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

St. Mary’s Atlantic’s

The St. Mary’s river—a very big river by the way—drains Lake Superior into Lake Huron. It’s also a very good place to catch Atlantic salmon. Perhaps we should call them Landlocks, because they never get to the salt, but they certainly do get into a rather large body of water, and they can get big. Anyway, they head into the St. Mary’s River in mid to late summer, and can be taken by the fly fisher using either single-hand rods or double-hand rods. The massive river certainly does not limit the casting style or gear.

My friend, blues player Keith Scott, had an opportunity to fish the St. Mary’s very recently and took his first Atlantic salmon with a fly rod. If you want to do what Keith did, now is the time to do it. There are plenty of guide services available (just google Atlantic Salmon in St. Mary’s River), and plenty of comfortable quarters in which to stay, both on the Michigan side and on the Ontario side.


OK, Keith, that’s number one. Now it’s time to get serious.

Summer Browns

I recently received a photo from one of Jason’s friends, Kurt Lach. He went to school with Jason, raced bicycles with him, and eventually became a fly fishing addict. It’s a great photo of a lovely summer brown, taken from a small stream in western Wisconsin on 6X. Summer fish hold a special place in my heart. They have beaten the odds of the early season, and have become especially attuned to lower, clearer waters, tiny mayflies, feeding early and late, and the every presence of heron, mink, and other predators. They required well-honed angling skills, and a deep concentration of being the best Angler as Predator that one can be.


Kurt’s lovely summer brown in perfect condition.

Practice Gets the Fish

Finding a nice fish in the middle of Wisconsin’s dry, hot summer is never easy, but my friend, John Beth, always manages to do just that. A few days ago, he visited a couple of spring creeks in the SW corner of Wisconsin. The weeds were high on the banks, and the water was low and gin clear, and choked with weeds.

The day dawned foggy, but that quickly disappeared, leaving a hot, dry day. By 3 pm, John had only taken one nice rainbow on a small beetle. Then he found a long deep pool with grass overhanging the banks. The tips arched out and brushed the water surface out at least a foot and a half from shore. It looked good, but nothing showed. John thought he heard the slight plop of a rise; then a slow set of ripples rolled out from under the overhanging grass. He watched for several more minutes before he saw the rise, back behind the tips of the overhanging grasses.

John headed downstream, not to get a better casting angle, but to practice the right cast. After a bit of fussing, he was able to skip a hopper through the delicate grass tips, and using a long tippet, was able get a couple of seconds of dead drift.

Back in position to cast to the rising fish, John skipped the hopper through the veil of grass tips like skipping a flat stone on a lake. The hopper only drifted about 6 inches before it disappeared in a gentle “gulp.”

After several long minutes he worked the big fish to the narrower, faster end of the pool and slid his net under a truly gorgeous 22 inch female rainbow. A quick photo, and he watched her swim strongly away.

The moral of the story: Practice, done right, does indeed, make perfect.


A very lovely hopper eater that required a bit of practice to take.

Mission Impossible

“Mr. Furimsky, your mission, should you elect to accept it, is to hook a nice big tarpon—90 lb. class—in the dorsal fin and actually land it.” My friends, Chuck Furimsky (owner and manager of the Fly Fishing Shows), and Harry Schoel (a mutual friend from Holland), went after the finny denizens of the deep—actually finny denizens of the flats—and connected. Harry landed his first tarpon, and that’s when Chuck decided to do him one better. The trick is to get the tarpon to take the fly with it’s dorsal fin rather than its mouth—a tough sell to say the least. Well, being a strategist, Chuck got the fish to eat the fly and then jump and throw it. As the tarpon settle back into the water, a quick move of the fly rod crossed the line over the fish’s body such that the hook impaled the dorsal fin. And then the fun began.

Why, Chuck asked, should one be subject to a mere fight, when one can be subject to a double fight. Why fight just one end of a fish when one can fight both ends at the same time? And so it was Battle Royal to say the least. Finally, just a Chuck was ready to drop and cry “Uncle,” the fish slide in next to the boat and surrendered—more to get the annoying thing out of its fin than because it was tired in any way. And then the ignoble ignoring of the others. They were so devastated by Chuck’s pinnacle of performance, they felt so overwhelmed by his feat of master angling, that they wouldn’t even take a picture of his fish!! Can you imagine the shame they will have to bear for the remainder of their angling days. They had a chance to record an historic moment and let it slip by out of envy and spite. Tisk, tisk.

Chuck had to settle with a picture of a smaller fish caught by conventional, in-the-mouth tactics. Our sympathies go out to you, Chuck, you are one of those rarefied individuals that has not only the ability to hook tarpon in unconventional ways, but of landing them unconventionally, too. Your next mission? Hook a 30 lb. albacore in the dorsal and land it in under an hour.


Harry’s first ever tarpon, and a nice one, too. Congrats, Harry.


