Cathy, the Rio Malleo & Me, Fishing is Great, & Airline Changes

Cathy, the Rio Malleo & Me

Here is a story from one of our travel clients. I think he embellished the story quite a bit with regards to his fishing partner, but the rest rings so true for a day of fishing in Patagonia – the day, the lunch, the siesta, the fishing. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Anyone care to venture a guess as to who the author is? An MFC fly box is yours if you’re the first to correctly guess. Hint: He is not in the photo but tells a good joke. Answer through the blog comments - accessible when viewed from a browser.

Cathy, the Rio Malleo and Me
– a story of a day on a river, with a person I admire, in a place I will never forget.

There are many stories about exactly how and when it came about, but most agree trout were introduced into the rivers and lakes of the Patagonia region of Argentina in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since then, the pristine waters of the area have allowed the browns and rainbows to flourish and transform Patagonia into a fly fisherman’s dream destination.
Hooked from the start, I was introduced to Patagonia by my good friends Cathy and Barry Beck who host1349 RIO MALLEO 2012 fly fishing trips for Frontiers Travel out of Gibsonia, PA. Having traveled with them for several years, I noticed they always went back to Argentina – often, several times a year. So, when the next Patagonia trip was offered, I was on it.
Presidents and celebrities have fished these waters. Author and angling legend Ernie Schwiebert was a North American pioneer of Patagonia fly fishing. One of his favorite rivers was the Rio Malleo (in Argentine Spanish, the ll is pronounced like the zh sound in azure)) where he often stayed at the legendary San Huberto lodge. The lodge sits on an estancia (ranch) with over eighteen miles of private, trout filled water. The area offers arguably some of the best dry fly fishing in Argentina. And, now, I get to stay there and fish this famous river.
It was a typical Patagonia day on the Malleo. After flying from Buenos Aires the day before and having a full blown asado (Argentine BBQ/cookout) which lasted well past mid-night, we were up and on our way to the stream at a semi-reasonable hour. No one rushes in the morning either due to the remnants of the night before or the fact the hatch doesn’t usually come off till around 10 am.
It was March, so the day was a beautiful, but slightly overcast, fall day in the Southern Hemi-sphere. The fish were taking bugs off the surface regularly so everyone in our group had a great morning of fishing. We stopped around 1 PM for lunch.
2322 RIO MALLEO 2012When you are staying at San Huberto, lunch on the Rio Malleo is always an event. The teams that were split up in the morning, reunite for a shore lunch. Again, these meals are no simple affair.
Several collapsible tables are opened and set end to end by the guides. Tri-pod chairs are lined up eight to a side. Multi-colored tablecloths are layered two deep and places are set with metal plates and silverware. Wine glasses, wrapped in cloth napkins for the ride, were placed accordingly. Bottles of local red wine, Malbec, lined the center of the tables. Appetiz-ers consisted of empanadas left over from last night’s asado, smoked meats, assorted chees-es. The main course is grilled lamb, breaded veal, roasted vegetables and a fresh green salad. The food is plentiful and delicious. And, so is the wine. 2346 RIO MALLEO 2012
In true Argentine fashion, a nap after lunch was not only well deserved but necessary. Every-one found a patch of grass to lie on or a stump to lean against and dozed off. Cathy and I sat on the river bank and finished the last of a bottle of wine when something caught her eye.
After pointing me in the right direction, I saw what she saw. A pod of fish were working on the surface just below a water flow metering station (which is why the local name for this beat is “el medidor”). Just above the meter, there was a grass clearing that touched the river where the local horses came to drink.
Without speaking, Cathy and I grabbed our rods and vests and walked 50 feet upstream to the pod of rising fish. We waded into the cool, waist-deep water and, of course, I insisted Cathy take the first shot. The fish were closer to the left bank but the flow was such that the best placement of the fly was closer to the middle of the stream so it could drift into to the willow-lined bank.
To see an accomplished angler display their craft never fails to impresses me - whether an athlete or a chef. To watch someone do challenging or complicated tasks with such ease and grace always leaves me amazed. To see Cathy Beck place a fly on the water fills me with the same sense of wonder. The biggest wonder being why, after 40 years of casting a fly rod, I still look like a guy swinging a stick trying to ward off fruit bats. But, I digress.
With minimal effort and maximum grace, Cathy made the first cast. Of course, it was perfect. After two feet of drift, the dark brown, CDC, no-name fly given to us by one of the guides, was gently slurped down by a nice sized Malleo buck brown. The fish in this river are healthy and strong fighters. But, Cathy moved him easily out of the center of the stream over to the gravel bank gently but quickly. By doing so, she left the rest of the pod undisturbed.
It was my turn. The only common denominator between what Cathy just did and my effort was we were using the same fly. But, after a few casts, I had a similar result and followed her lead getting the fish away from the pod so we could continue. And we did.
This went on for an hour or more. The fish never turned off and the pod stayed in tacked. We hooked one nice fish after the other. As our friends woke from their naps, they started to line the bank and cheered us on - fish after fish. All of the trout were beautiful and every cast Cathy made was perfect. I was savoring each moment.

 Fishing is Great

 We are moving into our summer season here. Sulfurs were reported last night on the Home Pool. Rain is coming today so that means you should get out this weekend. It should be pretty special. Here are a few shots from our guides this week.
Jeff CooneyFrisch 0006  Rhian Lownder 0004    roy

Airlines to Drop Service to Many Airports

The CARES Act requires that all airlines maintain service to all U.S. Airports they served pre-COVID-19, but the DOT has begun to loosen the mandate. See which airports your preferred airline is dropping here.

 CARES Act Route Suspensions

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Family Fun, It's the Right Thing to Do, and Westward Ho!

