Sunday, December 29, 2013

Snow Pike

Not wanting to pack up our fishing gear for the winter just yet. My buddy Dave (Urban Assault Fly Fishing) and I decided to take a float down the Des Plaines River just outside of Chicago, and fish for some feisty Northern Pike.

The day started out a lovely 23 degree's. We were well aware that it was going to be cold, and that we had snow in the forecast, but that did detour us one bit. We spent the first 1/2 of the day casting with no luck. After a few offering changes, Dave, was able to hook up with his first DPR Pike.

An average sized DPR Pike for Dave in the midst of some snowfall (Photo by: Myself)
As the day went on, the snow began to fall steadily, and the temperature was up and down ranging from cold to really cold. Dave continued to hook up and find these feisty pike, and totaled 3 on the day. I on the other hand, was not able to hook up with any. I did, however, have 2 really nice blow ups.

Anchored down in front of a warm water discharge. (Photo by: Dave)
Although, I was not able to hook up with any pike, I would still consider this a great outing. Floating down the Des Plaines River whiled it snowed, chucking big buck tail streamers for northern pike - Hell yeah, I'd do it again!

One of the 2 low head dams we had to portage. (Photo by: Myself)

Broke the oar in half breaking through an iced over section of river. Hand Paddle!! (Photo by: Dave)

Snow, ice, and a frozen buck tail streamer. (Photo by: Myself)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Project Healing Waters Fly Donation

With the holidays upon us, I thought it was a perfect time to donate some flies to Project Healing Waters, and help them support the disabled men and women who have served our great country.
If you're not familiar with Project Healing Waters, I highly recommend you pay their site a visit, and see what they're all about.
I will be donating a total of 51 flies to the Midwest. There are some flies for trout, panfish, and bass. I just hope that they help!
To all of the disabled men and women who have served or are still presently serving in our military, I just want to say, thank you and wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fly Tying Zone!

I am in the fly tying zone, as of late.

Recently, finished a few orders for some flies. Really cool to have someone reach out and offer to buy something that you've created. Even cooler to think that the flies that I tied will end up in some fish faces not from my neck of the woods. These are my first flies using Hareline Dubbin Senyo Laser Dub...excellent material, and super easy to use! I might be addicted to it.
Some clousers and San Juan worms. (The tips have since been burned.)
New patters!

Really cool to see that Clear Cure Goo used one of my flies for their cover picture on Facebook.

Articulated and Sassy!! - Check out those eyes. They say "Bite Me"

Keep your eye on the look out for some great deals. Found this one at Target on one of the end caps. It's too bad there wasn't anymore or other colors. Definitely, a steal! 
These are going to be awesome for panfish, and small creek smallies.

Cold Weather Outings

Went out for a quick wade this past Sunday on Poplar Creek. It was about 25 degrees, and there was ice forming in the slack water. 1 hour of wading, fishing, and getting rid of the ice build up on my guides produced a runny nose. I didn't mind that at all, because, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, despite the cold. Then it was off to Cabela's for some more tying material. Ha!
My FSA custom 3 wt on ice.
Skunked Photography
Here are some more pictures from my last few outings.
Late October stocker rainbow trout taken on a royal wolf.

Late October DPR northern pike.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fly Fishing the Ozarks

Brian Wise of Fly Fishing the Ozarks

Dude has the most straight to the point fly tying videos on the web, and I'm addicted to them. If you're just starting out with fly tying, then these videos might not be for you, just yet. I love how that he shows the material package before he uses it. He also lists the materials in order of use in the video description, and not to mention the jammin music he soundtracks the video with. Keeps me entertained and interested.

I've got nothing against all of the other fly tying videos on the web, and I really appreciate those people taking the time to show off their patterns, but I'm not one to watch long drawn out videos. My attention will

Vise Season

With the cooler temps, and the sun going down at 6 PM. There is not much time for me to get out and fish during the week. This allows me to sit at my desk and tie an abundance of flies that will never get used. Haha. I also have a goal of using up most of the material that I already have, before I purchase some different material, so, I can tie up some new patterns. (Doubt that will happen. I've been itching to get to my local fly shop for some new material.)

If anyone is interested in purchasing any of the flies that I have posted in this post or past posts, please feel free to contact me. =)

Size 2 - Rainbow Trout and Shad with CCG eyes and head.

Size 2 - Large Mouth Bass with CCG eyes and head.

Foam Slider for Pan fish. (Fly Fish Food pattern - Foam Dragon.)

Pink Eggs - Size 8

Learned this pattern at the 2013 Early Show. Unfortunately, I forgot the tiers name. I added heavier dumbbell eyes rather than the chain bead eyes. Swims with the hook point up. Wooley Bugger 2.0?

Gettin' weird! - I was really bored. Haha

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


4/0 - 6/0 hooks, grizzly hackle, buck tail - and lots of it. Musky was the focus of my thoughts the past few months, as I prepped for a 3 day trip to Flaters Resort in Holcombe, Wisconsin. The resort is located where the Chippewa and Flambeau rivers intersect. It's a small family owned/operated business with some great people. I recommend it if you're thinking about going up to the area.

