Epic Rod Building Kit – Product Review

epic rod building kit
I've recently had the urge to have a fly rod that was mostly dedicated to trout fishing. I have several outfits geared towards  Salmon and Steelhead that are largely overkill for trout. And lately my 5wt has taken over as my primary warm water and streamer rod. This leaves a hole in the arsenal on the lighter end of the spectrum. With more trout fishing in my plans for this summer I quickly talked myself into getting a new fly rod. After some thought and questionable personal accounting practices to make the numbers work, the Epic rod building kit was on its way from New Zealand!   The primary intended use for this rod is throwing dry flies on smaller rivers. Fiberglass seems to be all the rage right now, and I was intrigued by the softer action. I settled on Swift Fly Fishing's Epic Fast Glass rods for a few reasons. First, the Epic rod building kits seem to be an easy way to build your first fly rod. This is a skill that I have wanted to learn for a while, as rod blanks ca...
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Pere Marquette: Spring is Here!

Have you ever had a great day chasing Steelhead where you didn't actually land a fish? I just got back from such a trip. The Pere Marquette has quite a few fish in the system right now, and the action was fantastic, especially in the morning. It slowed in the afternoon with the bright sun, but there were still some active fish throughout the day. All told I had six really good battles with Steelhead, and a seventh hook up with what I think was a trophy sized Brown Trout (if not, it was another decent Steelie). I unfortunetly wasn't able to land any of these fish for a picture, but I did get four of them up into a rods length before losing them. Definetely proof that a good landing net, or a good fishing buddy, will help you land more fish.   With my luck over the last few uneventful outings, I didn't have much in the way of expectations as I drove the 3 hours to Baldwin. Getting the boat in the water and floating my favorite stretch of the river without any mishaps would have ...
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Kast Gear Steelhead Gloves Product Review

Kast Gear Steelhead Gloves
  This fall I took to finding a better solution for keeping my hands warm while winter steelheading. I have previously owned some waterproof neoprene gloves that were good at keeping the river water and cold air out, but easily made my hands sweat and were hard to take on and off. Neoprene is a great water barrier and insulator, but it is not breathable. When you spend some time working to get to fish, either hiking or rowing, you are likely going to sweat. This moisture is usually the end of having warm fingers in the cold winter months. Enter the Kast Gear Steelhead Gloves.   If you google "best winter gloves for fishing" you are likely to find some hardcore anglers raving about the Kast Gear Steelhead Gloves. So when they had their Black Friday 30% off sale I quickly got out the credit card and bought a pair. Normally $100, I was really happy to try them out for a lower price. I used the sizing chart on their website and hoped for the best.   Before receiving the K...
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Griffin Montana Mongoose Vise – Product Review

griffin montana mongoose
I was recently in the market for a new vise for my tying bench. My Danica Danvise had served its purpose and the jaws had worn to a point where it was hard to place a hook. They were made of non-hardened steel so they dented and nicked easily. I was ready for a higher quality device that I wouldn't have to replace parts on every year or so. I ended up with the Griffin Montana Mongoose.   griffin montana mongoose   I told myself I wasn't going to spend over $250, really wanted to keep it under $200. Of course my "dream" vise was the Stonfo Transformer ($350). It had the cool factor of coming with three separate interchangeable jaws (one standard, one for large streamers and one for tube flies), so it caught my eye right off the bat. I decided to move on from raising my budget when I found some fine options, including the Griffin Montana Mongoose, for around $200. This would save me enough money to where I could buy a dedicated tube vise if I wanted and still come in cheaper that  the Transforme...
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Betsie River: Summer Kings

Summer King Fishing
This quick trip up to Betsie River started with promise, but ended with some bad luck and horrible camera work. This is why you should always have a friend to fish with, or at least someone to row the boat and take pictures!   Unlike my trips the last two summers and my trip earlier this year, there were actually fish to be had in the river. My timing hasn't been great and with the weaker runs of salmon the last few years timing has been everything.   This season I am armed with my 13' Stealthcraft drift boat, so I am covering some new water. It rained the day before we got up north, so I decided to float a lower stretch of the river hoping to find the fish that came in due to the added flow. I launched from the Grace Rd access and ended at the first River Rd bridge. There is a lot of fish-able water in this stretch and its only about an hour to an hour and a half float without stops, but I have a preference for the first few holes when the fish aren't in thick.   ...
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Allen Azimuth 9′ 8wt Fly Rod

