From Albacore to Lahontans, fall 2017


It’s been a couple of busy weeks for the fly fishing community. On the east coast, my friend, Jake Jordan, helped sponsor the Cape Lookout Albacore Festival. All proceeds go to Project Healing Waters—a most deserving organization that helps veterans refocus their lives through fishing. Jake is a specialist for Albacore, especially on the fly rod, and everyone at the Festival caught fish and experienced a truly fun time.

Capt’n Jake and his anglers got into Albacore right away by heading out to where trawlers were culling their day’s catch.

Uninvited guests–sharks–are prevalent in these waters, and often a fly rodder loses a fish to one of these toothy torpedoes.


Back from fishing with Jake Jordan for Stripers, my friend, Chuck Furimsky, began exploring for fall stripers with our good friend from Holland, Theo Bakelaar. Theo introduced gold beads into the US in 1994, when I first met him, and is always coming up with unique fly tying and angling ideas. The open ocean has been a bit too rough for easy access, so Chuck and Theo have been fishing the bay at Ocean City, NJ. They have found a few small foish, but the other day, Chuck found this beauty. Only hit he had all day, but I’d say it was well worth waiting for.

I’ll take every striper of this size that I can find!


A bit further west, on the west side of Lake Michigan, as a matter of fact, another long-time fishing companion, John Beth, hit the Wisconsin tributaries at exactly the right time—when they were not flowing swollen and muddy well over their banks. The king run was over—having been buried in the high water—but the cohos were in. And were they ever. John took this 35 inch beast—his best ever in Wisconsin—and several others that day. He and a friend saw a couple of browns, too, so they may be poised to run soon, too. Get a couple for me, John.

Only an inch short of a yard. That’s quite a fine coho!


My long time friend, Marc Williamson, managed to get out the other day and explore a nearby Oregon lake. This 24 inch bulky critter found his fly. Mighty fine rainbow, I’d say.

A great fall day with a great fish.

King and Lahontan

Another friend, blues guitar maestro, Keith Scott, has been playing at venues across the Pacific Northwest—and of course taking advantage of the fishing here. He took a lovely, chrome-bright king salmon on the Hook and then headed for Omak Lake to hunt for Lahontan cutthroats, where he found the beauty below.

king salmon with a king guitar blues man.

Lahontans get big–as you can see here.

Fall Albies 2017

The fall alibi fishing has been exceptional, and our friend, Capt’n Jake Jordan has been right on top of all of it. My long-time friend, Chick Furimsky, founder of The Fly Fishing Show, had a chance to fish with Jake a week or so ago. They really did well. Trouble is, the sharks were in tune with what was going on, and several of their fish were “sharked.” they also lost fly lines, flies, and leaders, but no fingers or larger body parts, to the sharks. Still, it was a time of real “tug of war” with one on the sea’s truly fighting’ fools.

If you want in on the action, see the link to Jake at the right.


Chuck with a really fine Albie.


Capt’n Jake with another nice Albie.


Oops, shark bait.


Casting for Recovery

This is one of those great programs that everyone should support, every chance available. Recently, Chuck Furimsky, founder of The fly Fishing Show, had an opportunity to help his local club with an outing for the Casting for Recovery Program. Here’s his report.

As  a founding member of the South Jersey Coastal Anglers I always try to join the club members when we sponsor the Casting for Recovery weekend. There are usually around fifteen women and plenty of volunteers that spend Saturday teaching casting, knots, and even fly tying. Rick Pope, the force behind TFO Flyrods, donated complete fly outfits for all the gals to use. We all meet at a beautiful campground lake where they all get waders, a box of flies, a loaded landyard, and a wading staff. Then everyone meets their guide from our club. I was teamed up with Viktoria, an artist living in New York after moving here from Hungary. She was the perfect partner, listening to all my suggestions, casting beautifully, and using the fly patterns she tied the day before. Her first cast, using her first-tied fly, caught her first fish, a nice 8 inch bluegill. That’s three firsts if you’re counting. We struggled to quit fishing and heed the lunch call. After about 15 fish, and one of the largest bluegills I’ve ever seen–I estimated it at 11-12 inches, and nearly two lbs.– it was hard to wade out for lunch. After a great buffet, a fund raising auction, and Viktoria winning a complete fly rod outfit for catching the biggest fish, another memorable Casting for Recovery weekend ended with smiles and tears.

Chuck and Viktoria ready to roll.

