I’m hoping you’ll join me for the new world premier (ok, so no searchlights, tuxes, gowns, or red carpet, but still it’s technically accurate) of Director Matthew Vinick’s film, “Summer on the Farmington.” Same place (Brewery Legitimus in New Hartford), same time (7pm), new date (Thursday, February 24)! You can only get tickets in advance online through the FRAA. Hopefully this current spike will be over and we can look forward to enjoying a tasty craft brew.
(cue drum roll) In the end, this was an easy choice. I’d been trying for over a decade to reach 100 steelhead landed. What with trips few and far between, some truly bad luck/bad timing, and dwindling runs, the last few years had slowed my progress to a glacial pace. A fish here…none there…one…repeat. I was stalled at 97, and when I dropped my first hookup on April’s trip, it seemed like I had another appointment with disappointment. And then, the mojo shifted. Fish were on. And landed. And then I held #100 in my hands. I capped the day with a monster hen and a celebratory cigar. You can read the full, original report here.
Every year, I go through the same angst-ridden process. What will I write about for my top ten year-end wrap-up? Did I even do anything that’s worthy? Maybe it’s due to residual holiday stress. Maybe it’s simply mind clutter. Or maybe I’m just a dork. Because it always turns out that once I make a list, I have so many things to write about that it seems impossible to whittle it down to ten.
2021 was another challenging year. The pandemic robbed us of so many precious in-person moments, from shows to club meetings. Rivers and oceans continued to see an unprecedented number of anglers, and I can’t say that that has improved the angling experience. Climate change continued to wreak havoc on our weather patterns; it seems we were either flooded or baked or parched. Even tailwaters like the Farmington were not immune to the ravages of the new normal.
But, enough of what’s not so good! Let’s have some fun. Ready? Here we go…
#10 Tuesday Night Zooms/Tying Zooms. Pandemic be damned — we can still safely connect via Zoom. These sessions often drew well over 50 people. It’s always cool to be able to see faces and hear voices, even if it’s over the internet. I’m grateful for the gifts some of you sent to show your appreciation — thank you for your generosity. And thank you again to everyone who attended my virtual fly tying classes.
#9 Big Winter Browns. You may not always connect, but when you do, there’s a chance that what you hook on that streamer is going to be good. I still don’t Euro nymph, but I did spend some time tying and learning to fish long-leader jigged mini-streamers. It’s an effective tactic for close-in work. Here’s the proof.
#8 Writing and Finding New Audiences. For years, magazines have been in a sad decline. It’s shame, because when it comes to reading pleasure, there’s nothing more enjoyable for me than the printed word on a paper page. But, this is the modern way. Some print pubs continue to hang on, if not do rather nicely. Others have shifted to electronic formats. Whatever the medium, I’m grateful for the opportunity to write and be read. You could have found me this year in The Fisherman, On The Water, Field & Stream Online, Surfcaster’s Journal, and American Fly Fishing. And, of course, right here at currentseams.com.
A hearty thank you to Nutmeg Chapter TU for the virtual hosting last night. I presented one of my more popular talks, “The Little Things.” The Little Things is all about seemingly insignificant factors that can have a huge impact on your fishing. Pay attention to the little things in your fishing, and tight lines will follow. I know everyone’s busy getting ready for the holiday so I’ll keep this short. Annual Christmas photo card coming soon!
Happy Friday! I hope your summer is going along nicely. If you’re a river and stream angler here in southern New England, it’s been a tough July. But it looks like we’re going to get a fairly long semi-dry spell, and that should allow the rivers to come down. I’m curious to see what, if any, negative impacts the flooding created. Rest assured, there will be impacts. As for the Farmington River, they’re still blowing water out of Hogback (over 2K cfs), but I think there’s a good chance they may lower the flow for the weekend. Check the USGS Water Data site for Connecticut for real-time information. In other happenings:
I’m working on a short piece about using a floating line in the surf. It takes the form of a case study, using a specific location/conditions, and it will be a currentseams exclusive.
Yesterday, I recorded a podcast for Fish Untamed. The subject is “Trout Fishing For Striped Bass,” and I’ll let you know when it goes live. (Give it two weeks.)
