The past three weeks have been a very busy time for Irish Flies. Between attending seminars, banquet dinners, prepping for the shad class and actually getting in a little fishing the past few weeks have been extremely fun as well as overwhelming. Before we talk about the "Ice Breaker" event at TCO I would like to discuss the "DHALO" section of the White Clay Creek. If you are not familiar with the proposed rule changes please check out my post from last week. You can read it here. I will keep my personal opinions to myself, no reason to go into a rant here. I can say if you fish in the state of Pennsylvania, and these proposed changes go through, this will affect your fishing at some point. Please use the link in the post or the link in the PDF to leave your comments with the Fish and Boat commission. Now, last Wednesday, a popular Pennsylvania based internet forum exploded with posts saying the rule changes have been dropped or dismissed. Things like "I just got an email from so and so and they said it has been dismissed" or "I just talked to such and such form PAFBC and they said all proposed changes have been dismissed". Based on all of the chatter it would seem that the rules have been dismissed, after all, it is on the internet so it must be true... All kidding aside I have been trying to confirm this myself with PAFBC as well as our local deputy warden. Unfortunately, I have not gotten any responses as of yet. If anybody has any information on this please feel free to contact me. The White Clay is too rich in history to allow these rule changes to go through and I don't think anybody wants bait fishing in the DHALO section year round! I would suggest we all continue to make our voices heard. If you don't make your opinion known than don't complain if these rule changes go through! OK I will get down off my soap box now.
Ice breaker event at TCO Reading
My buddy Ed and I headed to the TCO shop in Reading a few weeks ago for their second annual "Ice Breaker" event. This years featured speaker was Blane Chocklett. Blane is a full time guide out of Roanoke Virginia. He guides for Trout, Bass and Stripers, but his bread and butter is putting his clients on what has to be the baddest of all of the fresh water fish, the Musky. We watched a great presentation where Blane talked about his guiding operation, fly design and Musky fishing. As good as the presentation was, the tying demo was better. Jake and the boys at TCO put out a spread of pulled pork and smoked wings. After the slideshow we took a short break to stuff our faces then it was time to tie. We watched as Blane tied his signature "T-Bone" fly, and articulated beast with 3 segments and a really cool design to keep the bucktail flared while in the water. Then he tied the "Game Changer" which is quickly becoming one of my favorite flies.
It was cool to listen to Blane talk as he was tying. One thing I found interesting were some of the words or terms he used. Terms like "engage" or "RE-engage" the fly. "Trigger" was a very popular word in regards to building in design features to entice the fish to eat the fly. There was a long explanation about the design and shape of the fly's head and how that causes the rest of the fly to move in the water. I can say without a doubt there has been a ton of thought into these flies and their inherent design. A ton of trial and error too. I am really looking forward to using what I have learned and tweaking a few of my personal designs. Constantly learning, that is one of the great things about this sport.
Talk about some cool flies! Several of those "Game Changers" will find their way into my Smallmouth box this Summer.
To benefit the the stocking effort on the Tully, A TFO Esox rod was donated to be raffled off. Always wanting to support a good cause I donated an Andrew Jackson and wouldn't you know, my name was pulled out of the bucket! I opted for the 400 / 500 grain model. I am confident this rod will handle any of our local Musky action, it will also make a great jetty stick handling with ease the big Bunker and Eel flies we throw in April and October to the migrating Stripers on the jetties at Indian River Inlet.
I wanted to thank Blane for coming north to do this seminar and thank Jake and TCO for hosting. You can check out Blane's Facebook page here. Also for another great blog, check out "All things Fly" here. Jake does an awesome job with it and there is a ton of great information. Till next time...
Below is the PDF that describes the proposed rule changes for the Delayed Harvest Artificial lures Only (DHALO) section of the White Clay Creek's Middle branch. If I understand this correctly the Fish and Boat Commission's proposed rules will allow kids under 16 to bait fish the DHALO section year round, it will allow all anglers to bait fish during the "harvest" season and lowers the size limit of harvested fish from 9 inches to 7 inches. If you would like to comment, and I hope you do, please click here.
I have already made my comments to the Fish and Boat commission and hope everyone reading this will do the same. Till next time...
"You fish Year round"? I always liked to see the look on peoples faces when I tell them that we fish 12 months out of the year. part of the beauty of living where we do is that we have legitimate fishing opportunities available to us all year. One of those opportunities are Shad. If you have never fished for Shad before let me tell you, you are missing out on an awesome fishery! If you want to take advantage of this fishery, but don't know where to start let me suggest "Irish Flies" Shad Fishing 101. I just got the information from the venue and the dates are a go so I can finalize all of the details. I am running 2 classes with 6 people in each class. My goal is to give everybody the best experience I can, I will have help while we are on the river, but I believe more than 6 would be a stretch. Here are the details...
