Thursday, November 10, 2016

Not The Only Blogger

I'm not the only Blogger in the Carfagnini family.  My cousin Brianna recently made her cooking/food blog public, and it is looking good!  She is one helluva talent in the kitchen, DIY projects, and crafting.

I highly recommend that you check out her blog.
FYI - It'll make you hungry.

Click Here -> Swinton Kitchen.




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Chicago Cubs Did It

I know this is old news by now, but the Chicago Cubs are World Series Champions!!!

Howard (Windknots and Tangled Lines) - Mark (Northern California Trout) - They did it!!!

Game 7 was seriously, in my opinion, the greatest baseball game ever played.  I was watching the game from the couch and at the start of the 7th inning, I decided that I should be down in Wrigleyville.  Just like I was for when they clinched the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Once down there, I joined the masses in the streets watching the game as best we could...through the windows of any of the nearby bars.

Photo from somewhere on the web.
Once Kris Bryant picked up that short ground ball and the ball hit the back of Anthony Rizzo's glove, the whole city of Chicago erupted!  There are not enough words to describe the atmosphere.

 Unbelievable.  Unreal.  Electric.  Insane.  Crazy.  Bonkers.  HOLY COW!


Monday, November 7, 2016

Midwest Golden Bones - Recap (Late)

The 1st annual Midwest Golden Bones Fly Tournament was a great success.  Kurt Nelson and Bill Katzenberger were the masterminds behind the tournament, and my hat goes off to those guys for all of the work they did.

There's a great write up, and some fantastic photographs from the event over at the Tippets and Tales blog.  I highly recommend you check it out!!!  --CLICK ME--

The event even made The Moldy Chum blog. --CLICK ME--

FRIDAY - MEET UP AND PFI: IRON FLY
I hosted the PIG FARM INK - IRON FLY event to kick off the weekends festivities at the Rivers Edge Bar & Grill in Batavia, IL.  Kurt had his Towee boat parked in the beer garden and he had compartments filled with ice and beer provided by Sweetwater.  Booze, Boats, and PFI: Iron Fly...an equation that equals a bitchin' good time.  Huge thanks to my homies from the FARM for hooking it up with some killer prizes provided by Yeti Coolers, Costa, and Post Fly.  What a fun night of fly tying challenges, happy anglers, and some creative and questionable flies.  I only took a few pictures, and they're not good. (For pictures please visit Tippets and Tales post.)



Mike Burns walking away with a Dead Weight Fly swag

SATURDAY - TOURNAMENT DAY
Check in at the DuPage Fly Fishing Co. shop was between 6 and 7 AM.  I arrived at 6:58 AM.  Haha  I had slept over at my cousins place which was literally 10 minutes away.  I woke up early and told myself that I had time, and I should just close my eyes for another few minutes.  Next thing I know, I wake up, and it's 6:47 AM.  I was out the door!

After arriving fashionably late, I received my swag bag, measuring device, was given the run down of the rules, and off I went.  Per usual...I didn't have an exact plan of attack, but when Bill said that Salt Creek was in, I knew I had to go back to my old neighborhood.  On the way to my spot, I became very hungry, so, I stopped for breakfast at my favorite breakfast spot, and ordered my usual chorizo/jalapeno omelette, with extra crispy hash browns, and pancakes.  I was stuff, so, when I finally arrived to my destination....I tilted the seat back in my car, and took a nap. (Oh, it was raining at this time btw.)

3 Amigos omelette at Bentley's
2 hours later, I woke up to a big truck, and some guys talking.  I leaned up and peaked to see who it was, and it turned out to be 2 guys from the tournament.  Hilarious.  We had no idea anyone else knew about the water we were intending on fishing.  Needless to say, they were already geared up and ready to rock and roll on the water, but I on the other hand definitely was not, so, I started my car and drove to a back up spot in the area.

...and after fishing a little while at the back up spot, I decided to head back to Naperville and fish the DuPage River.  Long story short...I caught a bunch of small smallies, and bluegill.

CHUBBY.
Huge bluegill that I thought was a decent sized smallie.
I finished the day with no carp, but that was quite alright with me.  Once back at the bar for the final results, there was a plethora of food and booze.  Just what you need after a long day of fishing.  The guys did an outstanding job organizing this event, and I'm looking forward to it next year.  Congratulations to all that won raffle prizes, and those who placed in the top 3 for the carp that they caught.  Extra huge CONGRATULATIONS to Mike Allen who won the tournament with an insane number of fish caught.  You da man, Mike.  You da man!

