Thursday, March 31, 2011

Quick update and a nice fish from out east

Nothing super exciting coming from the ACF desk this week, just lots and lots of flies being cranked out. Thanks to a bit of snow in central Ohio we got a little bump in the water levels and some added stain to our rivers; from what I understand fishing was great the last few days. I really hope that holds true through the weekend as I intend to get out and harass some fish.

Last week I heard from Stephen Shen and Bob Lewis, guides at the Delaware River Club, about some success they'd had on the Delaware with the Red Rocket. Pictures made it today of one of the fish with the Rocket still hooked up....great looking fish guys!

I did get the shots taken of the Mufasa as I tied up more replacements for this weekend. Once I get the shots cleaned up I will get a step by step posted for those that have been asking about it. Hopefully I will also have more shots of it in fish mouths from this weekend!

Monday, March 28, 2011

ACF customer Brock Dixon takes February SOTM!

Congratulations are due to ACF customer Brock Dixon for taking the Moldy Chum Slab of the Month title for February. With a total voting percentage of 37.5% it is obvious that there were plenty of others as impressed with this hog brown as I was...and the shot is totally worth posting again. Good luck on the Slab of the Year voting Brock!

The pattern that this hog took was an ACF tied Senyo Shaggy Minnow tied up in white with blue/pearl flash and blue eyes. Greg Senyo came up with pattern to chase steelhead, but it has been proving itself plenty deadly on a number of other fish species.

-mike schmidt

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A few flies from today and the '50 Followers Giveaway' winner!

After a full day on the water on Saturday I had to dig in today to get some tying knocked out. Orders are packed up and ready to hit the mail in the morning to Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oregon and California! Above are a few of the flies tied up today; Red Rocket, Voodoo Squatch, Robinsons Munchable Minnow and Meal Ticket.

Also excited to see that the site has now exceeded 50 Followers, so it is time to give away a few flies. Ran the Followers through a randomizer and the winner is......ZAK! Congratulations man. Shoot me an email with your name, number, address, and preferred colors (if you have any) and I will get your flies added to the list. If everyone who is a follower gets just one friend to join in the fun then we will get to the '100 Follower Giveaway' in no time!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mufasa shows it's sharp parts!

Made it out to the river to fish with my buddy Ron for the first time. I was pretty excited as the flows are still up and when I got my first glimpse of the river I was not disappointed, perfect greenish tint. We parked the first car and shuttled up to the top of the walk and not a hundred yards in I hit paydirt with a high-teens fish on. I played it for a minute then turned over my shoulder to holler back to Ron the obligatory 'Fish on', and the fish chose that second to bolt toward to main current and in seconds was directly downstream of me. Hook pulled...F.

Angler error = FAIL = Mike wants to puke

Took a minute to gain my composure, as I despise losing fish when it is completely on me, and continued on down the river. Cast after cast I followed my fly through the drifts and worked it like a rented mule. Was enjoying being out on a sunny, albeit cold, day when I got a glimpse of 'the spot'. It is one of those knarly overhanging limbs that sticks out over a downed log emptying in to a deep run...and you know there is something nasty down in there. I made my way carefully in to casting postition and fired a golden cast up under the junk and over the snag and then time slowed down. Strip...strip...strip..................BOOOoooOOOMMM! I hammered the business end of the fly home, as if the fishes strike itself didn't do the damage, and it was game on. A few minutes later, after some hard runs and barrel rolls, I coaxed the fish in to the shallows and he calmed down enough for Ron to expertly slide his head in to the net.

Taped out at just over 25" of Mad River buttah. Midwest gold. Pure adrenaline. The kind of fish that feels like you are shaking a grown man's hand when you tail it...AWESOME.

After a couple careful shots the beast was returned unharmed to be caught as a 27" beast next year.

No 1X heavy hooks will do here. This fish put a serious bend in a serious hook...this WAS a Gamagatsu SP11, now it will adorn my hat for a bit.
-mike schmidt

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mufasa and Oscar's Junk

Lately I seem to have been asked more often "So, what's really in your streamer box?". I generally respond that I do fish the patterns I offer on my website quite a bit, but of course there are a few patterns that are a little less accessible. It is not that I want to hold things back, or keep secrets to have some perceived edge...some patterns are just a pain in the ass to tie! The above picture shows two such patterns; five inches of meat apiece...Mufasa and Oscar's Junk.