Chuck, fighting both ends against the middle.


Ho Hum, Chuck had to settle for a picture of a smaller tarpon–still a nice fish though.

Alaska 2015 Day 6

Day 6, Sunday, was our last full day of fishing at No-See-Um Lodge (arrival day in camp—day 0–is a half day of fishing). All week we had been watching for the arrival of the chums, and finally on Saturday, they started to come in. Obviously, we were excited and ready to go early Sunday morning. The big sweeping bars on the Alagnak were not filled with chums, as I’ve seen in other years, but there were enough fish to give us a tussle all day. There were plenty of doubles and plenty of fish that tore off like red-hot demons to keep us smiling from ear to ear. Craig had never caught them before, and was amazed at their never ending strength, and their ability to tear line off the reel. Of all the Pacific salmon, chums fight the hardest, pound for pound, twisting, jumping, greyhounding, and in general just being nasty. Oh, I love ‘em. They take a big pink or magenta (my favorite color) leech or flash fly with true zeal—there is never any mistaking the strike. Some years they will take a pink ‘Wog skated on top, but this year they stayed on the deep edge of the bars and we had to get down near the bottom to get consistent hits.


The first fish of the day was not a chum but a jack king. It certainly fought well.


Now, that’s more like it. Notice the magenta fly in the corner of the chum’s mouth. Even with my 9-weight Hardy Pro-Axis  rod and Hardy Ultralite Disk Drag reel, I had to work hard to land them.


Chums of this size came fast snd furious all day. A great way to end a great trip to No-See-Um Lodge.


Now there’s a really fresh chum–chrome bright and ready to fight.


Colored a bit, but no less tough and ready to duke it out. Fish this size usually run off a rather large hank of backing.

Alaska 2015 days 4, 5

Days 4 and 5 were warmer than the other days of the week, and offered a mix of sun and puffy cumulous clouds. These were rainbows-on-the-dry-fly days on the lower American Creek—in the estuary-like reaches just above the mouth where it empties into Lake Coville. This flat water stretch has decent hatches of the Pale Morning Dun (PMDs), and the careful angler can locate big trout sipping the tiny insects in tight to the overhanging grasses and shrubs along the edges. The fish sit in the quiet eddies that form downstream of corners, in tight to fallen sod chunks, or just downstream of a fallen tree or log washed in from upstream. This makes the fishing a bit tricky, but if one uses a long, light leader and can dump it so that it forms many ”S” curves on the surface, one can achieve a drag-free drift that is long enough to stimulate the fish to rise with confidence. That was our goal, and we sere successful.

In addition, like the big rainbows everywhere in Alaska, those in the American respond very well to a mouse imitation waking on a down and across stream swing. The rise is never gentle nor sipping. It is always right-now and vigorous. This fishing is a counterpoint to fishing the PMDs, and adds an extra dimension to the day’s outing. The Moorish Mouse works well, but one tied with soft fur rather that stiff deer hair is a better bet. The fish hold it better, giving the angler, startled by the sudden and violent rise, just a tad longer to respond and drive the hook home.


The lower American is deep and slow, and the big bows hug the banks, feeding on PMDs in the quiet eddies.


The better fisherman watches in puzzled silence at the fishing methods of the fly fisher.


When hooked the big bows fight long and hard, often aided dramatically by the currents and many instream obstacles.


The rewards of a fight well fought by the fly fisher–a photo and then release for the fish.


There were willing fish both days on the lower American.


This rainbow will gain a couple of pounds over the summer, wolfing down salmon eggs in preparation for the lean months of winter.


The mouse strikes .


And again.

Alaska 2015 day 3

On day 3 we decided to fish the Ugashik Narrows, a short section of river between Upper and Lower Ugashik Lakes. It is noted for its big grayling (the Alaska state record came from this river) and char. We were hoping to catch the sockeye fry migration when char and grayling concentrate heavily on the small fish. Turns out we just missed it. There were a few fry still coming down, but only a few. We took char on fry imitations fished on a down-and-across swing. One of them made a great shore lunch for us. I also took graying on the fry, dry flies, and on dead drifted nymphs. At the mouth of the short river, I took a nice lake trout on a large black leech. All in all, a slower day that expected, but still very relaxing and enjoyable.


The Ugashik Narrows run between Upper and Lower Ugashik lakes.


Mr. Fox came to visit as we were unloading the float plane. He likes tourists with food, especially.


The Narrows are noted for their big grayling like this lovely 19 incher.


Lunch was a lay affair, even Chris, guide and cook, was reposing.


Mmmmm, char filets with lemon pepper dressing.


Post lunch siesta on the fine gravels of the shoreline.

