FVTU Awarded the Legion of the Cheeseburger with DIPA Clusters — and on to Marlborough

Many thanks to the FVTU gang for hosting me last night. This dedicated, passionate group of anglers has been supporting me for a long time, so it’s always a pleasure to return — especially since they embrace the concept of, “A fed presenter is a happy presenter.” (Sounds like something B. Franklin would have written in Poor Richard’s Almanac.) Fortified with a sumptuous burger and a lovely DIPA draft, I presented “Tactical Advantage: Trout vs. Angler,” followed by an engaging Q&A session. Thanks again, FVTU!

And now I’m off to Marlborough for the Fly Fishing Show. Today at 2:30pm, I’ll be the Featured Fly Tier. Come watch me tie up Spiders, Winged & Wingless Wets. (I had a blast doing this in Edison!) Don’t go away, because at 4:30pm I’m presenting my new seminar, Modern Wet Fly Strategies. I think this is my best program to date, and I’m counting on you to be there. Both are included with the price of your admission ticket. On Saturday 4/23 I have a class, Tying and Fishing Wet Flies. This is a chance to get some basic tying instruction, along with tips on rigging and presentation, geared toward making you a dangerous wet fly machine. It’s a paid class; you have to pre-register to attend. I’m hoping to see plenty of currentseams readers at the show — please come say hello!

It’s getting to be that time…

A belated thank you to MVFF & SEMASS TU; Marlborough Show coming up!

Many thanks to the Miami Valley Fly Fishers and Southeastern Massachusetts TU for hosting me this week. Thanks to the wonders of technology, I was able to be in Ohio Monday night from the comfort of my home office. I had the pleasure of presenting “The Little Things” to an enthusiastic, receptive audience. It was great to meet everyone — I hope we get the chance to do it again! Tuesday I was a road warrior, traveling to speak to SEMASS TU. This is another passionate group of anglers, and I enjoyed getting reacquainted with old familiar faces. I did “The Little Things 2.0,” followed by a most excellent Q&A session, including a long discussion about floating vs. intermediate lines in the salt.

Don’t forget about the Marlborough Fly Fishing Show next weekend. On Friday 4/22 at 2:30pm, I’ll be the Featured Fly Tier. Come watch me tie up Spiders, Winged & Wingless Wets. (I had a blast doing this in Edison!) Don’t go away, because at 4:30pm I’m presenting my new seminar, Modern Wet Fly Strategies. I think this is my best program to date, and I’m counting on you to be there. Both are included with the price of your admission ticket. On Saturday 4/23 I have a class, Tying and Fishing Wet Flies. This is a chance to get some basic tying instruction, along with tips on rigging and presentation, geared toward making you a dangerous wet fly machine. It’s a paid class; you have to pre-register to attend. I’m hoping to see plenty of currentseams readers at the show — please come say hello!

I love wet flies. Come learn why.

A Busy April: Speaking Engagements and the Marlborough Fly Fishing Show!

It’s a busy month for me, between fishing and writing and speaking about fly fishing. Here are the details:

Monday, April 11: “The Little Things” with the Miami Valley Fly Fishers. This is a members-only Zoom. I mention it in case you’re the person in charge of finding a a speaker for your fly fishing club. Thanks to the wonders of technology, we can meet up even if we are geographically undesirable. Here’s a link to my current presentation menu. I’m really looking forward to making some new fishing friends in Ohio.

Tuesday, April 12: “The Little Things 2.0” with SEMASS TU, at the Mitchell Memorial Club in Middleboro, MA. This meeting is open to the public, so if you’re in the area, stop in and enjoy the show.

Thursday, April 21, “Tactical Advantage: Angler vs Trout” with FVTU, at the Back Nine Tavern in New Britain, CT. Another meeting that is open to the public, and a presentation that most people have not seen.

Friday-Sunday, April 22-23-24, The Fly Fishing Show, Marlborough, MA. On Friday 4/22 at 2:30pm, I’ll be the Featured Fly Tier. Come watch me tie up Spiders, Winged & Wingless Wets. (I had a blast doing this in Edison!) Don’t go away, because at 4:30pm I’m presenting my new seminar, Modern Wet Fly Strategies. I think this is my best program to date, and I’m counting on you to be there. Both are included with the price of your admission ticket. On Saturday 4/23 I have a class, Tying and Fishing Wet Flies. This is a chance to get some basic tying instruction, along with tips on rigging and presentation, geared toward making you a dangerous wet fly machine. This is paid class; you have to pre-register to attend. I’m hoping to see plenty of currentseams readers at the show — please come say hello!

You can see me tie the Magic Fly, aka the Pale Watery Wingless, hear about how to fish it, and learn why it makes such a deadly sulphur imitation at the Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough. Plus — need I say it? — tons more information on soft hackles, wet flies, and wet fly fishing.

