The Fly Fishing Show—Somerset, 2017

Like last week’s show in Marlboro, this year’s show was a real delight: no snow, no rain, pleasant weather and a massive crowd of enthusiastic fly fishers.

And like Marlboro, the casting pond was lined four to six deep with men, women, and children eager to watch and learn. And again, they all graciously agreed to point. I’m beginning to think that the crowds like the idea of pointing at me. Anyway, as in all the other shows, when I note that even little babies, without any training or coaching from their parents, point with their index fingers, they begin to see one of the advantages of the Three Point Grip.

The Thumb on Top Grip was developed for Wrist Casting, but as fly fishers evolved from Wrist Casting to Forearm Casting to Whole Arm Casting, the Grip did not evolve—it remained the same, and people were simply told not to bend the wrist or bend it only very little. The Three Point Grip takes advantage of our anatomy to reposition the fly rod relative to the bones of the forearm. With the Thumb on Top Grip, the rod is oriented at right angles to the forearm when the wrist is bent full back. With the Three Point Grip, the rod only makes a 30 angle to the forearm, allowing the rod to stop at precisely the correct position (30 degrees behind the vertical) when the forearm is vertical.  It is the evolved grip that maximizes the efficiency of all casting methods. It is clearly discussed and shown in my DVD, “The Perfect Cast I.”

So have a look below at the cooperative crowd that learned some new ideas about fly casting, and had great fun doing so.

Somerset Pointers, group 1


Somerset Pointers, group 2


Look at ’em point!


Sunday morning’s casting class–they even learned the Double Haul pantomime!


The rod handle is angled across the palm from the heel of the hand to the end of the index finger.


Little, ring, and middle fingers curl around the bottom, heel of hand, thunk, and index finger on top.


There point grip from above.

The Fly Fishing Show—Marlboro, 2017

This year’s show was a real delight: no snow, no rain, pleasant weather and lots of fun-loving, excited people. Since it is a “show,” there’s always a chance to provide not only useful information but do so in a way that everyone has fun and can laugh with you.

Of course one of the demonstrations where we can all laugh and learn is the casting demonstration. I especially like to have the audience point at me to make the point that we don’t point with our thumb, we point with or index finger. This leads into the three point grip, which help everyone with to stop the rod at precisely the right spot on the backcast. I promised the crowd that I would not call them the “Pointer Sisters,” nor the “English Pointers,” but rather the “Marlboro Pointers.”

So have a look below at the cooperative crowd that learned some new ideas about fly casting, and had great fun doing so.

Marlboro pointers in full display.


Point you pointer, point.

Denver Show 2017 Days 1 & 2


The Fly Fishing Show season begins at Denver, CO and heads s to Marlborough, MA, Somerset, NJ, Atlanta, GA, Lynwood WA, Pleasanton, CA, and Lancaster, PA. This year the opening of the Show in Denver looked potentially thin because of a snow storm the day before and very cold temperatures. Fly fishers are not to be deterred, however, and they showed up in good numbers on Friday (January 6th, 2017). I gave a casting demonstration, followed by time in the author’s booth, a power point presentation on The Angler as Predator, and ended the day with a tying demonstration. The crowd was always good and very interested.

Day two (Saturday January 7, 2017) was another day for great attendance. The Show has expanded to even more booths than last year, filling the hall and spilling into the hall way to the seminar rooms and into the area adjacent to the food court. Today I held a casting class in the morning, and then spent time in the Author’s Booth, gave a casting demonstration, and a power point program on Reading Waters. It was a full day, but the excitement of the crowd and the genuine interest of those in attendance made the day go fast and filled with fun and great banter.

I had a chance to walk around a bit of the show today and spend a few minutes chatting with Bruce Taylor from Albuquerque, NM. Bruce is an exceptional sculptor, working in wood. His fish, which he also paints are anatomically beautiful. Have a look at the photos below. If you want so see more of his work and consider a piece for you home or office, visit his web site,

The pointer crowd. Developing the Three Point Grip.

The crowd of the second day, pointing so nicely.

A very fine brown!

Paired bows. Great sculptures.

A fine collection of fishes.

Casting Classes at 2017 Shows

Casting is at the very core of all fly fishing, whether for wild trout in a swift mountain brook of the eastern U.S. or a broad western river, whether searching African waters for tiger fish, or South American waters for Dorado, whether plying the flats for bones, or a lake edge for bluegills. In the classes that I present at the Fly Fishing Shows, we develop the core casting skills, with attention to grip, stance, the secrets to easily developing a great back cast and forward cast, the elliptical stroke, across the head casting, a variety of aerial mends, shooting line, and hauling. With these core skills, the fly rodder can head in any fishing direction.