Don't Miss this Opportunity

There is an interesting article in Angling Trade News by Editor Kirk Deeter, about the number of kids and young people who are now fishing. With no school, no sports, no hanging with friends, this is a golden opportunity to get the kids into fishing.

35 FLY FISHING IMAGEThere have been more kids taking lessons here than I can ever remember and we are loving it. Fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, grandsons, granddaughters, you name it. We've had entire families, parts of families, mixed families, and everyone has a good time. We're always amazed at how easily these kids grasp fly fishing. During May and most of June our pond is full of very willing bluegills and there isn't an easier fish for young kids to start out on. Here are a few shots from our pond (we have hybrid stripers too):

Our Country Life Experience is a great way to vacation together, practice social distancing, and not share space with others. Our CLE families have exclusive use of the Lodge at Raven Creek to themselves and we only take one family at a time and we've got the stream, the pond, the farm, horses, chickens, and a whole lot more. So, round up everyone and come to the country!

See  more kids photos here

It's The Right Thing To Do

 Most sports have a set of unwritten rules, generally agreed upon by those in the know. But the trouble with the unwritten rules of fly fishing is that many newcomers aren’t aware of them. So it might take seasons of error before realizing that you were pissing everyone else off while wading downstream into the upstream guys.

Thanks to Troutbitten for this great article.

Westward Ho!

 Finally, the announcement from Montana that everyone has been waiting for! 


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Fins & Feathers, Here at Home, and Reach Cast Made Easy

Fins & Feathers

GSJ 9330Pick up a copy of the May/June 2020 issue of Grays Sporting Journal. In it Barry & Cathy have a photo essay on the Ibera Wetlands in northeastern Argentina where everything is taking off – either flying or leaping, whether fowl or fish. Golden dorado have become one of the Becks new “favorites” to pursue and it's easy to see why.


Here at Home

Fishing just keeps getting better. We're seeing a lot of caddis and March Browns and the cold nights are behind us so the dry fly fishing will only get better. Get out if you can, spring fishing won't last long enough!

 Dennis 5513Mary 8366  Casey 0029 David 1112


Reach Cast Made Easy

Want to be a better fisherman? RIO's Rob Parkins explains how and why to make a reach cast easily – and in less than 4 minutes.


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Spring Fishing & Fishing a Spinner Fall


Spring Fishing

Some restrictions have been lifted and just in the nick of time since we saw our first March Browns yesterday. Water is in good shape and after next week we expect to have milder weather and better water temps. Bring on the dry fly fishing! Come on out!

This has been a week of fathers & daughters and fathers & sons. Here are a few shots.

Cerminaro 0050







 Amelia Jenkins 2020

4942 Jake Frisch2020   4926 Clayton Cooney 2020


Fish a Spinner Fall

Dave & Amelia Jensen bring us this short instructive video with a crash course on mayfly spinners. Dreaming of a warm summer evening with spinners and rising trout? It's coming. Let yourself drift away to that evening with this short, informative 5 minute clip.

Thank you Dave and Orvis.



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Sage Films, Guiding Season, & Record-Breaking Catch

Films from the Field

sagehatSometime it's good to step away from the stress of life these days for a couple minutes of pleasure. Sage thinks so too and has put together Films from the Field. These are short clips featured not just about the search for new fisheries, but the pursuit of knowledge, experience, and understanding.
Enjoy, relax, and Explore.

Guiding Season Kicks In

Several outdoor activities including guided fishing trips will resume here starting tomorrow, Friday, May 1. For now, the reopening is limited to Pennsylvania residents only, but we are hopeful that our out-of-town anglers may soon be coming to Fishing Creek (with precautions, of course). Our fishing has been 4526 BECK IMAGE 2020good with incredible blue quill and Hendrickson hatches and good water levels. Fish are hungry, our guides are ready, and hatches are happening. Let's get the season going!      



Fly Angler's catch could shatter world record for permit

Kathryn Vallilee may have broken the world record for permit on 6-pound tippet while fishing off Key West. Congratulations to Kathryn and thank you USA Today bringing us the story.


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A Cold Day to Fish and My Isolation Breaking Point

A Cold Day to Fish

IMG 9233Spring is well under way here in northeastern Pennsylvania. Although we're not seeing much guiding and out-of-town fishing because of the virus, the season is not slowing down. For weeks we've had blue quills and Hendricksons and a couple of caddis are now showing so soon we'll have clouds of caddis with March Browns. And, with warmer air temperatures coming it means more comfortable fishing for sure!

Yesterday we had a very small corporate group here and I have to say that it was strange practicing 4746 BECK IMAGE 2020social distancing while guiding, but everyone was good about it. I look back on the day and remember standing in waist deep water with my Client, Shawn. The water was so cold I couldn't feel my feet. For the three previous nights we had below freezing temperatures and there was snow melt up on the mountain. Because of this, the morning fishing had been slow but then in the afternoon blue quills and Hendricksons started popping. The hatch started about 2:00, with the blue quills first and then the Hendricksons. There were not many rising fish with the water so cold, but enough to keep us busy for a couple of hours.

4533 BECK IMAGE 2020Back at the Land Rover, I pulled off my waders and discovered that both of my feet were wet. That explains why I was so cold I was shivering! It's always good to be on the water when a hatch is on and I wouldn't have wanted to miss it. But one thing for sure, tonight I'll be patching my waders!



My Isolation Breaking Point

reddyMatt Labash, author of “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader” writes in The New York Times about being at his breaking point with this whole social distancing thing. We hope it brightens your day. Thank you Matt, MidCurrent, & NYT.



