Barry and Cathy Beck's Blog
Last Thursday we were at the Philadelphia Angler's Club where Barry gave a presentation on Streamer Tactics for Big Fish. Our trout season opened here in northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday and after several weeks of below average water levels, we got much needed rain and for the opener the stream was a tad high and off color. Perfect water for fishing streamers.
With Barry's talk fresh in my mind, I thought it would be a good time to talk a little about fishing streamers. Streamers represent things that swim through the water that a trout would like to eat - skulpins, minnows, crayfish, leeches and so on. Things that make a meal. Streamers can be fished unweighted or weighted using lead eyes, cone heads, lead can be wrapped on the hook before tying the fly, split shot can be added to the leader, etc. Unless the water is very shallow, we prefer a streamer with weighted eyes most of the time so we can get an effective jig-like motion when retrieving.
Most of the time we think the secret in in the retrieve and the depth at which the fly is being fished. If the water is cold and deep the fly has to be deep. If the fish are dormant on the bottom, a slower retrieve may be needed because the fish are not going to move far or move quickly. The fly has to be
Join us at Boca Paila, Mexico, June 2-9. It's perfect timing for permit and snook, and the bones are here all the time. This is truly the Grand Slam capital of the world. We've hosted more than 25 trips to Boca Paila and it remains the best place for anglers in pursuit of permit as well as a perfect destination for new saltwater anglers. Something for everybody. In addition, the beautiful beach, white sand, tropical setting make it an excellent choice for non-fishing companions or anglers who want to enjoy both the fishing and the R&R. Boca Paila is one of the great buys in saltwater lodges.
2 Rooms left. 7 nights/6 days. June 2-9, 2013. $3,100 pp dbl. occupancy, shared boat/guide. $1,575 non angler. $5,325 single/private boat. See the Details.Hope to see you there!
Tired of winter? Drop everything and get out of town for a few days. Join us in the Bahamas at Deep Water Cay for 5 nights/4 days of bonefish and warm tropical sun, April 21-26. This accommodation is for a single angler ($6,395) or 2 anglers sharing a guide and room ($4,246pp). Get all the details at Hosted Trips or contact Joe Linscott at Frontiers, 800-245-1950. We hope to see you there!
With trout season just around the corner (April 13) here in Pennsylvania, we thought it might be a good time to let you know about a tying video that we posted to YouTube this week, Cathy Beck's Super Beetle. This beetle is a fun, inexpensive pattern to tie and you'll be surprised at how well it works.
As soon as the weather warms up, terrestrials will become active and this is a great pattern to tease up fish. It floats well, is easy to tie, and is a great fly to trail a nymph behind. We've used it for trout all over the world and it never fails.
The Super Bugger is another great eary-to-tie pattern to use when the water is cold, high, or off color. It's a good search-type streamer and it pushes a lot of water so it gets the attention of the fish even when they may not see it. Both of these patterns are also available for purchase from our store. We tie the Super Bugger in tan, black and olive.
Our water here at home looks very good. We haven't had any extremely high water this spring and now that the weather is warming up, we should have good spring hatches. If you haven't fished our private water on Fishing Creek, you might want to consider a day with one of our guides. We think our freestone water is pretty special and we think you will too. Check out the details and then give us a call to arrange a date. Wherever you are, if you're in trout country, we hope you have a great season!
Do you have a special anniversary this year?
Is Safari not checked off your life list?
Or maybe just a dream of Africa?
This is an exordinary 13 night private safari to Tanzania and Kenya for the Great Migration: One of the greatest spectacles in the natural world. June 18 - July 1, 2013.
No one knows how long the great migration will last. The threat is the Mara River which suffers from less water every year. But for now, it is a robust force of nature with millions of animals on an endless march of life and death and rebirth. As reported by 60 Minutes, a half million gazelle, hundreds of thousands of zebra, and more than a million wildebeest and other animals cross to the Masi Mara followed by predators of lion, cheetah, hyena....and the biggest of all, crocodiles patrolling the Mara River.
We'll follow the migration in luxury suite accomodation from the luxurious Arusha Coffee Lodge, the elegant Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, the always popular Ngorongoro Crater Lodge steeped in the romance of Africa, and finally always a favorite - Serengeti Under Canvas.
Join us as we experience the great migration of animals following the green grass as the dry season moves the herds 350 miles from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masi Mara in Kenya. It truly is an emotional, spiritual journey. It will move you in ways you never thought possible.
Please refer to our web site for details and photographs.
As I look ahead to Barry & Cathy's trip schedule, I see that they are headed to Patagonia, Argentina. This is a popular destination for many reasons and I am aware that most of our guests on this trip are repeat visitors. They probably know what to expect and especially what to look forward to. However I was reading over some of our past blogs that originally appeared on the RIO blog website and came across one that seemed to fit perfectly. I think this will be a great resource for those of you joining the Beck's next month in Patagonia, but I also think that we can all learn something from it, no matter where we're fishing.
Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut – By Cathy Beck
As I write this we are driving down 50 miles of dirt road on our way to Estancia Quemquemtreu near San Martin de los Andes in Patagonia, Argentina. Our guide Andres Homosilla is driving and Adele is playing in the car. About every 10 minutes I have to blow the ash dust off my computer keyboard. There is still a lot of it in the air here from the volcano erupting nearly a year ago. It’s on everything. Our group has just wrapped up five full days of fishing on the Rio Malleo at Estancia San Huberto near Junin de los Andes. The next 3 days will find us fishing on the Rio Collon Cura and it will be quite different from the Malleo which is a beautiful spring creek. If you’re old enough, you might remember that Ernest Schweibert called it the queen of all spring creeks in one of his books.
