After a few minor complications that have been fully cleared up, FLY GEAR is here.

This was an exciting book to write, with a deep look into the gear than makes fly fishing such an interesting sport. Until February 15th it is being offered at the Just-released price of $25.00, which includes shipping and handling. I will personalize the book to you, or to the person you designate when you order it. Please, if you are ordering it for someone else, don’t forget to tell me so, and give me that person’s name. Otherwise, I will sign it to the person who orders the book.

There’s a saying in fly fishing that equipment isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. And that’s certainly true. Especially when we understand that our equipment is the only thing between us and the fish. Fly Gear is a full 224 pages. And what a great 224 pages are they are, crammed with an abundance of detailed information on the gear that we love. The primary emphasis is on rods, reels, lines, and leaders. These tackle items are not just discussed from the current view-point, but from the whole of fly fishing, its evolution to modern tackle (which began around 1850), and on to today’s marvelous equipment. There are charts and diagrams that help the reader to clearly see the “why” as well as the “how.” There are page upon page of reasoned guidance in tackle selection, and a thorough look at Bill Hanneman’s CCS system for rod evaluation. Two full chapters are devoted to leader development, including a deep look at Gary’s much lauded Uni-Body leader system. There’s a full chapter on the most used knots, replete with very clear photos of their construction. Fly lines, our most unique piece of fly fishing equipment, receive four chapters, discussing them in great detail so that the reader is totally prepared to select that just right line for any circumstance. Likewise four chapters are devoted to details of modern fly rods. Knowing them in intimate detail, from bamboo to glass to graphite to boron, allows the angler to not only select the best rod for any situation, but also allows the fly fisher to discuss topics such as action, swing weight, prepreg, mandrels, and more with total authority and accurate knowledge. This is a book designed by a fly fisher for every serious fly fisher.

To order this new book, click here: ORDER FLY GEAR






The Perfect Cast I discusses and demonstrates the three casting Methods: Wrist Casting, Forearm Casting, and Whole Arm Casting, noting their best uses, and clearly illustrating the “how-to” of each method. Gary discusses grip and stance, including detailed instructions for The Three Point Grip. There are clearly illustrated demonstrations of the Bow and Arrow Cast, the Elliptical Stroke, Across the Head Cast, Hook Curve, Reach Mend, Curve Mend, Puddle Mend, Roll Cast, Switch Cast or Forward Spey, Shooting Line, Long Distance Casting. Gary discusses and illustrates the details of the backcast with its lift and flip, the pause, the forward cast, A.L.E., Loop formation, tailing loops, pantomiming, false casting, casting in the wind, pickups, including the “C” Pickup, change of direction pickups, mending, and more. Unique shots from above dramatically illustrate Gary’s discussions of the casts and mends. All this in a 72 minute DVD for only $16.50 postage paid

Gary’s clear and easy to follow teaching style was developed in over 40 years of teaching internationally on all aspects of fly casting and fly fishing at the professional level. He produced the first-ever instructional video on fly fishing (Nymphing, 1982), was the Midwest Director of the Fenwick Fly Fishing Schools, and a founding Board Member of the FFF Casting Certification Program. He writes and lectures internationally on all aspects of fly fishing. Music on this DVD from the CD, “My Madison,” by Gary Borger and John Beth. To order the CD or see other ongoing information, visit

To order this great new DVD click here: ORDER THE PERFECT CAST I DVD





In this unique collaborative work, Gary and John have joined the best of their writing and musical composition and performance skills to celebrate their joy in this magnificent fishery. They envision the river’s seven segments in prose and music: the headwaters of the Gibbon River and the Firehole, the Upper Madison that feeds Hebgen Lake, Quake Lake with the lost campers under its huge slide, the 55 mile riffle down to Ennis Lake, and the Lower Madison through the Beartrap Canyon and on to the formation of the Missouri at Three Forks. John’s delightful music gives song to the grand sweep of the whole river, and Gary’s poetry in prose paints a unique picture of this unique river. “MY Madison” was awarded First Place in the 1994 Broadcast Division by the American Association of Outdoor Writers. This prestigious award is celebrated in this 20th Anniversary Release. This 14 track CD is priced at only $11.50 postage paid. For ongoing information visit Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved

To order this great music CD click here: ORDER MY MADISON MUSIC CD

More Theo Flies

Theo’s in the Fly Tying Olympics—or at least it seems that way. Here are three more patterns that he finds especially useful in Holland and other European venues. He has also fished them in the U.S. with great success. I will say this, his Wood Louse imitation is one of the best uses I’ve ever come across for hot melt glue in fly tying. Of course the Wood Louse is only a minor step away from a scud or cress bug—Hmmm. By the way, you can buy hot glue in a variety of colors—orange scuds, grey scuds and cressbugs–they even come in glitter.  I can see them now.


Palmered Hackle


The Palmered hackle fly has long been a favorite. Theo’s reminder is to start at the front of the hook and wrap rearward.