allen azimuth
I finally added an Allen fly rod to the quiver! If you've poked around the site at all you probably know that I am extremely happy with my other Allen products. And although I wish this was one of their shiny new Icon II rods, $600 was not in my budget for yet another 8wt setup. So, the Allen Azimuth is a rod that normally goes for $300, well $319 for the 8wt to be exact. But in my weekly newsletter (which came 10 minutes after emailing the guys asking about this specific model), I was pleased to see a 50% special for their newsletter subscribers on all the Azimuth models. It pays to get Allen's promotional emails as there is almost always a great deal on at least one of their great products. So for $170 delivered (plus a $100 gift card left over from my birthday), it was an easy decision to finally try one of these rods.   First, let me explain my intended use for this rod. The vast majority of my fishing, from a time on the water standpoint, is throwing streamers at warm wat...
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Dryft S14 Adrenaline Waders

dryft s14 adrenaline
  I had stumbled across Dryft S14 Adrenaline waders while surfing Facebook a while back, and told myself that when it was time to buy new waders I would have to check them out. Their products have style if you are in to that kind of thing, and the prices seem a little too good to be true.   Needless to say I have been researching waders for a couple months now. My cheap pair of breathable waders from Outdoor World were never perfect (from day one the outer layer let water into the waders, but the inner layer was solid), but had kept me dry for a couple seasons. They finally sprung a leak in the crotchal region early this spring and finally got to the point where I was ready to invest. I have to say that money was a strong motivating factor. I had no desire to buy new waders, there are plenty of other things I would rather be buying from my wishlist at the moment.   I looked at all the usual suspects because if I was going to spend the money, I wanted something that w...
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Rio InTouch CamoLux Line: Product Review

Rio InTouch CamoLux Fly Line
Here is the description from Rio's Website for the InTouch CamoLux Fly Line:
    RIO’s new InTouch CamoLux line is the most incredible intermediate line ever made. Built on the ultra-low stretch ConnectCore, and featuring a unique hang marker 13 ft from the front end, the line is loaded with assets that helps anglers catch more fish. An ultra-cool, clear camo color ensures fish do not spook even in the clearest of water, and with a sink rate of 1.5 to 2 ips, this line is a fish catching machine.
      - Ultra-low stretch core for maximum sensitivity
      - Hang Marker helps indicate when to cast

On the Water w/ Rio's InTouch CamoLux Fly Line:

I've been using the Rio InTouch CamoLux fly line extensively this spring and early summer as my go to streamer line. I fish mostly warm water species this time of year, and the intermediate camo line is perfect on my 5wt Loop Cross S1 for bass and pike. There are surely some lines that are more fine tuned to this use (Scientific Angler's Sonar line ...
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Huron River – May-June 2016

Most of my fishing happens in and around the Huron River watershed. These outings are mostly quick trips to the river after work, or a family visit to Kent Lake. An hour or two hear and there, and so far this year they have been few and far between. And although I've caught fish, they haven't produced any real quality catches. So I will be bulking a few of these together at a time throughout the summer to keep from getting repetitive. I'll show a few pictures of fish and the flies I'm using, as well as shed some light on the techniques that are working for me.

Flies Used:

Here are the flies that I caught fish on during these trips. Email chuck@michoutdoors.com if you want me tie you some. Chocklett's Feather Game Changer: This has been the hottest fly for me, and should continue to produce all year. I use it mostly for bass and pike, but am looking forward to trying it later this month on some trout. It utilizes the Fish Skull Articulated Spine system to create multiple articul...
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Cutthroat Leader Company’s Furled Leaders

Cutthroat Leader Company furled leaders
Cutthroat Leader Company's furled leaders have been quite the mystery to me. I've always been intrigued by the claims that they present flies much more delicately than standard leaders, while at the same time improving your casting efficiency. This always seemed too good to be true. At the same time I was having pretty good luck making my own tapered mono and fluorocarbon leaders, so I couldn't justify spending the money (upwards of $15 for one leader!) on an untried piece of equipment. I think it is probably fairly clear from the content on this website that I don't do a ton of dry fly fishing for trout. Due to my location in Metro Detroit I focus mostly on warm water species and then making my trips up north for Salmon and Steelhead season. This is something I am looking to change. I love the tranquility of an early morning or late afternoon on a trout stream. The relative peace and quite as compared to a day on the river during peak Salmon/Steelhead run is very appealing. But,...
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