Take just two minutes & escape whatever the world is tossing at you today to step into the stream in your mind & enjoy this gorgeous video.
Below is a short, beautiful video filmed on the water of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, set to the words of John Voelker's (aka Robert Traver) "Testament Of A Fisherman". Even though Judge Voelker wrote those words back in the mid 1960's, they still ring true today.
Take just two minutes & escape whatever the world is tossing at you today to step into the stream in your mind & enjoy this gorgeous video.
Well, spring can't be too far away - the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has released their annual adult trout stocking schedule for 2020.
This year, the Commission will stock 4,600 miles of streams & 130 lakes totaling 7,083 acres!! There is a nearby place to trout fish just about anywhere you are in PA. Proudly, Pennsylvania offers some of the best fly fishing for trout in the world.
Now, I'm not the type to follow the stocking truck around ready to pounce on the trout with my flies the minute they leave the bucket, but knowing when & where the trout will be stocked can greatly enhance your time spent on the water. This is especially true for folks who are making a trip here to PA to wet a line in the hopes of catching trout, or those with very limited time to fish. I always recommend to folks visiting from out of state that they check both the weather & the stocking lists to make sure they're fishing is the best it can be.
You can look up which streams will be stocked & when on the Commission's website in an interactive list searchable by county, HERE.
Not sure what the county is where you'll be fishing? No worries, the Commission has a county guide, filled with maps & other info on their website. In addition to that you can also read all the fishing regulations & even buy your fishing license & trout stamp on their site as well. It's loaded with good, accurate information.
As the snow falls & the cold air outside sends chills, this a great time of year to tie up all your flies for next season & plan a good fishing trip - & now you'll know when & where the trout will be!!
I'm sure that most fly anglers are familiar with the writer John Gierach. If you aren't, then please get yourself a copy of one of his books - any one will do - & I'm sure you're in for an enjoyable time. Those of you familiar with Gierach's writings know that he's a big proponent of bamboo fly rods. They come up in every one of his books & he even dedicated an entire book to the subject.
Last year he wrote a brief article about bamboo rods for Bloomberg News. In the article he address the mystique of bamboo fly rods, & touches on why some folks prefer them to rods of other materials. When addressing the question of why someone would spend so much more money on a bamboo rod then a modern graphite fly rod, his answers is, in my opinion, really good:
"It’s a fair question with a vague answer. Part of it is the way we value the Yankee workshop-like tradition of fine handwork done with what we now consider to be primitive tools, as well as the antique virtues of skill and patience.
But there’s also some unapologetic nostalgia at work here. Bamboo fly rods can recall a time when life was simpler, fish bigger (and more numerous), and fishermen fewer and farther between. Or so we like to imagine."
He goes on to talk about the differences of bamboo rods - how each rod is unique & feels slightly different; how many anglers like the feel of casting bamboo - how "warm" they feel & the "friendliness" of a bamboo rod.
One point he makes that I think is really worth mentioning is that a bamboo fly rod will 'break in' as it ages & is used. Bamboo rods have a tendency to 'warm up' after they are fished for a while. I've never been sure if this is the bamboo material being tempered over many casts, or if its a psychological thing where we anglers get more used to the feel & rhythm of the rod. Whatever it is, I know that the vast majority of bamboo fly rods get better with age, where graphite or fiberglass rods will (after many years) wear out. As Gierach puts it:
"And bamboo rods, like violins, are said to evolve with use, so even if a rod doesn’t have a personality the first time you string it up, it will after you’ve fished with it for a few seasons."
I couldn't agree more with that.
You can read the entire article on the Bloomberg News site HERE.
"The Rodmaker" is a film, about 20 minutes long, about famed Michigan rod maker Morris Kushner. Kushner made innovative & unique bamboo rods of his own design. He was a very respected & interesting character to the folks who knew him.
Scott Mann, a multimedia producer of InSight Productions, & John Roman, made the film back in the early 1980's (Kushner was Scott's Grandpa). Unseen for many years, Scott offered the movie for sale on DVD for a while. The DVD is no longer available, but Scott has graciously put the film online for all to see & enjoy. Not only that, but he has also posted the full interviews with rod maker Bob Summers & author John Voelker (Robert Traver) that he conducted for the movie - the unedited interviews which are fascinating to listen to. I'll post those here separately later on, too.
The film is a fantastic look back at an often overlooked, but important rod maker - & as such, a look into fishing history. It's a fascinating & well told story. Thanks to Scott Mann for allowing us all to enjoy it, as I'm certain you will. Enjoy!
