Sunday, May 29, 2011


That's a lot of Premo strip! Finished up part of an order for a variation of a Michigan classic called a Houghton Lake Slammer. Been a while since I have spun this many heads in a sitting...

Tied on a Daiichi 2220 size 2, you start with a red tag and then wrap flat silver tinsel through a large black chenille body about two thirds the way up the shank.

Then tiw in a wing hanging off the back of white bucktail topped with brown bucktail.

Finally tie in a thick collar and two big spun chunks of Premo Strip, then trim to a basic sculpin head shape with a slightly rounded bottom.

I have not been able to get out much lately so another shot of a Tan Red Rocket sent over by Shen will have to suffice as the fish porn for today. Hoping to get out tomorrow...?

-mike schmidt

Friday, May 27, 2011

Work In Progress...

A little work in progress...six dozen Houghton Lake Slammers. Once they are finished up I will get a few shots up here as it is a pretty cool fly, and a Michigan classic.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!

-mike schmidt

Monday, May 23, 2011

Back in production mode

Nice to be back behind the vise to take my mind off the local weather. Here are a few flies headed across the country...California, Michigan, and Connecticut.

TYING IN THE PINES update...Still a few spots open for this exciting weekend of streamer tying instruction with myself and Greg Senyo in mid-July at his family cabin in northwest Pennsylvania. Touch base with me if you are thinking about the weekend and want more details or to reserve your spot!

Good friend Rich Strolis, of Catching Shadows, sent over this shot of a nice brown that fell victim to a Tan over Yellow Red Rocket. From what I hear he has had a few close encounters with some apex level brown following...looking forward to the picture and stories when he ties in to one of them!

Evidently the Tan over Yellow has been the ticket out east as I got a few shots from Steve Shen, of the Delaware River Club, as well. Above is a close up of a brown with some great spots and beelow if Steve's buddy Kevan in the grip and grin. Those guys are lucky to have that fishery out there...I need to get back there sometime.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Smyrna Beach week 2011

In case you were wondering why ACF has been so quiet lately it is because 'the office' was closed up nine days ago and I headed south to New Smyrna Beach Florida for some chill time. It was an amazing trip that I am just back from and wanted to get up a few shots before I crash from the long day of road time...nearly 16 hours worth.

Day one I headed up to the NSB side of Ponce Inlet and walked from the Coast Guard Station all the way out to the open surf with my 8WT in tow. I did see dolphins, manatees, crabs, rays....but nothing decided to play with the business end of a fly that day. Little did I know that I would only bust out the rods on one more day. On the way out I did get a visit from one of the local burrowing tortises.

The other day I got out ended up being on Monday with Capt Mike Mann of Fat Fish Guide Service. I have been out with Mike numerous times over the last few years so I expected to have a blast, even if I brought the clouds or wind with me as per my norm... We got out extra early, as the launches were clogged with people trying to get a view of the shuttle launch, and headed out on Mosquito Lagoon. Started off the morning prospecting for some early tarpon but only ended up seeing two roll so we headed south to nail some reds and catch the launch.

Not fifteen minutes in this ambitious little guy hammered on some top water. I know I have said that I don't care what size the reds are as long as I catch some, but....really!?! At least the stink was off early.

At the appointed time the shuttle headed off for the stars.

It really was cool to see another launch and especially in the close proximity from the lagoon. There was dead silence for a few minutes and then, once the shuttle was already out of sight, the noise made it to us and we have rumblings and sonic booms for a few minutes. Really neat stuff!

Little bettter fish I would be happy to catch all day long. This one came in at six pounds and unfortunately did not fare well after the fight. We tried multiple times to revive it but it had lost too much blood, so this became my first Red to go from the lagoon to the pan...and needless to say not a single bit was wasted, delicious.

The prize and my best Redfish to date was this fish that boga'd out at nine pounds and 30". This fish had tons of fight and went on half a dozen runs before allowing us to take a quick picture. The second it hit the water after the shot this fish was throwing serious wake while powering away at top speed.

As a group we took advantage of a suggestion to contact Tim from East Coast Paddle. It just so happened that he was available for the next day so we had him take our whole group out and hit the kayak trails in the lagoon. It was one hell of a workout and just a ton of fun, I can not recommend it enough. Really a cool way to spend a few hours, see some new territory, and get in to some skinny water with the fish.

With the full moon in effect I had to go for a long exposure and see what came out. A few attempts later the 1.8second exposure won out. This was not easy without a tripod!

One final parting shot on the way out this morning. Cant' wait to get back down there later this year.

Tomorrow...back to the vise.

-mike schmidt

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A year..really? Already?

Hard to believe it, but a year ago I was headed south to finish up the preparations for my Florida beach wedding. It has been an amazing year both personally and professionally. The wedding and subsequent nearly twelve months with Mrs ACF has been nothing short of fantastic. She is an amazing and supportive woman, something that has allowed to to continue growing ACF. Speaking of which, the last year for ACF has been a banner year as well thanks to all of you. It has grown considerably for yet another year, articles have been published, balls in the air for other projects, trips planned...good stuff!

Here is that last order I knocked out last night after packing. When I hit the road after work today it will be without the vise and, by the time I get back late next weekend, will have resulted in the second longest span of consecutive days without tying since my first fly; unless of course I simply can't take it and step behind the vise at New Smyrna Outfitters...

Will be nice to relax with a few friends, recharge with some frosty Yueng, draw out new ideas for patterns, and play a little quiz game at the bar

It will be a rough week...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers Day Weekend flies

Thanks to high water and a lot of orders needing completed it has been a bit of the same old routine for ACF since the last post. For going on six months now the plan for last weekend had been to head up to Lake St Clair with the kayak and get out on some serious smallmouth action, but the water is simply no where near warm enough to have the fish even thinking about moving in to the shallows for pre-spawn yet. Since that option was dashed by midweek I dug in and knocked out flies...a lot of them. The shot here is nine dozen weekend flies headed north as I type; a good selection of 8" Double Deceivers, Conrad Sculpins and traditional Deceivers. It brings a smile to my face knowing that these big flies will likely be hanging from the mouths of big fish in the coming months. The next few days will be tying, watching the Wings, and packing for a return trip south...ahh the life!

-mike schmidt

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Couple big flies and some customer shots

So, I got settled back in when we got off the plane and was back to the vise as the first load of laundry was in the washer. Hammered out some flies to get out quick and on to a few big orders now that will keep me busy for a few days. Here is a shot of a few eight inch flies headed east to complete an partial-ship order. These should rage on some New England fish!

A few months ago I had posted a shot of a friend, Nate, that decided to pick up fly tying. Having never tied before I gave him some guidelines for tools and materials that he would want to start with and he came over to start the addiction. I could tell right off that night that he had what it takes to be really good if he decided to stick with it. Well...he did and now has more materials than some shops I have been too. Here is the shot I posted of the second fly he ever tied from that first night about four months ago.

...and here is the shot he sent me yesterday of his most recent creation he dubbed the 'Meal Stick'. He said that it is the Meal Ticket body with a Fish Skull head...I say it is hella cool! It may well makes it's way to the ACF fly catalogs at some point.

Got a chance at the Somerset Fly Fishing Show this year to see Chris Warren tying. This year he was tying at the Pro Flytyer Tube Fly component booth. He is a very talented young tier that I am excited to see continue to develop in the coming years. He picked up a few flies from me and shot over this bass pic from last weekend.

Also got some more pictures from Stephen Shen, a guide for the Delaware River Club. It seems that he has been doing pretty well with the Voodoo Squatch lately!

Keep it up guys!

-mike schmidt