Tag: Matt Dunn

Get your Northern Michigan fly-fishing on, without leaving your sofa

Beaver Island carpQuestion: What fly fishing destination has crystal clear water, light sand bottoms, azure blue skies, and wily, spooky fish that will rip backing off your reel like the fly was snagged on the bumper of a Ford Shelby GT 500 KR?

Seychelles? Christmas Island? South Andros?

If you guessed any of the above-mentioned places, you are correct. But you still don’t win the prize. See, it’s a trick question – your gameshow host didn’t add in the “and is right in the United States” factor.

Still guessing? Probably, but since a grand event is coming May 26th that will otherwise spill the beans on this bonafide wonderland, I’m going to break the hotspotting rule…

Beaver Island, Michigan!

Our main man Matt Dunn is a guide in them parts, and he’s cooked up a scheme to ensure this bastion of clean water carp fishing is never overlooked again. In conjunction with the Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce, he’s hosting a media event (a.k.a. multi-day fly-fishing and heavy alcohol consumption gathering), and the roster of participants is like a who’s who of getting into biker bar brawls sticking it to the freshwater equivalent of the Bluefin TunaAfrican Pompano…mermaid:

Co-starring Bill Konway and Caleb Rienhold, it’s a do-not-miss affair you can follow via ThirdCoastFly and other such mainstream media outlets.

The Master of Disaster/Tower of Power/Too Sweet to be Sour [unless he gets a altitude-induced nosebleed which he won’t since they’ll be at roughly sea-level] Matthew D. has conferred with his public relations firm, and rumor has it they’re branding the gala BeaverFest. Don’t shoot the messenger though – I’m calling it LakeMichiganCarpFest, as unoriginal as that may sound, in order to keep my PG rating with the Fly Fisher Girls.

MG signing off (insanely jealous as my casting arm is, and my liver is not)

Full moon and Fishbeer

Does size really matter?I pulled into the campsite two hours late. Storm clouds were brewing, and I thought it wise to get set up before seeking out the magnanimous Matthew Dunn of Fishbeer fame. Anxious to fish, I pitch my trusty pre-Black Diamond Bibler with speed and efficiency, then rig up my rods before heading over to the water. A momentary glimpse back to the residences for the evening, I can’t help but think I’m about to meet a modern day Paul Bunyan.

I’m working. Really I am.

For me this is a multifaceted scouting mission. I’ve been called here under the guise of fun and games, by a fly fishing Sasquatch who is casually working on his Ph.D. dissertation in Zymurgy. The end goal is to take big browns on mice, in the bright moonlight. Meanwhile, I’m also tasked with reporting back statistics on flow, insect life, and strip club locations for another crew I’m being forced to fish with after the Fly Fishing Retailer show, and also trying to figure out whether a Mystic fly rod can toss a Sex Dungeon fifty feet without the aid of solid propellants.

We meet. We greet. I ask myself “will this guy even fit in his monstrosity of a tent?” I tie on a streamer and get a few follows and nips. Burly Man heads back to his mobile supply depot for a sink tip and then does the same. An hour in we’re fishless, but as we continue our march downstream the learned one makes an executive decision and sizes down his flies. Who ever said “those that can’t do teach” needs to have their head examined, as all of a sudden we were into handfuls of 12 to 16 inch rainbows. However happy we became from them, the skies were not producing the same, and facing the prospect of getting struck by lightning we headed back to camp.

Sweaty Betty Blonde and a tribute to the impending night fallSweaty Betty Blonde must have turned you in

The wind is howling, and shelter is taken in a late model all-wheel drive. A hand creeps stealthily into a cooler, and low and behold out pop a couple of icy brown bottles. One is for Matt, a sweaty blonde named Betty. I pay homage to the evening still ahead with Blue Moon’s summer ale. “I’m technically a professor of beer, and I like my Bettys too,” he says. “Some of those Bettys can get a little nuts though.” Our conversation swings ’round and ’round: a recap of Matt’s travels during the last few weeks; After us!our party plan for next week during the show; the value of friendships whether fishing-related or otherwise; how to split atomic particles with a dull hatchet. I tell my cohort I’m working on something semi-top secret, or at least that’s the way I spin it so he’ll think I’m half as complex as he. He tells me he hasn’t taken a shower in a week. I turn the key and crack the window, and we immediately guffaw in synchronicity. A team of Blackhawk helicopters comes whizzing by. We’ve surely been found out, but the skies break and we head back to the river.

Don’t mess with me pal!

