Fly Punk - Issue 5


Issue 5

August - October 2017


No tweed, wicker baskets or trousers tucked

into socks. Just a free digital magazine

aimed at the fly fishing punk

We warmly welcome you to the fifth issue of Fly Punk.

It has unfortunately been a long wait, for multiple reasons beyond our control, but we thank you for

staying with us during this tough time. Even though we have only been in existence for a short period

of time we are grateful to have your support as our readership grows internationally and domestically.

Throughout this issue we take you on an international journey, from the domestic rivers and streams

of the UK through to the incredible scenery of Slovenia and even taking in some beautiful summer

nights camping in the USA. Again, a really big thank you from the Fly Punk family to everyone who has

submitted an article to us, there is only so much space in this issue so we promise that if you are not

featured in this issue then we will put you first on the list for the next one.

Through our extended hiatus we had a beautiful and picturesque trip to Slovenia, thanks again to Kevin

& Rosie Smith of for hosting us and the wonderful food. We also spent a

fantastic day out on the river with world renowned rod builder Renato Vitalini testing out the new Fly

Punk official rod which you can read about later in this issue.

Our day on the river with Renato was particularly eventful as although we didn’t catch as much as we

could have, we had one of the best days out fishing that I have ever had and made new friends in the


As always we are trying to extend the fly fishing community to reach new and previously unexplored

areas so if you have a interesting story about fly fishing or are about to head out on an exciting trip then

please let us know at As always we would be looking for new articles to conform

to the fly punk ethos of “why you fish” then we would be happy to feature in a future issue. If you feel like

you fit the ethos of us then feel free to contact us and we would be happy to talk to like minded people.

Anyway enough talking, please enjoy our fifth issue of Fly Punk

There’s a Fly Punk in all of us…

Guest editor

Jack Fieldhouse


2 | 3






Editor Richard shares the highs and lows of his

trip to Slovinia with Darrell


Learn about some of the many delights of fishing

in France with Jo O'Hara

mike crawford―






Mark Good teaches us all a few tips and tricks

about fly fishing


Richard finally shows us the picutres of the Fly

Punk rod, this one is a must see


Stanislas Freyheit―







Jeff Scoggin is back and this time tells us a

story that goes beyond fly fishing


From the rivers of Slovenia, Stan teaches us how

to fish deep all over again


Jeremy tells one of his stories about fishing in a

different place with some unusual creatures


Fishing from the rivers and lakes of upstate

New York, Mike crawford is back again


jo o'hara―



Guest Editor

Jack Fieldhouse


Jack Fieldhouse


Aaron Good


Jeff Scoggin

Jeremy Clapp

Jess England

Jo O'Hara

Mark Good

Mike Crawford

Richard Fieldhouse

Stanislas Freyheit

© 2017

Salmon Queen: Jess England in action

SLOVIN― richard f


s anglers we always like to travel

and experience different

things in different places. The

lure of faraway fish in strange lands

are a common thought in the off season.

It was while we were fishing for

Grayling in the depths of a cold winter

that Darrell Upton and I decided

that we needed to fish somewhere

in the sun! After a few conversations

over winter, a chance meeting at the

British Fly Fair International with a

guide (Kevin Smith –

and lots of googling,

the photos of rivers and the fish they

contained in Slovenia swung the decision.

We were going to Slovenia in

pursuit of Wild Rainbows, Grayling

and the elusive Marble Trout.

So, in early June we packed

our rods and assorted gear and

boarded a flight to Venice where we

would pick up a hire car and drive

to Slovenia (it’s only about a 3 hour


On entering Slovenia the scenery

changed dramatically, gone were

the plains of Italy and welcome to the

mountain vistas of Slovenia. To say

the anticipation levels rose in the

car as the mountains approached

was an understatement. We could

not wait to see the rivers we have

been avidly devouring photos of on

6 | 7

IA 2017

ieldhouse ―

the internet. On entering Slovenia

and winding out way up the

mountain passes, we came across

our first sighing of the famed rivers

– we had to stop!

