Trout & Feather – Tim Cammisa

There are so many people online putting out fly tying tutorials today, and that makes the information more available than it ever has been. However, this abundance makes it easy for the sources to blend together. Even in this ‘market,’ Tim Cammisa has a personality, and an air of sincerity that differentiates him from the rest. Tim runs his YouTube Channel and website, Trout and Feather, which both host excellent videos and tutorials perfect for you, whether you’re a beginner, or whether you’ve been fly fishing for 55 years. Tutorials range from guide flies, and 2-minute ties, to “Material Intruduction” videos like the one I’ve embedded below. I’ve talked before about how we need to be more inclusive in this sport, and Tim’s pulling his weight and then some. Here, Tim breaks down the essentials from the non-essentials (but fun to have), with a real emphasize on value.

 

Tim also speaks and does Fly Tying demonstrations for any groups that are happy to have him. I recently saw Cammisa speak at my local TU chapter, and really enjoyed his talk. As I’m writing this, Tim is working his craft at the International Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset, NJ. Personally, I love Tim’s work, congratulate him on his success, and wish him the best of luck going forward.

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This Is Fly #59

We’ve talked about this before, but I should give a shout to the folks over at This is Fly to draw attention to their 59th issue. As always, they’ve got you set up with a solid playlist to drown out the distractions and focus on what you came for. This issue features some killer pictures as per usual, and (my personal favorite) a Tyer Profile on Dave Student, Fly Specialist at Umpqua Feather Merchants. Dave’s got a tough task every year, and it’s great to get a peak at a dream job for most fly anglers.

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How to Fish a Soft Hackle

There are a lot of fly fishing tutorials available online, but like anything else on the internet, you’ll likely need to do a bit of sorting. Luckily though, RIO Products is making the decision easy with their new introductory series of videos. The first video in the series, “How to Fish a Soft Hackle,” has been posted in the ‘Make the Connection’ (incredible pun) section of RIO’s website. Check it here.

As a sport, we don’t always do our best to bring new members into the fold. This begins when we’re territorial on the water, and continues with failing to teach the fundamentals of fishing. The ‘tweedy’ image that fly fishing has garnered isn’t undeserved, and by failing to foster the skills of other anglers, we wither our vines. At the end of the day, the conservation of our resources will be placed into the laps of these younger, newer anglers. That’s why I’m particularly excited to see RIO is pulling their weight with this most recent educational series. Follow their lead.

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Coming Out of the Spam Queue

We’ve all been there. TU has our email addresses, and regularly enough, we receive the newsletter. It’s right next to the newsletter from all of our favorite brands, bands, newstands, and political demands. Daily, it’s a lot to deal with. We’ve got noise and signal, and it becomes almost impossible to distinguish the two. I’m going to try to convince you to pop that newsletter out of your spambox.

 

The Release

Adequately named, TU’s monthly news letter is as punnily named as it is relevant and cohesive. Each issue starts with an introduction from VP/Editor-in-Chief Kirk Deeter detailing the major emphasis for each month. The body of the newsletter highlights columns, articles, blog posts, and videos supporting the month’s key themes or items. October, for example, saw plenty of articles about global warming and federal lands. If you’ll tolerate, I’ll share two of my favorites.

 

Here, TU discusses stream assessment initiatives led by the PA FIsh and Boat Commission, in collaboration with TU volunteers. This article definitely taught me some things, and has me optimistic regarding some of the fishing opportunities I might have nearby. That being said, it also discussed that only 9-10% of PA streams have been assessed, and thusly, there is plenty of work to go. That’s certainly exciting, and promising, but is tempered by the fact that in some places, abandoned mine runoff/drainage still persists. Just a minute or so of your time, and definitely worth the read, whether a PA resident or not.

 

In another read, you can find a beautifully written discussion of some fishporn screenings from California. I can’t say much more about the subject, but I definitely found this one entertaining in substance and style. Check it out here.

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Happy Halloween!

Irregardless of what your textbooks say (some even cast doubts on the validity of the word ‘irregardless’), Halloween is a fantastic holiday. Just for the halibut, we dress up in costumes, and roam the neighborhood. Tricks are encouraged, and treats are mandated. We come home from our boring desk jobs and, if only for one evening, live in a world where the next-door-neighbor-kid is scoring all-pro touchdowns every Sunday. His sister is next-in-line for the monarchy, and their friend from school is our 44th president. Admittedly, there are the kids you hate, with the half-baked costumes and jaded misdemeanors… but for the most part, Halloween is a refreshing departure from the stale, staid climate before election season.

