Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Monday, December 30, 2013

Goodbye 2013

This year is up and I hope that it was a good year for all of you especially when it comes to fly fishing for trout!

I spent Sunday, December 29, on the Swift trying to squeeze a few more catches out of my 2013 license. Actually my license acted more like a debit card with insufficient funds - I hooked a bunch of trout but was only able to land one. Anyway, I met some friends and had a good time and it was worth it.

I took the advice from one of the blog's contributors and switched to a pinhead (my fly) and finally got a trout. How did I not fish that fly??

A rafting guide came down the 48cfs flow, one sitting in the raft and three walking/steering the raft along, and then stopped to wade fish below the Tree Pool. First, they didn't need a raft to get to that point and two, how would they feel if another raft came through and they had to move out of the way. Why float this skinny flow?? Answer: Float The Deerfield!

Check out the January/February 2014 issue of EASTERN FLY FISHING MAGAZINE to see a good write up by Christophe Perez on the Swift River. I'm lucky enough to have had the opportunity to contribute to this article as other Swift River regulars did.

I'm beginning to book up for guiding on the EB/Millers/Swift for this Winter and Spring. Drop an email if you are looking for a day on these rivers.

Finally, thank you for reading and contributing over the past year on this blog. After seven seasons this endeavor has not grown old. From what I've been told it's still appreciated. I'm looking forward to 2014!!!!

Thank You,


Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Word On Tenkara And What Happened To My Blog

Somehow, my blog got F'd up. Everything got rearranged without me having anything to do with it. I reconstructed it to something that resembles the original. It's not a virus thing but a google thing. I will work it out. The message will continue but I have to post again my Tenkara comments.

Tenkara- This technique has worked its way into the fly fishing word. It was developed in the mountain streams of Japan for their trout. I have used this technique on and off for the past 18 months. Here are my thoughts and observations.


It is fly fishing, pure and simple! A 12 ft (on average) rod with a mono line attached to the tip of the rod delivers a fly. A 12 ft. rod generally has 12 ft of heavy mono to which 5 or 6 ft of 5 x leader material is attached. Even though there is no reel or standard fly line it is still fly fishing. It is wonderfully basic. Remember that a lot of "high sticking" is done without any standard fly line touching the water. We are all guilty of that!

Tenkara rids us of dealing with drag that comes with using a standard floating fly line. One can pick pockets at leisure and catch trout. It is perfect for mountain streams and pocket water on larger rivers.


LANDING TROUT is not so easy. Check out the standard Tenkara video and you will see an angler hooking a fish, playing it out and then skidding it over the top of the water to a Tenkara net. Two things are obvious: the trout are small (6 to 12 inches) and the Tenkara net is SMALL. Remember, this technique was developed in Japans mountain streams. Small water usually means small fish. Hook a 15 inch Swift River Bow with a Tenkara outfit and you will not be able to let that fish run (the line is attached to the tip of the rod) and you will have to chase it. I have done that fully knowing that a standard reel would have given me a distinct advantage. I have snapped the leader doing that have seen other Tenkara anglers do that and had Dan Trela, the Dean of the Swift, say that he has seen the same thing. What is the remedy? Have someone with a net close by to assist you or be prepared to run downstream with those larger, aggressive trout.

My new wife has caught trout with a tenkara setup. It is perfect in a mountain stream filled with small, beautiful native trout. It may be the best setup for that environment.

TENKARA FLIES - Fagetabotit!!!! Japanese entomology has years to go before it's at a western level. Where are the size 20 BWO, the scuds, the streamers, the basic nymphs?? Those Tenkara flies are so huge and generic that they may only be dependable on small mountain brooks. I'd use soft hackles instead.

Tenkara - It has it's place and it is very enjoyable in that place.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Making Over Another Lousy Fly - The San Juan Worm

Yes, this fly does catch trout although most don't want to admit that they actually use it. I have used it with success BUT I have a problem with the way that it is tied. It's tied by lashing the chenille at the mid point to the hook. Some add a bead at this point because we just have to add a bead to anything that doesn't float. In any event this tying method causes the chenille to kink and fold over on itself. Aquatic and earthworms don't fold over on themselves but just wiggle around as the current moves them.

After looking at countless pictures of standard tied SJW's I found a photo of a length of chenille tied to the hook at the end. This made sense even if the tier had a bead attached. I ditched the beads and tied some up. The chenille moved in the current in a very natural way and the Swift Bows approved. I guess I was looking for something to do because I tied a few with tiny glass/plastic beads for eyes. This was easy. Get some tiny beads (found in craft stores) and run a length of thick mono through both beads. Keep a tiny space between the two beads and then super glue them to the mono. After the glue dries trim the extra mono and then tie the "eyes" to the hook followed by the chenille. I like the way it looks. BTW, I always use micro chenille.

This is what happens when you are forced by Winter to spend early evenings thinking about fly fishing instead of actually doing it!! Actually it was fun!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Lousy Fly Box And Some New Lousy Flies

It's this time of year that I begin to wonder how I caught any trout over the last few months. My fly boxes are a mess! What had started earlier in the year as something that was well stocked and organized ended up with being a collection of worn out flies in many sizes that I don't really need and this happened even with the fact that I am always tying flies throughout the season. My fly box has a collection of "can't miss" flies that looked good during last Winter but struck out during the season. The great idea of last May ended up being a dud in June. They are still there! There are two ways to look at this: First, I shouldn't feel inferior when someone that I guide shows me their "perfectly stocked fly box". Maybe they don't fish as often as me and don't lose as many flies OR they only use one or two patterns, the other flies are window dressing. Anyway, my fly boxes contain few "patterns" but they are in many sizes. The good sizes get lost, the bad sizes remain. I am trying my best to restore order, whatever that is.

Now for Lousy Flies - The "pellet fly" is a lousy fly BUT you have to have a few during that time when it "Happens" at the Pipe. Seeing dozens of trout slashing the surface for 10 minutes will drive you crazy so this awful thing has it's place. There is a problem. The standard piece of cork lashed/glued to a hook will cause some missed strikes because the cork just takes up too much room. Solution: Run a length of 6x mono (with a sewing needle)through the cork (glue it) and then lash this to the hook a quarter of an inch from the cork. The trout will rise to the cork and take in the hook (size 16 works fine).The trout will be hooked in the mouth. It works! Tie on a size 20 emerger instead of the bare hook and have an indicator pattern an inch from the surface.

Maybe this has been done before but I don't know anyone who is doing this. Try it out.

Next Up - Improving the worlds worst fly (if I have the guts to do it)