The river was just as it was in the

photos, a translucent green – we

were spotting fish some 100 meters

away from a bridge high above the

river, to say we were excited about

the 4 days fishing ahead of us was

an understatement.

We arrived at our accommodation

later that afternoon and were

greeted by Kevin and Rosie – who

were to be our hosts (and guide) for

the next 4 days. Based high up in

the mountains our accommodation

was first class, and the food and

drink served up by Rosie was

excellent – we would thoroughly

recommend basing yourselves with

Kevin & Rosie and exploring what

Slovenia has to offer from Logarse

– with Kevin’s local knowledge and

Rosie’s food you will be well looked

after. Immediately making us feel

at home on our arrival we settled in

really quickly – by taking a trip out

to the local river to walk the banks

(flip-flops were not a good idea


Day 1 – Tolmin Tackle shop –

Tolminska River – Soca –

Tolminska Evening Rise

We’re up early and ready to go with

a great breakfast inside us (no

idea when we are next going to eat,

so fill up when we can). First stop

is to see Bostjan in the local tackle

shop (http://www.socafishing.

com) to buy our permits for the

day. Bostjan is a great guy and had

loads of info for us on the rivers

we were to fish, even gave us some

local flies to use – which worked

straight away. We started fishing

the Tolminska river just outside of

Tolmin and were immediately into

some really nice wild rainbows.

The fact you could actually see

the fish from distance (and they

didn’t seem to be too spooked by

our presence – I suppose they see

quite a few anglers). Darrell was

in straight away with a slab of a

fish, I followed soon after with my

first Slovenian fish. We steadily

made our way upstream picking

off fish here and there – a great

introduction to the different style

of fishing (I’m not used to throwing

size 8, 10 and 12 dry

flies to river fish – I’m

more your size 18 & 20

guy). We followed Kevin

up to the Soca for the

afternoon, a big big river

with lots of flow and an

enchanting emerald

colour. This was quite a

steep learning curve for

me, having not fished a

river so big before – it

was difficult to know

where to start. But start

we did – we could both

see fish, but getting

them to take a dry fly

(or presenting a nymph

at the deceptive depth)

was proving difficult.

After a few hours of

fruitless casting we

decided to spend the

rest of the day back

on the Tolminska and

fished through to the

late evening. The photos

of the fish do not really

do the colours justice,

the Rainbows we were

catching almost had a

metallic hue.

8 | 9

Day 2 – Lepena – Marble Trout

On to day 2 and we had over an hour’s

drive to Lepena – through some

stunning scenery and mountain

passes – the view coupled with

my dodgy driving (I will admit that

driving on mountain switchbacks

in a left hand drive car with Darrell

screaming if I got too close to either

the rock face or the edge of the

road was a challenge). The Lepena

is an upper Soca tributary and has

been featured in many under water

films and photographs. The fish and

insects are as good as anywhere

in Slovenia - It’s one of the highest

alpine streams. Caddis line the

boulders with their white cases. We

arrived and picked up our permits

and were then let loose for the day

on the river.

We parked up at the side of the

river and started on what would be

a memorable day’s fishing. Again

Darrell was immediately into fish,

whereas I was struggling to adapt

to the conditions. After a brief chat

I was on track and started to get

takes. We fished all day (stopping

briefly for a spot of lunch with

Kevin and some of his other guests

to tell tales and swap hints and

tips). It was towards the

end of the day when the

magic happened. Darrell

summed it up perfectly

on his blog (www.

“Moving further up as the

evening drew in we started

negotiating steeper faster

runs of water with lots of

rock formations. I was

in front of Richard and

came to the Goldfish bowl

first, the rain was still

spitting and as it began to stop the

pool came alive. I cast my fly into

a section of water about 6 inches

deep which glided over a rock into

the main pool. As it entered the pool

I watched a fish rise from around

15 feet below and spiral its way to

the top before sipping the fly from

the surface. The fish gave a spirited

fight, the unhooking isn’t worth

talking about as the fish tied me

in tangles and caused all sorts of

havoc to my leader and fly line.

