Thank you, Nutmeg TU and “Trout Fishing For Stripers” Question of the Day

Many thanks to my friends at the Nutmeg TU chapter for inviting me to Zoom with them. I missed the pizza and the in-person energy, but we made do, and then some. The subject was “Trout Fishing for Striped Bass” and the Q&A session was again excellent. Well done, folks!

Question of the Day: “Do you always fish your Gurgler suspension rig on a dead drift or do you ever strip it?” A: the question refers to my three-fly team with two droppers and a Gurlger on point. If I’m using that rig, it usually means that the stripers have either stopped chasing, or I’m arriving on the scene and I’m fairly certain that the bass will not chase. So the presentation starts with finding a feeder — look for the splashy take or the rise rings — and placing the rig over that position. If there is no earth-shattering kaboom (bonus points if you get the reference) I’ll manage the Gurgler as a dry, fishing the whole team on a dead drift. If that’s not working, I may very slowly begin to gather line. This is less of a strip and more of an extremely slow pull, about 1 inch-per-second. If that doesn’t work, I might try a cast a few pops of the Gurgler. But in my experience, it rarely comes to that. Great question!

I used this articulated Gurgler a few times this summer as the point fly on a three fly team. It got some attention, even on a dead drift.

Thank you, Penns Woods West TU!

My presentation season is in full swing. Last night I Zoomed with the Penns Woods West TU group, covering my first “The Little Things” program. We had an exceptional post-session Q&A, and I thank all those who came up with such insightful discussion topics.

I have to say this new normal Zoom presentation thing doesn’t suck. I’m probably not driving to Pittsburgh (the Penns Woods location) or farther to present under regular circumstances, but that’s not an issue with this technology. So, fishing clubs, come one, come all: Steve Culton has fly fishing presentations, will travel through cyberspace!

Question of the night: How do you keep a dropper rig from tangling? A: The joke response is, “don’t fish dropper rigs.” Here are my top three tips for keeping things copacetic. 1) Slow down your casting stroke and minimize false casts; 2) Make sure your leader lays out flat on the water; 3) Check your leader early and often for potential issues. If you make a mickey cast, haul that team of three in and eyeball it! Tangles get exponentially worse in the water. Here’s Dave showing us how it’s done. Dave was my first client this year to go an entire wet fly session without a tangle. Bravo, sir!

“The Little Things 3.0” public Zoom event, October 14 7:00pm

I’m pleased to announce that Middletown’s Russell Library will again be hosting me as a guest speaker. I’ll be presenting “The Little Things 3.0” via Zoom on Wednesday, October 14, at 7:00pm. This Zoom is part of their One Book series, and you need to pre-register through the library. The event is limited to 48 participants, and you must pre-register here. You cannot register through me or this website, and this is not part of the Zoom series I conducted earlier this year.

This is a unique opportunity to see this presentation outside of the usual club format. I’m hoping that plenty of currentseamsers will be in virtual attendance.

Here’s a “Little Things” freebie: big, chunky hoppers/crickets/Chernoble ants/wigglies this time of year. You may not get a strike, but if you do, it’s going to be a good fish. Shown here, my Hopper Hammerdown soft hackle.

Fly Fishing Club Zoom Presentations, or: Welcome to the new normal

I kick off my fall fly fishing speaking season tomorrow night with a Zoom presentation of “Wet Flies 2.0” for the Long Island Fly Rodders. I have mixed feelings about this as the LIFRs have always been gracious, welcoming hosts. (Not to mention they put together an outstanding pre-meeting cookout — heck, I even managed a smoke of a fine cigar last time and no, Ken A., I have not forgotten that I owe you a stick!) But the guest speaker Zoom is quickly becoming the paradigm in the Covid-19 era. I’m thankful that groups are still holding meetings, and want to hear from people like me.

September is already busy, so if your fly fishing club is looking for speakers, you know where to find me. And if you represent a club from far away (For example, I’m doing a Zoom gig for a club in Pittsburgh soon) what better time to get acquainted? If you’re the person in charge of finding a speaker, here’s my current presentation menu.

In the meantime, tight lines, stay safe, be well.

This is what I’m talking about! Burgers. Kielbasa. Fire. I surely miss this, friends.

Final Tuesday Night Zoom of the Spring! “Summer Fishing,” June 2, 8pm

Please join me tomorrow night for the final Tuesday Night June of the spring. I’ve got all kinds of good stuff to talk about, so don’t miss it!

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Tuesday Night Zoom: “Flatwings: Tying and Fishing Basics,” May 26 at 8pm, plus an ASGA Webinar on Advocating for Striped Bass

You asked for it — heck, some of you demanded it — and here it is. (After all, what could be more appropriate for a Tuesday night?) We’ll talk a little bit about a lot of things re Ken Abrames’ brilliant creation: the modern saltwater flatwing. This will be fun. See you Tuesday!

