Tying the Super Bugger

Thanks to everyone who came to see my fly tying demonstration at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ. As requested, here are the tying instructions for Cathy's Super Bugger which is the fly I tied at the show. Please let us know if you have any questions. Enjoy tying & fishing the Super Bugger. It's a great fly. Barry

Cathy Beck’s Super Bugger

Sizes: 6 & 8
Colors: Tan, Black, Olive
Hook: Tiemco 3761
Thread: Tan, Black, Olive
Tail: Tan, Black or Olive Blood Feather overlay 6 strands Krystal Flash in corresponding color.
Rib: Hareline dyed grizzly hen body feathers, available from AA Outfitters, aaoutfitters.com, 800-443-8119 or  Tan, black or olive.
Legs: Two rubber sili-legs. Root beer, black or olive.
Eyes: Lead eyes painted yellow and black.  XS on size 8, small on size 6.
Head: Spiked dubbing figure-eighted around the eyes. Or, dubbing brushes if available.

The idea for Cathy’s Super Bugger was to design a fly that would create more underwater vibration or noise which would help fish locate and find the fly. The combination of the thick web hackle body and the sili-legs pushes the water as the fly is retrieved, creating noise and vibration. Having the eyes tied on top of the hook inverts the fly as it is being retrieved, gives it a more leech-like action in the water, and keeps it from fouling on the bottom.

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Subscribing Made Easy

Hi everyone. I've received a couple of phone calls from followers who are trying to subscribe to the blog. We should have been a little more explicit about this, please let me give you better instructions:

1. Choose the Subscribe button located under the blog header photo, right side.

2. If you want to be notified of updates via email, choose email.

3. Choose Feedblitz. It will take you to a new page.

4. Enter your email address, enter the funky letter and letter code, and click "subscribe me."

5. You're done. Thanks for subscribing.
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Join Us on Facebook!

Happy New Year everyone!  Thank you for checking out our website and reading our blog. Did you know you can follow us on Facebook as well?  That's right, we're there posting images, news & tidbits as often as we can.  Facebook is a great way to stay connected not only to friends and family, but also for the latest info from The Becks.

January 2011 marks the end of the Beck Bulletin, our email newsletter we've been producing for the past 4+ years.  Thank you so much to the hundreds of people that subscribe to it!  It's been a great way for us to get you the information in a timely and efficient manner.

But like all things in the internet era, there's always something new.  The combination of our blog and our Facebook Fan Page has made the newsletter obsolete.  As fast and easy as it was to use for letting everyone know what was going on, it can't touch the speed and ease of our blog and Facebook.

Since you're reading this we're pretty sure you can find the blog, but just in case you got here from the last Beck Bulletin link, our blog address is www.barryandcathybeck.com/blog.  Add that to your 'favorites/bookmarks' and you'll always have it at the ready.  You can also subscribe to the blog to get email notifications when we post something new. This is the most efficient way to use and read the blog.

Facebook is a remarkable, easy-to-use  way to keep in touch with business contacts, family, and friends. You'll be amazed with who you find (and who finds you) on Facebook. Yes, caution should be taken with how much personal information you divulge but it's easy to show only what you want to. For instance, I don't want to advertise what year I was born, so I block this little tidbit from the viewers of our Facebook pages! And, remember we're always here if you have a question or run into a snag. We'll be happy to help.

So, if you're looking for the latest news and images from the road, definitely become a fan on our Facebook Fan Page.  We've put this blog together just in case you're NOT yet on Facebook.  Follow these simple steps to sign up and follow us there.

STEP 1:  Go to www.facebook.com

If you don't already have an account you'll be presented with the following signup screen.  Simply fill out the information requested and click on the 'Sign Up' button.

STEP 2: Clicking 'Sign Up' will take you to the CAPTCHA screen.  This is a security requirement that must be completed.  Retype the letter combinations in the white box into the field provided.  Again, follow the instructions and click 'Sign Up'.

CAPTCHA's are difficult to read by design.  You can ask for a new CAPTCHA if the first one you're looking at is too hard to read or you can take a stab at it. If it doesn't go, you'll just try it again.

STEP 3: The next 4 slides can be SKIPPED if you'd like.  They give you a chance to personalize your account, which you'll want to do eventually, but is NOT necessary when signing up.  Following the on-screen directions will walk your through doing so, or you can skip it and proceed to your account verification screen.

- finding friends -

- filling out profile information -

- uploading an image/photo of yourself -

...click the 'Save & Continue' button to proceed.

STEP 4: Account Verification - You will now be instructed to check your email for a verification email.

STEP 5: Click on the link in your email to verify your account

You will then be taken to the following screen and you're ready to go!  Congratulations on making your very own Facebook profile.

The next 2 slides show you what you see when you click on the HOME button in the upper right of the screen, or the...

