Category Archives: FrankenFly

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

FrankenFly update 6-23-2017

I haven’t been posting much about what has been going on behind the scenes at FrankenFly, so I thought I would write a post to give you readers an update. Hopefully I won’t bore you to tears.

First and foremost, the fishing season is in full swing. I have to say, this season has been a little rough, but hopefully turning around. By rough I mean, tough conditions mainly, then there are broken oar anchors, and broke rods to add to that. But that’s how it goes sometimes in fishing.

The primary thing I have been doing is going to a local river often and learning this river much more than I have in the past. Let me tell you, it’s a fickle son of a gun! My buddy, Josh King and I have been lugging his old aluminum row boat around, that we call, “Old Iron Sides”, and getting quite the workout rowing her down the river. Not to mention dragging her up and down hills to get into sketchy access points.

Old Iron Sides

Besides fishing, I continue to make FrankenDUB dubbing. I am extremely happy with how well the dubbing is liked out there. I’ve received tons of great comments about the dubbing and that’s awesome! I just sent another shipment to J. Stockard Fly Fishing, so they can restock, yet again. Check out the tab at the top of this website for more about FrankenDUB or you can visit it at this link.

I’ve been tying flies as fast as I possibly can, but wish I could go faster. Thank you for all of the orders! Besides orders from right here on the website, I’ve recently been tying flies for Ken Tanaka at Wish4Fish. I’m sure you have seen his very cool fly fishing videos that I post here at FrankenFly. The two main flies I have been tying for him so far is his Tanaka Your Socks Off (TYSO for short) and his Pink Power Ranger nymph. If you watch Ken’s videos, you will see him catch a lot of great fish on these two flies.

Tanaka Your Socks Off articulated streamer

Pink Power Rangers

Also, Feathered Game Changer orders have been coming in like crazy! With good reason, these babies move like no other in the water. Strip and pause and watch this baby dance!

Ginger Feathered Game Changers

In between orders or just to end a day of tying, I’ve been working on some new fly designs. I’ve sent a new dry fly to a guide friend, Chris Lessway of North Branch Outing Club, in Michigan for testing. I have a streamer called the Thunder Mutt, that isn’t really new, but I’ve got the final tweaks made at last. I’ve worked on the Thunder Mutt for the past two years.

Thunder Mutt

Also, in the same amount of time, because of the inspiration of OPST, Jonathan Farmer and Greg Senyo, I’ve been diving into the world of Micro Intruders. You might say, “Intruders for bass?” Yes, all day long! That’s what I’ve been using them for, but they can also be thrown for trout. I love these things!
Intruders were initially designed for steelhead by a group of guys that included Ed Ward and Jerry French. Who then started the company, OPST. However, Olympic Pennisula Skagit Tactics, with Ben Paull, have been churning out the Micro Intruders. (By the way, the Intruder is a style of fly, not a specific fly pattern.) I’ve always been in love with Intruders and the design, movement, and look of them. But the nearest steelhead river is about 3 hours away. So, I’ve been going the Micro Intruder route and targeting smallmouth bass. I’ve been doing my homework, fishing, and tying them lately and I’m really excited about how they are performing. Needless to say, I’ll be working on new Intruder designs in the future. Check out some of mine that I’ve tied below.

So that about sums up things here at FrankenFly. I will continue to roll on and see what the future holds. Everyone keep fishing out there!

Thanks for reading!

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Filed under FrankenDUB, FrankenFly, Intruders, Streamers

FrankenFly Fly Boxes

I really wanted to begin having some FrankenFly fly boxes available, so I did a little research to find a place that could do it. I had many people recommend David Humphries of River Traditions to me. So I contacted David and told him what I was looking for and he sent back some photos of nice boxes and I think they came out looking fantastic! I will make these available soon in the FrankenFly Online Fly Shop.

A traditional aluminum fly box with two sides of slit foam. Rugged and lightweight these fly boxes provide ample storage for a couple days on the water.


