Friday, March 22, 2013

As time goes by

Monday night JT, Stan, Lou and I all headed up to the Ludlow Elks for the 3rd year in a row to set up a display for the shop at the Western Mass fly fishermen’s club expo. It is a great club that main purpose is to give back and get Kids and adults into fly fishing and tying. I was at their January meeting, going over what program I was going to put on at the expo, they announced they had about 56 people in the fly tying class they were putting on. That is incredible to say the least. The club dues are all put back into materials and items for the tying classes. They are a great bunch!

            I did my talk on two of my favorite things; I did a short presentation on “locating and best tactics for small stream fishing” and a much broader presentation on   “nymph fishing”. Any of you who have fished with me know that I LIKE nymph fishing. Some people look down on it and I feel sorry for them. It is not the only way to fish by no means but it beats waiting for a hatch. Over the last 35+ years of fly fishing I have one philosophy when it comes to both guiding and my personal fishing “ be flexible” I will almost never go to the river planning on fishing just this way or that. I will always sit and watch the fish for a time and let them tell me how to fish. It has made me successful over the years so I try to help others see it works. I have been reading digital copy of C.M Todd’s “ fishing the wet fly” this book was published back in 1903 and even though it is about wet fly fishing he makes the comment that and fly fishermen to be a success has to be able to fish both on top and under the surface.  Well I guess there really is not all that much new in this sport. I had thought that a dry and dropper was a relatively new thing, nope he talks about fishing a dry and a wet fly in slightly faster water. I am starting to believe that truly only thing that has changed is what the equipment is made out of.

                Think I have reached the stage were just getting out and getting of decent fish is more important that counting. I have kept a fishing journal since 1983 and use them to look back at weather, water and fish patterns. I have noticed that from about 1990 until about 4 years ago I kept very detailed counts of the species with species, length, pattern and location for all of my fishing trips. These last 4 years I find I listed only that I caught a few in the spot or that spot with the occasional note on a larger fish with location and pattern. It could be maturity or just laziness I am not sure. I still keep details of the weather, water and how I fished but not the numbers. I have also noticed I have started to fish slower in the last couple of years and that is a good thing. I think sometimes I would move thru a pool or run way too fast and actually miss some fish. As time goes by we all mature and age some like a fine wine others mellow like a good single malt in the end we all enjoy this great sport our own way.



Monday, March 11, 2013

signs of life

Put the oldest daughter on the bus this morning and realized that it was actually light at 6:00 this has to mean that spring is not too far off. This is the time of the year for anticipation of the upcoming season and planning trips for the early spring. For me it means cranking up the vice and tying lots of flies. Most years I will have dozens and dozens of flies to tie to fill boxes for guiding. I like to do as much of it preseason as possible so then I only have to tie newer patterns during the season. What really helps with this is keeping a detailed journal of all my trips both personal and guide trips. I have kept one since 1982 when I needed a subject for a college creative writing class. Over the years it has been one of my best tools to make me a better fly fisherman. I can look back at weather patterns, water flows or even lack of rain back to 82 and see what worked and did not.

          This year I actually started way back in December tying just in case we had a winter like last year so I could get out without feeling guilty. I spend a lot of time tying for the shop in March and early April but that always ends up being between 10pm-2am most nights. Well the winter shaped up to be pretty normal so looks like fishing will be another few weeks off. I know some people are getting out, my buddy Steve e-mailed me this morning saying he got out yesterday and got a couple that made 7 so far this year. I am really jealous of him. Not only that he got to fish at all but that he is new at fly fishing and has that need to get out. I think that is why this part of the year is special to me because I get that feeling after a couple of month of not being on the water I really need to get out and renew that love of fly fishing.

          Working and hanging out at fly and tackle shops over the past 20 years I it funny how some fly fishermen think that having the best of everything will make it better or easier, while it may make it better it is not easy at first. I always make a point in my beginners class that, if coming from spin fishing, they have to be willing to catch less trout for a season or two but once it clicks there is usually not turning back. Speaking of stuff I just picked up a new rod that I have wanted for a couple of years. I finally got my Hardy Zenith 9’ 4 weight rod and cannot wait to fish it. It was a deal I could not pass up so I jumped. I have wanted one since I first cast the proto type with the sales rep 3 years ago. I t has a very progressive action which makes close in casting, say 10-15 feet, easy but it has a power to boom out an 80’ cast if needed. Two springs ago at the shops spring fling I had a customer, who had only tried casting once before, throwing decent loops and 30’ of line in no time with that rod. Unlike the many faster rods these are much easier to cast you do not need perfect timing. One thing I have been impressed with all of their products is, unlike some US companies who build great casting rods but they seem to be poor tools to fight fish, the Hardy rod do both well.  

          Just an FYI over the next month there are a few things going on that I would like to let you know about. This Saturday March 16, 2013 we are doing open tying at the shop. Monday March 18th I will be at the Western Mass Fly fishermen’s expo doing a program on small stream & nymph fishing. Saturday April 13th will be the shops (JTs fly shop) annual spring fling weekend. Many reps and local clubs will be there along with a fishermen’s flea market. Stop in to one of these and say hey.