Category Archive 'Fly Fishing'
25 Dec 2009

Night Before Caddis

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Via a bamboo fly rod list:


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?


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, 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

25 Jul 2007

Great Bustard Returns to Britain

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great bustard in Beijing zoo

Reintroduced via batches of chicks imported from Russia, the largest Eurasian game bird the Great Bustard, Otis tarda, is being reported to have nested in Britain for the first time, as the London Times puts it, “since Queen Victoria was a child (1832).”

A female bustard has laid two eggs somewhere on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. The precise location is not being publicly released in order to foil the hordes of mad-keen British ornithologists (bird watchers) and the now nearly as endangered as the bustards themselves oologists (collectors of birds’ eggs).

Press release with photo

London Times


UK Great Bustard Reintroduction Project

The primary wing feathers of the great Bustard play an important role in the dressing of traditional featherwing Salmon Flies, being featured as ingredients in the wing of many of the most famous patterns.

Jock Scott

The large patterned black-and-orange mottled strip of feather, third from the top in the wing, beneath the Golden Pheasant crest feather and brown mallard, is from the great Bustard.

27 Feb 2007

Lee Wulff on the Miramichi

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The Internet offers some very interesting video offerings these days.

Here is a vintage movie short, titled Salar the Leaper, made in 1957 on New Brunswick’s Miramichi River by the illustrious fly-fishing authority Lee Wulff (1905-1991).

Part 1 – 3:43 video (Unfortunately interrupted right in the middle.)

Part 2 – 4:21 video

01 Sep 2006

Mako on a Fly Rod

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Field & Stream has an interesting photo essay on the 6 catch-and-release of a large mako shark on a fly rod (8 foot 6 inch rod for a

    16 weight line


They’ve got so many record salmon in the Restigouche (where they all have to be released), that I place no reliance in any estimated weights or lengths myself.

26 Jul 2006

Frank Benson – Salmon Fishing

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Frank W. Benson (1862-1951), Salmon Fishing
oil on canvas – 32 by 40 inches

This impressionist oil painting by renowned sporting artist Frank Benson is the highlight of today’s Sporting Sale, today and tomorrow at Boston’s Park Plaza Hotel by Copley Fine Art Auctions. The Benson is expected to sell between $600,000 and $900,000.


Sales price was $650,000 + 15% buyer premium = $747,500.00

21 Jul 2006

Museum of Idaho

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Guns and Hooks

The Museum of Idaho (in Idaho Falls) will feature an exhibition titled Guns of the West & Rocky Mountain Fly Fishing running from July 14, 2006 to January 27th, 2007.

Over a dozen major collections are represented, illustrating 500 years of firearms history, and the considerably shorter, but still fascinating, history of Western fly fishing.

I’m told there are more than 20 linear feet of antique fly rods on display. Not to be missed.

29 Apr 2006

Florida Fly Fisherman Attacked by Alligator

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The Okeechobee News reports that a wading fisherman was bitten last Monday by a ten foot alligator.

Sixty-six-year-old Sam Crutchfield of Fort Pierce was attacked by an alligator while fly fishing on Lake Istokpoga Monday afternoon. The alligator, which is believed to be at least 10 feet long, grabbed Mr. Crutchfield by the hip as he stood in 41-inch deep water.

“I had been wade fishing off the south end of Big Island for over three-and-one-half hours without a bite. Around noon I moved into the deeper water. Suddenly, I was knocked sideways,” said Mr. Crutchfield. “Something locked onto me by the right hip and wouldn’t let go. I started punching him as hard as I could. He finally released me and I took off toward our flats boat. I called to my partner that I had been bitten and he wouldn’t believe me.

“He still wouldn’t believe me until I dropped my shorts and you could see the imprint of its teeth around my hip. My leg is so bruised that it looks like I’ve been hit by a car going 80 miles an hour,” added Mr. Crutchfield, a fifth-generation Floridian.

