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

Tippet Glow

Joe Kissane (Drag-Free Drift, 2001, Stackpole Books) recently sent me a great photo, shot by his brother Mike, illustrating the not so invisible nature of fluorocarbon. Mike is a professional photographer and eco-tour guide in Iceland—see here— (the land of huge brown trout, by the way).

Joe likes fluorocarbon because of its long shelf life, and the fact that it sinks. But, as he noted in his email, it is not “invisible.” All leader materials transmit light along their length, which can potentially give them a bit of a glow underwater, depending upon incident light angle, time of day, and water surface roughness.


Brooke on 6X fluorocarbon. Copyright 2016 Mike Kissane.

Bighorn Anomaly

On their recent trip to Montana’s Bighorn, both Chuck Furimsky and Harry Schoel fished a backwater area and to their surprise, each caught a very nice smallmouth bass. Nothing wrong with smallies, to be sure, but where did they come from? No matter, they fought well and made a memorable trip for both friends.

Chuck's bass

Nice Smallie, Chuck!! Where did it come from?

Marlin School

Jake Jordan is conducting his Marlin Schools in Costa Rica, and his clients have been doing quite well. Everyone hooks up on a daily basis and all go away with tales of ones lost and ones landed. These fish are so powerful that if they get out there 300 yards and then jump, they usually break the 20 pound test Mason hard mono tippet. If you want to get your arms jerked nearly out of their sockets and have a chance to land a fish that’s bigger than you, give Capt’n Jake a call or end an email–see his address in the links section to the right.


Hooked and jumping in close. Notice rod position–Jake teaches his students how to fight big fish from the reel.


Just a bit scary.

Tricos on the ‘horn

My friends, Chuck Furimsky and Harry Schoel have been fishing the Bighorn during the Trico hatch. The spinners fall till about 11:00 in astounding numbers. The fish have been running 14-18 inches with a few larger. Great size fish on 6X and 7X and size 22-24 flies. The rest of the day its nymphs until the black caddis at evening.

The ‘horn is a big river and one should have a watercraft if they expect to cross back and forth, so Chuck and Harry bring pontoon boats. To make it easy on them, they rent a small moving truck and keep the inflated boats in the back. All they have to do is drive up, unload, and go fishing. The truck is moved to their takeout by a shuttle service.

Tricos will be falling through September, and on the ‘horn they fall in the billions every day. Unless one sees it in person, it’s hard to believe there can be that many insects in a river–day after day after day. If you have a chance to get there, do so.


Yup, they just move in and go fishing.



Chuck with a nice brown on the Trico.



Harry with a nice rainbow on the Trico.


Bottom Walker

Another great idea from Mr. Goldbead, Theo Bakelaar. This concept allows the fly to ride upside down with the bead scraping bottom, making both noise and kicking up mud. The placement of the bead above the top of the shank inverts the fly greatly decreasing hangups.


Bend a pin, add a bead.


Tie bead/pin assembly at front of hook, addy a body and legs.


A couple of finished Bottom Walkers and a sample of hook with bead/pin assembly in place.

Foam Heads


Our friend Theo Bakelaar is foaming at the vise. Here’s a neat idea for using a circle of foam to make a muddler head. My friend, Mark Rayman, from Colorado, uses a circle of foam to make a great diver pattern. Is foam the new deer hair?


Tie in circle of foam on top of shank to start Muddler head.


Tie foam top and bottom to form head, then finish.


Add eye for final high floating Muddler.


Mark Rayman’s Diver. Diver shield is circle foam.

Folded Foam Humpy


This great idea came from Harrisson Steeves, a friend of Theo Bakelaar. It’s a fabulous idea, and I’m already seeing it as a possible Down and Dirty tactic for many imitations. Fold the foam and glue in place with Instant Glue—Gorilla Glue makes a good product for this.


Cut the foam for the body. In this case a circular piece.


Tie in tail and fold foam up around shank. Glue in place with Instant Glue.


Add wing and hackle.


Fabulous idea. Foam away!

Detached Body Pins

Our friend Theo Bakelaar, from Holland, has been tying many imitations of recent days. He is kind enough to send along photo instructions of his very fine work. Some of his imitations call for an extended body, and he uses J:son detached body pins to build it. These are really slick. They are available from Feather Craft in a set of three sizes. See them at


Cut thin foam strip.


Mount detached body pin in vise, attach thread.


Fold foam along pin attach with thread. Pull thread up between sides to form rings on body.


Wrap body as long as needed, tie off. Leave butt ends to tie into hook.


Some great example is finished flies using this tool.

Two Generic Patterns from Theo

Here are a couple of generic patterns from Theo Bakelaar in Holland. His Little Black One is simplicity to tie, but very effective. Body: black ostrich herl, bak, Swiss straw, tail: red yarn.  It can be dressed with a peacock herl body or with coarse dubbing, or fine feather dubbing, etc.—color of your choice. The back may be Swiss straw, flash material, peacock herl, deer hair, or a host of other materials. In other words, this is a generic pattern that can be pushed in every direction possible. Want to go wild? Add rubber legs or folded hackle, or…. Note the red tail. This is a strong feature in many imitations from England, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. In other words, it works.

The Sili-Skin sand eel is another example of a pattern that can be modified in many ways. The colors of material used, the type of materials used, the length of materials used, the bulk of the fly, the colors applied with the marker, and so on. Fuss a bit, it’s a fun imitation to build from.


Little Black One


Sili Skin Sand Eel


Thread of contrasting or complimentary color–dependent on final imitation design. Tie in a wing/tail of flash material.



Wrap a strip of “skin” around the hook to build the body to the desired thickness. This can be omitted if the body is to be very thin.



Tie in a wing of whatever materials you wish, mix in flash, of a different color than tail, etc.



Fold a strip of “skin” over the fly–length depends on final design.



Trim “skin” to shape.



Add eyes and color with permanent markers.



Lots of options with this pattern technique.

Fight ’em off the Reel

Capt’n Jake Jordan is currently holding marlin school in Costa Rica. His students always do exceptionally well partly because Jake and his crew know where and how to find marlin, and because Jake really knows how to take the fight to the fish. Imagine hooking a blue marlin of 120 pounds in the open ocean as far as 150 miles offshore. How long does I take to land a fish of that size (and bigger) on a fly rod? Well in the open ocean for the average fly fisher, probably an hour or more. Jake’s students do in under 20 minutes. The secret lies in the fighting tactic. The fish is fought directly off the reel. The rod is pointed at the fish, and the drag set light. After the first run the drag is tighten just a bit. After the second run the drag is tightened more. Another run and the fish is basically exhausted. I have used this tactic for many years on king salmon in Alaska, landing fish in excess of 50 pounds on a 6 or 7 weight. Friends use it on wahoo along the south coast, fishing from their sea kayaks The only caveat is that the reel must be up to the job, and the angler must know exactly, as in exactly, how to adjust the drag with great precision. This is where I find the Hardy Ultralite and Fortuna reels to be so effective. From 0 drag to 29 pounds in less that one rotation of the drag knob. Easy to calculate drag at each point with a spring balance and then readily apply it as needed during the knock-down-drag-out fight. By the way, Jake and others, like Andy Mill, are now taking this tactic into the tarpon world with great success.


This is the critter they are after. Hook this on a 5-weight!


Greyhounding blue marlin. Notice position of rod.


Jumping marlin. Notice position of rod.


Crash, bang, boom. Notice position of rod.


Cranking–notice position of rod.