Category Archives: web site

That cast looks less like a lateral and more like a downstream drift

It’s not likely to be in your stocking but some lucky fellow may soon be the owner. One mile of the west bank of the fabled Itchen River in England, featuring stocked brown trout.


The trout season runs from early April until early October each year. The main salmon run is predominantly June/July and then a later run of fish in September. Sea trout also tend to run at these times of the year. Hitherto the beat has been classified by PSFFA as an upstream dry fly water but later in the season upstream nymphing is also permitted. Over recent years there has been an outstanding mayfly hatch and this has often extended through until mid or late June.

500 fish stocked per year, of which only half are caught and presumed killed, and only a single angler fishing about two-thirds of the available fishing days.

The catch log since 2006

It’s plain that European private fisheries are managed for a different experience than those in the US. Our planted private water (ala Donny Beaver style) feature planting large sized fish in quantity, and dues paying sporting gentlemen discuss over a toddy, whether that sloppy fat six pound pellet eating monster was a natural or planted fish.

Hard to imagine some well heeled colonist paying in excess of $400,000 in order to catch two fish per day, in the hopes of landing a 20” fish as a seasonal record.

Although originally constructed in the late 17th century to carry chalk, aggregates, coal and timber, between Winchester and ultimately Southampton port, there remains no right to navigate along the Beat.

… and with this stretch of the river man-made as well, whose antiquity is half again as old as the continental United States, we’ll not quibble much about its authenticity.

Us colonials are horribly spoiled with so much public water, most of which is managed to the angler landing a limit or more, compliments of our respective departments of Fish & Game, and what they imagine we like most.

The website lists quite a few easements for sale, with many of the most expensive being coarse fisheries; man-made ponds and stillwater impoundments featuring our pal the common carp.

All descriptions, dimensions, areas, reference to condition and if necessary permissions for use and occupation and their details are given in good faith and believed to be correct.  Any intending purchaser/s should not rely on them as statements or representations of fact but must satisfy themselves by inspection or otherwise as to the correctness of each of them.

Which I’ll assume to be an open invitation to bring along a nine foot fast action graphite to assist me in measuring all those undercut banks, shaded by the local willows …

… all measurements will be done upstream, of course.

Lang’s Fall 2010 Fishing Auction this weekend

A reminder that Lang’s will feature their Fall 2010 auction this weekend. I counted about 250 rods available, ranging from Horrocks & Ibbotson to Paul Young, F.E. Thomas, and a number of older Orvis rods, both cane and fiberglass.

Paul Young Parabolic

I always enjoy paging through all the old gear, and am always fascinated by the fish decoys used back East for ice fishing, which has no parallel out West . We’re scared to go out when the thermometer drops below 85° and the Warden doesn’t think kindly of our efforts to reopen trout season once it closes in November.

The catalog for the November 6th auction features rods, reels, and flies, and November 7th is books, wicker creels, fish (and duck) decoys, and all manner of old catalogs and similar errata.

There’s a great deal of contemporary tackle in a Lang’s auction – it’s not just antiques. I saw a couple Z-Axis Spey rods, and quite a few Tibor reels, and bidding isn’t limited to something destined to hang in the den and never used …

Although some of the many framed flies by Paul Schmookler and Charles DeFeo might wind up hanging somewhere above them empty beer cans.

Fly fishermen are compensating for something, certainly, our rods aren’t fully automatic, belt-fed, or both

All I had to do was read any of my past posts to recognize “I don’t measure up”, yet PETA had to send me a zinger just the same …

compensating_something They’re on the warpath, and with the death of the UK’s famous “Two Tone” carp, PETA erected a billboard to chastise local anglers …

I’ve often wondered whether dry fly purists weren’t compensating for something, but I hadn’t trod the masculinity route. I’d left it at thinking these were the kids whose Ma cut the crusts off their PB & J, and they still had a chip on their shoulders.

PETA delights in bearding the prophet, nearly as much as we like laughing over their latest protest. This episode is no exception, featuring the debut of – which hosts a test to determine whether the water is both … cold … and deep.

I don't quite measure up

Finding out about my shortcomings doesn’t redden my cheeks a bit. What’s really going to be funny is when “Casper Milquetoast” knocks at my door to borrow a power tool, and he gets an abacus and a scratch awl to repair his roof.

“Yo, Casper, looking a little damp there, Sweetheart. Is that madam’s chamber pot you’re emptying – Wow, I bet she is pissed, huh?”

It may be us colonists like a good insurrection

I had wondered whether the e-zine phenomena was a reflection of the US fly fisherman and the paucity of quality reading material we’re forced to endure. With a blizzard of product surfacing, it might be that us colonials are practiced at grass-roots insurrection, and therefore unashamed to show our collective discontent.

Then again, it may be a world wide angling issue and like all asexual invasives, it just takes a little time to gain a foothold in more rarified venues.