With all the activity in the pool I

turned and whistled to Richard to

get him to move up here quickly.

I stepped aside and let Richard

have a cast, which after some work

got a very confident take. Quickly

downing my rod to man the net I

moved into place. As the fish neared

the surface I was gob smacked, I

turned to Rich and said it’s a Marble,

I’m sure. In turn this caused some

panic, with Richard in not so many

words telling me to hurry up and

net it!. Indeed it was a Marble which

now sat in the net and gave us both

a great big grin!. The timing of the

capture couldn’t have been any

better as we were both

just considering calling

it a day. For those of you

who have never seen

a marble in the flesh

then I must say you are

missing out. They are

very peculiar fish and

very attractive in and out

of the water, it is easy to

see why these fish grow

so big when you see their

habitats in person.”

So there it was we had

caught the famed Marble

Trout. Nothing could

top that, so a few casts

later and with the light

really starting to fade we

decided to head back.

Day 3 – Car Train – Sava Bohinjka


Today was going to be a days of firsts.

It was the first day I was not going

to be driving (Darrell looked pleased

about that), it was also the first time

I would have ever been on a Car Train.

We caught the train from Most Na Soci

to Bohinjska to fish the Sava Bohinjka

river. It was one of the highlights of the

trip for me, the train approached the

station with what seemed like 3 empty

trailers on the back, we drove onto an

empty trailer and within a few minutes

were on our way – it was a strange

experience being sat in a car whilst

the train took us to our destination

– through deep valleys and tunnels

underneath mountains.

Eventually after about 45 minutes we

reached our destination and caught

sight of the Sava Bohinjka river, a wide

slow moving river which we both took

to straight away.

It turned out today

was going to be a

Grayling day (my

favourite species).

Lots of long riffles

and broken water

and pods of Grayling

everywhere, it was

my idea of heaven.

After spending

the day chasing

Grayling, Darrell

had one final large

Rainbow Trout and

that was our Slovenian adventure over.

All that was left to do was catch the

train back, eat a stunning meal (thanks

Rosie) and then head off to bed, ready

to be up early for our drive back to

Venice and an early flight back to the


So, what did we learn from our trip:

1. Don’t wear flip-flops when walking

the banks

2. Remember to drive on the right hand

side of the road at all times!

3. Use a bigger fly

4. Listen to the locals and take their


We really enjoyed our trip to Slovenia

and are already planning another trip

somewhere for next year.

If this has inspired to you take a trip

out somewhere – just go for it.

10 | 11

The Mighty Soca: Just one of the many picturesque

views that Slovinia has to offer





―jo o'hara―

14 | 15


ast week my partner Antony

and I fished a large lake in

the middle southern part of

France. It was like many out there, a

‘big carp’ coarse fishing venue and

the third time of visiting. However,

we had it all to ourselves, set in the

middle of the countryside with small

stream tributaries to discover, this

pretty place is full of wildlife and

forestry with rolling hills, huge bulls

and cows, large hairs, toads, butterflies

and the odd wild dog. No one

fly fishes it and so I was super keen

to see what I could possibly catch

with dries and nymphs.

I already knew I was up against

hooking a carp on a fly. Restricted

swims and boilie fed fish who are

rarely seen on the top presented

a huge challenge. I can fish for

‘smallies’ all day long and relish

stalking and searching out their

hidey holes. It gives me the

opportunity to try out a range of

tactics with presentation, using

micro gear, casting and just

making the most of being in the

moment. For me, this can be just

watching the water and waiting,

observing the weather changes,

deciding precisely where my

next cast will

be or being

d i s t r a c t e d

by the giant

hairy dragon

flies and

insects that

whizz past.

Rudd, roach

and hybrids

c r u i s e d

around in

small groups

and fell for mini sedges and

little black size 18 beaded leach

patterns I had tied. I managed

to wade in one shallow part of

the lake to discover pockets of

nesting rainbow perch guarding

their round patch of cleared sand

beds. Perch of the stripy kind,

lurked in the shadows and the

‘poisson chat’ were apparently

multiplying out of control. I aimed

to catch a little French catfish on

a big yellow jig nymph and to my

absolute joy, I caught just the one!

