Many thanks for the enthusiastic group of students who attended yesterday’s virtual fly tying class. We tackled the subject of winged and wingless wets (both how to tie and how to fish, although the focus was largely on the tying part). I appreciate your passion and energy, and I’ve received some excellent questions via email. Next tying class is TBD, both date and subject, although we discussed topics like streamers, proven local nymphs, and some saltwater/flatwings, too. Of course, I’d love to hear from you, since you’re the customer. Tie on, and dream about those sharp tugs that are coming this April.
I’m still getting sign ups and questions (“Is tomorrow’s class still on?” Yes. “Is this a pre-pay event?” Yes. $10.) about tomorrow’s tying class, Tying Winged and Wingless Wet Flies. There’s still room if you want to join in: tomorrow, Saturday, January 30, 1pm. You can literally sign up for it any time before then (but I’d appreciate it if you’d do it sooner rather than later). Here are the details.
A hunk-hunka burning love of wet fly goodness awaits.
Currentseams subscriber Paul Gross left a comment in yesterday’s post thread about Callahan and Company booksellers as a good place to find old fly fishing books. I don’t have any experience with the company, but I didn’t want Paul’s comment to go unnoticed. So here it is: “If you are looking for hard-to-find fishing books, Callahan & Co booksellers in Peterborough, NH has an unbelievable collection. 603 924-3726. I don’t believe they have a website, unfortunately. If you visit in person, it’s completely overwhelming. Make sure you have a limit on your credit card!”
A good virtual crowd last night for my Tuesday Night Zoom, “Good Reads.” In case you missed it, I shared a dozen books that have had a major influence on my fly fishing approach/philosophy/success. I had several requests for the list, so here it is: Trout Fishing by Joe Brooks. Trout by Ray Bergman. The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles by Sylvester Nemes. Wet Flies by Dave Hughes. Two Centuries of Soft-Hackled Flies by Sylvester Nemes. Trout Lessons by Ed Engle. Striper Moon and A Perfect Fish by Ken Abrames. Steelhead Fly Fishing by Trey Combs. Steelhead Dreams by Matt Supinski. Nymph Fishing by George Daniel. Tactical Fly Fishing by Devin Olsen.
It occurs to me that each of these books deserves its own review. I’ve already formally reviewed some of the newer ones on these pages, but I’ll be starting a series featuring the others very soon. Last night’s Zoom was so well received that I’m going to do another on Good Reads (Son of Good Reads? Good Reads II? Attack of the Good Reads?). The well of influential material is deep!
There’s still room in Saturday’s (January 30) class, Tying Wingless and Winged Wet Flies. We start at 1pm, and you can literally sign up for it any time before then. Here are the details.
And now, I’m off to write something for Dennis Zambrotta’s followup to Surfcasting Around The Block. Stripers on the brain…
A quick, fun read from the archives, and judging from comments over the years, one of my more popular essays. Enjoy, and see you tonight.
We’re keeping the Currentseams Tuesday Night Zoom ball rolling. I’ll be talking about some of the fly fishing books, old and new, that had a major impact on me, from how I fish to my general fly fishing philosophy. Autodidacts like me just can’t get enough of a good read, and I hope to turn you on to some books you might find invaluable. See you Tuesday Night!
I got a late start and had to run a few errands, so I didn’t get to the river until noon. I fished above and within the Permanent TMA. I made the decision to look for unpopular winter water, and so I had three marks all to myself. The river was up a tad from last week (400cfs) and we had a few snow showers. Observed: midges and Winter/Summer caddis, although not many of either. The method was tight line\small jig streamer. I only had one take, and I missed the fish; it was a very subtle pause, and I didn’t even get a head shake into the bargain. Wow, where did the time go? Reluctantly, I left to tend to responsibilities that were far less fun than tracking a drift through a fishy-looking run.
It’s beginning to look a lot like winter.
I was a little disappointed with the number of people who showed up for the most recent Tuesday night Zoom. Not from an ego standpoint. But rather from one of “we need this now more than ever.” One interpretation of the lower turnout would be that people already know C&R best practices. A casual scroll though Internet forums and social media shows this is far from the case: fish being held with dry hands. Striped bass (a stressed stock, remember?) being hefted vertically from their lips or laid onto boat decks. Wild brook trout being landed and photographed on rocks and twigs.
So please. Learn and practice safe catch and release principles: Barbless hooks. Land fish fast. Keep handling to a minimum and then only handle with wet hands. Ask yourself, “Do I really need a photo of that fish?” Keep fish totally submerged in your net, in current if possible, until you’re ready to shoot. For pics, it’s 1-2-3-lift-shoot. Then back into the net. (Ideal shot, we see water dripping from your hands and from the fish.) Consider underwater photography where the fish never leaves the water. Revive the fish if needed before release.
I know most of my readers already know this. I thank you. The fish thank you. The next angler who catches that fish thanks you. Please share this information with others as you see fit. And here’s a great catch-and-release best practices resource: keepfishwet.org.
By popular demand, I’m doing a second winter fly tying pay-per-Zoom event on Saturday, January 30 at 1pm. Like the first, this will be about 90 minutes of fly tying/tie-along instruction. The cost is $10. To “register,” you send 10 bucks to me at PayPal (ID is firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll send you the link to the meeting. Tying Wingless and Winged Wets will cover some basic, useful patterns. Again, the focus is on template and technique. You should have different color threads, different hooks, tools, etc. You should have at least one hen hackle/hen cape — Whiting makes a good basic hen hackle. The “right” color is not critical, but if you want to go all in you should have light or dark grey, light ginger, and brown. The point is, if you don’t have a specific color hackle, you can find it later. Questions? You know where to find me.
Many of you will want a complete materials list, so let’s plan on three patterns: Dark Hendrickson Winged Wet (Hook: 2x strong wet fly size 12 Thread: Grey Tail: Dark blue dun hackle fibers Body: Muskrat fur (any grey dubbing works) Hackle: Dark blue dun hen Wing: Lemon wood duck (mallard flank can be used in a pinch); Pale Water Wingless AKA The Magic Fly (Hook: 1x fine, size 16-20. Thread: Pearsall’s Gossamer silk, primrose yellow (you can use regular yellow thread) Hackle: Light ginger hen Tail: Light ginger hen hackle fibers
Body: Rabbit fur, color to match the natural; and Brown or Red Hackle (Hook: Dry or wet fly, 12-14 Silk: Crimson or claret Hackle: Red furnace (brown is fine, even grey) Rib: Narrow gold tinsel Body: Bronze peacock herl). Like last time I’ll answer questions and you can pick my brain.
Stuff like this. Yeah. I can already feel the tug…
We’re back with another Tuesday Night Zoom, baby! Proper catch-and-release principles and technique is a subject we should all be taking seriously. Yes, fishing is ultimately a blood sport, but there are ways to hook, land, photograph, and release fish before they know what hit them. Join me tomorrow night and we’ll talk about it. If you’re not already on my Currentseams Zoom email list, send me a request at email@example.com. Link goes out Tuesday late afternoon. Check your spam box if you don’t get it.