Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Anglers Choice Flies is here in large part due to the influence and encouragement from John Schmidt, my Dad. What fly fishing and tying is to me in my life, the hunting and fishing was to him in his. He was the consummate outdoorsman who more specifically had an absolute passion for his family, pursuing venison for the freezer, and dragging crawler harnesses for walleye or perch. While growing up we spent countless days wetting a line, camping, exploring, or even taking drives at dusk to see how many deer we could count out in the fields. Staying inside was rarely, if ever, an option.
Once out on my own I found that the rivers were where I wanted to be and that fly fishing was to be my exclusive weapon of choice to be unleashed on unsuspecting fish. While he was not really a fly guy he was as excited as I was about pushing the boundaries, and seeing what new ‘bugs’ could be concocted. Pretty much every time I did a fly show I would call Dad to let him know how it went and any new landmark on the water warranted the same call. The last trip we took together was to make the drive down to Islamorada to throw bugs at Tarpon for a few days and then hit the backcountry. Tropical storm Andrea had other ideas though… With the sustained wind keeping nearly all the other boats in their slips we resorted to cut bait just outside the harbor for a few sharks and lots of relaxing on land for a few days.
It has now been three years since he succumbed to a long battle with cancer, and with show season starting up I am sure that I will start to reach for my phone as I head for home. I miss my Dad but know he is watching with a grin on his face every time I set the hook, succeed in the industry, or hug my wonderful wife.
Here are a few shots I pulled today.
Dad in '82 with 'Old Joe'...a St Clair County Michigan record for a long time.
A solid Lake St Clair Musky
Hanging at the farm. Lots of laughs were had and deer hung.
Dad at the helm of 'Therapy' cruising across LSC.
Our customary perch at Bud N Marys Marina in Islamorada during that last trip. We may have hooked in to some tarpon each night we were there...
One of the last times the family all made it out together for an evening on the town.