Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday Bacon, (on Saturday morning!)

This was sooo good, just had to share:

PB and Bacon In Under a Minute from FlySwinger on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

For the Newbies.

This brief treatise, inspired and assisted by multiple online oracles, seeks to demystify the onerous opening moves toward entering the reclusive and exclusive world of fly angling.  Much credit must be given to the online sources of fly fishing goodness as I have not yet attained omniscience.  Enjoy!

Getting Started

Breakin’ the Law - Make sure you are following local fishing regulations.  Obtain a current fishing license, and read the regulation book that you get with the license to learn about regulations for the waters you are planning to fish.

Fishing Buddy - Get one.  This is the go to person you can turn to for help and advice.  If you know someone that angles with the fly, beg them to help you along the way. (Every one of them will be more than happy to help.)  If you don’t have any friends, visit your local fly shop and seek their advice.  This is a crucial part of learning the sport, plus you will gain a fishing partner or two along the way.

Choose your vices - No not fly tying vises, I mean real vices.  
Tobacco - The first decision you'll need to make here is what tobacco products you'll indulge in.  Some like the punch of Cuban cigars, others prefer the subtle flavors of Backwoods Sweet Aromatic cigars.  
Cigars - Nothing celebrates the fish of the day like a fine cigar.  Cigars are also fairly effective as bug repellent.  I have heard that typical insect repellent chemicals, like DEET, can be very toxic and can even cause cancer.  Why introduce these dangerous chemicals into the environment when the perfectly natural and "green" cigar is readily available and fully accepted for anglers?  
Dip - Another favorite among the anglers I accompany afield is smokeless tobacco.  Please don't cheap out in your dip selection.  The U.S. Tobacco Company offers several Minion approved selections including Skoal fine cut, Skoal long cut mint and the old favorite Copenhagen.  Just remember to bring your own, and keep it accessible.  No one wants to be bothered all day by a "lipper mooch."
Fishing Fluid - Some angling forays absolutely require a fantastic beer or a smooth whiskey, and sometimes both.  The Minions prefer to carry two types of beer on longer adventures, a flavorful beer like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Smithwicks Irish Ale in combination with a real thirst quencher like Labatt Blue.  Shorter trips can be sustained by a nice microbrew like Hop Devil by Victory Brewing Company.  In chilled conditions, anything below 60 deg., flasks of whiskey come into their own due to the warming qualities they uniquely possess.  Minions prefer some of the middle shelf brands like Gentleman Jack, Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek and our favorite Basil Hayden.  A nice scotch like Famous Grouse is also a nice way to close out the day or to inspire creativity at the tying vise.

Gear Up - (Rod, Reel, Line, and Leader). This will likely be very confusing with all the different choices of fly rods, reels and lines.  Rely on your fishing buddy or the local fly shop for advice and support.  Beginners should start with a less expensive rod and reel, (under $150), and as you become addicted, (I mean more skilled and discerning), move up to a nice name brand set-up.  The preferred rig for PA/NY is a 8.5 to 9 ft. 5 weight rod, 5 weight, (weight forward), floating line, the appropriate quantity of 20 lb. backing to fill the reel nicely, and finally a 9ft 4x leader. Ask the fly shop where you’ve purchased the outfit to install the backing, line and leader.  If you’ve opted to cheap out by purchasing your outfit via the internet, you’ll have to rely on your fishing buddy to get your outfit set up.

Practice Casting – Now that you’ve procured a Rod, Reel and Leader, go practice.  Go out in your yard, a park or to your local pond and start practicing.  Start by tying a small piece of yarn to the end of your leader to simulate a fly.  Only attempt shorter, (<15 ft.), casts at first.  Once you begin to feel comfortable, strip out a bit more line and start progressively lengthening your casts.  Casting is one of the most important parts of fly fishing, especially if you wish to avoid looking ridiculous, and the one that needs to be practiced the most.  By becoming familiar with the way your new rod casts before you hit the water, you will greatly improve the odds of having a satisfying first day out.  Again, rely on your fishing buddy to get you through this important stage of your fly fishing career.  If you still don’t have any friends, a casting lesson will go a long way at this point in your quest.


Additional Essential Gear - This is the list of gear that you don’t want to be without on most any fishing adventure. (This is your fly fishing “American Express,” don’t leave home without it!)
Spools of tippet for attaching your fly to the leader (1 ea. 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x)
Tin split shot weights for sinking nymphs and streamers.
Line nippers for trimming the tag ends of knots.
Forceps for holding flies for tie on, crimping split shot and removing the fly from fish you’ve caught.
Strike indicators that show that a fish has taken an interest in your nymph.
Floatant to keep dry flies dry.
Fly vest or lumbar pack to hold all this stuff.
Waders to keep you warm and dry.
Wading boots to, hopefully, keep your feet planted firmly on the bottom of the river.
Net to assist in landing all the whoppers you’ll catch.
Polarized glasses will help you see the whoppers through the always present surface glare of the water.
Hat, well, you just need one.
You can spend as much or as little as you wish on these essentials but please, pick neutral colors.  Your fishing buddy or fly shop can help point you in the right direction.