It was a good week of fishing on the Malleo and everyone is leaving with mixed feelings. We love San Huberto and the Olson family. Most of us have been coming on this trip for many years so it feels like an annual visit home. We’ve had a spell of beautiful fall weather and a good week of fishing, so we are all leaving with special memories of fish caught, good Malbec, and friends visited. But now our sights are set on our next stop which we affectionately call “QQ.”
As I think back over the last week of fishing, I find myself thinking about how a little change in fishing tactics can make such a difference in the results we get. There are many things that come to mind to prove this theory but the first one is tippet size and material. The fish on the Malleo are like fish on spring creeks just about everywhere. They can be super selective, often see their share of fishermen and a multitude of fly patterns. On the first day I started out fishing a large beetle on 4X and moved a few fish in the riffles and faster moving water. Sometimes I would let the fly float undisturbed and other times I would twitch it across the surface. Some casts I would let the fly land pretty hard so it would plop into the water. I like this kind of fishing because you don’t have to be accurate or precise. Just hit the likely looking places and often the cast will produce a fish.
Every day we fished a different beat and conditions can change dramatically from beat to beat. The second day of fishing started out with the beetle and 4X from the day before but now we were on more technical slower, placid water. This beat is called Henry’s Fork. If you’ve fished the “Fork” in Idaho, you understand why. I’ve had good luck at times fishing the beetle in this kind of water looking for a fish who might want a bigger meal. After about an hour of not moving a single fish, I took the guide’s earlier advice and we changed to a small size 16 parachute Adams on 5X with a 6X dropper with a size 20 pheasant tail nymph. In just a few minutes I had my first fish of the day.
The moral of the story is if a fly isn’t working and you know you’re casting over fish, change it – or change something. On another day simply changing from a size 16 comparadun to a size 18 did the trick. Sometimes the dropper needs to be longer. If it is still not getting down to the fish try a heavier nymph (or two) with a strike indicator that can be positioned on the leader according to the depth of the water. If the fish are not rising, or is very cold or off-color from a storm, consider a streamer and change the retrieves until you find one the fish like.
I was using RIO Fluoroflex and I think it makes a big difference too. It disappears in the water making it harder for the fish to detect. This may not be critical in some places but if you’re fishing over fish that see a lot of fishermen, it may make the difference between catching and not catching. I started out as a skeptic but I’ve become a firm believer in fluorocarbon.
Don’t be lazy or get stuck in a rut where it’s easier to stay with the set-up that you’ve got rather than change it. By experimenting and changing flies, leaders, and technique you could very likely change your luck as well.
Barry and Cathy Beck travel with small groups of people who love these pursuits as much as they do. All of their hosted trips are organized through Frontiers International. Visit their website, and follow the adventures on their Facebook and twitter feed: @bcbeckphoto.
Good Morning. We woke up here in PA to a white, winter wonderland. Everything is covered with a glistening blanket of snow and it's just beautiful. That being said, looking at Barry & Cathy's pictures from New Zealand makes me anxious to see green grass, sunshine, and new plants growing. It looks like they are having a great time, great fishing, and good food! Check out her photos on our Connect page by clicking HERE. If you're not a member, you can follow the prompts to sign up. They are definitely worth taking a look!
I don't know how many years the Gonzalez family has owned and operated Boca Paila fishing lodge on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, but if I had to guess I'd say close to 50. Generations of saltwater anglers have caught their first bonefish, or permit, or tarpon, or all three for a Grand Slam at this wonderful destination. We have enjoyed hosting more than 25 trips to Boca Paila and hope for many more, but the word on the street is that the lodge has received an inviting offer to sell. If it goes through ans we understand that it's being entertained, it sounds like it might be made a private property. Many of us cut our saltwater teeth at Boca Paila, I know Barry and I did, and we will be sad to see it goes - if it goes. It still remains to be seen.
We are hosting our annual trip to Boca Paila June 2-9, timed for clear water, good weather, low wind, bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook. If we're lucky, we might get them all! Go here for details.
We hope this is not our last trip to Boca Paila, but if you've been thinking about a first saltwater fly fishing trip, this would be a good one. If you've been to Boca Paila before you know the old-world charm and the fishing possibilities that has made this lodge famous in the fly fishing business. Whether a first trip or a return, you may want to do it this year, and we'd love to have you join us in June. Contact us or Bob Artzberger at Frontiers.
While we're on the subject of Mexico, we still have rooms available at Holbox Island Fly Fishing Lodge, July 13-19. Yes, I know it's hot, but historically it's not any hotter in Mexico in July than it is in Pennsylvania - and we don't have any tarpon swimming around waiting for us to throw a Black Death to them. We've always stayed away from July, but the experts there tell us that if we're serious about big tarpon, that's when we need to be there. Calm seas, plenty of fish, exciting fishing. We're all for it. Fishing runs from about 6:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. followed by our siesta, a swim, cocktails and dinner. Whether you're after baby or big tarpon, what's not to like about this? It's a great trip. Check out the details and join us!
And, getting away from Mexico for a minute, we have one room/boat left at Deep Water Cay, April 21-26. 5 night/4 day fishing. Take a short break and get out of town for a few days. Check it out.