Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Zak's shot and a few flies

So a few days ago I got a surprise email from a recent customer of mine. Zak sent over an email saying "Hey Mike, I think I won your 50 follower contest...right? Am I too late?" It had been so long since I posted the winners avatar I had to go check and, sure enough, Zak was in fact the winner so he has the flies from that contest headed his way after this weekend. He also sent along a picture of a solid 20" brown that he got in to with one of the Meal Tickets he picked up from me a few weeks ago. Congratulations on the win and thanks for the fish shot Zak!
Now we are in the countdown for the 100 Followers dozen flies...

Here are a few shots that I posted randomly on Facebook this week, but wanted to get them up here as well. The first is a size 24 Trico spinner tied with fibbets, Superfine Dub, and snowshoe hare. It is a great little pattern that will float extremely well and is very visible despite it's small size. The trick to consistent wings this small is to pick out the guard hairs to get down to a manageable clump, then keep a firm grasp as you tighten your wraps so that the hair tips stay even.

The second is a shot of some custom Swimtail Deceivers I tied up for my good friend Mike Berkshire. It is a fun little pattern that, when jerked with sufficient force, darts in a very erratic manner. Tied on Gama SL12S hook means that anything trying to eat this fly is in for a world of hurt.

Finally, a shot of some flies from tonight that are headed west in the morning.

I have been working on filling up my Trico and BWO boxes in my 'spare time' over the last week. Once they are filled up and ready to hit the stream, likely in a few more weeks, I will get a few shote up. I always find it interesting that my favorite two fly fishing pursuits are throwing monstrous streamers or he smallest mayfly...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mike's Impossihex is in current Eastern Fly Fishing

Got word late last night that the Impossihex is in the Eastern Fly Fishing July/August edition as the featured step by step. Check it out at

-mike schmidt

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Flies for The Fiberglass Manifesto winners

Finished up the flies tonight for the two lucky winners in The Fiberglass Manifesto 2000 fan contest. Nikki Targowski and Christian Fitchel will each recieve one of the new Umpqua Streamer Boxes, supplied by Blue River Fly Company, loaded up with a dozen streamers from Anglers Choice Flies. Included are Red Rockets, Voodoo Squatch, Meal Tickets, and muddlers. They will be in the mail in the morning and hopefully in the water catching fish next week. Congratulations you two!

-mike schmidt

Monday, June 20, 2011

Buncha streamers...06.20

It's been a busy couple evenings, but I am headed to bed 'early' tonight. Double Deceivers headed one way and the other flies headed the other way. Wish they were all headed to my boxes!

-mike schmidt

Saturday, June 18, 2011

06.18 tying

Got out for a quick run at some fish this morning. My camera card chose today on the river to srap out so only got a few shots. There were some fish moving around and active beefore the Amazon style rain came in and shut things down. Here is one shot of a fish that I did not get a chance to tape as I wanted to get it back fast; it was north of 15" but south of 18". Put up a freat fight in the heavy current.

Fished a fly I will be adding to the site soon as it has performed well. It is a combination of some features of a few different patterns...I call it the Stinky Mayo.

-mike schmidt

Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekend is upon us!

Another week of working and tying in the books...welcome to the weekend (at least in a few hours)!! This week has been fun for me as I took a short break on a few nights from tying to hit a local series of ponds for some 'urban fishing' with a few buddies. It kind of feels like cheating when I go to this spot until I make that first cast and watch the fish spook...not the bluegill of course, but the largemouth. These fish require a pretty accurate cast and presentation both due to the already mentioned skittishness in addition to the fact that there is so much food even when they are interested they are not going to move far to eat. That abundance of food is allowing these bass to grow faster than most in Ohio, and frankly the fishing here is really solid for something that is only a few years old.

Fished a few different patterns and styles but the fly that has been best for me this week has been a Schmidt's Rattlesnake. It is a great little pattern that sinks slowly and then can be retrieved slowly while maintaining it's depth in the water column.

Here is another fish that fell prey to the Rattlesnake. Again it was sight fished, with the fly cast ten feet or so out in front of it as it lazily made it's way across a point. Fly landed and sunk a few feet before being twitched, and then on the second twitch...YAHTZEE! Where as the first fish was a bulldog down deep this fish fought more like a smallmouth and actually jumped clear of the water three different times. It was awesome, and a great fight on a 4WT.

The first night over there Mariano got in on the action and hooked up to this fish while I had the first fish on. He was slow moving a pencil popper and the bass was not about to let it get away. Crappy picture, but cellphone shots from 100 feet away do not blow up well.

Also got a few shots from ACF friend and customer Mike Paulus. He was up in northern Michigan fishing the Au Sable River...and putting some Meal Tickets to good use. Here are a shot of a 20+ brown and a pig of a river smallie that he had to hand. Congratulations and thanks for the pictures Mike!

