22 March, 2012

Rig Wranglin' - Part I

Over the Winter, I've done some shuffling amongst my steelhead fly fishing rigs. Based on my outing earlier this week, I'm pleased with the results.

Up first is the chuck-n-duck rig. For those of you unfamiliar with this Great Lakes technique, you're bascially fishing a running line (or some type of specialized monfilament line) with weight and flies below. It gets its name from the "chuck" motion required to throw the flies and lead, quickly followed by the "duck"motion that prevents a head injury. Many look down on chuck-n-duck, claiming it's not "real" fly fishing. I detest these "real" fly fishing discussions, so I'm not even going to head down that road. If there are flies on the end of the line, it's fly fishing.

My previous set-up was an older Orvis Clearwater II 9' 8-weight 2-piece with an Orvis Battenkill Large Arbor V reel and 30# Climax Zip Line. This set-up served me just fine and was actually my first steelhead gear.

Then last Fall I had an opportunity to fish a 10' Scott (and E2, I think) chuck-n-duck rig. It cast better, and I found strike detection a good bit improved. Then I remembered my Scott S3 9'6" 8-weight, sittting along in its tube in the basement. Since acquiring my Scott switch rod, this choice S3 has been banished from the scene, for the most part. Bingo - new stick!

Over the Winter I came into a gently-used Orvis Mirage V to upgrade my switch rig. The sealed drag was something I'd been wanting to improve Winter performance. So, now I've got a Ross Momentum 5 LT without anything to do. Eureka - better reel for chuckn'.

I also replaced the Zip Line as it was about time. On the advice of Baldwin Bait and Tackle, I shifted down from the 30# to 20# rated line. They felt it would help with taming the abuse the 30# was dishing out to my hands.

From the first cast, I could tell I had a winner. The Scott had far more backbone than its predecessor (in all fairness -- the Orvis was a $150 rod and the Scott listed for $695) making casts more accurate, timely, and consistent. Best of all was bottom feel. With the Scott, it was SO much easier to tell bottom for FISH ON! Hooksets were more consistent, with less effort. And, I had an oppportunity to put a serious bend into this stick - and it showed the fish who's boss.

The Ross Momentum balance perfectly and the smooth easily-adjusted drag was perfect for a wide range of fish. Honestly, I have few complaints with the previous Orvis BLA, but the Ross does feel nicer in-hand. But again -- Orvis reel was $225 list and the Ross over $550...

With Spring conditions come high water and a need to get the flies down FAST. Perfect for chuck-n-duck. And, now, I feel like I have a DIALED in rig for it!


21 March, 2012

Adverntures on River X and Y

Been fortunate float two new rivers this season with knowledgeable guides. In both cases, I was sworn to some level of secrecy. This ranged from a casual, "stay off social media" to a more aggressive, "I fanyone asks, you have no idea where we put in...".

I'm consider myself lucky to have friends like this. Because of their knowledge I get to experience new water and without the fumbling of having to find access points, good holes, or know when the best times are to search out fish.

The business side of guiding fascinates me. It's easy to think, "Wow this guy has the life..." when out on the river. But reality is that a good guide is thinking about a million factors, so you don't have to. And it's so much more than just the weather. A full-time guide needs to have a whole bunch of tricks up his sleeve if he's going to the put clients on fish.

I'm pretty happy my guide buddies have some trick up their sleeves -- tricks they've been willing to share with me!


13 March, 2012


Does anyone else find this just a might excessive? Perhaps bordering on the ridiculous? It certainly feels like a gun nut's experiment in "because we can".

I can't imagine the recoil of not one, but TWO .45 ACP rounds fired simultaneously. One also wonders about the intended use of this beast. Concealed carry? In what, a circus tent? Home defense? Why not just a tactical 20 gauge shotgun? Every bit as lethal, and usable by anyone in the family.

Sadly, we know who this is for. The Gun Nut Collector. And this will give the anti-gun forces some lovely ammunition to use against gun owner majority.


12 March, 2012

Notes from the Show

Dad and I attended the Midwest Fly Fishing show on Saturday. Even got the pleasure of meeting up with my uncle Bill and cousin Travis - always nice to see these guys.

Always some cool stuff to see at the show. A few highlights...

  • Narrowly avoided purchasing a St. Croix Bank Robber rod. Designed by Michigan expatriate Kelly Galloup, this burly stick is purpose-built for pitching streamers into the deep dark holes where the big trout live. I'm loving hucking streamers, so this was mighty tempting. But it's a pretty narrow-use stick, for me.
  • I've never really had much opinion about Lamson reels. I know folks who love them, and others who swear they'll never touch another. But the Lamson Vanquish has to be about the most innovative, rugged, and beautifully manufactured as I've seen. One big beautiful reel.
  • Speaking of reel innovation, have you seen the new Ross F1? Ross definitely turned up the volume on this reel. Nothing conservative about it, including the look and finish or the performance. I've seen the reel before, but at the show the rep had the 5 size for chasing bigger species. Wow, this is a sweet reel...
  • The updated Fish Pimp indicators. I've been struggling with nymphing indicators for trout. Met one guide who swears by Thingamabobbers. Sadly, for me, they don't work. When you use tapered leaders, they continually slip. This ruins both your drift and usually your leader, too. Thill Ice n' Fly's are the industry standard. But you have to run line thru the bobber. The included pegs are bulletproof - until you lose it. a friend taught me how to use a rubber band as a reliable, cost-effective  stop. The Fish Pimp's benefit hugely from some new innnovations. For exmple the new natural rubber band (replacing synthetic) provides more consistent grip, and the dimpled surface improves casting and sensitivity to takes. Also, they come conveniently packed in a storage tube. I'm eager to fish these as they seem to address a lot of issues.
  • This show was the coming out part for my buddy Mike Schultz's Schultz Outfitters fly shop. A well-stocked and presented booth seemed to have tons of traffic. Nice to see a solid start for a Michigan business.
Look for more in upcoming posts!


02 March, 2012

Dead Air

Sorry for all the silence lately - work, sick, other commitments...

But I have been involved in one fun and fascinating venture over the past few months. My buddy Mike Schultz, and business partner Brian Doelle are realizing a dream with the opening of the new Schultz Outfitters Fly Shop in Ypsilant's Depot Town area. Making the new shop come true has been a big effort not just for Mike and Brian, but for all of us on the Schultz Outfitters team (which I'm proud to call myself part of).

The shop's needed demo, electrical, framing, plumbing, and more work to transform into an excellent retail location. Then inventory needed to be entered, set-up, and more. Meanwhile in addition to installing cabinets, doing trim carpentry, and even installing the alarm system, I've been helping get the SO web site to reflect the new shop, and getting aother marketing efforts done.

Well, last night was the soft "Friends & Family" opening. Definitely worth the effort - looks awesome!

Stop by soon and say "hi" to Mike, Brian, Eirik, Chris, Jay, Greg, or heck maybe even me if you're there on the right day. Best of luck, Schultzy!