International Fly Tying Symposium Day 1

The day started with a big crowd waiting for the doors to open, and there was the roar of the crowd all day long. I opened with a fly casting demonstration, and had a great group watching intently. This was followed by a fly tying demonstration in which I illustrated some unique ideas on hackling flies with both stiff hackles, soft hackle, long and short furs, and elk hair. There was no time for lunch because the fly tying demo was followed by a Power Point presentation of Fishing the Big Fish Flies, as discussed in my book “Long Flies.” Then came a short break in which I was able to sit down and have some water before heading to the Author’s Booth and signing books for an hour. Bob Clouser and I shared the booth together, and managed to get caught up a bit on life’s events. Then there was a break in the programming that allowed me time to get ready for tomorrow before heading to the evenings banquet.


The crowd at the fly casting demo pointing at me–proof that the index finger is the pointing finger.


The banquet was very well attended, and the desserts were good, too!

Theo’s Pike

The northern pike is a great gamefish, and occupies many waters in both the U.S. and Europe, and they take the fly very well. Those who fish for northerns understand that big, as in BIG, flies are the most effective. After all, a fish that weighs over 20 pounds and has a mouth of needles for teeth is not going to survive sipping size 18 Baetis mayflies off the film. And when they decide to take the fly, the strike is stunning. Our friend, Theo Bakelaar sent photos of this big pike he took from a small canal near his home. Check out the big fly in its mouth.


Big pike like this live in the many canals in Holland.


Look at the size of the head on this pike! That will give you an idea of the over all size of this big fish. Note the fly in its mouth.

Harry’s Big Rainbow

Harry Schoel, from Holland, and a mutual friend of Chuck Furimsky and mine, likes to arrived a week or two early for the International Fly Tying Symposium to spend time with Chuck, perhaps going to a football game at Penn State, but certainly trout fishing, weather permitting. And then, a couple of days before the Symposium, I arrive, and we all fish for stripers and blues, again weather permitting. Last week Chuck and Harry fished on Pennsylvania’s Fishing Creek on a cold, raw day when not much was going on. Chuck managed a couple as did Harry. Harry took a very nice rainbow on an egg fly—always a good bet in the cold times of the fall and winter. That’s a very good thing to keep in mind if you get to fish in the more bleak months of the year. Fish the egg deep, bouncing along the bottom like a dead-drifted nymph. I typically use a translucent red or pink  Otter’s egg in 6 or 8mm size, and fish an indicator with it.


Even though it is a cold, raw day, a big fish gets the blood pumping.


Harry had to rub his cheeks briskly to get them thawed out enough to smile–as smile he should..

Ben’s Big Striper

Today I awoke to a very brisk morning and bitingly cold wind here in Ocean City–not a day to be out on the ocean, at least to my way of thinking. But in late morning, Ben Furimsky headed out with a friend as the Gale Warnings waned and the sun weakly heated the mid-day air. I have trouble with rough seas, even when I take Dramamine, and that on top of the very frigid conditions kept me in my room at the Northwood Inn, busily working on my next book  (The Perfect Cast I), sorting photos, and editing my new casting DVD (also titled The Perfect Cast I). Just at diner time, Ben messaged to show us his prize of the year: a really big striper (at least 30 pounds if not more). We were all delighted, and maybe a tiny bit jealous, but no one really regretted staying in today. Still there is tomorrow….


Now that’s a striper! Good on you Ben.

Bluesman in the Pacific Northwest

Keith Scott, bluesman and then some, ( is touring the Pacific Northwest right now, playing his great music and fishing up a storm. He got into chum salmon and discovered how strong they really are—and “my, grandma, what big teeth you have.” He’s also been worrying the steelhead, keeping them just a bit edgy (like his blues). Keep ‘em guessin’ Keith.


Check out the teeth–the fish’s teeth.


Gotta love those rainbows.

