Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A very Boyne weekend

Last weekend was a long time coming.  Ethan, guide buddy and manager of Boyne Outfitters, has been trying to get me up north for the last year and we finally had a weekend match up on our schedules.  After work on Friday I headed north and we had a hell of a time hanging out, having a few beers, fishing all day (and night), and laughing our asses off.  It was exactly what the doctor ordered.  Here a are a few shots I have had a chance to clean up from the trip. 

The last shot was from about 19 hours in to the day and our third different stretch of water.  This particular spot was awesome mouse water.  We turned a dozen fish and hooked up on three, but this was the one that came to hand...23" of mammal eating fish.

-mike schmidt

Monday, September 9, 2013

Castapalooza and Streamer Freak Sunday...and Walter...

After two solid days of hanging out, fishing, talking fishing, and tying flies I was out of gas when I rolled back in to my driveway last night…both literally and physically. 

The weekend started off with me heading north to Greg Senyo’s place after work on Friday.  It was an easy few hours on the road and my mind wandered from fly design to fly design as I drove.  Shortly after I got to his place I carried my bin and tools to his tying room.  We both sat down and proceeded to fill the night with the usual sharing of ideas, techniques, and generally having a great time.  While there is plenty of giving each other shit about different things during these tying sessions they spark enough good ideas that I have taken to texting myself ideas as we go so I remember for next time that I am at a desk.  In my opinion the best technique that I saw from Greg was something that he is doing with Hareline’s new Predator Wrap that makes for a quick scandi tie.  It was one of those light bulb over the head kind of moments as I watched him with it at the vise and something that is sure to be a hit with tiers as he shows the technique at shows or on line.  Midwest Spey owner/instructor/guide Will Turek stayed at Greg’s place as well so the stories went on until well after the Friday Night football game was over; Saturday morning came real quick. 

I got all of my gear piled in to Greg’s car and then, after a quick stop for food, were on the road to  Shultz Outfitters in Ypsilanti.  As we drove by car after car flying Michigan flags my excitement grew…a day of casting talk and fishing topped off by a Michigan game is bound to be a good day!  We made it to the shop about an hour before the open and in short order there were customers lining up to get in.  It took only a short time for the shop to be packed with people excited about the weekends casting and tying events.

To say the least, Schultzy had the shop stocked to the gills for the weekend.  It was awesome!

I was just along for the ride on Saturday, so as the casting workshops got started another buddy Bryan and I laid out a game plan to hit a stretch of river and took off for a bit.  To be honest the fishing was a bit slow, only landing a few smallies, but it felt awesome just to be out and checking out a new stretch of water. 

The most memorable thing from the day was my ever so brief introduction one sea monster of a largemouth.  A few hours in to the day I made a long cast with a white Tarpon Toad to an exposed point of lily pads.  The fly landed with a splat and I let it sit for a few seconds before I twitched it, then as I went to twitch it a second time all hell broke loose. A monster went full breach airborn like U-571 when she blew all her tanks and surfaced to avoid being torpedo’d.  As the water started to boil it seemed like time slowed down and I watched as the push of water slid the fly aside and a massively thick belly went straight vertical then crashed back into the depths having missed it’s target.  After starring blankly in disbelief at what I had just seen I erupted with the less than child-friendly scream back to Bryan…”HOLY $*@T DUDE, DID YOU SEE THE SIZE OF THAT F*%&(NG FISH!!!! F@CK!!!”, to which the I got the valid reply of “YEAH DUDE, THAT FISH WAS F@C*&NG BIG!”.  I stood there in disbelief for a minute and collected my thoughts…that was likely the biggest largemouth that I have ever seen north of Florida.  We guessed on the spot that the fish was 7 inches or more thick and pushing two feet long.  Knowing how that sounds I decided a the shop to be conservative and general when I was telling the guys about it and said It was somewhere around or north of 20”…and as it turns out they have spotted this fish a few times over the last few weeks and confirmed it is every bit of that!   They originally mistook it for a carp before getting a better look and seeing the stripe.  Walter eluded me but is going to make someone’s month if they can get it to eat and keep it buttoned up…

After a short time at the shop hanging out we decided to get back to the river to hit another stretch.  This time I decided to take out my 5WT switch rod to get some swinging practice in.  Swung through the whole stretch and I did not get in to any fish in the afternoon.  Truth be told I was really more interested in dialing in the casting with that rod…and I was still thinking about Walter…

As the day rolled to an end we grabbed a few guys and walked down to catch Mark Sedotti with his rods down at the casting area for a bit.  He had a couple proto rods that were really fun to cast.  One in particular seemed to fit my casting quite well as I was throwing tight loops of 8wt line 120+ feet with very little effort.  What was really cool was watching Mark cast his show rod, which was basically lead core trolling line as a shooting head straight to running line.  One cast in particular stood out and had us rolling.  Mark carefully stripped off what looked to be far too much of the running line in to neat little piles as if in a distance casting competition then flipped a foot long yak hair fly out on the cement next to the grass.  As he did this a guy was rolling down towards us on a bike and gave the fly and Mark a funny look as he pedaled around the line and kept going.  After he had passed Mark got down in to a low crouch almost as if he were coiling up like a spring, then in one smooth motion hauled hard with his line hand and flung the rod back in a nasty back cast.  As the rod loaded and fired he released the line and that foot long fly flew through the air, and kept going…and going…  It whizzed by a few feet from the kid on his bike, who was now well down the road, causing him to wobble and almost go over.  I paced it off and found that with not a single false cast, simply a single backwards haul, Mark had shot that foot long fly 80-82 yards!