O'Neills Irish Flies Shad School
Class one is Saturday April 18 th
Class 2 is Sunday April 19th
Each class will meet at 10.00 am. I will present a 45 min / one hour slideshow that will cover species, locations, gear, techniques and flies. I hope this will spur on a question and answer session. After that we will tie a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 4 of my favorite Shad flies. (the number of flies we tie will depend on how we are doing on time) We will break for lunch and then head to the river to fish out the evening. (The un-official start to Shad season is usually the 15 th of April. I have purposefully set the dates up early in the season so after class you will have the entire rest of the season to put your new found knowledge to task). O'Neills Irish Flies will provide a coffee and doughnut type breakfast, lunch and all of the tying materials for the tying portion of the class as well as the slideshow. Cost for the entire day is $100.00 / person.
For the tying portion of the class you will need to provide a vise, bobbin with thread (any 6/0 light color thread will do) bodkin, scissors, and a dubbing twister. A light for your vise is recommended, but not necessary. You will also be responsible for providing all of the appropriate fishing gear including rod, reel, line, waders and boots and fishing license. You can fish the flies we tie in class and I will have custom flies available for sale during the "classroom" portion of the day. For a detailed list of the gear needed or to sign up for the class please use the links or phone number at the bottom of the page to contact me.
If you don't fish the winter months Shad fishing is a great way to shake the "shack nasties" and knock the rust off after a long winter (especially this one). If the run is strong, and I believe it will be, it is also a great way to catch a bunch of hard fighting, jumping, beautiful fish. My hopes are this class will give you the tools necessary to start you down the path of being an obsessed Shad fisherman like I am. I hope to see you in class. Till next time...
At the end of a tough day on the White Clay this past weekend I was pondering the events of the day and I came to three conclusions. 1) This winter has been brutal, these cold temperatures are as harsh as I can ever remember. 2) Those same cold temperatures have made the winter fishing uncharacteristically tough. 3) It is very evident that river etiquette is lost on quite a few people. I would like to share with you two very different scenarios from the same day. Scenario #1; as I pull into lot number three I see two members of the White Clay Fly Fishers gearing up. We say our “hellos”, talk for a bit and proceed to head to the water. They were in the lot first so I ask them what their plan was. After a little discussion they decide to head to a spot below the second bridge. I decided I would head to the upper section and fish the area between the first and second bridges. Through a little friendly communication we ensured that we would not be on top of each other fishing through the same water. I did not see them the rest of the day and hope they had better luck than I. Scenario #2; later in the day I had worked my way into one of my favorite spots and was waiting for the water to calm down from my wading before I started to fish. Before I could start a group of 4 anglers came down and started fishing right on top of me. The one fella was Nymphing downstream and his indicator was drifting right past me. I could have reached down and picked it out of the water. Aggravated, I decided to let them have this spot and I waded out (without saying a word) and moved to another spot down stream. Shortly after I got to this new spot I looked up and the same 4 anglers were coming down the river. Knowing there was no way they effectively fished the spot I had just left them I decided to watch them and see what they do. I was half heartedly drifting my Nymph rig as I watched them move closer and closer. At one point one of them was fishing so close to me I could have literally hit him in the side of the head with my rod, something in my younger days I may have done! As my blood pressure continued to rise and I pondered how to handle this situation.
As our sport becomes more and more popular there seems to be an entire faction of anglers that may not have had the benefit of people to mentor them and teach them the proper way to handle themselves while on the river. Each situation is different with several factors to consider, and I understand that. Here are a few suggestions you may want to consider the next time you head out. Following these simple rules may make the day of you and your fellow anglers more enjoyable.
1) The first person there gets first choice: Just as mentioned in the opening paragraph, it is my belief that if two people are gearing up in the parking lot at the same time they owe it to themselves to communicate. Let the first person decide where they would like to go and then fish somewhere else. It is a big river out there with plenty of spots to fish. Fishing on top of each other will only decrease the odds of both anglers.
2) Give them plenty of room: If you come upon another angler while on the river take a minute and assess the situation. Are they at the end of their run? Are you at the end of yours? Are you both fishing in the same direction or are you going to cross? Who is in the best position to get out and walk around? Again, some simple communication here will go a long way in this situation. As a rule of thumb I always try to give at least 50 yards of river to another fisherman, and I hope the favor is returned.
3) Don’t drop in on somebody: This is probably the most violated of all of the etiquette rules and is the one that will usually draw the ire of most people. Weather a person is working up or down river NEVER jump ahead of them in the same run. I don’t care the situation or the circumstance it is not acceptable to low or high hole a fellow angler, ever! You have two choices here, you can wait a bit and fall in behind them (assuming they are fishing up stream) or you can walk a run or two above them and start to fish. I have seen first hand the kind of confrontation this can cause and it just is not worth it!
