Doing something that is different and unique from what everyone else is doing is not always easy. Carving out your own niche, especially in a copy cat industry like fly fishing, can be tough. Breaking away from the norm and creating an entirely new set of fly fishing opportunities for his clients is exactly what Kory Boozer from Boozer’s Guide Service (<–clicky clicky) is doing. When people think of fly fishing in Michigan, trout, salmon, and steelhead immediately come to mind. Likewise, floating down winding cedar lined rivers the size of a 2 lane road is the typical setting. Often overlooked are the unbelievable resources of Michigan’s larger waterways and the abundance of the Mitt’s warm water fish species.
Larger watersheds like the Kalamazoo, Grand, or St. Joe rivers can be intimidating and a daunting task to learn well enough to have success with a fly to most anglers. Spending countless days and hours on these rivers, Kory has earned a PhD in reading these larger waters, understanding where fish are, and how to best target them. He is able to show how special and beautiful these waterways are. Specializing in smallmouth, pike, and longnose gar excursions – Kory offers a unique opportunity for anyone looking for a new experience and to learn how to pursue these great but often overlooked native game fish.
A passionate teacher, Kory gets great joy out of sharing his vast experience and knowledge with fellow anglers. In addition to his prowess as a fly fishing educator, Kory is an innovative fly tier always and supremely talented photographer. Not only will you likely catch the biggest smallie or pike of your life, but you will end up with mantle place worthy photo as well.
What Rivers Do you Guide on Primarily?
Saint Joseph, Kalamazoo and Grand Rivers
What’s your favorite method of fishing to deploy when guiding?
Streamers and surface flies actively fished from a drifting boat. Fishing from an anchored boat is about as appealing to me as watching paint dry. I want to cover water and find active, hard-charging fish that want to kill a fly.
Species of fish that you guide for?
Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Longnose Gar
What’s your favorite thing about guiding?
I love getting folks into the sport and igniting a passion to enjoy and protect our wild and native natural resources. We largely live in a disposable society these days under the premise, if something breaks, you just buy another one or in our case, stock more fish. We should be more focused on enhancing our self-sustaining natural resources and better protecting what we have that can thrive here naturally. There really isn’t anything all that special about a fish raised in a raceway and put here by man. I make an honest effort not to dumb down my program, I do not believe in short cuts, I want my clients to learn to be great casters and how to work a fly properly. I take a lot of pride in my teaching abilities and truly enjoy doing it.
Favorite bank lunch to prepare for clients?
Good sandwiches, I don’t have time for a grilled shore lunch that takes an hour to prepare and eat, if you fish with me, you are here to fish, not hang out and eat…
If you could be in a band, which one would it be?
Primus… So we could play all the greatest fly fishing destinations around the globe!
Do you believe that Disney World is a people trap operated by a mouse?
Clowns and people in big animal costumes kind of freak me out, regardless of what operates Disney World, I want no part of it…
What do you believe makes a guided trip with you a unique experience?
Passion, hands down… I get more enjoyment out of teaching folks to fly fish and seeing them have a great time than I do fishing myself these days. In regards to the St. Joseph River, I was literally born & raised on the banks of this river, the sheer amount of time I have on this watershed is a huge advantage for me. Some folks go to sleep counting Sheep, I fall asleep rehearsing bottom structure and holding lies on the Joe…
What makes a good client?
Attitude! I want someone who is positive about learning and is appreciative of how much effort I put into each trip.
Have you ever pondered the fact that fish see people as aliens? We hover above their environment, in a ship and pull them from their dwellings into the sky?
Yes! This was an actual conversation a client and I had not all that long ago!
If your life was turned into a movie, who would play the part of you?
Liam Neeson! Great actor and he fly fishes!
What else would be helpful for people to know about you?
I am all about teaching folks new to the sport how to fly fish, it truly does not bother me if someone is a novice, in fact it can be a good thing as they typically do not have any bad habits to overcome. I encourage folks to bring their children as well, there are few things more rewarding to me than seeing kids enjoy the outdoors and watersheds I am so passionate about.
How does someone contact you to book a trip?
Today’s feature is from Kory Boozer, SW Michigan and Smallmouth guide extraordinaire. CLICK HERE to see more info about Kory and how to book a trip to elevate your Smallmouth game.
When fly fisherman think of Smallmouth Bass in Michigan, they think of hot Summer days spent tossing poppers at the rivers edge and while this is a great time of year to pursue Smallmouth Bass, it is far from the only time of year fly fisherman can enjoy chasing these river assassins.
While many anglers are still chasing Steelhead or Brown Trout on Michigan’s Rivers, Smallies begin to put on one of the biggest feeding binges of the year, typically once the water temps reach the mid to upper 40’s is when you will begin noticing a sharp increase in activity. They have yet to vacate their Winter holding lies and are still congregated in large groups which means if you find them you can typically catch a bunch of them. Look for fish to hold in deeper water in slack water areas, such as natural wing dams, sharp drop offs in the river bottom, eddies, etc… Any area that provides baitfish, slack current and deeper water with access to spawning habitat nearby while retaining access to food is the ticket.
