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Modern Nymphing~ Tactical Fly Fisher

2017 February 15
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Recently, I was introduced to the not so new style of Euro-Nymphing. It has been around for years. Commonly known as either French-, Polish-, Czech-, or Spanish Style Nymphing, the Europeans have had a way with getting the flies down to where the fish are for decades. Until recently, the US Fly Fishing Team has been on the receiving end of most Fly Fishing Competitions, that is until Lance Egan and Devin Olsen got together and comprised a few theories and applied them to a functioning system and modernized technique. This is what we now know as ‘Euro-Nymphing’. Take away the variable leader length and number of dropper and point flies and we have a more simplified approach.

Modern Nymphing

Modern Nymphing

The Set Up*

Basic set up is a long rod, 10-12′ in length, usually in sizes 2-4 weights, counterbalanced with an oversized large arbor reel. I have found the 4 weight BVK in 10 foot length to be perfect. I have it matched with a BVK I reel, which is plenty large, but you can up-size to the II if you feel the need.

Leader length is where we see the biggest difference. Most of our Midwest leaders run the in the 9′ range with a 12′ leader for spooky or tailwater trout. The Euro set up will more than double that length. Not uncommon to be anywhere from 18-25 feet in length, the leader will serve as your running line, making your fly line choice not as significant. Chameleon Maxima in 20# for the majority of length, 8- 10 feet, for Devin’s rig and then attaching a 3′ section of Suffix Elite, followed by the sighter. The sighter is 18″ of .012-.014 Cortland Bicolor that enables the angler to see the drift and detect any change in the fly. We then use a tippet ring and add 2- 4′ tippet, with 4x to 7x down to the fly. This gets fly down and allows the drift to be more natural with little drag from a surface indicator other than the sighter.

Flies for Nymphing

The benefit of Euro-style nymphing is getting to where the fish are, the flies are integral to the set up. Most are thin profiled with a tungsten or oversized bead head to get to the target zone. Flies you may already know and use, Walt’s Sexy Worm, Egans Red Dart, Surveyor, Rainbow Warrior, and Hare’s Ear all are used, just tweaked a bit. There are a few secret weapons in the video as well.

ready for 2017

ready for 2017

 

 

 

The Squirmy Wormy- not for the Dry fly purist.

Tying the Magneto Stonefly from The Tactical Fly Fisher

This should be enough to have your interest. Without giving away everything the video has to offer, I would recommend picking up the video from TACTICAL FLY FISHER on MODERN NYMPHING to improve your next season on the water.

Teaching your Kids about Fly Fishing

2017 February 5
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by Brian Kozminski

Teaching your Kids about Fly Fishing

waitingonHex

As any experienced fly fisherman knows, fly fishing is a skill that takes time, dedication and lots of practice to master. For kids, this can be a trying skill to learn. Frustration and boredom might ensue with some children, no matter how even-tempered they usually are. So before you set out to teach your kids how to fly fish, take these next tips into consideration.

Be Patient
Kids have short attention spans. Be patient with them. Try short fishing trips the first few times, and make it about having fun rather than catching fish. The main goal, after all, isn’t about fishing but developing a love for being on the water and connecting with nature. Over time, they will become more proficient, and the real fishing can begin.

Teach the Basics
Don’t dive off the deep end with all of the fly fishing odds and ends. Start with the basics: rod, reel, line and fly. Teach them the proper ways to hold and cast the rod, straight over the shoulder. They don’t have to know everything all at once; overloading them with too much information may overwhelm them and lead to a poor experience.

Get the Gear
One of the great things about teaching your kids to fly fish is that they get new gear. It’s part of the whole experience, so outfit your kids with good boots and a quality vest (We suggest Carhartt’s line of fishing gear). A decent rod and reel that won’t break the bank is instrumental. Temple Fork Outfitters has combo pack for youngsters at less that $160- The Bug Launcher Kit will have you ready for the water in no time. This will help them feel more connected to the sport.