New Zealand colonists join the e-Bellion

Instead it may be the colonial thing, what with New Zealand entering the fray with an e-zine featuring horribly colorful and obese trout whose obscene lust for feathers will make you shield your child’s vision, lest they be tainted forever …

We missed the first issue, but it’s available online.

Flyfishers Inc. is in the stunning photography coffee table mode, where you quickly leaf through the pictures in awe, yet there’s little text to accompany the work. Each issue features a reader poll, which is a hint of interactivity, something not yet seen in the US versions.

Something to consume with your lunchtime sandwich.

Fishy Kid, Three Months of Summer contest

fishykidlogo Just a quick reminder that the Three Months of Summer contest is drawing to a close over at the Fishy Kid website. Four categories with kids seventeen and under eligible for some nice prizes. All that’s required is to upload a picture of your beaming child and his catch.

… and it’s not the traditional venue, with prizes for biggest – the other categories are smallest, most unique, most, and a random prize.

… which may be for the kid with the biggest smile …

Just toss some leaves and branches over the top and wait for the V8 Hatch

While we’ve taken great pains to illuminate dozens of devices to clear your riffle of unwanted interlopers, it’s time to spread some love to the stillwater crowd, how they no longer need to endure sand kicked in their sandwich by insensitive power boat Nazi’s ….

If you’re getting sick from bobbing in other’s wake, and if that tawny nubile at the end of the ski rope just flipped you off, then it’s munchy time! 

Badass Great White

… able to submerge for thirty seconds, leap from submerged mode into midair, 50 mph on surface and 20 mph submerged – well, payback is going to be a watery bitch…

Only an FA-18 can pull more gee's

-via the Daily Mail Online

You can toy with the “fresh meat” screaming on the tow rope while the rest of the gals abandon their sodden beau and antiquated watercraft. insisting they share the really cramped two seat environment with you …

They’ll bring the beer. It’ll be cold.

‘This isn’t a submarine  –  you’re not going to visit the Titanic in it,’ Rob warns. ‘It’s more of a cross between a plane and a boat, and we’ve been improving the models constantly so they can do more and more tricks.’

Insist on the Great White paint scheme, it’s worth every penny of the $93,500.

Marker – Seabreacher, Great White shark, submersible, big boys toys, nubiles, tow rope trollops, free beer, stillwater vengeance, fly fishing humor

The fly fishing magazines continue to increase, our lunch hour is made whole again

upstream Add Upstream to a crowded field of e-zines making their debut in 2010.

I liken the ezine conundrum to the current political spectrum, where Republicans and Democrats try to distance each other from the opposition, the administration, and their own party.

As each new magazine throws down their own unique brand, free of tired articles about indicator fishing, and espousing the “journey”, the “experience”, or “we’re not your Dad’s hobby” – I find the distinction losing a bit of allure.

It’s fly fishing that brought you to the dance, and I’d always assumed you should leave with those that brought you …

Numerous straw polls and statistics suggest the influx of new blood has been on a steady wane – and us current practitioners are growing older, wiser, and accumulating skills. We’re no longer the fresh faced novitiates who are struggling with wind knots and trying to makes sense of it all, and our impatience with the “same old articles” may stem from fluency with the technique – and having read six or eight already.

The existing print media takes considerable heat from nearly everyone, much of it well deserved, but I wonder whether they are the root of our  dissatisfaction, or merely we’ve changed and are impatiently waiting for the literature to catch up.

Like you I read them all, yet have trouble verbalizing what I’d like to see – what prose or topic would make one magazine head and shoulders above the others and engage me completely.

The picture-based magazines ooze stunning photography and make me yearn to take better pictures, the “Red Bull” magazines make me wish I could chug an energy drink without making faces, and the “journey” magazines get me all maudlin then jar me with an ad for the technical clothing needed to fish bacon rind.

As fishing is such an individualistic exercise, what’s lacking is liable to be quite different from one reader to the next, but I’m still not seeing what I think I’m looking for …

I may be yearning for lost youth, where the mention of puce baboon bottom would send me in a frantic search to secure some, or that new knot that would fix all my monofilament ills, or new creek packed with giant voracious fish that I’d ignored enroute to some place further.

Older and wiser I recognize that fellow in the fog and half light would be the same fellow cursing me for low holing his pool, and the photographs are appreciated but skimmed quickly. The “Red Bull” crowd gives me the impression they discard their empties on the beach – while disappearing in a cloud of sand and hamburger wrappers. They’re skimmed and put to rest as quickly. The “journey” and “feelgood” attempts all feel good, until the advertising intrudes – and part of my journey includes a “tactical” shooting head and the “experience” of paying off a high priced venue or higher priced rod.

We want to feel your experience through your unique professional approach. If you’ve got a garden variety fly fishing story – we are not interested.