4) Use common sense: The reasons we fish can be as varied as the fishermen themselves. On some level we are all out there to have some fun. Nobody wants to deal with drama while on the river, we get enough of that in our day to day lives. Employ a little common sense and conduct yourself with some decorum. I read a quote the other day that I think fits well here “would your Grandmother be proud of the way you are acting right now”? If the answer is no, than you should probably re-think your position.
Back to scenario #2 from the first paragraph. As mentioned I was getting a little upset. Just then the guy that was standing less than nine feet from me asked me about the strike indicator I was using. Well, it turns out all four of these guys are total beginners to the sport. Here I was thinking these were the actions of some brash, cocky individuals that were only looking out for themselves, in reality they just didn’t know. Maybe I should have taken my own advice and communicated with them first, my mistake. We had a nice conversation, I answered a bunch of questions and helped them with some rigging. After we parted ways I was thinking about the many people that have helped me to become a better fly fisher, many of whom I still lean on today. I would be lying if I didn’t think a little part of me may be responsible for these guys sticking with the sport. Helping out a fellow person…that is something my Grandmother would have been proud of. Till next time…
This past weekend I had the honor of being invited to be an exhibitor at Cabelas "Captains Weekend". The event was designed to celebrate the outdoors with a diverse mix of local hunting and fishing guides and outfitters. The event was from 9:00 am till 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday and there was a steady stream of people both days. Being no stranger to "trade shows" as I have done many for manufacturing job, this was the first time I would do a show as "Irish Flies". My thoughts, my knowledge and my vision all out there for everybody to see, exciting and intimidating at the same time. When you are doing a show for a company you work for it is easy to forget how much planning goes into something like this. When you are the chief cook and bottle washer it really puts things in perspective. Will it present well? Will the people find it engaging and ask questions? Will it be worthwhile? Will I make an ass out of myself. All of these things were going through my mind as I got ready for the show to start.
I was happy to see several of my old customers. Mike, Dave, Kevin, Adam, Ben, Jimmy, Jeff, Ed and Mark all stopped by and I had good conversations with all of them. It is surprising in this "social media" age just how many people are not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram of any other of the internet conduits out there. I am glad I got to re-connect with many of my old friends. They all know where to find me now and I am happy for that.
I figured I would do some light tying mainly for the kids. They didn't know it, but every kid's favorite color this weekend was green. I would have them sit next to me as I tied them a Green Weenie. I must say, it was nice to see the majority of the kids really into what I was doing, asking intelligent questions and really paying attention. I didn't see it till I downloaded these next pictures, but the smiles are awesome! These pictures really made me feel good about what I am doing, a validation if you will, and I am glad to be a part of it.
My next door neighbors
Anyone who has ever worked a show like this will understand when I say the people in the booths next you can make or break the show. When you stand next to somebody for 2 days you really get to learn a lot about them. Fortunately I had good people to my right and my left. On my right Cabelas had set up a booth to promote a new line of SPF clothing. Kevin, the Cabelas rep, and I spent 2 days talking hunting, fishing, retail sales etc. Kevin is a really good guy that knows his stuff. The next time you are at the Christiana store and need help look him up. I am sure he will get you headed in the right direction. On my left were a couple real nice guys promoting their new website
Realizing there was not a social website dedicated to the outdoors, Jake and Jeremiah put their heads together and came up with the outdoor focused social media site called Braggin Rightz. If you enjoy looking at outdoor related pictures and interacting with other outdoor enthusiasts you may want to check this out. Touted as "Facebook for the outdoors without the drama" This is a site you can feel comfortable letting your kids look at without fear of what they might see. I have spent a little time on Braggin Rightz I can appreciate the no drama part. Just last week I was dealing with some jackass after I posted my blog about the Harvey Leader. I really don't understand the "drama queen" mentality of some people, and am happy to say I didn't see any of that on this site. For more info or to register for Braggin Rightz click here. If you are the social media outdoor type you will be glad you did.
At the end of the second day I spotted a former customer turned friend coming down the isle. We have recently been talking and I was hopeful he had a little something for me. He did not disappoint and handed me my custom 3D Printed fly reel. That's correct, a fly reel manufactured completely on a 3 dimensional printer.
Being a Machinist by trade 3D printing is something that is very intriguing to me. I cant wait to get this reel out on the water and get some fish on it. I talked with my buddy and we agreed to do a future blog post about the process for printing the reel and some of the things he is working on for the future. This reel is WAY COOL!!!!!
The printed reel was a perfect capper to a great weekend. I would like to thank Cabelas for hosting this event and Eric for inviting me to join. Most of all I want to thank all of the people that stopped by to talk this weekend, your support means the world to me. Thank you! till next time...
BTW, I was looking at the weather for the end of the week...maybe next week I can actually do a blog about fishing!