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


  1. those are some massive flies your buddy was tying! Great job

  2. I hope that you can get the bigger tank you where talking about. It will be a real show stopper for sure.

  3. Ya baby! I think I just might know where in Connecticut those flies are headed. Get Ready....

  4. Hey Mike! It was great to get a chance to meet you. Your flies look great! I will be ordering some soon...

  5. @DFB - No doubt Dustin! I have seen a lot of tyers, both in person and on line, and I believe Pat is at an elite level of tying for monster predator flies. Definitely a guy to keep an eye on.

    @Rich - The run is starting is going to be full game on brother!

    @FBG - Going to be talking to my buddy this week about the component pieces we made calls on. If I can get that set up created it will be SICK!

    @Jeff - Good to meet you as well man, and thanks. I am sure we can put together some killer flies for you.

  6. Mad River should fish this weekend which I have off so if you are interested let me know. I have to work in a guest who bought a gauranteed trophy package from the club at our auction last night at some point. When I know more about the river conditions I will figure that part out. Sounds like there will be some lessons for him before his skill level will get the fly to the right spot and with the appropriate action. Talk to you soon. Call if you are interested in the weekend! Ron

  7. It is fishing in some sections today brother...wish I was out. I will likely be out Friday morning and then Sat or Sun. I will also have a first-timer coming out with me and looking forward to getting some water time. If I do make it out on Friday I will let oyu know how it went!

  8. Thanks...I'm working today or I would be waist deep right now myself. I've got a paper due tomorrow and finals on Thursday so I will likely be out all day Sat and Sun since the lady is working. Ron

  9. FYI, not to leave him out, those monster flies that Pat ties are also very badass. If you haven't seen his work, seek it out, totally outside the box stuff. Goes hand in hand with Mikes stuff. GOOD TIMES...