Category Archives: Fly Fishing

Vlog 6 — Behind the Scenes, Streamer Chronicles

The Vlog of Brian Wise of Fly Fishing the Ozarks is on number 6. Here it is!

From Brian:
“Behind the scenes are cool…..Streamer Chronicles is cool…..Swedes are cool……Aussies are cool……….. Vlog 6 is kind of a little behind the scenes of the Streamer Chronicles shoot with Andreas Andersson and Steve Dally.”

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Streamer Chronicles S2E1 — Rich Strolis

Brian Wise is kicking off Season Two of Streamer Chronicles with Rich Strolis. Rich is the originator of some well known flies such as the Ice Pick, Headbanger Sculpin, The Masked Avenger, Juggernaut, and many, many more.

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New Ride

Hello FrankenFly readers! I haven’t checked in and made a post about what’s happening in my fly fishing world for quite some time, so I figured I would throw something up.

I was finally able to pickup the boat for me recently and I couldn’t be happier. I have tried bass boats, canoes, and smaller kayaks, but haven’t been that happy. I enjoy drift boats, but they don’t fit the fishing in my area. So I’ve been into fly fishing from a kayak for two seasons now and love it! I just enjoy paddling my kayak, even if I’m not catching fish, so that’s huge. I recently sold my Perception Sound 10.5 that I have enjoyed and picked up a Jackson Kayak Kilroy. It is a longer boat with more stability and some advanced features, like a terrific seat and gear tracks for mounts. I took her out on a maiden voyage this past weekend and she paddles smooth and tracks very well. I was even able to stand up in the kayak, something I do not normally do. But with this boat, it’s easy.

Coming in at 12 feet 4 inches, it’s a couple of feet longer than my Perception and I love the added room. One thing I have debated on was removing the black pod that rides on top in front of the kayak. It is easily removable, but I wanted to try it first on the water. Now that I have, I think I am going to take it off to enjoy even more room in the front of the boat. This is a sit inside kayak, that reminds me a lot of a canoe, but with a lot more stability. I mean a lot more! The seat can be adjusted to a low or high position. I mainly keep it in the high position for better casting while sitting. That way you don’t hit the water on your backcast.

If you want a boat to get out on the water, I definitely recommend kayaks. You can get them at a reasonable cost and with no motor to deal with, it’s a no fuss way to get you out there.

Besides the new kayak, I’ve had a wonderful season of fishing. I caught some awesome fish while on vacation in Michigan this summer. I fished my local smallmouth river much more this season to learn more about the fishery. Lately, I’ve been concentrating on tying and fishing for bluegill and doing some Bucket Mouth League style of fishing.

I have two events coming up soon if you want to check them out. October 7th, I’ll be at J.L. Waters Adventure Outfitters in Bloomington, Indiana from 10am to 2pm tying flies. You are welcome to come in and watch or bring your vise and sit and tie with me. On October 19th, I’ll be in Fort Wayne, Indiana giving a bluegill presentation to the Three River Fly Fishers club. The meeting starts at 7pm. If you are interested in going, contact the Three Rivers Fly Fishers.

I hope all of you had a great fishing season as well. It’s not over yet, so get out there and fish! Thank you all for reading FrankenFly, I really appreciate it!

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Filed under Bucket Mouth League, Fly Fishing, FrankenFly

Epic Montana Fly Fishing Adventure “Journey On”

I’ve been meaning to post this for awhile. This is a long video, a short film really. But if you are a fan of fly fishing, you will enjoy it, because I sure did. The film work, narration, editing, and beautiful scenery adds to the feelings you have while watching. Be sure to visit Chase and Aimee’s website at Tight Loops to keep up with their other adventures. Enjoy!

From Tight Loops:
“In the summer of 2015, filmmakers Aimee Savard and Chase Bartee packed up their belongings, moved into their 1985 Volkswagen Westfalia, and left their home in Massachusetts. The goal? To make their way to Montana, and spend as much time as humanly possible exploring, fly fishing, and documenting their travels. Living in an eighty square foot van would pose its challenges. But the lessons learned and experiences gained over the next three and a half months would set events into motion that would change their lives forever.”

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Big Shoals Raft – SmithFly

SmithFly is an interesting company because they carry interesting products. Besides their custom made packs and pouches, there is the Big Shoals Raft that has really made a splash in the last year or so, since its release.

Guides have been turned on to this raft because of its small profile and light weight, which allows them to get to skinnier water. What’s different about this raft, than others on the market? Well, read on and find out!

Owner, Ethan Smith, says, “The next batch is due in here in the first week of September and batches usually sell out. I have some boats left, but they sell quickly. So if someone wants one before November or December, this batch is the one to get in on for fall fishing.”

Please contact Ethan Smith at SmithFly if you are interested in purchasing a Big Shoals Raft for yourself.

The Big Shoals raft is one of the few rafts on the market that gets three people on the skinny water and weighs in at less than 150 pounds and fits in the back of a pick up or on top of a car or SUV.

What makes our raft different and so unique?

