Port Austin 2019

20 05 2019

This past Thursday (May 16th) began my now annual Smallmouth Trip to Port Austin.  I started making this yearly trek last year and my plan is to do it every year.  The only thing that could stop me now would be gale force east winds or my health.  I wasn’t going to have to deal with either this weekend (or so I thought) so away I went.  I arrived at Port Crescent State Park mid afternoon and set up camp.  Once that was all done I headed to the lake to start fishing.  When I arrived there were a few other fishermen out but they were all in kayaks.  I brought mine but I really don’t like fishing from a kayak.  I prefer to wade so I put my waders on and started out.  The water levels on Lake Huron are up considerably from last year and I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it as far out as I did last year.  As it turns out I wouldn’t have to.  Once I reached the old rock road I started casting.  3 casts later and the first one was in hand.

Not a monster by any stretch but it was a good start.  At least the fish were in close which is what I was hoping for.  With the west winds blowing the warmer water out I was hoping it would bring the fish in.  One thing I have learned about smallmouth fishing is that a few degree increase in temps can make a huge difference.  Over the next half hour I continued to catch fish.  Most of them were in the 12 inch range with one that was closer to 14.

The size was trending up but no where near the toads I caught last month.  These fish were still in pre-spawn mode and I believe the big ones hadn’t moved in yet.  I kept at it though when suddenly it happened.  It was just a occasional drip at first but soon the skies opened up and I got dumped on.  I could see clear skies in front of me but apparently I picked the only spot on Lake Huron to fish that was getting rained on.  It didn’t last long but it was enough to get me thoroughly soaked.  I debated heading in but I was a quarter mile from my car and I was already wet.  I waded out a little farther and made a few more casts.  My perseverance paid off.

This was my biggest lake Huron fish to date.  I estimated the length to be around 16 inches.  A quick pic and he was on his way.  After that one I headed in, the wind was starting to pick up and I was getting a chill.  I wasn’t expecting rain so I left my rain gear in the car.  A warm fire at camp was sounding pretty good right about now anyways.

I had all weekend so there was no sense in me getting crazy that first night.  If I had known what was going to happen the next 3 days I might have stayed out longer.  I awoke the next morning to the sound of rain hitting the roof of my camper.  It wasn’t a long rain but it was enough to discourage me from getting out of bed.  Once I did I looked out of over Lake Huron and could see it was dead calm.  That part I liked, except for the fact that I wasn’t going to be fishing this side of the point.  The other side faced east and the wind had changed to the direction during the night.  For the next two days it was straight in my face east winds and morning rain showers.  I tried to fish in it but it was pretty futile.  Dodging waves while casting into a 15 mph head wind is pretty much pointless.  So for the next few days I just hung around camp, tied some flies, played with the fire, fed the chipmunks and pretty much relaxed.  It’s still early yet so I may make the trip back up in a few weeks.


Until next time.

And so it begins…..

16 10 2017

Recently, I put down a deposit on a trip of a lifetime, a Fly-In Fishing trip to Alaska.  This is a trip I have wanted to do for a long time and has been cancelled a couple of times.  My Dad, brother and I were supposed to go a couple of years ago but when my Dad got his cancer diagnosis we had to cancel.  The real kick in the teeth, for that trip, came a week after his funeral when one of the guides I booked called me to see if my Father and I wanted to re-schedule.  He felt terrible after I told him that wouldn’t be happening.  Susan and I had made plans to go this past summer but once again fate kicked me in the nuts and that trip didn’t happen.  Now it’s just me, I’m flying in by myself to fish at a lodge on The Alagnak River.  I will be with a group of other people but I’ll be free to do whatever I want, or whatever the guide tells me I can do.

Since this trip is next August I  have plenty of time to get the gear together I am going to need.  Thanks to my severance check I was able to go on a spending spree.  I picked up all the rods and reels I will need to tackle just about any fresh water fish in North America.  I still have to pick up a dry bag and carry on rod case but I have time.  What I really need to get started on is an arsenal of Alaska Flies.

Fortunately they gave me a list of suggested flies.

Fly Sheet

Because of my affection for egg sucking leeches I already have one type out of the way.  It’s everything else I need to tie up.  My imitations have always been about flash and matching the local food source.  Now the prominent color appears to be pink and a fair amount of flies imitating the flesh of decomposing salmon.  Sounds disgusting I know but when in Rome…..

So without further adieu I give you the first of many Alaska flies.

My First Flesh Fly imitation. Thankfully it doesn’t smell like a rotten salmon.