On a final note, I received my copy of Soulfish2 yesterday and promptly threw it on while I tied...big mistake as I was not exactly as productive as I should have been. Soulfish2 is the new Mikey Weir/Burl Productions video that follows Mikey and a cast of friends through some amazing fishing locations such as Mongolia, Egypt, Louisiana, Belize, BC, Hawaii, Mexico, and Northern Cali. The word 'epic' is thrown about a lot these days but in this case I can think of no better word for this hour and a half video excursion. It is not as fast paced and frenetic as other videos from the last few years, rather it incorporates smooth post production work and rock solid videography to make you feel like you are there in the room or on the stream with them. The cast of friends included in the video are extremely knowledgeable, well spoken, and skilled anglers. While this video has a underlying story narrate through each section, it is chocked full of fish coming to hand. This is not a video that makes you wait for a payoff, and despite the 'professional angler' status of most of them these anglers are genuinely happy and infectious with their enthusiasm. I own most of the fly fishing DVDs out there and, in my opinion, this one is way up towards the top of the stack...I thouroughly enjoyed it all four times I have watched it since six last night.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Step by Step: Neversink Hex

So...thanks to the bubble it's not exactly a purist dream but a great fly during drake and hex time for anything that is willing to come up and eat them! This is a fly I definitely do not offer commercially since anybody not named Bill Gates couldn't afford them, but it is a fun fly to tie and fish on a heavy leader! This pattern is really an adaptation of what has been my favorite northern Michigan Hex pattern to allow for the addition of the Unibobber to aid in floataion. This particular shoot was done of one with a clear Unibobber, but they also make a glow in the dark Unibobber which is pretty solid for this application.

Thread: UTC140
Hook: Tiemco 5212, size 8
Tail: Moose Body
Body: Deer Body, natural and yellow
Wings: Hen Back, Speckled Brown (natural)
Body Hackle: Ginger Hackle
Wing Hackle: Furnace Hackle
Float: Unibobber

STEP 1: With your Tiemco 5212 size 8 secured in the vice get your thread startedsomewhere around the middle of the hook shank. Grab a small clump of Moose and measure it out to be the full length of the hook, then tie it in hanging off the back of the hook. Bind it down securely with wraps back to the rear tie in point and then forward about three quarters up the shank.

STEP 2: This step will be tan deer body on top of the shank and yellow under the shank. Cut out a clump of hair and prepare by stroking out the short and guard hairs then tip stacking. Hold the hair in place so that the tips extend out just past the bend of the hook and tie in with a few firm wraps, then trim the butts and bind down. Invert the hook and repeat with yellow deer body on the underside of the shank.

STEP 3: Stroke the hairs back and hold them in place as you spiral wrap back to the rear tie in point. At the rear tie in point give yourself three or four wraps right on top of each other. At this point I usually dot the wraps with Zap a Gap.

STEP 4: Select a ginger hackle feather to be used for the body, generally between a size 12 and 14. Prepare the feather by pulling the fibers down from the tip to reveal the stem, and tie the feather in with a pair of wraps. Once the feather is secured then sprial wrap back forward over the body of the fly.

STEP 5: To complete the body you will now palmer the feather forward. Take care as you wrap forward to stroke the fibers back so you do not trap too many against the body. Once you get about three quarters of the way up the shank then tie the feather off. At this point I usually dot the wraps again with Zap a Gap.

STEP 6: Select the largest furnace hackle feather you can get off your neck and prepare it by stripping the fibers and chaff from the bottom inch of the feather. Tie it in place and palmer half a dozen wraps right next to each other, then tie off the feather and trim the excess.

STEP 7: Prepare a few hen back feathers for this step by measuring out the feather to be the length of the hook shank, and strip the rest to the quill. Once the feathers are prepared then you will figure eight them in place directly in front of the hackle from the last step. I know some that are able to do both at once, but I find it easiest to tie in each feather separately.

STEP 8: Over the wings I tie in a second furnace hackle, again as large as you can get. Once I have a few wraps tightly in place I again hit this spot with a dot of Zap A Gap to add a little durability.

STEP 9: With the deer hair and hackle tied in, clipped, and wrapped down the end result should be a small 'ramp' down towards the hook shank. Slide the Unibobber over the eye of the hook and wedge it up over those butt ends. With a few tight figure eight wraps it is now held securely in place.

STEP 10: The final step is to palmer the last hackle on an angle around the Unibobber and eye of the hook, then tie it off and whip finish.

The way this fly is constructed the fly will ride high in the film to start with, then after a bit the tail will settle in to the surface film and the front of the fly will continue to ride high. As with all Hex and Drake patterns make sure you have a short and stiff leader to keep the fly from spinning too much. Have fun with it!

-mike schmidt

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A few flies from the last few days...big and small

It has been awhile since I have tied trout flies, but got back in the swing and knocked out some size 16 and 18 loopwing emergers this morning. Also a couple of snowshoe hare emergers in the mix...going to have to tie some more of those for my pathetically stocked boxes.

Here are a few more shots of flies ready for the water.