1. Gets three people on the water
2. Dry weight of raft is 120 pounds
3. 13′-6″ Length
4. 4′-6″ width
5. One piece rigid frame
6. Dierks drift boat anchor system
7. 5 position hinged front casting brace / lean bar

The base package consists of:

• 4 chambered Raft body 15″ tube diameter (Summit valves)
• Rigid inflatable self bailing floor with dense foam pad
• Rowing Frame and oar locks
• Padded Draining Rowers Seat
• Two Swivel Fishing Seats – Fore and Aft
• Dierks Anchor system
• Frame Tie down kit
• 8′ One piece Rope Wrap Sawyer SST Oars
• Raft body carrying pack
• Dual action foot pump
• Patch kit

Shipping to all lower 48 states except Oregon and Washington is included in the $3499 price. For shipping to Oregon and Washington please contact us.

Upgrade Options:
• Multi-Piece Take Down Frame Option $249
• 20 Pound Spiked Drift Boat anchor and 50′ rope $120
• 35 Qt Yeti in Front Seat position $349
• 45 Qt Yeti Front Seat position $399
• Rod Rack holders – 2 3 and 4 place – $350


Casting Brace Demo

There are a number of similar light weight rafts on the market currently but we have solved some of the primary pain points that have prevented guides and fly industry pro’s from making the leap into the light weight rafts, the biggest being the ability to seat three large people. This opens this raft up to a number of people who haven’t traditionally been able to justify a light weight raft.

Second is the frame and anchor system. Our frame is one piece. We are not selling this as a pack raft at this point. Our frame is simple solid one piece design. This is a frame that will take years of abuse and will not squeak and get rickety over the years. Shipping is a pain and transportation is not as compact as a take down raft but trailers and trucks are part of the gig for most fly fisherman. So we chose durability over portability. That isn’t to say that there is no place for a portable packable raft, for some people that is important, but for us the rigid welded aluminum tube frame is important.

The anchor system is a standard Dierks aluminum side pull drift boat style anchor system. We recommend a twenty pound drift anchor and the anchor is not included with the package.

The frames are built in batches. We open and close ordering windows a few times a year. Production is not limited right now but demand has been swift enough that we are a month or two out on delivery.

Aft casting brace is welded in place behind rowers seat. Bow casting brace is a five position adjustable that lays flat when not in use to allow for seated fishing or just sitting back taking it in in the bow of the boat.

This is the perfect third boat to add to a guide or lodge fleet. Most guides and lodges have a rigid drift boats and big rafts. The Big Shoals is the perfect light weight raft to guide customers on when flows get skinny in the later summer and those other boats get to drafty and heavy. Even western rivers that traditionally run drift boats get skinny that time of year. Having one of these ultralight weight raft makes portages and log jams so much easier.

This is an exciting time for SmithFly and I hope you are as excited about this raft as we are.

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The Beard Chronicles – Gear Review – Douglas Sky 490-4

I enjoyed watching Marc Crapo and The Beard Chronicles this morning, so I thought you guys would too. Check it out!

From Marc Crapo:
“You only need enough information to decide whether or not you want to cast this rod. It’s a “fast” action stick with tons of backbone and heaps of soul. For more info visit:

If you have a suggestion or a question or you want to throat punch me don’t hesitate to leave a comment or hunt me down on FB or Instagram @vonbeardly (don’t worry, sometimes I want to throat punch myself. So you’re in good company) ;-)”

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Fly Fishing Iceland “Highlands” – Wish4Fish

From Ken:
“Ken Tanaka of Wish4Fish is back on the water! This time Fly Fishing in Iceland!

Started off the trip in the Southern region of Iceland in the Highlands. Known for BIG Brown Trout and Artic Char. I teamed up with Fish Partner for 11 days of epic fishing. First stop was Tungnaá (Tungnaa) and Kaldakvísl (Kaldakvisl) River. “

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Grayling, Michigan 2017 – FrankenFly

Well, another trip up to Grayling in Northern Michigan is in the books. This trip will definitely be one to remember because I couldn’t have asked for better fishing. Although, there was a really big one that got away, but I’ll explain that in a bit.

We stayed at a nice place right on the Au Sable River, which supplied nice wade fishing. I went out right away and caught a handful of brookies. The largest being about 9 inches long. Which is not too bad in this stream. What was great about this stretch, was that my son was enticed enough to ask me to take him fly fishing for the first time. He had used a Zebco type setup in the past, when he was around 7, but hasn’t fished in a couple of years. He is now 12. To my surprise, he came out and asked me to teach him how to fly fish. So I tied on a bright foam Chernobyl dry fly and taught him how to dry fly fish. He was moving down the stream and casting really well. We were able to land him a little brookie and he loved it! This was a fabulous part of the trip and another experience that made this trip memorable.