Day 1 - Friday 10/11/13
We arrived early, and decided to wade and fish a dam on the Flambeau River. We were skunked. They didn't have any of the turbines open and the water was low. Should have listened to the guy who just unloaded his boat when he mentioned that the fishing would be tough for us near the dam with no turbines open.
The Fat Gordo, Fish Dank (with duck face), and myself
Shortcut! - Didn't feel like wading back up river.
After checking in, and getting dropped off with the boat only halfway in the Flambeau River, The Fat Gordo was the only person ready to fish. While Fish Dank and I set up our gear, Gordo was greeted on his first cast by a 30" musky following his buck tail spinner to the shore. Then after 10 minutes of floating Gordo gets another follow, but from a much bigger musky. It was an extremely windy day, and it did not help my mediocre casting abilities (I am the only fly fisherman. My other 2 friends were tossing big lures.) The day ended with myself and Gordo landing 2 smallies. The wind proved to be too much for me toward the end of the float. My fly came in contact with my rod 1 too many times while casting, and I broke off the tip section of my rod. (Possibly the fly hitting it. Thank goodness for that Redington warranty)

Love me some smallies
The Fat Gordo with a fat Wisco smallie.
On the hunt..
The one that got my dreams. I just love it up there!
Day 2 - Saturday 10/12/13
Floated the Chippewa River for about 9 hours. Fish Dank was the only person to land any fish - 2 northern pike and 1 smallie. No fly fishing for me, but luckily I did bring my bait caster and a small lure box. We saw tons of adult and juvenile bald eagles. We also got to see 3 deer cross the river in a rather deep stretch - pretty cool! The wind had us behind in schedule, and we floated down river in the dark for 1.5 hours - not cool - depending on me and a small head lamp to search for possible dangers ahead. We made it out safe, and to Flaters 75th Anniversary party. Free booze and sloppy joes! Can't beat that!

Blue skies in the morning.
Fish Dank and his smallie.
Northern Pike and Fish Dank
One of many bald eagles we saw. Absolutely beautiful!
Fish Dank transformed into the Gordon's Fisherman
Watching the sun set on the Chippewa River.
Day 3 - Sunday 10/13/13
Short float on the Flambeau River. Fish Dank tossed a buzz bait and hooked up with a pike. He also, had a few blow ups from another pike and a smallie. After we checked out, we stopped by another dam and fished from the shore. Saw a guy in a boat in the middle of the river catch a fat 45" musky. 

...and that concludes my trip. I miss those rivers, already. I cannot wait to return to them next year. Hopefully, multiple times...with a spare fly rod! I have a custom 10 wt being built very soon.

Enjoy some other pictures.
Maybe Santa will bring me a better camera :)

Love the colors of fall in Wisconsin.
Friday's dinner - Lamb steaks and Revolution Brewing Anti-Hero IPA.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kayaking for Pike

Had a friend invite me out to float the DPR (Des Plaines River) for some northern pike action. I was excited! I usually fish from the banks of the river with my bait caster, because, wading is prohibited in Cook County, and it would be near impossible to cast a decent sized fly with it being so wooded.

Got my chance to fly fish the DPR! For the past few weeks I have been tying some big flies for musky. The night before my float I thought about the lures I fish with success on the DPR....a fire tiger Rapala husky jerk. So, naturally I had to tie something that resembled that color scheme and lure. Here's what I came up with. I only tied one, and that proved to be enough.

4/0 TMC 600S hook, buck tail, flash, flashabou, grizzly hackle, clear cure goo eyes, and head. Very proud of this one. Came out exactly how I pictured it in my head.

Long float story short. The pike loved the fly! The first one was a little hammer handle. It was just a little bit bigger than the fly, and I hooked up with it on an errant cast while I was untangling line from my rod. The second pike I caught was 24/25 inches, and healthy! Missed the fly 2 times, and hooked up with him on the 3rd. I was pumped! Unfortunately, I was unable to get a picture of that one, because, it flopped out of my grip and back into the water. Ended the day with 3 pike, sore knees, and back. lol I need my own kayak. One with some leg room!
I could get used to this....but with a much roomier 'yak.
FishDank and his brother in-law
The first pike.
The 3rd pike.

Hopefully, I'll be posting about a successful trip for musky next week!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sitting Duck

Sunday, September 22, 2013.

I decided to make one last trip out to the Driftless Area of Wisconsin before the season closes for the year. I was pretty excitded for this trip, because, I was going to explore some new water that someone gave me details about.

