Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sugarloaf Mountain and some big news

Last weekend I found myself in Marquette; a delightful town on the southern shore of Lake Superior. 

I had the morning off so I took to the Subaru to roam about the area. I haven't been to the area in 12 or 13 years. While the town had changed a considerable amount, the natural surroundings remained exactly as I remembered them: beautiful, raw, and clean. 

Hogback Mountain sits in the distance just waiting to be explored and I can't wait. I figure that is a nice way of telling you all that I am moving to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It's not everyday that a dream job comes up in the perfect location but I guess it did for me. I cannot wait to be able work with a great group of people during the weekdays and then spend the whole weekend communing with nature and enjoying life finally. 

Outdoor Research's latest catalog had a section on living a Complete Life that talked about being able to spin your adventures alongside your everyday happenings. That advertisement really stuck with me, and that's how I am going to start living. 

Here's to our move up north and a new chapter in our lives. 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pot roast in stout with herb dumplings

Although it is unseasonably warm in Michigan at the moment it was a blustery weekend around here. Dare I say I thought the gales of November had come early. 

Spurred on by the dropping Mercury I prepared a hearty one pot Irish supper. 

It wasn't the healthiest choice but sometimeseals like this soothe the soul. 

I cannot claim the base recipe but I definitely made this my own. The recipe suggested Guiness as the base for the stew/gravy, but I'm not a fan of the "legendary" Irish stout. I opted for a much richer, full-flavored milkshake stout from Rochester Mills Brewery. The beer complemented the carrots and infused both the meat and dumplings with an umami quality that is near impossible to describe.

Needless to say, that page in the recipe book is now dogeared for a snowy winter Sunday. I can almost see the flakes falling  while the pot gurgles and the house fills with the thick aroma. 


Dryfly Art

I've never ever considered myself to have any artistic talent. Most of my "drawings" feature stick figures. I do enjoy art. One of my favorite art forms is block printing. My favorite block prints come from Greg Jaris at Trick Dog in Elberta, MI, and Bad Axe designs. 

After wrapping up a tie session the other night I looked up at a Jaris print that I picked up last summer. It's a flamboyant trout-like fish flailing in the air. Knowing that Chelsea had some printing materials in her art pile for I asked her for them. 

With speedball carver in hand I sat down and created the first of hopefully many stamps that represent the things that I do. It's far from being a piece of art, but I think it's very cool in a raw way. That's what I appreciate about block printing; it can be extremely detailed and clean or a little more emotive and raw. Tell me what you think:

It's the silhouette of a wingless Adams fly, or as I call them: gnats. 

More will follow. I just need to get outside and get some inspiration. 

Big news coming down the pipeline soon. Don't want to say anything until we are 100% ready. 

- J

Friday, October 17, 2014


To anyone who should stumble upon this:

I have neglected this blog because I have been very busy. Work has come before fun and honestly when I have time for fun I rarely have time to blog about it. It's time for this to change. I miss interacting with the types of people who choose to follow blogs; they're good people. Those who take time to read blogs are not as fickle as Facebook users; they play an active role in the blogosphere and largely shape that landscape with their comments. 

No more radio silence on my end. As part my personal resolutions following my birthday I am going to post more frequently, daily perhaps. 

Expect more content. Hold me accountable. 


ps the direction of the blog is changing for the better. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Demo Days at Schultz

I biked into Ypsi to check out Demo Days at Schultz Outfitters on Saturday. I had the chance to meet Cam Mortenson of The Fiberglass Manifesto . He put on a great presentation about glass rods. I am definitely in the market for a new piece of glass now. Very amped up after seeing his presentation.

After meeting Cam I went to the Temple Fork Outfitters tent to catch up with Ray Schmidt who is now at TFO rep. Ray rigged up a TFO Pro Series II and sent me out to toss some glo yarn around in the grass. The Pro Series II had been on my radar for a while. I was looking for a medium-fast 5 wt fly rod with enough backbone to launch big dries as well as medium streamers, but enough finesse to lay small dries with precision.

I think I found just what I was looking for in the Pro II. I played with it for 10 or 15 minutes before heading back into the shop to snag one at the KILLER DEMO PRICE!

The entire bike ride back to the apartment I was like a kid on Christmas morning dreaming of chucking fur and feathers with my new toy. I showed Chelsea (she was stoked as all get out because this means she gets my St. Croix) and headed to one of my favorite spots. After not being able to get any interest from dries or topwater of any sort I switched to a clouser bunny streamer and hooked up on the second cast.