...PROFILE button next to it.  Both will be important to your Facebook experience, so get familiar with them.

STEP 6: Find Beck Photography!

Go to your search field and type in Beck Photography.  Make sure you see the picture of Barry & Cathy next to the link for Beck Photography (since there's a few different ones on Facebook).  Or you can simply click HERE and jump right to the page.


To follow us and receive notices when we update our Facebook page, you need to LIKE our Fanpage...so click LIKE! :D

...and that's it...you're in!  You now can find us on Facebook, in our blog or on our website.  And don't forget to follow us on Twitter as well.

Thanks again and we'll see you online!
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Angling Ethics

From Angling Ethics and the Golden Rule by Jim Bashline

(This was written at least 25 years ago and is still good advice. CB)

Angling for any fish species can be very basic or as complicated as one would like to make it. And it becomes more so each year. New methods, new tackle and new horizons as anglers learn more are continually adding refinements and different approaches to this simple sport. You can usually predict the arrival of budding anglers when you hear them say something like, “Wow, I didn’t know there was so much to this fishing thing. All the lures, flies, different kinds of rods and reels and everything. This is really interesting.” Indeed it is.

During the hasty years of youth, learning how to catch more and bigger fish is the major goal, but eventually most anglers develop an ethical code of their own. Where they fish, for which species and the type of tackle they choose are variables, but their codes are patterned after a common blueprint. It’s the well-tested Golden Rule.

Time teaches the growing angler that decent conduct on streams and lakes means better fishing and better-quality experiences for those who share the water with them. Today’s angling scene includes a different blend of participants. The kids and the “old-timers” are there, as they’ve always been, but there’s a new sort of entry-level group. It’s the fledgling fishermen between 25 and 45 years of age, who have decided recently to become anglers.

Now, a crusty rod holder who’s been stalking Pennsylvania waters for nearly a half century might say, I’m not going to rail against this wave of beginners. Sure, we’ve got to share the water with more license buyers, but these people also represent additional allies in our never-ending battle to conserve, maintain and add to the total fishing resource. I fervently believe that the defense of clean water is not vice and anglers should try to enlist all of the help they can find.

The “ethics of angling” undoubtedly sounds terribly lofty to some, and frankly, it may be. Perhaps a better choice of words would be “good manners.” As a large share of new anglers are attracted to fly fishing, so a large number of beginner sins are committed while wearing waders. In most cases, it isn’t that the novice is trying to be annoying, he simply doesn’t know. At the risk of sounding paternalistic, I’d like to insert some guidelines.

Wading noisily to a spot thirty feet away from another angler, who is obviously casting intently, is poor form. If the pool is large enough to accommodate additional anglers, it’s a good idea to observe the angler for a few minutes, determine whether he’s working his way upstream or down and then ask if he would mind if you fished “behind” him. Most anglers will be accommodating in this instance. Thank him and then quietly position yourself well away from him in the water he has already fished through. After all, he was there first.

A new fly fisherman can learn a lot by watching an accomplished veteran. If you see someone catch a fish from a particular spot, for heaven’s sake, don’t wade in next to him and start casting. It isn’t polite to ask flatly, “What are you catching them on?” A much better approach would be to make the observation, “Nice fish” or “It looks like you’ve got the right fly today.” Such an opening usually brings some worthwhile information and perhaps a sample of what fly the angler is using.

If the pool approached is not large enough to comfortably accommodate extra anglers, move up or downstream to another location. Yes, it’s a free country and all that, but on streams open to the public there is an unwritten “rule” that says: This particular spot is mine until I choose to give it up. Respect this rule and you’ll discover that others will too.

Where the regulations require the return of fish under or over a certain length or on no-kill waters, make a strong effort to learn how to handle the fish properly. Sure, we’ve all had to discover how to do a lot of things, but improper handling of released fish marks the beginner like no other indiscretion. It’s much easier to work with a fish in a net and remember that you shouldn’t keep a fish out of the water for longer than you can comfortably hold your breath. If you absolutely can’t get the fly out, cut it off and gently release the fish making sure that he has recovered.

If two or three anglers are fishing together, the proper procedure is to take turns in being the first to “work” a particular stretch of water. Yes, there is some luck involved in angling and a large measure of skill, but the first fly or lure to pass through a pool on any given day stands a better chance of scoring.

Ethical angling behavior should not be a mask that’s slipped on from time to time when others are watching. Actually, when others are watching is the easiest time for all anglers to do a bit of proper posturing. It’s those times when one is alone or thinks he is that true ethics are showcased.

Several years ago, as I fished a small tributary of Lake Wallenpaupack, I rounded a bend and saw an old angler wading behind a huge brown trout that was grounded on a shallow riffle. The fish was apparently attempting to move upstream for spawning. The autumn season had barely arrived, but this trophy-size fish had come from the lake a bit early.

