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

EWF 2015 day 1

The EWF show started today. The crowd was assembled and ready to enter the Show well before the 9am opening, and they hung around until the Show had to close at 6pm. As in all shows, there were casting demonstration, fly tying demonstrations, presentations, and plenty of exhibitors. What makes this show so unique is the venue—a monastery established in the 1400s. The main hall of the Show is the “stables” of the original grounds, built of massive timbers, with high ceilings and more character than building should be allowed to have. Add to that the flavor and character of the European community, with casters and tyers from a wide range of places, Atlantic salmon Spey fishers from Scotland and the Scandinavian countries, trout and pike fishers from Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Slovinia, and other countries, and a US contingent of tyers and casters, and you have a very eclectic mix of people, all focused on one thing—fly fishing. Since this was the 10th anniversary of the show, a number of people came in the traditional dress of their country. It was great fun to see, and to talk to them.

I sent the day tying flies, and presented a program on shooting line. It was a bit cool and cloudy today, but everything went off without a hitch, and with no rain. Tomorrow promises to be sunny and fair, and I look forward to another cup of hot tea to go with my apple strudel. Yes, it’s going to be a good day.


Friends Gary Scott (back to us) and Ian Gordon. highly skilled two-hnad casters and Atlantic Salmon fishers from Scotland wearing the traditional kilt.




Swiss fly fishers dressed in traditional costume.


Michaela and Robert Stroh, two of the owners of the show in traditional Bavarian dress.


And what is the most popular event at the Show–the biergarten, of course.


EWF Pre-Show Day 2015

The EWF Show in Furstenfeldbruck, Germany, just a bit west of Munich begins tomorrow, April 18. Today was setup day for the exhibitors and a time for casting classes. I offered two: one from 1:30 to 3:30pm and the other from 4 to 6pm. The first class had 3 students and went well with the weather. The wind was a bit cold, but no rain. I got a nice photo of the class. But the second class with 8 students got pelted with some serious downpours interspersed with periods of just heavy rain. None-the-less, everyone had a good time. We would race out and cast like maniacs when it wasn’t raining too hard and then tear back under the pavilion when the heavy rains came. In the interludes of heavy rain, I spent time discussing casting theory, and we practiced new casting moves with the pantomime method. All were good casters, and so they learned quickly and well. Great fun. And, of course, I forgot the photo. Sorry y’all.

Of course, it wasn’t that much fun walking back to the hotel (about ½ mile) in the rain. I had a rain jacket, but my shoes and pants got a nice sprinkling. Tomorrow, however, is forecast to be nice, and the Show promises to be overflowing with excitement and people.

The first class was held in cloudy but dry weather. The smiles are because they are warm and dry. Also, they all did very well with the casting.

The first class. They are all smiling because they are warm and dry, and because they did so well learning the casting lessons.


The crowd should surge into the venue tomorrow and be at least as heavy as it was in this 2013 photo (the last time I attended).


Opening the Season in Austria

My friend Exequiel Bustos from Mendoza, Argentina, just returned from conducting classes on the Codihue in northern Patagonia. The water was low, and the big fish could be seen holding in the very clear, shallow flows. A number of them broke off, but Exequiel managed to land some very nice rainbows on small nymphs. Of course such emails always get my juices flowing, and next week I will start my 2015 season in Austria, near Gmunden, on the river Traun and others.

I’m currently at bit west of Munich at the EWF Show, the largest fly fishing only show in Europe, and just finished judging their fly tying contest. There were a number of very fine entries this year in the Realistic, Streamer, and Dry Fly categories. Tomorrow I will hold two casting clinics, and then give fly tying demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday. Additionally I will give casting demonstrations both days. The theme this 10th anniversary year is The History of Fly Fishing. So, my casting demos will focus on shooting line—the single characteristic that distinguishes modern fly casting and fly fishing. I will cover the Single Shoot, the Double Shoot, the Triple Shoot, and Line Management. That’s a lot for ½ hour because everything is translated into German. Never a dull moment.


Exequiel with one of the big rainbows that didn’t break off in the fast waters of the Codihue


Magnifying glasses and a hand held magnifier were essential to accurately judge every characteristics of the flies. Photo by Rudy van Duijenhover.

Night-time Tarpon

My friend, Jake Jordan, is back at it again. He’s the night-time tarpon king. He knows where the fish will be, and he’s got the flies and tactics for taking them. Perhaps the greatest thrill of catching a big tarpon at night is the sheer terror of it all—just look at those eyes! Well, not really, but it’s certainly very stimulating. If you want to engage in this nocturnal wresting with big tarpon, get in touch with Jake—see his link to the right.


Imagine being hooked to this thing in the pitch dark!

Juan Juan

My Dutch friend, Theo Bakelaar, came up with a great idea for a new version of the San Juan Worm—a double worm tied from Powercord or other similar material used in beading. Powercord is stretchy and comes in a variety of colors and clear. It’s used in beading to make necklaces and bracelets. On his first trial run, Theo landed 7 rainbows all over 7 pounds with the double Juan—Juan, Juan—in bright red. I’d say that was a rather significant first trial. I immediately ordered Powercord from Fire Mountain Gems—go here.


