Fly fishing guide trips on hold — resuming when?

As you’re probably aware, all fly fishing guide trips or lessons are on hold. I know that many of you reached out to me this winter to book a trip/lesson, and I asked you to touch base in early April. And here we are. It’s’ a bad situation for everyone.

First, it goes without saying that I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy. If you’re managing to get out and go fishing, that’s even better. So, when can we resume normal relations?

I’ll be following the best practice guidelines put forth by those who know far more about pandemics than me. When they give us the green light, I’ll make a post here on currentseams. A reminder that my schedule will likely not change: weekends will out, so week days it shall have to be.

Thanks to all of you who continue to read and follow currentseams. Keeping with the guiding theme, here are a few memorable guide trips from the archives:

Greg hit it just right. We fished wet flies in mid-June from 3pm-7pm. With some strong caddis and sulphur hatches to goose the trout along, Greg had a banner day. It’s hard to beat wet flies pre- and during the hatch.

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July. Slow action. One of those warm, humid days that starts the Farmington River fog machine. The air over the water was cool and damp, and Mark and I were shivering in our shirtsleeves. I volunteered to fetch our jackets, and said to Mark as I left, “When I come back, I want to see your rod bent over.” This is the sight I was greeted by as I came back through the woods. All of my stories are true, and some of them actually happened. Like this one. 

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I love teaching, but I can’t control what Mother Nature is going to throw at us on any given day. So I was delighted to have her cooperate for this early May wet fly class. The trout were most agreeable, too. Ihor’s here with a gorgeous wild brown.

DCIM100GOPROG0034989.

 

 

A Modest Proposal: Catch Fewer Small Stripers This Year

It’s no secret that our precious striper stocks are stressed. New regs are going into effect (check your state for specifics) that every striper angler should know about. But this year, I’m creating my own reg.

It starts with a question: Do I really need to catch 50 small bass at the mouth of the Hous? Do I really need to catch 20 sixteen-inchers in June during the grass shrimp hatch, or on a flat on the Cape during a sand eel blitz? The answer is no.

I’m asking you to join me. When it becomes clear that it’s a small bass on just about every cast, I’m going to reel up and stop fishing. So yes, let’s still fish. Yes, let’s still have fun. But let’s also give the bass a break. Catching another dozen dinks won’t make you a hero. Walking away will.

Sure, they’re fun. But they’re also ridiculously easy to catch. These bass are the future of the fishery. So please consider giving them a break. And while you’re at it, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the ASGA. This group is gaining traction, and is beginning to have a real, quantifiable effect on the state of the fishery. Thank you.

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For your listening pleasure: “Trout Fishing For Striped Bass with Steve Culton,” a Saltwater Edge podcast

I’m pleased to share a new podcast hosted by the Saltwater Edge. Peter Jenkins, Saltwater Edge owner (and one of the tireless heroes behind the American Saltwater Guides Association) hosts and asks questions. Yours truly does most of the talking. So…what two striper flies can I not live without? Why are intermediate lines so limiting? How important is presentation? Where’s the best place to fish off a jetty? What’s all this trout fishing for striped bass nonsense about anyway? Listen in and enjoy!

Listen: Trout Fishing For Striped Bass With Steve Culton.

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Wet flies, weather, and other random Sunday musings

Just a simple Sunday “Dear Readers — how’s it going? Here’s what’s happening here” post. No pressure for me to make it perfect (although I’ve now rewritten the opening three times, dammit). So. I’m fed, caffeinated, and off we go.

I’m pleased to announce that my Saturday, March 14 Wet Flies & Soft Hackles tying and teaching event at Legends on the Farmington is sold out! Many thanks if you’re one of those who are attending. See ya there.

Snipe and Purple. Because you can never have too many soft hackles…

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Speaking of wet flies, I hope you enjoyed my recent series on W.C. Stewart’s spiders, and are currently enjoying my series on Leisenring’s favorite soft-hackled nymphs. There are four more to go.

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This infernal disaster cold I’ve had for the last month — that’s not a misprint — seems to be on its way out. I have not fished since early January and I have not had a cigar since Christmas. We’ll try to remedy one of those this week. Warm weather approaches, so I expect the rivers to be crowded.

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There has been some discussion about an early spring striper run. Every year is different, and the contributing factors are many. Some years I’ve bailed fish in late March. Other years I’ve blanked until mid-to late April. I’m sure when it happens, social media will light up. But you probably won’t hear it from me. Also, stay tuned for a new conservation-minded catch-and-release striper policy that I plan on putting into practice this spring.

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800 followers is so close, yet so far. Usually I add a hundred followers a year, but that has slowed. So if you want the chance to get your hands on some Steve Culton flies, get a friend to subscribe to currentseams. When we reach 800, the games begin.

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Last but not least, I have not been writing for magazines for the past 10 months. That is changing as I have one confirmed assignment for Eastern Fly Fishing and a few more irons in the fire. Till next time, good reader — and if you see me out on the river, please come say hello.

A good read on stripers and currentseams current events

Happy Sunday. Hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather. I am not, as I am STILL under the weather. I’ve got the cold that my doctor tells me is “lasting for up to month.” I’m now on week 3. Happy-happy-fun-joy, and I haven’t been fishing since early January. Bleah.

Capt. Hank Hewitt of Block Island Fishworks says, “Steve’s cold sucks THIS much!”

hankh

So, here’s a good, short read from our good friends at the American Saltwater Guides Association. This group continues to fight the good fight, and is being relentless even in the face of disappointing news. Please consider showing your support for their efforts with a donation. You can effort that on their website.

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Many of you noticed my recent post on Stewart’s Black Spider. I’m hoping to cover his Red and Dun spiders next. Then, some more of Leisenring’s flies. Last winter I did a highly popular series of posts on Leisenring’s Favorite Dozen wet flies. Now I want to take a closer look at patterns he describes as nymphs.

Baron von Black Gnatgenstein.

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Speaking of wet flies, stay tuned this week for special offer/event on a wet fly tying and fishing class I’ll be leading in March! In the meantime, I hope somebody’s fishing…

Why New Jersey is called “The Garden State” (Warning: contains adult language to describe NJ’s striper management meeting procedures).

It’s easy to see why New Jersey is nicknamed “the Garden State:” It’s from all the bullshit.

The manure was flying even before Thursday night’s “public” comment (say the P-word with your tongue planted firmly in cheek) session for the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council.

Tony Friedrich of the American Saltwater Guides Association wrote a scathing summary that outlines the (Corrupt? Rigged? Incompetent? All of the above?) outrageous behavior of the Council. You can read it here.

Fish are considered stupid because they have small brains. However, all stupidity is not limited to small-brained creatures.

But…Aren’t those the ASMFC’s most important jobs? — a brilliant essay by Charles Witek

If you don’t know who Charles Witek is, don’t feel bad. (I didn’t know who he was before last year.) So. Charles Witek is a very good friend of striped bass. He’s articulate, knowledgeable, and — well, heck, you can find all that out for yourself when you read his excellent essay, “But…Aren’t Those The ASMFC’s Most Important Jobs?”

It it, Witek takes a quick look at a recent survey of ASMFC commissioners. As Charles says, it turns out that the commissioners, “think that the Commission is least successful in managing rebuilt stocks, ending overfishing, and having commissioners cooperate with one another to manage fisheries. But aren’t those three things the whole point?”

Who knew?