I literally waited two years for that September day: a heavy rainfall spike in the Farmington flow, a drop to a certain height, water still off-color, and (hopefully) big browns on the hunt. The plan was simple: pound the banks with streamers. She rolled on the fly, a yellow Zoo Cougar, moments after it hit the water, and I knew right away she was something special. A worthy opponent, and my largest Farmington brown of 2018.
We should probably measure this one in pounds rather than inches.
In a way, it’s ridiculous to try to assign a value to something as precious as time alone on the water with your sons. Suffice to say that I treasure the opportunity to go steelheading with them. We’ve got a nifty little system: Gordo gets the spring drop back shift, and Cam takes the late fall duties. Lucky dad! I get to do both. Memories are made, tales begin to be told, and it’s always an adventure.
This young man has become an excellent steelheader in just a few short years. (What a proud papa I’ve become!) As usual, Cam gets it done, whether rain, sleet, snow, or cold. Or all of the above.
Gordo and I have fished the Salmon River in April on sunny days and our shirt sleeves. No such luck in 2018: 34 degrees, freezing rain, classic ice storm. At least the fish cooperated — or they did for Gordo. Fresh chrome in April! Woo-hoo!
Welcome new currentseams.com followers, and to the long-timers, thank you for your loyal readership. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday filled with warmth and love. See you at a show or on the water soon.
Adding a little holiday cheer to the trusty old tying bench.
The Block is my salty retreat. My striper sanctuary. I’d go so far as to call it sacred water. The seasonal bass populations have been neap and spring in the past decade, but 2018 was a high water mark: good numbers of stripers, and some decent sized fish in the mix. In fact, a third of the Block Island stripers I landed this year were legal-plus, with a few to 15 pounds. Best of all, many of these fish weren’t easy to catch. On several nights I passed other anglers leaving the beach who greeted me with the lament of “lots of bass busting, but we couldn’t catch them.” This was surely a job for the floating line, dropper rig, and trout tactics.
And to my delight, it was.
My Block Island fishing is steeped in tradition. For example, I’ll use certain flies on certain dates, like the Olive Fireworm Big Eelie on July 4th. Doesn’t matter what year it is, it’s that the fly on that date. This 15-pounder tried to assert her independence, but I won the day.
I fished Crescent Beach and was walking along Corn Neck Road as the bars were letting out. “Hey, flashlight hat man!” came drunk girl’s come-hither shout-out. I rather liked her choice of words. In the moonlight I could see bass crashing bait on the surface. Here’s a release in the wash.
Is it me or does this bass look like she’s formulating a thought?
I’m a count-your-blessings kind of guy, and to be able to fish for wild native char on a secluded woodland stream is certainly at the top of the tally sheet. There’s something both poetic and romantic about catching a fish whose direct ancestors lived in the same waters for tens of thousands of years.
Even in winter. A dark horse from February.
200 years ago this was a farmer’s property line.
Biggest small stream brookie of the year, taken on a micro bugger in deep plunge pool. An old fish who made it through flood, drought, and bitter cold, I didn’t even take him out of the net for a beauty shot.
“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” goes the old saw. Nice try, but guiding is hard work. Still, it’s a labor of love, and I’m fortunate enough to be a teaching guide on a beautiful river. I get all kinds of clients, from beginner to intermediate to tourists and beyond, but they have one thing in common: they’ve chosen me to improve their fishing experience. I’ve once again been fortunate to have been hired by a long string of pleasant, kind people who were eager to learn and a pleasure to fish with. Thanks to everyone who made my job easier in 2018.
My April UpCountry wet flies class ran into a strong Hendrickson hatch. We like when that happens.
Guiding the next generation of fly anglers.
Big Farmy browns to net always make a guide look good. I’ll take all the help I can get.
One of my favorite guiding stories from 2018: I was shivering in my boots on a July evening, and I had to run back to the truck for my jacket. I told Mark I wanted to see his rod bent when I returned. As I came through the woods, this was the scene:
For me, the next best thing to actual fly fishing is talking about it. That might sound scandalous coming from a writer, but I do love my speaking engagements. I did more gigs in 2018 than any other year, logging thousands of miles in the process. Print and the web are great for reaching a global audience, but there’s something far more satisfying about being able to hear people laugh at your jokes or see the ah-hah! light go off. I have several new presentations in the works for 2019: Wet Flies 2.0 (a deeper dive into the ancient and mystical art of wet fly fishing), Targeting Big Stripers From The Shore (’nuff said), and Lost Secrets of Legendary Anglers. Oh! How could I forget? Another, as yet untitled, about tying and fishing flatwings. Fishing club social committees, you know where to find me.
A reminder that I kick off the 2019 speaking season at the Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough, MA, January 18, 19 & 20, 2019.
Revealing the black arts of wet fly fishing to the next generation of anglers.