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Do it in the DARK~

2018 August 20
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“You mean you float this in the dark?”-

“Yes.”

“Actually cast and catch fish without any lights?”

“Often, not all the time, but once you do, you will be forever changed….It is not the delicate soft presentation of a #16 Madame X, actually quite the opposite.”

Client conversation that has happened on more than one occasion over the years floating some of our heavily wooded northern Michigan rivers. Yes it’s true, we do it in the dark, not entirely true, red or green headlamps are acceptable, and they don’t blind the guide/client nor giveaway you presence to any suspecting trout. But what does it take to be a good ‘Mouser’?

Know your water, hire a guide and be safe at night.

Like most fishing, time and patience are critical, but on a totally different level. First, understanding your prey. They are large nocturnal predators, specifically built for hunting swimming tenderloins- whether they be in the form of amphibian, fish or mammal. Brown trout have been found feed almost exclusively at night and are most active just before dawn. They like to hunt in shallow sandbar regions- think Orca attacking seals near islands, smaller prey can out maneuver predators in open water, but in less than two feet of water, the 24″ brown has the upper hand- and nowhere for likely mouse/frog to escape. So flip the normal methodology of casting at LWD(large woody debris) and cast to the shallow side of the river. Next, patience. No really. A LOT of patience. Very few occasions has an angler actually hooked up on his/her very first actual mousing ‘take’. Many big browns will swipe or slash at the mouse pattern to immobilize or stun the prey and more often than not, client and guide have been jacking up on coffee and 5 hour energy drinks to make it through the late night/early morning hours. Your Sense of sight is gone, heightened are all your other senses, hearing & feeling become your primary inputs. When you hear the subtle take from a twenty inch something or the unmistakeable toilet bowl flush from a cavernous mouth of Hog Johnson, it takes every once of restraint not to set the hook and pull the mouse pattern directly out of the trouts mouth. Waiting, patience, feeling the weight of the fish on the other end of the line, connection. Now you have your hands full. Be sure you are properly outfitted.

The vicious attacks are what keep us coming back, night after night.

Some anglers go big and heavy, that is personal preference and completely acceptable. Fly rods in eight weight are good for pulling a two foot bruiser out of multiple stacked logs or deep mysterious pools, but I prefer a solid 6 or 7 weight. Some of our rivers are so heavily overgrown with cedars that a 8′ rod with sold backbone works perfectly. TFO Mini-Mag is that stick, but the new AXIOM II is perfect. BVK or Clouser are great options as well. If you have limited access to rods, you will most likely want to use your streamer rig and adapt it to the night game, which really isn’t ‘that’ much different. You line choice should have an aggressive forward taper, Scientific Anglers Mastery MPX Magnum or Mastery Titan will assist in flipping that foam/deer hair/rabbit strip creation will little effort. SA also makes a Frequency GLOW– great for beginners to get an idea where they are casting. Keep your leader short and stiff. While fishing in Arkansas on the White, I learned to never go below #15 fluorocarbon and 6′ or shorter. Some will argue to use mono because fluoro will sink, but at less than 7 feet, it won’t sink a mouse pattern. Sometimes, we would actually through double deceivers, or other large baitfish style patterns that push some water, so the fluoro comes in handy. Let’s talk about flies…

Potentially catch the fish of a lifetime. Daytime temps are too warm to fish, we choose to float at night.

Make your fly presence known. Seriously SPLAT your water logged drunken lemming pattern on the water, then give it a pause. You want the Mr Salmo trutta to hone in on his next meal. You can then begin to proceed with either short little strips with occasional pause, or some anglers like to jiggle/swing the fly across the water with intermittent pauses. After fishing with many different styles, I can’t speak to which one is more effective, what works one night on one river may not be the key in your neck of the woods. Have faith in your method and your flies. One of my best clients, who has boated a couple decent trout, watches YouTube videos of mice swimming. Sounds crazy. Have fun tying mouse patterns, look for bouffant materials that will also hang just a little in the surface film. A few of my personal favorite and successful patterns come from Rainy’s. Steve’s Loco Mouse hits the water hard, takes a beating and come back for more. Nick’s Cheeky Mouse– when in stock- is a killer skating pattern. Be sure to carry a few of the classic MouseRat by Whitlock. Check out the new Mason’s Mouse Trap– dead, sexy.

