Rusty Flybox: Overlooked

You know how every parent thinks that their baby is the most beautiful thing in the world? I feel that way about my children, too. But I certainly don’t feel that way about everything I write.

Sometimes posts go up and I think to myself, “there it is – the post that will remove all doubt that I am even worse at writing than I am at fly fishing.” Then it gets lots of hits, shares, likes, and other e-accolades. On one hand it is good for my confidence. On the other, it makes me question my own taste.

However, there are some things that I write that I get really jazzed about. I plan, write, edit, and then send them off to their first day on the internet. For whatever reason, they end up alone at lunchtime. Maybe I’m delusional, and think my ogre of a child is baby-on-the-commercial cute. Or maybe it just got overlooked.

So today I’m offering up three pieces that I believe were overlooked. One is about retracing your angling footsteps. Another is the musings of a serious fly fisher who knows he really should be a better fly tyer. The last of the three is a cross between technique and angling psychology.

Give them a read by clicking on the titles or pictures below, and let me know if you think they are pageant winners or faces only an author could love.

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Consulting on Brook Trout & More with Rob Snowhite

“Snowhite? That’s like, a nickname, right?”

Knowing an 18-year-old me, that was probably how my first interaction with Rob  Snowhite went. I had just started working at the Orvis store in Tysons Corner, Virginia. Rob and a handful of guys in their twenties had been there for a while already. I learned a lot about fly fishing from them, and I learned a lot from being in the shop. Those were good days. Days when a paycheck often turned into a rod, a reel, or some waders immediately upon receipt – but good days, nonetheless.

After I started Casting Across and began to make my rounds in the fly fishing culture following a five-year hiatus, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many familiar faces. Both in person at events like The Fly Fishing Show and through the internet magic of social media, I was able to reconnect with Rob.

We share an appreciation for the craziness of Northern Virginia, an affinity for Sheetz, and a love for fly fishing.

At the Edison Fly Fishing Show this past year we made plans to record a podcast. Shortly thereafter, we scheduled a Valentine’s Day Skype session and put the thing together.

You can listen to it below!

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Fly Fishing Lessons from a Twenty-Inch Trout

There is a very distinct sound that accompanies the rise of a big trout. Most seasoned fly fishers know that big fish don’t splash a lot when feeding. One might think that big fish make big noises, but that isn’t always the case. The movement that produces surface splashing requires energy. Furthermore, it requires an amount of energy that can’t easily be recouped by consuming tiny insects. Big trout will splash for a mouse or a baitfish, usually not a mayfly.

When an abundance of mayfly spinners are present, a lot of fish take advantage of the situation. Helpless and spent, the lifeless bugs are an easy meal. Consequently, there are splashes and sips: the sounds of small and medium-sized trout.

However, big trout gulp. The feeding sound of a 20-inch plus fish eating mayflies is unique. There isn’t a lot of urgency in the noise. Silently finning in the current, just inches below the surface, a trout like this doesn’t have to worry about other fish butting in to claim their lane. With the slightest tilt of their head, they drift upwards in the water column and open their mouths. A pocket of displaced water is created. The surface tension, carrying the bug, is broken across a plane the size of a playing card. All that mass gulps down into the mouth of the trout. The water goes through the gills, the bug gets eaten, and the fish repeats the relatively effortless process.

Fishing a particular spinner fall for the better part of a week, I’d heard a gulp a few times over the previous nights. This stream, a Pennsylvania freestone with significant spring influences, gets fished hard under normal circumstances. During a “hatch” that you could set a watch to, it was crowded to the point of deterrence. I would have been deterred, except for the fact that the fishing was phenomenal.

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Last Cast of the Week, 2/16/2018

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 Orvis News / George Daniel, Chuck Marshall, and @holdfruitandveggies.

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.

Check out the links, along with my thoughts, below:

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Fifty Ways to Lose Your Lure

Authors note: I am well aware that flies are not lures. But Paul Simon, for all his contributions to our  American music heritage, didn’t write a popular song that allowed for such wordplay.

As a young angler, everything had a dollar sign attached to it. Each foot of tippet. Every strike indicator or reusable split shot. And, of course, flies. As a young angler, dollars were hard to come by. Seven bucks for a leader was big money. A new bottle of flotant required a little bit of saving. The necessary flies needed to fish a unique hatch did not come cheap.

So when I would get hung up in the bushes across the creek, I’d wade over and spend twenty minutes untangling and salvaging everything. As a young angler, time did not seem to be more valuable than money. I’ve matured a little bit, but the penny-pinching propensity persists to the present. Like someone who survived the depression, keeping bent nails with the frugal hope of straightening them one day for use, I  chase flies.

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These Spots Are Better Than The Spots You Fish

Riffle, run, pool.

Although that is an accurate overview of holding water for trout, it is very general. That basic illustration is akin to saying that America is a beach, then some mountains, plains, little mountains, and then another beach. It is true, but there is much more nuance involved.

This matters because holding water describes the places that usually hold trout. They are the spots that you want to focus on when fishing, because they have the highest likelihood of yielding a strike. In almost every river, finding them requires a nuanced approached.

Even the smallest mountain creeks have a very diverse range of holding water. What this can mean for the angler is: trout can be caught anywhere. Depending on the season, fish will be found across the width of the creek and in every depth of water. Fish will be at the bottom of pools and fish will be in skinny water right off the bank. While there are some rules of thumb that can be observed, catching that one outlier of a trout makes hitting all the spots worthwhile.

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Last Cast of the Week, 2/9/2018

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 The Wade Rod Company,  RAK Art, and Panfish on the Fly.

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.

Check out the links, along with my thoughts, below:

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You Don’t Care About My Fishing Stories

You don’t really care about stories from my last fly fishing trip.

Unless you know me personally, or find my way with the language particularly captivating, my fish stories really don’t have a lot going for them. Even tales of fantastic angling feats are still simply  my stories.

I suggest that this theory can be extrapolated out even further. Not to cast aspersions around the world of fly fishing literature or blogging, but I think that same assessment can be made across the board. That is to say, whether it is me, Gierach, or Hemingway, I don’t think you care that much about we have to say about our experiences.*

The commentary might be  engrossing and the themes profound, but you aren’t really here to read about me catching trout. You don’t really care about that.

You really care about stories from your last fly fishing trip.

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Reel Service IV: Helping Project Healing Waters

At The Fly Fishing Show’s stop in Edison, New Jersey, I had the privilege of helping out at the Vedavoo booth.  I’ve shared how much I appreciate the gear, and the ethos behind the gear, that Vedavoo creates. Their motto is “better American gear,” and every sling, case, or accessory that comes out of their Massachusetts factory lives up to that ideal.

Consequently, it was easy to talk to show-goers about the various products that were for sale. The updated slings were prominently displayed. Small, yet tremendously functional, pieces like the rod holster and net holster flew off the shelves. Being so close to the New Jersey salt, the packs produced in partnership with Water Master were a big hit. Yet the most eye-catching and traffic-stopping part of the booth was the ten custom painted messenger bags.

The large front panel of the Mainstream Messenger is a perfect canvas for design. Vedavoo rolled out the Mainstream late last year, and I can attest to the fact that it is incredibly functional. While the function is still present in these ten bags, their purpose is to display some of the finest artists in fly fishing today.

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Last Cast of the Week, 2/2/2018

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  International Fly Tying Symposium, The Fiberglass Manifesto, & Wingo Belts.

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.

Check out the links, along with my thoughts, below:

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