As far as gear goes, this isn’t time to fish floating lines and light weight rods, I recommend Scientific Anglers Sonar lines in the 250-350 grain range depending on the rod you are using. Some days you simply need to get down deep and I will throw a 9 wt and 350 grain line. As the water warms fishing deeper water becomes less and less of a necessity though and for the most part 7 and 8 wt rods are all you need. When you fish weightless flies as I do a heavier line is necessary to get them down, lucky for us a good sized Smallie will fold a 7, 8 or even a 9 wt to the cork. You do not want to fish large streamers, even if you are targeting big fish, streamers roughly 3″ – 4″ in length are ideal to properly match the forage at that time of year. Fish them slow with short and fast strips to provoke reaction bites, some times very slowly swinging through an area with minimal action is ideal, others they want more action, this can vary by the hour so something you want to continuously play with to maximize your effectiveness.
Fly choices are dictated by the most available forage where you are fishing. For example if Chubs, Suckers or Gobies are the dominate food source where you are fishing, you want to match the colors, size and flash these bait fish give off as closely as possible. If young Trout & Salmon or Shad are the most abundant food source in the area, then that is the type of forage you want to mimic. A flies effectiveness for Smallmouth Bass is measured by how much motion they provide without movement, how closely the color and flash matches the natural forage and how fast and cheap I can tie the fly in my opinion. I want a fly that swims without being stripped, matches the size, hue and flash of the naturals while being slightly transparent and one that I can tie reasonably fast. I also when possible want it to be cheap so I don’t mind losing them and will fish them like I stole `em so to speak. You can basically get away with 3 flies, a white/grey hue, an olive hue and a brown hue, which would do a good job of matching everything from Shad, Baby Bass, Sculpins, Gobies, Suckers, Shiners, etc… A pattern called the Bad Hair Day, developed by my Friend and Wisconsin fly fishing guide Dave Pinczkowski is a great starting point for flies emulating anything in the baitfish form. It utilizes craft fur which is cheap yet has amazing action in the water, various types of flash and wool or dubbing as a head. Simple, Cheap and Effective… Simply match the materials you are tying with to the forage you are imitating, and get started.
The pre-spawn bite will vary in duration, typically it takes place until water temps reach the mid to upper 50’s and the fish begin to spawn. Depending on weather and location, that can lead to a vastly different window of opportunity. If your into hard fighting fish and don’t like fishing around heavily pressured areas, early Spring Smallmouth Bass might be just the thing for you!
Kory Boozer – Boozer’s Guide Service – www.BoozersGuideService.com
Credible reports of behemoth smallmouth action resulted in Bassmaster rescheduling this year’s Classic, previously scheduled for Tulsa, OK, to the Flint River in Michigan. Toxic river conditions will likely result in lower than normal catch numbers, however, lead-infused bass have tournament officials expecting record breaking tournament results. Anglers able to haul in just one or two of these metallic monsters are likely to break the 65 pound longstanding tournament record.
With the tournament merely weeks away, anglers are scrambling to decorate their hazmat suits, a requisite given the nature of conditions, with sponsor logo’s and color schemes unique to each contestant’s image. Monofilament and fluorocarbon lines simply melt when exposed to the Flint River so anglers are spooling up with a variety of braided metallic products capable of withstanding the extreme environment. Expect to see boats coated with impervious truck-liner materials and anglers waving metal detectors instead of relying on traditional sonar equipped fish finders.
Tournament fish, typically released at designated locations following each day’s weigh-in, will be belt-fed into a portable onsite incinerator to assist with the removal of lead from the ecosystem. Remarkable opportunity arises as the world looks toward Flint Michigan to figure out the crisis in their water system.
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The 2015, and 4th rendidtion Bass 1fly (B1F) is in the books. First, let’s take a moment to remember those with their names already etched on the back of the Duke & Lily Cup:
2012 – Jeff Cole
2013 – Dan Moser
2014 – Joe Donati
This year the angler group doubled in size, going from 9 to 18. This meant that we’d have to split up into 2 different stretches of river – 3 boats/9 anglers in 2 beats. The competition was close for quite sometime – but after about the 1/2 way mark became a 2 horse race between to guys in the same boat.
Drew Peklo ended the event with 12 smallmouth landed and the next closest angler was Erich Gross with 8. Erich manages the Grand Rapids Nomad Anglers fly shop (NOMAD’S Website) and Drew mans the counter there from time to time as well. You might want to shoot them an email, or better yet stop into the shop and ask them both what they’re eating for breakfast before they fish!
2014 marks the 3rd rendition of the annual Michiganfly smallmouth bass 1fli competition. At stake is the highly coveted and equally elusive Duke and Lily Cup.
This year to add some excitement into the event – everyone that follows this blog can get in on the action! Below you will find a complete lineup of the anglers that will challenge for this year’s championship – please send your pick to win the cup to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you choose the winner you will be entered into a drawing to win
some sweet swag a Mystic Inception Fly Rod (5wt or 8wt) and the entire collection of all the loser’s flies used during the competition, so that you can go out and be a loser on your very own water!
Please submit your pick in this format:
- Email Address:
- Winner Prediction:
Here’s the lineup – you only get 1 pick, make it count.