Durable light weight aluminum
4 colors available
6″ long x 3 1/2″ wide x 1″ deep
4 oz weight
6 rows of slit foam, room for +200 flies

I will also start carrying these cool little bottle openers that River Traditions makes as well.


Filed under FrankenFly

Death Ray scores in Patagonia!

Kate Smith with large brown trout. – photo by Ray Schmidt

This is Kate Smith with a big ol’ brown caught on my articulated streamer, the Death Ray. The fish was caught in the Rio Mañihuales River, Patagonia, Chile. Kate and Ray Schmidt are friends of mine from Michigan. They are the owners of Double SS Outdoors and are consultants to the Fly Fishing Industry. They are also Temple Fork Outfitters representatives.

Close up of fish with fly. – photo by Ray Schmidt

How this started was that I had just made an order for new FrankenFly hats at the end of the year and Kate and Ray ordered a couple, so I also threw in a couple of my Death Rays for them to use on their trip to Patagonia. Kate sent me these photos yesterday. It was awesome to see her smiling with a big brown trout she had just caught on one. Really AWESOME!!

wet Death Ray with FrankenFly hat – photo by Ray Schmidt

The rods Kate and Ray are using are a 7wt TFO BVK and an 8wt TFO Impact. The Impact is the new rod out from TFO and you can see a banner ad for it on the side here at FrankenFly. Just click the banner to find out more about that rod. I have a BVK and it is a great rod that has a good feel to it.

a wet Death Ray – photo by Ray Schmidt

Another thing I want to make note of is the split tail on the Death Ray streamer. These Split Tails are made by Pat Cohen and part of his Cohen’s Creatures line of products. They are available on his website Super Fly. Back in the beginning of 2016 Pat had asked me to test some of these tails and one of the flies I designed used this Split Tail. I did a review on them in the April 2016 issue of North 40 Fly Shop Emag. I did not plan to use any of the streamers I played with when testing the tails, but after fishing the split tail fly through the summer I fell in love with it. It became known as the Death Ray.

By the way, the head on the Death Ray is made from FrankenDUB Monster dubbing and then I trim it.

Congratulations to Kate Smith on a beautiful fish and I hope she and Ray continue to have a wonderful time in Patagonia!



Filed under Fly Fishing, FrankenDUB, FrankenFly, Streamers

Dubbing Sale right now!


J. Stockard Fly Fishing has their dubbing on sale right now, so that means FrankenDub is on sale! If you are short on supply or haven’t tried my new dubbing yet, now is a good time to do that because they have it at a great price right now. Also, they are stocked back up because I just sent them more. Head over to J.Stockard to see the prices.

If you want to know more about FrankenDub, check out the dubbing page for more information. There is always a link at the top of the website to the dubbing page as well.


Filed under FrankenDUB, FrankenFly

FrankenFly coming to River Bound Fly Fishing Outfitters – Postponed


We have decided to postpone this event due to Christmas being so close. We will reschedule at a later time. Thank you!

I’ll be heading up to Rockford, Michigan on December 16th to tie some flies. Please come over to River Bound Outfitters and join me! See details below.

Paul Beel of Frankenfly will be coming to River Bound Fly Fishing Outfitters in Rockford, MI, on December 16, 2016. He will be doing tying demos of a few of his flies. Tickets will be available November 30, 2016. $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for ages 14 and under. If unable to purchase a ticket, cover charge will be accepted at the door. All are welcome to bring their own vises to tie along with Paul.


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Orvis Fall Days event in Carmel, Indiana

I’ll be at Orvis Fall Days at the Orvis store in Carmel, Indiana this Saturday, Oct. 8th doing a fly tying demonstration. If you are in the area, please come out and see me, chat, tie with me if you like or have a beer and hang out. Here is a rundown of what’s happening.

10AM – Fall Streamers with Jason Sandlewick

Bring your vice and learn how to tie effective fall streamer patterns with Jason for Smallmouth and Trout!

