Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thank you for 2012!

Thanks to all of the ACF customers support 2012 has been an amazing year.  Shows and workshops took me all over the eastern side of the country, as did the search for fish.  There were a few flies fine tuned and released to go along with the old ones, and more in the works.  2012 saw the continued explosion in the popularity of streamers and the educated fish kept us tinkering at our vises like junkies to get our next fix.  I could not name them all but guys like Strolis, Lynch, Granato, Grajewski, Senyo, SchultzBohen, Kelly, and Cohen all played a part to push the envelope for bigger, badder, and more realistic imitations to get the predators has been an exciting time to be at the vise!  I am putting this post up a few days early as I will be out of town for a few days through New Years to recharge for a few days with my wonderful wife.  When I get back to town I will be back at the vise hard and transition in to the heart of show season.

Next year looks to be another exciting year for ACF.  There are a few streamers that are in the works and should be ready to go in the next few months.  This coming year I have added a few shows so will be out to TCO in State College for a streamer workshop, as well as Lancaster PA for a weekend show and over to Sweden in April for their show as well...and maybe swing up an Atlantic...

Thank you all for a truly amazing year and looking forward to catching up over the next year.
Back to the vise and the blog January 3!

-mike schmidt

Friday, December 21, 2012

Junk Yard Dog

Here is the new addition to the Anglers Choice streamer lineup, the JYD...Junk Yard Dog.  It is just shy of six inches of meaty streamer goodness.  Despite the size the fly is nearly weightless thanks to the mono dumbell eyes from Clear Cure Eyes.  The tail consists of marabou, polar chenille and fox tail while the front hook is just marabou, fox tail and Clear Cure Eyes.  The hooks are of course Gamakatsu as they are the stickiest hooks out there.  This is a streamer designed to be fished on full sinking line to get it to depth.  Once at depth the bulk of the head allows you to vary the retrieve, anywhere from a fast jerst strip all the way down to a gentle dead drift twitch, while still maintining profile.  This thing casts like a whisper and hooks like a jackhammer.

The fly will be offered in the six color combinations shown here.  Front to back they are as follows:  Tan, Cotton Candy, Yellow, Black, Burnt Orange and Olive. 

-mike schmidt

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Inherent danger associated...?!?

Jake Ruthven, from Fins on the Fly, asked for some help recently after being given some troubling news.  He is a high school student that has to this point been active in his Fort Collins schools Fly Fishing Club, but that seems to be going away.  About two weeks ago the Fort Collins school district informed them that it was cancelling the Fly Fishing Club and prohibiting any further meetings from commencing due to the “Inherent danger associated with the sport”.   Let that sink in for a minute.

Let’s leave aside for a minute what I would say are extreme examples of high school clubs out there; things like flying, ski racing, trap/skeet shooting, rock climbing, boxing, mountaineering, archery, sky diving.  If you are just looking at standard sports and clubs that schools sponsor and participate in nationwide is there a disparity in danger that made this fly fishing team a target?  Are you telling me that fly fishing is ‘inherently more dangerous’ than football, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, or even cheerleading?   I am certainly not going to say that there are not risks involved in the sport of fly fishing, but I would suggest that when care is taken those risks are at a minimum….virtually non-existent in most cases.   If this is truly a liability issue that the school system is looking at then one would think that there must be a way to mitigate that through some sort of waiver…right? 

Clubs like this give the students a chance to make friendships that will last a lifetime.  It gives them an opportunity to learn a set of skills to apply and further themselves in a sport they enjoy, and one they need never outgrow.  It gives them a reason to be outside and active rather than sitting on a couch and eating crap food while ‘plugged in’ to the latest game console for the bulk of the day.  It teaches them responsibility both for themselves and for the environment that they are stewards of through our great sport.

 Would the school district be willing to reinstate the club with beefed up waivers to indemnify them against legal action?  Do they require that a faculty member be present or sponsor the club, so perhaps this was a casualty of an out of balance budget? Could they implement restrictions to make the risk acceptable...for example wade only or fishing in pairs?  Could the students proceed with the club on their own, either informally or as a non-profit, and use the school bulletin boards simply to recruit members?   Obviously these are not questions that I can answer, but it gets you thinking…what are their options now?

Reply back here or on Fins on the Fly if you have any ideas or suggestions, or email jake at  It would be great if we could find someone that had a similar cancellation of a sport and what it was that they pursued to get that sport back.

****UPDATE***  Good news I just heard that there is a workaround in place so the club is able to continue to meet with some restrictions.  Jake was able to work with them to get to this point and hopefully they will be able to get a full resolution in place!

-mike schmidt

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Family and flies

It has been a crazy busy year and December has been no different. Worked extra time last week so that I could make it up to Detroit for my family Chrsitmas with the wife, brothers families, and Momma ACF.  This year we got up there and hung out with the nephews until bedtime on Friday then relaxed with a cocktail as we planned out Saturday.  Saturday started off with a fantastic breakfast and then we were off to the Detroit Zoo.  It has been quite a while since I have been there and one of the new exhibits is the polar bear and seal  enclosure with it's underwater area...really amazing.  As we walked up one polar bear was playing around in the water but by the time we got down underneath he had left the water.  We did get to hang out for a bit dow there though with the seals swimming laps around us.  I think that this time of year is perfect for the Detroit Zoo as there was absolutley no crowd anywhere vs the standard shoulder to shoulder we would have had to deal with a few months ago. 