So, I was cruising along driving the speed limit of 65 MPH on I-90 (...and yes I really was doing the speed limit! When you're out driving at 3:30 AM and there isn't a lot of traffic, you're easy target for the state troopers.) I was just North of the border and crossing over the Rock River bridge. As I was going over the bridge 2 deer came out of no where and I hit one of them. I lost control of my car, spun out, and my car came to a complete stop...sideways in the middle of the 2 lane interstate. (My Toyota Matrix was in both west bound lanes, with the front of my vehicle facing on-coming traffic just a bit.) I immediately turned on my hazard and bright lights, put the car in neutral, and got out to push it off of the interstate. I moved it an inch before I saw headlights. I got back in my vehicle flashed my brights on and off, and tapped my brake lights, in hopes the driver would see me. They and slowed down to go around me. I got out of the car as they were avoiding me and tried to hail them for help, but they sped off.

Then I started to push my car, again. I was only able to move it a foot before I saw the next set of headlights coming my way. Again, I got back into my vehicle and flashed my lights, but unfortunately, this car did not see me, and took out the front left fender of my car, and turned me perpendicular to the center line. I was just about to get out and start to push, again, but noticed another set of headlights coming at me, so, I stayed in the car, and prayed that this person would see me.

Unfortunately, the second vehicle did not see me until it was, too, late. The mini van smashed into the right rear fender with a solid hit. After my car did a 180 degree turn, I got out, again, and successfully pushed my car onto the shoulder, and out of harms way. (It was like a bad carnival ride.)

I grabbed my big mag flashlight from my backseat and called 911 as I made the 1/4 mile walk to the other vehicles. THANK GOD! - No one was hurt or injured. The axel on the mini van was broken, and the van was resting on the tire in the right lane of the interstate. The other vehicle was on the shoulder, and had damage all along the left side.

Thankfully, I brought my flashlight. I stood behind the mini van and flashed it at on coming traffic to warn them to steer clear of the right lane. There were two 18 wheelers coming down the hill and the driver in the right lane did not see me in sufficient time, and when he did he was unable to switch lanes, because, the other truck was there. This guy layed on all of his brakes and was coming in HOT! I remember yelling something to warn the others, and I quickly darted off into the ditch, and almost into the forest. The big rig stopped with a huge cloud of smoke about 15-20 yards away from the van. CRAZY!

The Matrix on the flatbed. Most likely totaled.
Tips for the future:
- Road flares! - I have them in my old Chevy Blazer (That I am currently driving now), but I never thought to put them in my car. Could have possibly saved me the nightmare.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Musky on the mind

I haven't been fishing at all lately. Don't you just hate that! I know I do.

Although, I haven't been fishing. I have been able to get some vise time in at night. I'll be making a trip to the Flambeau and Chippewa Rivers in Wisconsin (North of Eu Clair) the second week in October with 2 of my friends in search of musky. So, I've been tying up some big musky flies. I forgot how much fun it is to tie such big flies, and how much easier it me anyways. Here are a few of my finished products. Any advice on these flies or materials that you would recommend or suggest would be greatly appreciated!
First of the big flies. 2/0 hook in the front, articulated shank in the middle, and a 1/0 hook in the back. Buck tail, Grizzly Hackle, CCG eyes, black EP fibers (tail section) with some flash.
What material is good to use for the tail section/body behind the bucktail? I used EP fibers, because, that's all I had. Do you think it would flow well with this fly? - I haven't fished it, yet.

Articulated shank, followed by a 2/0 hook. Buck tail, Grizzly Hackle, and then green and black EP fibers with some flash.

Brad Bohen Hangtime on a 2/0 hook. Black Green and Pink buck tail, pink grizzly hackle, purple flashabou, and some crystal flash in there.

Another shot of the Hangtime fly.

Constructive criticism, and any tips/tricks you're willing to offer are much appreciated!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Damn, that was my favorite shirt.

Gave my buddy Fat Gordo ring to see if he was free to fish, and he was. We decided to fish Poplar Creek, again. It's been awhile since I fished that creek, and I was feigning some smallmouth action. After a quick Cabela's stop for some fly tying materials I needed.
Smallie was caught under that bridge.
The water was low, and the fishing was tough. I thought that the cloud cover of the day would definitely work to our advantage, but it didn't. Oh well. I still managed 1 dink smallie, and a decent LMB.
Not only was the fishing bad, but the wade was, too. Rocks just kept sneaking up on us. First the Fat Gordo went down, and came back up okay, and no water in the waders. Then I went down not 5 minutes after that. I was rewarded a nice welt on my right shin. 

Once we decided to turn around and make our way back to my car, I went down, again! This time I was rewarded with 3 very nice gashes in my right forearm. I didn't even bother to check what it was that gave me this glorious wound, but I just have my fingers crossed that it wasn't a hunk of metal. (Unfortunately, I think it was a hunk of metal.) I was just worried about stopping the bleeding. They were some pretty deep gashes, and I had nothing with me. (I should probably carry a small first aid kit in my pack, and so should you!) In order to stop the bleeding, I had to rip one of the sleeves off of my favorite Vedavoo shirt. The Fat Gordo helped me tie it tight around my wound, and then we carried on.
Be careful out there!!!
Not the best of days.

Update: The wound is healing nicely. It sort of looks like I was attacked by a mini Wolverine from the X-men.