Thank you, Penns Woods West TU!

My presentation season is in full swing. Last night I Zoomed with the Penns Woods West TU group, covering my first “The Little Things” program. We had an exceptional post-session Q&A, and I thank all those who came up with such insightful discussion topics.

I have to say this new normal Zoom presentation thing doesn’t suck. I’m probably not driving to Pittsburgh (the Penns Woods location) or farther to present under regular circumstances, but that’s not an issue with this technology. So, fishing clubs, come one, come all: Steve Culton has fly fishing presentations, will travel through cyberspace!

Question of the night: How do you keep a dropper rig from tangling? A: The joke response is, “don’t fish dropper rigs.” Here are my top three tips for keeping things copacetic. 1) Slow down your casting stroke and minimize false casts; 2) Make sure your leader lays out flat on the water; 3) Check your leader early and often for potential issues. If you make a mickey cast, haul that team of three in and eyeball it! Tangles get exponentially worse in the water. Here’s Dave showing us how it’s done. Dave was my first client this year to go an entire wet fly session without a tangle. Bravo, sir!

Fly Fishing Club Zoom Presentations, or: Welcome to the new normal

I kick off my fall fly fishing speaking season tomorrow night with a Zoom presentation of “Wet Flies 2.0” for the Long Island Fly Rodders. I have mixed feelings about this as the LIFRs have always been gracious, welcoming hosts. (Not to mention they put together an outstanding pre-meeting cookout — heck, I even managed a smoke of a fine cigar last time and no, Ken A., I have not forgotten that I owe you a stick!) But the guest speaker Zoom is quickly becoming the paradigm in the Covid-19 era. I’m thankful that groups are still holding meetings, and want to hear from people like me.

September is already busy, so if your fly fishing club is looking for speakers, you know where to find me. And if you represent a club from far away (For example, I’m doing a Zoom gig for a club in Pittsburgh soon) what better time to get acquainted? If you’re the person in charge of finding a speaker, here’s my current presentation menu.

In the meantime, tight lines, stay safe, be well.

This is what I’m talking about! Burgers. Kielbasa. Fire. I surely miss this, friends.

Steve Culton Fly Fishing Zoom Presentations

Even though it’s the middle of summer, it’s not too early to start thinking about your fly fishing club’s fall/winter meeting schedule. I know a lot of groups are playing it safe and holding virtual meetings — I’m right with you on that. In fact, I can help. Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, you can still hold a meeting and host a national-level fly fishing speaker.

I’ve been using the Zoom platform, and it translates well to a virtual meeting. I give my talk — you can choose from an extensive fly fishing presentation menu — and then I do a Q&A session for your members, just like I would if I were there. Some members can’t make the session? No worries! I let you record the session and keep it on your website or YouTube channel for two weeks.

Best of all, this a ideal way to expand your fly fishing speaker horizons, whether you’re in a nearby state or several time zones away. I’ve already filled two dates in September.

For rates and to book me, please call 860-918-0228, or email me at swculton@yahoo.com.

Zoom is the new presentation normal. It’s also the next best thing to being there. This was part of a series I hosted this spring.

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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.