DAN MOSER (Tiny Elvis)
The reigning champion, 2013 winner of the Duke and Lily cup jumped out to a huge early lead and continued to post giant numbers of fish throughout the day. He closed out the competition in impressive fashion, catching more fish than the rest of the competition combined! The pattern used by Dan last year to propel him to the winner’s circle has been banned for use this year as it was deemed unfair to the competitor anglers and the fish.
He is relentless, and unafraid of deploying unorthodox methods and flies in a constant search for a competitive edge. Won by such a large margin in last year’s event, holds a significant psychological advantage over the rest of the field. Knows what it takes to win, unless (see below)………….
Suspect knot tying skills resulted in an extremely early exit from the 2012 competition, as he lost his bug 10 minutes into the contest during a routine retrieve due to a poor knot.
The 2012 champion suffered an upset defeat last year. Well known giant fish catcher, Jeff consistently puts fish in the net no matter the species (and they are usually giants). Thought to be part human/part machine – a CYBORG. Imagine Robo Cop having a love child with trout guide. Adding to the lore of his cyborgness – recently suffered a broken elbow, went to a scrap yard to secure some spare parts – patched himself up and is better than new.
Tireless with precision aim on casts and the ability to watch his bug with one eye and look ahead to plan his next cast with his other eye.
Has a propensity to find pike, even in waters that have very low numbers of pike. This may result in an unintentional ‘saw-off’ knocking him from the remainder of the competition.
Unquestioned leader in facial hair configurations using his man hair sculpting abilities to confuse and frighten other challengers. The 2012 version of the Winfield/Winchester man face threw all of the other competitors off their respective games for more than half of the competition. It has also been said that the fish were so terrified of it they refused to eat for an entire week as they feared having to come face to face with it when caught.
Solid all around fisher – great caster, great tyer – puts up huge number days. Facial hair grooming skills add in a significant intimidation factor.
Streaky – can put up double digit days or low catch days. If he’s hot, there’s none better. One slip of the razor blade could destroy his distinct advantage in the manscaping capacity.
Doesn’t do any one thing better than any other competitors, and is working to reinvent himself as a streamer fisherman. Placed 2nd in the 2012 and 2013 contests.
Will come to the contest with a thoroughly researched and developed unique fly.
Shoulder injury leaves his status as “questionable” to last throughout the entire day – may limit casting abilities significantly. Basically, he is a giant pansy that can’t cast and blames it on a bum shoulder.
2014 newcomer brings a hardcore streamer fisherman mentality to the fold, and is an avid pursuer of smallies. Is a real life commando – and uses his military expertise to eliminate opponents and fish.
Ties clean and precise flies that have great movement and lifelike qualities.
Casting tends to tire as the day continues. Can be easily thrown off his game by calling him “bro” all day – for some reason he hates to be called “bro”.
2012 participant failed to get on the board, although he did not enter the 2013 contest – he walked away with the prestigious Schultz Outfitters 2013 Bass 1 Fly tourney in 2013.
Best tyer of the group. Will come prepared with a proven fly pattern that is bomb proof and able to stand up to fish after fish.
Remains to be seen if he can overcome his 2012 performance in this competition format. Confidence will be high after wrecking the competition at the Schultz event last year.
Commonly described as a “Fishy Mofo”. He seems to be able to convert PBR into the only nutrients needed to survive and function at a high level for extended periods of time. He is a survivalist can probably trek all of mount Everest in a half day with nothing more than a gum wrapper, paperclip, rubberband, and PBR.
A fishy guy – seems to always have his bugs in the water at the right time in the right spot. Knows what it takes to get it done. Mental preparation is a strength as well.
May be very warm during the event, causing him to have to spend precious fishing time downing PBR’s. May run out of supply of PBR and will shut down completely.
A true king of the swing, Ryan is a 2 handed nut. While he prefers the way of the spey, he is an extremely efficient bug puller. He is a gifted talker, and will work his magical words to throw other people off their games. His trash talk is so effective that Super Bowl Champ Richard Sherman hired him as a part time coach during the off season to work on his trash talk game.
Strong overall fisherman, that has the ability to intimidate other competitors with his football player mentality and size advantage.
Swinging for smallies is not as effective from a moving boat. If everyone brings ear plugs or hums show tunes loudly, his trash talking can be easily negated.
Ever heard of the “Donati Vortex”? Google it – it’s a real thing. This dude is the real deal – solid and consistent with giant explosions of huge days. Is a multi species and environment fisherman – small stream trout to big bay bass/carp fishing.
Extremely adaptable and consistent. Joe has the ability to adjust appropriately to nearly any situation presented to him, and find fish. Stays confident throughout the day – is definitely the most positive fisherman in the group.
Gets extremely excited about catching fish – even gets equally as excited when others catch fish. He has been known to celebrate by jumping up and down, giving multiple fist pumps in the air. This could result in serious injury preventing him from fishing 100% throughout the day. Also, while he is extremely adaptable – he does not spend as much time pursuing smallies in the river as some of the other competitors – this could make him prone to finding himself well behind the other anglers after the first shift.