This year I will be offering casting classes in Denver, Somerset, Atlanta, and Pleasanton. If you plan to be at any of these Shows, consider these classes, you will not be disappointed. See you there.

A friend casting for rainbows in Alaska.

2017 Fly Fishing Show Season

The Fly Fishing Show season is fast upon us: Denver, Marlborough, Somerset, Atlanta (new this year!), Lynwood, Pleasanton, and Lancaster. I will be at all the shows except Lancaster this year. In addition to casting and tying demos, I will be offering casting classes and/or fly tying classes at all the shows. Come join me. Find the locations, dates, hours, programs, classes, and all other information here.

The crowd at a 2016 casting demo showing they know how to point–always a fun time.

Big Redfish with Jake Jordan 2016

My old friend, Jake Jordan, took a 3-day busman’s holiday to Louisiana to fish for redfish. He was met there by our mutual friend, Ted Calvert. They hooked up with big redfish guide Allen Caine, from Hopedale, LA, and got after ‘em right away. These were not the 8 to 12 pound fish that most of us chase, they were 20-pound plus beauties. And they found them. What lovely big redfish.


Ted and Allen with a 26 pounder. Great red.



Captain Jake with a big sheepshead.



Ted with another lovely.



This big red took a 5-inch black and purple streamer, hot fly for the three days.


Really Last Day for 2016?

John Beth just couldn’t stand it any longer. The warm late fall and perfect water conditions lured him out of his lair and on the river. There were few fish, but John managed to connect solidly with one on a single egg fished along the bottom in a deep run.

This was the year of the big boys, and John finished with a very fine 29 inch, 11 ½ pound male, that fought powerfully in the strong flows. OK, John, are you really going to hang it up for the year?


Early mono-tone morning on a favorite Lake Michigan tributary.



The smiling angler with his final prize of the year?

Big Boys are Back 2016

Chuck Furimsky, Theo Bakelaar, and Harry Schoel have been fishing together in these weeks before the International Fly Tying Symposium (Nov. 19/20 at the Garden State Convention Center in Somerset, NJ—see here).

This week they were hunting big stripers about 50 miles north of Ocean City, NJ. And they found them. Casting 10-inch long bunker imitations, they tied into 20-pound plus monsters that ripped line from the reel like a freight train. Whoa. What a blast.


Look at the fly hanging out the mouth of this big boy–it’s way bigger than Chuck’s mustache.


It’s hard not to smile when you’re holding a striper of this size–good on you Theo.

Last Big Hurrah

My long time fishing pal, John Beth, made his final trip of the season to the Lake Michigan tributaries in Wisconsin. There were others there, too, about 16 all total for the day. No one caught anything–except John.

Drifting a single egg through a deep run he felt a tap, and was suddenly tight to a 30 inch female brown of 15 lbs 3 oz. 

you have to know John to understand that he likes to finish the year fishing a cane rod, snd vintage reel. 

The fish was a sincere handful on his gear, and John finally had to cross the river to land the very healthy fish. 

Good on you John. He promised to catch one for me this fall, so I’ll say thanks, old friend.


What a great way to end the season.

Cast/Mend Definitions

As a scientist and college professor, I insist that my students learn definitions. It was not merely an exam exercise, for, without definitions that clearly demark the boundaries of an object, idea, theorem, anatomical structure, and so on, it is not possible to think about their relationship to other objects, ideas, theorems, anatomical structures and etcs.

But too often in fly fishing, terms are used so loosely that they overlap one another. Not the most effective way of learning about the processes of line control. For example, casting and mending are frequently confused. We need to very carefully separate them both in terminology and by what they actually do. So…

CASTING: Those motions necessary to energize the line and send it to target. There are three methods to do this: (1) Wrist Casting in which only the wrist is used to energize the line. (2) Forearm Casting in which the forearm and wrist apply the needed energy. (3) Whole Arm Casting that uses the wrist, forearm, upper arm, and shoulder muscles to sent the line to target.

MENDING: Changing the position of the line after the cast. There are two methods to mend line, and many techniques within each method. (1) On-the-Water Mending where the angler casts the line, and after it has fallen to the surface, it is then flopped, rolled, stacked, or otherwise manipulated to reposition the line. (2) In-the-Air Mending (also called Aerial Mending) in which the fly rodder makes the cast, and as the line is travelling to target (still in the air), the rod is moved to reposition the line. This leads to the Reach Mend, Parachute Mend, Puddle Mend, Reached Puddle, Curve Mend, Reached Curve, Hump Mend, and so on.

Knowing these definitions greatly helps the fly caster develop the needed cast or mend without confusion.


Whether casting and/or mending by horseback, wading, or from a boat, the fly rodder must see the processes as individual rod manipulations, separate from one another.