Tuesday, May 24, 2016

It's Gotta Be The Glasses

Over the weekend, I was just hanging out at the house doing what I always do, plotting to take over the world.

Then my sister called me, and said that she was in the neighborhood with her boyfriend.  They came by and we hung out, had a few beers, and I tossed some pork chops on the grill.

Beer and Barbecue.
This was my first time meeting her boyfriend, and we got on the subject of fishing.  I saw that the fish were getting active in the shallows of my backyard lake, so, I suggested that we go down there and fish.  They were both game, so, I grabbed the only 2 rods I had set up.  My 5 wt and an ultra light spinning rod.

Bluegill I caught.
After some difficulty with some tangled line on my ultra light rod, I decided, to let my sister and her boyfriend have a go at my fly rod.  I gave them a fixed amount of line, and it was GAME ON!  They both had the short cast down, and were catching fish!

My sister.  I made her fish.  She had a great time!
Her boyfriend is an Oakley fanatic, and he dug my white sunglasses.  We deemed them my signature trademark when I go fishing, so, he suggested it was only right that they took pictures with fish while wearing them, because, I was teaching them.  Ha!

It's gotta be the glasses.
Told her this was the most cliche' pose that she could make.
My sister and her boyfriend Javier and a bluegill.
While my sister was using the 5 wt, I had fixed the line on the ultra light, and tied on a small jig and bobber.  My sisters boyfriend started using that, and he hooked up with a really nice bass!  He was stoked, and so was I!

Taught him how to long arm.
Fish Kisser.
Say Hello to my little friend.
Oh, and I overcooked the pork chops, because, we were busy catching fish.  I didn't overcook them that bad...nothing that some Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce couldn't fix.  It was well worth it.  We all had so much fun!  I think my sister and her boyfriend want to do this more.  Awesome!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

CARF Outdoors - New YouTube Channel

I have decided to create a new YouTube channel dedicated to all of my fishing and outdoors shenanigans.

You may still follow my original channel, because, I will be uploading other random videos up there such as my acoustic covers and other things.

Here's a link to my newest video, and you can access my new channel from there.



Here's a cover of a song from my favorite band, Thrice.  You can follow this video to my original channel where you can expect more of this and other random, non outdoor type things.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Hardly, Strictly Musky: Final Day

Day Two of fishing was looking promising.  We were on pace to get on the water earlier than we did on Day One.  We got to the gas station where I had planned to take our friend, Adam Alexander Photo's advice of, "F the pop tarts.  Eat a hot breakfast, and be happy."  He also recommended the biscuits and gravy, and mentioned the cheap prices of the diner, but I had a slight problem - I couldn't find my drivers license or debit card.


After quickly doubling back to our campsite, and returning, we were able to get on the water before anyone else, and about the same time, as the day before.  I also, opted out of getting the hot breakfast.  Bummer.

On the water, I had a follow from a micro-ski 15 minutes into our float.  Then I had a mid to upper 20's musky follow out from some cover.  Funny thing about this musky is he gave me 3 follows the day before, but he kept on letting me down.

Then in a spot about 10 yards from that musky, I had a low to mid 30's musky come out HOT and take a swipe at my fly, but missed.  Then it just watched as I went into the figure 8, before it slowly swam off into the deep hole behind me.  Was never able to get that fish to come back a second time.  Damn.

The rest of the day went as follows:

Casting, figure 8, casting, casting, figure 8, beer, cast, chips, cast, figure 8, beer, more casting, and a whole lot of nothing.

Hey Dave, anything? ....Nope.

Hey Chris, anything? ....Nope.

Same here

Let 'er rip!
After some leisurely floating, drinking beer, and taking pictures of Chris and Dave, I decided to wet a fly.  Soon after, I hooked up with a decent smallie who put up a heck of a fight.

When you're the only one catching fish, your friends use sign language to say congrats.  Birds everywhere!
Catch.  Picture.  Release.

That was the end of the final day of fishing.  Few follows for myself and Dave, and Chris, yet again, did not see anything.  I was really hoping he would get at least 1 follow, but that's musky fishing.  No matter what region you're in.

Before heading over to the Park Theater in downtown McMinnville for dinner and awards, we had to make a quick pit stop a few blocks away and check out the musky mural that we've only seen in pictures.  Pretty damn cool!

