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

Spring Smallies

Spring had sprung in WI, It was warm for a couple of weeks in April, but it’s been cold this last week and gonna be colder over the next few days. My friend, John Beth, and some fellow anglers had a chance in the early warm spell, to head out for some smallies. And they found them eager and ready to go. John took all his fish—any number of them in the 17 to 19 inch range—on a Bunyan Bug. Shades of A River Runs Through It. We’re trying to get something planned for later in the summer for another shot at those smallies, but that may have to wait until next summer. We shall see.


Now’s there’s a “happy camper”–er, “Happy Angler.”


Smallies this size are wonderful on the fly rod. See the red Bunyan Bug in it’s mouth?

Big Fly, Big Fish

One of the premises of my book “Long Flies” is “Big Fly, Big Fish.” I’ve seen it literally thousands of times in my six decades of fly fishing across the globe. For example, I’m head to Alaska in July with my friend, Dave Graebel. He loves to catch the big rainbows on dries, and we will try to focus on that as much as possible. But on the days when the hatches are not evident, I will be slinging really, really big leech and sculpin imitations on my Hardy Zenith 7-weight. The take by those big bows is very powerful; they leave no room for guesswork. Of course, the big kings, chums, and sockeyes on long flies fished on my Hardy 9-weght Proaxis-X will be great too.

What reminded me of all this was a photo that Theo Bakelaar sent of a big brown that gobbled a really big streamer. This is a great time of year for the big flies. The water is often cold and the hatches sparce. The big fish need plenty of food and respond very well to big stuff fished deep along the bottom. It’s a great time to haul out the fill sinkers or the 30-foot sinking head lines and scratch bottom with big articulated imitations.


Big Fly, Big Fish

Knotted Eggs—Clowns

There are those that love the “clown” eggs—eggs of two or more different colors. I like them, too, and tying them with the Knotted Egg method is very simple. Rather than using one strand of chenille, use two. The colors may be complimentary—like pink and magenta—or they may contrast more—like yellow and bright orange—or whatever. Just tie in both strands, tie the finishing knot and cut away the thread. Then, use both strands (or more if you choose) together to tie a single knot. Clip the chenille tight to the knot and apply a generous drop of flexible head cement.

Now, for the kicker. If you want to emphasize one color a bit more, use different-sized strands of chenille; the small one will be less apparent than the larger one. Further, you can use different sizes to achieve a variety of egg sizes. For example, in the photo below, the top egg is tied with one strand each of medium and small. The bottom egg is tied with two strands of small. Since they are so fast and easy to tie, you can experiment to your heart’s content—have fun.


By using two or more strands of chenille to tie the Knotted Egg, one can make “clowns” of all colors and sizes.

Theo’s Caddis Socks ‘em

Theo has been out giving the trout a bad time, again. This time it was with his foam caddis ( It floats very high and offers a great profile—at least the trout think so.


A very nice rainbow on Theo’s Foam Caddis.

Knotted Egg Revisited

I’m always searching about “sussing out” the best materials with which to tie my flies. Sometimes I find new materials that look promising, but which turn out to be no better than the materials I have on hand. Other times I really do find something that appeals to me. This is one of those times. I was looking in the FeatherCraft catalog and spotted “Trilobal Antron Chenille.” (

Hmm, this looked potentially like a better material for my Knotted Egg rather than the straight cotton chenille I had been using. And it is! It’s firmer and of course offers the advantage of the trilobal yarn. There are three sizes: small, medium, and large. The difference between small and medium is not as great as between medium and large. These three sizes offer an opportunity to tie three sizes of egg patterns. Small makes an egg of about 4mm, medium makes one about 6mm, and large yield one of around 9mm.

I tied all of them on a size 8 red hook for the photograph so that the relative size of each could be seen. For fishing, I’d tie the small on a size 12 or 14, the medium on a size 10 or 12, and large on a size 8 or 6.


Small, top; medium, middle; large, bottom.

