Saturday, December 29, 2012

To Loop Or Not To Loop, Is It Really To Be Questioned?

I understand the aesthetic value to a perfect nail knot.  I also know that having a loop connection on some of my lines has purpose.  The reason to loop is that you might expect the line will be used with tips or poly leaders.  A Skagit should always have a loop.  The reason not to loop a line is if that line will never be used with tips or poly leaders.  Your three weight dry fly line has no need for a loop and should be treated as light as possible at the connection between line and leader.  End of story.

I saw a quote today that read, "as soon as I get a new fly line I cut those #$#@#@$%$# loops off".  Let's just say that I like to keep my options open.  Our fly lines are the vehicle that delivers the fly in the correct presentation that is needed for the fish to take.  The fish doesn't give a damn if there is a loop on your fly line or not.

To Loop Or Not To Loop is an easy question to answer.

The Relationship Between Fly Rod & Fly Line

The late Lee Wulff was a great proponent in getting us all to think small.  Ultra light was casting without a fly rod and only using his arms to propel his fly.  His feeling was that there was no necessity for long heavy rods and that going small was a more exciting way to fish the fly.  To this day, even with the advancement of two hand rods,  that concept is still strongly held in North America.  Rod and blank manufacturers continue to make their products as light as possible.  From the marketing perspective, rods were made shorter and lighter because anglers have been convinced it is the more sporting way.  The merits of this concept are worth a discussion all to itself as a greater number of long rods are being sold.

Over the last few years, here in North America, I have seen the number of anglers using two hand rods increase dramatically.   Eight years ago I put down my single hand trout rod, except for dry fly presentation,  in favor of a 10' 4" switch 5 weight.  My thought was that learning how to use a switch rod would greatly advance my ability to swing streamers as well as high stick nymph with a dead drift.   The advantage was clear to me and I didn't see another being used until last few year.  Now the current momentum to Switch Rods is overwhelming and is a perfect example of an industry life preserver.   One item that creates the cash flow necessary to keep a company current.    Happens all the time in many different industries and in this case it is not a brilliant  marketing scheme that is pushing the trend..  Though the old European art has endured, what I call the Wulffing factor, on this side of the pond, getting lighter and faster seems to be the trend.  All my casting teaching also seems to be in relation to two hand and mostly how to get the most from the switch rod.

My thoughts on this topic are that there is a perfect rod, reel and line for every situation and each are different.  Today there is a growing number of us who are extending our ability with the use of longer rods.    The trick is to know and understand how wide the range of lines is that can be adapted to each rod.  Then take that adaptation to each angling situation for maximum overall result.

Certainly the Matapedia and it's big water and big fish in June requires something very different than Matane at the beginning of September.  What you will find in Quebec though is that there are many of the locals using the same rod with the same line for both possibilities.  Hardly any anglers will be found with a rod over nine feet long.   Conversely, in the Pacific North West, most steelhead casters have moved into two hand rods.   Switch rods of eleven feet and two handers in the thirteen to fourteen feet lengths.  The understanding of what each style of rod and line offers is a key factor in making the best choice.  And on the Western Rivers they understand that what is right for the Salmon might be something completely different for optimal swinging on the Clearwater.  What the market brings to the table is as varied as the waters we fish.

Fast or Slow

The first criteria to consider is the composition of the rod blank.  The number one question you must ask is what is the composition and design of the rod.  Modern technologies have not changed the process used in creating a fly rod blank as much as what materials are used in the creation.  The latest formation of Carbon Nano fiber is being grown in laboratories and spun into the basic thread.  The concept is that if you can make a molecule into a thread and then weave the thread to cloth and impregnate that cloth by adding resin and then backing it for strength to cut it to shape and roll around a mandrill to be baked, sanded and finished you can make a fly rod blank of various flexibility determined by the density and hardness of the thread and bonding composites used.  Make sense?  To make a beautiful looking fly rod blank takes time, expertise and great imagination that is always looking to the future.   If you are making blanks like last years models the market will leave you behind.  This progression for better or not is the governing factor in the fly rod industry.

Back in the day, Alexander Grant used green heart wood that he spliced together to create the first two hand rods.   His Scottish home river, the Spey, has the fastest descending current of all Highland rivers and the concept of standing high and dry on the bank required a long rod.  Being able to lift, sweep and change directions for the forward stroke was made possible by using two hand rods of sixteen to twenty feet.  Long casting was not the focus as the Laird of the Castle had the beat all to himself and the best pool with easy access was always his.   The action of these rods was the farthest extent to slow as would be possible.  The flex started at the tip top and extended right through the bottom grip.  We call this full flex.

Today, the marketing trend has been to go faster and faster with rod action.  This means that the rod flex is at the tip and not much farther down the blank.  A great reason for this is that the line companies have changed the formula that dictates the weight of the front part of their lines.  How does one company get you to think their line will cast farther?  They put a little extra weight to the front of the line that makes the rod load more and we think it is better.  They take turns adding weight until the rod maker must increase the stiffness of the blank to handle the extra weight of the line.  Is a five weight still a five weight?

If winning a distance casting contest was the goal, I would use the advantage of the ultra fast rod.  If winning an accuracy casting contest was the goal I would use a slower action rod.

Are we fishing or are we casting?

If fishing under most conditions and landing the fish is the goal the softer action wins hands down.  Many Eastern anglers are enjoying light tippet nymph fishing for big trout and Great Lakes Steelhead.  They don't understand why they are not landing any fish when the answer is right in their hands.  Notice the the center pin anglers some time.  They are using the same 3X fluorocarbon tippets yet land a high percentage of their takes.  Again the answer is in their hands.

The key to fishing success starts with rod choice.


This is an option that will never be perfect.  Just look at any of the major line companies catalog and it becomes self evident that the array is so varied that one line, or five lines, will never satisfy the ability that one rod offers.  For most of us, we can get a feeling of general application by keeping a log of the fishing days we spend in any given year.   If you can, right now, take a calendar and note each day you spent fishing.  Try to analyze that day as to what the perfect condition would have been.

Monday, June 2, 6am-10am, cloudy, wind 10, air 50-60, water 47 medium flow, midge hatch, caddis hatch
Sunday, November 10, 8am-2pm, wind 4, bright sun, air 30-40,water 38 low flow, BWO hatch
Tuesday, January 1, 7am-11am, wind 9, partly cloudy, air 18-24, water 33 high flow, no hatch

In the three trout fishing examples above you could most likely need three different set ups from rod to line to leader to tippet to flies.  If you really look at these examples what you will find is that all could be changed within each example more that once or twice during that outing.  I fish many days with two or three rods at the ready.  I know the conditions before I go to sleep the night before.  I make my rod and line choices and do the set ups ahead of time.  Right now I am working on January 1.  I know that the forecast above is what I can expect.  It makes my choice of rod and line very clear.

