Reblog of "Don't Get Stuck in a Rut"

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

RIO Blog Malleo - CATHY BECKAs 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.

RIO Blog Malleo - Cathy Beck

Small tweaks, nice results.

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.

If a fly isn’t working and you know you’re casting over fish, change it – or change something.

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.

Fluoroflex is great for productive trout fishing.

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.

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Snow in PA

Snow in PA

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 HEREIf you're not a member, you can follow the prompts to sign up.  They are definitely worth taking a look! 

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Boca Paila Lodge for Sale?


b2ap3_thumbnail_Yucatan-Permit-BC-BECK-Image-0748.jpgI 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!b2ap3_thumbnail_Holbox-FB_006.jpg

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.

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Double Haul Lessons

 Learn to handle long casts, wind, and heavy flies easier by using a double haul, a technique used to increase line speed making it possible to cast further, cast more accurately, and with less effort. Here are the steps.

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Taimen and Golden Eagles

 2010 MONGOLIA1484

I've been working with the Mongolia file and I can't stop thinking about the trip. I've got to tell someone about it, so I've chosen you. We are returning to Mongolia in late September for fall taimen fishing at Sweetwater Travel's Eg Ur camp. From the photo, you can tell that this is a beautiful camp on the banks of the river. While it is rustic, it is very comfortable with wood stoves in each ger, hot showers, and good meals in the dining lodge. Fall is an amazing time to be in Mongolia and after a week in camp, we'll travel on to see the Eagle Festival.


Hunting with golden eagles has been a Mongolian tradition for a 1,000 years, passed down from generation to generation. The young female eagles are taken from the nest just before they are able to fly and adopted by their new "parent" for eight years before they are allowed to hunt freely. By this time the bond is so strong between the eagle and her owner that he knows she will not leave him when set free to hunt. The Mongolian children trap ground squirrels for the young eagle to eat while she in "in training" for the eight years.

You can view the itinerary and photo gallery on our web site by clicking HERE

I've also found two amazing photo albums on the web and these are the links for them:



Along with the albums I found three very informative Youtube movies.




Traveling across Mongolia to get to the Eagle Festival is an adventure in itself. We've heard about the Eagle Festival for years and we're already going to be in the country so we thought, "why not?" We're working with an amazing company in Mongolia, Hovsgol Travel Company, who is arranging the itinerary and who has been working with Sweetwater/Frontiers from the beginning of the camp more than 15 years ago.

If you would like more information or have an interest in joining us, please contact us or Hank Ingram at Frontiers, 800-245-1950, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We'd love to have you join us!

Cathy & Barry


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From Los Roques, Venezuela

b2ap3_thumbnail_fb_0001_Blg_1_LOS-ROQUES-20130177.jpgThis is our second day at Los Roques, Venezuela. Weather is beautiful, town is quiet. We're a little bit a head of the tourist season. We're all getting lots of shots at bonefish on the pancake flats and the migratory tarpon are beginning to show in the harbor. Yesterday we jumped one that went about 60 pounds - we're going back there today.

The one thing I was reminded of yesterday was to be barefoot on the deck. I thought we were wading so I had on my flats boots and then we found some baby tarpon along the mangroves so we fished from the boat and I was constantly standing on my line because I couldn't feel it. I finally stopped, took off my boots and fished barefoot, much better. After a while I put on socks because the sun was pretty intense and didn't want to get burned. This is much like snook fishing, they appear and you have to cast quickly. Being ready on deck, fly in hand, line under control and ready to go. It's easy in the breeze to have the fly tangled around the standing line or the line sliding off the deck, there's a thousand things that can go wrong and it will go wrong. You don't get a second first chance.

We found a flock of flamingos. It was a nice contrast from the Pileated Woodpecker that Barry photographed at home last week in the snow. b2ap3_thumbnail_fb_0002_Blg_2_LOS-ROQUES-20130222.jpg





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Preventative Winter Maintenance


Preventative Winter Maintenance

This is a good time of year to think about our tackle, especially rods and reels. There are a few things we could do now that might save us some frustration and expense later on and it will get us ready for the spring fishing – that is hopefully just around the corner.

Take a careful look at your rods & reels for anything that requires factory attention. This is a good time to send tackle in for repair. The warranty departments are often busy in prime fishing season, but can usually get repairs turned around quicker during the slower winter months.

Rods -

Examine the tip top and other guides for wear. Pay very close attention to the tip top as wear usually shows up on this guide from the line traveling in and out of the rod. The tiniest uneven spot or slight crack in the finish of the guide will ruin fly lines. Often your fly shop will have a rod repair person who can replace guides. If not you should contact the manufacturer about replacement.

