How to Get Your Kids to Love Fly Fishing, part I

My five-year-old loves fly fishing. How do I know? Yesterday, we’re driving in the car and he says, “Dad, I love fly fishing.”

So there you go.

How did this happen? How did I hit the jackpot with a kid that wants to go fishing with me, wants to hear about my fishing trips, and wants his own fly fishing gear? Admittedly, there are some personality-based predispositions at work. My two-year-old would just as soon find a way to turn fly line into a rope swing so as to propel himself into the creek.

At the same time, there have been some deliberate steps I’ve taken with my three boys. They all know that their daddy likes to go fishing, and we all talk about it regularly. My desire isn’t to force them to become fly fishermen one day, but I do want to share this important part of my life with them.

Here are the first three of six things I’ve done that have contributed to my boys’ interest in fly fishing:

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Last Cast of the Week, 2/24/2017

Most Fridays on Casting Across are  devoted to other people’s contributions in the fly fishing community. Articles, pictures, social media accounts, videos, podcasts, products, and more will be featured on The Last Cast of the Week.

Today, I’m sharing items from AFFTA, Teton Tenkara, and Gink & Gasoline.

If you’d like to be featured in the Last Cast of the Week, or have seen something that others might be interested in, use my contact form or shoot me an email (matthew[at]castingacross[dot]com). Also, be sure to subscribe to Casting Across to never miss a post.


AFFTA –  Recycled Paper Fly Boxes

In hindsight, some things are so simple that it is hard to believe that it has taken this long to figure it out.  Ditching disposable, plastic fly boxes for paper makes sense on so many levels. And with three sizes, there is absolutely no reason for a shop to not explore using these containers for everything from midges to meaty pike flies. If your local shop experiments with these, let them know what you think!

Teton Tenkara – Fly Fishing Books

If you read Casting Across, you are probably aware that I hold fly fishing books in high esteem. Although I have a pretty sizable and diverse library,  my fly tying section is limited. In this second post on the great blog Teton Tenkara,  a handful of tying titles are put forth for your consideration. There is a brief synopsis of each book, as well as a few  helpful notes from the blogger. If you’re looking to add a classic tying tome to your shelf, these are some good options.

Gink & Gasoline – Pay to Play

This post, by Justin Pickett,  is the blogging equivalent to  chumming for piranha. The premise of the short piece is this question:  What do you think about pay-to-fish waters? At the moment I’m writing this, there are over 70 comments. It is a good question to ask, think about, and answer. This topic, with some pretty far-reaching implications, is always going to be on the radar of the fly fishing community. So… what do you think?

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Rock Solid Techniques for Spotting Trout

The angler must approach the river with the greatest of care. Being mindful of shadows, silhouettes, and sudden movements, one must proceed with great caution. Indeed, even the intensity of streamside footfalls ought to be considered.

All the while, the fly fisher needs to be scanning the water. All the likely lies of the fish should be studied: pools, behind rocks, along undercut banks. Although the coloration of fish is superbly suited for camouflage, there are certain tell-tale signs to look for. The observant eye may perceive a shadow upon the gravel bed of the river, the quick flick of a tail, or the slightest movement on the bottom of the steam.

Upon spotting the fish, the very first cast should be made with utmost precision. Many fish, such as wild trout, will not tolerate more than one cast – two at the most.

Yet, this particular fish hasn’t chased your offering after five or six casts. Luckily, your efforts haven’t sent him fleeing for cover!

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Fly Fishing Trips & Playing 20 Questions

You’ve probably been there before. Lying in bed, the night before a fly fishing excursion. You have thoughts. Questions, actually. You might attempt the counting sheep equivalent of visualizing heavy trout coming to the net. But, for analytical minds like many fly anglers possess, that practice gets one thinking about hypotheticals and other situational what-ifs.

So, there you are; awake. With a litany of issues, pertinent and inconsequential, running through your head.

Will my alarm wake me up?

Should I try fishing a new creek?

Is there gas in the car?

Did I remember to pack a reel?

Will I be the first person to the parking lot?

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Last Cast of the Week, 2/17/2017

Most Fridays on Casting Across are  devoted to other people’s contributions in the fly fishing community. Articles, pictures, social media accounts, videos, podcasts, products, and more will be featured on The Last Cast of the Week.

Today, I’m sharing items from  Troutrageous!,  Panfish on the Fly, & Hatch Magazine.

If you’d like to be featured in the Last Cast of the Week, or have seen something that others might be interested in, use my contact form or shoot me an email (matthew[at]castingacross[dot]com). Also, be sure to subscribe to Casting Across to never miss a post.


Troutrageous! – Tenkara Tuesday

I know that everyone has their fishing angers, and that tenkara draws a lot of ire. A lot of the angst I read seems unprovoked. I’ll give people the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to being uninformed. Over at Troutrageous!, there is a solution in a great regular feature called “Tenkara Tuesday.” It is similar to the very piece you are reading presently: some quick hits from around the fish-ternet.  The post I linked to has some great  content, including some of the top entities in the domestic tenkara world. Then, take some time to browse the wealth of posts across the rest of the site.

Panfish on the Fly – Rock Bass

I can vividly remember the first time I got into a creek that was filled with rock bass. This occurred early in my warmwater fly fishing  career, and was definitely an experience that kept be away from trout for a few hot months. The premier panfish fly fishing website, Panfish on the Fly, presents a concise overview of the species. Additionally, it provides some seasonal targeting tips and fly patterns. Just like any sunfish or bluegill, there are definitely ways to go after rock bass that will yield more and bigger fish.