The last shot is Deceivers and Andino Deceivers headed to Bolivia in pursuit of Golden Dorado, wish I could go with them!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tying in the Pines...the class is sneaking up on us!

It has been about three months since I put anything up on the 'Tying in the Pines' weekend tying workshop that I am co-hosting with Greg Senyo and, since it is only about a month from now, I figured it is about time to get the word back out there as there are a few open spots.

As taken from the original post: 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...all you need to bring is your vise and tools!

If you have followed this blog then you have seen the sort of quality fish that I prefer to target. There are certainly many variables to my success in stalking, hooking up, and landing what I consider to be apex fish but none is more important than the fly design. I firmly believe that the realism and size afforded by articulated patterns has allowed me to be very successful where I otherwise may have been less so. It is these steamer techniques and patterns we will be tying over the weekend so the participants can take them back to their home waters and push that streamer envelope!

It does not hurt that the class will be held in beautiful northwest Pennsylvania; home to wild brookies; fantastic scenery, and Yueng. Here are a couple shots I took when I was at the cabin in April.

To see a few more shots of the area you can check out the blog posts from either the Steelhead Alley brookie retreat or the Schultz Outfitters brookie retreat.

It is an amazing area and we will have a great time pushing through a bunch of streamer patterns and techniques. If you are interested, or want more details, then drop me a line at 614.638.6727. We can discuss the weekend and hopefully get you signed up to join in on the fun!

-mike schmidt

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Smallie Madness!

Could not resist the draw of the water tonight, so off to chase some smallies I went after work. Five minutes from my back door is a pretty solid stream and it did not disappoint tonight.

Mariano was chucking a pencil popper and had plenty of action. Here is is hooked up with his best fish of the night.

A chunky central Ohio smallmouth that taped out at just over 15" of mean.

I spent the night slow retrieving a Rattlesnake just under the surface and this was my best fish of the night. Hell of a nice bend in a slow 4WT!

As we were walking out I was surprised by a hell of a nice hatch coming off. We were parked in a lot that closes at dark otherwise I would have liked to have stuck around and seen if we could have banged out a few fish on dries. There is always next time...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Some days you just got it

Back up at 4:30a this morning and back to the river. On the way to the river I was thinking about the previous morning when Mariano had told me that despite completing his graduate studies in a month he was not leaving until he landed a 20" brown. Upon arrival riverside we were again greeted with high and light cloud cover to start off the morning with temperature and water color that was absolutely was on!

As we worked our way through the stretch we had chosen we got into a few year old fish and were having pretty regular action from fish turning on the flies and chasing. About an hour in he informed me that the tree about 250 yards downtream that was sticking out over the water was where he was going to get his which I responded "sweet!". We continued to work our way from undercut tree to undercut tree and pretty soon were down to the spot Mariano had called. As he carefully positioned himself to get a proper cast all the way up and under the overhang, right to the base of the rooball, I moved a bit downstream to get out of the way and to have a better view through the surface glare. The very first cast I watched in amazement as a big shadow followed his fly for 20 feet before retreating back from site. After a few laughs and big smiles he sent in cast number two, and the fish came out again and followed a good 30 feet...close enough to me when it turned that I could easily tell it was a big male. Dumbfounded he fired in another cast and watched the fish chase again...this was getting ridiculous. I looked at him and he wanted to let it rest for a minute so we carefully retreated to the far bank. I told him that I thought the fly was to light and the fish was turning away as it rose in the water column, to which he agreed and tied on an olive Meal Ticket. The fourth cast seemed to fly in around one branch and under another in slow motion, and as soon as it landed the water opened around it and Mariano was attached to a whole lot of pissed off fish. After a nail biting fight I slipped the net under the fish and we both let out a Jersey Shore style "WOOOO!!!" along with some high fives.

Once the fish calmed down a bit we slid in the tape under him and confirmed that Mariano had indeed called the spot from 250 yards upstream and backed it up by landing his largest brown to date; a solid 21" fish in the books.

We were both so excited about the fish that it took a few attempts to get a halfway decent shot, but I think the smile says it all.

After releasing the fish safely back to the river it was time to sit down, calm the nerves, retie and of course light up a celebratory cigar.

After a quick but intense rain shower we continued to work our way downstream towards some promising water. As we waded down through a relatively shallow stretch I spotted a good looking cut along a log and fired in a cast. As my fly slid in to the head of the cut the bottom of the log moved and my fly disappeared in an explosion of water, it was the most vicious hit I have had on the river. As I let out a yell the fish was furiously trying to dislodge the fly and get back under cover. Mariano was able to get over to me for the net and after a few minutes cram the massive brown securely in to the ghost netting. We both were making such a fool of ourselves laughing and high fiving that the landowner downstream came out to see what all the fuss was and then went back in to get his own was awesome!

25 inches of Voodoo Squatch decimating brown trout. The tail on this fish was absolutely huge and she had spots I would consider regal looking. She was a gorgeous fish.

Nothing better than a day on the water, except maybe a day on the water with a few big fish thrown in. What an awesome day!

-mike schmidt