I will frequently get approached by folks who are 'reviewers' of fly fishing equipment. I think all rod makers & producers of fly fishing equipment do. Most of the time the approach follows a pattern: an individual contacts me, explaining how they review fly fishing gear, how many followers they have on social media, how everybody in the world reads & trusts their reviews, etc. They then ask for my highest grade of bamboo fly rod to be sent to them, gratis of course, in exchange for their telling everyone how much they enjoyed my rod.
Now, I'm not opposed to this, but more often then not there is a problem. When I investigate & look into their reviews, I find they haven't actually reviewed anything - maybe one or to products at most. They don't have a large following & they haven't been at it for very long, so they don't have a reputation in the business yet.
But when Bryan Pearson of Bang For Your Buck Outdoor Reviews approached me, it was different than any other reviewer in the past. Rather than just blatantly ask for a free high-end custom bamboo fly rod, Bryan introduced himself & showed me his work & background writing reviews of all types of outdoor gear. He then invited me to take part in his operations in anyway that I wanted - i.e. he wasn't just after a free rod & it would be on his dime!!
Well that was certainly different for me! So I looked into his work & lo & behold, here was a reviewer who actually did have a large social media following. Here was a reviewer who was truly bringing a large number of different outdoor gear to people's attention in an honest & clear way. Imagine that, someone actually giving honest reviews of gear they think we should all be aware of!! I totally appreciated Bryan's honesty & professionalism. This was someone I could get on board with.
So if you're looking for different alternatives for your outdoor gear, or you want to discover some maker of a product that you might not of heard of before, check out Bang For Your Buck Outdoor Reviews. In addition to fly fishing gear, the reviews also cover camping equipment, travel advice, even artwork! Bryan pretty much covers it all. You'll even see some reviews of my stuff there as well. Be sure to follow him on facebook & be sure to check out his website, too. In these days where you're told to question every review you read, it's refreshing to see someone doing it right!!!
It was a busy summer out there on all the rivers, streams, & lakes. Thanks to all of you who took the time to share your photos & stories with me about your summer fishing.
I learn so much from you all & get see places that are far away (to me). This summer I got see your photos from all over: from the Carolina's to Colorado; from California to Switzerland to right here indifferent places of Pennsylvania.
When I make a rod for someone, I'm usually not sure where all that rod will go. I'm always curious, as I spend a lot of time with each rod as I make them. I think of the different rods & the folks I made them for & wonder about the places they see. I'm so grateful when a rod client takes the time to share the stories & memories they make using my rods with me! It truly is a highlight of what I do.
Thank you all so much! You folks are what keeps me going everyday making rods. Through this clients become friends & my life is so much richer because of you all. To see some of the photos anglers so kindly shared with me, please take a look at the Beyond The Rod Shop page of this web site. I'd love to see & learn about your fishing adventures, so if you have any good fish tales you'd like to share, feel free to contact me.
I hope you're all getting a chance to get out there & enjoy some fall fly fishing. I was able to get out for a time last week. I've got to go back - I promised a few trout & slate drakes I'd see them again. Good luck on the water out there, folks!!
Now that we've entered the month of October, the adult trout stockings for the fall will begin here in PA. These stockings help to replenish the trout population leading into the cooler months of the year. This is a great time to go out fishing for trout. As the water temps come back down to optimal ranges for trout metabolisms, the activity will naturally increase. Here's your chance to go out & catch some of the best trout of the year!
While the PA Fish & Boat Commission will stock fish from October 1st through December, it's during the month of October where the majority of these fish will be put in. This October the PAFBC will stock more than 82,000 trout in certain sections of 91 waterways in 47 counties. These will include rainbow, brook, & brown trout.
If you want to check where & when these fall stockings are to occur, be sure to check the interactive list the Commission has on their website HERE.
And you should check it before you go out to fish. As October begins, we're experiencing a record-breaking heat wave here in PA. As a result, some trout stocking dates will be rescheduled until a later date in the month.
Fall is a fantastic time to go fishing. It's my favorite time of year to wet a line. I wish you all good luck out there on the water this autumn!!
Originally published in 1955, "How to Fish from Top to Bottom" by Sid Gordon is an older book that is filled with good information that is still very useful for any angler today. The title, however, might be slightly misleading, as it's more than just a 'how-to-fish' type of book. No, it has much more important info for the angler.......
