Showing posts with label midwest fishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label midwest fishing. Show all posts

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Learning To Fly

Back in May, my buddy DanK and I went out fishing.  The bass were on their beds and didn't want to partake in any of our shenanigans.  I downsized the fly I was tossing to something the big bluegill in this lake would be willing to take, and they did not disappoint.

I even got DanK to try his hand at fly fishing.  His casting definitely needs work, but it was getting the job done this day.  The huge bluey's were giving my 5 wt one heck of a work out.

DanK with the cliche fly fishing grip n grin.
I don't think he's going to be converting, but I think he'll definitely give it another go.  I'll make him if he doesn't. ha

Oh, and please forgive all of the curse words.  I hadn't realized I swore so much until I was editing this video.  I have since curbed the bad habit a little bit.....I think.  Probably not.

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.


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.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Daisy Meets Larry Largemouth Bass

My first decent sized bass of the year out of the backyard lake.  My dog Daisy was there, too, and it was her first time seeing a fish.  It freaked her out at first, and then I got her to come on over and say hi.

I present you, the many faces of a confused happy dog.

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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Trouterspace & The Remedy Fishing Channel

The dudes at Trouterspace and The Remedy Fishing Channel have uploaded a new video, and it's a fantastic.  Short, sweet, and get's me jazzed to get on my kayak to do some fly fishing for smallies and pike.

If you don't already, I suggest you follow them, because, they're always putting out quality stuff.  They also have one of the cooler blog names out there.  I'd name a few others, but I'll save that for a future post.

Click here for their website.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

2016 Illinois Fishing License

Just a reminder to all from Illinois.  Our Illinois fishing licenses have expired, and it's time to get to your local tackle & Bait, or big box store to get your 2016 Fishing License.

To purchase your Illinois fishing license online click the link below.

...and remember.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Is Here

Spring is here...not quite, but the sun is staying out longer and I have ample time to wet a line in my backyard lake before dark.  

The crappie bite has been crazy awesome!  I hooked and lost an unexpected bass that was a very nice size, but totally schooled me and my 3 wt.  I even snagged a carp that took off like a bat out of hell, and left me with a little parting gift.

Spring is here.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pink Squirrels and Hatches

While at the fly fishing expo, I purchased some much needed proven trout flies from Matt Ebbers.  On the way back to Chicago, Dave, and I stopped at the Rush River after pretty much everyone told us to go there while on our way back.

Dave and I doubled up about 15 minutes into our wade.  I hooked up with a small brook trout on a Matt Ebbers pink squirrel, and Dave caught a brown trout on...I have no idea...a trout fly.  Pretty fish.  Small fish, but pretty fish.
Doubled up.  Photo by UA Dave.
Me wading upstream.  Photo by UA Dave.
While on our wade back downstream to the car, I noticed that there were trout starting to rise.  As I continued to watch, more and more trout were rising and at a faster rate.  What is this madness I thought to myself.  I felt something crawling on the back of my was a black winged insect.  Very small with sort of a long body.  I was witnessing a hatch!

I quickly switched flies to the smallest black dry fly I had, and immediately told Dave to do the same.  After quite a few missed opportunities and some good laughs, I finally hooked up!  My first "match the hatch" trout, and a nice one at that!

The small fly that caught the brown trout above was from my purchase of trout flies from Phil's Phly Shop.  I am terrible with all the names of these small flies, and really only know if it's a nymph or a dry fly.  Haha

Well, that brown trout shot out of the water like a missle to take the fly, and it was AWESOME!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Minutes To Spare - First Brook Trout

Before the River Falls Fly Fishing Expo.  UA Dave and I decided to forego the early set up of our tables, and fish a stream that flowed on the backside of the parking lot of the building for the event.

We both hooked up with our first brook trout within minutes of each other.

It was awesome.

The brook trout was gorgeous.

I'm still pretty thrilled about the catch.  I just wish the light would have worked better with me, so, I could have captured all of it's colorful beauty, but you take what life gives you, and I didn't want to keep the fish in the net for long, so, off she went.