Late in the day the guys convinced me that rather than head back to Greg’s place for the night I should stay and watch the Michigan game in Michigan…so I did.  After the casting was over we headed up at game time and grabbed a table at a local place.  Food was good, beverages were cold, I was loud, and the game was awesome.  After the game was over we walked back to the shop with smiles on our faces and crashed out on the floor of the shop for the night.  My pillow consisted of the ‘Streamer Freak’ hoodie I had purchased earlier in the day (shameless plug:  get your from Schultzy before they disappear!) and I slept like a baby.

The morning again came quickly and it was instantly apparent that I likely did not need that last beer and car bomb at the end of the night…  Oh well, you only get to celebrate beating NDs ass for the last time once right?  The three of us that crashed out at the shop slowly came to and got things cleaned up a bit and in no time Schultzy showed up with some greasy McDonalds to complete the morning rejuvenation.  Similar to the day before there was quite a crowd to start off the day.  I was slated to have a tying workshop alongside Mark Sedotti at 10, so we got all of our gear together and gathered up the students for the walk down to the tying venue.  I had the pleasure of teaching four students the finer points of articulation on three different patterns over the next few hours.   They ranged from 30 years of experience at the vise down to a guy that “started tying a week ago to get ready for the class”.  He was a real hoot as he did not take himself too seriously and the smile never left his face.  There was a lot of laughing going on as we worked our way through the planned flies.  It was a good group of guys and I think they had a good time learning the Meal Ticket, Double Deceiver, and Junk Yard Dog. 

With my class being over in the early afternoon I got to hang out at the shop for the rest of the day and talk flies.  I also enjoyed watching Tommy Lynch tie the Drunk and Disorderly for his shop demo.  I find that every time I sit and watch him I learn something and smile a lot…that dude is awesome and his mind works in a totally different way from mine.  He pays attention to stuff that I simply miss and really makes you think.  By late afternoon the weekend events were over and I was headed south on the long road home.  It is always a great time getting up to Schultz Outfitters and hang out with a really fishy group of guys.  Totally looking forward to next time; if Walter has not been wrangled yet then I may head to the river with Corey and see about a formal introduction…

This week will seem like an eternity since I am back to the river next weekend.  First though I have some flies to tie during the week and the first Central Ohio Fly Fishers meeting of the season with George Daniels coming in to talk about Dynamic Nymphing.  If you are in town on Tuesday at 6 you should stop up at Barley’s Smokehouse and Brewpub to check it out.  Friday I will be headed north right after work to meet up with Ethan Winchester, from Boyne Outfitters, to fish until our bodies give out.  It could be a Mountain Dew and Five Hour Energy fueled 30 hour fishing marathon before I jump back in the car Sunday afternoon to head back home…

-mike schmidt

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Busy Long Weekend

In between Fridays’ dinner out, friends over for one football game on Saturday followed by heading out to watch my game, shopping for the week and an impromptu (and much needed) trip to the river I managed to squeeze in 21 dozen flies of which fully half were articulated.  It was quite a lot of time at the desk to say the least, but it is now the time of year that requires that time investment when water time is not on the books so that when trips are scheduled they can be fully enjoyed.  With me on the road the next few weekends this was work that needed to be knocked out.

This weekends work consisted of a starter set of streamers to send out to a new account in CO, flies for two books, some mice for carnivorous Alaskan rainbows, and a whole pile of buggers for a guide buddy that simply has no time to tie.  As well as a few stragglers to be knocked out!

At some point around dinner on Sunday the wife came in and made mention of how stressed and/or tired I looked.  I agreed that it had been a long few days and I really wanted to get to a river for a quick spell to which she replied “Well why don’t you go now?”.   With almost no debate I decided that was a great course of action and threw a few flies in my Vedavoo wallet as I skated out the door. 

I decided on heading to a favorite carp spot as it is off the beaten path a bit and may not have seen much pressure on this holiday weekend.  I rolled down the road, enjoying a fine Honduran puro cigar, and I realized that I had not fished that stretch in the evening in a number of years. I had been fishing it at first light so I was not sure exactly what to expect.  As I rolled up the river laid out before me and I struggled to keep myself from hurrying, trying just to relax. 

There are a few hundred yards of some nice riffles and pools to navigate before getting to the first of the usual ‘carp spots’ so I decided to throw on a weightless streamer to start.  I flicked my fly out at the base of the first riffle and then started to pull line of for my first cast.  With the line pooled at my knees I went to haul the fly out of the water for the first cast and was met with some resistance….fish on the board before really even casting!  Instantly all the pressure and time tables melted away and I proceeded to get in to a dozen strong smallies between 12-16” as I worked my way upriver.  I never did spot or spook a carp so I ended up just fishing that streamer close to the surface for 90 minutes or so until the sun dipped below the trees and I made my way back.

I am excited about the coming weekends as I will be spending both in Michigan and on the water.  This coming weekend I will be downstate in Ypsilanti at Schultz Outfitters for Castapalooza and Streamer Sunday.  During Castapalooza I will be wandering around some and also intend to fish the Huron for a bit and see what I can turn up.  I will be out of there in plenty of time to get a good seat for the Michigan game against ND that evening!  Sunday will be a blast as there will be tying workshops and dmeos held throughout the day from some of the top streamer guys out there today.  I believe that there are still a few spots for the workshops so call up to the shop if you are interested in attending one.

The following weekend I will be making a long run north after work on Friday to meet up with Ethan Winchester from Boyne Outfitters.  We have a crazy intenerary of throwing streamers all day on Saturday and then gearing back up for an night of mousing.  Hope to have some great pictures from both weekends to share here!

-mike schmidt