Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Fly Fishing Show

The Fly Fishing Show is coming to New Jersey tomorrow through Sunday at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, NJ.   This is a BIG show featuring just about all of the top fly fishing manufacturers, lots of fly shops, lodges, artists, fly fishing books, expert fly tyers and fly casters. There will be casting demonstrations, fly tying demonstrations, seminars, classes and plenty of so-called fly fishing celebrities.  And within all that mess, I'll be tying on the show floor all weekend, and doing presentations on fishing dry flies and emergers both Friday and Sunday afternoons - yes, they let anyone in.  

Seriously, it is a great weekend to see old friends, make some new ones, and look forward to the promise of the coming season on the water. 

For information on the show and all the great stuff going on there, click here: The Fly Fishing Show Somerset, NJ

Stop by my tying table and say hello.  It is always a pleasure to meet the folks that visit Caddis Chronicles.

See you this weekend, and sharpen your hooks!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It Finally Happened

Winter has arrived.  It's 8 degrees outside here at the homestead, and I have to say I am very glad I got out to fish Sunday no matter what the smelly result was.  Not that we'll stop fishing, we will, only now in our head while tying flies for warmer days to come.   That's one of the best things about tying flies; whenever I tie, I am on the river fishing the fly I am tying. Every single fly I tie is tied this way - as it takes shape on the hook I imagine how it will look as it drifts on or in the water and how the trout will see it as it comes into sight or passes through their window.  Each wrap of thread counts as it binds any given material onto the hook.  Space is the primary concern, with respect to proportions and as it relates to the hook and the end result - a fly must fit the hook it is tied on, otherwise it just doesn't look quite right to me.  

And how a fly looks to the angler is the most important factor in how they fish it. If it looks right, it gets fished right.  

Confidence is paramount.

So are sharp hooks.

I could go on, but I must get some sleep........

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Fishing Report of 2015.....Smelling Skunk

Are you surprised? It me four days to get to a river and wet a line.  I tried to go yesterday, but here in the hills the snow and ice made for unsafe driving.  I made it down the driveway and then slid across the street.  This wasn't enough to stop me at first, but then a car coming up the road couldn't get past the first real incline.  So after a quick assessment, I pulled back into the bottom of my driveway and walked back up to the house.   

Today was another day.  A day with thick clouds, patches of ground fog covering the open fields, and temperatures in the upper 40's.  When I got to the river, the water level was up quite a bit from the rain, but mostly clear.  The chilly, humid air bit into my face when the breeze kicked up, which was just often enough to keep my mind from thinking spring was closer than it really is.  And when I looked up, the layers of gray winter clouds moved rapidly across the sky, just like they always seem to before a major change in the weather.

After getting my gear on and walking through the woods to the river, I rigged up my rod and began fishing.  I started with nymphs; fishing them deep and slow, but without much cooperation from the trout.  I switched flies a few times, and had one take on a Walt's Worm - a brief hook up that was just long enough to get me excited. I continued to fish nymphs for another hour or so as I worked through the pool, but to no avail.  Trout 1 - me 0.

I then changed up my leader and put on a black woolly bugger.  This fly is a winter go-to fly for me when the going gets tough.  I fished it hard and covered a lot of water over the next hour or so.  I managed to get a couple of hard bumps, and even saw the flash of a trout as it chased and then turned away from the fly at the last second.  Then darkness set in.  I stepped out of the stream, gathered my fly and hooked it to the rod before taking a slow, pleasant walk back to my car.

I got shut out, yes, but I was very happy to have spent a few hours out on the water casting a line and giving my mind a break from the technology that invades it everywhere else I go.

Sharpen your hooks.  I'll be back.                           

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and thank you for visiting Caddis Chronicles.

I won't bore you too many details, but here's a quick recap of 2014 from my perspective.  It was a year when I fished fewer days than I have in many, many years.  The winter was brutal, at least for this part of the world, and we didn't fish much for the first few months.  Spring brought lots of rain, and although the hatches in New Jersey were a bit off, we did fish quite a bit in April and May with good results.  Then I changed jobs in early June, and after 5 months of near constant frustration, I changed jobs again. That, combined with very low water conditions from July through the end of November, kept me off the water.  That's all behind us now, and I'm working for a great company and this year I am looking forward to much more time on the water.

There were a few highlights in 2014 that I should mention.  In April, Douglas organized his first Trout Legend fly fishing competition, which went very well.  Because of a no-show, I fished in the event taking 9th place among the field of 20, fishing only dry flies while the rest of the field fished nymphs.  In July, I went to Montana with a bunch of friends and we had epic fishing on the Big Horn River the first five days, and then hit the Madison River where the fishing was tougher, but just as rewarding.  And in December, my son Matt graduated from college - all three of my children are now college graduates!

There were other bright spots in 2014, but the very best was the birth of my first grandson on January 24 - Henley Carpenter Reed.

Here he is with my daughter Leigh, and his dad, Nate just a few days ago.

And yesterday, Henley had is first ice cream cone.

Wishing you all the best in 2015!

Sharpen your hooks!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Most Beautiful Fish On Earth - A Fishing Report

Last week Doug headed south to North Carolina to fish with a couple of his friends from the U.S. Youth Fly Fishing Team, Hunter Hoffler and Hunter Enloe.  They fished the Nantahala River in western North Carolina, within the Nantahala National Forest, and near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The river is a tailwater that Trout Unlimited lists as one of the United States "Top 100" trout streams. Doug tells me it is an incredible trout fishery.

Doug reports that the fishing was great.  The top flies were metallic pink bead Hare's Ear nymphs, CDC collared Hare's Ears, and Squirmies, mostly in size #12, and although Doug didn't say, I would bet they were tied jig style.  All of these flies are competition style flies you can Google to see and get the recipes for.

So what about these most beautiful fish on earth?  That is what Doug calls the Nantahala's wild rainbow trout, and he may be right.

Looks like I'll be taking a trip to North Carolina with Doug in 2015.

Sharpen you hooks.

Thursday, December 25, 2014


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

We celebrated  last evening with my three children, Megan, Matt and Leigh, and Jon and Nate and of course, Henley.  And below the Little Man celebrates his first Christmas morning.

Have a safe and happy holiday everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The 6/0 Olive Danville Effect

This morning I was the instructor at the Sunday free fly tying class at Shannon's Fly Shop in Califon, NJ. We had a good crowd, about 12 guys, and a few more standing, watching, and enjoying the proceedings with the rest of us.  It truly is a lot of fun for everyone; we tie a few flies, share fishing stories, have plenty of laughs, and in the end I think I get as much out of the sessions as the folks that come to learn.  And if that were not enough, eleven of the twelve tiers were using olive thread!  I wonder where they got the idea that olive was a good thread color for most flies?

Shortly after I got home from the class, my daughter Leigh and the Little Man, Henley, arrived at the house to stay for a few days.  After we ate some lunch, the three of us went out and got our Christmas tree and a wreath for the front door.  At ten months old, Henley clearly has no idea what all the fuss is about, but he seemed to enjoy all the activity at the farmstand where lots of folks were buying trees, wreaths, poinsettias and apple cider.  

If you haven't asked for it already, 6/0 olive Danville thread would make a great gift this holiday season, don't you think?

Sharpen your hooks!