Podcast Ep. 23: Banjo Minnows & Fly Fishing

On its face, fly fishing elitism is silly.

It is okay to prefer the fly rod. And it has it advantages. But there is no reason to look down upon conventional tackle. In fact, there are plenty of reasons why a spinning rod should be part of your overall angling arsenal.

In this episode, I talk about a few circumstances that might necessitate using conventional gear. Also, I look at how using bobbers, blades, and Banjo Minnows might actually help your fly fishing.

Listen to the episode below, or in your favorite podcast app.

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Shiny Happy Fly People

If anything about fly fishing gets you down – and I mean really gets you down – maybe it isn’t for you. Maybe you should try wing shooting or surfing or sneaker collecting or  curling. But I am virtually certain that the same kind of things that can get you flustered in fly fishing are present in all those, and any other activity. Challenge, expense… and people.

Challenge is part of it. If fly fishing is hard, keep at it. You’ll get it. I’m convinced that if you are a terrible angler that there is a fish out there that is worse yet at looking out for itself. Something is going to bite. And through a process of natural fly fishing selection, you’ll slowly evolve into a better  version of yourself.

Expense is also a part of it. But it doesn’t have to be a huge part of it. You can spend a little and get a lot. All you really need is terminal tackle, a few woolly buggers, and a license. There is a lot of noise out there about all the other stuff you can get. But even the most well-equipped fly fisher is going to own less than what is available in toto.

Thus, dealing with challenge and expense is a you issue. You can work through those things and be okay with what you can do and not do; what you own and what you don’t own. If, after a prolonged period of time, you’re still addled with angst? Fly fishing might not be for you.

But what about people?

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New Page: Small Stream Fly Rods

Generally on Casting Across, I write what I want to write about. But I still look to see what takes;  what catches people’s eyes.

In the last year I’ve noticed that one subject has received a lot of attention. Last April I wrote a post on the perfect small stream fly rod. In December, I recorded a podcast covering the same subject matter. Both have been popular. Each receives numerous reads/downloads every day.

I chalk it up to three things:

  • Fly fishers spend a lot of time on mountain brooks and spring creeks
  • Fly fishers like gear reviews
  • Fly fishers who are serious about fishing small streams want any advantage they can get

With all of this in mind, I created a new page on Casting Across:

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Podcast Ep. 22: Get Organized… Now!

If you have been stuck indoors, you might want to just grab your sling or vest and hit the water as quickly as possible.

But it is helpful to take some deliberate time to clean up. Also, comprehensively organizing your fly fishing pack ahead of time will ensure that you are ready to fish. Once you hit the water, you’ll have everything that you use and not necessarily be carrying around those things that you’ve just accumulated.

Here is one efficient and effective method for making sure you have what you need, where you need it.

Listen to the episode below, or in your favorite podcast app.

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Reveille at Camp Fly Fish

I’m sure there are plenty of summer camps that feature a sunrise wake-up call. But I can’t imagine many of them are attended joyfully by teenagers. Instead of grueling runs or study sessions in the a.m., students at the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp are up, dressed, and waist-deep in the water.  After all, dawn is prime time for catching trout. For five days in a row that is how these students get to start their day.

That doesn’t sound bad, does it?

But it isn’t all fun and games. Maybe it is all fun, but it isn’t only about chasing trout for a week in June. The fun starts on the water at daybreak, but is then woven through classroom sessions, streamside labs, and legitimate conservation projects. The whole program is all about empowering young men and women to be stewards of the resource today and tomorrow. Students leave camp with every tool at their disposal to be active members of their local Trout Unlimited chapter. They are equally equipped to start a fly fishing club at their high school.

Nothing against sports camps, but the reality is that an infinitesimal fraction of participants will still be playing football, cheerleading, or Fortnite-ing twenty years from now. Conversely, someone can fly fish when they are 15 or 95. Someone can speak up on behalf of their local watershed whether they are a seasoned, elected official or just a young, concerned citizen. Someone can protect trout and their ecosystems vigorously, regardless of age, income, or experience.

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0-Weight: The Sage DART

Like many fly fishers, I started chasing trout with a 5-weight. This versatile size worked well enough for  most circumstances. As I fished more, and found myself  spending a lot of my time on smaller streams, I learned how shorter and lighter rods could be more efficient and effective. And, most importantly, more fun.

