Monday, July 19, 2021

"God Save the Queen"

Two and a half days into a cross country road trip and I had yet to string up a rod. About halfway, I texted an old mentor of mine to see if he was close by. After a cup of coffee and some catching up, he dropped me a pin on my intended route. He simply said, "you'll figure it out". Five hours later, I pulled down a long gravel road to a parking lot that read, "no overnight camping," and promptly parked the van next to it. It was nearing 11 p.m. and I passed out. In the morning, I landed a personal best brown trout on a dry fly. If anyone had ever told me that it would happen where it did, I never would have believed them. Not in a million years...

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Small and Cold


Water temperatures on most eastern Pennsylvania freestone streams and rivers reached lethal levels for trout near the end of May this year. All it took was a few days of a heat wave for the thermometer to read 68 degrees and to throw in the white towel. Yes, a brief cooling and some rain helped, but once thermally stressed, the trout are still vulnerable. Morally and ethically, the right move is to give them a break until the Fall. Thankfully, the same area of the state is blessed with several limestone streams, and a few tailwaters, that fish well into the summer. Even then, you should carry a thermometer to be sure. Typically, I'll get a small dose of summer cabin fever and have to hit one of these pieces of water for a trico spinner fall or an afternoon sulphur emergence. The trout are usually eager, unique, and a kaleidoscope of colors. This more than makes up for their smaller size. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Snook and Sunsets


                                       Sunrise, Snook, Sunset, Repeat...

I never targeted or caught a snook before. During my time in the Caribbean, I occasionally spotted a snook laid up off a beach but my eyes were usually looking for the figure of a bonefish. I didn't pay their randomness with the attention of my time. When I found myself working remotely in Florida, I knew that snook would be a target. If it was warm enough to find them near the house that my Uncle John was renting, maybe I could catch one. With cold temperatures in question, I spent a lot of time hunting for redfish on my SUPyak. This occurred after a full day of work during the worst light of the day. I did have some opportunities, but usually spotted them too late or spooked them putting the paddle down and picking up the rod. Snook were a willing substitute, once I realized that they were an available opportunity. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021


Sunset in the Everglades...

The location came as a recommendation from a friend. After a look on Google Earth, I found a tidal river snaking its way into the Everglades through lengthy mangrove tunnels. I was told to expect gators, the occasional baby tarpon, and willing snook. Nary a word was spoken of spiders. After a 2.5 hour drive south, I arrived at sunrise to a morning chorus. I couldn't help but notice how dark the water in the pond was and what might lie beneath its calmness. My imagination ran wild with thoughts of a gnarly gator sneaking up on me as I made trips back and forth to the Outback. How would anyone know if I got dragged into the depths? What if a giant python wrapped me up deep in a mangrove? What if a ran into one of those nile crocodiles that are now down in the Everglades? Thankfully, the mosquitos interrupted the horror story in my head by finding every inch of open skin. When I finally shoved off into the water I immediately saw a gator in the distance investigating the fool entering his turf. A foggy mist swirled over the water that was dotted by fish breaking the surface. My first cast along a mangrove edge resulted in an aggressive take that startled some long term memories from my neocortex. It had been awhile but I knew exactly what I just felt...


Friday, February 19, 2021

The Power of Encounters

It was 2016 and my fly fishing for musky journey was only a few years in existence. At that point, I'd caught a few muskies while helping Austin Greene film "Pursuing Esox," and I found myself only tying flies that were more like pets than lures. I'd made my way to the Somerset Fly Fishing Show to pick up some feathers and promptly leave. At the show I caught a glimpse of the man, the myth, the legend, Blane Chocklett. I mustered up the courage to go talk to him about a large female musky that was haunting my dreams. As a quiet guy by nature, who hardly ever talks to anyone, I walked right up to Blane and asked him a few questions. After some brief answers, he curtly stated that at a certain point it would be best to simply put in my time. Slightly miffed, it took me a little to realize that he was right. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Hunters and Hopers

Always so crowded...

I was fortunate enough to spend a few days this November swinging flies for Great Lakes steelhead on the Salmon River in New York. I've grown quite fond of the river over the years and the opportunities it affords two handed casters along with the sheer quality of the migratory rainbows the river can produce. Each year, I learn the river and the behavior of its fish a little more. That can be attributed to time and experience but it also comes from watching, listening, and learning from some of the river's resident Spey Jedi. Guys like Patrick Ross, Chad Gaston, and Isak Kulalic have often left me slack jawed over the past decade with their casts, presentations, or ability to pick my pocket, with a dry line. I'll never forget a day on the river where I witnessed Patrick and Travis Johnson absolutely murder a run with a group of clients while I left the river skunked. Despite some success, there are definitely levels to the game. The aforementioned individuals have helped me raise the bar when it comes to my expectations stepping down a run, even when the river, and its fish, are seemingly not in the mood. To borrow Travis's phrase, I've transitioned from a "hoper," to a "hunter". Below are a few tips to help you have some more success when swinging flies on my favorite Great Lakes steelhead river. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

GHOSTech Indicators Review


Full disclosure: I was contacted by the creator and owner of GHOSTech, Stephen Cunic, last May and was sent a package of indicators with a note to write a review for the blog. Stephen and I are from the same area of Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley. This product was born on the waters I grew up fishing and still do. I have not met Stephen and we have not fished together. I have not read other reviews of the product and the thoughts and feelings are my own. Please read the entirety of the review in order to understand its best uses. 

Every fly fisherman has used, or uses indicators, while nymphing for trout. For a lot of us, it is how we learned the subtle nuances of a dead drift or how we caught some of our first trout on fly. Indicators are a staple in any angler's kit and the industry has seen a lot of different styles come and go over the years. Personally, I started nymphing as a 12 year old using yarn style indicators. I used different yarn indicators, almost exclusively, until the arrival of the Thingamabobber. The "thing," has since been replaced in popularity by the Airlock indicator and that is what you'll find me using when I feel the need to suspend nymphs. The most recent iteration of the Airlock style is the most popular indicator on the market and probably the most used. With the arrival of GHOSTech's unique platform and marketing, does it beat out the Airlock? In short, no it does not. However, the GHOSTech presents a new take on indicators and has a few unique characteristics to pay attention to. Owning the GHOSTech indicators will round out your nymphing toolkit and make you a more successful angler in specific fishing situations. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

You're Gonna Need a Bigger Net

 "Slow ahead...slow ahead. I can go slow ahead. Come on down and chum some of this shit"

"You're gonna need a bigger net"

"That's a twenty incher"

"Twenty-five. Three pounds of him"

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Holiday Swing


Two inches of rain fell on Christmas Eve. The storm and temperatures also melted the snow remaining from a mid-December dumping. As I mentally and physically prepared myself to head home for the holidays, I realized that my hopes of spending copious amounts of time swinging for trout on the larger rivers of eastern Pennsylvania were going out the window. My attention turned towards the smaller creeks and streams that would clear much quicker yet still grant the opportunity of catching some sizable wild and holdover browns on the swing.