My new toy did great job bringing this guy in. He was no monster, about 13 inches, but he still put a decent bend in the rod. I have no doubt that the 5wt Pro II could take a much larger fish. I can't wait. Rod profile/overview coming soon.

If you have some time to kill today Schultz' Demo Days are still going on. They have a great line up of presenters and gear reps too. Check them out... and bring your wallet.


Huron River Bass Fishing

I brought my kayaks down to Ann Arbor a few weeks ago. Living as close to the river as we do we should have brought them down years ago.

Going out for a paddle is a great way to unwind after a day at work. It's tranquil, smooth, and  The boats also allow me to fish in new places that were unreachable by foot, BONUS!

The closest part of the "river" is a long oligotrophic lake that happens to have a vestigial vein of the Huron River running through it. It is totally choked with plant life and nearly unfishable with anything other than topwater flies right now. That being said, smallmouth and largemouth will rise to take a frog pattern all afternoon.

FISH ON. Captured from my deck-mounted GoPro.

I hope to do some recon on other parts of the river soon. Pics to come.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spring Bass in Southeast Michigan

Spring fishing is turning up to 11 on the Huron. I have been doing well with clouser minnows, woolly buggers, and leaches.

I hear that the hatch may be on. Time to bring out the big bugs.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Change your attitude just a bit.

"This winter is too long," "I am tired of snow," "I can't believe that there is more snow in the forecast." Blah blah blah.

Making the most out of winter.

I get it, there is still snow falling in Michigan. You could look at this as a bad thing, a bummer, one more reason to sit on the couch and press play on just one more episode of ____________ on your DVR; or, you could make the most of it and go have some fun.

Face it: this winter is not stopping, and neither should you! Get outside and do something already!

Winter storm "Vulcan's" impact on my bike, no biggie.


Monday, March 10, 2014

No snow days...

... from fun that is! 

When the winter weather hit this year I slapped a mountain bike tire up front and kept trucking. With the exception of one miserably slow slog through new snow in December and a few spills on the ice I was able to ride whenever I wanted to this winter due to this setup. This is definitely the most versatile bike that I have owned.


Hard Water

Several years ago I blogged for Pure Michigan about the ice formations that are found on Lake Michigan. At the time it was no big deal. In fact the post did not receive too much traffic. However, this year it seems the Big Lake's ice features have been receiving rave reviews. 

When I was younger exploring the lake ice was a yearly occasion for me. I remember spending quite a bit of time out there the first winter that I had my driver's license. I thought that as I "grew up" the excitement of the ice on Lake Michigan would lose its majesty as most memories of youth tend to do; fortunately, that was not the case.

Every year I find an entrance to the icy playground, and every year it's just as much fun as the first time.

This is what a beach is supposed to look like; in 3-4 months there will be a few hundred people staggered along this section of beach.

While these are only about 1/2 to 2/3 the height of those in Leland I did not have to brave any sort of crowds or wait for parking to experience these.

The weather is quickly warming up and the season of playing on the ice is drawing to a close. If you haven't made it out there yet you probably have missed your chance. Better to play it safe and wait for next year than to wind up in the frigid drink.

I am eagerly looking forward to next year's ice season.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dusk Snowshoeing

Always look for the extra in what would otherwise be an ordinary day.

Get out there and do something.


Filling the Boxes

I am currently working on filling my fly boxes for the upcoming season. If I were in the northern part of the state I might be doing some midge fishing or looking for stealhead in some other way, but that is not the case.

If you don't know this about me, I am currently studying for the Michigan Bar Exam (February 25th and 26th) and I really needed some stoke to keep my sails full. That stoke came in the form of some FlyFishing Film Tour Tix (F3T). Two days after the bar exam I will be sitting in the Michigan Theater with a clear head and the excitement of a kid on Christmas. Go check out the trailers and head over the Schultz Outfitters in Ypsilanti to get some tickets; it is going to be a good time.

Anyhow, the boxes are getting filled with patterns that seem sort of odd to me: big meaty streamers. It is not how I normally flyfish, but I am told that it is one of the more productive approaches to take with warm water fish in southeast Michigan. We will see.

Check them out.


Clouser Minnows

A couple Hex tied as a break from streamers.

My copy of Morlock's CrawBunny

CrawBunny up close.