After 3 days of catching small to

tiny fish I found a spot to at least

attempt to catch one of the 20 koi

in the lake. Armed with a weighted

orange blob and 2nd cast, Wham!

A bright orange fin and back

zoomed off into the depths

hooked on a size 16 hook. I kind

of just froze with a look of ‘what

do I do know?’ I just held the fly

rod in both hands for 20 seconds

before it probably just flicked that

super strong head and got off!! I

couldn’t help but enjoy the fact at

least I saw the koi and I hooked it!

Tench also cruise the bottom of

this lake and I tried and hoped

and tried some more. I had one

exciting take and line shoot out –

was this my tench? carp? . . . . .

another lost fish.

After tackling bushes, reeds and

trees, I discovered that evening

a tick had managed to bury itself

head first into my side and was

quite happy feeding on my blood

until it’s removal and demise. I am

in my element squeezing through

impassable looking shrubbery

to access water more and more

lately but after falling into a

river and all alone on Xmas Eve

and now acquiring a tick, I view

this as a reminder to be happily

more aware and cautious. It’s a

wonderful learning curve and the

wilder the better in my opinion.

Back to the other side of the lake

and a call comes through from

Antony . . . . it’s the catch of the

week I reckon – tench on the fly!

We had both discussed liking the

idea of fishing a couple of years

ago and after walking Snowdonia

Antony was adamant he wouldn’t

be walking again the next day! So

he suggested we tried something

new - we went fishing for the first

time on a very large lake in a boat.

We had no clue about equipment

and I had a phobia with touching

the provided worm bait. We

bobbed about the water casting

the worm in here and there for

5 hours quite happily with the

hope of catching something. It

was time to head in and then it

happened! A bend in the rod and I

screamed with the thrill and joy of

catching a large perch! This was

the start of it for us both. At the

end of this month we have both

been fly fishing for a year and the

fly rod is never far from the end of

my arm. Fly fishing is a lifestyle

choice for me. I am outdoors in

the countryside somewhere near

a river, stream or lake whenever

I can. I am fascinated by my

surroundings and enthusiastic to

fly fishing for any fish! It brings

me well-being and has opened

up a new world of possibilities,

experiences and surprises.

16 | 17




Untamed Angling has released the first episode of TSIMANE 3X — a series that will highlight the incredible jungle fly

fishing for golden dorado that's to be found at Tsimane.

Published: 30th July 2017

A reel eye view of fishing

in Slovenia with the

Fly Punk rod




― Mark Good―

20 | 21


ou will find thousands of live-bait

anglers that are excellent

sports athletes; nevertheless

the fly fisherman can practice

better conservation immediately.

Basically, fly fishing is not just

one of the fastest growing sports

it is probably the foremost kinds

of conserving natural assets

additionally to delivering marine


Fly fishing is, fairly simple when

three the situation is right: you will

want a appropriate fly fishing rod you

need to get yourself a line to enhance

you and also it has to learn correct

casting technique.

For individuals who have to know a

few recommendations on fly fishing,

here are all of the some pointers that

might help anglers harness their fly

fishing capabilities:

1. Material in the fly fishing rod

For starters of moderate means,

especially for your beginners, hollow

glass is recommended since it should

take less care than bamboo and

will not possess a set if improperly

handled or saved.

2. Line

Your fly casting skill will not progress

getting a mismatched fly fishing rod

and line. About 99 occasions in 100,

the troubled fly caster features a line

far too light to produce out the action

of his fly fishing rod.

That’s why you need to understand

that on the fly fishing rod, the fly

fisherman should take advantage

of the identical size line for from

small trout and bluegills towards the

greatest sea food.

In choosing the size line, anglers is

worthy of a C level, an HCH doubletaper,

or possibly a GBF threediameter.

This different is founded on

the fact a greater quantity of fly rods

bought nowadays are hollow glass,

which most of individuals is ideal

with lines of people dimensions, very

little matter measures or weights.