Scoot on the vise~

Scoot on the vise~

Set Goals
Kids work well with clearly defined and achievable goals. This can include casting skills or knot tying. If you start with casting practice, we recommend challenging the kids to aim at larger objects, slowly working down to smaller ones. Learning these crucial skills early on will make your kids expert fishermen later in life.

Offer Praise
Kids need feedback when learning a new skill. Let them know when they are doing something right. It can be as simple as a “good job!” or “great cast!” This affirmation will feed their confidence and encourage them to keep working to get better.

Casting with Simone at age 3 1/2 - Fly Fishing Guide Service, Fly Fishing Northern Michigan.

Casting with Simone at age 3 1/2 – Fly Fishing Guide Service, Fly Fishing Northern Michigan.

Keep It Fun
Remember, your kids are just kids. They won’t master this skill for months, weeks or even years. And that is okay! You are laying the groundwork for a great life skill. Keep it fun so they will continue to enjoy the sport for years to come.

Make it Short

Far too often we want to make an afternoon or day outing. Most kids have an attention span lasting no more than 20-30 minutes. Better to keep it short, allow the kids to break up the monotony and catch frogs & turtles or look for snakes. Grab a submerged log and a few rocks, turn them over. I have yet to meet a child who was not amazed at all the little bugs who live in the underwater world we are enthralled with. This should open a page for life long passion of natural sciences.

Local Resources

Don’t forget that you are not the first to try to get your child to love the river or lake as much as you do. Find your local Trout Unlimited Chapter & Federation of Fly Fishing, attend a meeting and get involved. Both groups are eager for younger and new members and often have an annual children’s event aimed at exactly what you may be trying to do. When other kids see friends who are getting involved and active in river clean-ups or fly tying events, they are more likely to stay interested.

Don’t Forget the Fish
What is fishing without the fish? Don’t forget to teach your kids about the different types of fish they might be catching. From trout and panfish to salmon and bass, rivers and lakes are full of interesting creatures. You can even include the best flies to use when fishing for the different types of fish. Just don’t get too technical. For instance, smaller flies are used for smaller fish because their mouths are smaller. You could also talk about using specifically colored flies because of the surroundings. These are all crucial parts of fishing that often get overlooked for the more fun things, like casting.

The reward of a day on the water.

We hope you and your kiddos have a great time learning to fly fish. Don’t forget the gear for your kids as well as yourself. It might be time for a new vest!

Bromance with Brown

2017 January 10
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by Brian Kozminski

From a distance, whether mowing the lawn, tending to the animals, or cutting wood, I can recognize the Fa-Thump, Phathump, Fa-Thump amplified rotation of the tires and diesel engine working up the motivation to travel up the long hill a mile away from our house. A sudden increase in my heart rate, eyes get dilated, hair stands on end, my senses are alert, vision sharpened and hearing more acute than ever as the big Brown truck makes a rounded left hand turn on our dirt road kicking up a dust cloud common in northern back roads. I can can usually tell in a split second if he is about to accelerate or coast in order to make the wide turn into our driveway.

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What could be in the big box? The possibilities are endless. There is a chance they could be new curtains or bedspread for my daughters room, but I am hopeful it could be a new slew of rods from TFO or a replacement net for my broken Brodin wooden Guide net.  My wife is privy to my game. She knows I have a secret code with the guys glad in pooh brown to store boxes inside of my garage door so I can intercept before she gets home. Its all in good fun. Is it a genetic disorder? My father had a serious problem ordering online and getting things he really need needed, like shark fishing rods, fish finders, Ice-augers and other miscellaneous items from Cabelas that I inherited. Do we as males have an inherent ability to bond with other males in this delivery secret ritual or is it more?

Jump back two decades and I was living in a much larger metropolis where I would drive to the mall or one of several Fly shops to purchase the majority of fly tying materials or a much needed new line from Scientific Anglers. I simply could not fathom living a life ‘Up North’ where one didn’t need to drive across town to actually pick up a rod or feel a pelt of deer hair prior to purchase. My brother-in-law bragged about how he would accomplish all of his Holiday shopping from the comfort of his EZ chair online. Inconceivable. Now days, I see the virtue in compiling of list of tying materials and making a bulk order to Feather-Craft for my Sex Dungeons and Hog Snares, along with guide flies from Catching Shadows and Anglers Choice Flies for next guide season.

