maintaining a wet width of three quarters of an inch gives this fly a great profile from any angle.

If you have any questions that were not addressed please leave a comment and I will try to give you a more detailed explanation of the step. To purchase this pattern head over to

-mike schmidt

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Jailbreak from the tying desk

Had enough...made a jailbreak run to the river this morning and the day started off with a spectacular sunrise as I was getting close to the river. I was a bit apprehensive still from my last venture, but decided it was time to get fishy. Once I made it riverside I decided to swing for the fences and tied on a black and blue Voodoo Squatch, go big or go home. I walked WAY in to a bend I know holds fish and started upstream to get the fly wet and ready then worked my way down in to the sweet spot. On about my sixth cast a yellow spotted football with a tail bigger than my hand came raging out of the deep and just hammered the fly, two hard strip sets and it was game on! The fish went full breach like a tarpon and then did it's best salmon imitation and headed downstream. I am not ashamed to say I was slightly paniced at the sight and started sprinting to catch up and try to slow it from taking line. As I lagged farther behind it made it around one bend and kept fly line was now ripping out above about 20 yards of fist size rock and gravel. Still doing my best to slow the lost I got up on that bank and sprinted across but by the time I hit the water on the other side of that bend I was well in to my backing and the fish was not even slowing down. Unable to do anything I watched as my line way downstream headed through a root ball and then went slack. I have to say that I sat shaking with a smile on my face for a few minutes...I had not even lit up my Kristoff Limitada yet. I have not had a trout fight like that on the Mad before, usually they rip off to the nearest cover and try to bulldog in to it...guess I know better for next time!

Shortly after that debacle I heard a pitter-patter starting in the trees and watched as calm turned in to white out hail. Since it stung quite a bit I took refuge under a large tree riverside and enjoyed the cigar for about fifteen minutes until it slowed down then continued on. I never did hook another fish approaching that size but did manage three fish around 16". One came on a tan Red Rocket and two took the yellow Ice Pick I had trailing. If you have not seen the Ice Pick check it out as it is a fantastic fly from Rich Strolis of Catching Shadows:

Not a bad morning to say the least. Headed off to Montgomery Inn now for a full rack!

-mike schmidt

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A few flies from the last two nights

I've been busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest knocking out flies lately. Here's a bunch of Red Rockets, Voodoo Squatch, Meal Tickets, Conrad Sculpins, and a few other assorted goodies ready to hit the mail tomorrow. Canada, Kentucky, New York, and quite literally the four corners of the compass!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BIG ASS Ohio brown and the MRO tying class

6:07pm ring ring ring

Mike: Hello?
Ron: Hey Mike, it's Ron Lewis. You'll have to talk loud since my phone is in a vacuum bag.
Mike: Oh...OK. Sounds like you are on the river's it going?
Ron: Thought you should be the first to know...I just caught my personal best!
Mike: (internally remembering the last best at 27.5") Dude, that is sweet!
Ron: Yeah, and I caught it on that Red Rocket I got from you.
Mike: HELL YEAH, DUDE THAT IS SICK!!!! Tell me you got pictures?
Ron: Sure did, set the tripod up on the bank and got shots. I will send them when I get home.
Mike: Awesome, can't wait to see it! it is! 28 inches of baddest fish in the river; a resident brown, not a lake run. I am confident we have them bigger, but not much and definitely not many of them. This is one hell of a nice fish for anywhere let alone central Ohio. Well done Ron!

28" Mad River brown with a Red Rocket hanging from it's maw...a thing of beauty!

Took me a bit to settle down after hearing about that massive fish and get to business, but it was time to get the Mad River Outfitters Advanced tying class underway. Six guys are signed up this session so it is a very comfortably sized class. We had a great time tonight tying a few streamers and getting the feeling of what the guys want to tie in the coming weeks. Looks like a few articulated streamers, some deerhair work, parachute dries, musky fly, and maybe a tarpon fly are on the docket!

The next few days will be tying a lot of flies as usual, but after seeing Ron and having rising water coming I may have to figure out a way to sneak out for a few hours on the water...

-mike schmidt

Monday, February 14, 2011

The boys are back in town...White River fish porn!