Pere Marquette Fall Fishing

My long time friend Jim Hagar is a member of the Pere Marquette Rod and Gun Club and manages to get to the river in the fall for the salmon, steelhead, and browns. Unlike our rivers here in Wisconsin, which fluctuate greatly, in tune with every rainfall, no matter how small or large, the Pere Marquette flows strongly all year long. It is ideal water for the fall runs of salmon and trout, and Jim is good at finding them and catching them. He loves to fish big streamers, and to see the fish take them with zeal. It’s great fun, and we have shared the waters together; one fall we took so many kings that it almost got embarrassing—almost. Good on you Jim!


Yes, I would be smiling, too. Nice fall brown, Jim.


Now, there’s a steelhead! Look at the big streamer hanging in its mouth.


Perfection Loop

I use this knot when I need one in which the mono comes straight out of the knot. It’s the knot used on the butt end of the leader when making a loop to loop connection.

It is one complicated looking knot, but in reality, it is very fast and simple to tie if one keeps in mind: wrap, wrap, wrap, first through second. The key is getting the first loop (wrap) correct. Study the photos carefully and try it with a chunk of 3/16” rope to get the sequence clearly in mind before trying it in mono.

To adjust the size of the loop after the knot is formed, but before it comes tight, gently push the loop back into the knot and gently pull both the long end and short end of the material to carefully draw out the excess material. I like a loop about 5/8 inch long. Remember to pull on the loop and the long end of the material, only, when tightening the knot. Remember, too, to lubricate the knot with a little saliva before you draw it fully tight.


It’s critical that when making the first loop (wrap) that the short end go behind the long end.


The second loop (wrap) is made over the long end and then in behind, again.


The third wrap is up between the two loops.


Pull the second loop down through the first loop. Now is the time to adjust loop size.


Lubricate the knot with a little saliva (not necessary on the ropes!), pull only the long end and the loop. clip the short end as tight as possible.


I’m headed to the International Fly Tying Symposium next week. Several of us are meeting a few days early with Chuck Furimsky, owner and manager of the show, in the hopes that the stripers will be there. Of course, Chuck has been “exploring” the back bays for us, just in case the ocean is too rough. He’s had mixed success, but this isn’t such a bad fish. Watch for posts to come on our fishing time together.


Not a monster, but a very nice striper. Good on you Chuck. Find us a few more like that one, please.

Rockwell Springs Trout Club

Yesterday and today I was conducting a fly fishing clinic at the Rockwell Springs Trout Club near Sandusky, OH.  It’s a great facility and great club. I was here many years ago, and it’s nice to come back and see the improvements and positive changes in this 800+ member club. We had two diametrically opposed days. Wednesday was bright and sunny, and we had a great opportunity to get out and practice the Elliptical Stroke, the C-pickup, and other casting niceties. Today was nasty–cold and rainy with no sun. We practiced the Double Haul in the rain. Ah, but so what, we had a great time and learned a great deal about casting and other aspects of fly fishing. There were great sessions on knots, reading waters, nymphing, fishing the film, equipment,  and more. We had a great book signing session, and an chance to really dig in with stories, illustrations, and an expose on the smoke and mirrors used for the movie, A River Runs Through it. Thanks again to everyone who attended and to the Club for inviting me to conduct this fun clinic.


Wednesday was a very sunny day–as you can tell from the light flooding into the lecture room. No one complained.

Near Lack of Posts

There are a several reasons that I have been a bit “thin” in my blog posts of late. (1) Jason and I have put book 5 in the Fly Fishing series to bed. It is at the presses and will be released  on November 21. Watch for a pre-release sales announcement next week.  (2) I have been writing and producing a video on fly casting. Every time I give a demo at a sports show or club, or do a fly fishing school or other event, people ask if I have a video of the casting, and I always have to say, “not yet.” Well, “yet” is here. At least the shooting. It will be completed today. Then comes the editing, and that will take a month or so. Announcements of the completion date to follow sometime. (3) I have been getting ready for a two day school at Rockwell Springs in Ohio and for the International Fly Tying Symposium—held November 22, 23, 2014 in the Garden State Convention Center in Somerset, NJ. If you’re within driving distance, come and say “Hi.”


The smile signals the completion of my shoot today of The Perfect Cast I.