The two flies are very similar in construction, having a standard rear hook and an inverted front hook. The back half of the flies consist of a bi-color marabou tail, two colors of schlappen palmered through an Ice Dub underbody, three rubber legs per side, and a topping of barred marabou. The front of each fly appears similar at first glance but are not actually so.

The Mufasa is heavily weighted on the front hook. After the connection is made the fly shank is lined with two strips of .035 lead wire. The fly is then constructed over that base similar to the rear hook but with four rubber legs per side. Once up to the head the Senyo Laser Dub is tied in so that it has the appearance of bleeding gills and a tuft both above and below the hook shank. Finish the fly off by sliding on a Fish Skull which forces the Laser Dub down a bit but it still looks a bit like a mane...thus Mufasa.

Oscar's Junk was actually tied first, have been fished more, and is the precursor to the Voodoo Squatch. The front hook of Oscar's Junk is tied the same to the head as Mufasa, but rather than lead wire there is a set of large lead dumbell eyes tied in. Once the eyes are in you add a small tuft of Rusty Brown Laser Dub as bleeding gills and then clump buils a head around the barbell eyes. The barbell eyes are there only to add weight and width to the head, they will not be seen in the final product.

These flies aren't likely to be offered on my site any time soon as they simply take too long to be able to produce them in quantity, but I may do some by special request if piggybacked on another order. They are a blast to fish. At some point I will get a step by step together on them and get it up here.

These are the rest of the flies I knocked out this evening so far; Mike's Voodoo Squatch, Mike's Meal Ticket, Mike's Lunkergetter, Robinson Muchable Minnow, Mike's Red Rocket, Senyo Sick Puppy, Bellyache, Senyo Sculpin, Galloup's Sex Dungeon, Senyo Shaggy Minnow. A solid batch of flies headed to California in the morning. Now time to hammer out the other Cali order before bed.

***Quick 'Tying in the Pines' update: two spots have been filled, so only four remain. Give me a call to secure your spot if you would like to get in on this weekend of tying!

-mike schmidt

Monday, March 21, 2011

'Tying in the Pines'...a new streamer class offering

Over the last few months there have been a few shows in Michigan that I tied at. For those shows I had the pleasure of hanging out and talking a little shop with Greg Senyo the evening before the shows as he graciously allowed me to crash at his place. One thing we were kicking around was the idea of an all inclusive streamer tying weekend. I am happy to announce that Greg and I are teaming up to offer 'Tying in the Pines'!

'Tying in the Pines' will be a streamer junkies dream for the six participants that sign up. We will have a bonfire going to welcome them as they show up, on that Friday evening, to the Senyo family cabin outside of Russell Pennsylvania. The tying instruction will start Saturday morning and extend through in to the evening with breaks every few hours so we can kick back and enjoy beautiful northwest Pennsylvania. Saturday will also include a session in which we demonstrate how these flies are to be rigged and correctly cast, then likely end up with another bonfire riverside. Finally we will have a final tying session on Sunday morning and wrap things up by noon.

This is to be an all-inclusive workshop that gives the participants a broad knowledge base of streamer tying and rigging techniques. We will cover single hook flies and multiple articulated techniques as well as stinger flies. Greg and I will be providing two nights lodging, food, beverage and materials...all you need to bring is your vise and tools. The cost for this weekend workshop has been set at $275 and is limited to six participants. If you are intersted in signing up for this event please give me a call at 614.638.6727 and reserve your spot.

-mike schmidt

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hoops, Lesson, Alley, Valley, and a little tying

It has been quite a busy few days. After the traditional day of basketball watching and cocktails on Thursday the rest of my waking hours were spent at the vise or on the water. Frankly I am exhausted and headed to bed, so I hope you will forgive me a picture heavy post.

Some of the weekends haul of flies ready to hit the post in the morning. Some Double Deceivers, Glow Doubles, Fin Clips, Impossihex and Simple Stones.

Nate is a buddy that is learning to tie flies with me and came over on Saturday for an hour casting lesson....and it was an hour of firsts for him. First cast with a fly rod, casting a fly from his first night of tying, and landing his first fly caught fish! I would not say that this monster of the deep put too much stress on the new rig, but am sure it is one he will not forget.

The lesson was in advance of Nate's first experience on Sunday for both fly fishing as well as wade fishing. Nate had a lot to think about as we made our way through a long stretch of river and by the end of the day had a very respectable streamer cast and retrieve going for himself.

