Tuesday Night Zoom! “Where to Find Fish,” May 19, 8pm

Let’s keep the energy going with another Tuesday Night Zoom. In this installment, I’ll be talking about water — more specifically, how to find the most productive spots to fish. A little reading water, a little pattern recognition, a little get off yer butt and go find your next honey hole. Freshwater and saltwater. As always, bring your questions and I’ll do my best to answer them. See ya Tuesday!

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Thanks to another good Zoom crowd. Next week: potpourri?

A hale and hearty thank you to everyone who attended last night’s Zoom on matching the hatch with wet flies. Next week I’m thinking about doing a little fly fishing randomness…a little bit of this…a little bit of that. Most of all, since Zoom held us to 40 minutes sharp, I want to do less talking and do more live Q&A about anything fly fishing. So get those questions ready! You’ve got a week…

No meat shortage here. Like kielbasa, perhaps next week’s Zoom will have a little bit of everything.

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Who wants to Zoom?

I’m thinking of hosting some fly fishing talks on Zoom. Probably a weeknight, probably evening time frame. If you’re interested, please leave a comment and let me know. This is simply to gauge a general interest level. And please tell me how you’d like it structured — would you like me to choose from my exitsting presentations (shortened since I’d only have 40 minutes) like Wet Flies 101 or Trout Fishing for Stripers — or would you rather have it be more free form, maybe a general subject like smallmouth on the fly, or Help! I suck at nymphing, or fly tying/design, etc.? And of course, we could do both!

I look forward to hearing from you.

No sleeping while I’m talking…

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“Little Things 3.0” March 31 at Russell Library postponed

Due to the evolving coronavirus situation, my seminar, “The Little Things 3.0,”  originally scheduled for March 31 at the Russell Library in Middletown, CT, has been postponed. The earliest possible rescheduling would be mid-April, but there is no target date. My apologies for any inconvenience.

If you’re attending my Wet Flies & Soft Hackles class this Saturday, please come healthy, and it’s BYOHS (Bring Your Own Hand Sanitizer).

You cannot get coronavirus from kissing a fish.

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A most excellent evening with the South Shore Fly Casters (and bonus Q&A)

A hale and hearty shout out to the South Shore Fly Casters, who most graciously asked me to speak at their February meeting. The topic was “Trout Fishing for Striped Bass,” which focuses on traditional flies and presentation methods you can use to catch the stripers that everyone can’t. Let’s start with the venue. Any club that holds their meetings at a craft brewery gets bonus pints — er, points — from me. The turnout was strong (almost 50) and it was very passionate, interested group. I appreciated your welcoming nature and for all the kind things you had to say about me and my writing (and the SSFC club swag). Hoping to come back soon!

A very cool space for a meeting. In case you’re wondering, it’s Barrel House Z in Weymouth. That’s my double IPA near the projector. Yummy. (Photo Dan Wells.)

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Three Q&A highlights: Q: What knot do you use to build your three-fly team? A: Triple surgeons. But you should use the knot with which you are most comfortable (a lot of people like the blood knot). I also mentioned that I never go below 20# mono for the rig, and that if bass over 15lbs are in the mix, I’ll typically fish only one fly.

Q: Do you ever tie droppers off the bend of the leading hook? A: Never for striper fishing. I don’t want anything getting in the way of a hookup, but most of all I want the dropper fly to able to swim freely on its own tag.

Q: How do you use a floating line to present an unweighted fly deep? A: I’ll either add a 3/0 shot (or two) to the leader (and I may also lengthen the leader from, say, 7 feet to 10 feet), but most often I’ll use of the following: 1) homemade T-11 sink tips (I carry a bunch from 2-8 feet long in 2-foot increments; or 2) I’ll use an integrated sink-tip line that has a floating running line. Of course, with either of these solutions, you must mend if there is current to help the fly sink. I’ll also shorten the leader to 3 feet.

Hope that helps!

