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 menhadendefenders.org/gulf.

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. // https://www.sageflyfish.com/product/saltwater/maverick

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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