A few shots from 'the Alley' on Friday

A shot from 'the Valley' on Sunday. This feisty little brown came on the third cast of the day. What it lacked in size it made up for in heart.

A shot of Erik, from Streamside Custom Rod and Guide Service, and Tom hoisting a solid Michigan brown with a Cotton Candy Rainbow still getting chewed on.

Another Cotton Candy victim.

-mike schmidt

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Well, it is that time of year, and not much could be better. Steelhead coming in to do the do, browns hammering streamers, hoops madness, and of course a healthy dose of green beer. Above is a shot of Mama ACF and me a few months back, in a scene that is an eerie reflection of tomorrow's plans.

Looks like Friday I may end up breaking a tradition held since graduation....looks like I will be hitting the water instead of spending the second consecutive day at BW3. Tough call to make, and I am sure I will get an earful tomorrow from the hoops crew, but river conditions region-wide look to be stellar and I have not made enough time to be on the water lately. I just may get the box below out for a little action...

-mike schmidt

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Midwest Fly Fishing Show 2011

Made it back from the 2011 Midwest Fly Fishing Show in decent time yesterday. The show this year was excellent as usual and as busy as I have ever seen it. Saturday was a mad house...the gate was rumored to be over 2300! Patrick Kelly drove up with me this year and we split a booth. For those that don't know Pat he is a shop guy over at Mad River Outfitters and ties big predator flies for his company Apex Fly Co. He does not have a site up just yet but is a primary participant on the blog Fly Fishing for Muskie. If you have not seen his flies then do yourself a favor and check them out...they are the sickest of the sick when it comes to musky gear! Let's just say that the guy has the fish fever as bad as any I have ever seen; you can not help but get excited with him when talking fish and flies.

I personally had a great time at the show as I got to see the whole crew of Michigan guys throughout the weekend. It is always fun to catch up with shops and guides to see how the streamers I sent up have been doing for them over the last year and get things lined up for this year. For this show I borrowed a swim tank, created by Tony DiBenedetto Jr of Tube Fly Tech, to be able to give people a fish eye view of what the articulated streamers do under the water. It was a fantastic tool to show people how the hydrodynamics surrounding a meaty head really make the fly dance. It was also really entertaining to watch people walking down the aisle looking around and just stop dead in their tracks when they saw a pair of five inch articulated flies 'swimming' in the tank; it made starting conversation around the flies very easy.

Production tying at a show is always a challenging proposition as you should be spending most of your time as a tier talking to show attendees and demonstrating techniques that you are working on. I was though able to work in the finishing touches on the Voodoo Squatches that I posted a few days ago as well as tying more for people at the show. Once they saw these in the tank it was hard to keep them on the table. This particular batch will be terrorizing fish out in Connecticut at some point in the near future.

The one thing I was looking for at the show was a good tube fly box...and I found two. I had seen the fantastic boxes from Bob at Great Lakes Spey Shop and was determined to pick them up. They use a super easy pin and magnet system, and there are no weak spots or pieces to break! While over at his table I found two absolutely grade A+ patches of Temple Dog that needed to be bought, so they were and will be gracing flies for me this tying season. I did manage to take some time at the very end of the show yesterday to use that Temple Dog to tie a smelt pattern on a Pro FlyTyer tube.

Now that show season is over for me I can finally get all my gear back in the correct bins and really buckle down to hammer on some flies, and open up some time on the water. Things around the Midwest are starting to really heat up so there are fish that need caught.

Now...time to fill out some brackets!

-mike schmidt

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SQUATCH!!! to be continued...

Hammered out some orders and got packed up for the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo, then got some Voodoo Squatchs in progress. Articulation points are all set and I am spent... Time to hit the sack for some shut eye as the next few nights in Detroit Rock City won't likely allow for much sleep.

-mike schmidt

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Got through a few more orders tonight including an order for some 6" Deceivers that are headed east in the morning. Not quite tied like Lefty, since I am using 3D eyes and a little more bulk, but pretty close. They should drive some fish nuts! Next orders up are some beefy ones so the fly pictures may be a bit spread out over the next few weeks.