Sid Gordon was a fishing writer & a skilled angler. In addition to that, he was employed throughout his career as a fish technician for the states of Wisconsin & Michigan at different times. This job also called on him to research fishing environments in other locations as well. As a result he examined the fishing waters of many places across the United States & Canada, learning how the fish live in different types of water along the way & seeing the best methods of preserving rivers, streams, & lakes.
For those of you who are wondering more about the world of fresh water fishes & how to catch them, this is a must-read book. In it you will learn easy steps on how to judge water quality simply by knowing what to look for when you gaze at a stream or lake. You will learn how to read the water. Gordon will show you how to make stream & lake improvements - great info for any club or organization looking to make better fishing conditions. You will also learn how to take accurate water samples & how to test them to know exactly what is going on in your favorite fishing spot.
In addition to all these lessons, Gordon also gets into detail about specific types of game fish & what conditions the need for survival. Bass, pike, muskie, trout, etc are all covered in this book & you can learn what to look for when pursuing any of these species of fish.
Of course a book with a title such as this one would not be complete without some actual fishing techniques. Gordon also gives you detailed & time tested methods for catching all of the different popular game fish, covering fly fishing, spin, & bait casting as well.
The fist chapter of this book is titled "Water Can Be Read Like a Book" - & that sums up the general theme of the entire work. Fishing from a boat, on shore, wading in a stream, & for all types of fish it's all covered here in an easy to understand book. To me the really valuable information here is the water quality explanations. After reading this, I recalled different places I had fished before & some things clicked in my mind. It all made more sense to me about the conditions at certain fishing spots.
In my opinion, this is a book every angler should read, no matter where you fish, how you fish, or what you fish for. It is one of the most overlooked "important" books on fishing written in the 20th century. I believe this book is currently out of print, but good used copies can be found & purchased for very little cost, so pick up a copy for yourself. You will learn something very useful before you put the book down.
Yesterday a good friend showed me this very informative & entertaining video that discusses different types of leaders & their uses for trout fishing (thanks, Terryll).
One thing that I admit I should do in my fishing is to pay more attention to my leaders than I do. About the only time I ever really do what I should with my leader is when I'm fishing very low & very clear water where I know I could easily scare the trout. Otherwise, I'm that clod you see using a knotless tapered leader that has gotten way too short & is half straight tippet because I'm too busy fishing - or too lazy - to change to a new leader. I admit it. I'm not proud.
So I've always been interested in nicer, furled leaders. I've heard good & bad things about them from folks (mostly good things) & it's something that I really should give a try. Also, I'm curious about tippet rings. I've never tried them, but I like the concept. You see, I'm pretty old-school when it comes to all this stuff. Again, I admit it. Again, I'm not proud.
If you have any strong opinions about leaders & tippet rings, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Let me know what you think & help me to decide to either get out of the 1960's or to stay there. If you're like me & really are not 'leader aware', then the video below will help to shed some light on the subject while watching a skilled angler catch some beautiful trout.
The "tuck" cast is a very cool specialty cast that is designed to get your fly down deeper in the water much faster than a normal cast can do. Obviously, based on that description, its a cast that's used for fishing near the bottom of the stream with nymphs, streamers, or wet flies. It is particularly useful when you're fishing submerged flies upstream.
It's not very hard to do - but it can take a while to get the hang of it. The trick is to overpower your forward cast. Really jam that line forward hard & then stop the cast very quickly, all of a sudden. This causes the leader to tuck under the line. Your fly then comes crashing straight down to the water, as if it has fallen from the sky. This allows your fly to sink down deeper a lot faster. Its a cast to use in situations where the sooner you get the fly to the bottom, the better.
The first time I performed the tuck cast it was by accident. I was casting into a fairly stiff breeze that day, foolishly. On one cast the wind let up just as I was trying to punch my forward cast through. I realized this & stopped the cast very quickly. The result was a beautiful tuck cast - even though that wasn't what I was trying to do!! After realizing what had happened I tried to recreate this cast. It took me a while, because at first it feels wrong (at least to me it did). Casting, so I thought, was always supposed to be smooth & graceful. Indeed, the tuck cast is, but it took me a while before I got the feel of the abrupt stop to the cast.
The best way to explain the tuck cast is to show it. The short video below is an excellent demonstration & explanation of the tuck cast. If you fish below the surface, this is a great cast to have under your belt. It will help you pick up more fish when you need to use it. The best part is that it's an easy cast to learn.
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