Farmington River Report: A good time to tie flies

I drove along the lower Farmington TMA yesterday, and it was either frozen over, framed with shelf ice, or filled with slush.

Of course, the closer you get to the dam, the more open water you’ll find. Still, I’m going to save my chips, wait for a wee thaw, and tie some flies.

Take heart, cabin feverish types: Hendrickson spinners are just a little over three months away.

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Appearances, classes, and demos for early 2015

I was hoping to do some of the big shows this year, but that didn’t quite work out. Still, I’ll be out and about plenty in the next few months:

Tying Class: Wet Flies and Fuzzy Nymphs for the Farmington River at UpCountry Sportfishing, Saturday, 1/24/15, 9am. There might still be an opening for this class. This class is sold out. Please contact the store to put your name on the wait list. 860-379-1952.

Tying Demo, CFFA Show, Saturday, 2/7/15, 9am-???, Maneeley’s, South Windsor, CT. I don’t know what I’ll be tying. Probably wet flies and fuzzy nymphs. Maybe some streamers. Any requests?

Tying Class: Wet Flies and Fuzzy Nymphs for the Farmington River at UpCountry Sportfishing, Sunday, 2/8/15, 9am. This class is sold out.

Tying Demo: Soft-Hackles and Nymphs for Steelhead at The Compleat Angler, Darien, CT, 2/28/15, 10am-2pm. This is a free tying demo. Come with questions and good will and I shall do likewise, hopefully with some answers into the bargain.

Presentation: Wet Flies 101 at FVTU in Unionville, CT, 3/4/15, 7pm. I’ve had a lot of interest in this presentation, so if you missed it, here’s your chance. Details/directions at fvtu.org.

I’m hoping to do a batch of videos this month, but the time-space continuum has been particularly cruel to my best intentions. Please send positive waves so that hopes and dreams may vanquish the limitations of the calendar! And be sure to get out and do some fishing. It’s cold, but the trout still have to eat.

Hey. I know that guy.

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Paul’s Striper Fly Selection

Paul was the lucky winner of the Currentseams 200th Follower Contest. He had his choice of striper, trout, or steelhead flies, and Paul went with the striped bass fly selection. He also mentioned that he was a big fan of the spring cinder worm hatch, so I tied up a bunch of Orange Ruthlesses, my favorite clam worm fly. I also included some sand eel patterns, some soft-hackle/flatwing baitfish, and a classic sparse bucktail.

Starting clockwise from bottom center: the Orange Ruthless, a single-feather flatwing; a Big Eelie in the Bruiser color template; the Golden Knight, a matchstick sand eel bucktail; a juvenile herring bucktail, unnamed, tied so sparse you can read a newspaper through it; a soft hackle/flatwing hybrid in Ray’s Fly colors (a good fly on a bright day); and a soft-hackle/flatwing hybrid in Easterly colors (tailor-made for a gray-green rainy blow).

Paul's Flies

Thanks to Paul for allowing me to take my time with these.

We’ll have another fly giveaway when we reach 300 followers. Thanks to everyone for your support, readership, and kind words.

Odds and ends on a cold January night

I built a fire last night because I didn’t feel like turning on the downstairs heat. While an open fireplace is considered to be an inefficient method of heating, you can’t beat it for ambience. I did manage to raise the temperature five degrees, and it felt rather grand to stand on the hearth. No fire tonight, but I’m staying warm with a nice Italian red (Caparzo Sangiovese Toscana 2013, an absolute steal at $11.99).

Farmington River: If you’ve been out fishing, good on you. Me, I’m saving my chips for warmer weather. And transferring my fishing energy to tying.

Steelhead: There is a sense of derring-do about embarking on a single-digit temperature adventure, but see “Farmington River” above.  If you’re not aware, there’s been a fish kill this season on the Salmon River. Here is the latest theory: http://wrvo.org/post/fish-die-salmon-river-could-be-caused-vitamin-deficiency

Small streams: I’ve driven past a few, and after the last two nights they are looking more like frozen tundra than running water.

Stripers: I used to fish for them in January. Right now, the pragmatist in me is crushing the romantic. Not that the romantic really minds.

Currentseams: I see we have surpassed the quarter-century mark in followers. Thank you all for your readership and support. If you’re new, stop by and say hi. The shortest distance between two people is a hello.

I remember this day. It was about 400 degrees in the shade. Tonight, not so much.

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Book Review: My Life In Fishing by Stu Apte

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My Life In Fishing by Stu Apte, Stonefly Press, ISBN: 9781939226709, $29.95

There are giants who walk among us. Technically, they are human. But upon further examination, they reveal themselves to be of a different order.

For proof, I submit Stu Apte. Stu has done things that you and I never will. He was a fighter jet pilot in the Korean War, and then a pilot for the legendary Pan Am airline. He drank mojitos with Hemingway, guided U.S. Presidents, was fishing buddies with the last player to hit .400, fished with luminaries in the world of angling like Joe Brooks and Curt Gowdy, and became the sharpie’s sharpie of big game saltwater fly fishing. Oh. He also held, or still holds, over six dozen IGFA world records.

My Life in Fishing is subtitled “Favorite Long Stories Told Short,” and the resulting format shines under the author’s charming, often humble recollection of his experiences. Apte is a simple writer, yet his stories held me captive over several evenings. This is the kind of book that I love: it’s really an expansive how-to manual (among my favorites: when fighting a big fish, to play him long is to play him wrong) disguised as a collection of personal anecdotes.

Apte cut his angling teeth in south Florida, so the book is saltwater-heavy, especially snook, tarpon, bonefish, sailfish, and permit. But there are chapters on stripers, trout, Atlantic salmon, and many more species.

The cover photo is representative of the book’s photography: simple, evocative shots on both color and black & white film that transport you back to an era when the tarpon were in thick and anglers didn’t look like they dressed out of a catalog. There is a homeyness and an honesty to the shots that is lacking in so much modern angling imagery, and the keen observer will note the absence of photos of anglers with elbows locked straight out, thrusting their catch into the camera lens.

Quibbles? Only one. The exclamation point is overused in this book! Some passages read like a text!

Thanks for writing this, Stu. My Life in Fishing makes me wish it was fifty years ago, and I could call you up and book a tarpon trip. But if you’re ever up in Connecticut, give me a ring. The guide trip’s on me.