As I was roto-tilling the garden last spring, standing amid the fresh aroma- a nitrogen rich potpourri, compliments of goats, sheep and chickens wafting through the promise of fresh spring air, I quickly shut down the tiller to say ‘Hello’ to my local driver. I had the idea of ‘getting to know’ my UPS and Fed-Ex guys. Why not? Really, they know me, and he often asks how the fishing is. These guys know more about you than perhaps some guys at the office. For instance, he knows I prefer getting camping equipment from Sierra Trading Post and on a more personal level, my monthly prescription for Humira injection for my psoriasis needs to be chilled and kept in the shade. So I had prepared a set of questions for my driver.

What is your name? How old are you? How many years have you been delivering packages for UPS?

“Jack. A little older than you. 28 years next month.”

How many kids do you have? What do you like about delivery packages?

“I had three— I lost my son in Afghanistan four years ago…”

Whoa~ did not expect that. How do I continue? I don’t. It was understood. We both had a moment. I paused to reflect how it gut wrenching it would be to lose a child, and then have some forty year old punk on my route have the audacity to ask about my personal life. He was a little choked up, I apologized and expressed my condolences. I can’t even imagine. It made the moment that much more real and I quickly realized I had found what I was looking for. Jack always sees my on the way to the river, beeps his horn as I fly by to meet clients, leaves a dog treat on my boxes at the door inside the garage and in return I leave him fresh SweeTango apples from the farmers market. This is a good relationship. I encourage everyone to get to know their delivery person, from every company. Find out something about their home life. Especially this time of year. They are transporting millions of boxes to more homes than ever before, in some off the most inclement conditions. Traveling thousands of miles each week to make sure you can light up someone’s face with that special box under the tree. The least you can do is let them know how much they are appreciated.

 

 

2016 Wrap it up.

2016 December 31
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I am not much for making resolutions. They are often false promises one makes and never really intends to keep for an entire year. I quit smoking when my eldest was born, put down the bottle some years prior to that. Can honestly attest to those resolving to quit the nicotine addiction that it was easier to quit drinking. Both will require you to be ready and dead honest with yourself. I suppose I could lose some weight, really? Nah, Who am I kidding. Working out would do wonders for my mental stability, but trying to fit that in a schedule with family, restaurant and managing the guide business would take the deft balance of a trapeze artist. So my workouts will remain mending fences, shoveling snow and rowing a boat, along with other menial farm chores.

Look forward to 2017

Look forward to 2017

The past year was another amazing and spectacular trip around the sun for True North Trout. Met many new clients, fished again with old friends and had a few good laughs while watching fish gingerly sip blue winged olives from glassy rippled edged pools. The next year already promises to be bigger and better. Added Randy Monchilov to the crew, booked a few trips, one request for overnight camping accomadations and the ever eternal hunt for new waters to explore. We plan to expand our skinny water trips with an inflatable watercraft and eventually do more on the North Branch Au Sable River, with potential for cabin rental on the river. The SUPonthefly venue will certainly gain some traction and attention as we ply some still waters for pike and smallmouth bass in between floats on the Jordan and Upper Manistee rivers. Happy to be on board with Temple Fork Outfitters and Scientific Anglers bringing the client what we feel are the best products in the market for our guests. Last season we met and did some filming with a couple of different media companies and intend to do some spring steelhead and opening trout season filming to wrap up a possible episode or commercial for publicity. The CRA looks to be on track for the Chestonia/Old State Bridge removal project to start sometime in 2017, and we eagerly anticipate being able to drift under a new open span bridge sometime in 2018.

Welcome Randy!

Welcome Randy!

The snow is gently wafting outside the window, and the county road commission just barricaded my drive, so I must get back to my work out. So, no new promises from TNT in 2017, only that we aim to keep our clients on as many fish as we can find, teach them as much as we can share about our resources and entomology while drifting a few nymphs. We will provide the freshest local food, scones and produce from our favorite purveyors while keeping it reel, wet and fun for you and family. Tight Lines and Happy New Year!!

celebration unnamed-2
See many of you January 7 and 14 in Grand Rapids at either Celebration of Tying or the Great Lakes Council Fly Show at East Kentwood.