One day, I met up with Brian Kozminski of True North Trout, for an evening float. Brian’s truck was in the shop because of a collision with a deer, so one of Brian’s other guides, Randy Monchilov, brought his Adipose drift boat for us to use. All three of us went out and had a nice evening of fishing, catching many brookies and browns. I have to say, the Adipose boat is a dream to float in. It has great stability and I like the low side walls. One other item to mention, is that Brian had the Temple Fork Outfitters Axiom II fly rod with him, so I was able to cast this and get the feel for the rod. I loved it! I like the backbone this rod has. If you are familiar with TFO rods, it was like a BVK but with more backbone.
Brian and Randy are nice guys and know their stuff. If you are looking for a guide up in Northern Michigan or you want to use some TFO fly rods or float in an Adipose boat, contact True North Trout. They will no doubt get you into some fish!

In between fishing, I made some other stops into some fly shops, like Gates Au Sable Lodge & Fly Shop, Ron’s Fly Shop, and even drove over to Traverse City and visited The Northern Angler.

I went out on a couple of other special fly fishing excursions, with my good friend, Chris Lessway. First, we spent an entire day and evening fishing for smallmouth bass. We floated in Chris’s older, but still quite capable, Hyde drift boat. I shared time on the sticks, so Chris could fish as well. I want to thank Chris for putting up with my rowing. Even though I’m getting better in this area, I am still learning to keep the boat in the fishing zone. It takes time.

We were catching fish right off the bat using my Thunder Mutt streamer. As we fished throughout the day, we learned that the smallies were a little finicky on that day. They were always hitting on the pause. It helped that we were able to see them most of the time. So I would pause it for even longer and wait until they hit, to try and set the hook. We switched up and went through many flies, trying to find a fly they might like better. But in the end, it was the Thunder Mutt which I had in a Chartreuse/Olive and a white streamer that worked the best.

However, things changed when the evening came. Since the sun was going down, we decided to start throwing poppers. Besides morning, this is the best time to do this. We were also on a different stretch of river. The pause didn’t change in this regard either. I was getting most of my fish by doing a pop, a twitch, and then letting it sit. Then BAM!

So this brings me to the fish I mentioned in the beginning. I did a pop, twitch, and then let it sit. I saw this smallie coming up from the side and munch down on the popper. I set the hook and it felt like a nice fish, but I didn’t realize how nice. Then it started pulling line out and then it took its first jump and Chris and I at the same time, said, “Holy Crap!” This thing was a monster. I have never seen a smallie this big. It proceded to take 4 more jumps and I continued to fight it and give it line when needed. After the 5th jump, it pulled a bit and the line came loose. The thing you never want to happen, happened. The biggest smallie I had ever seen, broke the line and was gone. It was gut wrenching. Chris and I talked about that fish the rest of the week and I stil think about it. What a fish…

Then Chris said, “We will get another one.” So we continued on downstream and I continued to throw a Rainy’s popper that I had tied. Chris was right, we did get another good one. Granted, it was not near as big as the one we lost, but it was a really nice fish! This time, I was able to land it after a great fight.

Chris netted it for me and it was in the boat. This is the smallie that is pictured. I was extremely happy to get that fish. Needless to say, it was a fantastic day of smallie fishing.

The final time I went out with Chris, was a quick morning float, we did early one morning. This time we were after some trout. It was an overcast morning with slight sprinkles of rain at first, but that tapered off to be just a cloudy morning. We tried some streamers at first, but with no luck, we switched back to dry flies. Terrestrials seemed to be what was on the menu, so I stuck with that, catching some brookies and a nice little brown trout. As we made out way downstream, I kept casting to various spots, and then it happened. My personal best, brown trout, sipped in my dry fly and doubled my 7 weight rod over. Of course, after losing that monster smallmouth, Chris and I were on the edge of our seats, as I tried working this brown trout to the boat. Chris was calling out logs that the fish was trying to run under and I would guide it away from. Finally, I worked him to the side of the boat while Chris had the net ready and I was able to guide him in. The largest brown I had ever hooked, was landed!

Chris Lessway guides for the North Branch Outing Club, located in a small area called Lovells, right outside Grayling, Michigan. The NBOC provides lodging, a guide service, and a fly shop right on the Au Sable River. Chris is the head guide there. So, if you are looking for a terrific guide, give Chris a call at the North Branch Outing Club.

So this ended an awesome trip up to Northern Michigan. I want to apologize for not having the time to meet up with Jeff Marsh of High on the Fly and Michael Williams of Green Bus Designs. I had to cancel, but will definitely meet up with these two the next time for some fly fishing action!

Thank you for reading FrankenFly!


Filed under Dry Fly, Fly Fishing, Foam, FrankenFly, Michigan, Poppers, Smallmouth, Streamers, Trout flies

Salmonfly Hatch on the Henry’s Fork – Wish4Fish

From Ken Tanaka:
“Wish4Fish is back on the water! This time back to Idaho chasing the famous Salmonfly hatch on the Henry’s Fork. No better time to Match the Hatch! I did catch a beauty Brown Trout on my own pattern although Mike Lawson’s Salmonfly pattern was my go to fly this trip. I was using my Douglas Outdoors Sky 5wt with my Ross Reels Colorado LT. “

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Vlog 5 – Big Smallmouth and Topless Jeeps!!

Brian fishes smallmouth with Jeff Trigg of Ozark Sweetwater Guides.
Check out Jeff’s site:

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Filed under Brian Wise, Fly Fishing, Smallmouth