Trivia Question for You

What airport in the country has more flights leaving than JFK? Answer: Billing, Montana. I know it's crazy but it's true. Here's the story:



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Ed Shenk, Tags & Trailers, & Biostrike and Neon Wax

Ed Shenk
January 17, 1927 - April 10, 2020
ED SHENK3600Ed Shenk, a Pennsylvania icon and a man who left a lasting legacy on the sport of fly fishing passed away peacefully last week. He was 93 years old. Barry remembers Ed fondly because as a 17 year old kid, Ed took him to Montana fishing. It was Barry’s first trip west and it cemented a life long friendship with Ed. He was a mentor, friend, and a very talented fly tier and fisherman. Read more from Fly Fisherman.


Tags and Trailers

This is a subject that we've covered before, but it is so important for us anglers to think about how the nymphs we are fishing are actually behaving in the water. It can make a huge difference in our success on the water. Domenic Swentosky is the master at writing about fishing nymphs on a long leader and in this article he makes us think about the weight andnymph of the nymphs, the length of the dropper or trailer, and when to use one over the other. Plus, if you don't already use the Uni-Knot, you may want to after reading his excellent article. Thank you Domenic.

Biostrike & Neon Wax

While we're on the subject of Tags & Trailers, Cathy has a short clip here on Biostrike and Neon Wax as effective ways to add a sighter (like a strike indicator) on nymph leaders. A sighter is preferred when anglers are fishing European nymph style, but are very useful whenever you're high-sticking nymps.

Free Neon Wax

SeasonHere's your chance to try a free tube of Skafars Neon Wax, compliments of the folks we know in Slovenia. We have it in neon chartreuse, neon red, neon yellow, neon orange, white, and black. Order our Early Season Nymph Special and we'll include a free tube. We'll send a neon color while supply lasts, starting with red, orange, and green.

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Happy Easter!



We hope you enjoy this Easter weekend!  We'll be back with a blog next week.  Stay safe & healthy!

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Keeping your Passion Alive and Squirmies & Buggers

 We hope this finds you all well and safe. I know that it's hard to think of anything except the immediate needs of our families and ourselves during these critical times, but perhaps tonight when it's quiet in the house, you'll want to put your mind on something different and we hope the following pieces by Jim and Barry will be fun for you to read. Remember, fishing season is just around the corner and it is still okay to get out and fish!

Keep Your Passion Alive By Jim Kukorlo

I retired from my real job a few years ago. On my first day of retirement I went fishing. And to rub it intJim 20190502 111935o my co-workers I sent a picture of the inside of my SUV which is set up to fish. Simply saying “My new office.”   

Though that didn't surprise anyone who knows me, I was in for a surprise when I realized that a lot of my old fishing buddies don't fish anymore. I hear them say “I used to fly fish a lot” and “I wish I still did.” My big question is why not?

Fly fishermen seem to have a lot of reasons not to fish. It's too hot or too cold. Water is too high or too low. The weather forecast is calling for rain. I live by the saying “Best time to fish is when it's raining and when it's ain’t.”

One of the most commonly asked questions that I get as a guide is, “When is the best to fish?” My answer, “Whenever you can.”

Health. Perhaps the number one reason people don’t fish, in many cases, is health. As we age, health prevents us from doing a lot of things we love to do. Some health issues we can't control, but there are some that we can.

I started noticing that spending all day on the water wasn't as easy as it was a few years ago, so I took matters into my own hands and did something about it. In January I joined the YMCA doing some cardio workouts which has given me more stamina and the weight training has strengthened my muscles for the long days on the water. Keeping healthy for me is not just to keep fly fishing but to enjoy life in general. Without good health nothing else matters.

Friends. Although a lot of my old fishing friends no longer fish, I have found a few fishermen who love Jim 0099the sport as much as I do. Fishermen have a way of finding each other as do most people who have a common interest. Friends will get you out the door and on the water even when you don't really feel like it. We keep in touch and share our fishing adventures and fish together whenever we can. That being said I have no problem fishing alone. In fact some days I prefer to fish alone. Fishing is a solitary thing for me, and I enjoy those times on the water.

What is really cool about fly fishing is that it is many different sports within the sport of fly fishing.
Fly tying. There is nothing more rewarding than catching a trout on a fly that you tied. I'm always looking for new fly patterns or tying variations of old favorites. The internet is a great way to search for new fly patterns and materials. Every winter I tie a lot of new fly patterns that I can't wait to get on the water to try out.

Entomology. Learning to identify the different mayflies, caddis and stoneflies can be a big advantage for a fly fisherman. Being able to identify the different hatches and having the right imitations in your fly box to match the hatch is what fly fishing is all about.

Casting. It’s probably the one thing that attracts a lot of people to fly fishing. It's a beautiful thing being able to cast a fly rod with ease and accuracy. Take your casting to a new level and sign up for casting lesson and you will be surprise how much you don't know. Then get out and put to practice what you learned.

Tactics. Fly fishing offers something other forms of fishing doesn't in that there are many different ways to present your fly to the trout, which allows you to fish year round in all kinds of different water conditions.

Nymph fishing alone offers exciting new techniques to catch fish. Tight lining, Euro nymphing and indicators nymphing are all great tactics in different water conditions.

Spice up your dry fly fishing by using the dry fly drop method. Simply tie a piece of tippet 12-14” off the bent of your dry fly hook with a clinch knot and attach a nymph or emerger fly to trail behind the dry fly. It's new, it's fun, and you will catch more fish.

You can spend a lifetime learning all the techniques that fly fishing has to offer and never fully understand it all.

Keeping it real. One of the best things to keeping fly fishing alive and exciting is to pass it on the our Jim 0010 2children and grandchildren. Remember that guy that said he used to fish? Well, offer to take him fishing and maybe renew his interest and you gain a fishing buddy.

Buy a new fly rod and reel. Especially if you are still fishing with the one you bought 25 or more years ago. Technology has advanced so much in fly rods and reels today, it's insane.

Fish new water or water you haven't fish in many years. I'm sure every fly fishermen has a list of streams near and far that he or she would love to fish. Pick a time and just do it.

