Dispatches from the word front

Hello, fellow fly fishing reader. Get your eyeballs ready for a couple articles from yours truly.

Soft-Hackles for Winter Steelhead will be in the next (Jan/Feb) issue of American Angler, which should be out in early December. It takes a look at some of my favorite patterns for Great Lakes winter steelhead, and of course includes a few fishing stories into the bargain.

Winter on the Farmington will be out early next year in the Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide. One guess as to the subject matter. Gadzooks, I have yet to write this. And my deadline approaches rapidly from the east.

On the noncommercial front, I still owe you my Block Island Diary 2014 and a report from my recent steelhead trip. I ask for your patience while I restock my pens.

As always, thanks for your readership. And thanks to those of you who follow currentseams.

Winter. Steelhead. Smile.


What’s going on around here?

Much. Here are some details.

Radio/Podcast: I just recorded a segment on fall/summer fishing the Farmington with John Kovach’s Yankee Fisherman show on HAN radio. I’ll post the link when I get it.

Magazine articles: Look for upcoming articles in the Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide (Salmon Fishing for Stripers); The Drake (W/S Caddis); Fly Fish Journal (The Streak, a 12-month striper odyssey); and American Angler (tbd…this will motivate me to get those story ideas to the editor).

Web articles: Last night I started my 2014 Block Island Diary. I promise it won’t suck. I have a few interviews with Ken Abrames to sort through — currentseams.com exclusives. And of course regular fishing reports and tying articles/videos.

Appearances: Yup, it’s that time of year. I’ll be presenting Wet Flies 101 at the TU Croton Watershed meeting on Thursday, September 18th. You can find directions at cwctu.org. I’ll be presenting Eastern Brook Trout at the TU Naugatuck Pomperaug meeting on Wednesday, October 1. You can find directions at tunaugpomp.org.

I also see currentseams is approaching 200 members. I think we’ll have to do another fly drawing to celebrate.

We’re not quite yet to this point. But make no mistake — fall is here.

Leaf 10:13

Appearances, articles, and other nifty stuff

April is shaping up to be a busy month at currentseams. Fishing-wise, winter looks like it’s finally decided to vamoose, the stripers are on the move, and before long, we’ll be hearing rumors of sightings of those big mayflies with the three tails.

I have three more appearances scheduled this month:

Wednesday, April 9th, I will be tying at the CFFA Tying Roundtable. 7pm, Veterans Memorial Clubhouse, 100 Sunset Ridge,  East Hartford, CT.

Tuesday, April 15th, I will be presenting “Wet Flies 101” to the Thames Valley Chapter of TU. You can get details at thamesvalleytu.org.

Thursday, April 24th, I will again be presenting “Wet Flies 101,” this time to the CT/RI Coastal Fly Fishers. While the presentation is freshwater-centric, many of the rigging and presentations cross over nicely to striper fishing. connri-saltfly.com

Not yet. But soon.


My Word-o-Matic article writing machine has been going full bore. Look for a piece on matching the hatch with wet flies in the next issue of American Angler, one on the Farmington River Survivor Strain in the spring issue of The Drake, and a small stream wet fly article in an upcoming Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide.

Lastly, many thanks to those of you who have asked me to be your guide. With two jobs, two kids playing on a total of four travel sports teams, and a spouse who travels for business, my schedule is under constant attack by the time-space continuum. Thanks for your patience, and I’ll do what I can do to make things work.

Dispatches from the writing front (and other destinations).

My keyboard has been getting a workout this winter. Lots of articles in the pipeline right now that will be appearing in 2014. Among them:

Matching the Hatch with Wet Flies (American Angler)

Downstream Wets in Small Brooks, Building a Wet Fly Team, Salmon fishing for Stripers (Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing guide)

Bugs Department and Farmington River Survivor Strain (The Drake)

A story/essay on a year-long striper adventure (FlyFish Journal)

Not to mention the regular, wonderful (it doesn’t suck, does it?) content featured here on Currentseams.

Anyone else bloody tired of winter? Stand by. Spring is coming.


Speaking of soon-to-be regular (I hope) content, I just completed my first successful tying test video last night. I’m hoping to do a bunch of these this year. Stay tuned for the first one, coming soon.

Here I am

I have not disappeared (like this brown is about to).


I’ve been on a little vacation. Even starving writers occasionally get to go somewhere warm and breezy in the middle of winter. Yes, I managed a little fishing. Yes, there will be a story. But for now, these three items:

On Wednesday night, February 26, I will be presenting “Wet Flies 101” to the Narragansett Trout Unlimited chapter. You can get directions from their website (tu225.org).

Saturday, March 1, I will be at The Compleat Angler in Darien, CT, from 10am-2pm to present a tying demo, “Flies for Small Streams.” I will be covering wets, nymphs, dries, and streamers, along with tactics and presentations. Directions at compleatangleronline.com.

Last but not least, I just finished an article for American Angler on matching the hatch with wet flies. It will be in the spring trout issue.

As always, thanks for reading.

Farmington River Report 8/18/13: Crash, Bang, Wallop

If you put in enough time, eventually you’re going to cross paths with a big fish. Yesterday was my turn.

I’m in the middle of working on a wet fly piece for American Angler, and I wanted to try to get some photos of trout-with-soft-hackle-in-mouth. Right off the the bat, I was into a good brown. Then things slowed a bit.

Conditions were perfect: 75 degrees, overcast, showers, water running at 400cfs and a cool 65 degrees. What the bugs lacked in numbers, they made up for in variety: small BWOs, light-colored caddis, midges, and a few stray Isonychia. The bird were working industriously overhead. I was fishing a team of a March Brown soft-hackle as the top dropper, a Drowned Ant soft-hackle in the middle, and a bead head Squirrel and Ginger on point.

Near the end of a mended swing, she hit the fly with untamed ferocity. I’ve encountered enough of these larger trout now that I can tell immediately there’s a big’un at the end of my wet fly leader. The surface erupts in swirling upheaval, and line is bulled from the reel. That’s the last glimpse I’ll have of the trout for a while. Bigger fish almost always go deep, and this one was no exception.

Now, I was faced with the predicament of where to land her. I was surrounded by treacherous pockets and swift currents. I had to manage both wade and battle — this was the kind of fish you really wouldn’t mind falling in for — but I finally  made it to a calmer section to claim my prize. And here she is.

What a gorgeous creature. It would have been nice to get a full-length shot, but I was flying solo, and I wanted her swimming freely in the water ASAP. A quick measurement against my rod placed her at just over 20″.  Clearly this trout could also be tallied in pounds.


This was the kind of fish that, after you release it, compels you to sit on a rock mid-stream and contemplate your fine fortune in the scheme of the universe. So I did. And I smiled.

I took a few more fish, including one of the larger wild brookies I’ve caught on the Farmington this year, then headed to another spot. Juvenile salmon city, but at the end of the run I saw a splashy rise in the shallows. One cast, a partial swing, and whack! An eight-inch wild brown took the Squirrel and Ginger. I took a few more pictures, then headed home for dinner.

Nice work (if you can get it).

The winning fly, a Hackled March Brown. It comes from an English book published in the 1930s. Makes a fine Isonychia imitation.


New article by Steve Culton in the current issue of American Angler.

For small stream/wild brookie fans, I have an article in the March/April issue of American Angler that you might be interested in. “Upstream, Downstream, Small Stream” is about different tactical approaches to high-gradient mountain streams, topwater and subsurface. The issue should be at newsstands and fly shops oh, right about now.


Learn how to catch jewels like this in “Upstream, Downstream, Small Stream.”