Stroft GTM Tippet Material


I’m always looking for new equipment items in fly fishing, and I’m always looking with a bit of a jaundiced eye. Not because I’ve seen it all or heard it all, but because my background training is as a research scientist. In science we set a null hypothesis that says something can’t happen, and then we try to prove the null hypothesis to be correct. This means that every avenue must be thoroughly examined, and if anything can be shown to prove the null hypothesis correct, then we must reject all other results, good or not.

I had an opportunity to visit with Andre Giermann from Stroft (Strong and Soft) line manufacturers at the EWF Show I Munich, Germany, a couple of weeks ago. They produce both monofilament fishing line and tippet materials, and their product selection is truly extraordinary. He was kind enough to provide some spools of Stroft GTM tippet material for my testing when I fishing in Austria for a week after the EWF. First, Stroft GTM is produced in mm sizes and not in the inches (or the “X” system). That’s OK, because it’s not all that hard to go online and get a conversion program that will instantly convert mm to inches ( Then, by subtracting the thousands of inch from 11 we can get the “X” designation. For example, 0.16mm = 0.0063 inches. 11 – 6.3 = 4.7X. OK, so far so good. But then they also have 0.14mm material. Hmmm, that’s 0.0055, or 5 ½ X. And there are other in-between sizes, too. Suddenly tippet selection becomes a whole new ball game. For example, I used 0.14mm (5 ½ X) in Austria to fish dry flies. It’s perfect for size 14 – 18 dries. I used 4.7X for nymphing and was most pleased.

Not only that, but the strength of the material is greater than any other co-polymer material I know of. Strengths are given in kilograms (1 Kg = 2.2 lbs; see: See the charts below to get an idea of how tough this stuff really is.

Now, consider this for a moment. They offer tippet materials in 0.01mm increments from 0.03mm (0.0012 inches or 9.8X) up to 0.3mm (0.0118, basically 10/5 size–0X is 0.028mm). That is, there’s 0.03mm. 0.04mm, 0.05mm etc., all the way up to 0.30mm. From 0.30mm and larger, the step-wise increments get bigger—0.025mm. Hmmm, so many choices! Ya gotta love it, especially down there in the micro sizes. Have a look at the English version of their catalog:, and see pages 8-9 for diameters and strengths of Stroft GTM matrerials.


Here’s a conversion chart that I made from the data in their catalog for sizes 7X and smaller:

mm            inches        “X” Size     Lb. Strength

.03              .0012               9.8                 .55

.04              .0016               9.4                  .77

.05              .0020               9                      1.1

.06              .0024               8.6                  1.4

.07              .0028               8.2                  1.76

.08              .0031               7.9                   2.2

.09              .0035               7.5                    2.65

.10              .004                 7                        3.1


It’s nice that they make the material in a great range of sizes, including the super micro stuff, and great that it’s strong on the testing machine, but what about the actual toughness under fishing conditions? Surprise, surprise; I was astounded. I fished 4.7X (.16mm) and 5.5 X (.14mm), and was stunned at what I could do with it. Not only that, but the knots were perfectly strong. I got a couple of “wind knots” (actually bad casting knots with a split shot, and a bead head, and a Thing-A-Ma-Bobber all hanging on the leader), and they didn’t break, nor did they seem to weaken the material in any way. By the way, the 4.7X is a full 3 kilos or 6.6 pounds and the 5.5X is 2.7 kilos or 5.95 pounds.

Bottom line, I’m sold. Set me up with a full panel of this material! Of course I will pick and choose, I can’t carry 30 spools of material in my vest. By the way, the spools are small and light and come in 25 meter (27 yards) and 50 meter (54 yards) sizes. For my fishing I plan to use the following sizes, but please, pick and choose as you will.


mm   Inches        X size   lb. Strength

.28     0.011           0X            16.1

.26     0.010           1X            14.8

.23     0.009           2X            11.2

.20     0.0079        3.1X           9.3

.18     0.007           4X              7.9

.16     0.0063        4.7X            6.6

.14     0.0055        5.5X             5.95

.13     0.005           6X               4.4

.10     0.004           7X                3.1

.09     0.0035        7.5X             2.65


Remember, now, that we get the X by subtracting the thousandths from 11. So, 4.7 X is .7 X smaller than 4X (it’s almost 5X), and 5.5X is ½ X size smaller than 5X and ½ X size larger than 6X half way between 5X and 6X).

