Thank you, Squan-a-Tissit Chapter TU and question of the day

A shout out to the Squan-a-Tissit Chapter of TU (northern MA) for virtually hosting me last night. We Zoomed and boomed and I presented The West Branch Farmington River: Southern New England’s Blue-Ribbon Trout Stream. A reminder to all the long and longer-distance fly fishing clubs out there: Zoom is great way to get acquainted. If you”re in charge of booking speakers, here’s a link to my current presentation menu.

The question of the day is certainly a fun one. I don’t think I’ve ever had this one before last night. You may find it tongue-in-cheek, but I took it seriously, and there’s a little bonus wisdom in the answer. Q: What’s your favorite fishing cigar and do you find that certain brands help you catch more fish? A: Without getting into specific brands, I like fuller bodied cigars that have a lot of taste complexity. I’m an espresso/dark chocolate/spicy/earthy flavor profile kind of guy. Now, this next bit is true. If I’m having a tough go when I’m fishing wets or streamers (or striper fishing), sometimes I’ll tuck the rod under my arm, leave the fly dangling in the water, and get out a cigar. Several times a year, I hook up when I’m lighting the cigar, doing nothing else. That’s clue #1. Clue #2 is that sometimes when you’re dealing with a riser that won’t bite, rest the fish. Take out a cigar, cut and light it — or, if you don’t partake, take couple minutes to organize your box — and then make a cast and see what happens.

It takes a rare talent to enjoy a cigar while you’re doing battle with a steelhead. OK, not really, but I do enjoy the connection between partaking and hooking up. Sometimes it seems that the cigar is the wild card that gets the bite going. I can’t explain it, but it happens an awful lot.

Thank you Basil Woods Chapter of Trout Unlimited (and the Question of the Day)

A late but hearty and heartfelt thank you to the Basil Woods TU chapter from central New Hampshire for hosting me via Zoom last Thursday! I presented my original “The Little Things” to a very enthusiastic group. More and more fly fishing clubs and TU chapters are taking advantage of technologies like Zoom to hire guest speakers like me. If you’re outside reasonable driving distance, you can do the same. For more information on programs, visit my Presentation Menu page here.

Here’s a brief Q&A segment from post-show. Q: Do you arrive at the river rigged for streamers or do you start with emergers? A: It depends. Sometimes I make up my mind well in advance that I’m going to fish a specific method, consequences be damned. For example, there are days in the winter when I’ve decided that I’m going to fish streamers solely because I’m willing to risk catching one large trout — I hope — rather than a bunch of smaller ones. Or maybe I just don’t feel like nymphing. There are times in the spring and summer when I’ll plan to swing wets, and then, as the hatch moves out of the emerger stage, switch to dries. Other times I’ll get on a nymphing kick, and that’s how I’m going to fish — simply because that’s what I feel like doing. So, fish the method that pleases you most. And know that if you want to catch more fish, you’ll need to be fluid in your choice of methods as conditions and time of day/year dictate.

Happy angler syndrome occurs when you a) Fish the way you like; b) Fish the method that is most productive for the conditions; or c) ideally, both.

Monday ramblings: steelhead, 800 followers flies, another birthday…

Happy Monday to everyone. Late start for me today. No big news or hot presentation tips or must-have fly patterns, so consider this a simple hello and let’s-catch-up missive. This is fish-related: as I write this, I have two salmon filets on the smoker, a present for my parents and my aunt. They (the filets, not my relations) spent two days pickling in the fridge, and now they’re taking a gentle bath of apple wood smoke.

Normally I’m steelheading this week, but low water and spotty reports have me at home playing the waiting game. I’m going to try to amuse myself with some other species instead.

800 Followers contest winners: I have one set of flies done, and I’ve started on another. Sloth is my flaw; patience is your virtue. I’ll notify you by email when I ship your goodies.

Wow, another birthday! Thanks so much to everyone who sent birthday wishes. I had a great day with my family, outside and socially distanced, and I made merry with some wine, whisky, and an absolutely delicious Cuban Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill.

Last year at this time it was Everest Base Camp-cold on the Salmon…and with quite a bit more water.

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.

Tuesday Night Zoom: “Flatwings: Tying and Fishing Basics,” May 26 at 8pm, plus an ASGA Webinar on Advocating for Striped Bass

You asked for it — heck, some of you demanded it — and here it is. (After all, what could be more appropriate for a Tuesday night?) We’ll talk a little bit about a lot of things re┬áKen Abrames’ brilliant creation: the modern saltwater flatwing. This will be fun. See you Tuesday!

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I also wanted to clue you in on a nifty little webinar that’s going down tomorrow AM: How to be an effective advocate for striped bass. It’s being put on by the ASGA. Here’s their copy: We know you care about fisheries policy but are probably frustrated with the process. We have designed this webinar to give you the tools needed to be an effective advocate. Spending time arguing on social media won’t get the job done. Let us show you how! We have special guests, case studies, and tons of useful information on how to make the best use of your time advocating for the resource. Join us at 11:00AM on Tuesday, May 26 for this free webinar. Also, be on the lookout for more webinars coming up in the next two weeks. You need to pre-register for the webinar, and you can do that here.

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Finally, we remember and honor those brave Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. A solemn and sincere thank you.

 

Zoom Thanks, Zoom for your Fly Fishing Club, Zoom Fly Tying Lessons…

So much Zoom. So little time. In the wake of two highly popular Zoom talks, I’m getting a lot of inquiries about how this translates to other fly fishing arenas. Here are some answers.

First, if you’re looking for a remote speaker for your fly fishing club, that’s a can-do. This of course would be a private presentation, limited to your club members — pretty much the same thing I do when I present in person, only online in the Zoom format. (These talks are far more detailed than what I’ve been doing online.) You can find my current presentation menu here. For rates and more information, please email swculton@yahoo.com or call 860-918-0228.

Next, I just started doing online fly tying lessons. Same deal: we connect through Zoom for a private one-on-one session. The rate is $65/hour. Please call or email to set one up.

Finally, thanks so much for the great turnout last night. I appreciate your interest and your enthusiasm. I’ll let you know about my next Zoom presentation when I figure it out. Stay safe and stay healthy!

Now we can do something like this from the safety and comfort of our homes.

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Booming and Zooming! Thanks, and up next…

Booming and Zooming. That’s what the test pilots called it when they broke the sound barrier while flying in a parabolic arc. We did our own version of B&Z last night: 50 attendees at the inaugural Currentseams Zoom — Wet Flies & Soft Hackles in case you missed it — and only one big boom! (thanks for your patience) that we sorted out. So: thanks to everyone who took the time to participate. I had fun. I hope you did, too. I know some of you arrived late and I didn’t see you in the entry queue. Mea culpa. And apologies. I appreciate your patience as I sort through this technology.

We’ll do another one of these, hopefully next week, date TBD. I like the 8pm EST start. I’m ┬áhearing a lot of interest in a striper talk, so that’s probably where we’re headed. Figure the same format, a presentation then Q&A.

If you have not yet gotten on the official Currentseams Zoom email list — please send me an email — not a comment here — to swculton @ yahoo so I have a valid email url. I’ll get you on it lickety-split. Thanks again, and please stay safe and well.

Did somebody say stripers on Zoom?

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