Category Archive 'Fly Fishing'
06 Jan 2017

The Story of the Adams

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“I’ve been tying flies since 1917. I haven’t caught a fish on a baited hook for the last 35 years. I use the fly only.”

— Len Halladay

Where I come from, we never used Golden Pheasant tippet fibers for the tail, only mixed hackle.

Adams Pattern:

Tail: Grizzly and brown hackle fibers mixed.
Body: Dark gray fur dubbing.
Wing: Grizzly hackle tips.
Hackle: Brown and Grizzly mixed.

02 Aug 2016

New Garrison Book

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EverettGarrison
Everett Garrison, 1893-1975

Everett Garrison was an exceptionally-admired maker of custom split cane fly rods. Trained as an engineer, Garrison designed his rods using rigorous mathematical stress formulae. He produced relatively few rods. His total lifetime production is estimated as around 650. But his strikingly simple aesthetics and their superior function made Garrison’s rods popular with the angling community centered around Wall Street and the Anglers Club of New York City. Garrison rods are much in demand and fetch extraordinary prices, these days ranging close to five figures for the most desirable and perfect examples.

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum has a collection of letters to Garrison, which have recent been edited into book form by Kathy Scott. There is an introduction by Hoagy Carmichael.

The book is not currently on Amazon, and the Center does not have a functioning book sale web-page. I guess the only thing one can do is send them an email to ask the price.

UPDATE:

I tried phoning again: (845) 439-4810, and got through. It’s only $20 with shipping, and they do take credit cards.

10 Jul 2016

Fly Fishing in the Catskills

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Larger video

06 Apr 2016

Haslinger Breviary

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HaslingerBreviary

Maggs Bros. Ltd., a London Antiquarian bookselling firm established in 1853, recently made a rather sensational find: a manuscript breviary belonging to one Leonardus Haslinger, a parish priest resident at Thalheim bei Wells in the Traun Valley of Upper Austria, written in the 1450 and 1460s, which contains on the last pages, following the devotional text, a couple of pages listing artificial fly dressings, recipes for bait, and other fishing instructions.

The Haslinger Breviary fly patterns predates the patterns listed in both the Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle (1496) and the Tegernseer Angel- und Fishbucklein (1500), the two earliest sources of artificial fly patters post Classical Antiquity, which featured Claudius Aelian‘s description of the use of an artificial called the Hippouros on a trout stream in Macedonia.

This important item was scheduled to be offered for sale at the shortly-upcoming New York Antiquarian Book Fair for $185,000, but it was snapped up in advance of the event by an as-yet-undisclosed institutional library.

In consolation to the public, the Haslinger Breviary was exhibited yesterday at a special meeting of the Anglers’ Club of New York for those willing to pay an entrance fee of $75.

The American Museum of Fly Fishing will be publishing a translation by Richard Hoffman in the Spring issue of American Fly Fisher.

HaslingerBreviaryMaggs375

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19 Feb 2016

Winslow Homer: Fly Fishing Saranac Lake

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WinslowHomer

From Tyler Cowen via Frank A. Dobbs.

24 Feb 2015

Looking Forward to Spring

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A Western Fly Fishing video devoted to Ralph Moon, author, fly tier, bamboo rod builder and conservationist who lived on the banks of the Henry’s Fork River in St Antony, Idaho. He passed away in 2011.

11 Mar 2013

Trout Season Near at Hand

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The young, pre-WWI Ernest with his first model Colt Woodsman in a shoulder holster and a large catch of tiny trout.

Ah! A pre-season look forward to impending trout season written by Ernest Hemingway for the Toronto Star in 1920.

Not a great piece of writing, and no expression of dry fly purism either. But in one short passage of two sentences, there is a glimpse forward to the masterful Big Two-Hearted River. And we are reminded of the old days, when steel fly rods were the hot new cutting-edge of fishing technology, and the fly fisherman fished a couple of wet flies on a dropper.

[A] vision of a certain stream… obsesses him.

It is clear and wide with a pebbly bottom and the water is the color of champagne. It makes a bend and narrows a bit and the water rushes like a millrace. Sticking up in the middle of the stream is a big boulder and the water makes a swirl at its base. …

A snipe lights on the boulder and looks inquiringly at the fly fisherman and then flies jerkily up the stream. But the fly fisherman does not see him for he is engaged in the most important thing in the world. Deciding on his cast for the first day on the stream.

