A lazy dog and a shadow

I hooked up the boat to the Jeep and pulled it out of the garage. Of course in Fritz’s mind this means car ride. In mine it means go sleep in the Jeep while I sand some wood and throw some varnish on this project so I can be done with it. I glanced up to see where the dogs were and I saw this cool shot.
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#teamcorporatethunderridesagain

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Photo Dump #1

Summer is winding down. It’s been a weird one. I thought it was just me, but many people have mentioned how bad the fishing has been for them. Good to see there’s some solidarity in our lack of fish to hand. I figured I’d start doing some photo dumps as I see to build up a good amount of photos that don’t really fit anywhere else.

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Ruby

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Beaver Island 2014 – Sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar eats you

Beaver Island, Michigan. We’ve all heard about it. Some of us have been lucky enough to get there and see this island chain that’s earned it’s place in fly fishing mythos. A few years back, when I was last on the island, it was mentioned how someone could come up and scumbag it on the beaches, walk the flats, and maybe if he’s lucky, catch some fish. That idea stuck in my head because it sounded like an amazing trip for someone with a do it yourself mentality. Fast forward a few years and I started thinking about maybe heading up with a boat, sleep on a beach, and get away from everything. My buddy Andrew and I started bouncing ideas off of each other and we formed a plan. Now, they say that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry and that was the truth in this case.
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I got word that the mosquitos this year were bad. Bad in this case was an understatement. We ditched the sleeping on the beach idea, which was the main part of awesome for this trip. Hotels just aren’t as great for morning views of Lake Michigan even when yours looks out at the bay. I called around and got lucky on a room. Gimme the room, it don’t matter the price because, well, mosquitos. Fuck mosquitos. Evil little bloodsucking assholes who serve no purpose. Kinda like a politician. We arrived on the island on Friday night to winds and rain and cold. Cold being relative as I’d left 90 degree weather in Indiana and was greeted with high 50s and low 60s on Beaver. The big lake was a little choppy for the Towee, so we headed to an interior lake to fish bass and pike. When you think bad mosquitos you go, “oh I’ll just throw on some bug dope and I’ll be fine..” Ha! No such luck here. These things live on hate and spite and think of deet as an appetizer. You can’t stop on shore, you can’t be near shore, if you are near shore, you leave shore as fast as possible. They will drain your blood through layers of clothing. They swarm so bad that you’d think they have a hive mind hell bent on the destruction of anything breathing. The lake we fished was beautiful, just like you expect a northern climate lake to be. I did hook up with some hammerhandles if I remember right, but we were skunked that night. We did however lose about 16 pints of blood so it was back to the bar to replenish them with beers and food. One thing to know about this island is that there is damn near no place to get food after 9 or 10pm. If you’re hungry, you stay hungry until the sun comes up and the breakfast spot opens up. Better pack that PB & J.

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Saturday was our one full day of fishing. We had to head back Sunday so we checked the water, wind, and headed out to search for some carp. A word of caution if you ever do something like this and have a small skiff like a Towee, do not attempt this if the waves are up. Great boats for small streams and calm flats. Not so much for open Great Lakes water where things can change in a heartbeat. We were always watching for the wind change in case we had to run the few miles across deep water from one island to get back to the bay. We hit one island and immediately saw carp. They were moving with purpose. Cruising fast and ignoring anything you presented to them. We kept hoping for one to turn and get hot, but we couldn’t buy a bite even with a perfect setup. We had maybe one out of fifty slow down and then keep on cruising. That shit is heartbreaking. The bass and a pike were eating though the bass are closed season until July 1st on Beaver so you can’t actively target them. They will eat what you’re throwing to carp, so good luck getting them to stop.

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The day was amazing for just exploring and enjoying the feeling of being remote. We found a flat with a marshy back water and just started heading back into it. There were so many fish back in there it seemed silly. GPS showed a channel to another open area so we just kept going. We started feeling like we might have been the first to get that far back in sometime. Totally not true, but damn it feels like it. That’s a great feeling that’s hard to come by in this day and age. The mosquitos on this island might have been worse. We could hear them from the interior of the island. It’s like they were chanting our names. Evil little shits. I can’t wait til we genetically engineer them out of existence.

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Sunday came too soon and we had to hop the ferry back to the mainland. It’s a weird feeling getting back to what’s considered civilization after only less than 48 hours on the island. 60 miles per hour seems insane. No one waves. People are in a hurry to get nowhere fast. That’s the best thing to come off the island, that reset that you need sometimes. We shot back to Midland and then I headed out for the drive back to Indiana.