The more times you go, the more likely you are to connect. Don’t get frustrated if you miss a few times, we have all been there. It’s part of the learning curve. Keep it fun. Enjoy the journey!

Tight Lines,

Koz

True North Trout

 

Umpqua Feather Merchants UPG Premium Fly Box

2018 July 23
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by Brian Kozminski

Protect your investment. Keep your flies safe and dry. Aren’t these two of the best services a fly box can provide? True. What about durable and long lasting? You want materials and construction that will last more than one or two +90º days on your dashboard. Ever notice how the foam either peels or delaminates from the box on many other lesser fly boxes. Waterproof- no, REALLY waterproof, like dunk it under water for 5 minutes and see if your flies are wet. The HD from Umpqua Feather Merchants is completely sealed and will keep your flies high and dry. Made of high density shatter proof plastic, which is also see though for visibility, has a latching clasp with a water tight closure. The LT Weekender is slim and perfect for stashing an assortment of your Go-To patterns and hitting the water.  Both have 3-D injection molded TPE(Thermoplastic Elastomer) and magnetic closures. The LT Weekender has a magnetic pad for smaller flies and multiple sized slots for a whatever hatch may come your way.

Do you value your flies? Then they deserve a worthy home. Keep them safe and dry in a UPG LT or HD Fly Box.

The HD Large is perfect for your Rubber legged bugs or drake patterns.

Fly boxes that will keep your flies safe and dry from Umpqua Feather Merchants.

You can find these great boxes on Amazon.

ON the verge

2018 June 15
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To say that this past Spring was not your average transition from from Winter to Vernal Equinox might be an understatement. Early April snowmelt and above average temperatures had many of us hopeful for an early bloom, we even raked and were ready to bust out our gardening gloves. Then we were pummeled with over 24″ of white stuff mid April, just in time to slow the progress and reset our fishing calendars. I only mention the seasonal variations to set the stage for what we have been experiencing and prepare for the hatches, or sometimes, lack thereof.

North Branch Au Sable Mid April.

We have had high water. Everywhere. Opening trout season on many small creeks was a blow out. Some rivers saw double and triple flows. Big water had flows that were steadily above the norm for close to a month, boat launches had water levels 12-18″ higher than normal. This did many things to the fish. It pushed them into new homes, displaced some small first year trout, and it also flushed out many rivers. The river systems have been flooded with food. Early season hatches still occurred, without the usual voracious symphony of hungry trout rising to emerging Hendricksons. They were, how shall we politely say- rather full and satiated. Not to mention pushed down to deeper waters, new holds and in some cases, entirely new sections of river. We still caught an occasional trout, just was not as high impact and exciting as one had dreamt during our winter months in captivity while tying flies and reading up on latest techniques. One certainly noticed how well fed those few fish we caught were. Brook trout on a couple rivers had fish that not only had shoulders for a 10″ fish, but also a belly so gorged on earthworms, they were literally spilling out of their mouth. This was noticed on multiple trips.

Tom and Rod had great day looking for trout at every bend.

Then there was the warm up. Spring transitioned to summer with the smoothness of a bike race when the lead takes a spill on a tight turn and the rest can’t avoid tragedy. We saw river temperatures soar into the upper 60’s and even had 70º pledges in effect on Au Sable MIO water, in MAY. Record temperatures ago Memorial weekend across the state had many of us looking for the big bugs that would soon accompany. The drakes did not disappoint. They didn’t always fall, which is typical of the climate sensitive mayfly, but they arrived with great anticipation. Luckily, the evening lows began to drop and return rivers temperatures to fishable levels.

The Browns we have had in the net have been very healthy, well fed and after surviving another winter, eager for the next hatch. The Hexagenia limbata is prepped and ready to give us all she promises. A few things to consider- A) higher water levels and B) well fed/happy trout. What we have noticed in years passed, the higher water allows trout to move into shallow, reed filled water to feed on mayflies amid the vegetation. Be prepared to hear fish that are ‘Up in the weeds’ or fishing on peoples lawns. The fish you hear slurping, may be deeper in cover than you realize, scout your water early and know the length of your cast and target. Don’t under gun your opponent. The big bug game is 6 weight and 2X time. I am headed out tonight test the new TFO Axiom II 6weight and see how fat the fish are.

DNR survey crew looking for trout.