Dinner was outstanding!  Todd had catered out to a local BBQ joint, and they provided some fantastic meal that I'm sure everyone had seconds of.  Costa Del Mar had Jungle Fish playing on the big screen, and the same as the night before...the beer was flowing and musky was the topic of conversation.

I'd like to say congratulations to Katie Blizzard for winning biggest fish with a 42 3/4 inch musky that she worked her tail off for.

I would also like to say congratulations to the winning team who boated 3 musky - Blane Chocklett, Mike Schultz, and Chris Willen.  Blane had a 40, and Mike hooked up with 2 musky - 41 3/4, and a 36 incher.  What a day!!

Such an honor to be on the board and help put my team in contention.  I'm just super stoked to have gone to Tennessee and hook up with a musky, and be apart of this outstanding event.  I'm not the only guy from Illinois that hooked up.  Our buddy Adam Alexander Photo (Mike Allen on the sheet) hooked up with a gorgeous 32 inch musky on Day One, as well.

Another great thing about this event, is that I was able to meet and chat with so many awesome people.  Some of those whom I follow on Social media, and some who follow me.  It's good to put faces to screen names.

It was great meeting all of you!!
(I apologize if I have forgotten to list you below)

Greg Morgan - The Most Interesting Man in the World!  Hands down one of the nicest and coolest dudes you'll ever meet.  If you're looking for a guide in Georgia, Greg, is most definitely your man - G.R. Morgan Outdoors.  I've never fished with him, but I can promise you, that you'll have a lot of fun.

The Most Interesting Man In The World - Greg Morgan.
Team U-Turn. Left to right - Me, Chris, Dave.
Hats off to Todd Gregory (owner of Towee Boats) and the Towee Boats crew for all that they do to organize such an awesome event, and for wrangling in such great sponsors like Patagonia, Monic Fly Fishing, Costa Del Mar, Flood Tide Co., Temple Fork Outfitters - TFO, and Flymen Fishing Company, and the city of McMinnville.

Thanks again, Todd!

Sweet Home Chicago.

Looking forward to next year!!!!
Hopefully, fishing from a boat.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hardly, Strictly Musky: Kickoff Party & Day One Fishing


Dave, Chris, and myself arrived in McMinnville, Tennessee, and our agenda looked like this...
  1. Scout the put in's and take out's we had marked on our map.
  2. Store - Pop Tarts, bananas, lunch meat, bread, chips, and beer.
  3. Scout more water.
  4. Find some BBQ
  5. Check into the state park and set up camp.
  6. Foglight Foodhouse for the Hardly, Strictly Musky kickoff party.
Here we have Dave and Chris checking out the map, while I take a picture and ponder how soon our next U-Turn will happen.  We made a couple thousand of them at this point.

What do you think about a U-turn here....
We found some barbecue at Blue Smoke BBQ in Sparta, TN.  I had the brisket sandwich, and it was excellent!  I wanted to get another, but I didn't want to spoil dinner.

Here here piggy piggy.
After some food we did some more scouting.  We arrived at a bridge that overlooked a river we deemed "Plan A" ...but it looked more like a last resort.  I was actually pretty impressed with the color of the water.  Never in my life had I seen an opaque river.  You could have slapped a Yoohoo Chocolate Milk logo on the bridge and I would have believed that's what the river consisted of.

Disappointed, we were.
What did not disappoint was dinner and drinks at the Foglight Food House for the kickoff party.  They served us a Cajun style blacked catfish with some dirty rice, and jambalaya...Damn that was delicious.  Todd Gregory of Towee Boats gave everyone a great big welcome, and layed the ground rules of the event.

"Don't be an Asshole" 

Begin Day One

Up early, and on the water by 7/7;30 AM.  We were fishing from a canoe, and kayak.  Dave constructed some pretty sweet outriggers on his kayak, and it really helped him and Chris stand up, and cast at the same time.  The first 10 minutes of the float, Dave, had a follow from a upper 30's low 40's musky.  That got us all pumped for the rest of the day.

At approximately 10:05 AM we were working this deep pool.  I was casting a 4/0 single hooked fly that I tied to look like a rodent over some submerged timber piles.  Out of one of the piles, a musky came out and SMASHED my fly.  I set the hook, felt the weight, and the fight was on!  1 second later, my line went slack and I felt nothing at the end....  

...My heart sank, and I just thought to myself I just lost a great opportunity to get on the board.

