Best of 2018 #10: Topwater smallmouth before the floods

A look back at some of my favorite fly fishing moments from 2018.

I’d been licking my chops all year, waiting for the Housy smallmouth season. And why not? The fish are plentiful, the anglers scarce, the water’s pleasantly warm, and there’s something magical about the feeding frenzy that occurs during the change of light on a hot summer evening. I went to the Hous earlier in July than usual with the thought that I was going to find some new honey holes. I had to do a bit of walking — a mile hike in waders in 90% humidity will get you lathered up proper — but man, did my efforts pay off.

Little did I know that these July outings would be the crescendo. August brought rain, and more rain, and then it rained again and again and there went the summer smallmouth season. High and stained, with flows in the thousands, was the new August normal.

This night in particular remains fresh in my memory. Dozens of quality bass bull-rushed my Gurgler as late afternoon transitioned into evening. Then at dusk, I tied on a Countermeasures and tossed it into the shallows…

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A handsome fish, this one. I got into more larger smallies this year than ever before.

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Dusk can be a magic time. This guy was sipping on emergers in about a foot of water. Based on the titanic hit he laid on the Countermeasures, I can only guess that if he were a football player, he’d be a linebacker. 

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Striper Report: A slow start to December

The month is off to a lackluster start. I fished a proven late fall bass producer on Monday, and it was a blank for me and the other half dozen souls who braved high, stained water and biting winds. Went back to the same well on Tuesday, and although I had the place to myself and the conditions were far nicer, the bite — or lack thereof — was the same. Off to spot B, where I knew bass had been caught 24 hours earlier, but no. Not for me, dagnabbit.

I don’t like the short term weather forecast, so perhaps I’ll need to rethink time and tide. Catching a striper on the fly from the shore for 12 consecutive months may sound like a simple proposition, but this first week of the last month shows how difficult it can be. While I am bloodied, I remain unbowed.

What my fingertips felt like by the end of Tuesday’s session.

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The Official Steve Culton Fly Fishing Show Marlborough schedule

It’s show time! I’ll be presenting all three days at the Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough, MA, January 18, 19 & 20, 2019. Three brand new programs, each making their debut.

First up is a seminar, Wet Flies 2.0. A deeper dive into the ancient and mystical art of wet fly fishing. This will be almost all new material, and a natural extension of the very popular “Wet Flies 101.” Friday, January 18, 2:30pm in the Catch Room.

On Saturday, January 19, 10am in Room A of the Destination Theater, I’ll be presenting Targeting Big Stripers From The Shore. Catching bigger bass on the fly while wading is always challenging, even more so in these tough striper times. Come find out some of my secrets.

Speaking of secrets, we wrap things up Sunday, January 20 10am in Room B of the Destination Theater with Lost Secrets of Legendary Anglers. How do iconic fly anglers consistently manage to catch all those fish? Shhh…it’s a secret.

I don’t have my Edison, NJ show schedule yet, but when I do you can be sure that I’ll post it here.

Mark it down on your calendar. Be there or be square. And as always, be sure to come say hello.

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