IN other news~ The North Branch Au Sable has had some concern. Thanks to a few local Grayling Guides, Jamie Clous and Joe Guild, they contacted the DNR with a serious inquiry as to where many of the usual brook trout have gone. After a few trips they not only didn’t catch the usual of eager spring feeding trout, they did not report seeing many fish either. Other guides in the area had the same concern. The folks at Fuller’s North Branch had a serious situation at the end of their dock. The DNR has come out and did two separate fish stockings, the first at Twin Bridges and at Dam Four revealed low numbers of fish. It was alarming only to find 3 fish at each locale when this river was on track to be one of the best brook trout fisheries in the state right behind the Black River in the PRC. Theories abound. Maybe the shockers were malfunctioning. Could the late spring have had a detrimental effect on first year trout? Did the heavy snow and rapid melt push fish further down stream? Has something happened to the Macro-invertebrate habitat? Shelf ice could have scraped out much of the river and displaced bugs? Did the first year trout not withstand the rapid snow melt? I called Neal from the DNR- in his words, “We are flabbergasted- we don’t know where the fish are but it is far too early to make any guesses. We are looking into this and taking this very serious.” The DEQ has been contacted and a second fish shock survey revealed similar results to the fish survey. 2 brown trout and one brook trout at Twin Bridges. Where have all the brook trout gone? After asking a couple local long-time fly tyers in town, the retort was ominous and dark. “I believe they got just what they were asking for…”

Josh at Gates has been heavily involved and if you have questions or concerns, please contact him. They have also teamed up with Vedavoo to raise funds with Anglers of the Au Sable in regards to the Grayling Fish Hatchery.

Hopefully you get out and have a Hexy June!!

Happy Father’s Day!

Top Flies

2018 April 8

Recently, I was questioned about my favorite guide flies. A half dozen magic flies that seem to put fish in the net whenever the time is right. I have fished with a variety of fly anglers over the years. From the guy who will only use a parachute Adams- ALL DAY, to the gent who switches out a fly every time he sees a rise, often missing the rise form and many opportunities along with it. True, there are a few flies that seem to be catch-all favorites, but I have noticed these change from year to year. A few years back, it seemed like a traditional olive, orange or yellow Kaufmann’s Stimulator was the winning pattern.  Then, a couple years later, Swisher’s Royal or peacock Madame X, along with her split personality- the (parachute) PMX was the winning combination. Nymphs have followed a similar evolution, from the bead-head Hare’s Ear & Sawyers Pheasant Tail to the more modern Barr’s Copper John and Two Bit Hooker, but a few stand-by’s will always be in my fly box for any scenario that may present itself on the water.

Dry Flies. As far as dries are concerned: never be without an Iso pattern as they hatch most of the year. My preference is Bear’s Iso/drake pattern, a close second is the Dave’s Oh-So Iso. I would be reprimanded if there was no mention of the Borchers Drake from local legend Ernie Borcher in Grayling, many early evening risers can be  duped with a dark turkey bodied mayfly.  These all replicate darker mayflies. North Branch anglers need an arsenal of sulphurs, tricos and a supply of BWO’s for most days on the river. If something lighter emerges, throw a Roberts Yellow Drake from Clarence Roberts. What works on the Au Sable River may not prove as effective on nearby Manistee or smaller rivers like the Jordan, Pigeon or Sturgeon Rivers. I will never be on the Upper Manistee without Regans Hairy Drake– they are a hot commodity and can be found at Ron’s Fly Shop in Grayling as Mr Jerry Regan is often buried with special orders. Don’t be afraid to use as a searching pattern during the day when nothing is hatching. For reasons unknown to us, large fish often look up when the time is right, and if a meaty snack drifts by, you could have the proper offering. The advent of new materials often presents us with a myriad of new flashy dressed up classics- the Purple Haze and Patriot Fly are in the category of not replicating a certain insect per se, but curious trout will inhale without inquiry.
Caddis flies often dart and dance across the rivers pocket and slack water below a riffle zone, don’t be without a Mercer’s Missing Link, as it has saved the day on many frustrating hatches. Don’t hesitate to use it as a searching pattern in beaver ponds or the big water below Mio. There are those of the soft hackle persuasion, and I cannot argue with the effectiveness when hatches are difficult to discern whether actual surface feeding or just below. Swing an Orange & Partridge or Peacock behind a more visible fly for an increase in hook up ratio.
Going deep~ if you have yet to turn to the dark side, the time is now. Nymphing. More specifically, Euro Nymphing with a tight line approach and a variety of deep diving tungsten weighted nymphs will increase how many times you wet your net per outing. Often two is better than one, the first fly will be your point fly, make it a Tungsten Surveyor or Dura-Cell Jig fly.  The second fly, tied on 18-24″ drop line, is your tag fly.  You may wish to imitate a micro mayfly or sow bug/scud, this can be done with Egan’s Rainbow Warrior, Walts Sexy Worm or The Frenchie.