There are a lot of ACF streamers probing the White River this year. Just back in town from what seems to have been a pretty solid trip is the crew from northern Michigan's 'Streamside Custom Rod and Guide Service' ( Kelly, Erik, and Adam headed out and made it through some hellish driving conditions to basically make it straight to the river and get the party started. Targetting the big fish was the game, and these guys were swinging for the fences throwing big streamers.

Erik with a 26 inch White River brown that devoured a 6 inch glow in the dark Double Deceiver.

Same 26 inch fish fish down in the water. Thick!

Adam holding up a brown that went for a custom 7 inch Double Deceiver that was basically in brown trout colors, but had a bit of orange in it.

Kelly with a brown that went 'nom nom nom' on a Fin Clip.

Erik holding up a slab male sporting an 8 inch Cotton Candy Rainbow in it's maw.

To say I am jealous of this trip is not necessary...I think that goes without saying. By all accounts the White River is an amazing fishery, and is high on my list of must do trips in the short term. Glad the guys had a good time despite the weather and looking forward to catching up with them up on the Au Sable this spring.

I posted these and a few other shots on the ACF Photography page.

-mike schmidt

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ACF part of MLive article

A few weeks ago I talked to Howard Meyerson of the Grand Rapids Press about the coming Celebration of Fly Tying in Grand Rapids. I just found out today that it also was posted to MLive...pretty cool stuff. Really looking forward to the show in a few weeks!

-mike schmidt

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Kelly's in town

Kelly Galloup is in town doing a few workshops with Mad River Outfitters so it seemed only proper to fill an order of Boogiemen and Butt Monkeys today. Looking forward to catching up with him tonight while having a few beers and listening to the Desperation String Band tear it up!

-mike schmidt

Thursday, February 10, 2011

So, I used to think Feenstra tied flashy flies...

...then I got an order for some custom Howell's Prom Dresses. Kevin is going to have to invent something new to out bling these bad boys! Maybe flies tied with fiber optics...hmmmm.....
These flies are destined to be swung on Pacific fish later on this year. They are 3.5" of Flashabou tied on a cut shank Mustad 3366, with a loop of 50lb Fireline off the back ready to be loaded up with Owner 1/0 stingers. These particular HPDs are 50/50 blue and silver, and 66/33 gold and silver. Fish will be blinded with desire to hammer these...or maybe just blinded.
-mike schmidt

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New streamer: Mike's Voodoo Squatch

I had kept it quiet for a bit but since my New Years Day trip to the Mad River to chase fish I had let slip to a few people that there was a new streamer that had passed the fishing test, and the Voodoo Squatch is that fly. Through the fall I alternated between the Voodoo Squatch and the Red Rocket and had a blast hammering on fish with both! The Voodoo Squatch is tied on a Gamagatsu B10S 2/0 to a Daiichi 2141 size1, which tapes it out at a bit over 5 inches. Utilizing layers of marabou and bucktail, this fly maintains a bulky profile topped off by a generous Senyo Laser Dub head complete with 1/2" 3D Epoxy eyes.

As you can see from the above shot the fly it is a nice wide fly, which holds at about an inch in width when wet. The bulk of the head and the bucktail collar cause heavy cavitation which moves the back of the fly around as if it were alive. This thick profile is maintained when quickly jerk stripped or a slower retrieve can be employed, either way the fly seems to 'breathe' everytime it stops between strips. Hope you all like this one, there will be a step by step posted at some point.
-mike schmidt

Monday, February 7, 2011

Step by Step: Back Winged Scandi Tube

I have really have enjoyed tying with the Pro FlyTyer tube components and have some pretty wild ideas that I have been exploring possibilities on them. Before I get to in to the crazy though I have been working at making sure I have a solid base in the traditional to work from. To that end I posted up a step by step of a Scandi tube fly over at, check it out and let me know what you think.

-mike schmidt

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Buckeye United Fly Fishers show weekend

What a crazy packed weekend this was! Left work early on Friday to head down to Cincinnati for a weekend of teaching and tying. Got it all rolling on Friday night with a 15 person articulated streamer class put on just down the street from the convention hall. It was a really fun group that performed extremely well at the vise. We were able to cover three styles of articulation by doing a Senyo Sculpin, Hawk Sculpin, and Meal Ticket followed by a demo tie of the Red Rocket.