Long rod, light weight full flex no more than 4 weight, short head line for flipping weight and indicator.

Long Rod = Stay shallow and stay warm in cold air and water temperatures and still have line control.
Light Weight Full Flex = Water is crystal clear and extra light tippet with forgiveness is required.  I am always looking for a trophy and want to have what is needed if it were to happen.
Short Head = Casting a short over sized head requires little inertia from the rod.  The weight of the head that is easily loaded on the softer rod turns over the weights and you have only thin shooting line collecting ice in the guides.  Cold weather fishing requires as little pulling line through the guides as possible due to ice build up.

The above set up also allows me to make changes should I want to use streamers and leeches.  I simply remove the leader and put on a poly leader and I have a short head Skagit style rig.  Options of my line choice are sometimes required and having as many options for that one rod might be what is needed for a successful day.

I hope that what you will take away from this post is that any rod and line combination will only be perfect under a perfect condition for that combination.  That there are infinite possible combinations that will be correct.  These different situations can be but a short distance apart in any given water body.   Having as many rod and line options and the understanding of what they do is important.  Being willing to take the time to change to what is optimal has it's rewards.  And thinking about and using this knowledge will enhance the presentation of a fly in the most pleasing way to the fish.


Read Additional Resource Information from Fly Rod & Reel Magazine

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fly Tying Tip #130

Brown Trout Spawn

A fly shop is not the only place to find fly tying materials.  Sometimes our creativity can be stifled by being limited to the materials at hand.  Go have a walk around a fully stocked bead store and see what you can find.  It might open the door to something new. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Special Regulations Opening Day

I fondly remember the opening days of my youth.  These New Jersey events happened each year in April and made the closed season very long indeed.  The excitement of that time is still ingrained in my psyche as I now have many opening days to consider and experience.  I feel like a kid in a less than juvenile body.

January 1, April 1, the first Saturday in April, the second Saturday in April, April 15, May 10, June 1, June 11 and June 15.  In addition to these dates there are others that will be important to you especially if you fish ponds and lakes.  Around the country there are many dates that open a season for many different species.  The understanding of these dates and locations will give you an order to your year as an angler.  Start checking the information provided by your states Fish & Game as well as the others near by and you will determine what is important.

Here, where I now live, in New Hampshire we have rivers that don't close.  Some locations receive their best stocking during October and November.  They are a great asset to the state and on some nice late fall and winters days being out and hooking a few fish can't be beat.  The opportunity to fish a twelve month season is possible and I do my best to take advantage of the situation.  Massachusetts holds a few locations with tail water releases that keep things going through the dog days of summer.  Many anglers head that way during July and August.  These kinds of places exist in a number of other states as well.

I remember opening days back in the 1960's where the trout streams were crowded.  If I were very lucky my Mom or Dad would take me to some better locations for the day.  Big Flat Brook was a real high lite and Upper Saddle River or the Ramapo River were the norm.  All well stocked streams and worth a visit even today.  I fished as much as possible and did my best to learn.

It is clearly that feeling of anticipation that keeps my youth alive and my mind fantasizing about the future.   The most important thing any young angler can do is keep a log.  You will have the record of your days and those days hold the forgotten secrets of days to come.   Sadly, I did not do this and have only photos and memories to relive through this blog..  I have no idea what the water temperature was on a given day or the flies that worked best or the conditions that caused a better day.  I do have the collective experience but know that I would be a better angler today if I had that record of events.

Three AM and I am having some coffee.  I'm up when the alarm sounds and doing my best to get out the door.  My gear was already worked on and packed and is ready to put in the car.  January first is the first opening day in the New Hampshire season.  The weather can range from cold to too cold and I have a rule that single digits will keep me home.  Guides freezing is for sure even at higher temperatures while being cold will be kept at bay by wearing multi layers making me feel like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.  Boot foot waders are a must as the difference in foot warmth is dramatic.  Head gear will be used and tip free gloves that I will try all day to keep dry.  A second pair tucked inside my waders in case I catch a big fish that requires getting wet.

A second complete set of clothing will be kept in the car.  Fall in the river with water at 32.6 and you will need to change or go home.  Also in the car is another heavy coat.  When you get too cold to get warm you will want another layer.  I wear two pair s of socks .  The first is a thin nylon and the second rated for 30 below zero.

In sixteen days I will make the one hour drive to meet up with the same crew that I meet each year.  The same friends that share the passion and excitement and banter and joy together for many years.  We fish and sometimes hit the mother load and some time nothing at all.  It simply doesn't matter.  It's opening day, it's a New Year and I am counting down the time right this minute.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

You Can't Have Any Pudding Till You Eat Your Meat

Larger trout, especially browns, like to eat big meals.  I have been tying some bunny tail flies lately that are a take off of Vermont Guide, Mark Wilde's fly The Wilde Thing.  A few different materials but essentially the same thing as far as the fish are concerned.

What the pattern mostly reminds me of is a simple Pheasant Tail Nymph.  Tail, abdomen, wing casing, thorax and legs.  Pretty simple but effective as any other fly I have been using lately.  Mark ties the fly with a b it of weight on the top of the hook so the point rides up.

Give it a shot and fish them low and slow. Try something big and articulated.  Change colors and materials, add flash or not as well as the weight.  I think you will be very happy with the results.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Swinging For Chrome Is Not Pure At Heart

Being an avid Atlantic Salmon angler, for more than forty years, has given me a strong affinity for fishing the swing.  Watching my fly speed and creating what has become an instinctual learning experience, as to what is correct, has taken some time and many fish to fly.

Come on, you know that feeling.  You make the cast, the fly hits the water and the line looks perfect.  You don't know it's perfect but it sure looks good.  That's what I am talking about when I say "learned instinct".  The time when you say to yourself, "that's the one" and it happens.

Now in this age of a growing steelhead fishery in the Mid West and New York state, swinging with two hands, for me, is taking on an entire new meaning.  To incorporate my traditional down and across mend free swing learned for best advantage when the target is Salmo Salar would result in few fish when the quarry is chrome.  We all love the stories of fish charging across the pool to attack our fly.  You can just forget about that one.  Putting our fly in the fishes face and having the speed being slow is an absolute requirement.  As the water temperature gets colder this aspect becomes more and more necessary.

I love two hand casting and have worked especially hard practicing and studying the art.  I recently attended a workshop with Al Buhr and Jim Valle, both true Masters, that opened my eyes wide as well as the window of possibilities the swing will fit through.  Try to think of it this way.  The floating portion of the line is the vehicle and the tip with leader is PROBE.  As I said, for fall and winter angling we must slow the fly down and have the depth running correctly.  Not dragging the bottom but almost.  