Next thing I know, my rod doubles over, and my rod tip goes into the water.  GAME ON!!!  The musky had swam right underneath the kayak in search of deeper water.  After quite the battle, I was able to wrangle the musky in, and received some help from Josh, Dave, and Brent netting the fish, and even more help from Austin Green and Katie Blizzard photographing and measuring my fish.  Thank you all, for the help!!

After the release, the rules stated we had to text the time, and length of the fish to Todd.  My musky weighed in at 31 inches. I received the following text back, "Right on! You're first!"

I could not be any more stoked than I was.  I just hooked up with the first musky of the tournament!

Later in the day we stopped for a shore lunch.  Fellow flat landers Kurt @Midwest_Waters and Mark floated by us, and we started back up with about 150 yards between each other.  Approximately 10 minutes after I took the picture below, Kurt lost a very big musky.  We all heard and saw the splash.  

I could tell, that it was one helluva fish, and as we floated by them, Kurt just stood on the bow, and Dave said, "Dude."...Kurt, simply said, "I don't want to talk about it."  A feeling we all know too well chasing these apex predators.

We arrived at the take out a little sooner than we expected, but I think we were all pretty happy about that.  Downed a few more beers before taking our time loading up the gear and calling it a day.

Dave and I ended the day with a couple follows each.  For some odd reason Chris did not see any action at the tail end of his flies.  I caught the only musky for our team on Day 1, and that had us on the board.  Looking forward to Day 2 on the water.

Day 1 of the actual HSM tournament is in the books, and we all had to meet at Towee Boats headquarters at 7 PM sharp.  Beer, burgers, and other food awaited us.  There was live music, the beer was flowing, and musky was the topic of all conversation.  Then there was a raffle for all of the door prizes provided by all of the sponsors Patagonia, Monic Fly Lines, Flymen Fishing Company, Costa, Flood Tide, and many more.  This was just the end of the first day of fishing, how much more awesome could it get!

Stay tuned for Day Two.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tennessee Bound - Hardly, Strictly Musky.

At 15:30 Hrs I begin my trip south to McMinnville, Tennessee for the 2016 Southern Classic - Hardly, Strictly Musky.

Well, I have to pick up Dave and his canoe in downtown Chicago, and then we have to meet up with our homie Chris in Southern Illinois Carbondale (I think).

...and then we'll be on our way to McMinnville, Tennessee.  Tomorrow morning.

We're all pretty stoked about this trip, and I'm sure it's going to be one helluva time.  My musky box is loaded and ready for what the flowing waters of Tennessee have to offer...Hopefully, some musky.

Also, I would like to apologize for my absence.  It's been dead around here, and I've been a bad follower to those who I follow, but I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things upon my return.

Until then, I'll leave you with the words from the great Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar - PARTY ON!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Setting Up The Camper

It's that time of year, again.  I usually head up to my grandparent's camper with my Uncle and Cousin Donny, but this year was different.  My Grandmother and Father were already up at the camper, and my Father called and asked if I could come up and help out.  Of course my answer was, yes.

I didn't have to clear the screened patio of any leaves this year.  What a relief!  That made things go much quicker.  We were able to get the canopy over the patio, no problem.

Zip tie the canopy to the supports, because, you can't fully trust the velcro to hold when there is a storm with strong winds rolling through.

That be my father.

No Carpet....

My Grandmother and Father
With carpet.

Once we were done with all of the heavy stuff, we decided to eat lunch, and then my father and I headed down to the lake to see if anything was biting.  My father has never used plastic artificial worms, so, I rigged him up with my spinning rod and a wacky rigged senko.  I told him to cast it out, let it drop, pick it up, reel in the slack, let it sink, and repeat.

What do ya know...he hooked up with a feisty male on his 2nd cast!  Pretty cool, and kind of funny how the tables have turned.  He taught me how to fish when I was a little kid (1st grade) using live bait and watching a red/white bobber, and now here we are, roughly 27 years from those days, and I'm teaching him how to fish using artificial lures.

He ended up hooking up with 3 more after that first one, while I was tossing a fly and receiving no attention from anything.


My father got hung up and lost the worm he had on, and called it a day.  I on the other hand, put away the fly rod, and took the spinning rod and rigged it up with another wacky worm, and there you have it.  I beat the skunk.  My father bragged about how he had me beat 4 - 1 when we got back to the camper.