Category Archives: Writers

In Print.

While I’m a daily reader, I don’t get my hands on too many fly fishing magazines. For one, all too frequently the stories between the covers relate to fishing in wild and foreign destinations that, for now, remain slightly out of reach. I devour the local publications that cater to the water I fish, but the glossy covered mags are often take me half way around the globe. While these stories are interesting, it appears that many of the magazines are in the same places at the same time. Most recently, for example, everyone seems to be fishing in Cuba, and writing about it.

That said, I’ve read some good stuff recently, and happy to see some local love.

Camera 360

Eastern Fly Fishing always has some good information and great photography and writing, and since it;s a regional publication, I pick Camera 360it up every chance I get. In this particular issue, fly fishing writer Beau Beasley came to my neck of the woods and fished the same beaches as I do, with Terry Peach, owner of A Marblehead Flyfisher in northern Delaware. It was great seeing familiar locations and fisherman in glossy photographs. Now I know what it’s like to live in Montana. (Not really.)

 

 

 

 

Camera 360

Sticking with the somewhat local scene, Fly Rod & Reel Magazine has a great article on fishing the Delaware River with dry flies. It’s not so much a how-to as it is a memoir, or a travelogue, but like all good fly fishing writing, there is fishing knowledge to be found in the words. Rod & Reel always has some of the best outdoor photography. Also in this edition, an excellent article on the problem of man-made global warming.  Many publications are hiding from this issue. It’s bad for business, and there seems to be an opinion that many readers will find it a political issue, and one they disagree with. Ted Williams does a great job of presenting a fair overview of the problem, backs it up with data and statistics, and explains why this is a problem for those of us that love fishing and the outdoors. A worthy read on an important issue from a good source.

Camera 360

My Dad recently visited our native England, and came back with a fly fishing magazine he’d seen on a newsstand shelf. I was interested to compare this publication to it’s American counterparts, because when I was last in England, I visited several tackle shops, and all of them appeared to suggest that England had one fish, and one fish only. Carp. The shelves of the stores were loaded with boilies and carp rod holders and all the gear associated with chasing golden ghosts. Even though I went trout fishing in England myself, and knew that trout were available and commonly fished for, I saw no evidence of it in tackle shops, and fly shops were nonexistent. But, in the pages of Total Flyfisher, trout is the main event. There is truly not a great deal of difference. The fly anglers int he pages could be the same guys you see in American publications, and while the names of the companies are different, the same gadgets and gizmos are up for sale between articles. One significant difference I noticed was an article on the possibility and viability of using float tubes to catch fish, a practice employed often by stateside fly anglers for years.

Camera 360

 

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Filed under England, Foreign Fish, Industry, Writers

Fly.

In 2003, after a long year of training, study and examination, I earned my Private Pilots License.

I could write a few thousand words on the process and the topic, and one day, I assume I will. But for now, let it simply be known that, as a boy, I had an extensive collection of toy airplanes, could recognize the tail art on almost an passing airliner, and stood watching airplanes take off and land with my Dad, who got his license in the late 1990’s. I’m confident that had you told the 15 year-old me that I would one day pilot an airplane alone, I would have laughed at you. But in hindsight, I’m not sure it’s completely out of left field. My Dad had the bug long before he was able to learn to fly, and he passed it on to me long before I learned to fly, and flying remains one of my proudest accomplishments and true loves.

I’ve long had the desire to combine fishing and flying. Simply loading up an airplane with a few rods and blasting off for a short hop to some water that would otherwise mean a long ride in a car would be satisfying enough, but I was captivated many years ago by an image put forth by, of all people, the Chief Parrothead, Jimmy Buffett. Mr. Buffett painted a picture in one of his books of spotting tarpon at low altitude from the cockpit of his Lake Renegade amphibious aircraft, landing, and casting a fly. Take a guy who loves fly fishing, aviation, and has a particular love for sea planes and Caribbean waters, and this can be a lasting image in his mind.

Fishing and Aviation collide head on in the wilds of Alaska, where thousands of anglers go each year to hop aboard a single engine airplane and be shuttled to parts that could not be reached otherwise.  The De Havilland Beaver has be come almost synonymous with Alaskan fly fishing, and rightly so, having put so many anglers on the fish up north. The Piper Cub, too. We love Cubs in my family. My Dad eventually got his own about a year ago, similar to the one fly fishing legend Lee Wulff operates in this incredible video dug up by Moldy Chum last week. It has it all; A Cub on floats, some beautiful scenery, great fishing footage, and Mr. Wulff narrating it all, yelling in cadence in that inimitable way that people used to do on TV, for reasons that still alludes me.

He also left behind a memoir entitled Bush Pilot Angler that I look forward to reading. Given all the flying or fishing books I’ve read, It’s a wonder I didn’t get to it yet.

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Filed under Aviation, Blogs, Books, Film, Fisherman, Fishing, Writers

To Do:

In the early days of a new year, I find myself making lists of things to do. Not the usual promises of gym routines and minimal alcohol intake, the kind that are designed to be broken, but the fishing kind. My home waters will obviously be well worked in 2012; that’s a given. But where else would I like to go? Costa Rica, of course. Bonefish in Hawaii. Chile, Argentina, The Bahamas. Yeah, right.

I’d love to do all that, and while out of pure stubbornness,  I’ll never rule any of it out, I’m talking realistic goals I can pick off like like swatting flies. The kind of trips that, assuming good health and no cracked limbs, there is no reasonable excuse not to complete.

In the next week or so, I will make the short two hour drive north to wander the White Clay Creek in search of brown and rainbow trout.