So how do we satisfy our desire to swing and at the same time achieve the pin point in their face presentation necessary to get these fish to bite?  Cold fish less days can be hard to take and at the same time there is a high probability that is what will happen.  Let's do our best to increase the odds.

I have changed the pure Swing into the Swimph.  Not just in presentation but even in the equipment.

First comes the rod.  I leave my fast action rods at home and use through the butt flex slow reaction tapers.  Commercially, a TFO traditionl progressive, regressive, taper works well.  Also the TFO switch rods with through the grip flex will work.  The reasoning is that these fish are leader shy and at the same time like a great deal of movement in the fly.  Rabbit Tails, Zonkers and Temple Dog styles get the most reaction for me.  This requires us to use as light a tippet as we dare where a fast action rod will result in too many fish with our flies left in their mouths.   The lines are all short head heavy Skagits.  These floating heads must be able to handle a fifteen foot 7 inches per second poly or a two foot piece of T14 or whatever is needed to PROBE the lie.  The flies can be up to four inches long and very heavy to pull out of the water.  I don't like fishing weighted flies as I feel the action is greatly reduced.  I prefer the correct tip choice and tippet length.

Think of this PROBE as different length fingers hanging down into the current that will bend perfectly to the bottom off our floating hand.  What ever the fishes lie requires in depth and current speed must be in your ability to recognize and PROBE.  The Skagit head gets the tip and leader to the ideal location and the tip or poly leader puts the fly at the correct depth to fish the lie.  Going an entire day, or even an hour, with the same tip system is not going to work.   Each fish in each location will require a different set up for a  perfect presentation.  The more you fish a piece of river the greater your understanding will be in many different conditions and the greater your chances will become for success.  Knowing what is in each pocket and behind each rock gives us great advantage.  "Learned Instinct", will take over even if you don't know you are using the power.

The easiest way to explain the way I Swimph is to say that I am swinging in a nymphing style.  The casts are mostly short ninety degree or greater Single Spey.  In our clinic, Al asked what we thought was the best cast.  After a brief pause he said the best cast was the one that returned his fly to fishing in the least amount of time from when it was last  fishing.  Of all two hand casts, the Single Spey is the one that can't be beat.  I now fish the Single Spey with dominant up or down most of a fishing day and would estimate that I add about fifteen percent more fishing time to a day than when using Pokes, Doubles and Circles.  Time yourself for ten casts.  You will quickly understand.

After the fly hits the water I will want to slow down and make mends in the same exact way as when we are nymphing.  The dead drift technique is employed.  I try to make my fly swim equal in speed to the current to achieve the correct depth.  When the line starts to extend into the forty five degree area, a common Salar presentation angle, we then want to cause Dangle Time as much as possible.  Again the incorporation of up stream mends will slow the fly from crossing the current too quickly.  Each and every Swimph watched and fished with the precision of what feels perfect is being sought.  

At the end of each drift let the fly dangle for a moment.  Start your retrieve to set up the next cast slowly.  Many times the first pull of the line will trigger a take.  The higher the water the more fish will congregate close to shore and the dangle becomes a more important tool.

I guess the last part of this is the question of whether Swimphing is really Swinging.  In my opinion, the answer is absolutely   I am using a two hand rod that is casting the belly of the line with casts that are common to tradition and adjusting the drift to the requirement of the quarry in an optimal way with the use of weight on line or fly.  

The nature of the fish we seek determines the way we look.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Throw Them Some Line

Ever have a big fish get caught up in the current and head down river leaving you helpless?  Our first thought is to hold tight.  But that usually doesn't work on a light tippet.   Then possibly follow as fast as possible.  This is all happening quickly.   And then what? What if option one and two are not available.  Then what?

The natural instinct for a fish is to flee from the direction that seems to be the source of danger.  When we pull on a hooked fish, the fish will pull back naturally in the opposite direction.  So a very good tactic, that I have used many times, is to reverse the direction of the danger by throwing line off my reel.  I do this as quickly as possible to create a down stream belly. This action will force the fish to move opposite the danger.

The main factor to consider, and you will not be allotted a great deal of time to make the choice, is the environment below your position.  When I am driving a car I try to know my surroundings both behind and in front and on a river I try to know what is below and above.  Calm water below with easy access will result in being able to move down.  Continuous moving water requires quick decision to chase or throw line.

Don't be afraid.  React quickly and see what happens.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Call It Dangle Time

How long are you willing to let your fly dangle in the current at the end of a swing?  It's a simple question that I would ask you to consider.

Sometimes we are so quick to cast that we diminish the chances for hook up dramatically by not letting the line sit.  On a number of occasions I have been in the middle of conversation with an up stream angler between casts when the fly gets smacked.   My rule is that the deeper and higher the water flow, the longer the time to dangle.  In higher water, travelers are moving up the sides where there is less water resistance.  If you must, force yourself to do so. Creating what seems like the perfect amount of time, then counting to yourself will pay off, I guarantee it!!!  After it happens you will not need to count any more. 

This rule applies to all trout, steelhead and salmon angling.  It also applies to nymph fishing as well.  Pop up on the lift and then wait a moment before casting.

Another option is to make the fly dangle in other locations in addition to directly below our river position.  If you were to cast down and across and immediately throw a big loop mend up and out you are slowing down your fly from moving sideways.  Mend again, and again, and again and you continue to slow down and in some river current conditions keep the fly in a zone for a much longer period of time.

Should you do this on every cast?  No.  The dangle is just another piece of the puzzle to give credence and cover certain situations.  But waiting a moment before that next cast can produce some very hard takes.   Another aspect to the dangle is the 'pull and drop'.  When you have your fly on the dangle pull up slowly and then let it drop back into the fishes face.  This can produce a very strong take possibly from aggressive irritation.

 Having confidence is a key component to successful angling.  The things that make up every cast are the things we believe in and I have made the dangle a powerful go to option.  Pick a good fly with lots of action to dangle and count one thousand one , one  thousand two........................

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Swinging For Chrome, For Love Of The Steelhead

I have never fished in the Pacific Northwest.  That's a sad statement for me as finding the time and resources to do so is high on my list of adventures.   I read and watch video of Steelhead in that pure and spectacular part of the world and can only imagine what western steel dreams are made from.  Cold and clear, crisp and powerful, those rivers of the North Western United States and South Western Canada, can only be associated to my favorite haunts when I am in pursuit of Salmo Salar.  To me anadromous silver has the deepest angling reward I have experienced.

At the end of October, when the Canadian Atlantic Salmon season draws closed, my attention shifts to Great Lake tributaries and the bright steelhead that start to run in big numbers.  The migration does start earlier but the crowds hitting massive runs of large King Salmon keeps me away until that season leaves but a few dark reminders lurking in the upper reaches.  These rivers, are at times, packed with fisherman. Because of the very diverse angling styles employed, feeling a bit cramped can be a big problem.   Difficult at times, yes, but well worth doing your best to overcome by being calm and not reactive.