12 Dec 2005

Ernest Schwiebert

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Ernest Schwiebert

Internationally renowned angling author Ernest George Schwiebert Jr. passed away Saturday morning, Dick Talleur reported on the Michigan Sportsman web-site. He was 74 years of age. Newspaper obituaries have not yet appeared.

Schwiebert graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from Ohio State University in 1956, cum laude. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts in 1960, and a Ph. D. in Architecture in 1966, from Princeton University . He wrote his doctoral dissertation on The Primitive Roots of Architecture. He resided in Princeton, New Jersey, and practiced for many years successfully as an architect in New York City and in Princeton.

While still an undergraduate, Schwiebert wrote his first book, Matching the Hatch (1955), which astonished the American angling community by realizing American angling’s most avidly desired, yet most unattainable, theoretical goal: reconciling traditional artificial fly patterns and their use in actual practice with Science. The book’s title became a by-word for the preferred methodology of serious dry fly fishermen everywhere.

Efforts at codifying a list of the most effective traditional fly patterns, and identifying scientifically the specific natural insects they imitated, thus reconciling angling with entomology, had been underway since the turn of the century, when Theodore Gordon’s articles in the English Fishing Gazette, reprinted domestically in Forest & Stream, began popularizing the ethos of Frederick Halford’s dry fly purism in North America. Previous authors, most notably including Louis Rhead, author of American Trout Stream Insects (1916), and Preston Jennings, whose A Book of Trout Flies appeared in a luxury edition published by the illustrious Derrydale Press (1935), had tried and failed. The goal of establishing the scientific identity of the most traditionally important mayfly hatches, determining what fly patterns constituted their most effective imitations, and which versions of these patterns were most correct, had represented the perennially sought for, never achieved, goal, the Unified Field Theory, of American angling for half a century. The sporting establishment was shocked to find that the for so long seemingly-impossible had been accomplished deftly and with unanswerable precision by an angler so young.

In a single step, the youthful Schwiebert vaulted to the supreme heights of angling authority; and, over the years, other publications appropriate to his sporting stature followed. Architectural training had taught him draftsmanship, and he subsequently became a skilled illustrator and water-colorist. This latter talent was placed on display in Salmon of the World (1970), an opulent portfolio of portraits of all the species of the King of Gamefish, produced in a small edition, and much coveted by collectors. With Nymphs (1973), Schwiebert proceeded so far into entomology that he passed beyond nearly all of his readers’ ability to follow. The boxed two-volume Trout (1978) at some 1800 pages length was intentionally monumental, and simply overwhelming, covering angling history, species biology, techniques, and featuring a rhapsodic and passionately detailed survey of high end tackle. Schwiebert wrote regularly for angling, and other sporting, serials, and published three collections of stories and memoirs: Remembrances of Rivers Past (1973), Death of a Riverkeeper (1980), and A River for Christmas (1988).

In the course of a long and illustrious career, he fished, and wrote about, the finest rivers all over the world. He was a regular habituée of the choicest waters and the most exclusive clubs, and was renowned for his enthusiasm for the best of everything. As the years went on, Schwiebert’s elitist perspective and idiosyncratic writing style came in for a certain amount of criticism. He was reported to be a colorful personality, and intensely competitive, by those who travelled in the same circles. Criticisms of Schwiebert’s latest book and anecdotes of conflicts in the field and at events became staples of gossip in the sporting community. One envious scribbler went so far as to caricature the great man in an anonymously published, pretentious and ridiculously overpriced, lampoon.

Real achievement of the scale of Ernest Schwiebert’s will always find detractors and provoke envy. It probably also true that, that like many of angling’s other greats, Schwiebert possessed a full consciousness of his own worth, and could at times be difficult. The roll of major angling writers is thickly populated with egotists and curmudgeons. His passing, however, is bound to silence criticism. Even those who did not like Ernest G. Schwiebert will be forced to acknowledge that we have lost probably the single most important angling theorist of the last century, the most important figure in North America this side of Theodore Gordon.


12/13 Press reports are beginning to appear:

Field & Stream

NY Times

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