Reminder: World Premier of “Summer on the Farmington” this Thursday, Feb 24 in New Hartford

I’m hoping you’ll join me at Brewery Legitimus in New Hartford for the premier of Director Matthew Vinick’s film, “Summer on the Farmington.” Doors open at 6pm, film rolls at 7pm (that’s this Thursday, February 24). You can’t get tickets at the door — it’s advance sales only online through the FRAA. I’m looking forward to sitting back, relaxing, and viewing while enjoying a tasty craft brew. If you’re there, please say hello.

Edison 2022 Redux: a great show, weather and Covid be damned

With the Edison Fly Fishing Show in the books, I thought it deserved a detailed re-cap. The bad news was that not only did the show have to contend with the still-looming specter of Covid, it lock had a double whammy of an incoming snowstorm Friday night into all day Saturday. The good news is that The Fly Fishing Show continues to be a tremendous experience regardless of what’s going on in the outside world. Where else can you meet and speak to and learn from some of the best tyers and anglers on the planet?

Being a risk-averse kind of guy, I wore my N95 mask both days, even when I was presenting. (I’d say the majority of people attending were masked.) The exhibitor turnout was smaller than usual. (Since I’m not a gear junkie, this didn’t really affect my experience. Give me the Keough booth and Badger Creek, both present this year, and I’m happy.) After a year’s hiatus, it was great to see old friends, and have the opportunity to make new ones. The Friday crowd was lighter than usual due to the impending storm. Saturday’s crowd was small, but surprisingly larger than I’d expected, what with much of the northeast locked down in a blizzard. Sunday was predictably busy, by far the best crowd of the weekend. Looking back, I wish I’d taken more photos. But here are a few to tide you over.

Not a bad lineup! This was Saturday’s schedule in just one of the seminar rooms. Seriously, this has to be the best bargain in all of fly fishing. For the price of admission you get to see and talk to George Daniel, Pat Dorsey, Andy Mill, Ed Engle, Tim Flagler, Joe Cordeiro, and a whole bunch of other great anglers I didn’t mention. I debuted my seminar Modern Wet Fly Strategies on Friday, drew a decent crowd, and we followed it up with some engaging Q&A. Shades of the Sunday ice storm in Marlborough three years ago: I feared that no one would show up for my Finding Small Stream Nirvana gig on Saturday (I had the first slot of the day). Not to worry! Thanks so much to everyone who attended.
The flatwing dudes, Joe and Greg Cordeiro, had a great stash of saddles and longer peacock herl. Since it was a slow day, they helped me rummage through the Keough bins in my never-ending search for a decent red grizzly saddle, which, I’m delighted to say, Joe found for me.
I wish I had a photo of my first ever tying demo at The Fly Fishing Show. Being a Featured Fly Tier was a great experience. You’re mic’d up, you’re on a large screen TV, and the audience sits in front of you. You basically have an hour, and I managed to cover a spider/soft hackle, wingless wet, and winged wet. Since this all happened on Saturday at the height of the storm, I was again concerned that no one would show. Once again, not to worry! I had one of the better crowds, and I believe we all had a good time. Another pleasant surprise was my Saturday class. Since it was a smaller group (thanks again everyone for showing up!) we were able to tailor it to meet everyone’s needs, which was very gratifying. I can’t remember a faster 150 minutes.
The guide booths also represent a tremendous opportunity to learn about a specific fishery. I’m already what you’d call Block Island-savvy, but if you’re not, my buddies Captain Hank (foreground) and Captain Willi from Block Island Fishworks are a fantastic resource for all things Block. We spent a good chunk of time on Friday talking about last year’s fishing, and salivating at the prospects for this year. They do spin fishing, too. A family charter is a most excellent way to spend a day.

And that about wraps it up. Don’t forget that the Marlborough show was postponed to April 22-23-24. I know it’s right when we’d all like to be out fishing, but I encourage everyone to support the show, and take advantage of its opportunities.

A late (but grateful) shout out to the Main Line Fly-Tyers

In all the excitement of doing the Edison Fly Fishing Show, I plum forgot to say thank you to Philadelphia’s Main Line Fly-Tyers. I was supposed to present to them in person last Thursday night, but we had a potential Covid issue, and it was decided to play it safe with a Zoom. Disappointed but unflustered, we all went forth through the ether and had a most excellent time. I gave them my original The Little Things talk. Once again, I was impressed with the number of engaging questions and their friendly, matey nature. As things tuned out, they had a table at the show — I was at the show — and I got to put faces to some of the names. Thanks again, folks, and here’s to being in the same room for the next presentation!

I’ll have a summary of the Edison Show up soon.