Terrestrials~ They aren’t only for August. I have thrown a few rubber legged hopper looking bugs in early June and late September with definitive results. The Skopper from Tim Neal combines the criss cross legginess of the Chernobyl Ant and the double buoyancy of stacked deer hair, similar to the Skunk. Madsen’s Skunk is a multi-purpose fly, it can be used as a terrestrial or dunked and work as a wet fly- subsurface. Little brook trout aficionados will want to follow a popular Driftless fly lead with the Hippie Stomper from Andrew Grillos for anytime non-stop action.

Which would you choose? Hippie Stomper or Skunk? Both have proved their worth in my fly box.

 

Which would you choose? Stomper or Skunk?

Streamers ~ Although Bob Linsenman and Kelly Galloup collaborated on the essential book about streamer fishing that broke the mold, many books have since been written about monster fish, eye-catching, articulated flies. The multi-faceted world of streamers and the plethora of synthetic materials that seem to inundate us from year to year. Each new product  comes with various claims of added life or lifelike movement never seen before. These can be geared to see to the angler/tyer more so than the fish.  George Daniel and Rich Strolis have both compiled excellent books on the subject, while Mike Schmidt of Anglers Choice Flies has been knocking out killer patterns for years. Mike’s Red Rocket, Grumpy Muppet, & Meal Ticket–  Strolis’s Ice Pick, Headbanger Sculpin, & Hog Snare – and George Daniel’s GD Sculp Snack are all top in my meat-locker fly box.

Once in a while you need to pull something out of the closet and dust it off. Trout seem to acclimate to what they have seen time and time again. This is the number one reason why I have had a few banner days on the Manistee with Ray Schmidt’s Rattlesnake. It has the movement and attitude spurring ability of flies twice its size, yet the fish seem to be of a new generation that don’t recognize its agenda. The Zoo Cougar will always be a standard in my streamer box. In yellow, white, black and olive, it has fooled trout and steelhead to big browns for well over two decades. I believe it is primarily the over-wing and its swaying motion coupled with its neutral buoyant deer hair head that pushes and pulses its way from log to log, enticing trout out from their shadows.

What are your favorite flies? There are a multitude more to mention.  This was merely the tip of the iceberg. I find that my favorite flies are often the ones that I am using most, which also seem to produce because I have faith in them; hence, using them more, so on and so on. No matter what flies are your favorite, get out and find some new water, try a new pattern and hopefully connect with a few fish.  After all, that is the best part, and the very reason why we tie and try so many different flies. Tight Lines!!

March Madness

2018 March 6
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The time is upon us. Driving to shows, making plans to travel to exotic destinations, tying flies and prepping for a busy guide season across the country. The Midwest Fly Fishing Expo is this weekend and I am honestly as excited as one gets just prior to the  trout opener. The difference is the amount of fly fishing talent under one roof and the ability to chat with clients and friends as opposed to silently seeking a solitary section of favorite water hoping for a sparse Hendrickson hatch.

A few years back, I had the privilege of sitting next to Mr Joe Humphreys at breakfast.  While we enjoyed a cup of coffee, hotel pan GFS eggs and flip over waffles with frozen butter he shared some words that have somehow stuck with me. “The Industry is losing story tellers,” he would go on, pause, sip some coffee, collect his thought out words, “there are a few young men who are holding the audience captive and doing a great job.” I can only surmise he was referring to Landon Mayer and George Daniels, they both have the ability to suck you into their presentations, but for the most part, we are losing the art of story telling, possibly from all the technology we have voluntarily enslaved ourselves. I thoroughly enjoy the stories, the places we have been and the journey getting there. Last week we had an epic time in Cotter, Arkansas. Can’t wait to go back, the people were friendly and the fishing can be outstanding. That will be a post for later. I look forward to meeting people in the Fly Fishing Industry, long time podcast icon- Tom Rosenbauer,  Fly tier Tom Baltz,  guide Phil Rowley,  and TFO pro Blane Chocklett among many others who will be on hand this weekend in Warren. Stop by the TEMPLE FORK OUTFITTERS booth to say hello to Ray, Kate, Bear and myself, we truly enjoy hearing the fish stories and places your TFO rod has taken you in the past year or so.