Use size 6 – 10 scud hooks. Thread color should match color of Powercord. Lash two strips on, starting at the rear of the hook.


Wrap the Powercord down along the top of the shank; you may give the “body” a couple of coats of thread if you like. Tie of, and cut away the thread.


Color a small portion of the body to represent the clitellum.


Coat the “body” with standard head cement, hot melt glue, or UV set, thick head cement.


These are so simple that one can crank out 20 and hour–try them in red, pink, and orange–perhaps even brown.


Mmmm, Juan Juan for dinner.



Trout in South Africa

My friend, Tom Sutcliffe, of South Africa wrote the other day to ask me to write a few paragraphs for his newsletter—which I am happy to do—go here to see his web site. He also included a few photos of trout fishing (its early fall there). I wanted to post these just to give everyone a true sense of what South Africa fly fishing for trout looks like. Having spent time there fishing with Tom and others, I can tell you that it really does look like this and the fishing is quite good.


Blue sky days are stunning in the mountainous country of South Africa–especially when you are fishing a beautiful stream like this.


Yes there are cloudy days, too, but that keeps the snakes at bay (well, not really, but not to worry, the snakes are few and far between).


The browns are wild, as wild as only Africa can be. There are rainbows, there, too, and they are equally as wild.


The browns were taken to SA from Britain in the 1800s, and planted in many streams, where they have become naturalized, wild populations.

Tippet Rings

I had a note from Jack DeHaven on tippet rings—he has found a good source for 2 mm rings at a fair price. Have a look here:

Thanks for the heads-up Jack.


Tippet Rings are highly useful in leader construction and re-construction.I like the 2 mm size for dry fly fishing.

Down and Dirty Flies: the Knotted Egg

I tie a series of “down and dirty flies” whose intent is speed without sacrificing fish-catching ability. Actually my definition of a “Down and Fly” is one that can be tied while sitting in the back seat of a van going 55 mph over a dirt road in Canada with your son driving. This egg is one of those flies.

When I head out for spring steelhead or salmon and browns in the fall, I often end up tying flies the evening before. Let’s say I’ve taken a dozen eggs along but lose 6. Well, I certainly don’t want to head out the next morning with only 6 in the box, so I’ll jerk out the vise, clam it on the table in our small motorhome, and crank out some flies. Down and Dirty is the method of the day. The knotted egg is one of those flies that has spun out of the necessity to tie flies while exhausted after getting up at 5 a.m. and fishing all day.

It’s fast, easy, looks great, and catches fish. The size of the egg can be varied in a couple of ways. (1) By using chenilles of different sizes. Obviously, the larger the chenille, the larger the egg. (2) By tying two knots, one on top of the other. The other secret to tying these flies is flexible head cement (make your own with 1 part Goop and 2 parts toluene). I put a healthy drop on the cut end of the chenille and another on the hook shank and allow it to soak back into the chenille. Basically you end up with an egg that’s as tough as the sole of a tennis shoe.


Tie in a length of chenille that is easy to handle and knot.


Tie an overhand knot in the chenille and loop it over the hook shank.


Pull the knot as tight as possible. Clip the tag end of the chenille tight to the egg. Place a generous drop of flexible head cement on the cut end of the chenille and another on the hood shank, allowing it to run back in the chenille of the egg.

Opening the Season

Our friend from Holland, Theo Bakelaar, has started his spring season with a trout fishing excursion to a Dutch stream that harbors trout. His successful fly of the day was a black and chartreuse streamer. This is the original color of the Black Strip Leech—the contrast of the black and chartreuse colors makes the fly easy to see, and even in dark water, black is still black. It makes a great profile fly. I originally used chartreuse for the tail of the Strip Leech because it’s the one color that is easiest for brown trout to see (as a side note, it’s also the easiest color for humans to see).

I will open my season this year in Austria right after the EWF show in Munich, Germany. The EWF is the largest, dedicated fly fishing show in Europe, and a great time to visit with friends from that part of the world. You can bet I will have some Black Strip Leeches with me.


Not a bad way to start the season, to be sure.


Now we’re talking!! Theo’s big smile is well deserved.


The Black Strip Leech in its original color and form.This fly has caught more big fish for me than any other fly I’ve ever used.

Early Spring at the PM Club

My good friend, Jim Hagar, is a member of the Pere Marquette Rod and Gun Club in Baldwin, MI. He and his friend Tom McGraw hit the river over the past weekend to sample the early spring fishing. Saturday was hot—fishing wise, not temperature wise. Tom nailed the best fish of the day, with Jim in close and hot pursuit. Sunday was as cold fishing wise as Saturday had been hot, although Jim did hook a very nice brown that managed to jump off. Still, fish of this size and quality certainly make an early spring outing a very welcome experience.


A very fine spring brown that feel to a deep drifted nymph.