Friday, May 27, 2022

First Day of Summer Break

Yesterday was my first day of summer break, and it was a good one.  For those of you that don't know, I am a middle school science teacher.  I just completed my twentieth year of teaching on Wednesday of this week and all of those years have been spent in public schools here in Missouri.  I want to let you in on a little secret though; teachers only partially have summers off.  

It's not the three month break that everyone envisions.  We take graduate classes, we take seasonal and part time jobs, and we get caught up on things that our careers take us away from.  Don't get me wrong though, it's awesome to take a break from teaching!  For me personally, the last couple of summers I have taken graduate classes and I am set to complete my education specialist degree in instruction technology in a year.  This summer, I don't have a graduate class but I have some part time work that I will be taking on like mowing yards and other side jobs.  Yesterday though was a legitimate day off.

With all the rain that we have had lately I was hoping that the largemouth (and maybe the catfish) would be up in the shallows and feeding on baitfish in newly submerged vegetation.  I headed to Rocky Hollow Park in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, and brought a six weight and a four weight along.  The six weight was for slinging streamers for bigger fish and the four weight was for bluegill in case times got tough.  Thankfully I was able to use both rods and was successful on both attempts.

The bass were definitely in the shallows but weren't in the vegetation like I thought they would be.  They were actually in the rocky areas of this lake.  Rocky Hollow is an old quarry and while it is indeed rocky, there's not as much exposed rock as what you would think.  Every bass I caught came on The Brave and the bites were violent.  I don't think I missed a one bass and ended up boating seven.  As for the four weight, a John Deere under an indicator proved to be lethal!  Again, every fish was caught near shallow water but these fish were scattered.  Some were near rocks while others were near timber and some were along vegetation.  I actually completed the Northern Missouri Slam on the set up by catching a bluegill, crappie, largemouth, and green sunfish.  

It was a great morning of fishing and a lot of fun.  I came home and tied up a new color combination of Lunch Moneys (which will be available soon) as well to cap off a fishy day.  Today though, I'm going to have to make a withdrawal from the fishing account that I deposited into yesterday.  I've got four yards to mow, an article to write for the Conservation Federation of Missouri, and a portfolio to work on for my graduate degree.  Hopefully we can ALL get on the water this weekend and enjoy a little fishing.  Be safe if you get out and have a great weekend!

The bass from the 6 weight

The NOMO Slam from the 4 Weight

Tying up some new Lunch Moneys

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Life is Hard

Life is hard.  It is hard for everyone.  There isn't a charmed person on this planet that goes through life without rough patches.  And while hardships, challenges, and obstacles are not evenly distributed amongst individuals, everyone has them.  Make no mistake about it however, life has always been hard.  Finding food and shelter was hard for the Native Americans.  Plowing ground and raising cattle by the early North American settlers was tough.  Even in present day, life is tough.  For all the technology, opportunities, and comforts that we have created as societies, life is still a struggle.  It can be hard to deal with.  For those that have some sort of mental, emotional, or physical illness, those challenges are amplified.

When I ran across this video on The Fiberglass Manifesto, it really resonated with me for a lot of reasons.  If it strikes a chord with you, or if you know someone that would benefit from the words and experiences of James Sampsel (the featured individual in the video), please feel free to pass it along.  It seems like the stigma associated with mental health has started to fade in the last few years, but it still something that folks struggle with.  This is a beautifully made video with an amazing story.  Orvis did a fantastic job and I cannot praise the company and the staff that made the video enough for their efforts on this project.  I'm including the video below and a link to the Orvis YouTube Channel below if you would like to view more content.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A New Fly Box Is Available in the Etsy Store

There is a new fly box for sale on the Etsy store and I am EXTREMELY excited to post about this.  I'll be completely honest, when these boxes showed up at my door, I wanted to keep a couple for myself.  They are neat, clean, and made of quality materials.  Just like the flies I sell, I promise that I only put items in the store if I believe in them and would use them myself.  If you need a new box for the season, feel free to click on the link.  I am posting a description of the box, which can be found on the Etsy store as well, below.  Thank you as always for your support whether it is reading this, making a purchase, or anything else.  It is appreciated by me more thank I can express.

Whether you need to house some big flies or a bunch of small ones, this box has what you need.  It has slit foam (probably cut by high-tech lasers or something else really cool) which will add to the overall life of your box.  No more tearing up cheap foam in crummy boxes.  There are 23 rows of flies, which was Michael Jordan's jersey number, which probably means this box is the Greatest Of All Time.  It also features a clear front so you can easily assess whether you're packing the flies you need.  The handle can be used as...well...the handle or can be used to secure it inside a boat/raft.  