I use a number of tactics, depending on conditions, to target these fish.  My first choice is always  to swing with a short two hand rod. Until the water temperature turns very cold I will continue this style.  Using heavier leaders with flowing hair tube flies stands out as the method most aesthetically pleasing and closest to what I believe will be implored when I travel out west.   I load my casts in cramped confines with a extra short Skagit heads and change the tips and poly leaders required to work the pool.  Having the room for this style requires locations that have the fewest number of other anglers.  The lower sections of rivers where the fish are bright and powerful as well as opposite banks from the easier accessed and cramped pools.  Walking longer distances is required and can be rewarded by having areas all to yourself while smiling at the line up on the other shore.

I also have shorter ten and a half to eleven foot switch rods that are through the butt flex style blanks with thin cork handles.  These rods give me the ability to change between light tippet nymphing and short head swinging.  In busy locations that are farther up river,  nymphing techniques works well and these rods become deadly tools.  I have no use for the fast and now today ultra fast action rods.  There is no reason to even have one on the steelhead rivers of New York State and Stealhead Ally in the mid west.  I realized this fact a few years back when I noticed that the center pin anglers were landing far more fish than any other method.  They are using the same tippet in size as well as composition, and only difference is the composite of the rod blank.  I think that if you are using light tippets for nymph or indicator fishing your old fiberglass rod from thirty years ago would be a far better choice.  Long casts are seldom required and your greatest weakness with a fast action rod is the fast action.

There are so many different flies that will attract steelhead.  These fish having the ability to see black and white in a total absence of light and blue with the least light can give us some inkling into fly choice.  Color and contrast seems to be the most important factor for the swing while the size and color with contrast seems to be key factors while nymphing.  Of course flies and colors are river and environment specific but a wide range in bunny leeches and a well stocked collection of stone fly imitations will get you started.  Eggs, Roe, all styles of nymphs, worms, leeches and bait imitations are all used with success. If I had to live with only one fly for swinging it would be a black leech with a chartreuse Eztaz head and one fly for nymphing would be a black stone fly with a chartreuse Eztaz thorax.  You can tie both these flies and just change the color of the Eztaz to blue, pink or red and have all you need on many days.  I also like the same leech fly with a white tail as well as a size 12 Pheasant Tail.

The key factor to Mid Western steal heading is to go.  By far the best and most rewarding fresh water angling found east of the Rockies.  Just go, don't listen to the talk about crowds and problems.  Just go, be a mild mannered angler and have a blast hooking some of the strongest, craziest and fastest fish alive.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Two Hands On The Beach

An increasing area of Two Hand Casting is in the salt.  Busting shooting head and Scandi Line casts 100 to 130 feet offers the ability to get your fly over a wave set or two. Big Bait style flies can also be cast with ease when using Skagit type lines and casts in tidal locations. The concept result is a simple one. Less false casting means more time stripping your fly in the water.

This class is designed to start with The Modern Continuous Tension Switch Cast and Overhead techniques and end casting 15 foot 9 and 10 weight shooting heads into the moon rise. 

This open location will allow a wide range of styles to be covered at the same time. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012 at the North Beach Bowl,  Hampton, New Hampshire.  Parking is available at the end of Rt. 27 and the bowl is 200 yards to the north. Class will start at 2PM and end at dusk when you are welcome to fish into the night. High tide is at 6:50PM.
$40 Per Caster with 6 Casters maximum.   Your equipment or mine. This is a great opportunity for the first time two hand caster to really understand what to purchase in rods and lines. 
Please reply to

It's Monday night and I just finished a two hour practice on the beach.  What a spectacular location when the sun is going down.  I worked dominant hand down on switch casts, overhead casts and snap T casts.
Someone was busy at low tide today.  I practiced for an hour.
Structure of the Bowl

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Power On, Power Off, Don't Worry It Will All Make Sense

Sometime opportunities come about because you are in a certain moment in time that demands your willingness to say yes. Recognizing those precious moments is the key to forward motion in the endeavor of anything that stirs our passion.  This week I had such an event and my head is still reliving each and every second.  So much happened in these few days that  I'm going to hope that the bushes will remind me of the things forgotten.

What leads to these moments can be direct or some what indirect in nature.  In my case it was very direct.  I have been studying for a crack at the Federation of Fly Fishers Two Hand Casting Certification.  Being on the East Coast, and achieving this goal is made difficult by sheer location.  We are infants in this fine art in comparison to the West Coast steelheaders and European seekers of Salar.   There are but a few Masters to call on for mentoring help.  One of those people is Jim Valle from Wall, New Jersey.  He is the closest THCI Master to my home at 350 miles distance.    I made contact with Jim a number of months ago to ask his assistance to learn how to be a proficient two hand caster and also to teach me what it takes to join the other sixty eight certified Spey casters from around the world.

Jim's teacher was Al Buhr from Oregon.  The all knowing, all seeing, Guru of West Coast style Modern Two Hand Casting.  Al was coming East, the two were giving a three day clinic and I replied to Jim's invitation between the skipped beat of my heart that I would attend.

Let me give you just a bit of background about Jim Valle.  Jim is originally from Paramus New Jersey, a tour in Viet Nam and a trip to the West Coast after service is where he met Al.  Jim started to take the two hand style that he learned and apply it to salt water surf casting.  Being able to clear three wave sets using the out going under tow as anchor is a clear advantage to the fly caster from the beach.  Add to that the use of Skagit style lines and being able to throw four inch long Bunker is something very unique to the two hand world.  To me, the most creative of our kind are the ones that have the ability to make the same tool do two different jobs.  To Jim Valle it flows as if natural.

What Simon Gawesworth is to Atlantic Salmon long belly angling Al Buhr is to finding every steelhead in the river.  Each hiding place will be explored by use of shooting lines and tips and poly leaders of every size and configuration.  Al takes the flat world of single hand casting and offers a very round and fluid technology to the two hand rod.  Motion never stops but is powered up and down as we make each movement with a deliberate tempo.  He believes that the perfect cast is the one that puts his fly in the water more times per day than any other.  He gave me a way to see each cast as a sum of its parts that can be analyzed as if each could take a year.  Like a Tai Chi master slowly performs their deadly moves, so have I learned to move my casting style in such a way.  Liiffffttt, with a grunting skewed face directly into the sweep, removing power at just the right moment with the correct tempo to command our fly to be in that one inch square anchor location required for perfection.  Understanding that the line always follows the tip of the rod  and how the relationship between power and removal of power is the key factor to a quality two hand cast.  I have the determination and knowledge that if I want to change my path all I need is to do so.