Being a guide has been a big part of keeping my passion for fly fishing alive. I find great satisfaction in teaching someone the fine points of fly fishing or watching them catch their first trout on a fly rod. The friendships I have made over years being involved in the fly fishing world are priceless.

These are just a few ways to spice up your fly fishing to help you and I stay in the fly fishing game for a lifetime. You're welcome to share your thoughts and comments on ways that you motivate yourself to keep fly fishing a big part of your life.

   Squirmies & Buggers from Barry

0734 RUSS MILLER 2015It’s the time of year when anglers around here are looking forward to the opening of trout season. Preparing our fly boxes is part of the ritual and, of course, part of the fun. Looking at my fly boxes, I make sure that there are two patterns that I am never without — and that’s not just for the early season but anytime anywhere I am fishing for trout. My good friend, Phil Balisle, will cringe when he reads this because he’s a dry fly guy and while he sorts through his Quill Gordons and Hendrickson duns, I’ll be adding red and purple Squirmies and super buggers to my arsenal. Of course I’ll cover my bases with early season dries and nymphs too, but when you pull out the stops, the Squirmies and Buggers can save the day. Early season water temperatures are often cold and for a good part of the day the trout may sit on the bottom and that’s where we need to get our flies.  0443 RUSS MILLER 2015

Our squirmies are tied on stout hooks with tungsten beads and our super buggers have lead eyes, both designed to get the fly down quickly. Jack Gartside, always said fish where the fish are, so if they’re on the bottom then that’s where we need to be, so make sure your boxes are stocked with both patterns.


Squirmie & Bugger Selection

squirmyandbuggerTry our new Squirmie & Super Bugger Selection especially when the water is cold or after a rain when it is off-color and/or a bit high.  Here's the link to our store.

Tip – While the most popular way to fish a super bugger is by stripping it back, try dead drifting with a squirmie on a trailer about 12” behind the bugger. As the cast goes into the swing, slowly retrieve it and hesitate for a second or two at the very end (the dangle) before slowly lifting the line from the water to cast again. Often it is at this last second that the fish will decide to take the fly.  



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We're Back!

We’re Back

We’re back after skipping the blog last week. It somehow felt insensitive to talk about things we do for fun while in the current crisis. But now, almost 2 weeks into it, we seem to be adjusting to the new norm (somewhat anyway), spring is coming, stoneflies and olives are hatching, trout season is just around the corner, and well, now it feels okay to have something fun to look forward to. We hope you agree. Today’s blog is full of tips and the first one comes from Barry.

Double Whammy

698 IVAN TARIN SANCHO 2017 Sometimes it pays to think outside the box. Fishing dry droppers, a pair of soft hackles or two nymphs trailed together is quite common and often produces, but most anglers rarely think of fishing two streamers in tandem. It works and it’s a strategy that I often use especially when faced with high off-color water and when I am using a sink-tip or full sinking line. Under these conditions I want my flies down on the bottom and generally I like a slow retrieve hoping to get my flies in front of a fish. Streamers like Cathy’s Super Buggers are designed to push water and create vibrations that can alert the fish to the fly. So my go to combination is a smaller lighter colored upper fly and a black Super Bugger on the bottom.  461 IVAN TARIN SANCHO 2017

More than once I’ve found trout busting minnows near the surface and have used a two streamer combination with great success. Trout are competitive by nature, so I use a smaller minnow pattern on top and a larger streamer pattern on the bottom. I like to think that this imitates something big chasing something little. My retrieves are faster and I am generally using a floating line. Remember to strip set the hook using your line hand and not by lifting you rod tip. If you strike with your line hand and miss the fish, you have only moved the flies a short distance and there is a good chance the fish will continue the pursuit. If you set by lifting the rod tip and miss, you’ve pulled the flies away from the fish and the game is over. If you see a wake behind your fly or can see a fish chasing your fly, accelerate your retrieve speed which should encourage the fish to strike.
755 IVAN TARIN SANCHO 2017 When casting two streamers especially with a sinking or sink-tip line, it’s always best to open up your casting loop so the flies don’t tangle. It’s not quite chuck and duck, but’s it’s not far from it. The next time you’re in the mood to fish streamers give the combo a try. You might be surprised.


Cold Feet? Check out this tip:

Keeping your feet warm while wading.

How to Get a Stuck Fly Rod Apart

Beware of the Wolf

Barry & Cathy take us on a new adventure to the Parana River in Northern Argentina.  wolf


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Going Mirrorless

Going Mirrorless 

When it comes to camera questions that we field here in the office, the one that we often hear is “Have you gone mirrorless?” Well, yes and no, because we still rely on our Nikon SLRs for most of our work but for the past three months we have been shooting both a Nikon Z6 and the higher megapixel Z7. The main difference between a mirrorless camera 1595 Z6 other1and a SLR is that the light goes directly to the image sensor on the mirrorless which has an electronic view finder, whereas with an SLR the light is bounced off a reflex mirror up to the optical view finder. Mirrorless cameras are smaller, lighter, and from our limited experience, shoot unbelievable video. It’s the video aspect that captured our attention and rightfully so.
Being able to shoot slo mo (slow motion) at 120 frames per second is so cool and the fact that with the Z series adaptor we can use all of our go to lenses makes it a no brainer. The stills that come out of the larger megapixel Z7 are as good or in some cases better than our Nikon D850. So, in short we are optimistic that the Z Nikons will always be a major player in our day to day photography.
Another question that often pops up is, “What camera bag do you use?” The perfect bag for every job just doesn’t exist, but for probably ten years we’ve used Think Tank. We’ve tried many brands of bags but have to say that the design team at Think Tank have to be serious photographers. We find the bags well designed and extremely well made. They take a real 1591 Z7 lcdbeating. If you’re looking for a camera bag, we would suggest visiting Roberts Camera. Located in Indianapolis, It’s where we buy all of our camera gear. Our contact at Roberts is Jody Grober, and as well as being a great photographer, is also a passionate fly fisherman. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 800-726-5544. Tell him Barry sent you.