The dimensions on this box are 11 and 1/2 inches wide by 8 inches long and 1 and 5/8 inches deep.  The box also features a gasket between the box and the lid to ensure maximum water resistance.  On top of that, you'll be representing and supporting a small, Midwest-based business.  Each box is blessed with good karma and you know that kind of thing gets passed on to your flies.  If you're interested in purchasing flies as well as the box, I would gladly complete a custom order for you.  Feel free to message me through Etsy or directly at

Monday, May 23, 2022

Good Fishing Friday Night!

Last Friday, Wendy and I did something that we hadn't done since last October...we went fishing together.  It was a beautiful evening and the fish happy to cooperate with the plans we laid out for them.  Wendy hit the northern Missouri slam with a bass, bluegill, crappie, and green sunfish.  She threw a jig under a strike indicator. As for me, I threw a Chartreuse Caboose on a six weight and ended up boating 6 of the 8 bass that bit.  The bass were around structure and while the numbers weren't gaudy, the takes were aggressive!  Going 6 for 8 is pretty good for me and the fury that the fish possessed helped my percentage go up.

The lake that we fished was at Rocky Hollow Park.  This lake has become a favorite of mine because of a decent bass population and it's location.  While it is close to Excelsior Springs, Missouri, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.  It's quiet, secluded, and small.  I love all of those things when it comes to a fishing spot.  I wish the fish were a little bigger, but the population is pretty good so it's a good trade off.

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Chartreuse Caboose is For Sale Now!

Since the chartreuse and white complex wooly bugger (aka The Chartreuse Caboose) proved to be effective for me on its first outing, I have decided to make it available in the online fly shop.  While this fly has caught largemouth bass, I am hopeful that it will be effective for smallmouth bass, white bass, and hybrid striped bass as well.  I believe that this is a great color combination for clear water and should work during spring and fall months when fish are hungry and aggressive.  I don't think it matters if you throw this on moving or still water either.

Whenever I put a new fly in the store, there is usually a limited quantity because I want to see if the fly is going to sell before making a larger amount available.  If it becomes popular, then I will be sure to meet the demand and tie up some more.  As with every fly that I sell, I make sure that they are effective patterns.  I don't want to sell flies that catch fishers.  I want to sell flies that catch fish.  I figure if you are catching fish on flies that I've tied, then we are both happy and that's exactly what I am going for.  I also take custom orders as well so if you need more than what is available, please feel free to contact me at

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Fishing a Tailwater

It seems like most articles that I read about fly fishing these days don't pertain much to fly fishing in the Midwest.  I don't have much of a use for the best crap flies for bonefish, or what epic hatches happen in June out west, or how to spey cast for steelhead in the Pacific Northwest.  This article though, seems to be pertinent.  I read it from the perspective of someone that loves to fish Lake Taneycomo.  Of course, you can follow suit or attempt to apply this information about tailwaters to a setting that you frequent.  Regardless of your perspective, I think you will read something that you can either relate to or take away and apply to a tailwater that you fish.  


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Experiences Only Nature Can Provide

You never know what you are going to find when you venture outdoors.  Whether in the timber, the fields, or on the water, nature is going to do what it needs to do to survive.  Sometimes you are fortunate enough to be in the right place, at the right time, and you get to see something extraordinary.  For example, I watched a mother rabbit attempt to save it's young from a crow.  It didn't work out for the bunny but the crow was happy.

Last Saturday night I got to witness blue heron's chasing one another in flight.  I also got to see some HUGE grass carp patrolling the shallows.  The best photographic opportunities however came from 5 different raccoons.  Apparently Rocky Hollow Park in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, has a solid population of raccoons because they were literally coming out of the woodwork.  Each raccoon came out of the timber, made it's way to the water's edge and started to forage.  I'm not sure exactly what they were looking for or what they were feeding on but they sure didn't mind my presence.  

This is one of the many reasons that I love the outdoors.  You never know what you are going to see or experience.  A simple, boring day can reveal a memorable experience at any time.  You might see something that you have never seen before or experience something that takes you back to your childhood.  It is easy to see how being immersed in nature can be so therapeutic and beneficial.  Physically, emotionally, and spiritually, nature can heal.  I couldn't help but smile with joy while watching these little critters and that's a feeling that can do wonders for almost anyone.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

That’s It! I’m Netting Every (Decent to Big) Fish From Now On!

