Thursday, February 28, 2013

Peak tying season...grinding

"Hey Mike, what are you up to tonight?  Oh yeah...nevermind."   That is the all too common bit of conversation I have with a coworker at the day job this time of year.  It always amazes people in the office, even those that that spend some time fishing, to find out that for a fly tyer this is the busiest time of the year.  Plenty of people either travelling and getting out or staying home and getting out...or thinking about getting out.  Long story short there are a lot of flies being spun and they all have to fit in around shows.  These fly pictures are some of what I have been up to over the last week.

This customer either fishes a lot, snags and loses a lot of flies, or has a lot of friends that he supplies on the water.   This was a heck of a collection and plenty to fill a box.

The standard big Super Pearl eyes starring back at you in this one almost as if to say "eat me".

A little custom job for a guy that wanted a 4.5" articulated herring pattern.  Will be making a small change before the order is tied as he intends to snell to the shank.  Will be a neat little pile of flies once they are complete.

I think these monkees have the right idea now.  I have the gear all packed up and am ready to hit the road tomorrow to head over to Lancaster Pennsylvania for the Fly Fishing Show.  Looking forward to catching up with a bunch of friends there and make some new ones.  After the weekend I will wrap up some more orders and then next weekend is the last show I do for this season in the US; will be headed up to the MFFC show in Warren Michigan.  Hope to see many of you in the next few weeks!

-mike schmidt

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bar Flies 2013

Each Wednesday throughout the winter Mike Schultz, the man behind Schultz Outfitters, puts on a Bar Flies event.  Each event is held utilizing the whole second floor of the Dexter Pub in Dexter Michigan and Mike gets talented tiers from all over the Midwest to come in and teach a few of their paterns to whoever wants to come out and pay the cheap $20 door fee.  This week was my week.

The Dexter Pub is a friendly place with a pretty solid menu and plenty of beverages.  As you come up the stairs you are greeted by a neon you know you are in the right place!

Once everyone came in and socialized for a bit we got the event underway.  Sitting at a table up front the camera shoots over your shoulder and the video play on a big flat screen overhead, so it is easy for everyone to see and tie along.   This was my second time participating in Bar Flies and this time I picked the Red October and the Junk Yard Dog as the patterns of choice for the evening.

With a few dozen people trying to tie along adn spread out across the room it is an entertaining mix of tying flies and cat herding.  It is a really fun group of guys and they do pretty well knocking out the patterns and enjoying themselves in the process.

My brother John made the drive over from Detroit for the event and brought along his friend Rob.  Rob has never tied a fly in his life but he dove right in and knocked it out of the park.  With some help from Katie he was able to keep up, learn a bunch of techniques, and complete his first two flies...both articulated meaty ones.  He was an instant convert.  As I understand it he is at my brothers house tonight using the materials that I sent them home with, putting down a few Yuengs I brought them, and tying more bugs!!

These are the flies from the night; the Red October and the Junk Yard Dog.  The fly up top is the original version of the pattern and the one on bottom is how they are now tied.  I think that the Senyo Laser Dub for the head gives the front hook a little bit of sparkle and polishes off the pattern.

I have not been out in far longer than I care to admit so I have been living vicariously through my friends and customers.  This solid piece of fish porn came from the Kelly Neuman crew out on the White in Arkansas.   This is another with that made a meal of the Glow Double Deceiver.  That has been a solid producer out there this season as well as some northern Michigan haunts.

The next few days will be spent tying as many flies as I possibly can and shipping them all over the place.  I will of course get some pictures first, so the next time you come back here there should be some piles of flies for your viewing pleasure!

-mike schmidt

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bad sports leaves time to tie

It was a tough sports weekend for me outside of my Wings with a solid performance, so that left some extra time to tie.  One bright spot was this shot of Kelly Neuman out on the White.  This fish made a meal of a custom glow in the dark Double Deceiver...and it is not the first to do so.  Something about that fly on an overcast day drives fish nuts.