When the stripers are eating small stuff…(raffle swag for tomorrow night’s presentation)

Tomorrow, February 19, I’ll be presenting “Trout Fishing For Striped Bass — How to catch the stripers that everyone can’t” to the South Shore Fly Casters. SSFC is a newly formed group, and they’ve done a terrific job of getting their club up and running in a short amount of time. The gig is from 6pm-9pm at Barrel House Z, Weymouth, MA. Come on down…or up…or across…and you might win this spiffy little collection in their raffle. As always, please come say hello!

When the stripers are keyed on small stuff, it’s hard to go wrong with a well presented team of three. Four options here, clockwise from top: Deer Hair Grass Shrimp, Micro Shrimp Gurgler, Orange Ruthless Clamworm, Eelie. Good luck!

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Snapshots from Edison

Another year, another Fly Fishing Show — or two — but we’ve already covered Marlborough, and so we shift our focus to last weekend’s festivities in Edison, NJ. I was there Friday only. Since my Wet Flies 101 Seminar was at 4:30, I had the entire day to walk the floor and socialize. Here’s a little photo journal.

The beard is back! Captains Hank and Chris holding court at the Block Island Fishworks booth. This is the place I visit when I want to get pounded unmercifully for wearing a “Celebrity” badge — or to talk BI stripers. Thanks, guys, for lending me a chair to take a load off.

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Here’s an interesting concept: Hank’s sand eel fly umbrella rig. Four flies, but only one hook on the front fly. I think the joints are 100# mono. Hank’s intent is a protein payoff for a larger bass. He says he’s tested it, and reports success!

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Sticking with the saltwater theme, here’s friend Bob Pop showing off one of his Beast Fleyes. There always seems to be a crowd around his tying station, as Bob is generous with his time and smile. We got a chance to discuss one of our shared interests: growing roses.

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The best consistent source for flatwing saddles continues to be the Keough Hackle booth. There are hundreds of saddles to pick through in dozens of colors, so be prepared to invest the better part of an hour if you’re particular (as I am) about your saddles. Nothing for me this year, as I continue my quest for the perfect red grizzly saddle.

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Flatwing tyer extraordinaire Joe Cordeiro discusses the finer points of one of his designs with fellow currentseamser Michael Silfen. Just before this photo was taken, Joe was showing me a lovely lavender saddle he scored from Keough.

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Here’s the latest I have on the Pearsall’s Gossamer Silk replacement: the company is called Morus Silk, and they’re attempting to duplicate the Pearsall’s colors with this new line. The spool appears to be the same small size as the original silk. I picked this sample up from Mike Hogue of Badger Creek Fly Tying. I haven’t used it yet (lots of August Whites in that spool) but I’ll letcha know how she goes.

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Almost last but not least, Wet Flies 101. It’s a little daunting going up against the legendary Joe Humphreys — in the next room, no less — but I had a spirited crowd, and we had a most excellent time talking about wet flies. The post-talk Q&A was one of the best I’ve ever experienced, both from a quality questions and a duration standpoint (we closed the show down!). I’ll talk about some of those questions in a future post.

Space still available in Marlborough Show wet fly tying class — plus four presentations!

There’s still space available in my class at the Marlborough Fly Fishing Show, Tying and Fishing Wet Flies, Saturday January 18, 2pm-4:30pm. This is a great opportunity learn how to tie different wet fly styles, plus learn how to fish them. You too can become a one-angler trout wrecking crew! To sign up, click here.

To the rest of the Fly Fishing Show Marlborough Jan 17-18-19. Three Destination Theater presentations and one Seminar: Friday, January 17: Tactical Advantage: Angler vs. Trout, 12pm. Destination Theater, Room A

Friday, January 17, Seminar: Wet Flies 101, 3pm, Release Room

Saturday, January 18: Lost Secrets of Legendary Anglers, 10am. Destination Theater, Room C

Sunday, January 19: Tactical Advantage: Angler vs. Trout, 10am. Destination Theater, Room B. You can read more about those talks here.