Finally he bends on two flies. One on the end of the leader and one about three feet up. I’d tell you what flies they were, but every fly fisherman in Toronto would dispute the choice. With me though they are going to be a Royal Coachman and a McGinty.

The fairy rod waves back and forth and then shoots out and the flies drop at the head of the swirl by the big boulder. There is a twelve-inch flash of flame out of water, the flyfisher strikes with a wrist like a steel trap, the rod bends, and the first trout of the season is hooked.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

14 Mar 2011

The Maritime Ape

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Matthew Ridley
, in the Wall Street Journal’s Weekend Review, takes the occasion of the recent finding of an array of a very sophisticated chipped-stone fishing implements on Southern California’s Channel Islands to propose the idea that it was exploitation of maritime food-gathering opportunities that really constituted the evolutionary leap that made mankind human.

Last week archaeologists working on the Channel Islands of California announced that they had found delicate stone tools of remarkable antiquity—possibly as old as 13,000 years. These are among the oldest artifacts ever discovered in North America. To judge by the types of tool and bone, there was a people living there who relied heavily on abalone, seals, cormorants, ducks and fish for food.

This discovery fits a pattern. From the stone age to ancient Greece to the Maya to modern Japan, the most technologically advanced and economically successful human beings have often been seafarers and fish-eaters—and they still are, as the latest tsunami reminds us. Indeed, it may not be going too far to describe our species as a maritime ape.

Ridley might have put it slightly differently. He might have suggested that it was the discovery of fishing that made mankind human, and he could then have gone on to expand that theory by noting that the invention of the fishhook directly paralleled the invention of the arrowhead and proceeding to argue that it may have been the intellectual challenge resulting from our more northerly contact with the salmonids that deepened our intelligence, leading to the creation of artificial lures and fly fishing. The maritime ape ultimately evolved into the cultivated and civilized man and the dry fly purist.


Ogden Pleissner, Dry Fly Fishing for Salmon

27 Feb 2010

Robert Traver’s Cabin and Pond in Winter

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Cameron Mortenson, who (there’s no accounting for tastes) actually likes fiberglass fly rods, has a posting (with a slideshow of photos) on the late Robert Traver (John D. Voelker)’s camp at Frenchman’s Pond in winter.

He quotes Voelker, describing a childhood visit in winter to the camp:

I went along on a few of those outings as a kid, and usually wound up skiing around outside while the laughter echoed out of the cabin. I would busy myself by looking at the pond and surrounding woods. Even in the dead of winter the pond would never freeze completely over. Open spots would reveal where a spring bubbled up from below. I would mark those spots in my mind and revisit them on the hot days of late summer. There I would throw hopper patterns with my 8’glass Fenwick six weight that my Grandfather bought me at the local sporting goods store. On occasion, I would be rewarded for my craftiness and provoke a swirl from a large Brookie that had claimed the spot to fin in the cool water.”

Hat tip to Brad Reiter.

25 Dec 2009

Night Before Caddis

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Via a bamboo fly rod list:

T’WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CADDIS
BY
RICHARD FRANK

Twas the night before Christmas when down by the stream
The full moon looked out on a chill winter scene.
A lone trout was sipping a midge in his brook,
Untroubled by worries of fishers with hooks.

Then from above a small sleigh did appear
Pulled by a brace of eight tiny reindeer.
It swerved of a sudden and down it did glide,
Settling its runners along the streamside.

The fat, jolly driver dove into his sled
And emerged with his three weight held high over head.
“Thank you my elves for this wand smooth as silk.
This break will be better than cookies and milk.”

So saying, he jumped from his sleigh with a chuckle,
Hiked up his boots and cinched up his belt buckle.
Santa meant business that cold winter’s eve.
A fish he would catch – that you’d better believe.

Looking upstream and down, he spotted that trout,
Then he open his flybox and took something out –
“Size 32 midges are only for faddists
I’ll go with my favorite tan reindeer caddis.”

So he cast out his line with a magical ease
And his fly floated down just as light as you please.
And it drifted drag free down the trout’s feeding lane,
But the fish merely wiggled a fin of distain.

“Oh Adams, oh Cahill, oh Sulphur, oh Pupa,
Oh Hopper, oh Coachman, oh Olive Matuka!
I’ve seen every fly in the book and the box.
I’m old and I’m wary and sly as a fox.