3. The best casting technique

In casting, you need to get about

20 foot of line out front. Anglers

should always make certain to cast a

vertical line. Avoid jerky actions even

if it is around the faster mode to have

the ability to accomplish this.

In addition, the angler needs to be

relaxed because taunt muscles will

ruin his casting.

Boiled lower, there should not be

reason why you ought to not uncover

the essential concepts as quickly as

people who now enjoy fly fishing.

Probably, the most effective and

surest approach to learn to cast

effectively is always to spend every

day round the stream having a couple

of fisherman who’s a dependable


Training learned round the stream

would be the most helpful tips you

can purchase around your mission

for learning fly fishing.

Selecting a Fly Rod for Steelhead

fly fishing

Steelhead trout are, in a nutshell,

rainbow trout on steroids. These fish

typically weigh four to six pounds

and are an average of 25 to 30 inches.

These fish are extreme fighters and

without the proper rod these fish will

have you beat everyday. For regular

trout fishing most anglers will use a

five or six weight rod. With steelhead

you will not want anything less than

an eight weight rod that is nine or

more feet long.

An eight weight rod has a much

stronger backbone, so to say, than

a six weight rod will have. Another

important fact is that when fly

fishing for steelhead you will most

likely be using larger flies. Common

steelhead flies are wooly buggers

which in most cases are hard to cast

with a six weight rod. One more

important thing is that you want to

make sure you are using at least a six

pound test line or more when fishing

for these monsters. When selecting

your rod for steelhead fly fishing buy

what you can afford and remember it

is not the rod it is the angler.

― richard fieldhouse ―




ollowing on from the rod building

article we did in the last issue

where we profiled Renato Vitalini,

I thought it was about time that I added

to the burgeoning collection of rods

I own and asked Renato if he would do

me a special Fly Punk build. I’ve always

wanted to have something special, and

22 | 23

decided that what I was missing was a

9’ 2 wt rod – I follow the long lightweight

rod cult.

After Renato agreed to build me a rod

it then came down to the design –

Renato asked what I wanted – I just

said – “Do something that would upset

the traditionalist”.

What a master Renato is, what he

came up with is the finest fishing tool

I have ever seen, never mind owned. A

verde ithaca green 9 foot 2 weight rod

with an epic handle design and a reel

to match.

Here’s the build photos of the rod:

Renato mentioned that he and his

family would be making a trip to the

UK for a short holiday, I thought it was

only right that I take him out for a day

on one of our chalk-streams, to test

out the rod and have a laugh with what

seemed to be one of the nicest guys in

fly fishing. How true that was.

I checked out the location of Renato’s

stay and found it was close to a river

I had wanted to get to know better for

a few years, The Wylye. I booked us in

for the day at Langford Lakes (https://

here we could fish a 1 mile

stretch of the Wylye all to ourselves,

chasing wild brown trout and grayling.

We were not disappointed either. Within

a few casts Renato had the measure

of the place, accurately casting to fish

and catching his first sight of wild UK

brown trout.

Renato had kindly brought along some

aptly named beers for refreshment

during the day:

Suffice to say we had a stunning days

fishing along with using some top

class rods. My 9’ 2wt is now my go

to rod of choice and it even handled

some rather large rainbows on a later

trip to Slovenia (also included in this


Renato – you are a top guy.

Renato in action on a beautiful

spring day on the Wylye River


pulled into the driveway and shut

off the truck. Two bouncing boys

emerged from the garage and

would scarcely let me open the door for

their excitement to see me. We hugged

and talked about their day, what they

had learned, what they did at school, and

what they were drawing on the driveway

with their chalk. I greeted my wife and

she whispered in my ear "I'm glad you're

going. You need it."

I put the finishing touches on my

already packed truck, and waited on

my good buddy Nate to arrive. It had

been a long week. Heck, it had been

a long month. It had rained earlier in

the week causing river levels to rise

and the water to muddy. It was late

April, so I knew we were pushing the

warm water bite a bit anyway. I didn't

care. I didn't care one bit. I was going

fishing, but it wasn't fish I was after.