Celebration of Tying

Celebration of Tying

Catching Shadows

2016 December 4
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by Brian Kozminski

There are few people in the fly industry who live up to a preconceived notion of what they might be like in person. Rich Strolis surpassed expectations. We had been friends for years via e-mail and Fishbook, he would readily answer questions I had regarding tying specifics for the Shimmer Stone or Ice Pick.  When I had difficulty finding Rust Orangutan Ice Fur for the Shucked Up Emerger pattern, he pointed me in the proper direction. Or when he had some extra Yellowstone Fly Goods Scud Dub for the Classified Caddis, I got a little package in the mail.
I had full intention of writing this last spring after we met at the Midwest Expo. But life happens, wether it was the farm, or work, school, kids, truck issues, moving, guiding, I can’t tell you what…<?> After meeting Rich in person, and discovering he was a ‘straight up, No frills-tell it like it is’ kind of guy,  and having a couple of adult beverages while catching up with the Ginger Viking from Florida, we headed to our rooms to ready for the big show. The next morning we talked over coffee about the industry and how things have changed. It is amazing when one thinks about it. Two anglers from across the midwest, can virtually meet and establish a base friendship eventually making a connection in person. There are a couple others as genuine as Rich, we tend to gravitate towards one another, often lifting each other up and helping out when possible and hanging out at the end of a long day on the expo floor.

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Strolis Special~ #3 out of 100

I can’t remember the exact first day I found his style of tying, but I was immediately drawn to the Shimmer Stone and was primary reason for wanting to pick up his book- CATCHING SHADOWS~ Tying Flies for the Toughest Fish and Strategies for Fishing Them. I was on the pre-order and got lucky #3 out of 100 signed copies.  Later become enamored with the Headbanger Sculpin and Hog Snare streamer. Rich has been doing a fair share of Live Fly Tying feeds on Facebook(check out last weeks mini-Masked Avenger), the small little trick you can pick up on from a guy who has literally tied thousands of most of his flies is immeasurable. I try to catch them when I don’t have previous engagements, highly recommend them if you have time. Rich and Mike Schmidt have both received a little criticism from other tyers, saying that they should put their instructional videos on Vimeo or other service and ‘do a pay to play’, but they both feel it is more important to share than to profit. Might be why they book more tying gigs at local fly shops.

Shimmer Stone- Exceptional photography throughout the book.

Shimmer Stone- Exceptional photography throughout the book.

A few things that I found very pleasing about the book. It reads well, smooth, well thought out, not too wordy, basic, in layman terms, for all of us to understand. The photography makes the book. Detailed, and well composed, throughout. Very consistent and Rich has the ability to walk you through each step, even the tricky ones, he presents the patterns well. The stories on how each pattern came to be, the research and development are critical, some flies make it, others become tree ornaments, he has a good time sharing those moments with the reader. It is not just a book on streamers, nor nymphs, nor dries, but a little of each of his favorite patterns that he has used and perfected from his home waters on the Farmington and Housatonic Rivers to trips out west. If you have picked this book up, you may agree, I have yet to find much I don’t like, and continue to read and find more helpful techniques when I am tying. This book will last the test of time on your bookshelf, and should be on your Holiday wish list. Check out Rich and his work at www.catchingshadows.com and look for his next tying demonstration, tell him I sent you. Tight Lines & Happy Holidays!!

img_8109 img_8110 img_8112 #3 out of 100

 

Summer 2016- Simms Current Shoe

2016 December 1
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For the record, 2016 was a warm one across the Midwest. Whether you subscribe to Climate Change or Global Warming, we broke a few records and continue to do so. Besides a healthy amount of SPF70 sunscreen in the boat, there were a couple key items that made my days on the river more comfortable and enjoyable. I would like to share my experience with you from the past year so that you may prepare yourself for next summer, in case we see more sun filled days than the previous decade.

can't imagine a day on the river without them.