Once the shank is fully paltered rearward, reverse and wrap back to the eye, tie off and finish the head.


This fly makes a great suspender for a small nymph or pupa–hang it 15 inches or so off the bend of the hook, tractor/trailer style.


Theo’s Danger Baby


Theo’s danger Baby. Simple to tie, but very effective. Try different wing colors, and perhaps a red tag instead of a green one.


Hot Glue Wood Louse 


Wrap the shank with ostrich herl–for small flies, use peacock herl or coarse dubbing spun thin in a loop.


Swipe the melted end of a glue stick over the top of the imitation–front to back.


One tasty looking imitation that can readily morph into a scud or cress bug.

Theo’s Recommendations

Theo’s been at it again. He’s in a tying mood and wanted to share some of his favorite patterns. The Goldbead Bomber is very similar to the old Brown Hackle imitation, or the Red Tag. For some reason, peacock herl, brown hackle, and red tag have always made a great searching imitation, both dry and wet. Really, the photos are self-explanatory. Have a look.

Then, there’s the Goldbead Terminator. Not exactly an Arnold look alike. More of a Prince Nymph variant. The flash is a nice addition that substitutes for the white biots of the Prince.

Now for a very interesting concept—the Oval Bead Boatman. Gotta get the hook eye really hot. If you get the bead half way on and no further, it’s there forever. But, a really fun fly to tie. Can’t wait to try it. I can imagine a whole series of flies with oval bead bodies. Great tying concept.

The Goldhead Bomber


The Godhead Bomber is fast and easy to tie and always a good choice for opportunistic fishing.




The Goldhead Terminator


The Goldbead Terminator opens with a gold bead at the head and dubbing ball at the rear of the shank.


Dubbing ball helps spread black biot tails and silver flash material.


Tie in ginger hackle by tip at rear of hook,  form a peacock here body, pull silver flash to front along sides of hook.


Wind hackle palmer to head, make several more wraps right behind bead, finish fly.


Oval Bead Boatman


Get it good and hot.


Force bead over eye to melt it onto hook shank.


Tie in black plastic strip at rear of body, pull over top, and tie off, cut away excess.

Boatman fihisned

Add biot or rubber legs at side and finish fly.

J:son Caddis Legs and Back

Out friend from Holland, Theo Bakelaar, continues to experiment with the Swedish products from J:son. This is a really fast, and refreshingly great looking caddis imitation using the performed legs/back:


Dub a rough abdomen on bent hook.


Add dubbed thorax and trim fly.


Tie in J:son caddis legs and back.


Wrap rearward to lock on legs and back.


Finish at rear of shank.


Color legs, top of thorax and top of abdomen as desired.


Hmmmm, looks rather real.



Brooke’s First Fish

Granddaughter Brooke had her first fishing outing with Jason (dada) on Sunday (July 24, 2016). She used her Echo Gecko rod-7’9” for 4/5 line–to cast to and catch bluegills and bluegills and bluegills. She selected the flies to use-all dries-and cast two handed. The Echo is designed so that young kids can use it two handed. When asked if she wanted to stop for lunch, she stated emphatically, “No, I want to fish.” Really, what other choice did she have?


Goin’ fishin’


Getting ready to cast her Echo Gecko for the mighty bluegill–there they are!


How did she know that pose?


First fish on the fly she selected and cast by herself.

Theo Bakelaar’s Twisters

Is it finally a marriage between the fly side and the gear side? Have fly tyers finally learned that bass, pike, and other finny guys want something to chomp on besides dry fly and nymph? Or is it all just a marketing ploy?

Well, from my 6 plus decades of fly fishing the globe, I can tell you that big moving chunks of junk catch way more fish—big trout included—than dries and nymphs, day in and day out.

The world is finally seeing twister tails making their way into the fly rodders kit bag. Twister tails are staple for the bass guys, and great for just about everything that swims.

Theo is lashing them on hooks for pike in Holland and for stripers and blues off the coast of NJ during the International Fly Tying Symposium in November. He’s got some great looking stuff!

Want to give ‘em a try? Best place I’ve found to get them—7 per pack, available in 7 colors:

Rip ‘em.


If it ain’t chartreuse it ain’t no use! Looks really great for just about anything that swims.


Change just the tail and give the imitation a whole different look.

Pike Jamboree—US Division 2016

My friends, Chuck Furimsky (The Fly Fishing Shows), and Bill Keough (Keough hackle) wanted to make a serious impression in the ongoing pike jamboree, so they grabbed fly rods and headed north into Canada for some big pike.

And they succeeded. Chuck nailed a real beauty—3 feet of impressive northern pike on the fly rod.

Not to be outdone, Bill hooked one of 42 ½ inches, and just to be certain that he received “best angler” award for the trip, immediately reset the drag very loose. The reel overspun and a massive bird’s nest ensued. To make it a bit tougher on himself (again to prove he was the most qualified for the title), he then wrapped the line around the rod tip several times. Now it gets really good. Again, in his fury to be voted top dog of the expedition, he handed the rod to the guide to untangle, and held the line between thumb and forefinger, keeping tension on the pike. The fish must have been nonplussed by these antics and simple held on until Bill was ready to go again. The fight ensued, and the guide scooped the big fish into the net.

