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 into 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 the 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 children 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
It’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.
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
Try 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.