Simms Current Wading Shoe- can’t imagine a day on the river without them.

The Simms Current Shoe has surpassed its reputation for being an all day long comfort shoe, whether on the boat or on shore. The Right Angle Technology footbed provides the angler with a definite lack of fatigue in the lower leg muscles after standing and casting from the bow of a drift boat in Montana or poling platform in the Keys. I have waded many cold water feeder creeks and found the quick dry mesh and smooth uppers were very comfortable and prevented any sand load from depositing in my shoe. These are fast becoming my favorite shoe at the beach and on the power boat, keeping a snug fit from the bungee lacing and preventing the tops of my feet from getting scorched from the high midsummer sun. My original interest for purchasing these began with a search for a good wading shoe for SUP fishing. When I came across the Current shoe, it made total sense.  Perfect for canoe, kayak and SUP advocates, they stay on your feet, and are comfortable, while protecting your feet from jagged rocks or cedar branches. For years I have been an advocate for Keens, still appreciate the slip on comfort of a good trail sandal, but the deck specific design of the Current Shoe is hard to be overlooked. A couple of clients had purchased the Current shoe and we have had similar experiences pertaining to all day long comfort and appreciation of design. There were three colors available last season, black, chartreuse and blue, Simms may have a few new ones lined up for 2017. They have branched out and tapped into the casual shore shoe market with the RipRap Sandal, Westshore Boat shoe and the Challenger Boat shoe, with many leather upgrades for the lasting comfort that can take you late into the evening and far away from the rivers edge. I have yet to test them out, but have given them a close eye at the Midwest Expo.

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Perfect idea for your Holiday shopping list, they are a priced at close to cool C-note, they will last you more than one season if treated with some care. Two other items from this past season I could not imagine a day without, the Simms Surf Short and SolarFlex Crewneck, with SPF70 and quick dry technology, I never had a moment concerned with overexposure to the daily beat from solar rays. My only drawback on the SolarFlex is the staining from perspiration or from a recently wetted Buff around the collar. The water stains seem to be semi-permanent, but these are the least of my concerns when the alternate is melanoma.

NEW for 2017!

Last year, I was interested in the BUGSTOPPER Hoody from Simms. Seemed it was only available in women’s options. I inquired from our Midwest Rep’s at the EXPO, Kim-Tony Ferrie and was pleasantly surprised to see a mens Hoody for the next season. I had to purchase, and will follow up later this season on how well it works in the skeeter infested cedar swamps of northern Michigan. Simms has been busy twerking waders, boots, jackets with latest from Gore-Tex and coming out with a few really cool T-shirts- “Rain Delays are for Baseball” very cool. Check out the entire line up or SIMMS HOLIDAY Gift Guide to get a new hat to stuff someone’s Christmas stocking. Simms has been amping up the rod/reel storage and travel luggage in the passed few years. They have also been making some notable improvements in their vest & hip packs in recent years. I hope you have a chance to check them out at a local Fly Shop and remember to Shop Local. Have a safe and Happy Holiday!!!

Merry FISHMAS!!

Merry FISHMAS!!

 

True North Trout Grows

2016 November 7
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The past year has been a whirlwind, in a good way. Many trips, new clients, old friends and more places to fish with even more exciting venues for 2017. A few trips have been multiple client days on the river and True North Trout is ready to accommodate parties of 4 for double trips with the addition of Randy Monchilov.

Welcome Randy to the True North Trout Team!

Welcome Randy to the True North Trout Team!

Randy has lived in Gaylord for the past 17 years, has guided since ’02 and previously owned a tackle shop in Saginaw- “Tackle Land”. Randy has two great children, Mason, 16 and Morgan, 13. They like to spend their time on nearby lakes in the Gaylord area and are very active in school sports. Randy has fished many of the rivers we call ‘home-water’ in the northern portion of the Mitten, especially the Au Sable where he has a cabin on the North Branch which will be utilized for beginner casting and fly fishing lessons. Randy has had the opportunity to own and row many drift boats in his career, from Hydes to Clacka’s and most recently a RO, but chose to get an Adipose FLOW. In eye catching Montana Big Sky Blue, you will find it hard not to notice another Adipose floating down the upper Manistee River. Randy likes to fish for anything that swims but his passion is for trout. He used to compete in BASS tournaments but felt it no longer provided the challenge that rivers and trout offer. Simply put- “There is nothing more exciting than watching a trout sip your dry fly.”