This was a pike fishing expedition, so they also caught walleye pike—in amazing abundance. They caught enough to make walleye popsicles (if they had wanted) in addition to all the ones they tossed back and ate for lunch every day.

All in all a most successful trip.


Chuck took a very fine pike of 3 feet.


Not to be outdone, Bill took this monster by mis-adventure.


Perfect size for walleye-sicle, a.k.a. frozen pike on a stick.


The lunch stringer.


Chuck with another plate of walleye filets–Mmmmm.

IFTD Show 2016, my day two

My second day at the IFTD went quickly and smoothly. The crowd was not as heavy as yesterday, but the booth was busy for the greater part of the day. Later in the day, the Show awards were given out, and all the booths emptied out as exhibitors and attendees waited to hear the announcements.

I had an opportunity to visit with friends—which I get to see only once or twice a year—and to examine the new reels that Hardy is releasing for the 2017 season. Their Ultralite ASR won a best of show award at the EFFTEX show in Europe. This cassette reel offers the angler the ability to rapidly change lines without the need to buy metal spools. The cassette is extra tough plastic that positively snaps into place. It only takes moments to change cassettes. This reel should become the darling of stillwater anglers, allowing line changes several times a day, as needed.

Hardy has reintroduced their highly successful Marquis reel. This rim-control beauty is a superb choice for the trout angler. Huge line capacity (small arbor) and typical excellent Hardy construction make this reel model a great buy.

And then there’s the Perfect. Introduced first in 1893 it has been the preferred choice of may fly anglers ever since. The up-scaled Perfect is so near the original, that many of the parts from the new reel will readily fit the older reels. The wide and narrow arbor give the reels unprecedented line capacity, while still retaining the look and feel of the original Perfect. A very fine reel, indeed.

Their Fortuna reels have been lightened and given a slightly more stylish look. These big boys also now go from 0 drag to full lock (29 pounds) in less that one full turn (about 320 degrees). This makes drag settings much more convenient and much more precise when fighting big fish.


Hardy’s Ultralite ASR cassette real won best of Show at EFFTEC–the Europend fly tackle deealer show.


The rim control Hardy Marquis–one of my long time favorite trout reels.



The newly updated Hardy Perfect, first introduced in 1893, is still a favorite among many trout anglers.


The Fortuna is lighter, stronger, and has a drag that is readily manageable.

IFTD Show 2016, my first day

The International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Orlando opened on Tuesday, July 12th. I arrived at 10 pm in preparation for my first day, Wednesday, July 13. The Show opened at 9am and went until 6pm. The Hardy Booth, where I spent the day, was busy from the start, but at 4pm they brought our refreshments, and then the Show got really busy—at least there was a lot more talking and laughing.

I was eager to see the new things that Hardy had for 2017, and was pleasantly surprised by a new lightweight cassette reel and their Demon Smuggler, 6-pc rod. A 6-pc rod can be put in a carry-on, so I was eager to see how it performed. With that many ferrules, smugglers often tend to be a bit choppy in they way they perform, but I was delighted with this one. I cast the 905 and it was smooth, and it could do anything I asked it to do, from casting nearly a full line without hauling to strange stuff like an overpowered pile, Out Front Roll Cast, Hump Mends, Snap Pickups, and all the other fun stuff. Can’t wait to get one, and give it some exercise on the river.


The Hardy Booth had plenty of interest all day.


The casting pond was busy from morning to night. Good exercise for al the fly rods.


6-piece 905 laid out on an opened Hardy catalog.


Pike Jamboree

Our friend, Theo Bakelaar is chasing pike in Holland. They have just come off the spawn, and are moving into the rivers, hunting voraciously. He took a very fine fish the other day, only to have a young boy nail a really big one fifteen minutes later. But that’s fishing.

On another note, Chuck Furimsky, Theo’s friend and mine, is head to Canada for big pike with feather baron, Bill Keough. Chuck had to tie up a few “experimental” flies to take along, hence his “Bleeding Bird” imitation. Knowing pike, if it’s in the water and moving, it’s likely to work. Chuck will send us photos of his success.


Theo with a very fine pike form Holland canal..


Not to be outdone….


The Bloody Bird.


From the top


The undercarriage.


My friend, Theo Bakelaar, from Holland, sent these great photos of the process of smoking eels and fish. He uses fresh-water eel skin in many of his long fly imitations—and it makes an extremely tough and effective fly. Theo is waiting for these with a glass of beer in hand.

My grandfather had a smokehouse and cured all his own meats every fall. As I child I helped with the butchering and smoking. Nothing like thickly sliced, home cured bacon smoked over applewood. Even now it makes me drool as I think of it.


Eels and fish hanging’ in prep to be smoked.


Watching the smoker and waiting for the tasty finished product.