SPEY DAZE Trailer
It was almost four years to the day that Robert Thompson and I hatched the idea of Spey Daze at the 2013 Midwest Fly Fishing Expo. The film is finally a reality and the two DVD set fittingly makes its public debut this weekend at the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo. Hope to see you there.
SPEY DAZE Trailer
I will be out and about over the next few weeks signing books and talking musky, steelhead and all other things fly-fishing. If you are in the area and have the opportunity please stop by.
February 25th - Adventure Bound onthefly which is located at 16 Washington Street, Ellicottville, NY. I will be there from 10:00am until 2:00pm tying flies and discussing musky and steelhead. Copies of my new title - Hunting Musky with a Fly will be available. Adventure Bound is a great shop in the heart of western New York's southern tier with a knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff.
March 11th and 12th - 2017 Midwest Fly Fishing Expo in Warren, MI. I have a full slate of seminars and presentations scheduled for each day on steelhead, musky and smallmouth along with time in the authors booth. The Midwest Expo is a well organized show that emphasis education and features top fly fishing exhibitors.
My latest writing project is almost a reality. Hunting Musky with a Fly is scheduled for release next month. This represents a departure from my previous books that have mainly focused on the Great Lakes and cold water fisheries. But musky have fascinated me for most of my life and the book is in part based on 25 years of experience chasing this toothy predator with a fly. But as I realize every time on the water - I am still learning.
This book wouldn't be possible without the contributions of some of the top professionals in the musky fly fishing game. Whether it was time on the water, an interview, a fly pattern, or a photograph - these contributions are invaluable. Nick Pionessa's photos of the flies provide a great visual perspective of some very productive musky patterns. This book is truly a collaborative effort that would not have been possible without this support. And for some of the top musky anglers that I missed this time, hopefully we will connect in the future.
Well another trip to British Columbia is in the books. It has always been one of my favorite places to visit since the first trip there with my brother Jerry in the mid 90s. Now the somewhat annual trip provides a spiritual awakening through a complete commitment and immersion into the natural world and vast wilderness. The experience is only enhanced by the beauty and wonder of the province's wild, native steelhead.
Along on the trip was Mike Foley - his first time but it won't be his last. We met up with good friend and BC veteran Jim Wilson along with Tim Gelinas (Farlex Reels.) Good people make a good trip even better. The fishing was solid with beautiful steelhead landed each day. But as I am so often reminded, water temperature rules the game. Air temperatures that were at least ten degrees below normal caused a fairly significant drop in the water temps. The fish weren't quite as aggressive as one would suspect for the first half of October. But perseverance was key. With enough casts there were always some willing customers. I am already beginning to plan my next BC trip.
Western New York has experienced nearly unprecedented hot and dry weather this summer. The trout local trout streams barely have enough water and most are just too warm to safely fish. The stale weather has also had a negative impact on the musky activity. Thankfully, there have still been a few smallmouth willing to cooperate. With September approaching I am hopeful that cooler nighttime air temperatures will get things stirred up again.
Zero to Hero is a fly fishing film created by the renowned fly fishing film maker Robert Thompson (www.thirdyearflyfisher.com) that explores the north country musky fishery of Wisconsin. The film features well-known musky outfitter and record holder Brad Bohen along with Lucky Porter. The title refers to the very essence of musky fly fishing - that one cast can change everything.
Fishing with Nick Pionessa last week we truly experienced this first hand. It has not been a particularly productive start to the New York musky season. And on this day by late morning we had not encountered even one fish. But in musky fishing anything is possible even when the odds are improbable.
After changing our approach to fish water that matched well with the wind direction Nick laid out The cast. Well he didn't know it was The cast until about three or four strips in when the fly attached itself to a slightly moveable object. After a tense battle Nick had his personal best musky in the net. It was at this point that he fully appreciated and understood the concept of Zero to Hero. On a day that showed such little promise persistence was the key ingredient to a successful outcome. When out on musky water just keep casting because you simply don't know when it is going to happen. But one cast can change your entire season.
Sometime during April every year I am reminded of where it all started. No matter matter what other species I fish for during the course of the year or where I travel, it is always comforting to reconnect to my home waters where I caught my first fish on a dry fly many years ago. The season's first fish on a dry is a sure sign that spring is really here and that we have finally put the winter in the rear view mirror.
Dry fly fishing fascinates me, I enjoy the visual aspect, the skill required to make the right cast, and matching the fly to the actual bug life. Some of the prime hatches will be "on" over the next month and a half. I hope to be out there just about every chance I get.
I will be presenting a program on Fly Fishing for Great Lakes Steelhead on Thursday evening April 21st at the monthly meeting of the Main Line Fly Tyers in Plymouth Meeting, PA. So if you live in eastern Pennsylvania stop by for an evening of discussing one of my favorite fish to pursue with a fly rod. The program looks at run timing, steelhead behavior, strategy, techniques, flies and some of the region's top rivers. The discussion on techniques focuses on my favorite approach to a steelhead river - swinging the fly, the use of switch and two-hand rods, and Spey casting.
The meeting begins at 7:00pm. Directions to the meeting can be found on the Main Line Fly Tyers website at - http://www.mainlineflytyers.net. I will have my latest book Advanced Fly Fishing for Great Lakes Steelhead available for purchase and signature.
For the last year and a half Nick Pionessa and I have been working with Robert Thompson on his latest fly fishing film production - Spey Daze. The film explores Great Lakes steelhead from a Spey fishing and swing the fly perspective. We completed our final segment of filming a couple weeks ago.
Steelhead are definitely camera shy. But except for a couple of extra slow days we regularly connected with just enough fish to keep it interesting. With a camera pointed in your direction all day it is difficult to not feel some pressure to produce. And it seems that steelhead can sense desperation. But in reality swinging the fly with a sense of desperation and urgency is rarely productive as it is counter to the concept of rhythm and water coverage which are essential to success.
In order to produce some fish for the camera we found ourselves trying to slow down and revisit the core steps for success with a swung fly. The first key was to find water that had either produced in the past or contained prime elements of steelhead holding structure - even if this required long hikes with heavy equipment. The next key was basic - consistently swing the fly at the proper depth and speed. The first two keys then allowed for the most important step - covering the water methodically and confidently with the belief that each cast was the one. I always believe that if you fish a fly well eventually good things will happen.