As the pandemic began tightening its grip on America, none of us could predict what was coming — or how much our daily lives and routines would be changing. So I had no way of knowing that my presentation of “Trout Fishing For Striped Bass” (here’s the SWE podcast) to the South Shore Fly Casters near the end of February would be my last live presentation of 2020. The evening was both a pleasure and a challenge. The group meets in a brewery (yay!) and the turnout was excellent; at the opposite end, I was battling a miserable sinus infection and thus was lathering on hand sanitizer and keeping social distance before I knew social distancing was going to be all the rage. Here’s the link to my report on the talk. It includes some striper Q&A, so give it a read.
Man, I miss going out and talking to groups live! We’re making do with Zooms, and I’m able to present to a wider geographic range of fly fishing clubs, but there’s nothing like a live audience. Hang in there. Once we get though this madness, we’ll all gather for a beer and some quality face-to-face fly fishing conversation.
When people ask me about my fishing job, I break it down into three parts: guiding/tying/teaching, writing, and presentations. I love all three, but I think my favorite is presenting. I get to teach fly fishing (I’m passionate about doing so, and I believe that’s reflected in my energy and delivery) and I get to meet people and talk about fly fishing face-to-face. That last bit may sound strange coming from an introvert. I feel blessed to have this site, and Zooms are then next best thing to being there, but no computer interface can replace a handshake (elbow bump these days) and a smile.
At the time we had no way of knowing that the 2020 Marlborough and Edison Fly Fishing Shows would be the last for a while. (There’s talk about doing some parts of those shows remotely in 2021, but at this time I don’t have any information to share. If you want to re-live the 2020 shows, here are my 2020 Marlborough and 2020 Edison recaps.) I think I made the most of it, with big room seminars, Destination Theater presentations, and something new for me, a wet fly tying class. Thank you to everyone who came out to meet, greet, and listen. Thanks to my industry friends for your kindness and giving energy. I’m looking forward to resuming in 2022!
Fly fishing is so serious….or not. I love these guys: Jason Randall (partially obscured by Ed Engle) and George Daniel. If you haven’t read their stuff or seen them speak, you should.
…In which we count down a series that recaps my favorite fly fishing moments of 2020…
Marines are trained to improvise, adapt, and overcome obstacles. OK, so I’m not a Marine. But my oldest son is, and I’m going use that as license to borrow this mantra. This spring, with our nation in the grips of the pandemic, speaking in person to fly fishing clubs wasn’t an option. Lockdowns and social distancing in general were challenging for so many of us. And even though I’m an introvert, I dearly missed the chance to interact with other fly fishers. The idea of doing a regular Zoom seemed like a good one. Best if we keep it to the same night every week. But which night? In an homage to one of my mentors, Ken Abrames, I decided on Tuesday. And thus was born the Tuesday Night Currentseams Zoom.
While not as detailed and rehearsed as my paying gigs, I believe these presentations were still loaded with good advice and included a strong entertainment factor. Your reaction and support was overwhelming. There’s nothing worse than presenting to an audience of ten when you were expecting a hundred. Well, I never cracked the century mark, but we got over 75 more than once, and we were almost always over 50. While I intended these simply as a way to get us all to connect through fly fishing, some of you generously offered donations. So: thank you. Thanks for showing up. Thanks for so many great questions. And thanks for your enthusiasm. You gave me something to look forward to every week for a couple months.
As the pandemic continued, some fly fishing clubs discovered that if they held their meetings remotely, members could safely attend. This fall I got back to presenting to clubs via Zoom. In fact, I have a bunch scheduled for 2021 that I’m looking forward to. Many of you have asked that I do some pay-per-view tying Zooms this winter. Those are in the works. And we may still do a freebie now and then. So stay tuned…
This was my last Zoom, back in early June. At its close, I asked everyone to go out and fish and have an adventure this summer. Maybe next time we could talk about how you all did with your homework. I know I did a ton of exploring (new water, new flies, new techniques) for smallmouth. If you’re looking for a full, detailed presentation for your club, here’s my current presentation menu.
This evening I presented to the Anglers’ Club of Philadelphia via Zoom. Although it was a cocktail hour (5:00pm start), I remained steadfastly professional with my tall glass of lime seltzer. The topic was “Wet Flies 101,” and I had as much fun presenting it for the umpteenth time as I did the first! As many of you know, I’m passionate about wet flies, and especially teaching others this ancient and traditional art.
The Leisenring Spider, an homage to the Pennsylvanian roots of American wet fly fishing. An oldie, and a goodie. If you’re looking for speakers for your next club Zoom meeting, wet flies or otherwise, here I am.
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!
I’m pleased to announce that Middletown’s Russell Library will again be hosting me as a guest speaker. I’ll be presenting “The Little Things 3.0” via Zoom on Wednesday, October 14, at 7:00pm. This Zoom is part of their One Book series, and you need to pre-register through the library. The event is limited to 48 participants, and you must pre-register here. You cannot register through me or this website, and this is not part of the Zoom series I conducted earlier this year.
This is a unique opportunity to see this presentation outside of the usual club format. I’m hoping that plenty of currentseamsers will be in virtual attendance.
Here’s a “Little Things” freebie: big, chunky hoppers/crickets/Chernoble ants/wigglies this time of year. You may not get a strike, but if you do, it’s going to be a good fish. Shown here, my Hopper Hammerdown soft hackle.
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.
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 email@example.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.
It’s another Currentseams Tuesday Night Zoom. My “Pro Tips” part will be brief (and, I hope, highly informative) but the real focus will be you: I’ll be answering your questions on all things fly fishing. So get those topics ready. Note that if you’re already on the Zoom list, you don’t need to re-up. See you Tuesday!
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.