You shouldnt have said that about my momma, Dunn!This is the point in the story where you’d like to see lots of fish porn. But you ain’t gonna get any since we kind of got our tail ends handed to us for the rest of the adventure. Streamer fishing continued apace, but there were nothing but fish relatively the same size as the bait taking them on. We hit a different section of the river, one that had produced finely for me earlier in the season. It was not happening this turn, and then the story gets ugly.

See, this Matt Dunn character is a fine fisherman. He can pick flies with the best of them, throws double-haul powered silver bullet loops, and can read watermake high-probability guesses … get lucky as hell at nearly my level of proficiency. He’s got the knowledge base all sewn up, but is less than assertive with the delivery. So when I proclaimed it time to go for broke, throwing on a dozen midges, a pound of lead, and a collegiate size football for an indicator, Doctor Dunn laid into me with a barrage of insults. And I let him have it back, with a Gracie-style left cross to the nose. Now before the week is up Matt is going to deny all this. He’s going to tell you that he isn’t used to the altitude, that the air was too dry, that the pace I cover water with streamers is just too damn much to keep up with. And I’m here to say that’s all bull. The guy called my momma a bamboo rod lover, and I knocked him silly for it. He’s twice my size too, but we are now even better friends as a result.

Morning glory, sans the glory

At 10pm we headed back out to the river once again, this time armed with mice and a moon so bright you could read Tolstoy to it and not fall asleep. Matt hooked up several times, including one occasion where we got the pig within a few feet of us before the hook pulled. I got skunked in the non-literal sense, but I didn’t care. Treading that prairie while turning on the headlamp just twice for rigging was enough for me. Ominous shadows all around, the occasion splash of water whose location we couldn’t quite make out, and otherwise quiet. Staring at the moon and the stars. Once again, it was just about being there.

Good morning MoonThe full moon greeted us again in the morning. “Good morning, Moon,” I thought to myself. Matt continued buttressing his renaissance man status by whipping up cup after cup of espresso. We returned to the river, and Matt, still whimpering over the beating he’d received the day before, didn’t say a word as I assembled my nymph rig. Pounding our way upstream past several anglers who had queued up at the tight turns in the river, we began banging fish as well. The sign of a renaissance manBy morning’s end I think we had roughly three dozen between us – the only problem was the average size was only half a dozen inches. You don’t general bump into predators when there are so many small fish around – if the angry brown behemoths were there the little guys wouldn’t be. We call it a day.

Looking at the map, I suggested Mr. I Need A Shower get one, and the best place to do so and get a few more hours in might be the Blue River. Hands firmly clasped, we thanked each other for time well spent. “See ya’ at the show” “Yep, see ya’ at the show.”

MG signing off (to go buy a camping-capable espresso maker)

Fly Fishing: The sport we know and love has been forever changed

Beginning today (with breaking news coming in every moment)

  • Matt Dunn is an outdoorsman. But, the doctor has spoken, and Matt’s now on a heart-healthy kick. In addition, he had a fly rod stolen a few weeks back, and since he hasn’t finished up his Ph.D. just yet his budget for replacement is nill. He still has his camera and television, however, and is now going to spend a bit more time doing nature photography (and watching basketball game archives). See the new and improved journal of his endeavors here.
  • Tom Chandler is ever the innovator. And since recession and global warming climate change have hit, we are all running low on cash for flies and gas and the dwindling snowpack guarantees the flows will be too low for anything but tadpole breeding anyway. The man is now going to save you the time and expense of getting skunked, and this intrepid reporter suspects the Trout Underground Writer’s Network will soon be hosting blogs where you can display your fishing prowess too. View the real future of fly fishing here.
  • And finally…

  • The hunt for the perfect fly never ends, and that’s why everyone who fly fishes is broke and everyone who makes fly tying materials is now producing fish porn from their island nations. But what if the perfect fly was actually invented long ago, and the secret kept away from the rest of us via blood oath and lock n’ key? MidCurrent believes they’ve uncovered just such a conspiracy – it’s a story that could turn the fly fishing world upside down. Drop your socks and grab your….mouse; then click here.

MG signing off (to hock all his gear on eBay before the rush)

UPDATE: This just in…

Brownlining is hot, hot, hot, yet the IGFA chooses to ignore what certainly is part of the nine-foot (+) future – I guess they don’t have any gear to hock. But proving you can’t put a good man or woman down, think tanks have been hard at work, and the culmination of their efforts is the freshly chartered International Brownline Fly Fishing Association. Rumor has it that secretive (at least with photos of his mug) Singlebarbed founder Keith Barton will be chairing the organization, and famed two-hander Jean-Paul Lipton will take the president’s slot.

STILL MORE: This sent in from a source on Long Island who asked that their identity be kept in the strictest of confidence…


Who’d have thought the sport could move so fast?