Showing posts with label esox. Show all posts
Showing posts with label esox. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Vedavoo Torchbearer Spotlight

Hello all of you beautiful people out there who still visit.  I am still alive, and I assure you that I have no intentions of ever throwing in the towel here.  Like Stella, I just need to get my groove back.  While I haven't been writing/sharing over here, I have been writing/sharing.  I had a short Q&A session with Matthew over at Vedavoo not long ago, and the interview has been posted.

Click on the link to be brought over to the Vedavoo Workshop Journal to read the interview.

Friday, July 27, 2018


Back in June I came across some free time, and decided to get out in the raft for a Twin Cities Metro musky hunt.  The homie Travis met me at the boat launch and right when we were about to launch another small water craft pulled up and it was my other homie Lucas.  He was about to call it a day, but decided to stay out on the water and float around with us and fish.

It was a good day on the water, because, Lucas and I raced our watercraft against one another...and I won.  Lucas does have plans to add flames to his watercraft, which in theory give him a few extra ponies, but I still think I'll be able to take him.  We shall see.  Oh, and Travis caught his personal best northern pike on the fly!!  Well, at the time it was his personal best.  He has since caught bigger, and he's totally getting addicted to the warm water game.

Here's a short video from the day.

Travis Instagram - @The_Ravvit
Lucas Instagram - @Strangeflies
Lucas also does art and here's the link to his website -> CLICK HERE

Monday, June 18, 2018


Took the Flycraft Stealth out on the Rum River in search of smallies, and gators on a glorious Flag Day.  I tested out how my trolling motor faired against the current of a river, fished some new fly patterns, had a good time, and finally saw some Minnesota beaver.

What'd you all think...I'm pretty smooth when releasing fish, aren't I?!   :)

GoPro 5 Black -
GoPro 6 Black -
Trolling Motor -
*The above links are Amazon Associate links**

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


There's no doubt that I love showing my love for fly fishing and fishing in general.  I have so many stickers that showcase this stuck to my car, coolers, water bottles, fly boxes, etc.  I have plenty of shirts that also showcase the sport.  I now have a bracelet from Sight Line Provisions that showcases my absolute favorite fish - The Bass (Small and Largemouth).  I love fishing for pike, and musky...but  fishing for bass is where this passion really began.

Before fly fishing, my favorite method to fish was with my casting rod and a hollow rubber frog.  Nothing got me more stoked than tossing one of those frogs in the thick of the Lilly pads or weeds, anticipating the explosion of a bass bursting through the surface to destroy that frog.  Then came along a fly rod and a size 4 sneaky Pete fly in yellow.  Tossing that little fly along the edge of the weeds, Lilly pads, or over the top of some submerged vegetation to see that little fly get annihilated by some bass.  Endless fun.

Now I can really showcase my love for those style!  At first, I wasn't so sure about the purchase, because, I didn't really know how I was going to like wearing a bracelet.  I've been super happy with the purchase, and it has been the start of quite a few conversations about fishing.  I think I see a musky or pike bracelet being added to my Christmas list for Santa.

Friday, September 30, 2016


Upon my arrival to my favorite Northwoods area, I was slow to get the day started.  Exhausted from driving through the night after playing at an open mic took it's toll on me, but that's okay, I wasn't in a rush.  I had 4 days off, and nothing but time.

The morning weather was cool, in the high 50's, and some of the leaves had started to change into their beautiful red and orange colors.  Get those hoodies out, because, Fall has definitely arrived in the Midwest.

Fall has arrived.
The fishing at my first spot on the river was slow.  The smallie's were biting, but each one I caught lived up to the "Smallie" nickname.  On my way to some other spots I marked on the map, I grabbed an always refreshing PBR, because, it's good to stay hydrated, right?

10:30 AM - It's 5 o'clock somewhere, right?
Feeling energized, refreshed, and hydrated, I began to chuck my lucky Northwoods fly that has been a favorite of the tank smallmouth I come across in this river since last summer.  I also caught my musky down in Tennessee in the Hardly Strictly Musky on the same fly back in May.  The fly did not disappoint, and wrangled up a few bigger smallies, and the tank you see below.

Hiking through the forest in this new area I came across quite a bit of bear scat.  Being by myself, I just started to do what I normally do when I'm hiking by myself, I started to sing songs from the Lion King soundtrack.  Hakuna Matata and I Just Can't Wait to be King will always be favorites of mine.  They work, because, I haven't come across any predators singing those songs, yet. 