Monday, October 24, 2016

CUBS WIN!


The Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series!


Unfortunately, I didn't have a ticket to the game, but that didn't stop me from heading to Wrigleyville to partake in all of the celebration that was going on in the streets.  It was PACKED, but oh so much fun to experience.



Surprisingly, there were only a few idiots out, and they were climbing the street lights, and as soon as they came back down they were taken away by the boys in blue, and I'm not talking about the Chicago Cubs.  Other than that, everyone was having a great time in the streets and in the bars.  I didn't see any fights or flipped cars, but the Cubs also didn't win the World Series.  I'm hoping they do, though...and not because I want to see flipped cars. Haha


What a great time to be a Cubs fan!

Oh, and hats off to the Chicago Police Department for doing a fine job amidst the chaos of Cubs fans.  I could tell that some of the officers were enjoying being there and just watching some of the drunk idiots.

Friday, September 30, 2016

NORTHWOODS FALL 2016: DAY ONE

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

HOLY SHIT!!!
Strip Set! Strip Set!! (Yes, I said this out loud.)
 YEEESSSSS!!!!!
MUSKY!!!!!

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

FALL IS HERE

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!!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Juice. We Can Still Go Fishing.

It's Monday, and I had planned to take my cousins Sam and Dom fishing after work.  It was storming most of the afternoon and in my head, the chances of us fishing were out the window.  I text my Aunt informing her that I don't think I'll be coming by to take the boys fishing.

When I finally got off of work there was light rain, but the skies to the west were all gray.  Once I arrived at home, I received a text message from my cousin Sam that read "We can still go fishing..."...and after a quick glance outside at the dark skies in the West, I said to hell with it, and told him that I was going to pick him and his brother up shortly.


When we arrived to the lake, there was a steady drizzle of rain, but no thunder or lightening, so, we were all good to fish.  The boys didn't mind the rain.  They were just so excited to get out and fish.  Awesome!

We all hooked up with fish.  My cousin Sam (Grey shirt) was the first to hook up, and he ended up with 2 on the day.  Dom (Orange shirt) caught 3, and ended up with 2 sunnies and 1 small bass.


It was really awesome to see how excited they were to get out and fish with me.  I'm hoping to take them out more and more before the cold weather arrives.


I ended up hooking up with a decent sized bass on a top water lure.  I was doing a lot more coaching than fishing, but that was A-okay with me.  I really wanted them to hook up with some bigger fish.  I know they will eventually.  They were super excited to see the big bass I caught.


...but they were also quick to remind me that they were up on me in the fish count numbers.
  • Dom - 3
  • Sam - 2
  • Juice (My family nickname) - 1


When the mosquitoes were too much to handle, we packed it up, and I treated my cousins to some cheese curds and ice cream from Culvers....a dinner of champions.  Ha


Always a good time when it's family time!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

PIG FARM INK - IRON FLY @ GOLDEN BONES


The Midwest "Golden Bones" Fly Tournament is 3 days away!!  This Friday is the first day of the event, and not only will it be a meet and greet with a run down of the rules and information, there will be beer, food, and a PIG FARM INK - IRON FLY event hosted by yours truly!!!

It's going to be one helluva time!

Big thanks, to all of the sponsors for the PFI Iron Fly event - Costa, Yeti, Post Fly, and of course my dudes at Pig Farm Ink!

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!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Dells

 When I think the Wisconsin Dells, I think of water parks and an insane amount of kids running around everywhere.  Don't get me wrong, I love kids.  They're a blast to hang out with, and I hope to have my own one day.  This was a guys trip that my Uncle Mike organized.  2 days 2 nights in the Dells.  "The Classic" as my Uncle would refer to it as...

Life advice for Giac, "....what you'll need, is more vodka." - Uncle Mike
We had a great spot on Lake Delton, and had an absolute blast.  Day One -- We rented a pontoon boat, tossed a football, swam, BBQ'd, relaxed, and then proceeded to terrorize the bars of the Dells.  Good times. Haha

Great location.  Right on the beach.
So much love for this man, my Uncle Mike.
Beautiful night.  I'm surprised I didn't wake up in one of the chairs on our beach in the morning.  


Lot of love for my family.


All in all we had a great time.  On Saturday, we went golfing to this beautiful course.  I played like crap, but we still had fun, and that's all that matters.  We had plans of taking it easy on Saturday night, but that just did not happen.  Haha. Oh well.


Saturday night turned out to be my favorite, and it put itself up there with the greatest time of my 2016 summer thus far.  I won't go into detail, but it's all due in part to someone in the picture below.