Nate pulled up, and we quickly

transferred his gear to my truck for

the ride up to camp. Our mutual friend

Rich Walker was already waiting on

us, sprawled in the shade in a camp

chair, with his ever faithful blue heeler

Tucker. This weekend, Rich planned

to show us his old stomping grounds.

A series of small rivers in the upstate

of South Carolina. I said good bye to

the boys , bribing quivering lips with

promises of a surprise if their momma

said they were good. I always get a

hollow ache when I leave them behind.

Out on the road, Nate and I blew the

first hour up with work, politics, and

family life. Once the pressure valve

had been opened, we relaxed, and the

conversation turned to fly rods and

stick bows.

We pulled in to camp to find Rich

and Tucker right where they had

been hours earlier. We exchanged

greetings as we pitched our camps

and surveyed our surroundings. We

filled our tumblers with cold drinks

and set about the task of checking the

river flows, starting a fire, and planning

tomorrows adventure. We talked into

the night about this trip, trips gone by,

and trips we still hadn't taken yet.

We stood on the bridge over the

river the next morning weighing our

options. The water was a little high

and off color, but it was definitely

doable. The fish would be holding

along the banks behind anything that

created a current break. We eased into

the water and waded downstream a

26 | 27




― Jeff Scoggin―

bit. We brandished glass 4wt's like

gunslingers looking for a fight in

some dusty, lost town. The sound of

line being stripped off of a click pawl

ended my day dream, and I turned to

watch Nate start picking apart the

bank with foam dry. It didn't take long

and Nate was hooked up with a nice

little redbreast. Tucker came over to

have a look and give final approval. I

noticed then that he was struggling

a bit. The water was high and it was

difficult to navigate for the ole fella. I

turned and looked at Rich and caught

the frown that flashed across his face.

The truth was Tucker was getting on

up there, but what he lacked in youth,

he more than made up for in heart.

We discussed it quickly and decided to

go upstream, where Tucker might find

better footing. We took turns fishing

the holes and helping Tucker along

the way. He was after all, one of US.

He had been an integral part of every

trip we have made for as far back as I

can remember. We would never leave

a man, nor a skiff dog, behind.

We fished on through the day, and

despite the conditions, managed to

bring quite a mess of fish to hand.

We rambled through the woods like

we did in our youth, stopping to fish

the good spots, checking out the

deer trails, and playing with our dog.

The highlight of the day, the slump

buster if you will, was Rich finding

large bass in a shallow feeder creek.

Nate and I watched quietly from

across the creek as Rich and Tucker

worked to fool the wary bass. Rich

delivered the fly, stripped once, and

his rod bowed deeply. We all cheered

loudly, as every fish was a notch in all

of our belts.

Back in camp that night, Nate seared

hand cut ribeye steaks, I cut home

fries, and Rich poured a fresh round.

We recounted the day as we prepared

our meal. Tucker lay quietly on his

pad, eyes closed, sleeping soundly.

Our little camp hummed with sound of

content fisherman. We ate like kings

and settled into our chairs in front

of the evening fire. We all knew the

fishing had been a little off. We all

knew that we were a little early for the

really good redbreast fishing. Most

importantly, we all knew that none of

this was about the fish.






― stanislas freyheit―

An old friend of Fly Punk,

Stanislas Feryheit, tells us all

about his adventures on the Soca

river in Slovenia. Along with a

helpful guide about which flies to

use if you are erver lucky enough

to fish it yourself.

28 | 29


he Soca river looks like the cliché

of the paradisiac river for

any angler : crystal clear waters

packed with big fish. If you’re keen on

the dry fly, then you’ll have the three

species of the Soca rising on your dry:

Grayling, Marmorata (Marble) Trout

and Rainbow Trout. But when it comes

to nymphing, the Soca is a tricky river.