I’m hoping for a strong turnout from currentseams followers, and as always, please come say hello!

A 20-something inch Housy brown that was seduced by the charms of a simple soft-hackle.

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It’s Show Time! Steve Culton’s Fly Fishing Show Marlborough Schedule

Greetings, fellow currentseamsers. I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday — and for those of you in the northeast, I hope you’ve successfully navigated this wretched early winter storm. On to the fun stuff!

Once again, I will be giving multiple talks at the Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough, MA, January 17, 18 &19, 2020:

Friday, January 17: Tactical Advantage: Angler vs. Trout, 12pm. Destination Theater, Room A. The best trout anglers enjoy a tactical advantage by constantly making adjustments, trying different approaches, following tried-and-true best practices, and fine-tuning their presentations. Here are 15 specific, proven tactics that will give you a decisive edge on your next trout expedition. This is a new presentation, and you can be there for its debut performance.

Friday, January 17, Seminar: Wet Flies 101, 3pm, Release Room. For those of you who have been asking, “When are you going to be presenting ‘Wet Flies 101’ again?,” here’s your answer! This presentation was recently updated, and provides a basic introduction to this ancient and traditional — and did I mention, “highly effective”? — subsurface method.

Saturday, January 18: Lost Secrets of Legendary Anglers, 10am. Destination Theater, Room C. Have you ever wondered which rod Lee Wulff would use in this situation? What does Ken Abrames do before every cast? Where does Joe Humphries think the most productive spot is on any river? These questions and many more will be answered in LSOLA. Culled from literature and personal interviews, this presentation covers 15 proven tactics and strategies used by master anglers, past and present, to catch more fish.

Sunday, January 19: Tactical Advantage: Angler vs. Trout, 10am. Destination Theater, Room B.

Naturally, I expect (and appreciate) a big turnout from you, the loyal currentseams reader. Please come say hello before or after the presentation. And stay tuned for my Edison, NJ appearance schedule.

Show time again. Speaking and teaching and meeting and greeting is one of my favorite parts of this job.

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Thank you Capital District Fly Fishers and the question of the night

Many thanks to the Capital District Fly Fishers for hosting me last night for Wet Flies 101. I treated myself to a pre-game meal at the Farmer Boy Diner — if you’re looking for a good quick bite in Albany, I’d recommend it. To kick off the festivities I tied a couple soft hackles, the Partridge and Light Cahill and the Squirrel and Ginger. Then the presentation (followed by a great Q&A session!) and off through the wind and rain and bluster back to CT.

Here’s the question of the night: do I like to use a soft hackle dropper off of a dry fly, or as the top dropper in a nymph rig? The answer is sometimes, and yes! I don’t do a lot wet-dropper-off-dry fishing — the exception would be on small streams where this setup is usually my default rig. Sometimes on the Farmington, I’ll fish a hopper dry or moist in the film as the top dropper on my team of three. And sometimes I’ll fish a wet-dry team for Housy smallmouth during the White Fly hatch. I almost always fish a soft hackle as the top dropper (tied on a 4″-6″tag) on my nymph rig — it’s a natural place in the water column for an emerger. Some days the fish choose that dropper to the exclusion of the nymph beneath it.

You never know what the small stream residents are going to want. Some days, they’re bashful, and won’t show on top. Others, they’re all in on the dry. Here’s a simple dry/wet rig. I’m unconcerned about the possibility of not hooking fish on the dry due to the leader material on the bend — the bigger fish will hook themselves handily, and the smaller ones I’d rather not touch, so they can bounce off the hook to their little heart’s content. Match your dropper leader to conditions and depth.

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See you tonight in New Britain! 7pm, the world premier of The Little Things 3.0!  Farmington Valley TU, Whinstone Tavern, Stanley Golf Course, New Britain, CT.