Back then, switching from a 5-weight to a 3-weight felt like a big transition. I couldn’t imagine what the 2- and 1-weights I saw in catalogs felt like. And I also saw that Sage made a 0-weight. Zero. As in none. For a young fly fisher, the lack of a real numerical designation added to the mystique and intrigue. I never fished that rod, or any of the “ought-weights” that other manufacturers have built in the years since,

But nearly twenty years later, I’ve been fishing the newest Sage 0-weight, the DART, for a few months.

The rod is light. At less than two ounces it will hardly move the scale. You’ll feel fish. You’ll feel small fish. But if you’re looking for a rod that feels lighter than air, the DART might not be your best choice. There are rods, generally custom models, designed to be as insubstantial as possible. The DART is a real fly rod. It isn’t a wispy, gimmicky piece of gear fashioned  only to feel light. Technology has come to a place where even in the bottom line weights you’ll get a balanced, fishable, real fly rod.

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Podcast Ep. 21: Tips to Follow for Fly Fishing Leaders

In my experience, some fly fishers either care way too much about leaders. Most don’t care enough.

Fussing over the exact number of centimeters of 4X you need for a certain taper might be overkill. But simply looping on a knotless, tapered leader and using it until it won’t fit through your fly’s eye isn’t the way to go either.

In this episode I share a handful of easy, no-nonsense tips for a middle path to using leaders. With only a little bit of energy and effort, you can improve your presentation while also understanding how different components make your leader and fly “do” different things.

Listen to the episode below, or in your favorite podcast app.

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5 Reasons Why Your Kid Needs His/Her Own Fly Box

Two years ago I wrote a two part series on how you can help your kids  get into fly fishing. Although I don’t have a degree in early childhood education and am not a perfect parent, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the ideas I presented back then work. How do I know? They’ve worked on my kids and my friends’ kids. That sample size might not be enormous, but its not like you need a rigorous program with a defended thesis behind it to get a kid to enjoy being outside.

The one thing that I recommended that seems to have resonated the most with the kids in my life is this: Give them  their own fly box.

My boys had fly boxes before either of them cast a rod or landed a trout. I bought a cheap box and put a few random flies in it. The next time we went to a fly shop, a big box outdoor store, or an expo show, they each got to pick out a few more bugs. The trips out and the quantity of flies add up. Believe it or not, they accumulate flies at a faster rate than they lose them in trees.

Most of all, they enjoy it. If you need convincing, I’ve got some solid principles as to why this works. Here are five:

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Fly Shop Found

This is the second installment of a two part post – check out last week’s Fly Shop Lost.

“Do you know what happened to the sporting goods store downtown on Main Street? It must have closed down about 15 years ago.”

She kept pouring my coffee, but the waitress gave me a look. It was an are you seriously asking me about a sporting goods store that closed down 15 years ago look. “Sorry honey,” she apologized insincerely. “I have no clue.”

“Do you have any idea of who might know anything about it?” I asked, trying to not sound crazy. “Like one of the other waitresses or one of the regulars.”

“I honestly have no clue. Why, do you know the people who owned it?” She seemed a little put off when I said I was from out of town and was just passing through. Maybe to escape the conversation, she said, “You could probably find business records at town hall.”

I wasn’t trying to figure out how much back taxes they owed or when they were incorporated. I just wanted to know why the fly shop closed down. The necessity wasn’t anything more than what I had made it. Nothing was riding on figuring out the fate of the business. All I was looking for was closure. But closure with a lower-case “c.” It wasn’t a big deal; it didn’t keep me up at night. I was just inquisitive because it was a loose end of a personal fly fishing strand.

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Podcast, Ep. 20: Listener & Reader Feedback, II

You speak, I listen. And then I speak about it.

In this episode, I respond to some feedback that I’ve received from Casting Across articles and podcasts. There is a comment on keeping spots secret, a question on how I prioritize fly fishing, and an angry mob. Well, kind of.

I enjoy sharing a little bit about fly fishing. Hearing what you think about what I’ve shared makes it even better.

Listen to the episode below, or in your favorite podcast app.

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