Alaska 2015 day 2

The second full day of fishing found us on the Alagnak river, again drifting for kings. The others used drift rods, with plugs or “cheaters.” These are nothing but a 1 ¼ inch fluorescent Styrofoam ball (usually orange, red or pink) pegged on the line above a hook and about 18 inches behind a heavy pencil sinker to keep the cheater right off the bottom. I fished with my 9-weight Hardy Pro-Axis, a 300 grain sinking head line, a 5 shot slinky, and a King-A-Ma-Bobber, as before. It was a good day of king fishing all around. Craig Richardson landed a 38 pound king—which is a good-sized one for that river—and there were others in the 25 to 30 pound class landed by the rest of us, too. The law allows the angler to keep two kings a day—one under 28 inches, and one over 28. Both must be immediately recorded on the angler’s license. One of the fish under 28 inches became a great shore lunch for the four of us and our two guides. Fish never tasted so good.


A nice King that Dave caught back trolling with a gold and yellow flatfish style plug.


Another nice king that Dave took drift fishing with a cheater.


Craig’s big king was 38 pounds, but looked like 50.


Lunch coming up.


Jim with a nice king. Most of the fish were this size or bigger.

Alaska 2015 Sockeye; the week

This year, our trip to Alaska was centered in the sockeye salmon run. Sockeye are an interesting species. As ocean-going adults, they are basically zooplankton feeders; thus, on their initial migration run, they do not take flies, plugs, or bait. They simply swim upstream with true salmon zeal, headed for higher waters. In their case, that’s always a lake. They will only spawn in streams feeding lakes because the young-of-the-year fry migrate back to the lakes in the spring to feed and grow to smolts that migrate to the ocean in their second year.

That’s not to say that the fresh-run sockeye won’t take a fly. I’ve had some success with them taking black Egg Sucking Leeches in the late evening. But by and large it means that the angler has best success “flossing” them. This is a very interesting tactic, and quite successful. The fly fisher knots on an unweighted or lightly weighted fly of about size 4 or 6, and then clamps on a shot about 2 feet above the imitation. The rig is cast such that if swings slowly through the school of swimming salmon. Every so often, the section of leader between the shot and the fly will swing into the open mouth of a salmon. Feeling the drag of the leader in the fish’s mouth, the angler sets the hook, catching the fish on the outside of the mouth. It seems very chancy, but it’s way more efficient than it might seem at first glance.

Since we were there in during the run, we could fish every morning or evening that the fish were actively moving up the Kvichak in front of the lodge. Up at 5am, I would floss until breakfast at 6:30 or 7. My best morning this year was 7 sockeye in an hour. They fight exceeding well on a 7-weight. Evening fishing was equally productive on the days the fish were running. Thus, the sockeye fishing was not confined to any one day or to the need to fly out. Rather it was there to take advantage of whenever we noted the schools sliding by.

As a side note, once the sockeye enter the tributaries of the lakes and turn red with a green head, they take the fly with unburdened zeal. In fact, they can be a nuisance when casting to trout, as the feisty salmon will nab the fly intended for the trout. Odd metamorphosis in both body and aggressive zeal.


A school of sockeye rolling past. They were this evident to the angler who wore polarizing sunglasses.


A flossed sockeye–note the fly on the outside of the mouth.

Alaska 2015 Day 1

This year’s week in Alaska was cool and mostly rainy; at least that’s the way it started and ended. But cool and rainy is good for king salmon and that’s the fish we pursued first, on the Nushagak River, which empties into Bristol Bay at the town of Dillingham. We flew into the upper Nushagak from the No-See-Um Lodge about ½ hour to the east on the Kvichak River. The tactic was drift fishing—literally drifting with bottom bouncing rigs for the kings. I used my 9-foot, 9-weight, Hardy Pro-Axis rod rigged with a 300 grain sinking head line (30 foot head). I used the ring on a swivel snap as a leader (or tippet) ring, and hung a 5 split shot slinky off the snap. The tippet was 15-pound test Maxima Chameleon. I’ve used Maxima Clear, but it tends to twist and wrinkle on the last few inches next to the fly. The fly, of course, was a King-A-Ma-Bobber.

The big fish were in and we caught several each. Of those I took, two were outstanding, especially on the 9-weight. One was in the 30-pound class and the other in the 35-pound class. Both were silver bright and fought like it—hanging deep and pulling like a Volkswagen on the freeway. Both ran off about 30 yards of backing, and would have run off a lot more if Caleb, our guide, hadn’t fired up the outboard and gone after them. We were over ½ mile down river when the biggest king finally came to the net.

A small king provided an excellent shore lunch for all of us, and we headed back to No-See-Um in time for evening hors d’oeuvres. A good day was had by all.


The King-A-Ma-Bobber is a great fly rod “drift” lure. The fish take it very positively.


The big 35-pound class female was release unharmed to “go lay many genetically superior eggs.”


A small king provided the filets for lunch. Can’t get much fresher than that.


A shore lunch of king filets in onions and butter is truly a meal “fit for a king.”