0251 GOLDEN DORADO 2020  0380 GOLDEN DORADO 2020A  BIGHORN 2016 1952


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Women Adventurer Wanted & Problems in the Gulf

Woman Adventurer Wanted

AFRICA 2015 135682bbsmWe have three fun-loving women interested in Africa, 2021, and they need a fourth to round out the group, two to a room/tent. Our safari for 2021 combines the best appointed lodges and game preserves in Kenya and Tanzania and is timed for viewing of the annual Great Migration of almost 2 million wildebeests along with thousands of plains animals as they move from Serengeti to Masai Mara.

This truly is the adventure of a lifetime and we are thrilled to be returning to see this amazing wildlife spectacle. Included in the safari is a stop at Lake Manyara where we will see thousands of shore birds, flamingoes, pelicans, storks, ibis, spoonbills and more, and we conclude our trip at the opulent Ngorongoro Crater Lodge to be lavishly spoiled with lodge accommodations and crater game drives.  AFRICA 2019 10935

July 25-August 8, 2021. 15 days/14 nights. If you're the woman we're looking for or would like more information on our safari, view details here. We hope you can join us!


Getting Away with Murder

olanderGetting Away with Murder is an article written by Doug Olander, editor-in-chief at Sport Fishing Magazine. Anyone who fishes for redfish, and other species, in the shallow waters of the east coast should be aware of the situation brought to light in Doug's article presented here.

We first heard about this travesty at the Edison, NJ, Fly Fishing Show, from Chesapeake guide, Chris Karwacki. We couldn't believe what he was telling us. Please take a minute to read the article and visit

This is our water and our fishery and if we want it to continue, it looks like we're in for a fight!

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The Fly Fishing Show, Tim Flager, & Jurassic Lake

Lancaster, PA Fly Fishing Show

ffsMarch 7 & 8, 2020

This is the last fly fishing only show of the season so don't miss it. Fly tiers, seminars, demos, theaters, authors, the show has everything.

Check out the web site for hours, details, directions, and more.

Tim Flagler in Fly Tyer

timflagerIf you have followed our blog for very long you know that I am fond of Tim Flagler’s fly tying videos and feature them often. He has a very engaging voice and I love the way he can simply and clearly describe each step in tying a fly. I’ve always wanted to meet the man but our paths have not crossed. To my surprise Fly Tyer Magazine profiles Tim in the current issue. And now that I know he lives next door in NJ, I am going to make sure to meet him one day soon!

Pick up a copy today!




Laguna Verde
a.k.a. Lake Strobel
a.k.a. Jurassic Lake

We just got back from Laguna Verde and we have to say that it is perhaps the most interesting (bizarre?) trout fishing we’veRandy 8617 ever done. Yes, it’s a lake, but it’s so big that it feels like the ocean at times. When the wind comes across the lake it feels like waves breaking on the coast of New England. Big rocks, wide open space, and protected bays are home to double digit rainbows (we mean pounds not inches!).

The biggest fish for the week was 19-1/2 pounds. An amazing fish on a dry fly. Many fish were caught in the 15-19 pound class and on a size 4 Fat Albert twitched across the surface — it is quite exciting. We’re already planning our trip for 2021.

Click here for a few shots from the trip. Put it on your Bucket List!

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Laguna Verde, Simon's Roll Cast, & The DPD Nymph

Laguna Verde Checking In

Barry and Cathy are wrapping up their week at Laguna Verde. It sounds like the group is having a good trip and catching some very nice fish. We’ll have more when they get home, but here are a few shots Cathy sent that were taken by our guests and guides. 

Simon’s Roll Cast

Roll Casting Tips – Point P” From RIO’s excellent “How To” series. Simon’s innovative ways of looking at casting is always fun to watch and listen to. Today he talks to us about the roll cast. Only 42 seconds long, but worth every second of it.

 The DPD Nymph

Tier Tim Flagler gives us a great early season nymph designed to drop quickly to where the fish are sitting in cold early season trout streams. This depth charger will do the trick!


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Suinda & Pira, The Maverick from Sage, & Simon Says...

Suinda & Pira Lodges

We recently returned from our first trip to Suinda & Pira Lodges in Argentina where we and a small group of friends fished for golden dorado. Suinda Lodge is on the Parana River and it's big water and big fish. Pira Lodge is in the Ibera Marshlands, fairly shallow water, smaller dorado, 8-12 pounds, but lots of them.

The birdlife was amazing, superb lodging and meals, wonderful guides. We invite you to view some of our favorite photos from the trip here and hope you'll join us next time around....and there is sure to be a next time!

The Maverick from Sage

Sage MaverickFrom ankle-deep Bonefish flats to bait balls in bluewater, the MAVERICK has been designed from the ground up with Konnetic Technology to be fine-tuned to the demanding needs of saltwater specific applications.Tailored for quick shots and hearty fights, it’s the perfect tool for any angler stepping into the saltwater arena where speed is of the utmost importance. With a true saltwater specific backbone and design, the MAVERICK is ready for any salty challenge thrown its way.

In line weights 6 to 14, the Maverick will get a quick cast into “the zone: for high odds at a hookup. Designed to maximize quick-shot opportunities with a powerful tip section to drive the casting load down to more robust lower sections making it easier to fire quick efficient casts. Priced at $550, it comes in at a popular price point while still meeting the demanding needs of the saltwater angler.