Now that’s one huge bluegill! It deserves a full fishing outfit award!


The Single Best Book on Fly Casting Ever Written

Sooner or later, someone had to do it, and Jason has done it. Fly Casting is the core element of fly fishing, and the more one understands about the nuances of this skill, the better. But Jason has taken a new twist—the modular approach. It shows one how to build skill upon skill allowing anyone to achieve, what many believe to be, fly casting levels available only to the most athletically gifted among us.

He demonstrated this when he devised the “Shadow Cast” for the movie, A River Runs Though It, directed by Academy-award-winning director, Robert Redford. The Shadow Cast was a linked set of individual skills (modules) that included an Upward Hook, a Positive Hook Curve, the Galway Cast, and a hidden Double Haul.

The overall idea is quite simple. Learn a skill, link it to another skill, or more than one skill—each a “module” in the overall end result. It’s a fabulous way to learn to cast without mind-numbingly complex explanations, and the prospect of thousands of hours of practice out in the back yard. Pieces of casting simple click together like Legos, yielding a host of possibilities that are readily executed.

Then add in over 400 highly explanatory line drawings, and you have a book that far exceeds anything anyone has ever done in the teaching fly casting. Wow, Jas, it’s extraordinary.

To order your signed, numbered copy, go to Jason’s site, here.

This is the way it all fits together. The Tuck/Pile cast is just a vertical, overpowered curve followed immediately by a lift of the rod so the curve has a chance to form. Look at the great artwork and read the great explanation. Note the modules.


Keith’s Cat—fish that is.

My friend, Bluesman Keith Scott, is also a fly fisher. He travels a lot playing blues across the U.S., and fly fishing, too. Recently, he had a fun day on a small lake. Fishing a Muddler, he landed a bluegill, a bass and, yup, a catfish. Now cats are not known as a fly rod species, but they can and do, on occasion, take flies just fine. This was the occasion. Nice catch, bluesman—see a link to Keith to the right.

Here kitty, kitty–sorry I couldn’t resist.

The Brule Runs Through It

My good friend, John Beth, loves to venture into fly fishing’s past. This was a great year to do it, as he reports below. Tell us about it, John…

I had planned a September fishing trip to the historic and beautiful Bois Brule (Burnt Wood) river in northern Wisconsin with friends Bob Harrison and Scott Allen. We each planned one day fishing from a canoe with legendary guide Damian Wilmot; the other two would walk and wade the river elsewhere on their own.

To call Damian’s boat just a canoe would be a serious understatement. Damian, and his craftsman friend Lloyd Hautajarvi, had spent two, painstaking years restoring a magnificent, twenty foot, 1895, Joe Lucius canoe. Joe was a legendary canoe builder on the Brule, and one of the upper-river “lakes” is named after him—Lucius lake.

This float for me became something special. Damian had announced, earlier this month, that he would be retiring at the end of this season from full time guiding. For 29 seasons he has guided those who would cast a fly to a wild Brule trout. As an homage to the river, to him, to the wonderful Lucius canoe, and the spirits of all those past who, in my heart, are still there, I wanted my last day in that boat with him to be forever burned in my memory. The solution was quite simple. I love old fly gear–what I have of it – and I still fish with it. It is my connection to our sport’s past. The only way to know what it must have been like to fly fish 100+ years ago…is to fish that way!

On my day to fish from the canoe with Damian, the Lucius slid silently into the storied water at Stones Bridge, after a stormy morning had delayed us a couple of hours. I was soon casting my 1905 Millward Greenheart fly rod with a silk line, Macleay reel, made in Inverness Scotland in 1895–the same year that our Lucius canoe had been “born.”  There’s more…Damian had tied on a “Rat Faced McDougall “ dry fly, and I cast to (and caught) several native brookies in McDougall Springs, and oh yes, this Lucius Canoe was once owned by the Alexander McDougall Castle family.

There has been, perhaps, nothing more poignant than those moments and that day in my 50+ years of fly fishing. I was wishing a mysterious, ghostly fog would creep across the river and around us from the deep, Brule valley woods at our sides, and of course, It did.

The warm day too quickly faded away. Each push of Damian’s pole from the back of the canoe, just as Joe had done over a century ago, pushed us closer to our landing, and farther from the magic of our day of fishing wild brook trout in simpler times, as they did so long ago. It could not have been a better day.