After doing a presentation last weekend at the BUFF show in Cincinnati on winged wet flies I have the bug to tie some more up.  Lucky for me I had an order for some Parmachene Belles as well so I was able to get my fix and fill the order at the same time.  For married winged flies I stage them by assembling all the tails and wings first.

Then I go baack and tie all the flies. This particular group was half a dozen each of the Parmachene Belles in sizes 10 and 12.  It was fun to tie some more of these up and I am looking forward to knocking out more over the next few months as I get prepared for the show in Sweden where I will be tying these American classics.

As for the rest of the was a hodge podge of different streamer patterns.  Based on the orders I have stacked up in front of me I will be doing more of the same over the next week!

-mike schmidt

Friday, February 1, 2013

Some thoughts from the middle

Saw a post at Fish Camp Rehab titled Standing in the Generation Gap and really got to thinking. As a little departure from the are my thoughts:

I am a tweener when it comes to the conversation of old school vs new school.  I remember rotary phones and then later carrying a folded up sheet of paper in my wallet so I could call back someone that paged me…unless it was just a code like MMA1 (meet me at my house) or MMA2 (meet me at your house).  I remember NEEDING to have books as they were the only source of information outside my circle that was available to me.  I remember need to have a good set of maps in the car and the ability to read them rather than typing an address or lat/long in to a GPS and blindly following the digital voice.  I remember holding the ideas and writings of ‘industry people’ up as the gospel of fly fishing, and now having met many of them I can say that some deserve that pedestal while others fall short. 

At 35 I feel like the bridge between the old school and the new school; I remember the last way of doing things but also embrace the new ways.  I understand the broader context of issues now but feel the urgency to act now rather than wait.  I am old enough that the old school still calls me a kid, mostly tongue in cheek, while we have a few fingers of whisky neat but young enough that I am not completely out of place doing shots with the next generation.  I still like the feel of a good book in my hand but know that I can find more, and sometimes newer, information online…and that you have to take both sources with a grain of salt and a skeptical eye.

In today’s A.D.D. world of texting, FB, Instgram and microwave meals the younger generation expects instant payoff.  Why in the world would they plan to attend a next month to talk about doing something when they can Facetime each other now and DO SOMETHING tomorrow?  Who can be bothered to plan months out to go to a meeting and see a presentation on something when they can kick back with their friends find the same thing on Youtube?  They are a generation that grew up on line and is more likely to get their current events from Moldy Chum than the local news.  Sadly many would not know Joe Humphreys if he walked up with a smile and shook their hand, something that I actually witnessed with horror at a recent fly show, but would pick Chris Owens out of a crowd with ease.  

I think that the disconnect between the last generation and the next generation is growing and is our own fault, but that can be fixed.  I think the onus falls on us tweeners to bridge the gap.  We have one foot on each side and so the ability to bring together the old and the new.  All the advertising in the industry has changed to target the younger crowd and bring them in to the game, but the attitudes of some people already in the game involved remains a hurdle.  It is not one generation vs the next…it need to be the generations working together to protect and grow the sport we love.  The younger generation does care, is technically savvy, and could be a wrecking ball for good if they have the proper motivation and environment to put their skills to work.  They do not want to be preached to, they want to be worked with.  A little respect given goes a long way for both groups.  Imagine what could happen for projects and initiatives with the new and old school working together.  The guys from the old school have the contacts and capital to get stuff done while the new school has the means to quickly get the word out en masse and mobilize large numbers of people.  Utilizing the strengths of the generations together would be good for everything from shows and conclaves to stream work and pushes for (or against) legislation.  

I am not saying that a fly fishing kegger, as fun as that could be, is the answer to our problems but neither are the endless meetings.   I do think we need a little more ‘What About Bob’ and a little less ‘Groundhog Day’ in our lives….baby steps and action.  Both generations need to understand that the other has something valuable to offer.  We need to leverage those skills towards a common goal of ensuring our sport is around for the next generation to enjoy.   When it comes right down to it, it may take someone with a strong sense of purpose to take the reins and run with it.  That person will have to have thick skin and respect on both sides of the fence to buck the trends and break the molds…pointing the ship back in the right direction.

Whew...writing is exhausting, let’s go fish.

-mike schmidt