 

Over the last month, many of you have had a chance to see the F3T. If it has yet to come to your neighborhood> get your tickets and check it out. The previews have a nice balance of fishy destinations and good storyline, with a nice mix of Hank Patterson and his comedic interlude to break the serious tone. The first half shared various stories of how fly fishing saves lives: from a drug runner Rankin Jackson in Central America Honduras (Beyond the Horizon), singer/songwriter -Chuck Ragan, who travels to the midwest to catch smallmouth with Schultzy (Landsick) to a mother/daughter salmon spey fishing couple in Iceland & Greenland (My Mom Vala) who shows her daughter how to be strong and independent. 100 Miles shares the journey of four men who float some uncharted river in Alaska and discover there ware wild places left to discover.  Get out and discover some new wild places this summer. The second half has more salt water episodes traveling to Dubai and monster Tarpon in Atlantic’s.

TFO ambassadors Bear Andrews and Brian Koz look forward to showing you the new DRIFT and AXIOM II rods as well as the POWER reel from TFO.

 

It’s SHOW TIME!!!

2018 January 8
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Sub zero wind chills, countless days of throwing heaps of fluffy white stuff, days on end without a single glint from that yellow orb in the sky, you know its time. Days are getting longer, only slightly, but they are. It’s the perfect time for a few winter activities that revolve among the fly community. The F3T and Fly Fishing Expos across the country. Some choose to sit on the solid ice and stare at an illuminated hole waiting for the  wire indicator to dance while others are steadfast in refilling missing rows of beadhead nymphs and articulated feather minnow imitations- whichever you are, I encourage you to get out to one of the many showings of The Fly Fishing Film Festival (the F3T). The quality of fish porn looks promising and as usual there shall be an equal dose of conservation and future concerns for the fly fishing industry ever present in more than one trailer. Here in Michigan, there seem to be more venues to watch the F3T than a mere 6 or 7 years ago. Places like Marquette and Newaygo, Midland and even Boyne Falls are on the F3T radar. Please do your best, get to a show and display support for your local fly shop that does a stand up job of showcasing the many proud moments the Fly Community. Here is a listing of F3T shows in Michigan:

February 3, Boyne Falls

February 10, Marquette

March 2, Ann Arbor

March 3, Grand Rapids (2 shows)

March 7, Midland 

Some dates have yet to be confirmed on the F3T site: check with local fly shops in Traverse City, Muskegon, Sault Ste. Marie, and Rochester for show times and dates. I will most likely make more than one show, one night might be a guys night to exchange rancorous tales of a wishful Trout Bum lifestyle, and the other will be an elegant date night, in comparison, where I am thankful to be submersed in the guide lifestyle we have come to appreciate.

The fly tying den, aka my basement, resembles the embryonic stage of a fly shop in making… tying materials are strewn from table to desk, rods and waders are drying out among reels that have been cleaned and re-lined for future warmer days and a large heap of TFO rods are neatly organized in a corner waiting for the trip to Grand Rapids this weekend. The West Michigan Fly Show is in its second year at East Kentwood High School and the Great Lakes Council of Fly Fishers has extended it to a two day event. Many have expressed concern that a two day show in bible belt west Michigan may have a lack luster showing on a Sunday, but I feel many who attend the Church of the River will attend mass either one or both days. Share this post on your various media outlets and tell me so at the GR Show, I may have a special gift for you.

If you haven’t noticed, Temple Fork Outfitters has a created a bit of excitement in the  fly rod market this season. ‘Bear’ Andrews and myself will be on hand to show many of you the versatilities of the new DRIFT rod as well as the unmatched capabilities of the AXIOM II rod– who many have claimed as a next level BVK. Along with the a selection Spey rods, BVK, Mangrove, Pro II and NXT kits, we are more than happy to find the TFO rod you are looking for.

Look for the Temple Fork Tent and we shall be amid the many anglers testing out the new POWER REEL from TFO. The multiple conical spring washers and carbon fiber-stainless steel brake system give this reel a stopping power so smooth, it really has to be felt to believe.