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I also wanted to clue you in on a nifty little webinar that’s going down tomorrow AM: How to be an effective advocate for striped bass. It’s being put on by the ASGA. Here’s their copy: We know you care about fisheries policy but are probably frustrated with the process. We have designed this webinar to give you the tools needed to be an effective advocate. Spending time arguing on social media won’t get the job done. Let us show you how! We have special guests, case studies, and tons of useful information on how to make the best use of your time advocating for the resource. Join us at 11:00AM on Tuesday, May 26 for this free webinar. Also, be on the lookout for more webinars coming up in the next two weeks. You need to pre-register for the webinar, and you can do that here.

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Finally, we remember and honor those brave Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. A solemn and sincere thank you.

 

Candlewood Valley TU awarded the Legion of Zoom and the question of the day (best tides for stripers)

Many thanks to the Candlewood Valley Chapter of TU for hosting me at their virtual meeting last night. My talk was “Trout Fishing for Striped Bass” and we all had a swell time. Since there was no ceremonial pizza and beer — the internet has its limits — I fed myself and washed it down at home. But the group still gets the official Currentseams Legion of Zoom just for being cool.

The Question of the Day: “Do you have a favorite tide for striper fishing?” A: Yes. It’s the best tide for the spot I’m fishing. For example, some of the river marks I fish during the herring run fish better with more water, so a higher or top of the outgoing is best. Others, I can’t get to the sand bar until a couple of hours before low — so bottom of the outgoing tide. Generally speaking, I like moving water. If I had to choose a phase, I’d go with outgoing — and if I had to choose a more specific window, I’d pick dead low tide, which has produced some of the biggest bass I’ve taken on the fly from the shore.

Some meat on those bones: a broad-shouldered, big-backed bass, taken on the dropping tide near dead low.

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“Little Things 3.0” March 31 at Russell Library postponed

Due to the evolving coronavirus situation, my seminar, “The Little Things 3.0,”  originally scheduled for March 31 at the Russell Library in Middletown, CT, has been postponed. The earliest possible rescheduling would be mid-April, but there is no target date. My apologies for any inconvenience.

If you’re attending my Wet Flies & Soft Hackles class this Saturday, please come healthy, and it’s BYOHS (Bring Your Own Hand Sanitizer).

You cannot get coronavirus from kissing a fish.

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“Wet Flies & Soft Hackles” class March 14: Special Offer!

Sal, the owner of Legends on the Farmington, has authorized me to make the following special offer to currentseams readers: you can now attend my Wet Flies & Soft Hackles class for one day only, Saturday, March 14, dinner included, for just $99!

If you want to catch more fish, you should be tying and fishing wet flies like the Squirrel and Ginger.

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What: “Wet Flies and Soft Hackles” is a tying and how-to fishing class. We’ll do plenty of tying (bring your vise, tools, and threads and I’ll supply the rest of the soft-hackled magic) and we’ll have a little classroom presentation/discussion here and there.

When: Saturday, March 14. Starts around 9am. Goes all day, then we enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by Sal.

Where: Legends on the Farmington, a gorgeous lodge on the banks of the river.

How: You cannot sign up/resgister through me or my website. Please contact Sal at legendsbnb@hotmail.com or visit their site at legendsbnb.com.

This class will sell out, so make haste. See you there!

A most excellent evening with the South Shore Fly Casters (and bonus Q&A)

A hale and hearty shout out to the South Shore Fly Casters, who most graciously asked me to speak at their February meeting. The topic was “Trout Fishing for Striped Bass,” which focuses on traditional flies and presentation methods you can use to catch the stripers that everyone can’t. Let’s start with the venue. Any club that holds their meetings at a craft brewery gets bonus pints — er, points — from me. The turnout was strong (almost 50) and it was very passionate, interested group. I appreciated your welcoming nature and for all the kind things you had to say about me and my writing (and the SSFC club swag). Hoping to come back soon!

A very cool space for a meeting. In case you’re wondering, it’s Barrel House Z in Weymouth. That’s my double IPA near the projector. Yummy. (Photo Dan Wells.)

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Three Q&A highlights: Q: What knot do you use to build your three-fly team? A: Triple surgeons. But you should use the knot with which you are most comfortable (a lot of people like the blood knot). I also mentioned that I never go below 20# mono for the rig, and that if bass over 15lbs are in the mix, I’ll typically fish only one fly.

Q: Do you ever tie droppers off the bend of the leading hook? A: Never for striper fishing. I don’t want anything getting in the way of a hookup, but most of all I want the dropper fly to able to swim freely on its own tag.

Q: How do you use a floating line to present an unweighted fly deep? A: I’ll either add a 3/0 shot (or two) to the leader (and I may also lengthen the leader from, say, 7 feet to 10 feet), but most often I’ll use of the following: 1) homemade T-11 sink tips (I carry a bunch from 2-8 feet long in 2-foot increments; or 2) I’ll use an integrated sink-tip line that has a floating running line. Of course, with either of these solutions, you must mend if there is current to help the fly sink. I’ll also shorten the leader to 3 feet.

Hope that helps!