Check it out now. //

Simon Says Mass Moves Mass

For our spey anglers. MOW Tips, T Tips, Replacement Tips....If thinking about sink tips gives you a headache, this video is for you! RIO's brand manager Simon Gawesworth simplifies understanding all the different types of sink tips and how to choose the best one for your fishing situation. I know it sure helped me! Nobody does it like Simon.


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Dead Drifting Streamers, Turneffe Flats, February Special, & AA Mag

Dead Drifting Streamers and Buggers

This week our head guide, Jim Kukorlo, gives us some pointers on dead drifting streamers. I know, you always strip and retrieve your streamers. Well, Jim has some new ways for you to fish your streamers.

The majority of fly fishermen associate fishing streamers with casting across or down stream and retrieving the fly by stripping line and changing the speed of the retrieve to entice the trout to eat the fly. This is probably the most common method of fishing a streamer not only for trout but other species of fish and it's a very productive way to catch fish on streamers!
 I will be the first to admit that fishing streamers is one of my weaker forms of fly fishing. Knowing this, I will sometimes dedicate a day on the water to fish streamers exclusively regardless of whether I'm catching fish or not. On this day I like to try out new patterns and techniques to improve and gain confidence in my streamer fishing.
 One day,  many years ago I was fishing a streamer and one of my sons was having an issue with his fly line, so I let the streamer drift along the bottom of the stream while I helped my son and a trout picked the fly off the bottom. Some days it is better to be lucky than good….. or so I thought at the moment.
 After landing the trout I continued casting and retrieving the streamer with no success. My son yelled over to me “Dad, why don't you just let it drift to the bottom, it worked before,” so I cast upstream allowing the streamer to dead drift down through the hole and I caught another trout.
 I was surprised by catching a trout dead drifting a streamer. It was to become a technique that I often use when fishing a brown or black wooly bugger.
 Next time you are on the water take a close look along the side of the stream at all of the minnows, bait fish and crayfish you see dead or dying in the water. Dying or wounded bait fish makes an easy meal for a hungry trout.
 Fishing Technique – The streamers I use for dead drifting are light weight and streamline so they drift naturally along the bottom of the stream. If I need any weight to keep it on the bottom I add split shot 18 to 24 inches above the fly so it can move with the current showing signs of a struggling dying fish.
 Cast the fly upstream and fish it like you would dead drifting a nymph pattern. On occasion I will use a strike indicator to keep the fly in direct contact with the fly line and to increase hooking ability. Twitching the fly as it drifts downstream can add life to the fly and be sure to do a slow strip retrieve at the end of each drift.white zonker 0423
   Streamer Patterns – Marabou streamers, white wooly buggers and white and natural rabbit fur zonkers are my favorite streamers patterns tied on size 10 and 12 streamer hooks. 
 Dead Drifting Wooly Buggers and Cathy's Super Buggers – For me a wooly bugger-type fly is a totally different animal than a streamer fly. I always think of bugger flies as a crawfish, hellgrammite or large stone fly imitation. I know most fly fishermen will fish a wooly bugger fly by stripping and retrieving it like a streamer. I hardly ever do, I prefer to dead drift and jig the fly off the bottom of the stream as it moves downstream through the pool or riffle. Keep slack out of the line by using the three finger retrieve and lift the rod tip to jig the fly off the bottom of the stream. At the end of the drift I will do a stripping retrieve to see if any trout were following the fly. Fishing buggers and super buggers is great way to cover water and search for trout.
 Jiggy Buggers
bare hook 0436I tie my buggers several different ways for use in different water conditions throughout the season. In shallow riffles and quiet pools I use a brass bead head and add a few wraps of lead behind the bead head. If you don't tie your own flies you can add a split shot to your leader and slide the split shot down to the knot above the fly. This is a technique that we used in the early 70's way before bead heads were available to put on the hook. With the split shot down on the knot the fly now becomes a jiggy bugger.
 Tungsten beads on a jig hook work well in faster and deeper water conditions. For those really high and fast water days, I will add extra wraps of lead wire behind the tungsten bead along with a sinking tip line to get the fly down in the trout zone.
 Cathy's Super Bugger with the dumb bell eyes is the perfect design for a jiggy bugger. The thicker body and rubber legssuperbugger 0421 move water as the fly is being retrieved or jigged along the bottom and everything about the fly makes it life like. Black, brown and olive are my favorite colors and is the most successful bugger pattern I have in my fly box.
 Another twist to dead drifting a bugger fly is to add two feet of 3x tippet to the bend of the hook and trail a smaller fly behind the bugger. The bigger fly can get a trout’s attention and he will almost always opt to take the smaller fly. The trailing fly can be anything from nymphs, eggs, worms, and even a smaller bugger or streamer.
 This technique works well in deep swirly pools with current moving in several different directions making it difficult to add enough weight to get a nymph to the bottom.
  Fly Rod, Reel and Line – I always have a 9ft 6wt fly rod with a fighting butt rigged in my SUV ready to go. I carry two reels, one has a RIO Streamer tip line and the other has a RIO 24ft 250 grain sinking tip for high and fast moving water. When using the 250 grain line I switch over to a 7 wt fly rod to handle the heavier sinking tip line.
 As a complete fly fisherman, you want to fish and tie flies that imitate what fish eat. If you have fished during a spinner fall you can relate to fishing dying insects. It's the end cycle of the mayfly and an easy meal for the trout feeding on dead mayflies lying spent on the water.
 A crippled or dying minnow or crayfish is an easy meal for a hungry trout. Dead drifting a streamer or wooly bugger is another technique for the fly fisherman to present his or her fly to the trout. Dead drifting streamers and wooly buggers could be just the thing to make or break a day on the water. I find it exciting and fun to try new techniques and to think outside of the box.
   If you have questions or comments please feel free to contact me through the Comments section below if you’re reading from a browser. If you’re reading from email, go to the top of the blog and choose to view online.