One unexpected guest we had was the two-toed sloth in the rainforest exhibit.  This particular exhibit is a large enclosure with a plank path, but nothing separating you from the forest critters.  As we made our way through looking at freshwater rays, tortises, and birds there was suddenly a wide eyed look from my sister in-law as two dagger like claws slowly appeared no much more than a foot behind my wifes head.  She noticed the look and immeadiately sidestepped away before turning around to see the sloth hanging out where she had been standing and getting ready to munch down some leaves.  It was pretty cool to be that close to it and we were told that it is extremely rare that he comes out during the day as he is very shy. 

We did of course have to get the standard prarie dog shot!  It was a fun day and even more fun night as we spoiled the nephews with some pretty cool toys then spent the night playing with them.  It was great to spend the time with the family and just enjoy being together as it does not happen very often.  Sunday morning it was up and back on the road headed south to get back to work.

One shot I recieved from last week was this Cotton Candy eating brown from Steve Dally out on the White River in Arkansas.  They have been after the fish out there and reaping the rewards.  That river has an amazing number of large streamer eating browns and we are just now getting to the time of year where the streamer fishing will be sick for the next four months or so.  Definitely worth the trip out if you can get there!

A few of Tommy Lynch's Drunk and Disorderlies for the box.  Can't wait to get back out with these funky streamers and make them do the shuck and jive for some monster browns!

A fun order last week was for a local angler that loves to fish the Mallard Minnow.  His daughter in-law contacted me as she was unable to find them anywhere and heard that I may be able to help, and a few days later they were ready to go.  Flies tend to go in cycles and this is one soft hackle streamer that fell out of favor to the point that fly companies stopped producing them seven years ago or so.  It is a solid pattern that will produce fish and easy to tie.  Start with a 4XL streamer hook, wrap down a dozen or so wraps of lead, then secure a mallard flank to either side of the shank and finish with a smooth head.  I hit the heads on these with Clear Cure Goo Hydro to make sure they were glossy finished heads and no chance that a fish tooth takes them apart.  I do believe he will be surprised for Christmas and happy to have enough mallard minnows to keep him in fish for quite a while.

A few Voodoos headed to the south to see about a fish.

This is about a normal load each morning for this time of year.  Off to the Post Office they went with postage already taken care of as there is no way you will get me to deal with those lines!  More flies being knocked out this week to get out and looking forward to relaxing with my fabulous wife for Christmas.  Catch you all soon!

-mike schmidt

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Kicked back and tying

This last week I finally had some time to relax and tie a few flies for myself.  After heading our for dinner with the wife I had a few Yuengs and tied up some or Rich Strolis' Headbanger pattern.  It is a super cool articulated sculpin pattern that has been cleaning it up around the country.  I tied up the blakd and olive version along with a tan with burnt orange versino as those are my go to colors in Ohio.

Saturday morning I got up and hit the water with a buddy.  Hopes were high but the fish were not cooperative.  Tried both sinking and floating line presentations, different flies and colors, and every conceievable type of water to no avail.  Despite the lack of action I did learn a few things, but was feeling pretty crappy about the morning until getting back to the car and finding that the guys who fished the other way from the bridge with live minnows and chubs on pinner rigs had the same luck.  The water flow did nearly double while we were on the water and vis went from a few feet to under six inches so I will go with those variables as the reason the fish were lock jawed.  Yeah, that's it...

Earlier in the week I tied up some flies for Shafter Johnson from Blue Moon Expeditions down in Florida.  They run a mothership outfit with trips deep in to the Everglades, down in the lower Keys, and out to the Marquesas...pretty awesome stuff.  This batch of flies was sent down as he was going to be spending a few days personal fishing in the Everglades.  Sent him a bendback version of Daminno, some Foxee Roaches, and a variation of it using rabbit tails rather than the schlappen.  Looking forward to seeing what he tangles with this week.

This was a pretty solid group of streamers going to a return customer out in Arkansas.  With a few styles and colors he should be able to dial in some fish.

What to get for the fisherman who has about a custom assortment of flies!?!  This is a batch of big flies headed out for a lucky angler who loves to chase pike and musky.  For a bit of scale, the Double Decievers on the bottom are 8" flies!

Getting in to the home stretch of 2012 now.   Will be tying like a mad man all week then heading up to Detroit for the Schmidt family Christmas this weekend.  Hope you all have a great week.

-mike schmidt

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Great Lakes Council FFF show

It is common knowledge that Kelly Galloup, Russ Maddin and Bob Linsenman were at the forefront of the northern Michigan streamer revolution and after this weekend I am once again very confident that the addiction to chasing fish with meat is alive and well.  Michigan tiers are undoubtedly pushing the envlope of streamer fishing across the species board.  Michigan guys like Schultz, Berant, Grajewski, Erny, Lynch and Lafkas continue to push the envelope and create bigger and badder streamers.  Love hanging out with those guys!

Friday night I made it up to Okemos in time to have a few beverages, play a little quiz game and watch some sportswith a few friends.  Come bright and early on Saturday morning we were up and running by Dunkin Doughnuts on the way to  the GLCFFF show.  It was a great day hanging out with friends from around the state...talking about and tying flies with a crowd.

I sat next to Tommy Lynch and between the two of us we had a crowd all day.  I started off the mornig tying big double decievers and there was no lack of interest.  These are a few of hem that went straight to my box to be chucked around at a later date.

This is one fly that is inthe works that I tied up at the show.  Name is still in the works but it is likely the next fly to be released by ACF.  If is comprised mostly of marabou and fox tail, and with the Clear Cure Eyes dumbells is as weightless as you can get.  It is five inches of fishy goodness...more to come...

-mikes schmidt