Another fun Saturday at the Compleat Angler

Many thanks to the Compleat Angler in Darien, CT, for once again being such gracious hosts. A comfortable, well-lit setup, and Scott and crew know how to keep a tyer happy (turkey, provolone, lettuce and a little bit of mayo on a hard roll). If you’ve never been to the shop, it is very well-stocked, from rods and reels and lines, to books and tying supplies. Highly recommended.

It goes without saying (but we’ll do it anyway): thanks also to everyone who took the time to come watch and ask questions. You made my day an enjoyable one.

Implements of destruction and the resulting construction. Clockwise from bottom left: Orange Ruthless, Soft-hackled grass shrimp, Ray’s Fly, September Night, Herr Blue, Big Eelie.

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“Bill Peabody’s Flat-Wing Patterns”

A few years ago, Capt. Ray Stachelek gave me a copy of an article Bill Peabody had written in the May-June 1998 issue of Fly Fishing In Salt Waters. I mentioned it here, then mostly forgot about it. A few weeks ago, one of you asked if I could share the piece. With my Compleat Angler flatwing demo tomorrow, this seemed like a good time to do it.

Below is a pdf of “Bill Peabody’s Flat-Wing Patterns.” The quality is as good as I can make it, this being photos of a photocopy. I want to be clear that I did not write this piece. Bill Peabody did.  Enjoy!

Bill Peabody’s Flat-Wing Patterns

My rendition of Bill Peabody’s Flat-Wing Bay Smelt. The fly has not yet been shaped under water.

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Farmington River Report 2/23/16: Laughter in the rain

For once this winter I guessed right that a lousy weather report would keep most anglers home. I find it generally unbearable when the temperature is in the mid-thirties and it’s raining, but when you’re catching, elements-induced misery somehow slides to the rear.

Winter nymphing on the Farmington this season has been as predictable as Donald Trump’s hair. The fish are in the usual pools, then concentrated within certain sub-areas of those pools. Get your fly into those sub-areas, and you’re an instant expert. Miss them by a few feet, and you’re Baron Von Blankenstein. Today I had a prime spot; the angler across from me did not. We fished the same general area, but I out-caught him 6:1. (This has nothing to do with ability and everything to do with real estate.)

I started with a size 12 BHSHPT on the bottom and a size 18 midge-type on top dropper. They loved the PT. After I lost my rig, I re-tied with a size 14 Hare and Copper and took two more on that. It rained on and off; five minutes into one of the heavier spells the fish put on the feed bag; sadly, it only lasted for about ten minutes. The permanent TMA was running 340cfs, clear, and cold, although I expect the levels and clarity are changing dramatically as I write this.

On the menu today: creamy micro-midges and W/S caddis.

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The Big Gig: Fly Fishers’ Club of Harrisburg Annual Banquet, April 8

I have the honor of being the featured speaker at the Fly Fishers’ Club of Harrisburg Annual banquet on April 8, 2016. At first I thought there must be some mistake; this, after all, is the organization that has had such luminaries as Edward Hewitt, Lee Wulff, and Ernie Schwiebert speak at their event. It’s also regarded as the second oldest fly fishing club in the United States, having been founded by Charlie Fox and Vince Marinaro (you might have heard of them, too.)

But no. They want me. So, I am both humbled and excited, as this will be the largest crowd I’ve ever presented to. The subject will be “The Little Things.”

I got the gig in part due to the substantial following currentseams has, and the many positive comments you’ve left. It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: thank you for your readership and your support.

The Little Things, Friday, April 8, at the Fly Fishers’ Club of Harrisburg Annual Banquet.

little-things

Reminder:  Tying demo at the Compleat Angler in Darien, CT, Saturday, February 27 from 10am-2pm: Bucktails, Soft Hackles and Flatwings for Striped Bass.

Beware of the Casting Police

The Casting Police are as vigilant as ever. You’ll find them in breachway parking lots, along beaches, and especially internet forums.

They flash their badges at the first suggestion that you cast differently from the rest of the pack.

It does not matter if you like to cast that way.

It does not matter if you catch hundreds of stripers a year.

What matters is that there is The Way. The way of the double haul. Practice it not, and you shall be — if you’ll pardon the expression — cast out. Banished forever from their imaginary kingdom.

Fortunately, the Casting Police have no real power over you, me, or anyone. You may cast and fish as you like. There are many, many ways, and you are free to explore the wonders of all of them as you see fit.

Ray Bergman wrote, “You may gather from this that I am not particularly interested in perfect form casting, and that is very true…it is best to concentrate on the other points rather than on form, and the casting will usually take care of itself.”

I think I’ll use that Get Out Of Jail Free Card now.

He even looks like a heathen! Fortunately, all casters are equal in the eyes of striped bass.

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Tying Demo: Bucktails, Soft Hackles and Flatwings for Stripers, 2/27/16 in Darien

I will be presenting a tying demo at the Compleat Angler in Darien, CT, Saturday, February 27 from 10am-2pm. Its focus will be Bucktails, Soft Hackles and Flatwings for Striped Bass. This is the traditional New England school of tying, with an emphasis on sparse construction, impressionism, and natural materials. For more information, contact the Compleat Angler.

Hope you can make it!

Bucktails so sparse you can read the paper through them. (You remember newspapers, right?) Actually, this is a game-used hybrid bucktail/soft hackle/flatwing. Good stuff.

Sparse SHFlatwing

Farmington River Report 2/10/16: A few extra foot-pounds per second

Maybe if I had applied that measured pressure to my gas pedal, I would have gotten to the river sooner. But here I was, and the prime water — where I got all my fish Tuesday — was on lockdown. (So much for inclement weather and mid-week timing. Bah. I liked winter fishing better when you could expect half-miles of the TMA to yourself.) I decided to make do with points elsewhere in the same run, usually a fair bet. But today that water was the difference between fishing and catching. I fished hard, and I fished well, but whatever was seeing my flies wasn’t eating. Silver linings? There’s something about cigar smoke twisting through snowflakes that brings out the romantic in me. River was 230cfs in the permanent TMA, very lightly stained and cold.

Jack explains the finer points of winter nymphing to Lloyd.

Jack Torrance