Many thanks to the dedicated virtual crowd who joined me last night for my Tuesday Night Zoom, “Good Reads Part 2.” In case you missed it, I talked about nine more books that have had a major influence on my fly fishing approach/philosophy/success. Noteworthy inclusions are two books about striped bass that aren’t fly fishing books at all. Nonetheless, they both contain a wealth of information for keen students of all things stripers. I’ve marked those two with an asterisk. Here’s the list: The Art of Tying the Wet Fly & Fishing the Flymph by James Leisenring and Vernon S. Hidy; Fly Patterns of Alaska by the Alaska Flyfishers; Tying Small Flies by Ed Engle; The Hunt for Giant Trout by Landon Mayer; Steelhead Guide by John Nagy; Greased Line Fishing for Salmon [and Steelhead] by Jock Scott; Stripers and Streamers by Ray Bondorew; Night Tides* by Michael G. Cinquemani; Surfcasting Around The Block* by Dennis Zambrotta.
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!”
Another fun Tuesday Night Currentseams Zoom last night! In case you missed it, we talked about winter fly fishing, from gearing up to dressing to when, where, and how. There will be more of these public Zooms throughout the winter. Thanks to the 50+ attendees for hanging out with me for an hour.
I’ve also seen a spike in Currentseams subscribers since the holidays and I’d like to say welcome. I appreciate your readership, and going forward I’ll try to provide you with far better fly fishing content than today’s material. But this is a writing day, and so I must take fingers to keyboard lest my editor jump ugly upon my personage. And with that, off I go.
Warning: Fly Fishing Writer At Work.
I got a late start today, and there’s so much to do: plow the driveway, catch a workout, pre-Christmas prep, a virtual wine tasting tonight (been looking forward to that for weeks!). I started the day proper by building a fire, an old Culton snow day tradition. I’ve also got lots of writing to do, but won’t get to it today: for Dennis Zambrotta’s followup to Surfcasting Around The Block, for my year-end wrap-ups for currentseams…plus Santa brought me an early gift of a new video camera. Gotta figure that out and hopefully make some even spiffier tying videos.
But for now, here’s a piece I did last year on the best nymphs for winter fly fishing. (Understand that “best” means my favorite, high-confidence patterns.) Also, remember that I don’t Euro nymph, so add weight and jig hooks to these patterns as you see fit. Enjoy the snow day.
We don’t need no stinking fake logs and propane fire!
I’ve received several emails in the last week asking about doing pay-per-view fly tying Zoom lessons — so now I’m throwing the concept out to the subscription base. Is this something you’re interested in, too? I don’t have any details ironed out, but I imagine it would work something like this: I pick a topic/fly, like North Country spiders or sparse striper bucktails or getting started with flatwings or high-confidence nymphs — you get the idea. I’d set up a class date/time — probably an hour-long session — and send the link to everyone who sends me a small fee via PayPal — $10? $20? We’ll have to see how many players we have to make it work. If this is something you’re interested in, please respond in the comments section, and it wouldn’t hurt to list the types of stuff you’re interested in tying. I should also say that if you want me all to yourself, I do private tying lessons for $65/hour. So now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s up to you…
One of my favorite parts of steelheading is taking some time to rummage around the shops in Pulaski to try to find stuff that I don’t see around here. This fall’s trip yielded a bounty of choice swag. Shops like All-Seasons Sports and Whitakers — where I bought these goodies — rely on your business to stay in business. So I encourage you to shop locally, both near your home river, and then also when you’re far away.
My swag, clockwise from left: Rusty Brown deer hair strip (I never buy deer hair sight unseen, and this was by far the best pack in the lot); Drennan 6lb. fluorocarbon (the only fluoro I use — it sees action for steelehead, and for trout/smallmouth streamer leaders); P-Line Floroclear 10lb (I use this for my nymph rig and steelhead butt sections); Fluorescent Orange and Fluorescent Chartreuse mallard flank, which I rarely see, for streamers). Coming soon to a river near you!
Great news for Block Island striper fans: Author Dennis Zambrotta is putting together a followup to his classic Surfcasting Around The Block — and he’s asked me to contribute a chapter. I’m totally stoked. But jeez…I have so many good stories to tell…how do I pick just one? Not to worry. I already have a good idea about what I’m going to write about…
In case you’re unfamiliar, the original Surfcasting Around The Block is “a collection of memoirs and short stories about Block Island, surfcasting, and striped bass.” Even if you’re strictly a fly angler (like me), it’s loaded with pearls and gems. The followup will have plenty about fly fishing.
Another November ritual completed: the refilling of the steelhead box. (One of them, at least. This is my main box.) It’s emptiness or fullness before I begin is usually a good indicator of the previous season. Did I go on a lot of trips? (An average number.) Did I lose a lot of flies to the bottom gods or to the unyielding material of a steelhead’s jaw? (Not so much. Slow year.) I will restock the box with old favorites, and perhaps a few new experiments. The order of its contents remains a comfort. Nymphs, soft hackles, stoneflies to the left; eggs, attractors, and junk flies to the right. Such a contrast between dull blacks and browns and the riot of fluorescence. Which patterns will be the hot item this year? Only one way to find out.
It recently occurred to me that many, if not most, of my currentseams audience hasn’t seen any of the stuff I wrote and/or tied before I started this site. I came to this realization when I was trying to find the recipe for the Steelhead Cameron, a west coast marabou wing-style streamer that was part of a series of patterns named for each of my three sons. Since I’m always looking to give you fresh, interesting, and useful content, I thought that this might be a worthy project: to go through my archives and find the old stuff that doesn’t suck. I know I did a whole series on legacy saltwater patterns. There are stories to re-tell. I’d likely need to re-tie and shoot any fly patterns. Stay tuned while I go digging….
The Steelhead Cameron, part of the “My Three Sons” series. All of them work. You’ll have to wait to see the Gordon and the William, and to get the recipes for all three.
Much to do today, and in between projects and responsibilities I’m trying to make a dent in my 800 Followers contest winner swag. Here’s a Hackled March Brown in progress.
As you can see, my tying bench trends toward messy. There’s something mad scientist/struggling artist that I like about materials and tools scattered everywhere…