It's Football Season.
Continuing to fish the same fly, I came across a stunning section of river that just screamed "Musky" to me.  It was time to focus on what season it was - Musky Season.

Chuckin' Chicken.
After 2 follows from a huge huge musky, I moved down river a little bit more.  There was a big tree branch in the water extending out from the bank, and I tried to carefully cast near it, but instead, I snagged it.  Ugh... I gave the fly a hard strip and it broke a branch and became free, and as soon as that happened a musky came out and annihilated my fly!!!

Here's the dialogue from the encounter

Strip Set! Strip Set!! (Yes, I said this out loud.)

What a fighter!!!  She gave me a run for my money and as I was trying to land the beauty, I fell down, not once, but twice.  I tailed her, and then dropped my rod and grasped her with my other hand, she shook her head, and my fly popped out -  WOW!!!

I was ecstatic!!!  Roughly 4 hours of fishing on my trip and I have already accomplished mission number one - Musky.  It was easy sailing from there on out.  Everything else was considered a bonus.

I didn't get a measurement on the emerald green beauty, but I estimated her to be between 36-38.

Whoever invented tripods - THANK YOU!

Finished day one with another follow from that huge huge musky I had encountered earlier.  Just couldn't get her to commit.  Caught a few more smallmouth, hiked, and just enjoyed the beautiful fall weather.  Ended the day with a drive to a nearby watering hole to partake in a good old Friday Fish Fry.  

Today was a good day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Open Mic Night

I am back from my trip, alive and well, refreshed and rejuvenated.  Although, I wish I could have stayed out in the wilderness a few more days, week, month, forever...ha

It was a total last minute decision to take off Thursday night for the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  With the arrival of Fall, I just knew it was time for me to get away.  The lure of the Fall colors, and it being "Musky Season" just forced me to take off and get lost.

I'm still sorting through pictures and thoughts...there's a lot of them, so, this story is going to come out in pieces.  I know what you're thinking, "F you CARF!"  Don't you worry, though.  I'm not going to allow myself to fall back into my slacker ways.  I have a need to keep the story telling alive!

Before I embarked on my 4 day solo adventure, a local bar my buddy bar tends at (Bigby's Pour House) was having an open mic, so, I decided to bring the guitar out and play some tunes in public.  It's been quite some time since I had done anything like this.  I had such a great time playing and listening to some of the local talent, and man, there are some talented individuals out there!  All in all, I think I did a good job.  I felt like an acoustic rock star.  Ha!  Looking forward to playing some more open mics, and possibly opening up for some friends bands.

Photo Cred goes to my friend JoAnna.
As soon as I left the open mic night at Bigby's, I jumped on the expressway and started my trek North around 11:30 PM.  2 short parking lot naps, and 6 hours later, I reached my destination.  There were a bunch of deer on the gravel road, and all but 1 scattered off.  This one was confused at the departure of it's other deer friends, and didn't even notice I was there.  3 minutes later the young deer bolted off.  Hopefully, it doesn't sit around that long for hunters and poachers.

Uhm...Where did everyone go?!?!?!
After another short nap in the middle of the forest, I was on the water.  It was beautiful out, and all of the small smallmouth bass were out to play, but no sign of Momma or Poppa.

That is all the time I have at the moment.  Still sorting through pictures.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


With today being the official first day of Fall, that means a few things to me.

  • The days are shorter.
  • The temperatures will start dropping. Get your hoodies out!
  • Leaves will begin to turn, and blanket the ground. Making it hard to sneak around outside without making that leafy crunch sound.
  • Real football weather. Go Bears (Say what you want - I stand by my team.)

and last but not least.....IT'S MUSKY SEASON!!!!

I will have you all know, that I am leaving tonight (9/22) for a much needed adventure in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  I'll be exploring, hiking, kayaking, fishing, car camping, jamming out on my guitar, drinking beer, all while sitting by a small campfire and hopefully not eating cold hot dogs.  

Basically being a complete fish/outdoor bum for the next 4 days...rediscovering my old self and decompressing with some good old fashion outdoor therapy.

  It's going to be awesome, and I am stoked!

I hope everyone has a great rest of the week and weekend!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

It Has To Be The Shirt

My first time out on the Des Plains River this year.  Crazy, right?  Usually, I'd be in the double digits in visits, but that's just not the case this summer.  I'm going to make the most of what time is left, that's for damn sure.  Got out to my favorite, most frequented stretch of water on the DPR in Lake County.  The weather could not have been better.