Power Reel- carbon fiber stainless brakes coupled with conical spring washers give this reel serious braking ability.

Spring Streamer brown. #powertotheangler

The following week, I will be traveling to Lebanon, Indiana for the Heartland Fly Fishing Festival. Fellow TFO Ambassador, Captain Austin Adduci will be giving a presentation on the water he loves to fish near the Chicagoland area. This is a two day event featuring many well known local guides, tyers and fly shops, look forward to meeting a few new faces.

Grab Your Fly Charters~ Capt. Adduci

At the end of the month, there will be screening in Petoskey of ‘Young Hemingways Enduring Eden’  a very exciting project I have been involved with for a couple years. Fans of Hemingway will appreciate.

Temple Fork Outfitters Great Lakes #powertotheangler

Early March, snow melts and steelhead dreams are more vibrant and real, as is the approach of the Midwest Fly Expo in Warren Michigan. A stellar cast of speakers will be on hand this year, including Tom Rosenbauer, Eric Stroup, Phil Rowley and Tom Baltz along with TFO ESOX man Blane Chocklett. The entire TFO Crew will be on hand and happy to show you the rods and reels you have come to appreciate. We challenge you to find a better value/warranty and customer service from a rod & reel manufacturer on the market. Please stop by the Temple Fork Outfitters Booth and say ‘Whats Up?” We look forward to sharing a few stories.

 

 

 

Holiday Wish List 2018

2017 November 19
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It never ceases to amaze me when retail stores transition from Halloween Spooky Deals straight to Christmas Cheer without even a pause for the consideration of the family turkey. Yet, here we are, less than a week away from eating too much stuffing and exchanging names for secret Santas, while planning holiday get togethers amid an orchestra of children’s school performances and neighborhood Christmas caroling. It has been a privilege and honor for me to share with you a few special items that not only I have thoroughly enjoyed using in the past few years, but also things that are on my personal wish list. Keep in mind, these are not in any special order, nor are they given to me as promotional test products for True North to review, they are merely Christmas Wish List items I would have circled in my favorite fly shop catalog much the same way I would have done in the Sears full Christmas catalog of my childhood, sans the crayons.

Power Reel- carbon fiber stainless brakes coupled with conical spring washers give this reel serious braking ability.

Every year someone asks me “What rod do I get (so-&-So) for Christmas? They already have everything…” and I feel your pain. For most, it is simple, we already have plenty of the run-of-the-mill, basic five weight rods in our arsenal, and it makes the next step easy. What does he or she fish for? Larger fish> go with a 7 or 8 weight rod, might I suggest the stunning new & improved and ultra powerful AXIOM II from Temple Fork Outfitters, and that pairs nicely with the stunning POWER REEL, that just landed on our shores in October. My fishing buddy, Matt, from Connected Guide Service, said it best when we were playing with an early version of the rod~ “It has plenty of backbone and asks you to give it more, just like the BVK, but with more (insert power adjective).” I totally agree. Re-designed from the previous Axiom series- focusing on the angler rather than the other way around, this rod has immaculate casting prowess and precise delicacy for intimate presentations. It weighs less than 3 ounces for the 5wt and 4.5 ounces for the 12wt, without sacrificing power, higher modulus graphite has upped the game on many rods, making them lighter and stronger. If salt is your game, this rod has already proven its worth battling 30 consecutive 100# tarpon in the Florida Keys. Prices range from $340 for the 5 weight to $360 for 12 weight. For the price, this rod will perform and surpass rods twice the price.

But what if your secret Santa recipient prefers long lines, nymphs or small stream brook trout? Might I suggest the new DRIFT rod from TFO> a multi-function 3 weight rod that can transform from a 9′ to 10′ rod by adding a 12″ section, or adding a 27″ section to make a 11’3″ nymphing rod, or both for a 12’3″ trout spey/tight line nymphing rod. The addition of a 3″ cork butt replaces the fighting butt for trout spey casting. The innovation for the design concept comes from Jason Randall, Midwest photographer, author and angler, who challenged TFO to devise a multi-use rod that allows the angler to replace sections of the rod without re-lining the entire set up. The guides are a patent-pending semicircle that resembles the rings on a basketball hoop, think stringing up a net for a backyard pick up game of 3 on 3. Lefty Kreh claims it to be one of the single most innovative things he has seen in the fly industry in years. Be sure to find a dealer near you to assist with matching you with the perfect Temple Fork Rod. IN Michigan: Ron’s Fly Shop in Grayling, The Northern Angler in TC, Great Lakes Fly Shop in Rockford, Uncle Jake’s in Battle Creek, Nomad Anglers in Grand Rapids & East Lansing, Muskegon River Fly Shop in Newaygo to name a few. Dealer Locator

So you don’t have anyone with BIG items on your list, let me give you a few ideas that I have used and my daily trips on the river have benefitted from using.