I suppose that once the graphite rod crossed the thousand dollar barrier, we were forced out of our hobby to join other pastimes whose professionalism includes the tools to ply our craft, and also the uniform – the accoutrements of social station.

Like golf being synonymous with double knits and headless hats … er … visors.

I welcome each new entrant into my reading itinerary, there’s plenty of lunch hours and ample time to digest each attentively, but I’m still unsatisfied, struggling with what’s missing and it may be nothing at all.

Cigars, food, dancing, Patagonia, what’s not to like?

Upstream magazine, fly fishing e-zine, fly fishing literature, garden variety fly fishing story, social station, fly fishing

Thirty five Chickens or a couple boxes of stale Ho-Ho’s

Breakfast will be a bit of a liability, but I can just point out the cars in the parking lot with coolers.  While he’s separating the body and chassis by way of the ripped off door, I’ll be cleaning my fingernails and keeping an eye out for cops. “Big Fluffy” as a sidekick kind of opens the field a bit allowing me to ignore most human niceties, fishing regulations, trespassing issues, and neatly guarantees my solitude in your riffle.

Brutus the grizzly bear enjoys his 25,000-calorie breakfast — 35 pounds of treats such as raw chickens or carrot cake — but when his human best friend, naturalist Casey Anderson, presents him with a fresh, flopping fish, Brutus is confused and uninterested.  Raised by Casey from birth, Brutus is used to having his food delivered.  Now, Casey sets off on an adventure to the Alaska wilderness to observe Brutus’ grizzly cousins salmon fishing, hoping to gain new insight into their technique and teach it to his six-foot, 800-pound, furry friend.


I want this guy’s job …

Once “Pooh Bear” and me shoulder through the remnants of the fly shop’s door jamb, I’d mention, to no one at large, “Brutus needs to learn to fish, I’ll take that Scott, two of those Sage’s, the zipper-front Simms, and a handful of those Bogdans in the display case – all on the house, right?”

… and if some fellow feeling plucky so much as trembles a lower lip, I’ll point and tell my furry pal, “Look BooBoo, it’s a talking Twinkie!” They don’t have to know that “Fleabit” only kills for red licorice – and they can find that out in syndication…

Then we get helicoptered into some serious pristine, and as I gear up – I’ll glance at the competition and tell Brutus, “clear the riffle …” The salmon and steelhead will be running – as will all the guides, nature lovers, and sleepy-eyed fellows that got there at the crack of dawn.

Any handler worth his salt recognizes there’s no need for a magnum sidearm, all that’s required to immobilize a hungry, charging bear is a theater sized Ju-Ju-Bee’s.

Tags: National Geographic channel, teach a bear to fish, salmon, grizzly bear, Bogdan, Scott, sage, simm’s, Casey Anderson

That elusive final frontier

You’ve tied your own flies, you make your own leaders and wrapped your own fly rod, and with each minor triumph the crescendo of endorphins ebbs to leave you feeling hollow and incomplete …

It’s primeval biology that’s your nemesis, the inner Hunter-Gatherer is limited to stalking asparagus, armed with a coupon, and under the watchful gaze of the spouse. Completely unsatisfying, nothing screams, nothing bleeds, and outside of the occasional fishing trip – your emasculation is nearly complete.


Photo Courtesy of the Eclectic Angler

But, perhaps not.

The Eclectic Angler has released his tome on handcrafting fly reels using little other than common hand tools and equipment you’ve got rusting in the garage. Even better, he’ll set you up with all the materials in kit form so you can work up the nerve to crack the book.

The Pfleuger Progress and its progeny was the height of fly fishing technology for decades, now you can craft an updated technological marvel that ensures your bragging rights for years to come.

Extension cord sold separately.

Tags: Michael L.J. Hackney, the Eclectic Angler, brass fly reel, Pfleuger Progress, roll your own, hunter-gatherer, fly fishing reel

Eat The Fly , a balanced and nutritious tour of the important finned food groups

Alex Cerveniak of 40 Rivers to Freedom and the Hatch’s Blog network is creating yet another endeavor documenting all possible fish foods and the flies to represent them.

Entitled, “Eat the Fly” it’s an ambitious undertaking that will contain the common food items and insects available to fish, offset by some of the fly patterns used to represent them.

It’s a hellish undertaking to be sure, but the rest of us have the easy part – admiring the photographs and remarking, “so that’s what a Black Nosed Dace looks like…”

He’s got species, phases, links to additional resources, flies that represent the food depicted, and where possible, seasons and emergence dates, coupled with locale information.


Horny Headed Chub, Alex Cerveniak Photo

It’ll take some time before he’s scratched the surface – but there’s a great deal of work (and effort) already available, and he could use an assist on compiling all that information, you may want to drop him a note if you’ve got some compelling photographs of known food items.

Tags:, Alex Cerveniak, Hatch’s Blog Network, angling resource, baitfish, aquatic insects