The ferrule should not show any wear either. However, if the rod has been fished with loose ferrules it will eventually work into a broken ferrule. Telltale signs of this damage will be slight cracks in the female ferrule. If you see anything that looks suspicious, show it to someone at your local fly shop.

We use Simple Green on the cork rod handles. Wet the cork, spray with Simple Green, wait a minute or two, and wash off with a soft brush under clean running water. Let the rod air dry overnight to make sure all moisture is gone before putting it back in the tube for storage.

Pledge Wipes work well on the blank to restore a nice clean finish.

Reels -

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for reel lube. Depending on the drag system, your reel may not require and lube.

Look for corrosion on any screw heads, but especially on the reel foot. If you find anything that looks like it could be corrosion or lead to it, clean the area carefully with WD40 using a Q-tip or soft toothbrush (but not your wife's).

We use Pledge wipes on the outside of the reels to wipe away any dirt and to add a nice clean finish.

Look carefully at the line guard where the line comes off the reel to make sure it is not worn. Even the smallest grove made from the line wearing against the guard can make a sharp edge that can ruin the line.

Turn off all drags. If the drag is left on it can weaken over time.

Fly Lines -

All fly lines should be checked for wear and then put away clean for the winter. Use the manufacturer's suggested line cleaner. We prefer RIO's AgentX Line Dressing. Modern fly lines should never be cleaned with WD40 or Mucilin. Our lines today have sophisticated coatings which require sophisticated line cleaners.

To clean, pull as much line off the reel as you usually cast. Lay it in loose large coils on the floor. (If you have a pet cat, put him in another room.) With a clean paper towel put a squeeze of cleaner in the towel and pull the line through it working toward the leader. When you get to the end, fold the towel to a dry spot and pull the line back through. Wind it back on the reel.

Be watchful of cracks and rough spots in the line. If during the fishing season the line came in contact with Deet (di-ethyl-toluamide) from insect repellents, the line will appear as dry and cracked. Unfortunately, it will continue to deteriorate and will need to be replaced. A burr or crack in the rod tip or guide will also ruin your fly line. The leader or tippet can cut through the line if it gets tangled. This usually happens when a frustrated angler pulls on the mono and it cuts into the soft coating on the line. Modern lines are expensive and care should be taken to help them last as long as possible.

Before fishing in the spring replace your tippet material and leaders. Never store these items in the light. Keep them in your vest, desk drawer, or gear bag. Ultraviolet light will cause the mono to weaken and you'll loose knot strength. Always start with fresh leaders on your fly lines and fresh spools in your vest.

By taking time now to look over our equipment, we can save time later in costly repairs, replacements, or fish lost.

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Join our Connect Community!

connect logo

We've just added a photo album to our Connect page from our recent trip to Tres Valles, Argentina, for you to enjoy. For those of you who have been here with us, you know what a beautiful destination this is.

As part of our new website Connect Community, we ask that you become a subscriber in order to enjoy all the benefits. This way we can let you know when the blog updates, when we add photo albums, and add to the store. In general, it keeps us all in the same loop and makes check-out from the store easy. You'll also be able to share your own photos, thoughts, and experiences with each other.

It's free, it's easy and only takes a minute. Go to Our CONNECT page by clicking here
1. Click Join Us Now, It's FREE
2. Fill in your information, agree to the terms and click Next
3. Add as much information to your profile as you'd like, and click Register
4. You can now add a photo for your profile, or just click skip
5. You will receive an email to activate your account with Connect. Click on the link to activate your account to be able to Log In.

Thanks for joining and welcome to our Community! We look forward to hearing from you!

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2013 Angler's Wall Calendar


2013 Angler's Wall Calendar

Makes a great gift for your favorite Angler!

Includes September-December 2012, 4 bonus months. Start using it now!

Large boxes to record dates and special events

Moon phases, US and international holidays

North American hatch dates

$13.99 plus $6.50 shipping

Purchase a calendar and sign up for our online Connect Community & receive FREE Shipping!

  ***Price discount will be reflected at checkout***

Click here to purchase it at our online store!

All Beck photos. Calendar By Willow Creek Press

“The fly fisherman's choice since 1975”


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Tres Valles, Argentina

The view from the dining room

This has been an interesting week here at Tres Valles, Argentina. We've had a mixed bag of weather but lots of sunshine, typical of spring in Argentina. Lots of wind in the beginning of the week followed by warm sunny breezy days - perfect fishing weather - and finishing up today with very little wind, some sunshine, and some showers passing through the valley. All of the streams and spring creeks are in great shape and we've all enjoyed a new spring creek located in the next valley over. The more we visit Tres Valles, the more we love it. There is no end to exploring new water and discovering new fishing spots in this part of Patagonia. We start home tomorrow but are already looking forward to next year!

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