Monday, October 14, 2019

JEFF KENNEDY - Gates Lodge "Artist in Residence" Journal #6

 The "Artist in Residence" Journals with artist Jeff Kennedy from Gates Au Sable Lodge continue with this post and if you missed Journal #1, Journal #2, Journal #3 and Journal #4 and Journal #5, circle back to those posts before diving into this one.  There is just one more dispatch to go after this one.

I got up a bit later due to the mousing activities that took place the night before.  I did some sketching and colored up the George Griffith prints.  I wrapped that up and decided to hit the river for a few hours.   I was looking forward to today.  My wife, Janine would arrive to stay with me for the duration of the residency along with our 13-year-old rescue Greg, who accompanied her on the journey North.  

Janine has never visited the Gates Au Sable Lodge and I was grateful that she had time to come up to share the experience with me.  We strolled around the lodge and sat on the bench behind the shop overlooking the river.  I have spent many a quiet hour sitting on that bench, watching the river flow by and watching trout rise.

We decided to head out and visit Hartwick Pines State Park, which is a 9,672-acre park whose principle feature is the 49-acre of old-growth virgin white pine that escaped logging during Michigan’s 19th-century logging boom.  Most of these large giants are 325 years old.  Michigan led the nation in lumber production and this intense lumbering is still evident today.  Many of the rivers were used as highways to float the logs to the sawmill.  Some of these logs are still laying on the river bottoms throughout the region. 

The intense logging also aided in the demise of the grayling from the Au Sable River.  The town's names sake is no longer, although there are efforts bring back the grayling to Michigan.  You can find out more about it on the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative website.

Josh invited Janine and me to the Clam Bake BBQ that evening.  It was held in the tent which was left standing from the wedding reception that took place over the weekend.  Good thing, due to the on and off rain that was in the area.  I got to see my friends Gene and John Williams who just returned from a trip to Alaska.  It is always a treat to get reacquainted with old friends and discuss our fishing exploits. 

 Jeff Kennedy unplugged his website but the Drawing Flies 365 blog is a great trip down memory lane.  You can follow along with his latest fishing exploits and studio news on Facebook and Instagram

Gates Au Sable Lodge is on the banks of the Au Sable River outside of Grayling, Michigan and has a longstanding history as a mecca within fly fishing.  If you haven't been, plan to go, fish, eat and stay.  Following along on Facebook and Instagram is a good idea too.

HUGE FLY FISHERMAN - One Year of Fly Fishing Videos

There are a lot of creative types within fly fishing and where a few years ago everyone was blogging and building websites, the now is much more focused on videos, podcasts and Instagram.  What's important however, is consistency.  It's not always easy to keep it fresh but it makes all the difference in the someone who kinda does something versus the someone who really does something.

A year ago, fly fishing guide Ben Sittig of Huge Fly Fisherman started making weekly videos that go live every Monday morning covering everything from how to hold fish, skiff etiquette, knots, flies and even a multiple part series on how to be a fly fishing guide.  Heavy on humor with doses of fly fishing hacks and truth, the last 52 videos have brought something new to fly fishing that I've really enjoyed. 

Congrats, Ben.  Stay HUGE.

You know the drill, subscribe on the Huge Fly Fisherman YouTube channel and be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram too.

Sunday, October 13, 2019


Sometimes it takes me too long to tell stories of getting out on the water and last month's half day striped bass float on the Saluda River with guide Jake Howard of Saluda Valley Guides, LLC is just one of several that are sitting in the hopper that will roll out over the next couple of weeks. 

It had been several years since our last float together as Jake's striper season is typically locked up as soon as this historical run of fish starts in early spring and then continues non-stop to late summer or early fall.  Over the years, Jake has fine tuned how and where he targets these fish, which can run twenty and even thirty pounds or more in weight.  Find one and you'll likely find many others.  The Saluda River continues to evolve as a fishery and it always surprises me that such a place exists as it flows from the outer edge of Lexington downstream to the metropolis of Columbia.    

A last minute cancellation on Jake's books, along with a hall pass on my birthday, gave way to spend half the day together in his raft.  We started downstream from the Lake Murray dam and a dense fog rested on the cold tailwaters where underneath we found some slightly stained water.  River water can sometimes be too clear and then other times it can be too dingy to but this was in a sweet spot with the Looper Flies Ripple Ice Game Changer on an intermediate line getting where it was supposed to be.  It wasn't too long before we started seeing stripers here and there suddenly appear behind the fly and take a swipe at it.  When they'd get it right, the Bandit ten weight would double over and the fight was on. 

We targeted structure, creek mouths and the banks were sometimes both were present.  We also found fish on deep shaded drop offs.  Most the fish were all about the same size but of course we saw others much larger that gave the fly a look and swam off.  Or even more heartbreaking, would move off a shallow flat before we had a chance to put a fly in front of it's face.

Through the morning we moved two or three dozen stripers, brought a dozen or so into the boat and even rolled a large brown trout (they live there too) in a pocket beside some riffle water.

All in all standing at the front of a raft was not a bad way to start out my 45th birthday.

If you're anywhere near Columbia, South Carolina, or plan to be at some point, give guide Jake Howard of Saluda Valley Guides, LLC a call.  He can put you on striped bass (along with a mix of other warmwater species) through the warmer and hot months and trout that also live in the tailwater in big numbers the rest of the year.  Consider following him on Facebook and Instagram as well to see what he's up to on the water.


Is it just me or do rod builder Chris Barclay of C. Barclay Fly Rod Co. and Dave Fason just have too much fun together?  Don't blink on Chris's debut "acting" scenes with faraway looks from the shop.

Chris is building some of the very finest small stream fly rods around (along with other interesting offerings) so take a look at his website if you haven't.  Of course, follow along on Facebook and Instagram for the daily shop news.

Dave Fason finally got tired of me just linking his Instagram and now has a fresh looking website to check out.  And be sure to follow along on Instagram too.  It's just too good not to.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

WILL TO LIVE: The Gary Edinger Story

They don't make them like Gary Edinger anymore and this latest film from Filson tells a story of survival, willpower and a certain nonchalance in overcoming what many would not.

Take a minute to check out the new Filson arrivals for fall and if you're interested in looking deeper into Gary's story, his book can be purchased on his website.

JP ROSS FLY RODS - Fall Blank & Component Sale

Fall is always a good time to start thinking about future projects and if you've been considering a new fiberglass build, take a look at the JP Ross Fly Rods website as they just kicked off their Fall Sale with 25% off all blanks and components.

Visit the JP Ross Fly Rods website to see what's on sale and use code "fall comp sale" at checkout.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019


It might have already more or less fallen off your news feed but those living in the affected areas of the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian still need your help.  Lots of it.

AFFTA, Yellow Dog Community & Conservation Foundation and Angling Trade have organized an online auction with guided trips, gear and artwork that can be bid on through November 15, 2019.

Take a few minutes to check out the auction and consider making a donation.  100% of the money donated will direct assist those in the angling community in Grand Bahama and Abaco.

How else can you help?  Make a donation.  Are you a guide?  Consider donating a trip.  Remember #DozenForDorian?  It's still a thing.