11AM – Fishing the Au Sable by Wayne Woods

Wayne has been fishing this river for trout for years and will provide insight into access points, gear, and fly patterns to use when fishing near Grayling.

12PM – Fly Tying Demo with Paul Beel

Paul Beel is making a return appearance to our shop to host a Fly Tying Demo. Paul has had numerous patterns featured with Orvis. Come out and watch, talk, and tie with Paul Beel from Frankenfly.

Free Beer tasting at 12 noon as well as refreshments.
Register Here

Death Rays by Paul J Beel

Death Rays by Paul J Beel

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Filed under Fly fishing show, FrankenFly

Zudbubblers – On Sale Now!

Zudbubblers are now on sale in the FrankenFly online store! If you haven’t tried these block style poppers, you are missing out! They are as good or better than any popper out there. Bottom line, they catch fish!

Regular price on these are $5.00 each. They are on sale 40% off for $3.00 each.
Get them while they’re hot!

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Filed under Foam, FrankenFly, Poppers

Grayling, Michigan 2016


Headed up to one of my favorite places on Earth last week, Grayling, Michigan. Staying in a cabin on the Holy Waters of the Au Sable River, I was able to fish daily. My oldest son, Brayden, joined me.



During the day I fished dry flies and caught many brookies. You catch smaller fish mostly during the day. The big ones come out at night. But the fishing is still challenging. You have to have a good dead drift presentation and the right fly. I was able to catch several the first couple of days on a Borchers Parachute. That quickly faded and they wouldn’t rise to it any longer. I tried many other dry flies, including an Adams, but the fish wanted nothing to do with it. So I tied on a fly I always have luck with, a Madsen Skunk. I caught trout the rest of the week just using this fly. Even if there were no visible risers, they would come up for this fly.

Paul with trout

Paul with trout


Madsen Skunk tied by Paul Beel

Madsen Skunk tied by Paul Beel

Every night we went out late and tried mousing. This is a hunt for the big ones. Sometimes it pays off, other times it doesn’t. My son got lucky on the 4th night and landed a good sized brown trout. He acted like it was Christmas morning and was talking about that fish the rest of the trip. It was one heck of a trout!

Brayden with big brown

Brayden with big brown

A little side note about fishing at night. We were still seeing some Hex on the windows of the cabin and near the river.



For me, the highlight of the trip was fishing for smallies with Chris Lessway. Chris is the head guide for the North Branch Outing Club in Lovells, Miching, near Grayling on the North Branch of the Au Sable River. We floated in Chris’ Hyde Drift Boat and had a great day. Even though we had warmer, bass style weather earlier in the week, the day we went was much more like trout weather, cool, overcast, and misty. Regardless, as soon as we left the boat ramp I caught the first smallie of the day right off the bat. It was a good sign, but during the day we had periods where they would turn off and then turn back on while we searched for the right color and fly they wanted. But we had action and caught fish all day long. We were successful on a 4 inch streamer, an articulated streamer, and even some poppers got them to rise to the surface. Olive seemed to be the best color of the day.







I spent some time on the sticks so Chris had time to fish too. I was shaky at first, but by the end of the day I felt comfortable behind the oars and it felt good to add this skill to my repoitoire.

If you are looking for a guide up in Northern Michigan, I highly recommend Chris Lessway. He is a highly skilled angler who knows the waters in the area very well, plus he is a super nice guy. He can definitely put you on the fish!

I can’t wait to head up to Michigan again, I’m missing it already!


Filed under Foam, FrankenFly, Hoppers, Michigan, Smallmouth, Trout flies

Gone Fishing

Things will be a little slow around FrankenFly next week. I’m going fishing. So don’t be surprised if you visit the site and nothing new has been posted. Don’t worry, I’ll get right back on it when I return. Until then, search around on past posts, there is a lot on the site to read and watch. See you all soon.



Filed under FrankenFly