This is my third (I think) year participating in On The Water magazine‘s “Guide Flies” column, written by Tony Lolli. You’re familiar with he concept of a guide fly — a pattern that is typically simple to tie and can be relied upon to produce day in and day out. (Or night after night, as it were.) The Big Eelie delivers the goods. Developed by Ken Abrames, this pattern imitates larger sand eels. Part flatwing, part soft hackle, the Big Eelie is understated elegance at its finest. I think what I like most about the Big Eelie is that its template — four pencil-thin saddles and a marabou collar — lends itself to as many color combination as your inner artist can conjure up. My Rat a Tat Big Eelie, based on Ken’s larger flatwing, is just one example. Have at it and hold on tight!
Do I guide for striped bass? The short answer is yes. But, these sessions are non-traditional in the sense of a typical guide trip/lesson. The focus is rarely on catching stripers in the moment; rather, it is to prepare you to catch stripers in the future. Depending on time/tide/conditions/season/luck, we may indeed catch some bass. But there is also a high probability that we won’t see a fish.
There are several reason for this. For starters, I do not guide at night. No exceptions. That leaves us with daylight hours, which in the abstract usually means fewer hookups. We’re also in the midst of striper downturn — there are far less fish than there were, say, 15 years ago. I can’t take you to Block Island or Cape Cod, which typically have an in-season abundance of stripers — you’d have to pay for my time and travel, and that would be cost-prohibitive. I’m shore wading only, so we can’t quickly zip off in a boat a few miles away to find the next blitz. Finally, my lessons are usually two hour sessions. Tides and time being ever-changing, that means we may not hit a strong bite window (if we do, good on us!). So, if you’re OK with trading immediate gratification for success down the road, read on.
What do I teach? A lot of good stuff you won’t find anywhere else. Most of you know me as a guide who fishes for stripers in a traditional and (in modern popular practice) unconventional manner. I primarily use floating lines. You should have one, too. My focus is on rigging, presentation, fly selection, and more presentation. You might want to spend a couple hours with me if you’re interested in learning traditional trout and salmon presentations like the greased line swing; how to tie and fish dropper rigs; fishing with multiple flies at or near the surface; reading water; fishing with your two-hand setup (sorry, I can’t supply you with a rod); and plenty of little things that sometimes make the difference between fishing and catching stripers.
I hope this clarifies what I do. My rate will vary depending on location. If you’re interested in setting up a trip, or need more information, please call me at 860-918-0228 or email email@example.com.
Not all Gurgler-type flies are meant to be stripped. I caught this handsome Block bass on a dead drift — the Gurgling Sand Eel was point fly on a team of three — and showing you how to do the same is just one of the things I teach.
According to today’s tally, there are 807 people officially following currentseams.com. The number tends to go up and down a little every week, but as most of you know, I do a fly giveaway contest every 100 followers. This isn’t the official announcement — I’ll be making it sometime in the next few weeks — but I wanted to take this time to thank all of you for your loyal readership. I truly appreciate it.
It’s almost contest time! You too could be the proud owner of fly swag like this.
Effective June 15, I will be resuming my fly fishing guiding/teaching services. I know many of you have been waiting for this announcement — I thank you for your patience. If you’re interested in a guide trip/lesson, please read the following carefully:
I will be doing half-day (four hours) sessions ONLY. This is to limit exposure for all parties involved.
I know, I know, we’re going to be outside. But you must wear a mask or a buff/gaiter that covers both your mouth and nose. No exceptions. I will be wearing one, too. The goal is to be respectful of one another’s health. And please, if you’re not feeling well, don’t come out. We’ll re-book at no penalty to you.
Take Captain Mark’s lead (but be sure to cover your nose). Hey, if we run into one of those hot, humid days we can pretend we’re somewhere in the Everglades. Minus those horrific mosquitoes.
My availability will be limited. While there are seven days in a week, I’m not looking to fill all of those days. Weekdays are better than weekends. I have many personal and family commitments this summer — and as you know, I like to fish too.
As always, my focus is on teaching. You can read more about that and find my rate card here. To book a trip, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-918-0228. If I don’t answer, leave a message and I’ll get back to you.
I’m looking forward to teaching you and helping you become a better angler.
You too can become a dangerous wet fly machine like Greg.
THE FEB 21-23 DATES ARE CANCELLED. NEW DATE, PROBABLY MARCH, COMING SOON! Wet Flies and Soft Hackles weekend at Legends BNB on the Farmington. I’ll be there on a Saturday (TBD) to lead a day-long tying class and wet fly seminar. You get to stay at an amazing lodge on the banks of the Farmington and, weather permitting, get out and do a little fishing. Please note, you cannot book through me — you need to contact Legends directly. My apologies for the date change.
If you’re tying big bugs like the Zoo Cougar or the Countermeasure — any larger pattern with a deer hair fan collar or spun head — the Renzetti R-Evolution Magnum Hair Stacker is a godsend. It’s got an extra wide mouth for those pencil-plus sized clumps; no more struggling to get the hair into the opening. And with four flat-side grips, the base is easy to handle. This is one of those tools that makes you wonder how ever managed without it. While you’re at it, check out this great primer from Kelly Galloup on spinning and setting deer hair.
The Renzetti R-Evolution Magnum Hair Stacker. Support your local fly shop by buying one there.
I’ve been playing catch up this week, so thanks for bearing with me. If you have flies coming, the production line has resumed. I will be in email contact with all parties involved.
I’m starting on the Old Blue Dun next.
If you are interested in a guide trip, pickings are slim for the remainder of August: Possible morning to early afternoon half-day: Thurs 8/22; Monday 8/26 looks fairly open; Tuesday 8/27 is open for a half day. We need rain! Hopefully September will bring higher flows and a more open schedule.
I have a bunch of presentations scheduled for fall and I’ll post those soon. Also looks like I will be appearing again this winter at The Fly Fishing Show.
And I still have to post my Block Island report.
Thanks you for your patience, and most of all for reading and following currentseams.
Due to heavy rains, there was no draw down of the Hogback dam this fall, which meant no broodstock collection for the Survivor Strain program. DEEP is going to try to do it au naturel tomorrow — by fishing with hook and line — and they need your help. How much fun is this job? You fish, catch a big one, the DEEP collects it and takes it back to the hatchery to do its thing. Here are details from Neal Hagstrom:
“I wanted to confirm for you that we will be meeting with anglers at the Greenwoods parking lot on Wed. We will try capturing brown trout to use as Farmington River Survivor Broodstock using hook and line. I will be there with the tank truck about 9 am and will bring smaller live cars for use in the river. There are a couple of anglers who will be starting earlier in the day, so I will be at the river early (7am) and have to leave to get the tank truck from Burlington. I will stay as late as people want. We greatly appreciate everyone’s willingness to help out. Law enforcement has been notified of that effort.”
A Survivor Strain broodstock brown sulks in the shallows. Quality fish like these — and their wild progeny — are counting on you tomorrow to help keep the program going.