That IFTS Swag Post I Never Made

Until today. Back in November when I made my debut at the International Fly Tying Symposium, there was a Saturday night banquet. If you attended, you received an amazing fly tying swag bag courtesy of the IFTS, Keough Hackles, Hareline, Ahrex, and Core. And here it is!

What an amazing bounty! Most of this will get put to good use. Thanks again to the show and the suppliers/vendors who made this possible.

Currentseams Best of 2022: #7-#5

Three down, seven to go. Without further ado…

#7: The Return of the Slot Bass. For me, 2021 was a bad year for bigger bass. Now, to be fair, I didn’t go balls-to-the-wall in my search for larger linesiders. But I did get out enough times to enough big bass marks to warrant at least a few courtesy slot fish. I don’t think I caught a striper over 28″ in 2021. 2022 was a different story. Again, I didn’t put in the time that I did 10 years ago, but I had enough slot fish (28″-35″) throughout the year to keep me happy. I won’t list them all, but here is one report; and here’s another.

#6: Tying, Teaching, and Presenting at my First International Fly Tying Symposium. When Chuck Furimsky called me in late August to ask me if I’d be a featured player at the IFT, I was totally stoked. I’d always wanted to do the show, but my annual father-son steelhead trip with Cam got in the way. This year, it was a different weekend, and I immediately said yes. Being a featured presenter/teacher/tyer is a lot of work, but I had way more fun than I could have imagined. As expected, it was a very well-run show, with lots of talented people, and I made many new friends. If you took my class or saw me present or stopped by to say hello, thank you again! Read more.

One of the two new presentations (the other is Beyond Cast & Strip: Presentation Flies for Striped Bass) that debuted at the 2022 IFTS. You can see both of them next month at the Fly Fishing Shows in Marlborough and Edison.

#5: Spectacular Late April Hendrickson Action. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love when the surface of the water is littered with Hendrickson duns and the trout are so gleefully snapping them up that you can see the whites of their mouths. But for me, the wet fly action is what I treasure about this hatch. There may be nothing visibly going on, yet there I am, pounding up trout after trout with my team of three. Or, the surface may be simmering; the dry fly anglers are presenting on the surface to no avail, and there I am, swinging wets, rod bent, with a “Sorry!” grin on my face. When you hit it just right, the Hendrickson hatch and a team of wet flies is pure magic. Read more.

2022 International Fly Tying Symposium Redux: Too much fun

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending my first International Fly Tying Symposium. I’d always wanted to go, but my annual steelheading trip with Cam got in the way — until this year, when they moved the Symposium to a different weekend. So off to Somerset I went, vise and scissors and other implements of destruction in tow.

Getting there wasn’t without its challenges. That Friday night, we had a major rainstorm in the tri-state area. At one point my nav app said a four hour drive. Not fancying the idea of slogging through Manhattan at rush hour, I delayed. I didn’t get to my hotel room until shortly before midnight.

I’d been invited as a celebrity tier and presenter, so no pressure…no, really, it was all good, and it was wonderful to be wanted. I found my tying space first thing Saturday morning, sharing the table with Chester Rosocha. I’d never met Chester before, but I won the table-mate lottery as he was as nice and matey and friendly a soul as you could hope for. Tim Flagler and and Tim Cammisa were the next table down, but you can’t win them all…of course I’m joking. Tim and Tim are both swell guys, not to mention exceptional tiers, and we shared plenty of laughs over the course of two days.

Every show, I tell myself, “This time I’m going to take more photos and some videos of me and others in action to share on my website.” Then stuff gets in the way. And it doesn’t get done. But here are a few shots from the weekend.