I will break these 11 spools down into three packs: 0X-2X, 3.1X through 6X, and 7X-7.5X. Since the spools are small and take up little room in my vest, I have no problem carrying them at all times. I also carry 0.020 inch and 0.013 inch Maxima Chameleon in my vest. These sizes allow me to build leaders in whatever length and final tippet that I need for any and all occasions for trout fishing.

Stroft also offers abrasion resistant materials, fluorocarbons, and others, and I plan to test all of them for future reports on this exciting, Strong and Soft material from Germany.

Now, where to get it. It’s available in a number of sizes from Yellowstone Angler in Livingston, MT: ( If you want to be more selective in picking your sizes, they you will have to endure translating from German to English. Stroft does not yet have an order form in English, but go here for the German version: If you wish, you can read all of it via Google Translate (


OR, follow along: here are the instructions for ordering.

  1. You should be on the order page for Stroft GTM material.
  2. Page down to the size selection chart at the bottom of the page.
  3. Click on the underlined size that you want (for example, click on

Stroft GTM Monofil 0.28mm 7.30Kg.

  1. The catalog new opens to the order page for that specific material and size.
  2. On the right of the page you will see the word Lauflänge (yardage), click on it and select the size spool that you want (select 25 or 50—I get the 50). You will see the price displayed immediately below in Euros.
  3. Just below that you will see an indicator for quantity.
  4. Immediately to the right of the quantity window you will see a cart and the words: “In den Warenorb” (add to cart). Obviously, click on it and add the material to your cart.
  5. You will get a window that says: “Der Artikel wurde in Ihren Warenkorb gelegt!” (This item has been added to your cart). Click OK.
  6. When you are done with that size, go to column on the left and look just to its top right. You will see a little hand and the word “Zuruck” (back). Click on it and it will take you back to step 2 above.
  7. Repeat steps 2-9 as often as needed to complete you order.
  8. When you are finished selecting all the materials you want, go to the upper right corner of the page and click on: “Zum Warenkorb” (go to cart).
  9. This will take you to the cart and your order summary. Here you can change quantity (“menge”) or delete items (“Loschen” with an “X” button). If you need to get back to the order chart, on the left side just above the descriptions of the materials you ordered, you will see a little hand with the words “weiter einkaufen” (continue shopping). Obviously click on it. I will take you back to the last item you ordered, and then you can go back to step two by following step 9.
  10. When you are satisfied with your order, go to the bottom right corner and click on the “Zur Kasse” button (Check out).
  11. This takers you to a page for name and address:


Firma:                          Company


Anrede:                     Title

Vorname:*                   First Name

Nachname:*                 Last name

Straße/Hausnr.:*                  Street number


PLZ:*         Ort:*                  Zip and city, state

Land:*                          Country

E-Mail:*                       email

Telefonnr.:*                 phone

Mobilfunknr.:              mobile


Below that you will see:

Kundennummer (falls bekannt):

Kostenlose 100m Spule Ihrer Wahl (ausgenommen STROFT GTP & STROFT FC) ab 35 € Bestellwert:

Bemerkungen, Hinweise und Anregungen:


Which translates:

Customer number (if known):

Free 100m reel of your choice (except STROFT GTP & STROFT FC) with 35 € order value:

Remarks, comments and suggestions:


If you want the free 100 mm spool, just write in what you want. For example if you use a lot of 5X, then type in Stroft GTM .16mm

16. When done, click on the “Weiter” button (next) on the bottom left corner of the form.

17. Now you are at the postal page. You will see a statement entitled DHL / Deutsche Post. This just means that in Germany the material is delivered by DHL. In the US, by regular mail. The cost is listed (usually 10 Euro). Again, click on the “Weiter” button.

18. This takes you to Step 3—payment. Use PayPal, it’s so much easier. Click on the little check button to the left in the PayPal row—it will turn blue. Click on “Weiter.”