This one is Called a Chum Slumber.  Don’t quite understand the name but it is very pink.  It is an easy tie though.  Gotta appreciate that.

Next up, Hareball Leeches in Fucia and Flo. Pink.   Stay Tuned.


Carp Flies? Seriously?

14 02 2017

Not to long ago a fellow fly tier and fisherman was putting together a carp fly swap.  At first I had no intention of signing up.  The only carp fishing I had ever done before was with an arrow.  I did take a class once on how to tie carp flies but that was over a year ago and haven’t tied one since.  He was coming up short by a few participants so I signed up.  I figured it would give me something to do while I was at the Columbus Fishing Expo.  So after a quick stop at Schultz’s Outfitters  , to pick up some hooks, I was set to tie.  Little did I know how popular this type of fishing has become.  As I was tying at the show, people kept buying the flies.  At one point I had to stop selling them because I was going to run out of enough material to tie the necessary 20 for the swap.  Eventually I got all 20 done and was even able to tie up a few more for myself.  The person in charge of the swap promised to take me out and show me what fly fishing for carp is all about.  If so, I’ll be sure to let everyone here know about it.


4 of 20


Olive Version

Tying Bender

7 02 2017

During the last few months I tied a lot of flies to keep myself occupied.  I know some tie flies out of necessity but I do it more for relaxation.  It keeps me at peace and gives me something else to concentrate on.  These are all steelhead flies.  I have probably close to 400 steelhead flies now.  More than I will ever need.  I’m going to start selling some to help curb the cost of material replacement.


img_6207 img_6055 img_6201 img_6252 img_6261 img_6263 img_6311 img_6314 img_6315 img_6316

More to follow


Sculpin Time.

9 06 2015

I started tying up Sculpins the other day.  Why may you ask?  Very simple…..


Actually, in this case they are for Smallmouth Bass but I’m sure a Steelie wouldn’t turn his nose up on one of these.  This particular pattern was an alteration of a pattern by the people at Fly Fish Food.  As usual I didn’t have all the materials they used so I improvised.  Tying them on an inverted hook proved to be a little painful.  Those Daichi hooks are sharp.  If you look closely at the fly in the lower left hand corner you will notice a dark red spot on the head.  Yeah that’s my blood. I’m going to start putting eraser tips on the hook point while I tie these.  I’m going to give them a try this weekend up at Sanford Lake.  I have a graduation party to go to at 4:00 pm so that will leave me plenty of time to fish.

Ribbet, Squeak.

31 05 2015

This weekend I had 3 goals to accomplish.   The first one was to smoke a pork shoulder.  I have never done this before so I was going to babysit my smoker while the pork shoulder was cooking.  Fortunately I have a remote thermometer so I wouldn’t have to literally watch the smoker 24/7.  This would allow me enough free time to tie up a bunch of Zudweg Zudbubblers and a foam version of a Moorish Mouse.

First up on the tying agenda would be the Zudbubblers.  I attended a Bar Fly night sponsored by Schultz’s Outfitters back in February. The guest tier for the evening was Matt Zudweg and he showed us how to tie his Zudbubbler.  This is a very simple pattern and the color schemes are endless.  As a matter of fact, Matt states that to get creative with the color scheme’s.  I plan on using these for top water bass both on The Huron and up at Sanford Lake.  I had ordered a bunch of the foam heads from Matt a few months ago now all I needed to do was tie them up.  I think they will work.


A Butt Load of Bubblers.

A Butt Load of Bubblers.

Next up were the mice.  Years ago I used to tie up deer hair mice for a fly fisherman to use up on the AuSable for big browns.  Foam flies were pretty much nonexistent back then but now the different patterns seem to be endless. Earlier this year I came across a video by the guys at Hook Shots on Facebook. The author showed a quick and easy recipe made with foam and rabbit strips that resembled a Moorish Mouse.  I was all for it since it met my requirements and a bonus feature.  It was cheap, easy, looked cool and it didn’t involve trimming deer hair, something I try to avoid whenever I can.  I tied a bunch up in different colors figuring I could use them for bass as well.  They should really shine though on a river where they can imitate a mouse that has fallen in and is trying to swim across, against the current.  I should be able to swing these as well.  We shall see.

Mickey, Minnie, Mighty, Speedy, Jerry and that French one that was always outsmarting Klondyke Kat.

Mickey, Minnie, Mighty, Speedy, Jerry and that French one that was always outsmarting Klondyke Kat.