Drat this high water! I had all kinds of smallmouth fly experiments planned for July, and they’ve been blown to smithereens. So, we punt. I’m hoping flows drop enough in the next week so I can proceed. In the meantime, to the tying bench…
My article for Surfcaster’s Journal, “Two Nights in October,” should be live next week. This is an online subscription-only zine, so if you want to read it you’ll have get a subscription. It’s $20/year, which isn’t much for quality writing and storytelling, is it?
Stay safe, be well, and thank you as always for reading.
This has been happening more and more: I’m fishing near people, and later in the parking lot they come up to me and introduce themselves. That’s great, because I love meeting currentseams readers. But invariably they tell me that they didn’t say hello on the water because they didn’t want to “bother” me (the air quotes are mine). Folks, you’re not bothering me. Please introduce yourself.
Sure, if I’m guiding a client, I probably can’t have an extended conversation with you; that would be unfair to my client, who deserves my full attention. But it’s no secret that places like the Farmington River are more crowded than ever. Space in prime fishing marks is often scarce. So instead of me looking at you as a potential hostile invader — and vice versa — wouldn’t it be better if we could share the water without angst? Come say hello. If you’re looking for a place to fish, ask if there’s room. (Maybe if I get there after you, I’ll ask you!) If there is, we’ll make it work. If there isn’t, there’s always next time. And at the very least we now have faces and names connected. That’s a win for everyone.
Speaking of sharing water, I want to thank everyone I’ve encountered this season who has been so darned friendly and accommodating about doing so. I typically expect the worst from people, so it is a delight to be proven wrong about human nature. Kindness from strangers is a blessing. May the river gods bestow the tightest of lines upon all of you!
These gentlemen came all the way from Spain (really) to say hello.
I’m hoping to clear up any confusion there might be about email alerts from this website and my Tuesday Night Zoom email list. They are two different things. If you sign up for email alerts from this website — and I hope you have, since it’s the best way to stay current with currentseams — you received an email alert about this post. Those emails are generated by WordPress, and they have nothing to do with my Tuesday Night Zoom list. (On a separate note, I understand that in some rare cases people can’t get that system to work for them, and for that I’m sorry, especially since there’s nothing I can do about it; it’s a WordPress issue.)
The Tuesday Night Zoom email list is something I create and send out from my email account. If you’re NOT signed up for that list, all you need to do is send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put you on. If you’re not getting those Zoom emails, please check your spam folder.
Hope this was helpful. Now, how about a random fishing pic from the archives?
Another fun Tuesday Night Currentseams Zoom last night! In case you missed it, we talked about winter fly fishing, from gearing up to dressing to when, where, and how. There will be more of these public Zooms throughout the winter. Thanks to the 50+ attendees for hanging out with me for an hour.
I’ve also seen a spike in Currentseams subscribers since the holidays and I’d like to say welcome. I appreciate your readership, and going forward I’ll try to provide you with far better fly fishing content than today’s material. But this is a writing day, and so I must take fingers to keyboard lest my editor jump ugly upon my personage. And with that, off I go.
Warning: Fly Fishing Writer At Work.
You may think it would be easy to pick out a top ten fishing memories of the year list. But it isn’t. Sometimes it’s especially difficult to choose one event as the single best moment of the year. What made that particular fish better than another? Is size the only determining factor? What about frequency of catching? Is an epic day of constant action more worthy than a single big fish? These are the questions for which I struggle to find answers. In the end, I chose my tenth Block Island All-Nighter as the #1 Best of 2020 for several reasons. First, the company: old friend Peter Jenkins of The Saltwater Edge. It was Jenks’ first BIAN, and after a slow start he killed it. While there weren’t any slot fish or better, the action was consistently good all night (I’m told by my Island spies that this was the first really good night of the season). Finally, I hadn’t done a BIAN in five years, and it was soul-restoring to get back to this treasured tradition. Cap it off with a highly satisfying breakfast at Ernie’s, and that, and Jenks would say, “makes it a win!”
I know this was a challenging year for everyone. I hope you found some solace, if not downright joy, on the water. Here’s to the great moments of 2020, and to the hope that 2021 is even better. Thanks for reading currentseams. I value your comments, questions, and passion for this wonderful sport of ours. Cheers!
Skunk’s off. Most of the stripers we caught on BIAN X were in the 20″-24″ class, but Block Island bass are a treat on the long rod at any size .
I will draw winners this week and notify you by email. Thank you to everyone who entered, and for your continued support and readership!
Cheers, fellow currentseamers. Actually, I’d better not — I’m writing right now.