19. Step 4. Get ready to finalize the order. Check it all over to be certain of quantities, sizes, etc., change as needed. At the bottom of the form you will see a check box labeled:

Ich habe die AGB gelesen und akzeptiere diese.

Which roughly translated means that you are placing the order and agree to the payment for the materials.

20 Click on: “jetzt bestellen” (buy now) at the bottom of the page.

21. You will be directed to complete you PayPal info. Once you do and click pay now, you will get a page that says “Warten auf Zahlungsbestätigung..” (waiting to complete payment)—wait.

22. You should get a message that says “BESTELLUNG ERFOLGREICH GESENDET” (Order received). If not, after a couple of minutes, click on the blue underlined sentence in the wait message (step 21 above), and it will take you to the order received line.

23. Get ready for the best tippet material you ever used.

Night Tarpon

Jake Jordan is still at it, and still delighting his clients with big tarpon at night—a true experience in terror. Well, maybe not terror, but certainly an adrenaline rush and a half. Imagine hooking one if these beasts in total darkness and all you can sense is a lot of very loud splashing and the powerful pull on the rod. If the line hangs up on the reel or your hand, you’ll be swimming with the tarpon and hammerheads. It the fish gets its head and decides to jump, you could be wearing tarpon scales permanently welded to your face.

If you’re interested in night tarpon, see Jake’s link to the right.


Imagine throwing on the light and seeing this attached to your fly. Hmmm, what’s he up to?

Midges in Holland

Midges (Order Diptera, two wings) are the most abundant aquatic insects on earth. In any fresh water system, the number of species of midges is greater than the number of all other aquatic species combined. Not only that, but they hatch year-round; as long as there is open water, there will be midges hatching. So, in those times of the year when other aquatic species are not hatching, one can always rely on the midges. And that’s what’s happening right now.

Theo Balelaar has been out plying the waters of Holland with adult midge imitations, and doing very well with them. Have a look.


The Holland trout love midges, or maybe it’s Theo they love.


This rainbow was particularly well colored, and a midge eater.

The Next Generation

I was greatly saddened by the death of my friend, Hans Aigner (see post below), but I received an email from Theo Bakelaar with photos of his young friend, who is 12 years old, and absolutely in love with fly fishing. He goes to Theo’s house several times a week for fly tying lessons, and get a chance now and then to fish with Theo. Last week Theo was fishing with his young friend, and Theo caught a very fine brook trout on a cane rod and size 20 buzzer (midge imitation). Then the young man, not to be outdone, used Theo’s rod, and caught a real horse of a rainbow. Now here is a superb example of the next generation of fly fishers who will guide and direct our matchless sport.


Theo’s rather healthy brook trout.


His young friend with a more than rather healthy rainbow.

Hans Aigner Passes

As we were eating breakfast this morning at our hotel in Austria, we received the sad news that Hans Aigner had died in the night. Hans had come to visit all of us at diner on Thursday evening, and I had an opportunity to sit with my old friend for about half an hour and talk about fishing, his cancer, and life in general. He was upbeat, and we had a great time visiting and reminiscing about out times together on the river. I am so glad that he was able to see so many of his friends, and have a chance to talk and have a meal with all of us.

Hans was one of two protégées of the late Hans Gebetsroither, the famous Austrian guide on the Gmunder Traun who developed the Elliptical Casting Stroke. Roman Mosier is the other protégée, and life long friend of Hans Aigner. Hans and Roman both taught fly fishing schools under the leadership of Hans Gebetsroither, and Roman continues that tradition. Hans Aigner taught and influenced many fly fishers in the European community, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew this cheerful and forthright man. I certainly shall.


Hans Aigner. Although I first met Hans in person in March of 2013 at the EFW Fly Fishing Show in Munich, I knew of him through the fly fishing community. When we met it was if two old, life-long friends were meeting after many years of absence. There was an instant bonding, and we enjoyed many great hours together, fishing, talking of his history with Hans Gebetsroither, visiting the hotel where Gebestroither met his clients, seeing all the famous places on the Traun, talking about other rivers in the area, and so much more. His friendship will always be a bright memory for me. Goodbye my friend.