As we worked through hand position and transformation of rod to line to fly it became clear that I had entered a new zone of understanding.  I was becoming a better caster by the moment as I did all I could to digest each sermon and fulfill each task with a slow and deliberate dance with my line.  I must have looked a bit foolish as I over exaggerated the rod path while making Bruce Lee sounds.

Getting the feeling of continuous motion has not been easy.  Maybe one in five casts had the almost correct rhythm necessary to move well enough that when I flicked the tip, as Al's mentor, Jim Green would say,  a reasonable size loop was created to target.  By the end of the third day I had the feeling in hand, the hope that I could be successful and my emotions were heightened enough to want to have another three days.  I left our meeting with the positive feeling that I can do this.  I can understand that the flat world has it's place and I cast a single hand rod with the same determination.  I can use this continuous motion to change anything I want at any moment needed to get the end result desired.  I can do this thing we call the Modern Two Hand Style and I can do it well enough now to feel good about myself and continue to seek each and every little nuance that will only come with time and deep thought.

What was that?  Round up from low to high........don't hesitate grasshopper,

Can't be.

Bushes don't talk.  Do they?

Thank you Jim, thank you Al, it was a blast.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Timing Is The Key Factor For Atlantic Salmon Success

Most of us have busy lives with responsibilities that dictate the timing of an angling adventure.  Family, work and money are the key culprits.  The timing of the river has it's own beat and we do our best to jump on board as often as possible.  The beginning of August is my timing for visiting the Matane.  Sometimes the river is not in agreement.

Each and every Salmon River has it's own tempo.  Some start very early before spring has taken hold and others wait until the last of October to blossom.  Salar has a way to protect the overall species by spreading out their time at sea as well as in the home river.  This past week I experienced the difference of what a day can do to make or break a trip.  It's not a new happening, but one that has happened again.
To look at this photo it might seem that the 30 salmon sitting in the middle of the pool would be easy to take.  Even though we stayed all the way back on the bank, as stealth as possible, we only received one look.  Dry flies, wet flies, dead drift, stripped, you name it we did it from 4:30 am till 9am.  The pool even looks like there is enough water but what you are looking at is Fosse Le Cage, pool #78 on the River Matane at the lowest level in modern times.  The weather man said it was going to rain but hot and sun filled the day.  The absolute worst weather imaginable to the pêcheur de saumon.

All of the Maritime Providences have been plagued with low and slow water for a good part of the season. The Marimachi has even set it's available hours to 6am to 10am each day. This has been the reality and waiting for rain becomes the game.

On Saturday, we needed to be on the road toward home. You know, that responsibility thing. The rain had started the night before and was filling the river nicely. We made the big mistake to make a last stop at Le Tomogodi and watched one of the local anglers land a 12 pound fish to a size 8 Silver Rat double. The next week is going to be off the charts as at least one thousand new fish will be running the river. The biologists are saying that the mouth of the river was carpeted with fish waiting for their time to ascend the sweet flow.

We wait and have all the knowledge from experience to know when it's right. So if you do not have a schedule to keep and can run today then do so now. Don't wait for this river can run spate and be low and slow in a weeks time. If you arrived there today, August 12, 2012 then your timing is much better than mine.

Chaque année je voyage dans la Rivière Matane, parce que la beauté des terres de la rivière et des personnes ne peut pas correspondre. J'aime être à Rene de Matane et ne peuvent pas attendre pour le moment juste une fois de plus. Merci pour votre hospitalité.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Davy Knot Wars

Of all the search results that get people to my blog, the Davy Knot is constantly number one.  The level of interest in the knot is very high and I have been a proponent for a long time.
When I first did this experiment I used a size 14 hook and 6X tippet.  The Davy Knot was the weakest and then it dawned on me.  The tippet was too small for the hook.  This is why I went for the 5X and the size 14 hook.  The end result of both attempts were exactly the same.  The Double Davy Knot was the clear winner even with the smaller diameter tippet.
I will not be looking any farther into this situation as I am fully convinced of the result.
Watch the Knot Wars video and comment if you have anything to add.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fly Tying Tip #129

Jungle Cock Capes come in all qualities possible.  I have seen some that are so bad that I don't understand how it happens.  I have purchased some that are so fine that they stand out as the perfect finishing touch to my work. $150 to $200 is common when you want the better quality.

When you are making a purchase, you want to look at the individual feathers themselves.  Notice the splits and the shape.  Also the luster should be bright with vibrant colors.  You might feel good with a purchase if the look of the feathers could be improved.

If you have some nails that are not up to your standards watch this video and you might be able to save a lot of money.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hot, Low And Crowded

I fish on rivers that have the same problem each year.  All over New England we have control dams for  holding lake levels that provide constant summer fun and safety yet prove the same result time and time again.  The summer moves forward and the rivers lose their water.  They get Hot, Low And Crowded.

Yesterday, on Independence Day, I went to such a river for the five hours before dark.  I was told the July 4th caddis hatch late in the day was a must experience.  The flow was the lowest so far this year and the water temperature was seventy nine degrees.  Being a resort area, there was little pressure on the river except for a few first timers.  I wasn't surprised what I found.

I started in a run where I had taken a twenty two inch fish a few days before when the flow was twice that of today.  I worked a number of flies and all proved unacceptable.  Some looks but no takers.  Then down to the next rapid and again the same thing.  Splashes and rises but no takers.  Dropping down a tippet size and using a Double Davy knot for assured strength also did not work.  It just had to be that the water was Hot, Low and the fish were packed into small areas that seemed Crowded.

The predicted light show started and the sky opened with substantial down pours.  I fled for the car as the wind picked up and the thunder cracked overhead.  The sound of the early summer leaves being thrashed about is one of those unique sounds of danger that can make the hairs on my arms stand at attention.

As the front passed, I made my way back where I left off.  The rain was substantial enough to color the water a bit yet only decreased the temperature by one degree.  My hope was for that caddis hatch.that had not happened yet.  A few here and there but not what I would call prolific.

First cast with an olive Gary LaFantaine Sparkel Emergent Pupa Dry Fly produced a strong rise but no take.  The second drift put a solid fish on the line and after a sluggish  fight my measure net said eighteen inches.  The warm water was obviously taking a toll on these beautiful fish. A short while later I had another fish of the same size and the evening came to a close.  The hatch never happened.

Most years, this location would be finished for the year weeks ago.  We are always wondering where the fish go.  After coming down from the lake I always thought that when the water started to warm the fish traveled down river.  They vacated to bigger water where cool springs saved their lives.  You know that thing about Rainbows and Salmon being travelers.  Now I am sad to think that they just plain die.

I think that there is a line that I should stop crossing.  This, my thirty sixth day on the fiver since January first should be the last for a while.  That is unless we get some rain soon.