Learn how to Read The Water - How?, experience.  One of the things that separate newbies  from seasoned anglers is their ability to read water and know where the fish are.  This skill can’t be obtained from a book or the internet.  You’ll have to pay your dues on this one, but the tips below will get you started on the right foot.
Fish Bubble Lines – Fish feed and hold near bubble lines.
Fish Drop Offs - Look for areas where riffles and runs drop into deeper water, fish will hangout just over the edge of the drop offs.
Fish Overhead Cover - Fish hold near overhead cover to provide much needed protection from aerial predators.  Rocks, fallen trees, overhanging trees / vegetation and undercut banks provide this cover.
Fish Seams - A seam is the mixing area between a currents flowing at different velocities.  Seams can be identified by noticeable swirling.  Fish love seams.
In short order you'll find yourself saying things like, "If I were a fish, I'd be riight theere." 

Learn about Flies and Knots– There are 4 basic flies and 5 basic knots.
Dry Flies- These are the flies that float on the water’s surface.

Nymphs- These are the flies that are fished under the water’s surface from top to bottom.

Emergers- These are the flies that are fished just below the surface and in the surface film.

Steamers- These are the flies that are used to imitate leeches, minnows, crawfish below the water’s surface. They are usually fished with a retrieve but can also be drifted.


Start out with your buddy’s or the fly shop’s recommendations.  You will discover your favorites in short order.

Arbor Knot – This knot attaches the backing to the reel

Albright Knot – This knot connects the backing to the fly line.

Nail Knot – This knot connects the fly line to the leader.

Surgeons Knot – Use this knot to connect leader to tippet.

Clinch Knot – This terminal knot connects the tippet to the fly.

Do the Research - Before you embark on new water, find out what to expect.
Where are you going, how will you get there, how will you find access areas and is it fishable?
What insects are the fish feeding on at your chosen water?  What flies will best imitate those insects during this time of year at this place?
What is the most productive fishing technique for catching fish at that location at this time of year? (Nymphing, drifting dry flies, stripping streamers, swinging, etc…)
Eg.: If you plan to fish the River X, check the river flows to make sure it is at a fishable level.  Then since it is this time of year, a hatch chart will show what mayfly, caddis fly, terrestrial, minnow, leech or etc. are the correct fly to use. Then use the correct presentation technique to fish the fly.

Hunt the Fish - The best fishermen stalk their prey.  They are very quiet and stealthy in the way they approach a river.  They never blunder straight into the middle of the river and start fishing.  They consider all of the ways to best approach the quarry without spooking fish. Don’t just fish the water, pick the best spots and hunt it.

Learn From Your Experience – The best way to learn quickly is to get out and learn firsthand on the water. Practice, practice and more practice.  Observe others as they fish.  If your fellow angler is willing, talk with them and find out what they are doing to achieve success.  These conversations can be invaluable.  Nothing can take the place of quality time on the water.  So get out and work your way through the snags, wind knots, tailing loops, mistimed casting strokes and lost fish.  You will find your full reward.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gearing up for Memorial Day yet?

Sometimes a pith helmet is just what is needed to reach the right combination of jauntiness and don't phuch with me demeanor.
Here's a fine selection of headgear for when you feel the need to pith.

Make special note of the French Desert Camouflage model.  It would well disguise your noggin from the feeshes.
The last model pictured would no doubt allow you to answer in the affirmative to the query, "Dr. Livingstone I presume?"
All of this beautiful asshattery is available for seemingly reasonable $ at:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Christmas Day

Picture from John-O and Curly's annual Christmas Day outdoor festivities. Picture of John preparing for the day and of him fishing the Tully above the Reber's Bridge. I was cold as hell with no fish caught. Even though no fish were caught is is still a nice way to spend Christmas Day.

The Friday Bacon 01/08/10

Behold Curly's Bacon Experiment. I am attempting the highest culinary art: Homemade bacon. We have a 4lb. slab of pork belly coated in pepper and the brine in which it will sit for two more days. Hail Bacon!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


What is this Gills N Fins phenomenon I've heard about?

This may provide viewing enjoyment via the Versus network...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"The" Flyfishing Show

Somerset, NJ
January 22, 23, 24
Garden State Convention Center

Show Hours: Fri 10 - 6; Sat 8:30 - 6:00; Sun 9 - 4:30

All your favorite fly shops and many of your favorite fly fishing "celebrities" will be showing their bestest wares for you and your buddies!

Who is in?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

This Is Fly #21

Now available at

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Remember how I gushed about this...

well it really was that good.

Here's the big finish, in the correct order, after intermission and prior to the culinary creations and wine tasting.


Incidentally, the local gang of audiophiles was just off camera to the right in the second and third rows.

Your could FEEL IT!

An anonymous tipster alerted me to the recent posting of these YouTube posts.
Thank you neighbor!