This is the last week that ACF will be a travelling road show for a bit. Tomorrow I will be teaching week four of the Mad River Outfitters Advanced/Intermediate tying class. They will be scheduling a full slate of classes in the coming season, so if you are around Columbus I definitely recommend signing up for some. These classes are a lot of fun and will cut some serious corners off your learning curve. Then on Thursday night I pack everything up to hit the road on Friday up to Warren Michigan for the Michigan Fly Fishing Clubs 'Midwest Fly Fishing Expo'. It is a phenomenal show that has been put on continuously for over three decades. The MWFFE is a great combination of tyers, vendors and programs that span a wide range of fly fishing niches. I hope to see some of you there!

-mike schmidt

Monday, March 7, 2011

Busy day at the vise

With every watershed around here blown out I was without distraction as I spent this busy Sunday at the vise. From west to east people are gearing up for the coming spring. Ready for the post office in the morning are orders heading to Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, New York, New Jersey and Ontario. I count myself amongst those that can not wait!

-mike schmidt

Friday, March 4, 2011

New ACF addition: the Senyo Egg Raider

Did I make fun of the Egg Raider the first time I saw it with the Shaggy Dub head? Yup.
Did I make fun of it after fishing it hard and driving home with hands stinking of fish? Nope.
Did Greg hit it out of the park with this one? Absolutely!

The Senyo Egg Raider is one of those flies that in the water just has a sexy wiggle to it. It is tied on a cut shank front hook with a Gamagatsu Drop Shot trailer. It doesn't really look like a minnow nor does it really look like a sculpin, but based on the fishes reaction to it the fly must really look like food. Though I have not yet personally had it out in warmwater conditions, I am excited to get the olive version with a pale yellowish bead out on Lakes St Clair and Erie in search of smallies in a few months.

After talking to Greg about it the fly will be available through the Anglers Choice Flies site in black, tan, olive, white w/green, and white w/blue. The Senyo Egg Raider will be up and available by this time tomorrow.

-mike schmidt

Thursday, March 3, 2011

MRO's Intermediate/Advanced Winter Class week three

Had a great time with the guys in the class again last night. So far the class has been pretty streamer heavy, something with which I am totally cool. For a change of pace last night we changed it up and added a few mayflies to the repetoire. With Hendricksons only a few weeks away I decided that would be our target so we busted out the 70 denier and went to town.

Hook: Tiemco 100, size 14
Shuck: ZLon, Mayfly Brown
Body: Stripped quills, ginger and mahogany
Thorax: Superfine Dubbing, mahogany and burnt sulphur yellow
Wing: Dark Dun Snowshoe

First up was an emerger pattern. This will border on sacreligious, but I personally have never been a fan of the way stripped quill dry flies fish (maybe I can get Allen Landheer, John Bonasera, A.K., Dave Brandt and the rest of the Catskills boys to send me some and try to change my mind...). That said, for emergers the quill bodies are the cat's ass! This is a snowshoe hare emerger that I have done very well with through a number of different hatches simply by changing the size and material color.

Hook: Orvis Big Eye straight, size 16
Tail: Deer Body Hair, natural/light dun
Body: Deer Body Hair, mahogany
Thorax: Superfine Dubbing, mahogany
Post: Rainy's Parachute post, 1/16" white
Hackle: Grizzly

The second fly was an extended body parachute. This style fishes like a tank and floats forever...perfect for my tastes. To accomodate the extended body you undersize the hook one size so then the hackle is actually two sizes larger than the hook, but in doing so it is proportional to the size of the full fly. Outside of BWO emergers I have likely caught more trout on this fly than every other mayfly I fish.

Next week we are looking at a few saltwater backcountry flies and probably one more articulated streamer for good measure...maybe one with the Fly Lipps I have on the way!

-mike schmidt

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nothing like a Friday night in Toledo!

What to do on a Friday night when the winter blues have set in and all the rivers are blown...? Come on out to Toledo and catch the Film Tour of course! I will be there before hand twisting up some streamers along with a few of the other guys and then at 7p sharp the film starts up. If it is anything like the last few then it is non-stop fish porn of the highest order...if you have a pulse you will get more amped than if you were main-lining caffeine. Personally I hear there is some sick musky footage that needs watched...

Hope to see some of you there!

-mike schmidt

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A few flies from tonight...03.01.2011 maybe it was the last few nights.

As bad as I want to keep this batch of flies, this order is headed to northern Michigan in the morning and I am off to bed early tonight. Tomorrow I will get going on the next set and have week three of the advanced tying class at Mad River Outfitters.

Today we hit 25 followers, so we are half way to some free flies out the door...

-mike schmidt