KAST gear keeps your digits on point, I have never owned a warmer/drier pair of gloves.

KAST GLOVES~ no, they are not cheap, but when I am rowing down the river and the sleet/snow is coming at me sideways with 25 mph gusts, my hands are the last thing that goes numb. Trust me, they are worth every penny. I bought a pair over five years ago, last year I jumped in and helped sponsor a Kickstarter for KAST and have never regretted buying a second pair. I use them raking, shoveling, snowplowing, hiking in the woods, brushing off my wife’s truck, and I stay dry and warm. Price $99

Sleek, strong, Magnetic- they keep your flies where you put them. Tacky Box

Tacky Fly Box~ innovative, sturdy, visible, and pretty darn good looking. They keep your flies right where you need them. A few years ago, these guys hit the fly market from out of nowhere, now they are appearing in every catalog and in many vests and sling packs around the world. Get yours. Price $25-45.

MPX Amplitude- Your casting has never been so sexy, really.

Scientific Anglers Amplitude MPX~ Cannot say enough about how well this line casts. AST plus additive gives this line a superior shooting ability and durability. It is simply amazing. As the line ages and you clean it, more plaston bubbles ‘migrate’ or get exposed at the surface. Performance is not sacrificed and will continue to do the job. This line will last up to 4X longer than other competitor lines. Price $129.

Devin Olsen and Lance Egan bring together the various methods of European Nymphing in this great DVD.

Modern Nymphing– European Inspired Techniques“~ Devin Olsen and Lance Egan made this video a couple years ago, and I still plug it in to watch while tying a few Tungsten Surveyors. The simple step by step presentation and how effective straight line nymphing can be is nothing short of stellar. Grab a copy of this DVD and incorporate some Euro style nymphing in your river outings. Follow these guys at Tactical Fly Fisher. Price $29.99

Dave Karczynski- fellow angler, we have sen epic hatches and camped on some special water, he shares his insights and travel from around the world.

From Lure to Fly” by Dave Karczynski/Orvis~ Dave has the ability to fish with many great anglers, and even myself on occasion, and he notices the most subtle events catch a few fish, traveling from Poland to northern Michigan, from Argentina to northern Wisconsin, and he keeps it all in perspective. He is a true trout bum, sleeping in his VW Jetta waiting for the local bakery to open so he could wash his face and thaw his fingers over a cup a coffee and an eclair before hitting the river. This book puts what many of us already know into a perspective that may help get a few who were interested in the world of fly fishing but intimated by the binomial nomenclature out on the river. Pick it up and prepare to get involved, teaching, sharing and enjoying, not to mention the photography of the many places Dave K. has been and where fly fishing can take you. Amazon price $16.83, Lyons Press $24.95

Yeti Tumber and Rambler mugs are the ticket to keep your beverages hot/cold.

YETI Rambler Tumbler20/30~ those of you who take your coffee serious, I know I have met a few of you, you want to keep it hot and fresh as long as you can. Yeti drinkware will keep your cold beverages cold and hot drink/soup hot for hours.  There are knock offs, I’ve used them and they do compare, but for the extra $$ I am going with the first on the block. Price $29.99-49.99

Over 250 Tips from Trout Unlimited Members

Trout Tips” Kirk Deeter/Trout Unlimited~ A few years ago, TU asked it’s members to send in a few tips that save them time or money on the water. The result? A compilation of more than 250 tips ranging from fly choice, presentations, and water conditions to line maintenance and proper casting can help anyone from novice to expert. We are always learning and continue this journey in this great little book. Perfect stocking stuffer. Skyhorse Publishing, Price $16.95

Quality reproductions of fish caught to create memories for a lifetime.