Hatch – Know Your Indicator

“What kind of indicator do you use?” “Uhh… whatever I’ve got?” That is an answer, for sure. It just might not be the best answer. The difference in strike indicator styles isn’t just a matter of form preference; it has a lot to do with function. This article on the Hatch Magazine website breaks down the pros and cons of the major indicators. It is one of those things in fly fishing where you probably didn’t  think about it until you think about it… and then once you think about it, you wonder why you never thought about it!

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Wading through Books: Study Habits for Fly Fishing

There are plenty of off-season activities for fly fishers to engage in. Tying flies, cleaning gear, and attending various conservation banquets can all go a long way in helping spring come quickly. All those things are important and keep you busy, but there is another way to spend time that can really benefit you once the ice breaks.

Devoting hours to a passive activity, like studying, can payoff enormously.

Studying has a negative connotation. If the last exposure that you had to sitting down with a book and a highlighter was college or grad school, the association is probably something like a pragmatic exercise in grueling endurance. Yet there is so much more. So many other ways to study. Ultimately, I think you’ll find that engaging in a discipline like this, under circumstances where the payoff is more fish, leads to more than “means to an end” drudgery.

Here are three ways to think about studying fly fishing:

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To Seek Out Small Trout

To the average person, the idea of catching small fish probably doesn’t hold much appeal. There is a cultural meme, for what has surely been centuries, that involves the besmirching of anglers that can only catch little fish. Not to demean conventional anglers, but even most fly fishers don’t get excited over the prospect of netting trout that hardly span the length of the hand.

But there are some out there that do. And there are several reasons why smaller fish are indeed exciting. For some, small fish are even the exact quarry that they are after.

The first type of angler that champions smallish fish are those who love smaller bodies of water. By and large, little creeks and little ponds produce little fish. The tradeoff, however, is usually native trout that are willing to take a fly. These gems from mountain creeks or spring-fed streams are a direct connection to the last truly wild places in a paved-over and plugged-in world. Size isn’t an issue. Knowing that the fish are there is half of the victory, and then touching or seeing them provides that tangible success.

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Rusty Flybox: Fly Fishing Isn’t Funny

Fly fishing is serious business.

You have to be buttoned-up, orderly, and kinda/sorta stuffy. If not, any fish you catch isn’t legitimate. Trout, as you are quite aware, are dignified creatures that wouldn’t condescend to consume the fly of some ragamuffin angler.

Every once in a while, some johnny  come lately writer thinks he can demean and debase the noble craft of Dame Juliana and Izaak Walton. Fly fishing is a sport meant for prose, for eloquence, for the height of human expression.

Honestly, what arrogance befalls a man such that he compose an article on nymphing in the form of satire? How crass must you be to tarnish the reputation of the fly shop patron? Is not the sanctity of  marketing genius above reproach?

For shame.

Consequently the following articles are not for serious fly fishers. Click on the title or the photo for the full articles.

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Fly Fishing Stinks: A List

They say that smell is the sense with the closest connection to the brain. Olfactory stimulation can trigger responses, even memories, more than even sight or sound. It is remarkable, if you think about it. An infinitesimal quotient of particulate in the air can stimulate thoughts, emotions, or recollections. A smell, can quite literally, take you back.

Today, as I opened my car after a day of work, I was taken aback. Because my wet, muddy waders had been baking in the sun and stunk up my Subaru.

Yesterday I went fishing in the warm outflow of a local water treatment plan. The science is simple: warmer water draws fish in during the winter. The science is even simpler than that when it comes to the funk that occupied my hatchback: cleaned and processed poopy water is still going to have some poopy notes. And all the residual microscopic nasties lacing my waders and boots had been broiling away in my sealed-up car throughout an unseasonably warm Virginia day. Now my car was quite literally privy to the odor of someone’s privy.

Fly fishing, like any outdoor sport, is full of these smells. Sure, you can wax poetic about the crispness of cool water dashing across sweet streamside vegetation. But there is also the stink of fly shop mothballs, decomposing spring creek mud, or the incredibly foul stench of shad. And it is those smells, more than warm pipe smoke or a fine leather fly wallet, that you can probably recall with quickness. Right now… shad…

As I drove home (windows down, believe you me) I thought about four  of the less celebrated scents that accompany the culture of fly fishing.

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Sunfish Woodworks: Carving Out a Place for Fish Art

There is a certain aesthetic that comes to mind when you think “fishing lodge.” Rough-hewn wood, wildlife-silhouette lampshades, and fish mounts. In fact, taxidermy might be the epitome of this look such that any large fish immediately makes a room, regardless if it is in a cabin or suburban den, feel “woodsy.”

For generations, this has been the case. Fading, aged skin mounts that remind anglers of proud conquests frighten spouses and small children. Shiny fiberglass replicas, while more environmentally conscientious, aren’t much better. How is the fly fisher supposed to display their passion while maintaining marital bliss and adhering to some manner of style?

Just north of Detroit, Michigan, Bob Batchik is creating fishing art. Sunfish Woodworks meets the angler’s need while at the same time being visually pleasing to wider audience. For over 25 years, he has been crafting wooden fish by hand and selling them across the continent. “And every day I wake up excited to go to work,” Batchik says.

After some time as a woodworking hobbyist, Batchik began to receive interest from local fly fishers after one of his pieces was auctioned off at a Trout Unlimited fundraiser. “Fly fishers are a group that really appreciate the aesthetics of the outdoors experience,” Batchik says. “Everything from the rod, the places we fish, a fine cigar and a good bourbon; and then its great if you get to catch a fish. It is a perfect fit for artwork that captures that experience.”

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