As we closed the day, I was haunted by a strange sense of happiness and sadness.  Stepping out of the stunning, mahogany-trimmed green, cedar canoe for the last time, and looking back down this amazing river, I realized I wasn’t going back to reality–I was leaving it.

Ready to go–in the refitted Lucius canoe from 1895.


And, John, let’s fish the Rat-Face Mcdougall, a famous Brule River fly.


Success–a nice Brule River Brookie.


Even the fog cooperated, putting the river in the right mood for times past.


The Brule Runs Through It.


Big and Ugly, and Eating…Jigs?

Chuck Furimsky, founder of The Fly Fishing Shows, was recently fishing the Salmon River in NY and decided to fish a small white, fly rod jig for the big kings—and guess what? Yup, he connected. That’s an impressive fish, Chuck!

Three years back (2014) I was fishing kings in the Chilean Patagonia, and we found that they took nymphs rather well. I caught a number of really big kings on a black, hair leg Woolly Worm.

So, don’t pass up the smaller flies just because you think the kings won’t take them. The may be the answer on an otherwise blank day.

Chuck’s king on a small, white, fly rod jig. That’s one big fish.


A Chilean king that fell to a size 6, black, Hair Leg Woolly Worm. The rod is Jason’s Shadow Caster 20–9 feet, 5 weight line–that I took the fish on.

Clydehurst Christian Ranch day 2

Day two was not as cold and rainy as day 1, so we were able to get out both morning and afternoon for casting practice. In the afternoon session, nearly everyone learned to double haul. Still the day was cold, and after 45 minutes, all were willing to head in to the comfort of the wood fire and the coffee shop.

Marc then discussed fishing stillwaters, and I lectured on Nymphing. The questions ran long, and the camp host, Scott Bronson, came to remind us that brisket awaited us in the dining hall. The class broke up quickly.

After dinner, Marc gave a class on fly tying, attended by 25 participants. They tied a woolly worm with chenille body, and then another with a dubbed body. Everyone was delighted to try their hand at dressing the imitations.

The day following the school, Marc and I spent a couple of hours on the Boulder before heading back to Billings and the flight home the following day.

Staying warm by the fire.


The upper Boulder lies in a magnificent valley, and runs gin clear.


Aspen are turing yellow, matching the sides of the west slope cutthroat.


The colors of the cutthroat are perfect camouflage in the stony bottom of the Boulder.


The handsome little fish rose eagerly to the tiny fires that we used.


Clydehusrst 2107 day 1

Marc Williamson and I are in Montana just south of Big Timber at the Clydehurst Christian Ranch, conducting our 5th annual Men’s Fly Fishing School. Of course we came a day early to prepare everything and rip a few lips, if the fish cooperate. This year they did. The weather turned nasty—cold rain and wind and dropping temperatures—exactly what the Baetis mayflies love. And love they did. They popped out right on schedule and the fish followed, slurping them in like candies.

We, of course, just stood there and watched—like not! We whipped out the Baetis mayflies and whipped out a bunch of fish. The biggest was 16-17 inches. Many were in the 10-12 inch range. It was true delight.

The first day of classes went very well—until we came to the first casting-on-the-grass session. Everyone got good and cold. We abandoned the second outdoor session simply because it was so cold and windy—with blowing rain. I presented The Angler as Predator in substitution. There was a nice wood fire burning in the lodge’s fireplace, the coffee shop was open, and everyone was comfortable.

Dinner was followed by the showing of the movie, A River Runs Through it. The scene in the movie, where the boys put the boat in the river to Shoot the Chutes, was filmed on the Boulder just across the road from Cydehurst, and so the movie has a special meaning for everyone here. I introduced the movie by discussing some to the techniques used to shoot the film, and some of the out-takes—funny and otherwise. The second day will be upon us all too soon—with the promise of snow.

The Boulder is a classic high mountain stream with pools and rapids–a fun place to search for trout.


The fish are lovely–note the tiny Baetis imitation in t’s upper lip.


The biggest fish of the day, a nice 16-17 inch cutthroat.

Montana Bows

Recently my friend, Chuck Furimsky (founder of the Fly Fishing Shows) fished western Montana with some friends, including Harry Schoel from Holland. They had a wide ranging experience but found the really big fish in lakes in SW MT. Lakes hold more and bigger fish that rivers, and if there’s a chance for lake fishing, I’ll take it. Chuck certainly found a good lake!

Lakes hold more and bigger trout that streams, and Chuck is out to prove it.

Ok, once is a coincidence. Twice is fishing in the right lake.