That line is the one that gets to Hot, Low And Crowded just before it gets Hot, Low And Void.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Pheasant Tail Nymph

There are many versions of this wonderful nymph.  Frank Sawyer's original fly was created to imitate the Baitis family of of May Flies found on the chalk streams of England.  Today, the fly is tied to replicate many different species and works very well in all forms.

Most of my use of this fly is done in the most drab form with only a copper color rib on the abdomen.  I find that it is the most effective was to fish the fly.  One of the ways that I give a bit of life is to use nail polish that has holographic flecks embedded in the liquid.  I put a small amount on top of the wing case to look like the bubbles that are naturally created to assist the nymph to rise to the surface when changing to adult.

For larger species as Steelhead and Atlantic Salmon Broodstock I tie the fly on larger sizes and add some sparkle to the top of the wing case.  Also by using different color dubbing you can add some color.

Simple Pheasant Tail Video
Salmon River Steelhead Pheasant Tail Video

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When Routine Is All But Routine, Landlocked Salmon Have A Funny Way Of Fooling You

This past Friday was a very special day angling in the lakes region of New Hampshire.  There is a golden opportunity that happens, but does not occur every year.

The weather, this year, has been at best different.  We had a lower snow pack than usual, high early spring temperatures with very low rain fall and now a cool and rainy late April and May.  Water temperatures are very normal given the weather pattern we have experienced.  What is making this season special is the quantity of dry fly action over the past week.  The salmon have been available in big quantities and can be found in all the usual places.

Friday I had four hours to fish.  I hooked fourteen salmon with the largest at eighteen inches all on Tan Elk Hair Caddis dries.  To me that is exceptional fishing.  This all happened in the first three hours with the forth hour going baron.  I did put on dropper emergers, and I tried leaches, and I switched to different size and color Caddis dry flies.  Time was up and I left scratching my head.

Yesterday, I had a short hour and a half to sample some of the same.  When I arrived, my good friends, Al and Bob were sitting in the truck and they were also scratching their heads wondering why with so many fish boiling and jumping and eating like crazy they only had one fish each for the entire morning.

I looked at the Elk Hairs they were using and saw a difference in the hackle and body.  Mine had ginger color with the tan wing and light olive body.  Would that do the trick?

I like to watch my fly drift with dagger eyes.  I notice every spin, flip, wake, rise in water from a fish taking a look as well as how the fish takes the fly.  Sometimes the only way to get a take is to wait for a fish to feed and put the fly on the ring quickly.  The fish are moving quickly without regard to look and can be fooled with whatever hits the water..  Sometimes you can cast and drift randomly because you are using a perfect match.   Well, I tried it all.  I started to go through the entire collection from tan to black and small to large and with fish rising all around I could not get a take.

Then on one drift I was watching closely and a fish rose to eat three inches from my fly.  There was clearly no adult caddis on the water and sure enough it was a salmon with a bright silver side.

A change was in the air, or in this case in the water.

I switched over to emerger style caddis.  First a Stalcup Medallion and had one fish take as I was stripping back for the next cast.  Then I switched to a Sparkle Pupa with no result.  Then I went to the Woody in size eighteen making slow and short strips.  I looked at the time and knew I only had a half hour left.  Time does melt away when I am fishing.  My time expired and I finished hooking a total of five salmon.  I handed some of the flies to Al and was gone.

So many adult Caddis easily available and the fish were zoning in on small emergers and would only take when they had movement.

I guess none of us like to eat the same thing presented in the same way day after day after day.............


Friday, April 27, 2012

Fly Tying Tip #128

For a long time I have been making all sorts of modifications to hooks and Waddington shanks to create a good way to make articulated flies.  Now I am happy to have found  a product from The Flymen Fishing Company that is worth purchasing.

They come in three sizes and can be used hook direct or as stingers.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Below The Suckers

Spring is here and oh what a season it has been.  The Fish Club Crew have been out in force since January first and the numbers of  big fish angled has been the best ever.

Now, that is saying a lot.

Even with the low flows all over New England, the fish are there and what is making a big difference, for me, is the combine experience my friends are sharing.  I have so many options that it is impossible to get to every location right now unless I skip out on work.

One of the events that happens at this time is the migration of large quantities of spawning Catostomids.  Commonly known as Suckers because of their downward facing mouth.  The Rainbow Trout have been in the river on their own migration for a month or more and the Landlocked Salmon have just arrived.  The aroma must be screaming that a big meal is on the way.

One of the most effective forms of lure is the multitude of flies that imitate the roe of the suckers.  Sucker Spawn patterns can be made with a number of materials that are readily available.  For the rivers I fish a pale yellow combination with a tinge of light green or olive seems to work best.  Pearl core braid in combination with light yellow yarn and a sprig of marabou seems to be quite effective.  You can use Sharpie markers to add highlights in red to the under portion of the fly.

I fish these flies no different than any dead drift presentation.  The trout and salmon will move and follow as the water temperatures have been on the rise.

So along with all the other pieces to the puzzle, the Sucker Spawn has a place. A great addition to eggs and leeches as effective springtime flies when the big ones lie below the Suckers.  The window is short and taking advantage of the feast is now.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Pursuit Of Salmo Salar

Angling the day away has it's rewards.  Getting out there makes me feel alive and I love the reflection I go through for days after.  Having a long week end adds a substantially heightened emotion because you can lock into a location and have the time to figure out what is needed for success.  I have also stayed at some very high quality lodges where your every need is taken care of and you and your guide spend the day on private water.  These trips to places like Toms Brook on the Restigouche, Camp Brule, Salmon Lodge and others have been memorable indeed.  A week during the fall season in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia can be spectacular.

The most number of days that I have fished Salmon  in a row has been ten.  I spent these days on some of the most important rivers in Quebec and for a number of those days the locations were legendary.  The rivers included York, Dartmouth, Grande Cascapedia and Matapedia.  If these were the only rivers available to me in the world I could be happy.

Right now there are a number of us who have booked into lodges, won the lotteries for water access on the rivers in Quebec or are using the vast access to public water that is available all through Eastern Canada.  The dates are locked and extending a trip means working with  public pools, seventy two and forty eight hour draws.  The first thing to do, no matter what you have booked now, is to create an information pack of every name, address and phone number that would have relevance.   I have been on more than one adventure when something happens and you must shift gears.  Torrential rains that had trees flowing down the Miramachi, in New Brunswick, once moved my week to Quebec where the rain caused the fishing to explode. You can watch the river flow for a while and go home or move quickly and save the week.  Over time, we all make friends and associates.  That list can be your personal life saver.