Yesterday I posted a short fishing report from the weekend and gave a review about a new (to me at least) fly that I have been developing.  I also recently posted about shopping for and buying a new net.  To read that post, just click here.  What I failed to mention in yesterday's post was that I used my new net for the first time last Saturday.  It is important for me to mention at this point, I rarely ever carry a net with me unless I am in waders and have a net attached to my back.  As for taking one in my boat, I just haven't done that in the past.  That's about to change though.

When I spotted my new net in my garage, I decided that it was time to test it out on the water.  I didn't expect to use it.  I wasn't planning on catching anything big but then again, that's not always something that you get to plan for.  However, when I hooked into a decent bass (for this lake at least) on a new fly that I was testing out, the desire to land that fish went through the roof.  At that point, I sure was happy to have my net.  As the fish got closer to the boat, I simply scooped up the fish and didn't have to worry about losing it at the boat.

The bottom line for me is that this net is going to be as staple in the boat as much as a fly rod will be.  I didn't have to fumble the fish around which hopefully translated into putting less stress on the fish.  I was able to net the fish, photograph it, and return it quicker than without a net.  While I won't be netting bluegill and 10 inch bass, it will be nice to land those medium-size to bigger fish and return them to the water quicker.  I wish that I would have started doing this earlier, but I guess you never stop learning as you move down the path of life.  I guess that one could say that I just increased my fishing knowledge "net" worth.  

Monday, May 16, 2022

The Chartreuse Caboose Works!

A funny thing happened last Saturday night.  Upon arriving to a lake that was excited to fish, I started going through my usual routine.  I unloaded my boat, organized all of the equipment that made me legal to be on the water, and got the motor up and running.  After loading my two rods that were already rigged (and transported in my rod transportation system which I wouldn't want to be without anymore), I went to through my backpack/tackle box into the boat.  You remember the one.  It was featured in this post.  It was at this point that I realized that I didn't grab this important item.  

It slowly started to dawn on me that I was missing more than my flies.  I was also missing leader, my knot tying tool, and my scale.  I was without a towel, pliers, and scissors.  I was in a rush and out of my routine when I packed.  I was more concerned about securing the rods and having all of the necessary boat components, that I overlooked one of the most important items for an evening of fishing.  Essentially, all I had was a John Deere jig under an indicator on a four weight rod and a white/chartreuse complex twist wooly bugger on a six weight rod.  Talk about being committed to two flies and keeping it simple!

On the bright side, I was excited to fish this new fly.  If you want more details about it, just click here.  To summarize, it is a bulked up wooly bugger that I wanted to use to target medium size to bigger bass.  It is too big for bluegill but not too small for bass.  Since I had never fished this fly before, I needed to force myself to commit to it for an little while.  Since this fly was only one of two options that I had, the committal part was done for me.

I can say, without a shadow of doubt, that this fly will catch largemouth bass.  The lake that I was fishing does get pressure.  It's not a farm pond full of dumb bass.  These fish see plenty of lures and the fact that I ended up catch three bass in an evening on this small lake speaks volumes to me.  Aside from actually catching fish, I really dig how this fly looks and behaves in the water.  It has a tapered profile and good motion in the water.  The body pulsates some and the tail gives it a good wiggle.  This fly has earned a spot in my streamer rotation as a result and has gotten a name as well.  While it is a conehead wooly bugger with a complex twist, I wanted something simpler to call it.  So by decree of...well, myself...this fly will henceforth be referred to as The Chartreuse Caboose.  It's a more fun to say and almost makes me giggle every time I say it.

Friday, May 13, 2022

If It Ain’t Chartreuse, It Ain’t No Use

On a whim yesterday, I decided to tie a white and chartreuse streamer.  I've noticed that most of my streamers contain black, olive, white, and yellow and I wanted something different.  I decided to go for some bright colors because as many bass fishers will tell you, "If it ain't chartreuse, it ain't no use."  And while I prefer natural hues and to "match the hatch" I also realize the value of attractor colors like pink, purple, and yes, chartreuse.

It is really just a beefed up version of a wooly bugger.  Aside from the two-tone tail, the body consists of a complex twist (chartreuse pearl chenille, pearl UV polar chenille, and white schlappen), and a chartreuse collar.  I really like how this fly turned out and will definitely be testing it on the water.  If you’re interested in receiving a shipment of these beauties, I can complete a custom order just like this or to other specifications that you would prefer. Feel free to contact me at to get your order started.