To catch me you’ll need an unusual gift,
For a present this common no fin will I lift.”
Old Nick scratched his head for his time it grew short
The reindeer behind him did shuffle and snort.

He looked once again in his box for a fly
When a pattern compelling attracted his eye.
“The Rudolph!” he muttered and grinned ear to ear
“Far better to give than receive, so I hear.”

So he cast once again and his magic was true,
And the trout it looked up and knew not what to do.
“This fly has a body of bells don’t you know,
And if that’s not enough there’s a shining red nose!

I know it’s fraud and I know it’s a fake,
But I can’t help myself. It’s I gift I must take!”
So he rose in swirl and captured that thing,
Flew off down the stream. Santa’s reel it did sing.

“Ho!” shouted Santa, “You’re making my day.
If the heavens were water, you’d be pulling my sleigh.”
So, Santa prevailed and released his great rival
First taking great care to ensure its survival.

He then mounted his sled and he flew out of sight
Shouting, “Merry Caddis to trout and to all a good night!”

Hat tip to Wilmer Price.

28 Jan 2009

Tarpon Fishing in the 1970s

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New 53 minute video with Jim Harrison, Thomas McGuane, Russell Chatham, and the late Richard Brautigan. Music by Jimmy Buffet.

Guy de la Vadene
was one of the film makers.

Tip from Steve Bodio.

08 Dec 2008

Tom Morgan’s “Thought Rods”

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Wife Gerri Carlos wraps a fly rod, as semi-recumbent Morgan looks on through special glasses

Forbes describes how Tom Morgan has managed to overcome MS to continue to produce state-of-the-art custom fly rods.

In his case, the “thought rod” metaphor takes on another meaning. Considered by many to be the world’s finest living fly-rod-maker–a craft that relies almost solely on feel–the 67-year-old Morgan has not been able to cast, or even hold, one of his creations for more than a decade.

Morgan has multiple sclerosis, a still mystifying degenerative disease that occurs when a mix-up in nerve signal transmissions causes the immune system to attack the insulating sheaths around the nerves. Morgan has a particularly debilitating form of MS and has extremely limited movement below his neck. He is confined to his bed and to a high-tech wheelchair with a headrest, a reclining contraption that resembles a dental examination chair. Morgan’s thought rods are a pure extension of his mind.

Read the whole thing.


Tom Morgan Rodsmiths

11 Apr 2008

In Case Anyone Was Confusing the US With a Serious Country…

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The MSM and the blogosphere has moved on from unimportant subjects like Islamic terrorism and the upcoming presidential election to what really matters: Is that really a babe reflected in Dick Cheney’s fishing shades?

McClatchy:

Since Wednesday, the blogosphere has been atwitter over a photograph on the White House Web site of Cheney with a caption that said he was fly-fishing on the Snake River in Idaho.

The photo is a tight shot of Cheney’s face sporting dark sunglasses and his trademark grin.

What’s stirring all the buzz is the reflection in the vice president’s dark glasses. Some thought that the reflection looked like a naked woman and, this being Cheney and this being the Internet Age, they immediately shared that thought with the world.

In a Google search for the words “Dick Cheney” and “sunglasses,” 79,300 hits came back at mid-afternoon on Thursday. By 7 p.m., the count was 130,000.

On DemocraticUnderground.com, the discussion starts with this question: “Notice anything … interesting … reflected in his sunglasses? Something that has little to do with conventional ‘fly-fishing’?”

Photographers discuss.

23 Feb 2008

George Maurer, Famed Rodmaker, Dead

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The news had begun to circulate yesterday that George Maurer, proprietor of Sweetwater Bamboo Flyrods, had died suddenly of a heart attack.

Maurer had been the most renowned rod maker to work in Pennsylvania since the 19th century era of John Krieder and Samuel Phillippe. He built parabolic rods inspired by the tapers of Paul Young, and standard tapers based on the works of Jim Payne and Goodwin Granger.

Maurer was a friend of the angling writers Harry Middleton and John Gierach and built rods named after some of their books. I’ve never owned one myself, but I’ve often heard the model he called the “Old Philosopher,” a 7′ 5″ for 5 wt., singled out for exceptional praise.

Maurer’s shop in recent years was located at a wide place in the road along the rural highway paralleling the Big Pine Creek in North Central Pennsylvania, where cities are far away, and newspapers are few. It will be a while before a full obituary appears.

Len Codella

Trout Underground

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