Maiden drift on the Holy Waters.

Maiden drift on the Holy Waters.

We are looking forward to many trips this year and have already started to book some prime dates in 2017. Say ‘Hello’ to Randy when you see him at the Midwest Expo and welcome him to True North Trout team and the Adipose Family.

How slick is your line?

2016 September 22
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by Brian Kozminski

Last week I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes of Michigan’s very own line making facilities at Scientific Anglers HQ in Midland. It was eye opening to say the very least and pretty amazing on many levels. First off, how does one actually make a fly line and test it to meet the various scenarios we as anglers and guides regularly put our equipment through? Next, the technology involved, what is AST and how is it you can make a $100 fly line? Logistics, packing/stocking and shipping lines to fly shops and individuals around the world while keeping minimum inventory on hand, what is the method to the madness? These and many more inquiries were answered throughout the day by the staff and crew at SA.

meeting the people of Scientific Anglers

meeting the people of Scientific Anglers

 

First off: proprietary technical stuff not privy to. There was the ‘Blue Door’, behind which a magical room where potions are formulated and make the Goop to eventually become what we know as fly line. “Goop” is formed and depending on which specific line type, AST(Advanced Shooting Technology) impregnated, color added, and or teflon powder for various sinking rates. The vast majority of us were not majors of Analytical Calculus w/ Vectors at MichTech so I shall spare you the dreaded numbers and figures that spewed forth on actually designing a high performance casting line. As the name implies, Scientific Anglers does not lack in providing the highest standard and technical R&D for a final product before it hits the shelves. I have always thought AST stood for ‘added slickness technology’, so I apologize in advance if a Freudian Slip should occur.

So, POOF! the line is spooled and a variety of colors are aligned on big reels in front the Coiling/Converting station where a wonderfully patient lady named Mo showed us ‘Mitt Monkeys’ the ropes.

SA ID my very own line.

SA ID my very own line.

The tricky part is feeling the bump in the line, knowing  where the next segment starts and when to cut, place the fuzzy white twisty and prep the line to the next stage- loop welding. The former SharkSkin had issues; besides the noise, the weld was not smooth. They have reconfigured temperature and pressure when heating and cooling a fresh weld. You will see on the next generation of lines, a much more refined and smoother transition in the weld. The skinny on new series of lines: Sharkwave is still onboard and a great line for added distance, Wavelength, Sonar, Frequency and Mastery Series round out the line-up nicely. The buzz around the room is the line we have in our hands. The suppleness and smooth yet textured line has a mesmerizing quality about it. Baby butt smooth. The new AMPLITUDE has added AST+ actually has glass bubbles impregnated into the line, which adds longevity and value to a higher price point. It is estimated a 40% longer life on the water versus competitor lines, which makes it worth every penny. As one cleans the line, more levels of the plaston bubbles migrate to the surface and are exposed, revealing new life and releasing dirt and grime. This is a game changer. Check it out, you won’t be sorry you did.

The board room was later assembled by the majority of fly talent from across the state- Chris Lessway, Mike Schultz, Russ Maddin, Ted Pitch, Mark Hendricks, Jimmy Chang. We had the opportunity to talk with Josh Jenkins and Erick Johnson about what exactly goes into the R&D side of SA. Packaging is simplified, easy notation for taper style and fly choice that each line is made for, fresh and saltwater destination. We don’t think about it, but a saltwater line needs to be more rigid, because when it is exposed to extreme temperature, it becomes supple, just the opposite of our cold weather zone lines, which become more stiff as it gets colder. We also had a good discussion on what we might like to see in the future for clients and anglers alike. There is a lot coming from Scientific Anglers in the next year, keep your eyes peeled.

Round Table discussion from the areas best fly anglers.

Round Table discussion from the areas best fly anglers.