Big thanks goes out to +Brian J Smolinski and Lunds Fly Shop for jokingly telling Dave and I that there were fish in the stream behind the parking lot.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


This past weekend, UA Dave and myself jumped in my car at 330/4 AM and started our drive North.  The destination was +Brian J Smolinski shop - Lund's Fly Shop in River Falls, Wisconsin which is just about 40 minutes Southeast of Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

We were headed up for the River Falls Fly Fishing Festival, which consisted of the F3T on Friday night, and a Fly Fishing Expo on Saturday...and of course we had to do some fishing while up there.  We arrived at the shop around 9:30, and it was hard not to give Brian all of my money for all of the awesome things he had in his shop.  Haha  We hung out for a bit, and then went to fish, but not without being told where and what to use.

CARF Outdoors sticker has been added to the Lunds Fly Shop Vault.  Honored!  Can you spot it???
After leaving the shop, Dave and I, drove 5 minutes to the spot we were told would be good for fishing, and guess what we did next...fished.  Dave hooked up with his first 2 Wisconsin trout, both were browns, and both came when we were at the end of our fishing outing and I was waiting on the bank thinking about sandwiches and beer.

Fishing the Lower Kinni.  UA Dave in the distance
Dave trying to entice some risers.  No dice.
After fishing, we checked into our hotel and then headed over to the University of Wisconsin - River Falls campus to where the F3T event was being held.  The doors opened at 5 PM and the show didn't start until 7 PM.  During this time, Dave and I were able to set up shop with our fly tying gear and flies that we had for sale on the balcony near the ticket table.  There were a few other fly tyers and artists that had tables, as well.  Sort of a mini expo before the films started.

Whippin' up some Esox Bugs.
CARF Outdoors setup.
Dave getting down on some BBQ Pulled Pork and adding extra flavor to his flies.
There were a few other great fly tyers that had tables as well. (I forgot to take pictures of their tables. #fail)
  • Gabe Schubert - Gabe ties some of thee MOST impressive musky flies I have ever seen in my life.  One word to describe his work, "WOW."
  • Andy Selvig - Andy ties some really awesome intruder style flies that I don't know if I would display or fish them.
  • Aaron Przybylski - Aaron ties some really awesome small baitfish, that scream to bass and trout "EAT ME!"

Website - Kevin Lovegreen

Kevin Lovegreen is an Author of outdoor books for kids.  He had some great stuff that are easy reads, and will not only help kids get away from video games, but they will certainly help with their reading skills, and get them excited about fishing, hunting, and the outdoors.  Some really great stuff!!

Website - Josh DeSmit Art

Josh has some serious talent, as you can see from the painting of the brown trout above.  If you're into fishing, hunting, or can simply appreciate art, I highly suggest you check out his website and admire his work.  I have.

The F3T was great, and there were soooo many people!  The attendance doubled what I'm used to seeing here in the Chicago area.  There were also a ton of awesome raffle prizes that were donated to the event by some great sponsors.  The films that I found most memorable were Turning Points North, GEO BASS, and Tidewater.

Day 1 in the books.  It was a great day of fishing, tying, and meeting so many awesome people.  Be on the look out for Day 2.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Chi-Tie February Meetup

What is Chi-Tie?

"We are just a group of fly fishers and tiers meeting up for a few beers while tying.  Trying to build connections and community among us in Chicago.  We welcome anyone and everyone."  - Chi-Tie

The core members of Chi-Tie are Dave Knutzelman (Urban Assault Fly Fishing), Adam Alexander (Adam Alexander Photography), and Tim Adkins (Critical Angling).

They meet on the 2nd Monday of each month, and I have been able to join them a few times.  One of those times was last month, and there was no particular theme.  There were some new and old faces, and everyone was tying something different.  Flies for bass, trout, and pike.

Few beers, few flies, and some great fishy conversation.  Always a good time at Galaway Bay.  So, if you're ever in the Chicagoland area and it's the 2nd Monday of the month, you definitely check out Chi-Tie.

Bunch of leeches I tied up.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Article in DNAinfo

My homie UA Dave was recently interviewed in an article for about fly fishing in Chicago.  Dave has been a great promoter of fly fishing in Chicago.  The video our friend Adam Alexander Photography shot on the Des Plains River made the article, as well.  Good to see these guys getting in some print.