FISHPRINT SHOP~ Do you know someone who caught the fish of a lifetime, and they let it go? This is perfect way to capture that memory. A high quality Joe Tomelleri reprint of any species, fresh or saltwater, worthy of matting and framing, for a fraction of a replica. Simple procedure: tell them a little about where (body of water) you caught it, date of catch, lure(fly), angler and length of fish, this will be incorporated on the print under Field Notes. Tell them True North Trout sent you. Great gift for the accomplished angler who has everything, and a great way to celebrate a good catch. Winner ICAST 2017 BEST GIFT CATEGORY.  Price range $125.00-225.00 + $5 per inch over 46″

Trout Flanks from Derek DeYoung, Coffee never looked so good.

DEREK DEYOUNG COFFEE MUG~ Many anglers enjoy their favorite cup of Java in a DeYoung Mug.  I have a couple and they have been around for a few years, most local fly shops will carry a couple. I picked mine up at Dave Leonhard’s StreamSide Orvis in TC. DeYoung Studio offers an extensive selection of drinkware ranging from shot glasses, rock glasses and pilsners to travel coffee mugs and stainless steel mugs. You can also find unique Mayfly DeYoung wrapping paper for the rest of your holiday gift wrapping. (Best In Show New Item 2017 ICAST $15) Mugs range from $20-99(set)

Let this hex chomper go to reacquaint next year~

These are just a few of the thousands of options out there in the vast world of fly fishing. The obvious choice is a gift certificate from True North Trout for a day on the river. Please are with your fishy friends and family. Have a wonderful Christmas Season!!

 

Mr BVK, better known as ‘Lefty’

2017 October 29
Comments Off on Mr BVK, better known as ‘Lefty’

To my friends,

I was 92 in January and had a carotid artery operation. During testing the hospital determined my heart was only pumping 35% and must limit my physical activities followed by a rest. The industry was extremely helpful and last season was able to attend the shows, clinics, etc.

Several weeks ago, I realized I was developing another problem, which is normal for someone nearly 93. It turns out I have congested heart failure. My pacemaker revealed there was a series of very rapid hear beats, which could cause a stroke. Fortunately a lot of doctor/friends are fly-fisherman and worked with me. In summary I have to give up travel and presentations as in the past.

Everyone produces a certain amount of fluid in the body and excretes the excess. Because of the low heartbeat my body is not getting rid of all the fluids and I gained weight. My best friend Dr. Mark Lamos put me in the hospital and with back procedure they twice removed a liter and a half of fluid from my chest. After five days in the hospital. I lost weight.

A week or so later I starting gaining weight again so it was back in the hospital for the same treatment. They reduced most of the fluid and returned home. I determined I was not going to continue back to the hospital. Mark decided to use medicine to control the excess fluid. It’s been a fine-tuning situation but looks like it’s starting work.

This means the schedule I lived for decades is no longer valid and will spend most my time at home. As we get older we learn to adjust to what we can and cannot do. I have a number of interesting computer home projects on the computer and busier than a Syrian bricklayer. I’m not frustrated and I’m content My problem is I don’t have a lot of stamina and have to work around that. If Marks medical system works I should be busy and around for a year or two.

I would like to be able to send this email to my friends but I don’t really know how to do this. So I’m asking others to help me spread the word through email. Because my lack of energy and stamina I having trouble answering emails (there are more than 400 on the computer) and not talking much on the phone. This is not meant to be unfriendly is learning to adjuster my situation.

In summary I’m busy and content but I want you to know I am so appreciative you’ve have shared your lives with me.

All The Best Friends,
Lefty

Mr Lefty Kreh.

Lefty Kreh has been one of the most influential  personalities in the fly fishing community for decades.  Not only on current fly rod manufacturers and designers, but also on how we cast and how to better improve our casting. I have never been able to meet in person, but have heard countless stories of how he always gave more of himself than requested. One occasion, a client paid for casting lessons for his wife with Lefty at a Midwest Expo, Lefty happened to be staying at the same hotel and they ended up spending more than a couple hours trading stories and working on her casting. He would also  pull a volunteer from a standing room only crowd at the casting pond from various tours across the country. After asking the young, physically fit angler to cast as much line as he could, Lefty would proceed to empty the reel of all line to the backing on the floor in front of him.Then, in one or two short backcasts, he would send the entire length of the line sailing through the air.

“well young man, you were just schooled by a 90 year old.” and we LOVED it.

Please share this and other stories you may have had to help cherish all the great things Lefty has done for us and our fly fishing community.

Lefty with Temple Fork Outfitters. 

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