Here’s a little thing, free of charge: whether you’re fishing in fresh or salt water, droppers are always the fastest way to find out what the fish want. You can offer them different shapes, sizes, colors, species, and life stages. This is a small baitfish suspension dropper rig. The Gurgler, on point (farthest away from me) acts as a suspension point with the floating line. So on a dead drift, the small bucktail flies are just below the surface film. You fish the Gurgler like a dry fly, managing the drift for a more natural presentation in current. For more on droppers in the salt, read my article How To Tie And Fish Dropper Rigs For Stripers.

Thank you, APTU, for a wonderful wet fly Zoom!

Last night I presented Wet Flies 2.0 to the Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited. I’m sure we would have all liked to have done it in person, but Zoom being the next best thing, we had at it, and a pleasant time was had by all. (Really good questions, group!) Thanks so much for being so welcoming, and let’s do it again, hopefully in person. Tonight, it’s The Little Things with Philadelphia’s Main Line Fly-Tyers, also via Zoom.

Tip of the week: When you’re matching the hatch with wet flies, pay attention to size and color. These are a bunch of Hendrickson soft hackles (with several variants in the mix). The trout liked all of them, and why not? They generally match the naturals in size and color.

New Seminar “Finding Small Stream Nirvana” debuts this Saturday at the Edison Fly Fishing Show

Small stream aficionados, rejoice! Have I got a seminar for you. Finding Small Stream Nirvana — Paradise on a Thin Blue Line doubles as a primer and an exploration into the nuances of small stream fly fishing. It’s loaded with real cool video, much of which I’m excited to share for the first time.

“Finding Small Stream Nirvana” makes its debut at the Edison Fly Fishing Show this Saturday, January 29, 9:45am in the Strike Room. We’ll save a seat for you.

Here are some more details: Fly fishing a small stream is possibly the closest an angler can get to touching fly fishing’s soul. Small streams are everywhere, from remote woodlands to hiding in plain sight in urban areas. In addition to gear, flies, tactics and strategies, I’ll also discuss how to discover your own small stream paradise. Finding Small Stream Nirvana will be eastern brook trout-centric, but will also cover non-natives like wild browns.

Here’s a little taste of the action. Don’t forget my Friday 1/28 seminar at 4:30pm Modern Wet Fly Strategies (also new!), my Featured Fly Tier demo (Spiders, Winged and Wingless Wets) Saturday at 12:30pm, and my class on Saturday at 2:00pm: Tying and Fishing Wet Flies with Steve Culton: Learn to tie and fish classic North Country spiders and other wet flies that trout can’t resist. The course also covers basics like leader construction, fly selection, where to fish wet flies, and how to fish them. Intermediate. The demo and Seminars are included in the price of your admission, but you need to register for the class. Click HERE for details and to register.

“Spiders, Winged & Wingless Wets” tying demo added to Edison Fly Fishing Show

I was recently added as a “Featured Fly Tier” at the Fly Fishing Show in Edison, NJ, Saturday, January 29 at 12:30pm. The focus will be wet flies, specifically Spiders, Winged & Wingless Wets. It’s going to be a busy Saturday with a seminar (Finding Small Stream Nirvana), this demo, and a wet fly tying class, but busy is good! Please take the time to come say hello.

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A classic North Country spider, the Grey Partridge (Grey Watchet). I’ve always admired the look of this fly. Trout like it, too. Wet flies are generally very simple ties, but there are nuances to the art form. Come to my tying demo in Edison and see for yourself.

New seminar “Modern Wet Fly Strategies” debuts next Friday in Edison

I just finished rehearsing my new seminar, Modern Wet Fly Strategies. Folks, I’m really excited about this one! It’s almost entirely new material, with lots of new video. It’s a bit more fast-paced than previous presentations, and it represents my deepest dive yet into the ancient and traditional art of wet fly fishing.

“Modern Wet Fly Strategies” makes its debut next week at the Edison Fly Fishing Show, Friday, January 28, 4:30pm in the Catch Room. You’re coming, right?

Want more details? Here you go: Modern Wet Fly Strategies builds on the basics of Wet Flies 101 and expands on the tactics of Wet Flies 2.0. With new video and content, this is a more detailed program about wet flies and wet fly fishing. Topics include matching hatches, situational use of wet fly types, presentation options, gear, and the tactical use of wet flies under varying conditions and situations. A must for anyone who wants to improve his or her subsurface game!

Here’s a little sneak peak, part of a promo video I made for the Fly Fishing Show. Don’t forget, I’m also teaching a class on Saturday, January 29, at 2:00pm: Tying and Fishing Wet Flies with Steve Culton: Learn to tie and fish classic North Country spiders and other wet flies that trout can’t resist. The course also covers basics like leader construction, fly selection, where to fish wet flies, and how to fish them. Intermediate.  Click HERE for details and to register.