Spring has Sprung

Spring has sprung, the grass is rise, I wonders where the big pikes is? They’re in Theo’s hands! Our friend, Theo Bakelaar, has been out “prospecting” the big rivers in Holland with some really big flies and finding success with some really big pike.

It’s a big early here yet, in the Pacific Northwest, for bass and pike, but the steelhead are running and the spring Chinooks will be here soon. Let’s hope the weather modulates a bit so the rivers can drop back to more or less fishable conditions. We broken several records for rainfall here in the NW this winter, and the rainy season is not yet over.

Big fly, big pike. Look at the length of the fly hanging from the pike’s mouth.

Chuck Furimsky Fly Tyer

The Fly Fishing Shows, held across the nation, are the result of a fly tyer’s love of sharing information about feathers, fur, and steel. Chuck Furimsky started the Shows in 1989. This year, the Shows offered events in Denver CO, Marlboro MA, Somerset NJ, Atlanta GA, Lynwood WA, Pleasanton CA, and Lancaster PA. The Somerset Show is the largest fly fishing show in the world (see Shows). In 1989, Chuck also founded the International Fly Tying Symposium, held annually in Somerset, NJ the weekend before Thanksgiving (see Symposium).

All well and good, but Chuck is always so busy at the Shows and at the Tying Symposium that he never ties. A real pity, because he is an innovative tyer, especially when it comes to using his “Bugskin” material. Specially skived and treated New Zealand lambskin, Bugskin is tough and very soft. It makes great leeches, worms, and other flies that require a highly flexible tail or body. In addition, it makes a great material for the back on nymphs, crustaceans, and the like. (Go here, and then page down to find Bugskin)

This year it’s a different story. Chuck will be tying at the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo in Detroit, and demonstrating his Turbo Tail series. These flies use a twister tail cut from Bugskin, and I can tell you, they have action second to none. His smaller sizes reflect the notion of the Woolly Bugger, and he calls them his Turbo Tail Buggers. His larger sizes haven’t been named yet, but the medium sized ones are excellent for bass, big browns, smaller pike, and the like. The big ones are great for big pike, muskies, and salt water fish like blue fish and stripers. He also dresses some in slider configurations, like the Black Snake shown below. These really create top water commotion.

If you’re anywhere in the Detroit area, get to the Show and watch Chuck whip out some of these really active imitations, March 17 & 18, 2017. Check it out at Expo.

For those you in distant places go to Utube to see Chuck tie the flies.

Turbo tails (top) Large for pike, muskie, blues, stripers, etc., (middle) Medium for bass, big browns, salmon, redfish, etc., (bottom) Turbo Tail Bugger, great for trout, bass, bones, and so on.

The top water blacksnake is a real commotion creator.

Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show 2017

This weekend, February 24-26, 2017, was the Fly Fishing Show at Pleasanton, CA. Friday the hall was almost instantly filled with enthusiastic fly fishers, testing rods, attending programs and demonstrations, chatting with fly tyers, discussing travel opportunities and a huge variety of fly fishing products, and even sampling aged, flavored balsamic vinegars (I flipped out over the elderberry). Saturday was elbow to elbow in the aisles, and the vendors and other exhibitors were busy, busy, busy. Sunday was another great day at the show, with a crowd equal to that of Friday.

My friend, Dave Blackburn, played banjo over the lunch hour each day, and for an hour before the Friday night Fly Fishing Film Festival.

My casting demos were thickly attended, and everyone had a great time running though the pantomimes of casting. The fly tying demos were fun because the Show founder, Chuck Furimsky (who is a very fine fly tyer) came in and cut some twister tails from his BigSkin material, and I used them to tie TwisterTail Down and Dirty minnows and sculpins. And my Power Point Programs on Fishing the Big Fish Flies, Really Matching the Hatch, and Fishing the Film drew plenty of great comments. Thanks everyone.

The crowd each day filled the aisles. The roar of the crowd was nearly overwhelming.


Bruce Taylor’s beautifully carved and painted trout are always a hit at the Shows.


One of the “exercises” we do at the casting demos is looking at the angle that the “opposable digit,” (thumb) makes with the bones of the forearm and the angle that the pointer finger makes, as I discuss the Three Point Grip. So, these are the “Pleasanton Palm Readers.”


“Palmers” on the other side of the pond.

Extra-Select Craft Fur

When I do tying demonstrations at the Fly Fishing Shows, I often use Extra-Select Craft Fur rather than natural furs. It’s easier to carry and comes in a host of colors not available in natural furs. Of course I get many question about the material, so here’s where you can get it–Feather Craft:

Black Nose Dace tied with Extra-Select Craft Fur

Lynwood Fly Fishing Show 2017

The Fly Fishing Show  at Lynwood is always fun. And Saturday was a hoot. The crowd around the casting pond was astonishing. As always, they willingly participated–in both the physical exercises (all pantomime) and the jokes. Sunday’s crowd was equally enthusiastic, and we all had a fun time learning a host of casting and mending tactics. Thanks to all the great “Lynwood Pointers.”

Next weekend, February 24-26, 2017 is the Pleasanton, CA, Fly Fishing Show. I’ll be there all three days. Come by and say “Hi.”

Saturday’s crowd was densely populated and ready to point, point, point.


The other side of the pond on Saturday. The “Lynwood Pointers” were an eager group.


Sunday’s pointers were every bit as enthusiastic–why are they always so eager to point at me?


I love the smiles and laughs. We always have a fun time and lean a great deal about casting.

Atlanta Fly Fishing Show, 2017

This was the first year for the Atlanta Fly Fishing show, and it looked and felt very good. This year’s show was two days, Friday and Saturday.

Friday’s crowd was healthy for the first day of a totally new show, but Saturday’s crowd was robust to say the least. Both days, the crowd for my casting demonstration was heavy. And, as always, they were very cooperative, laughing, and pointing, and running through pantomime casting with zeal.

Fly tying was a delightful time, as were the power point programs and the casting class. And Da e Blackburn and crew played bluegrass (some of my favorite songs, too) over the lunch hour each day and before the Film Festival on Friday Night. I’m looking forward to next year.

My friend Dave Blackburn on banjo pickin’ a bluegrass tune.


Friday’s crowd at the casting pond. We all decided that Atlanta needs a new team, “The Atlanta Pointers.”


The other side of Friday’s casting pond Not a single one pointed with their thumb. Great job, y’all.


Saturday’s happy crew on the right side and behind my position. They love the pointing exercise.


The rest of the crowd on the right side of the casting pond on Saturday–I was careful with my backcast.


The happy crew on the left side, pointing with vigor.


Mac Brown’s boy were very cooperative with the pointing.

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, taylorsfish.com

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.