At first it appeared that the grizzled angler was trying to grab the trout. As I silently watched it was soon obvious that he was coaxing the fish with his landing net in an effort to guide it into the next pool. Finally, when the fish began to flounder in less than two inches of water, the old man reached down and gently lifted it with both hands into deeper water. He watched the fish vanish into the depths and then, with great effort, pulled himself to a standing position by leaning on his wading staff.

“Hey, that was some trout.”

Startled, he turned and smiled, “Well, yes, it sure was. The biggest one I’ve seen in this creek for 30 years. Fact is, I gave some thought to just scooping it up in the landing net and . . .”

“Well, why didn’t you?”

The old timer smiled broadly and patted his chest. “That big trout is a healthy spawner and this is sort of my home stream. With some luck, I may have a chance to fish for its offspring. And besides, taking a big dead fish home without having hooked it fairly just wouldn’t be right. . . now would it?

No, it wouldn’t be. The defense testimony for ethics rests.
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Nikon's New D7000

We've been looking for a smaller Nikon to carry with us when we have limited weight restrictions, so we decided to try the new D7000. There are times when our D3 and D300s are too much weight. To say that we were impressed is not really fair to the D7000.

This is a camera that right out of the box takes amazing pictures – no kidding. We charged the battery, stuck in a memory card, put it on aperture priority at F8, set the white balance to auto, and started shooting. The results were unbelievable. We don't think you can take a bad picture with the darn thing. The HD video offers automatic follow focus. No one else has anything like it. Add the 16.2 mega pixels and you've got file sizes that you can use to create a billboard. You need to try this camera for yourself.  For details on the D7000 and other Nikon cameras and to order, contact Jody Grober at Roberts Distributing today!

Real Photographers shoot Nikon


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Grip & Grin Photo Question, UV Filters

A reader asks a couple of questions on lens care and wide angle shots. If you have questions, please ask!


Barry & Cathy:

I am in the process of getting a lens and filters set up. I think I've decided on an 18-135mm lens for my recently acquired pentax K-7 to start, as I'm hoping this focal length will provide good versatility starting out, but isn't going to sacrifice a lot of image quality like a super zoom of 18-200 or 18-250. So my question....when you guys get all of those fantastic hold-up shots published, are those usually shot
at super wide angle, like 12-16mm?

Also do you and Barry use UV filters as protection from salt spray and
all of the risks involved in fishing environs? I have invested in a
quality circular polarizer filter, but am not sure if it is worth the
money for a quality UV filter as well for lower light conditions. Many
folks on the photography forums don't believe in the use of filters for
protection, but probably as fly fishers we subject our camera gear to
much harsher natural elements than the average photographer.

Tight lines and thanks for your advice -Loren

Our Answer:

Thanks for writing. Most of our "grip & grins" are shot with a 20mm. We've found that if we go wider the sky gets too dark - especially with a polarizer. And, yes, we use UV filters on all of our lenses. We're in the same camp with you, we just like the extra protection from the elements. And when we have to clean the lens in a hurry we are not always as careful as we should be and sometimes the cleaning cloth ends up being a shirt tail or handkerchief. If we scratch it, it's a lot easier to replace then the lens!Sounds like you've got a good system going with your choice of lenses and camera. If we can help with anything else, please let us know. Good luck with your shooting. Cathy & Barry
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Agua Boa, Brazil

We had a terrific time in Agua Boa. There were 11 of us and we all caught lots of big fish, had great weather, enjoyed great guides, and had lots of fun. We did our fishing in the river and lagoons. We caught all three species of peacocks and lots of other jungle fish. The rooms were spotlessly clean, air conditioned, and comfortable (with Wifi). We enjoyed a combination of American and local cuisine and delicious desserts. Overall, we wouldn't change a thing and we can't wait to go back next fall.

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Welcome To Our New Blog

Welcome to our new blog which will replace our Beck Bulletin hopefully by the end of the year. We trust that you'll find the new blog easier to navigate and more pleasant to read. From our perspective, it is certainly easier to publish, therefore, you should hear from us more often with announcements of new products, trips, industry news and tidbits of interest. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make the blog experience more interesting. Thank you for subscribing to the Beck Bulletin. We look forward to the future of the blog and sharing experiences and information.
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New From Sage

Sage has two exciting new rods and reels coming for the 2011 season. The old saying if it works don't change it certainly doesn't ring true at Sage. Jerry Siem, Sage's rod designer, is constantly thinking of ways to make the best better.

The VXP which replaces the VT2 line is the most powerful fast action rod Sage offers at a mid-price point with plenty of high-end features. With ultra high line speed and a slender shaft design, the VXP is exceptionally smooth and responsive. The rods come in Shadetree Green with dark green, silver & black wraps. Fresh and Saltwater modes in line weights 4 through 10. All 4 piece. Price range $495 - $595.