Vise Therapy

22 05 2015

Each person has their own way of dealing with stress. Some people may resort to more extreme measures like rock climbing or swimming with sharks while others may indulge in less extreme methods like drinking herbal tea or yoga. In my case though one season of high school wrestling pretty much ruined my body for yoga. My body just doesn’t bend like that anymore.

My preferred way to unwind from it all is of course fishing. Problem is that I can’t always go as much as I would like. So many things get in the way – like weather, work, family, health, river conditions, social unrest, geo-political factors and of course global warming. Oh, I’m sorry I forgot it is now “climate change” – unless of course you live in Florida where you are not supposed to talk about this at all. When all of these issues get in the way I turn to my tried and true stress reliever. Therapy through Fly Tying.

Normally I spend my winter months tying flies. For years I would spend December through February re-stocking my dry fly boxes. Now a days though, I seem to be tying more year round. A lot of this is because of taking up Steelhead fishing which, it turns out, is a September through May sport. The other reason is that I just need to unwind. 2015 has probably been the most stressful year of my career. The accounting department in the company that I work for has gone through a lot of turnover this year. One person went on maternity leave and the person we hired to fill in for her quit after a month. The other accountant on staff resigned at the same time and didn’t give a 2 week notice. The woman who was on maternity leave came back in May only to resign as well. Add to that the audits, numerous requests for financial information by the owners, investors and banks and just the day to day activity for a growing company has taken its toll on me. By the time I get home I’m so wound up I need to relax and tying feathers onto hooks is just the ticket.

I don’t really create any flies, I just modify existing patterns to the materials I have on hand. As I sit there listening to Pink Floyd while tying feathers, flashabou and fur to the hook my mind wanders too far off Steelhead streams and whether or not any fish will like what I tie. Eventually, I start to unwind and half a dozen flies later I’m feeling much better. Spending time at the vise also has a hidden side effect. While I am tying away, I am not spending my time on the couch like some slug eating junk food while watching TV. Any night I can keep from doing that is a good night. Of course, tying does have a tendency to get in the way of chores but last time I checked no one ever considered doing laundry a stress reliever.

Latest Therapy Session.  Don't know what I will use them for but they sure are pretty.

Latest Therapy Session. Don’t know what I will use them for but they sure are pretty.

Fly Tyers Anonymous

6 05 2015

Shameless Plug time.

The internet can be both a good thing and a bad thing.  On the bad side it seems like there were more people on the Detroit River walleye fishing than ever before.  I’m sure part of the reason for the increase in crowds was all the pictures and posts on social media sites.  Everyone wanted in on it and it got crazy.

On the good side I have found a bunch of different websites and groups on Facebook that are all about fly tying and fishing.  One of the more helpful ones is Fly Tyers Anonymous which I found on Facebook.  Most of the members are addicted to fly tying (thus the name) and they post a ton of pictures of their different creations.  The creator of the page even has his own website where he sells hand tied flies from his group of tyers.  To make things even better all flies are 20% off for the rest of May.  So for you fly fishermen out there who buy your own instead of tie your own now is the time to act.



Back at the Tying Bench Again.

1 02 2015

Well since Super Bowl Sunday turned out to be Super Snow Sunday I decided to sit at the bench again.  Figured it was the best place to be since I could care less about either team playing and the thought of shoveling snow was even less appealing.

This was actually the first day I have been tying in a few weeks.  I have attended a couple of tying nights, one at Sidetracks in Ypsi and another at a gentleman’s house in Rochester Hills.  Learned how to tie some more steelhead flies and a foam popper for bass.  New areas of tying for me but fortunately they are pretty simple patterns so the learning curve isn’t to bad.  Let me know what you think.


Still can't believe a Steelhead is going to eat something that small.

Still can’t believe a Steelhead is going to eat something that small.



Interesting design for this one.

Interesting design for this one.

Mayfly and stone

Zudweg Wicked Leech modified for the materials I have.

Zudweg Wicked Leech modified for the materials I have.

Zudweg Wicked Leech.

Zudweg Wicked Leech.

Steelhead Flies

18 01 2015

Now that I am a Swinger I of course have to tie up some flies.  These flies are nothing like anything I have tied before.  They don’t even use a traditional hook.  They are tied on a Senyo Articulated Shank which is just that, a shank with a loop on the back end and an eyelet up front.  The hooks are attached to a loop of 30 pound Fireline that is tied on to the shank.  The rest of the fly is all flash, lots of flashabou and materials to help fluff it out and create a larger profile in the water.  These are some of my first ones and the have been a little skimpy on the flash.  I’ll get it figured out eventually.  Just like anything else new……practice, practice, practice.


Fly 1 Fly 2 Fly 3 Fly 4