Click below and you will be brought to the article.

Article By: Justin Breen
Twitter: @dnainfo_breen

Monday, January 4, 2016

Winter: It's Here

2016 is here...Hooray!

Winter is finally here...Boo Yah!

Justin already has cabin fever...Woohoo!

Lots of time on my hands.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I Hate Cotton Candy

In the Fall edition of A Tight Loop Magazine there is a video of me tying one of my favorite pike/musky predator flies.  I hate cotton candy, and the colors on this fly, to me, resemble just that, so, it is deemed my "I Hate Cotton Candy" fly.

And here's an old video of me attempting to play the jaw harp for the first time.  You decide what I do the jaw harp or tie flies. ENJOY!!!

If I didn't provide you with that description, there's a good chance you would have thought it was me trying to impersonate Arnold Schwarzenegger reciting vowels.  Am I right, what did you hear?

Friday, October 16, 2015

a Tight Loop Fall Edition (I contributed)

The Fall Edition of a Tight Loop Magazine is out, and yours truly has a little article in there about the Des Plains River and the Northern Pike I love to fish for.  I also have a fly tying video in the magazine, as well.  

My buddy UA Dave (Urban Assault Fly Fishing) has a great pictorial in there from his most recent trip to the boundary waters.

One of my favorite articles is "Ball O' Crap" by Matt Jennings

Check it out!!

---->CLICK HERE<----

Let me know what you all think!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fish Da Kish

     My homie DanK asked if I wanted to fish, and I said, yes.

He asked where, and I said, I'm down for where ever.

DanK said, the Kishwaukee, it is!

He fished the "Kish" for the first time a weekend prior, and the smallies and pike kept him busy, so, he was eager to return.  I, on the other hand, was simply excited to see some new waters.

Having done a bit of homework...I asked my buddy Kurt from "a Tight Loop" magazine about some intel on the river, and he gave me a quick run down of what to expect, and he mentioned 1 fly - a yellow and white clouser, tossed on a 5 wt.

Armed with my 5 wt, a freshly tied yellow/white clouser minnow, and my ultra light spinning rod, with a 1/16 jig and a white twisty tail grub, I was ready for the Kish.

The start of a great day.

Check out that water clarity!!!
The water was low and crystal clear.  The day was started slow.  There were quite a few places that we had to get out of our kayaks and drag them, because, the water was so low.  In the areas the water was not low, you can betcha we caught some fish!!!!

The smallmouth just could not resist the freshly tied yellow/white clouser or the white jig that I tossed with my spinning rod.  It was one of those days where you just couldn't wipe the smile of joy and excitement off of your face.  Thanks, for the tip, KURT!!!

Tons of fun!

One of the bigger ones you'll find in this river.
I just love floating the rivers in Fall.  The change in colors just makes everything so scenic and beautiful.  With the arrival of off the Fall season, there were a ton of leaves on the water, so, between the two of us, we caught well over a hundred leaf fish.  High Five!
Fall on the Kishwaukee River.
I wasn't the only one to hook up with some fishy friends.  DanK found his fair share of smallies with a small jerk bait, and skirted jig.  He caught the biggest smallie of the day on a jig, while I was fighting a 30 lb carp that was foul hooked with my 5 wt.  The carp shook free after a 4 minute fight and sleigh ride.  DanK was also able to find and hook up with 3 pike, and one even stole a hook from his lure, and he didn't even know.  He had a pike hit his jerk bait 15 times without a hook up, and that's when I noticed he was missing one of the hooks from his lure. Ha.

Biggest Northern Musky of the day.
Biggest smalljaw of the day.
Solid fish.  He's been after this one for years!
Oh, I also, caught a chunky little largemouth bass.  Check out those colors!

Love those predominant markings.
It was a solid day of fishing, especially, on new water, and always a pleasure fishing with my boy DanK.  Smallmouth bass galore and 40 minutes from the house, it's a no brainer...I'll be back (Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator voice). 

Thanks, to SkiFish, for showing DanK the Kish, and to DanK, for passing the knowledge.