It is really hard to assess the depth

of a pool of crystal clear water, and

most of the time, you will fish with

underweighted nymphs, because the

pools of the Soca are really deep, and

of course, the biggest fish are always

feeding on the bottom. Moreover, the

powerful water currents of the Soca

are twisted by counter-streams that

are influencing on the drift of your

nymph. So if you want to trick the big

fish you will see on the bottom of the

emerald pools, go heavy or go home!

Ceramic flies and heavy tungsten

nymphs will do the job from size 18 to

size 6! Do not forget that Marmorata

trout can grow very big, so they won’t

be afraid by a heavy caddis tied on a

hook n°6. Marmorata Trout are also

known as Marble Trout, and they have

an astonishing olive colored marble

dress. Grayling are really hard to see

on the bottom of the Soca, because

they have this characteristic milky

appearance, they are really unique

graylings !

If you’re lucky enough, you might hook

a one meter Marmorata Trout on the

Soca, so if you do so, send us a picture!

Fly rods in France






― Article: jeremy clapp ―

32 | 33

― Photos: Elliot Thomas, Kaitlyn Ruark ―


he boulders sitting in the

shadows of the Connecticut

shoreline are the rubble left

by an ice-age twelve thousand

years prior. Migration routes of

the Striped Bass were decided

during the movement of these

stones. Waves and wind; crash

in, out, and above these fields of

rock. Some of the Bass are small,

moving in and out following forage

and hunting an elusive, active

prey. Others lie in wait, these as

large as a small child or a man's

leg. They recognize the value of

delayed gratification. They wait

for a square meal. They, after a

dozen thousand years, have learned

to not resist the slow moving

and hearty sustenance of the

American Eel.

In New England, a small and

dedicated group of men and

women live to catch the Striped

Bass and in my of the six states

(Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont,

Massachusetts, Connecticut and

Rhode Island) we are fortunate

enough to get two runs of fish

per year. Individuals skilled in

surf casting for Striped Bass are

called ‘Sharpies’. Often slightly

grumpy, typically past the age

of 40, travel alone or in a group

of two or three and really aren't

friendly unless they recognize

their own dedication, in you.

Those who fish in boats are not

so lucky to have a term. Which

is fair. They don't walk miles in

the sand, they don't swim out to

rocks a quarter mile from shore

in a wet suit just to get closer

to the school and they often

won't go out in a heavy rain or

at night. Sharpies love rain and

darkness. Striped Bass love rain

and darkness.

Personally, I've got quite a few

more years to go until I could

be considered a Sharpie, in

fact, more likely than not I won't

achieve that status by fact that

I am a fly rodder. There's no

term for us, but we are equally

as extreme. We walk the same

beaches and climb up and down

the same rocks. We sleep in the

same trucks, and stay out just as

late into the twilight. Fly Rodders

however add a few layers of

difficulty to capturing our query.

We don't use bait, our flies are

much smaller than plugs, we

often can't reach the bottom

and we can't cast nearly as far

as an eleven foot surf rod. I get

plenty of looks walking down

a jetty or as Rhode Islanders

call them; Breechways, with

a fly rod. Strange looks aside,

there's always some unspoken

respect a Sharpie gives to a Fly

Rodder. They'll never admit to it,

that would involve them saying

something nice, but they know

how difficult it is and I'm sure

many know that even they, aren't

THAT crazy.

Typically fishing for Striped Bass

with a fly rod is done in tidal estuaries,

herring runs or salt ponds. Often

we're looking to get out of the wind

and into an area where we can see

signs of life. Nothing is worse than

blind casting in salt water, in a word

it can be described as demoralizing.

It's not fun, it takes a lot of effort

and you're often rewarded with

absolutely nothing. We really like to

find the fish, and often those aren't

the larger of the fish. The small

“schoolies” or fish under twenty nine

inches will feed all day and out in the

open. That isn't to say their instinct

to seek cover doesn't come into play

but it often gets overshadowed by

their insatiable appetite for forage.

Bass are always hungry and there

aren't many times they'll pass up a

meal. We often look for splashing

or bait moving around or birds

picking up scraps that float to

the surface during a blitz to

find the fish. That being said,

the majority of Bass activity, at

least the keeper size up to fifty

pounds eat after dark. Less

than ideal for a Fly Rodder.