So much to do and see, so little time! And this is just Saturday. Plus classes, plus the show floor (tiers and marketplace) — it all makes for a busy weekend. This was a new wet fly presentation, which drew an excellent crowd for its debut. In the afternoon, I conducted a wet fly tying class which also went very well. Six very enthusiastic students who made their instructor’s job easy. We covered the basics of soft hackles, wingless, and winged wets.
One of the best parts about big shows like this is the possibility that you’ll run across some new materials you didn’t know you needed. I saw these at Tim Flagler’s table and had to have some. Look closely at the packaging and you can see that someone has a potty mind (albeit in good fun). The USP of Tye Sticks is that they have a monofilament core that extends past the material butt end, making them a breeze to attach to a hook. You can find these online using the company name. (I have no affiliation with the brand.)
I also scored some nice bucktails from Brad Buzzi, and some 30-yard spools of Bill’s Bodi Braid. I’ve had enough of buying those cards with a measly 3 or 4 yards of material, so I stocked up on these three staple colors and left happy.
My Sunday seminar, Beyond Cast & Strip: Presentation Flies for Striped Bass, starting to fill up. This was another great group, and we stayed out past curfew for a long and engaging Q&A session. Another debut presentation. I want to thank everyone who took the time to come hear me speak, attended my class, or just say hello. You made my first IFTS highly enjoyable!
My crowning achievement of the weekend took place Saturday night at the banquet. (Did I mention that if you attended the banquet, you received a gift bag loaded with fly tying materials, tools, hooks, beads…all good quality, highly useful stuff. I’ll try to remember to take a photo of the bounty for a future post.) I sat at the table with the Italian contingent– this was, after all, the International Fly Tying Symposium — who spoke varying degrees of English ranging from a little to virtually none. They had brought along a couple bottles from the old country, and were eager to share. My kind of crowd! Then, a gentleman from the hotel materialized and tried to explain that we could not bring our own booze and open it in the dining room. Seizing the opportunity, I explained the situation, focusing mostly on the fact that this wine came special all the way from Italy, and our colleagues were most eager to share in the spirit of international goodwill, and that if you, Mr. Hotel Man, can figure out how to tell them in Italian — OK, so maybe I exaggerated a wee bit on their total lack of command of the English language — that they can’t have their wine, please do so. Next thing I know, he’s saying never mind, and he’ll be right back with some wine glasses for the table. Salute!

“Beyond Cast & Strip: Presentation Flies For Striped Bass” at the International Fly Tying Symposium Sunday Nov. 13

I’m putting the finishing touches on a brand new presentation called Beyond Cast & Strip: Presentation Flies For Striped Bass, and you can be one of the first to see it at the International Fly Tying Symposium, Sunday, Nov 13 at 11am. It’s one of two seminars I’ll be doing — the other is Tying and Fishing Wet Flies, also brand new. You can see that one on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 10:30. Both seminars are included in the price of admission to the Symposium. Beyond Cast & Strip is all about tying flies that create the illusion of life, even when at rest — flatwings, bucktails, soft hackles — all proven patterns that I use every season. I’ll also be sharing some insights on how and where to fish presentation flies. I’m excited about this one, folks. See you there!

The International Fly Tying Symposium is happening this November 12-13 in Somerset, NJ. When I’m not doing my seminars, I’ll be at my tying table, or teaching a class, Tying Soft Hackles, Winged, and Wingless Wets.

One month away! International Fly Tying Symposium tying class and seminars

Steve Culton will be making his first appearance at the 2022 International Fly Tying Symposium, November 12-13 in Somerset, NJ. (I know, sounds like a press release, but this kind of is.) In case you haven’t visited, and are looking for more information, the Symposium site is live. There was a glitch yesterday in the class registration link; that has been fixed. So, if you want to attend my class, Tying Soft Hackles, Winged and Wingless Wets, Saturday Nov 12 from 1pm-3:30pm, you can register here.

I’m currently working on two new seminars that will debut at the Symposium. The first, on Saturday at 10:30, is Tying and Fishing Wet Flies. This will cover some basic wet fly construction, theory, and how to present and fish wet flies — and you’ll also get to see some of my favorite patterns. On Sunday at 11am, it’s Beyond Cast and Strip: Presentation Flies for Stripers. I’ll be covering fly design, use of natural materials, sparseness in design, and — drum roll — presentations other than cast and strip. If you want to attend either or both, you just show up, and I’m hoping for a good turnout from currentseams followers. And of course, I’ll be at a tying table when I’m not teaching and presenting.

If you’re just casting and stripping, a spinning rod is a much better tool for that job. Find out why I tie striper flies the way I do, the secret ingredient in all my patterns, and how to present them — at this year’s International Fly Tying Symposium.

I’ll be appearing at The International Fly Tying Symposium, Nov 12-13, Somerset, NJ

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be a featured speaker and instructor at this year’s International Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset, New Jersey! The dates are Saturday, November 12, and Sunday, November 13. My tentative schedule is: Seminar, Tying and Fishing Wet Flies, Saturday 10:30am; Tying Class, Tying Soft Hackles, Winged, and Wingless Wets, Saturday 1pm-3:30pm; Seminar, Beyond Cast and Strip: Presentation Flies for Striped Bass, Sunday 11am. The rest of the time I’ll be tying on the show floor. I believe the seminars are included in your admission price, and that you have to sign up for the tying class. I also want to emphasize that this is a preliminary schedule, and that the Symposium website should have more information up by October 1. Naturally, I’ll update you as things develop. Mark it down, and be there or be square!

It’s not just, “Which fly?” Presentation matters, and you’ll hear all about both from me at the International’s Fly Tying Symposium in November.