Kept it simple and light this trip.  1 fly rod and just a few flies.  I was just looking to enjoy the day and not over complicate things.  We had some storms roll through the past few days, but the water levels were surprising low.  

What I was extremely surprised about the day was the amount of fish I seen swimming around.  I have never seen so much activity in the water before.  There were schools of bass, bluegill, and rock bass all over the place.  It was really awesome to see that the fishery is flourishing.

Floating along, enjoying the scenery, and casting near downed trees and debris, I was seeing a lot of action.  The Northern Pike were hungry, but man, do they have the worst accuracy.  Once I finally got a hook up, it turned out to be a fish I had never caught on the river.  A largemouth bass!  It must have been my Troutrageous! shirt that enticed the chunky little bass.

On my paddle back up river, I anchored down, so, I can take a break and listen to a live band that someone had playing in their backyard.  They were jamming all kinds of new and old music, and were pretty damn awesome.  I couldn't see them, because, of all of the forest but I could hear them loud and clear.

Here's the spot I was anchored down at...beautiful.  Crazy to think that this is the Des Plains River.  I may or may not have fallen asleep while laying back on my kayak.

Life is good when I'm in my kayak on the river...napping.
40 minutes later...I continued my paddle back to the launch were I parked.  Made a few more casts and hooked up with this feisty snot rocket.  I think I went 1 for 20 on Northern Pike.

Surprisingly, this was the only litter that I found in the stretch I paddled.  Free double buzz bait in Chartreuse...I'll take it!

-Here's a tip for all of you fishermen-
If your lure is snagged, don't cut the line at the reel.  Aim your rod straight at the lure and pull straight, putting zero bend in your rod.  It'll break off closest to the lure (In theory), and you won't litter or lose a lot of line.  Win for you, and win for any animals that might get tangled up in your mess.  Let's be smarter people!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I'm Back!

Just like Michael Jordan in 1995....I'm Back!!!!

I just want to say, thank you, to all of those who have stuck around.  I wasn't quite sure how long I was going to be on hiatus, but what I did know, was I would most certainly return...and here I am, white sunglasses and all.  Oh, how I have missed writing and sharing my fishing tales/blunders.

Looking forward to catching up with all of you!!

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!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Pike On The Mind

My buddy DanK found this picture, and shared it with me not long ago.  I posted it on my Instagram, so, you might have seen it.  I really wish I knew the orgin of it, because, I LOVE IT!  I've tried a few Google searches but came up empty.  It gets me excited for the upcoming season.  I cannot wait to get into some predator fish with teeth!

I've been slowly building a stockpile of flies.  Some for myself, but most of them are for others.  The one below is an articulated double, and it'll find it's way into my personal box, and hopefully, it's next stop is the jaws of a musky or pike.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ice Jigs for FSA Custom Rods

My homie +Ed Schmitt of FSA Custom Rods reached out to me, and asked if I would be interested in decorating some ice jigs he plans on pairing up with some custom ice rods he's building for some Veterans.  Without hesitation, I agreed to the job.

About 2 weeks later, my GF was going through our mail, and asked what I ordered from the "Used Anal Bead Emporium.  Wait...what did you say?!?!  I got something from the WHAT? HAHA!!!!  Luckily the contents of the envelope contained zero anal beads - used or new, and only some tungsten ice fishing jigs, stickers, and a note from my buddy Ed.  Oh, what a funny guy you are!  Haha  I got a really good laugh out of that.

Now what the heck to do with these jigs.  Very different than what I'm used to, but a hook is a hook, and after much thought, I had an idea.

I painted them all orange.  In retrospect, I should have only done half in orange, and the other half in another color or left them the original color, but oh well.  I'll just blame it on the beer that I'm pretty sure I was drinking that night.

A little flash, Senyo Fusion dub, and viola, ice jigs completed.  Hopefully, these will go great with the ice rods that Ed is building, but more importantly I hope they catch some fish for those Veterans that need some fish action through some hard water.

Ed is a Veteran of the Marine Corps, a very talented rod builder, and obviously a funny guy who is a fan of used anal beads.  He's built rods for quite a few of us here in the Chicagoland area.  He can do any type of rod; casting, spinning, fly, or ice.  Some others that can attest to the quality of his work are Brookfield Angler, and The Impractical Fisherman.  

So, if you're in the market for a new rod, shoot Ed an email at - and be sure to like his Facebook page FSA Custom Rods.