The White Clay Creek - Christmas Day 2011

The White Clay meanders into northern Delaware from the south-east corner of Pennsylvania, and is the biggest reason I have for considering a purchase of a Pennsylvania fishing license. I wouldn’t think twice, except that the PA license is a full $50 more than my DE license, due to non-residency and the significant difference in the sizes of our states. There are of course, other great reasons to hold a PA license. I’d like to fish the Spring, Beaver and Allegheny creeks, too. But the White Clay is the closest stretch of good trout water, and when scouting upstream, I’d prefer to not be halted by the invisible state line that renders my DE license worthless and my fishing illegal.

The White Clay is stocked every year by both the state, and the White Clay Fly Fishers Club. It is also home to some large holdover trout from previous seasons, and sees a spring run of shad every year. It’s truly year-round water, and I plan to make much more use of it this year than in years past. Thankfully, family is nearby, making it an easy place to stay and fish.

While on the topic of licensing in other states, my third license of the year will be purchased from the good people of Maryland, so that I can fish a stream that truly excites me. The Big Gunpowder River starts in Pennsylvania and tumbles through Maryland into the Chesapeake Bay.  The upstream Prettyboy Reservoir Dam releases 55 degree water  all year long, creating a fertile, east coast, Blue Ribbon trout water populated predominantly by browns, but with some rainbow and brook trout in the mix. While the brown trout population has been naturally sustaining for decades, there is some stocking of rainbow in the lower catch and release section of the river.

These waters made some news in fly fishing circles this year when The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Board of Public Works renamed the Gunpowder South Trail the Lefty Kreh Fishing Trail in honor of the Maryland native, and ambassador to our sport.

Fishing reports have been good all winter, and I’d like to get there sooner than later. In the meantime, I read Backwater Angler and Knee Deep; locals on the Gunpowder who share more advice and information than anybody has to.
Most of the stream consists of long pools divided by short riffles, tree lined banks and beautiful scenery, is a few hours form home, and I’ve never caught a brown trout. I can’t wait to try.

Gunpowder Falls, MD

I looked at the date yesterday and almost fell out of my chair. It may be a cliche, but it’s truly amazing how time will fly. Blink, and January will be over.

Fair enough, because February will find me in Lancaster, Pa for my first Fly Fishing Show. I’m looking forward to viewing all the latest tackle and materials, meeting some of the guys who write the books I’ve read and who designed the flies I disgrace by attempting to tie, (Mr. Clouser, Mr. Kreh, how are you?) and learning as much as I can. There are demonstrations and clinics on everything from casting and tying flies and knots. As if that were not enough, the International Fly Fishing Film Festival will be there, screening several films over the two days. With films based around our sport getting better, prettier and more interesting every year, this may well be the highlight for me.

Well, that gets me through February. More to come, no doubt….

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Filed under Blogs, Film, Fishing, Fishy Water, Industry, Places, Trout, Winter, Writers

Poppin’.

Howling winds are rattling the windows and depositing the trash cans in the neighbors yard here at the South bay Lodge. So it became that instead of a morning fishing, I have an embarrassingly messy fly tying desk and am well on my way to a few new poppers.

The Largemouth Bass at the local grounds have been favoring poppers over streamers as of late. I’m hoping to try a few of my own out tomorrow, assuming the blow subsides, and I do hope the trend hasn’t changed. Hunting bass in the shallows and weeds with a streamer is fun, but nothing beats watching the fish break the surface like a titan missile to eat a few bits of hair and flash I tied to a hook and popper body.

My initial experiences with poppers were not good. While the added hackle, rubber legs and other dressings bring these baits to life even while they lie dormant on the water, I’ve learned that my first experiences with poppers were not productive ones simply because I wasn’t aggressive enough with the fly; a common case of underestimating the fish. On glassy water, giving the fly a good gurgling, thrusting tug seemed like overkill to the inexperienced me. I thought it would scare fish. Since, I have learned, especially on running water, that the gurgling thrust and movement of the popper is what gets the fish to strike. You can certainly add pauses to your retrieve, as a means of providing a more life-like presentation, but I’m no longer afraid to use the popper to accomplish what it was designed for; causing enough commotion to attract a hungry bass.

Fall is a great time time to catch bass on a fly rod. As the temperatures cool, (albeit barely and slowly, at least in my neck of the woods so far…) you can go beyond the usual casting to structure that makes the most sense in the summer months. In fall, the fish leave the safety of cover often in search of food. Assuming you can track down what they are feeding on, you can tie on an imitation bait fish, bug or bottom feeder, and try your luck. Another good idea is to increase the speed of your retrieve or action during the cooler months. The fish and food are picking up speed as the water cools, and so should the wary fisherman.

As an aside, I was thumbing through Gierach’s “Unknown Fisherman” last night. In chapter 2, Gierach names the deer haired diving frog as his go-to fly for bass. Maybe I’ll try on one of those next……

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Filed under Books, DIY, Fishing, Fishy Water, Fly, Fly Tying, Uncategorized, Writers

McGuane @ MidCurrent

Tom McGuane wrote what I consider one of the greatest books on fishing: The Longest Silence.  He also wrote 92 in the Shade, a haunting work of fiction with Key West fishing as the backdrop. Not to mention, the guy can toss a fly. And he married Jimmy Buffett’s sister. And he was on Pirates of the Flats catching Bonefish with a Lefty Kreh. And he is in the cult classic fly fishing movie Tarpon, looking like a total hippie.

But most of all, he’s an incredible writer and storyteller. MidCurrent has an interview with McGuane, on the subject of Tarpon. He discusses Key West as it was when he began fishing the flats there in the 60’s. Or as we’ll refer to it from now on, Fly slingers heaven. Read it Here.

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Filed under Books, Fishing, Writers