1 Room at Turneffe Flats

turneffe1We have one room for 2 anglers or 1 angler and 1 non-angler at Turneffe Flats Lodge, April 25-May 2, 2020. Turneffe offers not only great flats fishing for all the species – bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook, etc., but also a variety of superb accommodations and non-angling activities. Our group is a nice mix of singles, couples, and non anglers. Check out the details and then call Frontiers (800-245-1950) to grab the last room!

February Fly Special

Feb Special 7443Our February Fly Special includes a dozen bead head Hare's Ear Nymphs and a dozen bead head Pheasant Tail Nymphs, each selection boxed, with a RIO Powerflex Plus 3X leader (a $45 value).  Get your boxes ready for spring and save money too!  $37.00

American Angler Magazine

AA 7436We knew it was coming but what a surprise when we opened our current issue of American Angler and saw the profile on us! Thank you Tom Keer and American Angler.


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Safari, Salt-Water Season, & The Fly Fishing Show

East Africa Safari -July 25 – August 8, 2021

AFRICA 2015 12176 The finishing touches have been added to our 2021 East African Safari and we're excited to share it with you. Four of the most interesting lodges in Kenya and Tanzania, from Hemingway themed Serengeti Under Canvas to the luxurious Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, and timed for the Great Migration. Review the itinerary and then join us for this incredible experience. It truly is a trip of a lifetime.


Sage's Saltwater Season-by Cameron K. Scott

It's a permit bowing to crabs in the grass. A barracuda on the prowl, scattering the smaller denizens of the flat. Bonefish scuttling happily, fighting over the fly. A tarpon at the end of a knuckle-buster run, cartwheeling across the sky. This is Saltwater Season.
By Cameron K. Scott. Thank you Sage and Cameron.


Edison, NJ, Fly Fishing Show   flyfishingshow

Don't forget the Edison, NJ, Fly Fishing Show starts Friday and runs through Sunday. Flip back to last week's blog for details or go to for a complete schedule of seminars, tiers, demonstrations, classes, manufacturers, celebrities, destinations, directions and floor map. Stop by the Sage booth. We'll see you there!


2020 Beck Hosted Departures:

January 11-21 Suinda & Pira, Argentina (dorado)
February 6-18 Laguna Verde, (Jurassic) Argentina (trout)
February 16-20 Dorado Cruiser, Argentina (dorado)
March 13-20 Villa Maria, TDF, Argentina (sea run browns)
March 19-30 Estancia Tecka, Argentina (trout)
April 27-Apr. 6 San Huberto, Argentina (trout)
April 25-May 2 Turneffe Flats, Belize (bones, tarpon, permit)
June 23-July 5 Ireland/Scotland (trout/Atlantic salmon)
August 6-15 Reel Action, Alaska (silvers, chum, trout, char)
August 22-29 Bighorn River, Montana (trout)
August 29-Sept.5 Bighorn River, Montana (trout)
Sept. 17-24 E. Pyrenees, Spain (trout)
Dec. 1-14 Argentina Waters & Tres Valles, Argentina (trout)


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The Fly Fishing Show & Ireland Opportunity

The Fly Fishing Show:  Edison, NJ


Don't miss the fun at the Edison, NJ, Fly Fishing Show. The world's largest fly fishing show and the biggest fly fishing event in history! Classes, seminars, demos, fly tiers, retailers, manufacturers, travel agencies, personalities, lodges. Check out the FFI Learning Center, the Film Festival, and the Women's Showcase. This show has it all.  Somerset show 2272

Join Barry for the following seminars:

Friday, 12:15 in the Release Room, Dry Fly Strategies, III
Saturday, 1:45 in the Catch Room, Catching Monster Trout
Sunday, 11:15 in the Catch Room, Capture the Moment

Cathy's Casting demonstrations at the pond:

Somerset rod rack 2011 114Friday, 2:15 Pond 1, From First Cast to Double Haul
Saturday, 10:15 Pond 1, From First Cast to Double Haul

Ladies Only Casting Class with Cathy, Sunday 2:00-4:30 (registration required)

Get all the details at


1 Room in Ireland & Scotland

552 IRELAND 2017 Due to health issues we have found ourselves with availability for one or two anglers (1 room/1 guide) on our Ireland & Scotland departure, June 23-July 5, 2020. This is a unique departure as non-anglers have their own transportation and tour guide each day while the anglers fish. Guest can do one or the other, or mix it up. Join us for 4 days of guided trout fishing with Andrew Ryan's Clonnav Fly Fishing near Conmel, Ireland, and then our group will fly to Dublin and fish three days for Atlantic salmon on the Rivers Spey and Tay. Exquisite lodging and dining.

There is something truly special about the “Emerald Isle”. Ireland is incredibly beautiful, complemented with warm Irish hospitality and great fisheries. Travel on with us to Scotland, famous for its magnificent scenery, festivals, historical architectural sites, and of course Atlantic salmon.  IRELAND SALMON FISHING 2017 401

Read all about this departure at:
and then contact us or Frontiers. We'd love to have you with us.


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From the Fly Case & New RIO Lines

From the Fly Case

susieIt's funny how a routine forms after years of processing fly orders. No one knows this better than Susie because she pulls the flies, boxes the orders, and gets them out the door. From mid-February through the end of the year it's almost all trout, but as soon as we turn the page to January the orders flip to saltwater. It happens overnight. It won't last long, by mid-February the orders will start to lean back to freshwater, but we're definitely in our saltwater season.

Barry and I are getting ready for Argentina – where our heart is at this time of year. Don't get us wrong, we love saltwater and it's a hard choice, but Argentina definitely tugs on our heartstrings. Our first trip of the year is for dorado and we're excited to see two new lodges, Suinda and Pira. Not new on the fly fishing scene, but new on our list.