When I travel to a certain destination my equipment and fly selection is carefully prepared for the conditions that are expected.  I wait until the last two days before leaving to check the river flow and up coming weather.  I make phone calls to find out the exact situation and then set my gear to match what I have learned.  Then, I pack everything else in a separate bag as you just never know what might be needed.   Extra rods, reels, lines, flies, leaders and cloths.  Rods and reels break and lines wear out.  Having extra gear can save time and money.

Not all trips need to be planned far in advance.  Some of the most memorable have been a reaction to favorable conditions during the shoulder times of the year.  I once called Ron McWhirter, at Camp Brule during September, and being an honest camp owner he said I should not come.  "There are fish in every pool and they are not taking well at all".  I noticed that a reasonable rain was forecast for the next day and decided to go for a three day spur of the moment trip. Fish in every pool is all I needed to hear along with a change in weather.   I was guided on public water of the Petite Cascapedia by Ron's son, Andrew, where we were able to land two fish each day.  I fished both wet and dry fly and had a great time as the freshet had made the fish active.  I was lucky to have read the conditions correctly and just as important is the skill to read the conditions in the opposite direction and not go.  This of course is no easy task.  That time on the Marimachi when the trees were flowing in the chocolate brown current could have been switched from home had I had the proper system in place to know what was expected.

Of course having the ability to make these kind of decisions takes many years of experience as well as the knowledge of many rivers.  Keeping every bit of information written as well as photos of each trip will help you maintain a library.  I scan the old photos to have in my computer and have draws filled with pamphlets and maps.    A great source for information has been the back issues of the Atlantic Salmon Journal.  I have the entire collection back to the very first issue.  The people and conditions change but the basic information that gives you the ability to make decisions does not.

So, this season In Persuit Of Salmo Salar, save and savor the experience as if it were history.  You are building your own personal experience that will give you the ability to make a switch if needed.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Davy Knot By Davy Wotton

I found this great knot a few years ago. From the very first time I used it I was amazed at the power of the knot.  The best thing is that it will retain 100% of your tippet strength and has a very small footprint at the eye of your fly. It was developed by Davy Wotton of Great Britain when he was working with their trout fishing team.  Davy wanted a knot that was fast to tie and very strong.  In addition he created a knot with the very smallest footprint I have ever seen.

As of today 4/2/2012, I use the Davy Knot or the Double Davy Knot for all tippet to fly connections except for Atlantic Salmon wet flies.  Unless a new and better knot is created, I will use the Davy.  It works great for fluorocarbon as no heat is created when tied correctly.  If you pull after tying and it sets tight it will not come apart.  The time you will notice the difference is when you confidently can hold that big fish in the pool.

On June 20, 2012 I decided that I would do a controlled study of the Davy Knot.  I started out with 6X Rio Powerflex and a size 14 3906 nymph hook.  On one side of the eye I tied the Davy and on the other I tied the Clinch.  The clinch won the tug of war 10 in a row.  I then did the clinch verses the improved clinch.  9 to 1 for the improved clinch.  Then the Double Davy verses the Improved Clinch.  10 to 0 for the Double Davy.  I was really perplexed at the issue with the standard Davy.

Then it dawned on me.  The 6X and size 14 heavy wire hook were not compatible to the Davy.  When the size 14 was switched out with a size 18 hook the order was Double Davy, Davy, Improved Clinch and Clinch was last.

This is now my conclusion.

I am using the Double Davy at all times.

The only thing that is a must is that you use a Double Surgeons  Knot to attach your tippet to leader.  Reason is that The Double Surgeon is also a 100% knot and gives you equal strength of both ends of your tippet.  If you are still using Clinch, Improved Clinch and Blood knots then you are fishing with a 20% loss of tippet strength.

As the Davy Knot has an issue when tying on hooks with a large diameter wire. Davy Wotton says to repeat the last step a second time and the problem goes away.  I now use the Double Davy on all larger hooks and can say it will not slip. You must keep your tippet size to hook wire size in sync for 100% strength.  Even a 6x tippet will not be strong when used with a size 14 nymph hook.  Use that same tippet with a size 16 or 18 hook and it is as strong as can be.

Click this link to see the tying video
Click this link to see the Tug Of Davy Knot War



Monday, March 12, 2012

The Hatches Have Started

The Blue Wing Olives and Midges are in full motion. Every time the sun poured over the gravel a hatch created some activity.

I went small yesterday with size 16-18 Feedinator's, Caddis Larva and Jailbirds. The fish were off the eggs and worms willing to eat some tiny emerging fare. It is really feeling like spring and seeing all the bugs made it look that way as well.

This 20" fish ate a #18 Olive Feedinator. 
What was most important was how perfect this fish was. Not a blemish from nose to tail.

The sun felt warm as I made the release.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Young Pups Can Teach Old Dogs A Trick Or Two

I received a great lesson yesterday.  I was fishing for trout and the water was way down.  All over New England flows are being held back due to our lack of snow for run off in the spring.  Holding water, in the lakes and impoundments, seems to be the mission right now.  This put the fish in the deep holes seeking cover and great care was needed to attract a take.  I was only rewarded with one fish for the day and I left the river at dark with a need for some answers.

My day started in a hard freezing rain that came in waves.  My solace was the understanding, according to the hourly Weather Channel forecast, I would only be subjected to this pounding for a two hour period.  I must admit it was absolutely beautiful being out through natures changes.  While pellets clicked off my hood and fresh snow fell from the trees, I hooked the only fish of the day.  The falling ice must have given some cover for my weighted nymph presentation.

As predicted, the rain stopped and an over cast calm took it's place.  When I say calm, I mean dead calm with no movement.  I covered the water in four locations without another pull and worked very hard using every trick I could think would work.  That is except the one I learned from a friend who has only been an angler for three years.

"Get rid of the weight", he said.  I didn't listen.  "I cast up river and let the fly settle on it's own and that seems to be working in the low water".  I didn't listen.   He then proceeded to fish the water that I just finished and landed a beautiful eighteen inch rainbow.  Now I'm listening, and thinking and coming to conclusion what was clear to my friend.

So, let's analyze what happens when we are indicator nymph angling.  The constant in this concept is that the indicator is used for showing strikes, right?  Well let's just say that the strike is the bonus.   The indicator is used to show you that you are dead drifting with your fly leading the way.  Ever notice that your indicator is constantly giving false takes?  Ever notice the direction it is spinning?  Over and over again and again the signal is given and no fish on the strike.  The reason for this is that the weight is dragging and the indicator is stopping over and over again.  Now think about where your fly is positioned.  It is hanging below the weight that is dragging and the indicator is the thing that is the farthest down river with the leader lining the fish right in the face.  This is not a pretty picture and one that will keep your success level to a minimum.

What to do.

