Monday, June 2, 2014

Regal stress testing

If you love what you do then you will never work a day in your life.  Good thing I love tying flies because I have been 'not working' a whole lot this year!  The support ACF has received this year has been amazing and continues to grow.  This year I have put more hooks through the vise to date than any other year...kind of feels like I am stree testing the Regal Revolution at times.  It has been awesome to see the flies finding fish mouths all over our country and others as well.

The writing was on the wall for me that this last weekend was going to be spent at the desk, so I took a few hours after work on Friday to sneak away to the a local fishery and mentally reset.  I was going to meet a friend and fish a stretch that I have not fished since winter, but a last minute issue came up for him so I was on my own.  After a short deliberation I decided to hit the stretch anyway though that would now mean a bit of a hike.  I headed off up the road for a few miles before cutting across a fallow field where it pinches down to it's shortest distance  from the water.  Up and over the berm I went and then once in the water I kept heading upstream another 500 yards or so in some pleasantly cold thigh deep spring water to get to the place I wanted to start.  I quickly brought a few in hand, that were hardly bigger than the fly that I was using, before getting to a long and relatively featureless stretch.  This particular stretch only has a handful of depressions with cover big enough to hold fish over a few hundred yards of water, so you can really sneak up on the spots to target them...but you better have your casting game.  Success here requires you to be able to lay down a long and accurate cast above the target that have little splash down.  I have met a few good fish before that call the stretch home and this time one of them was interested in my offering.  As I retrieved I could see a two foot dark shadow following behind...the kind of follow that you know will come all the way back to you and spook if you let it, so I changed up the retrieve and it slowly slinked back to cover.   I changed up the fly color a little and after a few minutes put the fly back in there with the same result but a little more aggressive of a follow.   Playing the game I again changed flies, this time to something a little more weighted to give me more of a vertical jig than the side slide.  I let a minute pass and put that fly right in the bread basket.  I saw a flash behind it as the fish turned to follow.  Strip-strip-pause...strip-pause...strip-strip-pause...striiiippppp-paaauuuuussseeee...strip-strip... 
That crafty fish followed and charged to within inches of the fly, gills flairing and pec fins quivering, repeatedly and for nearly the entire thirty feet back to me before seeing me hunched over like a heron and bolting off.  I knew what that meant but put a few more casts out anyways to confirm it was gone. Touche you old bastard. You win this time, but I know your address.

The weekend was consumed with tying starting the minute I got off the water Friday.  I took breaks for food of course and each day for half marathon training, which is made more challenging when it is in the upper 80s, but most of the time was at the desk.  The flies just kept rolling off the vise and I almost finished up the whole order, leaving only a couple dozen to finish up tonight before boxing them up.  Keep an eye out for the picture later on this evening.

The next month things will continue to be busy, both with flies as well as some travel and water time.  Next weekend is the blowout extravaganza at Schultz Outfitters, in Ypsilanti Michigan, called Demo Days.  It is a two day celebration of fly fishing at the shop and the park across the street, that happens to have the Huron River flowing right through it.  Mike has a very talented group of people coming in for the weekend to give seminars, both on river and off river, as well as industry reps with the latest and greatest gear.  Afterwards I am going to head north and chasse some trout with my brother for a day, and then maybe smallies and carp the next day.   Just a month out now is the yearly trip out to Wyoming and I'd be lying if I said that trip hasn't been dominating my daydreaming for some time now already.  This year Greg and I are heading out a few days early to hit some new and remote waters before meeting our clients for three days of hopper goodness.  It's going to be awesome.

-mike schmidt

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