The TXL-F surpasses the TXL series by being the lightest, most responsive rods to date. With ultimate sensitivity, the TXL-F family is reduced in weight from the TXLs by 33% with the use of Micro Ferrule Technology and an exclusive ultra-light guide package. Bronze anodized reel seat with walnut insert. This is your rod for fishing tiny flies with ultra light tippets. 000 through 4 weight. All 4 piece.  $625.

While we all know that Sage creates the world's finest fly rods, we are pleased to announce they now have a line of reels designed to match that level of perfection. Using materials and technology like carbon fiber and their unique SCS (sealed carbon system) drag systems anglers now have consistent performance whether fighting a steelhead on the Bulkley with iced up guides or hooking a acrobatic Tarpon in the heat of Belize. The new 4200 series reels

4200 and 3800 CF Series

From the small ultra-light delicacy of the Click I to the stand-up work horse performance of the 6000 series, Sage offers the perfect reel for every rod.

With the exception of a few models, most rods and reels are now available. Stop in to your local Sage dealer and take a look.

In our next issue, we'll take a closer look at all the Sage rod families to better understand the niche that each one fills. If you have a favorite rod or rod question, we'd love to hear it.

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Better Packing for a Trip

Ever had a bottle of shampoo burst in your checked luggage? Or suntan lotion? How about your container of split shot spilled inside your fishing vest? The handle broken or bent on your favorite fly reel? Ever had your rod case go AWOL? Sooner or later it will happen to anyone who travels, but there are some things that we can do to help lessen the chance of accident.

The first thing to consider would have to be the piece of luggage you choose for the trip. We have several hard bottom/soft top roller duffel bags in different sizes that we love. In particular are the Sage DXL Rolling Duffels. We have them in two sizes, one for short trips without fly rods and the other larger one for fishing trips.

Maybe it's my age, but a couple of things have become glaringly clear to me after a lot of years of traveling and carrying luggage. The first thing is that I don't want any luggage that isn't a roller bag anymore. Yes, the roller and handle add some weight to the bag but it is so much easier to move your luggage that I will gladly deal with the extra weight. Carrying all that weight on my shoulders doesn't work anymore.

Secondly, for anything longer than a weekend, I want a hard bottom which most roller bags have. The hard bottom protects fragile items, keeps things in place and gives shape to the bag which is important if you want to leave it standing for a second while you find your passport, or if you have to use it as a portable desktop while standing in line trying to take notes while on your cell phone.

Now that we have the right bag, let's talk about packing it. There are certain items that always go in the bottom of the bag: binoculars, fishing reels, fly boxes, shampoo, sunscreen and other liquids, and anything valuable that I can't put in my carry on luggage, anything fragile. So, you might be saying, 'she puts her shampoo with her fly reels, is she crazy?' The most important item next to the luggage that we use are resealable plastic bags. Every liquid, gel and cream is put in a sealed plastic bag. Sometimes double bagged and placed on the bottom of the luggage with socks, buffs, or a fleece vest across the top of the bottom layer for cushioning.

The fly rods go on the bottom of the bag in the cloth sacks, no hard tubes. We stagger the ends so the reel seat of one is against the ferrule ends of the next rod. The bottom of the duffel is sectioned and the rods lay comfortably and safely in these sections. This is also where the reels go in the neoprene cases with handles up. On top goes some soft items as mentioned above, gloves, hats, socks, a fleece vest, flip flops, etc.

One other thing that is especially nice about the hard separate bottom section is that TSA has never inspected it. They riffle through the top of the bag but never the bottom. Maybe this makes the items a little safer I don't know, but I do know that when I open it things are where I put them when I packed.

All my clothes go in the top section. My shirts go in one Eagle Creek Pack It Folder and my skirts or trousers go in another one. I like the 15" size but Barry prefers the 18". These folders keep the items neatly stored and organized. My smaller items I place in a mesh draw string bag. Larger, crushable items like a fleece jacket, rain coat, fleece pants, are stuffed around the edges. My shoes go in the large end zippered pocket.

The one item that stays packed at all times (I have a copy in each piece of luggage that we own) is a laminated copy of the inside pages of our passports. If the passports are stolen, this copy will provide us with identification, numbers, and information necessary to get out of the country. It will still be a big hassle, but the copies will make it somewhat easier - I'm told.

When I'm on a tropical trip and don't have a lot of fleece and my bag is not full, I can easily cinch down the size of the bag by pulling the adjustable straps on the outside of the bag.

In all the traveling that we do, our bags are only rarely over the 50 pound limit. This might happen when we are out for three weeks or more and/or carrying gifts for people at the other end. With careful planning and today's easily washable quick-drying fabrics, we don't have to take a lot of extra clothes. Oh yes, a small 4 oz. bottle of liquid detergent goes in that bottom compartment - in a resealable bag, of course.

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