It was a nice set up to tie and teach with; had a over the shoulder camera with a small feed in front of me and projecting on a large screen behing me. With the prototype double headed light from Alert Stamping there was certainly no problem with light!

On Saturday morning I made it over to the show location and got my table all set up then had the first two hours of the show to tie up some flies and talk with people stopping by. At 11 I made my way over to the lecture room to perform a lecture on articulation styles. The room was packed, a few hundred people, so I was pretty stoked to see that turn out...then I realized I forgot my threads at my table...crap. After grabbing my thread I proceeded with a full hour covering the styles and flies that I had done the night before. It was fantastic for me to see that sort of enthusiasm for streamers.

By the end of the day my table was pretty well rummaged through! It was great to see everyone down at the BUFF show, and I had a great time tying next to Tom Gribble.

No rest for the wicked today, dug in and knocked out a few more orders to get in the mail tomorrow. The Double Deceivers and Red Rockets above are all going to a regular customer that obviously loves chucking streamers for big fish! The next few days I get to switch gears and knock out some smaller trout bugs...
-mike schmidt

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Carp...yes please!

Living in Dublin Ohio allows me to partake of many things very close to home...trout fishing is not one of them. To chase trout requires that, at a minimum, I jump in the car and drive nearly an hour north or an hour west. Doing so certainly is not a problem when time allows but for those quick trips I stick to warmwater fisheries which is something cetral Ohio has a LOT of. It is not an uncommon site to see me out chasing fish around the Darby, Little Darby, Scioto, Olentangy, or any one of another few dozen watersheds around town. When I head out on these trips I am generally targetting smallies, white bass, or saugeye. Even on those trips though, if truth be told, I am always looking out of the corner of my eye for that big cruising shadow, flip of a tail or fresh mud plume. Yup...Carp! There's not much like getting out on a small local creek after a long day at work and having a few 1lb'ish smallies come to hand on the 5WT , then tie in to a six pound freight train!

For a while I lived on a lake west of town that had a few square acres of mud flats that lended itself to some supreme carp fishing from a kayak. While there I honed my technique and worked on fly patterns to target these fish that can vary from lazy to super skittish and nearly impossible to approach. Once I moved I found that most of what I learned there translated very well to the slow pools and eddys on rivers around Columbus where the carp tend to hang. Working with some materials that were relatively new to the market back in the spring I tied up some new prototype flies and threw them in the boxes. After a few times out, and a few tweaks, they were performing exactly as designed and were put to good use as a 'craw-ish' imitation fooling fish. Neither fly is what I would call a realistic imitation, but rather is more of an impressionistic fly that simply looks like food.

Mike's Gorgon Craw makes good use of Senyo Shaggy Dub and barred rubber legs as antennae and claws. The grizzly marabou both provides a mottled look and 'movement without movement', in other words even in between strips the fly appears to have a little shimmy. The bead chain eyes are enough weight to get the fly down where it needs to be, but not so heavy as to make a commotion when entering the water.

Even more impressionistic is Mike's Hairy Nibblet. It more or less looks like a soft craw in a defensive position...but not exactly... Again with the bead chain eyes for the same reason as above.
Both flies were designed to be effective but also quick ties since you will lose some as they generally need to be fished on the bottom. I keep them in my box in Tan, Olive, Black and Rust. As far as size I have found that 6, 8, and 10 pretty much cover it, and in my experience a size 8 carp fly is generally my go to size.
Happy carp hunting!
-mike schmidt

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Treading water

I took off from work today and stopped off at Office Max to pick up a replacement chair for the one that became a casualty of the sidewalk crack outside the HRFF show last weekend. I did not realize how bad that chair had gotten until I got this new one back to the house and put together. Three adjustments, mesh back, lumbar support...this thing does everything except give a mid-tie massage... Definitely tying in style now. As you can see above I had my usual helper for the evening. Amazingly enough, when she sets up shop in my lap and lays her head down to watch she never goes after material. Weird cat...

Been able to keep up lately with the flies that need tied by keeping some late hours. Basically treading water until the show season is over which gives me back a few days a week to put towards orders. Tonight I finished up a bunch of GHB Sculpins and then started on the Red Rockets to fill this order, but this is as far as I got and where the night ends. Off to bed I go to listen to the freezing rain as it coats everything and makes tomorrow morning very interesting.
-mike schmidt