First thing could be to make sure your distance from indicator to weight is no more than the depth of the deepest water you are fishing.  At least then your weight can't be too far behind the indicator.  You could also put a weight immediately under the indicator.  By having a larger weight under the indicator and a lessor weight below will slow the indicator and let your leader lead the way.  Or, you could get rid of the indicator and let the weight bounce along behind the fly.  Or remove the indicator and weight and use a weighted fly as the top with a smaller dropper fly.  And finally go to a Czech Nymph style with the weighted fly and one or two flies put on droppers tied with Double Surgeons knots to the main line leader above the bottom weighted fly.

Later this week I am going to set up rods with the last two choices.  Both get rid of the weight.  Both make for less invasive presentations and both are proven winners.

My conclusion is that even though we have so many years of experience we are never too old  to accept help.



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fly Tying Tip #127

Recently I spent some time with Enrico Puglisi.  I asked him to show and explain the uses of his various materials, and in what flies they were most often found.

Now, if you are a salt water angler, you probably understand the outstanding importance of these materials.  But as a Steelhead and Atlantic Salmon guy, I am going to find  some new aspects of what I was shown.

I have been incorporating Enrico's brushes with materials like Finn Raccoon and Arctic Fox and I am getting some great fat back effects.  The brilliance, body and colors are in a class of their own.....I'm looking forward to mid March on the Salmon River and close by New York creeks to confirm what I think I already know........

Thursday, February 23, 2012

FlySpoke Spring Casting Lesson Schedule

During the months of March & April, I will be offering group lessons in single and two hand casting. Please contact me by phone or email for sign up. Every class will be strictly limited to the first 6 students paid at a cost of $35 for each class, except those classes indicated differently below. These are two hour plus classes unless indicated, and you are guaranteed to leave a better caster than when you arrived. The locations are listed. It doesn't mater what level you are at now. I am making these classes long enough so that personal attention is possible for all. Beginners to advanced are welcome. All classes are mixed gender. This is an opportunity to improve your casting as well as catching. I have scheduled these classes so that anyone who takes a week one or two class will get the time to practice before returning for a later more advanced scheduled class.

March 24, 2012
Class 1 - 9am Single Hand Service Veterans(free class)any donation will be 100% given to Project Healing Waters. The only requirement is you are serving or are a veteran. This is a land class and will cover the many aspects of what it takes to make a great presentation. Massabesic Lake Park, Auburn, New Hampshire
Class 2 – 1:30pm Two Hand Steelhead Skagit & Scandi Short Head Underhand Casting, this is a water class, waders are required. Headed to Pulaski post spawn on the swing? Perfect timing. Profile Falls Recreation Area, Bristol., New Hampshire

March 31, 2012
Class 3 - 9am Single Hand Casting, this is a land class for beginner to medium skill levels. You will go as far as your ability will allow. You will leave this class with the total understanding of what and how a tight loop is made. Correcting and improving will be the focus. Massabesic Lake Park, Auburn, New Hampshire
Class 4 - 1:30pm Two Hand Casting Including Shooting Salter Style. This is a water class. Waders are required. Traditional Spey, Scandi, Skagit and Salter Overhead. The Switch Rod will be addressed. Get all the information you will need to fish in the style of your choice. Rods, lines, tips, leaders and casting style for each will be detailed. Profile Falls Recreation Area, Bristol, New Hampshire

April 7, 2012
Class 5 - 9am to 11am for 12 to 17 year old Single Hand Beginners Casting, Parents welcome to attend $20 per student, This is a land class. Massabesic Lake Park, Auburn, New Hampshire
Class 6 - 11am to 12:30 11 years old and under Beginners Class Any donations will be 100% given to Casting For Recovery. Parents asked to attend. This is a land class, Start a casting life correctly. Massabesic Lake Park, Auburn, New Hampshire
Class 7 - 1pm Single Hand Casting with the emphasis on Spey Casting style for one hand. This is a water class and waders are required. Massabesic Lake Park, Auburn, New Hampshire

April 14, 2012
Class 8 - 9am Single Hand Casting, let it all hang out and finish with the longest cast of your life. This is a land class. Geared to casters who feel they have good to excellent skills. Massabesic Lake Park, Auburn, New Hampshire
Class 9 - 1:30pm Two Hand Casting, all styles will be addressed. For the two hand caster who wants to refine their style. Personal attention will be the key to making sure that you are maximizing the potential of your style. This is an in the water class, waders required. Profile Falls Recreation Area, Bristol, New Hampshire

Please contact me at or call 603-501-9511. Private lessons can be arranged at any time. I work specificity geared toward your angling agenda. I am a Federation Of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor having achieved what it takes to offer the highest of learning experience.

Detailed information will be supplied for all casters who register for a class. Soft drinks and water will be provided. No hooks or flies are needed. Your equipment as is will be fine. Should you desire purchasing equipment that is style specific I will be happy to advise what is needed. Cleaning lines is encouraged.

My Letter In Reference To Rebuilding the Dam At Scribner's Mill On The Crooked River In Maine

Dear Mr. Bullard,

I write to you in opposition of a favorable decision to obstruct the Crooked River at Scribners Mill.  

Throughout New England there is an understanding, that at one time, dams were erected for a propose.  The greater good of the people was served.  We also have an understanding that the decimation of our natural resources caused by those actions were not serving the interests of the greater good.

Today I see no positive application or effect of a greater good by allowing a single company or person to obstruct any waterway, let alone a water resource as valuable to the great State of Maine as this one with it's fate in your hands.


                                                   If you are opposed to damming the Crooked
River, then now is the time to stand up and be
counted. Please send your letters and e-mails to:
Bill Bullard
Project Manager
Division of Land Resource Regulation
Maine Department of Environmental Protection
312 Canco Road
Portland, ME 04103
If you feel that you need more information, e-mail:
Steve Heinz:  

  Here is the reply I received to my letter.

Thanks for your letter expressing concerns about the Scribner’s Mill dam and sawmill project proposed by Scribner’s Mill Preservation Inc. (SMPI)

The project has been assigned Department #L-21190-35-C-N and is being reviewed under the Maine Waterway Development and Conservation Act (MWDCA) and is also being reviewed for water quality certification under Section 401(d) of the Clean Water Act.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is reviewing the project for potential impacts to existing fisheries in the Crooked River with a particular focus on the spawning habitat and fish passage provisions for landlocked salmon.

MDIFW provided initial review comments and SMPI submitted a response to these comments on September 30, 2011. MDIFW is now evaluating that response and, when complete, will then issue their final review comments on the project. Water quality impacts and the erosion control plan are being evaluated by Department staff.

When the reviews of these and other provisions of the MWDCA are completed an order approving or denying the project will be issued.

Bill Bullard, Project Manager
Division of Land Resource Regulation
Department of Environmental Protection
312 Canco Road
Portland, ME 04103