We hope you have plans to get out of Dodge this winter, especially if you live in the north and northeast. It's snowing here as I write this, and we know there is some rough weather ahead, but already days are getting longer and in just a couple months spring will be knocking on the door.

Thinking about saltwater, RIO has recently introduced two new lines. Check it out!

RIO's New DirectCore Permit Line 



permitlineRIO's new DirectCore Permit line features an easy casting taper that loads at close range, and a long back taper for fast, 2nd shot casts. The front taper and weight distribution is designed to give soft presentations so as not to spook wary permit, while maintaining enough weight to easily cast typical crab patterns. Check it out.


RIO's DirectCore Bonefish Line

The new DirectCore Bonefish line incorporates a long head and rear taper for maximum casting versatility and a hard tropical coating that will not wilt in the heat. It's high floating, easy to straighten, with a low memory core that lays true on the water. And – winner of the Best New Saltwater Fly Line at the Denver IFTD show in October.


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Happy New Year, Transplant Story, & Split Shot


Let's start the new year on a happy, positive, optimistic note. So, let today be a day to recognize good in the world and to hope that the new year is full of hope, kindness, compassion, respect, and tolerance for each other. It starts with each of us.


Passengers Give Up Their Seats So Man Can Get Liver Transplant Just In Time

We've all be at the gate when the airline announces that volunteers are needed because the flight is over sold. Here is a new twist on an old story....

Split Shot from Jim KuKorolo

Jim talks to us today about all things split shot. Color, size, type, drift, all affect the way the trout responds to your flies.

What are your thoughts?

If you read my article on Tips to Improve Your Fly Fishing or High Sticking with a Strike Indicator, you know I believe in adding weight to get flies in the strike zone. I believe it's one of the most common mistakes fly fishermen make and the reason they struggle to catch fish. I truly believe that the difference between a good nymph fisherman and a better one is one split shot.

It is critical that you be able to recognize if you are fishing with enough weight. This is where a strike indicator is very useful in helping you determine that. One rule of thumb is to add weight so that your strike indicator is moving slightly slower than the bubbles on the water. Keep in mind that the surface of the water is moving faster than the water on the bottom of the stream. When my strike indicator is moving as slow or slower than the bubbles, I know that my flies are on the bottom and in contact with my strike indicator.

blackbirdTypes of Split Shot – I prefer black, brown, green or camo color over the shiny silver types. One time I had to buy the silver ones with the tabs and I ended up spray painting them black. I prefer the smooth one type without the tabs because they are round and will roll easier on the streamblackbird2 bottom. Although you can reuse the ones with the tabs and take them off easier, it is difficult to find them in smaller sizes. The green coated shot seems to stay in place better and doesn't slide down the leader. My personal choice is Black Bird split shot in sizes BB-1 to BB-4 and they come in an easy to use dispenser.

Tungsten Putty – Putting a split shot on your tippet can pinch the tippet and weaken it. So that leads me to tungsten putty. I just recently started to experiment with tungsten putty. Fellow guide Tom Harris got a tip from George mudDaniels to put a small split shot on the tippet and form tungsten putty around the split shot in a football shape. I found that it stays on the split shot nicely and lasts a long time. It is easy to apply and easy to add to and remove. Plus it's reusable.

Tip: A lot of older guys (myself included) find small split shot hard to put on the tippet. Tungsten paste might be just the ticket to easily add weight without struggling with small split shot.

Tippet material – The size of the nymph dictates the size of my tippet. Size 12 hooks and larger I use 3x or 4x. Hooks size 14 and smaller I generally use 5x. I like to use slightly heavier tippet when fishing nymphs. It allows for hard hook sets and I don't leave as many flies on the bottom of the stream or in a trout’s mouth.

Tip: Rule of thumb, I cut a piece the length of my arm to attach my dropper nymph. Which is about two foot long.

Split shot between the two tandem nymphs

This is my standard go to set up when fishing two nymphs when I want both nymphs to be on the bottom of the stream and in the trout strike zone:

1. If both nymphs are weighted with lead wrapped on the hook or with a tungsten bead it will eliminate using split shot between the two nymphs. If I still need more weight, I add split shot between the two nymphs. I especially like this set-up for early spring and cold water conditions.

2. Dark or discolored water. I use an attractor fly such as a red or pink squirmy wormy as the lead fly trailing my nymph 24 inches behind the lead fly. In discolored water the squirmy wormy gets the attention of the trout and if the fish refuses the squirmy wormy he might pick up the nymph.

Split shot in front of my tandem nymphs

1. When I'm fishing two small nymphs (sizes 18-22) I shorten the distance between the two flies and put my split shot in front of the lead fly. By keeping the smaller nymphs close together it will help the trout to see them easier. Placing the split shot 12 inches in front of the lead fly will give you a more natural drift.

2. When I’m fishing something like a large weighted stone fly nymph as the lead nymph and trailing a mayfly nymph such as a March Brown, I lengthen the distance between the two flies allowing the trailing nymph to move freely behind and drift slightly off the stream bottom. For a more natural drift I prefer an unweighted nymph. In this situation I don't like to use bead head nymphs.

3. During the Fall season I've had a lot of success fishing an egg pattern as the lead fly and trailing a soft hackle caddis pattern. I prefer placing the split shot in front of the egg so that it is rolling on the bottom allowing the soft hackle caddis to kind of dance and move through the water.

Where I place my split shot depends greatly on water conditions, time of season, type of water and what flies I'm fishing. Split shot placement on your tandem nymph rig will determine how the flies are presented to the trout. It can be the difference between a bad day and a good day on the water.

Please let me know through the Comments section (view from a browser) of the blog if you have any questions or comments. We love hearing from our readers.

Thanks for reading. Hope to see you on the water.




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