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.

Pre-Symposium Fishing 2016

My old pal, Chuck Furimsky, founder of the Fly Fishing Show and the International Fly Tying Symposium, spent a day fishing with our friends Theo Bakelaar and Harry Schoel on private waters in Pennsylvania. The fishing was good, the catching even better.

Theo and Harry came from Holland to attend the International Fly Tying Symposium that will be at the Garden State Convention Center in Somerset on Nov. 19, 20, 2016. Both of them will be demonstrating some unique tying materials and techniques. If you have a chance, get there. You can get more info here. All photos by Barry Beck.


Harry nets a nice rainbow.



Harry with a nice brown.



Theo shows off a fine rainbow.



Yes, I’d smile, too, if I caught a beast like this one.

Wisconsin Big Browns 2016

My old fishing pal, John Beth, went in search of big browns in the Lake Michigan tributaries of Wisconsin’s eastern shoreline a couple of days ago. It was a tough day. His two fishing companions caught nothing, and neither did John, until—wham. He was casting long with a big white streamer barred in black, and at the end of the swing, just as he was ready to lift into a backcast, a big male nailed the fly like a rogue torpedo. The fish tore the water to shreds, and John followed, tearing the water to more shreds. Finally in the net, it came in a just a bit over 20 pounds. Best fish of the fall.

The fishing is thinning out fast, but the browns will be around right up until ice up, so if you want to spend a searching day, maybe no fish, maybe a big on, get thee to the river.


That’s one fine brown!



With a mouth like that, even big streamers seem small.



The barred fly in the lower left was the winning combo.

2016-2017 NZ Season Starts with a Bang

New Zealand guide, Martin Langlands, recently sent some photos of the big fish they are taking this year. The season starts in October for some of the South Island streams, with others opening in November. Martin reports that the fish are in exceptional condition this year, and will only get better as the summer comes on and the food supply increases. Right at the moment, they have some good mayfly hatches, and are taking some really big fish on the dry. Arne from Norway nailed a big 8-pounder, and John from Australia topped that with a 9-pounder. Let me remind you that these fish are plenty spooky, so long leaders are essential, and good casting paramount to success.

If you have New Zealand fever (it’s never gone away for me), then get in touch with Martin at Trout Lands—see Links to right. You can’t go wrong.


Good work Arne!



And good on you, mate!