We remedy the issue of getting

a fly rod out to a boulder field full

of large bass by paddling out

in a kayak. We fish from Hobie

Mirage Drive kayaks of varying

sizes, anywhere from eleven

to sixteen feet. Seaworthy

vessels by a marginal standard

but with the right mindset,

they work even better than a

real boat. Additionally they

don't make any noise and we

can get right on top of fish

sitting in less than eight feet

of water undetected. Now, we

do bring conventional tackle

along for the voyage . In New

England it is widely accepted

that the spinning rod is the

more effective way to catch

Stripers. I know that in other

parts of the country and other

species this is never true. But

here, it absolutely is, and the

most dedicated to the species

understand this fact. Re-enter

the American Eel. The absolute

favorite bait for catching Bass.

Simply rigged through the jaw

with a circle hook either alive

or dead (an issue also complicated

among Eastern surf casters) and

worked painfully slow in and around

rocks. Some nights we can hook

dozens of fish and land a few, some

nights only a few and land none.

More likely than not July through

November this method, in proven

feeding grounds, can yield anyone

patient enough a fish. Sitting

patiently in my rod holder in the back

of my kayak is always an 8WT fly rod.

I usually tie on a very large all black

surface popper or a large 3/0 hook

with black feathers, ice wing and

flashabou. Simply mimicking an eel.

I usually cast an eel out, drag is very

slowly behind the kayak and fan cast

all around with the fly. For obvious

reasons the fly has never been bit

faster than the eel. However, I always

have it and I'm always casting. It's

been a few years since I've been

fishing for Striped Bass and not for a

second have I lost hope of catching

a lunker on a fly. I've landed above

keeper size but nowhere near the

size I've landed with an eel. As a Fly

Fisherman it's a bit of a dilemma for

my purist leanings, but the addiction

I have to catching Bass makes me

do strange things, always working

toward the next high.

I love being from New England, I

love catching Striped Bass, I love fly

fishing the salt water with a fly rod

and I sure do love hooking a monster

Striped Bass from a kayak on a live


34 | 35




Jeff Scoggin ties one of his favourite flies. A deadly fly for panfish, bass, trout, carp.... bring your forceps.

Published: 27th May 2017



― mike crawford ―

36 | 37


atching television adventures

of western guides floating

on big famous rivers

might have you thinking that the dry

fly presentation is the fine art of the

sport. But you just may be mislead.

Here in Upstate New York we have

been inundated with heavy rain for

months. Rain has been the pattern

that will not break and high turbid

water is the "norm" on the regions'

trout streams for the 2017 season.

Anglers waiting for dry fly hatches

of any consistent nature continue

to be disappointed. The key to

catching trout is nymphing. It

is always the key to catching

trout. Day in and day out. Here or

anywhere trout exist.

The fly rod is, to me, just a tool. Like

a canoe brings me to wilderness, a

fly rod brings me to trout. The right

tool always does a more efficient

and better job. And nymphing is

really what a fly rod designed for

trout should do well.

High modulus fast action fly rods

can push a fly, deliver a package,

far, precise and accurate. But these

attributes are often lost on the

average fly caster. And throwing 60

feet of line, on a trout stream in the

Northeast, is unnecessary most of

the time.

Rolling tungsten out, again and

again, is the name of the game

when the creeks and streams are

high and turbid. It is THE mode in

which the vast majority of trout are

caught in high water.

So before you purchase an

expensive rod, consider where you

will be fishing the most, and get a

wand that will aid in learning how

to catch trout in close with short

and fast roll casts.

Many fly fishing writers have

depicted nymphing as highly

technical, difficult fishing. I

suppose it can be. But learning

the fundamentals of how to fish a

nymph is where each beginning fly

fisher should start.

Bounce the bottom, up close with

flash-back hares' ears and other

rubber-legged, heavy-headed flies.

Catch trout. Sub-surface, every

day, in mud and flood, right at your




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