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So that brings us to this.. Can you DIY Beaver Island? Yes. Should you? Well, that’s the thing that I’ve been pondering for a month. To answer truthfully, to get the fullest fishing experience while there, I would have to say no. I know personally if we had a few more days out there we could have stuck a carp or even a few but to truly have an epic fishing experience out there you need to hire the guys who make a living guiding it, so look up Indigo Guide Service, and let Kevin, Steve, and Austin take you fishing. They know that massive expanse of water intimately, they know where the carp are, and they make it look easy. It’s not as easy as it looks and if you don’t respect Lake Michigan, she will make you respect her and that can mean bad things for you and your boat. I will be the first to say I wish we’d had a day to fish with the Indigo guys, mainly because they’re some of my favorite people in the world to fish with and just be around. You will not regret it if you do book a trip, but do it early because they fill up and you’ll be shit out of luck. One last word of caution if you do think about heading to Beaver Island with a boat and a truck. Cost. It’s much cheaper to book a full day with one of the Indigo guys than it is to have a boat ferried over. Much cheaper. Taking a boat and truck over will make your wallet go into seizures. Remember that and book a trip with them to make life better for your wallet.

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Fly Casting on the Joe

What are you doing Friday and Saturday August 1st and 2nd? If you’re near Berrien Springs, Michigan you should check this event out. Single to switch to spey. All in a day. http://flycastingonthejoe.com/

Fly Casting on the Joe 2014
Private: Friday, August 1st, 2014 – Private lessons with Peter Humphreys and Jeff Liskay
Free Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 – All free demos / lessons / exhibits / booths by fly shops, guides, and manufacturers.

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Happy

“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.” – Roger Caras

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finn sprinkler1

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Summer, so far.

Some random photos from this summer. It’s been a good one so far. Not as fishy as summers past, but there’s a puppy who needs attention and that takes up a lot of that free time. My respect for actual parents has gone up a few notches. Already planning fall musky trips. That’s plural. I need more toothy critter in my life. One without fur, that is.

My wife took the Finn overboard photo. What he lacks in grace he makes up for in drive.

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P.S. – Drum rule.
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The 2014 Hardly, Strictly Musky – The Southern Classic

Back in May we converged on McMinnville, Tennessee for the best damned time you can legally have in that part of the state. I waited on posting because I was asked for a write up on the tournament for American Angler. You can find that in the newest July / August 2014 issue that is out now. Super stoked and very thankful for that chance to do so. My first time in print and that really was just icing on the cake that was the Southern Classic. If you’re on the fence about coming to the next one, get off that fence and get planning. It’s just going to get bigger and better.

Besides seeing some friends that live way too far away, I got to take some photos of the man whose fly pattern got me hooked (for lack of a better term) on tying flies. Not a bad deal for some hack from Indiana.

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https://www.facebook.com/hardlysticklymusky

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Grow into your own skin

Finn got to spend some time on the water last night. He’s six months old and starting to really look like a lab. I’m always amazed at the seemingly daily changes in him. It seems he goes to bed one night and wakes up an inch taller and five pounds heavier. I can’t wait til he’s old enough to go on trips with me and not be underfoot constantly. In case you’re wondering, Fritz has sort of become my wife’s dog. It was always that way since we adopted him, but with Finn around it’s the norm in our house now. Not to say Fritz isn’t my boy. He is. He just always wants to be near my wife and I like that. When I’m gone on the road, I know she has someone looking out for her that is a marshmallow but will put the fear of dog into anyone with misguided intentions. I pity that person.

I’m starting to think about trying to find a local(ish) trainer for Finn. He’s in obedience class now but I’d like to see him get better training than I can give him regarding water and retrieving. Only the best for this goofy lab. I’ll eat ramen so he can learn to not be a meathead.

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New Strip’n Flywear shirts are hot off the presses!

Last week I received a package full of awesome from Dave over at Strip’n Flywear. I’ve been a huge fan of what Dave’s been doing since first seeing his old skateboard inspired designs. Seriously, that’s a winning combo; skateboarding and fly fishing. Fuck yes.

This year, Strip’n Flywear changed their shirts to a 60/40 blend and it’s nice. Really nice. So nice my wife has already stolen some of the new shirts and made them hers. She’s got good taste. I dig shirts that breathe when it gets sticky in the humid Midwest summers.

Speaking of skateboarding and fishing… check this bad boy out. Kinda makes you wanna go on a search for Animal Chin, don’t it?
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Strip’n Flywear is working to fight the greedy bastards trying to create a giant hole in the ground at the expense of the environment with donations of $5 for every shirt sold going directly to the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska and you get some free stickers as well. Not a bad deal at all.
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Here’s a couple more of my favorite shirts but these aren’t all. You’ll need to check out Strip’n Flywear for more t-shirts, hoodies, and hats.

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Here’s some links for you to check out:

Strip’n Flywear on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WanderWestMedia
Strip’n Flywear on instagram – http://instagram.com/stripnflywear#

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Here comes summer

Haven’t been out fishing much due to high water and when it has come down, well, life takes over and leads me away from the water. Been working with Finn every day and he’s coming along when he wants to. He’s definitely a head strong dog but whip smart when he wants to be. Have a really cool trip planned in 16 days. Camping, remote, carp. It’s gonna be one for the books.

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Colorado toilet paper is shitty.
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