 

As I was checking my email in my car this morning, a time-honored tradition when attempting to postpone the start of my workday, I received a great promo from the Swift Fly FIshing Company, that seemed to strike the nail on the head. Enter the Special Edition Pack ‘o Lantern Packlight Rod.

The Pack ‘o Lantern

This Epic rod is not your standard offering, and that’s what I love. A glass rod, offered in an opaque orange is a risk. Incorporating Jack o’ Lantern decals onto the blank is another. Considering the unconventional 5-piece construction is yet another.

 

So often I think that our little industry lacks the personality that it could have. Tradition sells, and Redington’s Vapen didn’t, so let’s stick to the tweed jackets and beige pocketed vests. And perhaps my argument is hyperbolic, but I’m just excited to see such a fun, limited-edition release.

 

Check out the Pack’o Lantern here if you haven’t already. Like that moldy Jack ‘o Lantern on your porch, the offer will only last for a few more days. Here it is.

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Exterus Ebb Series Sling Pack – Gear Review (sorta)

So, at my sister’s wedding rehearsal the other day, my brother approached me about sling packs. He was in the market, and was wondering whether I could make any recommendations, post a review on the blog, or otherwise point him in the right direction. I got home and had an opportunity to check my email. I found a promotional email from Allen Fly Fishing, plugging some clearance sales on their softgoods (branded ‘Exterus’) selection. I hadn’t had an opportunity to check out the Exterus selection yet, so, like any good brother, I found myself over at the website with a few items dropped into my digital shopping cart.

 

The Ebb Series Sling

I figured that for Jason’s needs, the Ebb Series Sling would be the best bet, and when it showed up at my house the other day, I was pretty excited to check it out. My brother is a pretty casual angler, so we weren’t exactly looking for anything that a guide might use day-in and day-out, but we’re still looking for quality gear here. What we got exceeded all of those expectations.

 

Sling packs are usually pretty uniform in construction, but there are a few differences in the Ebb. While some slings offer a single pocket (with or without dividers), the Ebb offers two large pockets. Each contain mesh dividers with and without zippers, respectively. There are also some other pockets that we’ll discuss below.

 

Pros

There are a few things that work really well with the Ebb. Let’s start at the front. Right in the middle of this pack there is a hardbody pocket that can fit just about any flybox you want to throw at it. Possibly several if you’re using something compact like a ‘Tacky,’ or even more if you adhere to the altoids method. Your flies are literally front and center, right where you need them. No smashing up your PB&J shorelunch, no bouncing around inside a larger pocket. When the fish are rising and you just broke-off, you don’t want to be scurrying around. That’s why I think this is such a great feature.

 

Next to the fly pocket is the beverage holster. This isn’t a revolutionary feature, but the thought of hot tea on a winter stream brings enough relief to my mind that it’s worth mentioning. The holster has a mesh/zipper seam, which changes the pocket’s circumference. Essentially, your skinny bottles won’t be falling out streamside, and your big boys will feel quite cozy as well.

 

Rounding out the miscellania:

  • This pack seems to fit nicely. Obviously this depends on your height, weight, and packing tendencies, but all your options seem to be there. Both straps (sling and waist) are adjustable enough that most bases should be covered.
  • There are plenty of attachment points for all your accessories which, admittedly, we fly anglers buy in excess. Moreover, they’re exactly where you’d want them to be. You’ve got a D-ring on the sling-strap itself, directly above where you might hook your tipped spools or nippers. Additional loops can be accessed when you’ve rotated the pack to your chest, next to the fly pocket.
  • The back-facing surface should breathe pretty well, but… it’s my brother’s pack, and I haven’t put it through its paces just yet.
  • Zipper pulls are ergonomic and… look pretty.
  • Did I mention that I bought this pack for $30? I’m literally trading it for a case of beer… so… that seems pretty reasonable. High-value.

 

What You Might Be Looking For

All product designs are going to involve tradeoffs, and the the Ebb isn’t an exception. There are a few features that could take this bag to the next level, but were likely excluded to make this pack more accessible to all anglers. Here are just a few quick thoughts:

 

  • This bag could really use a waterproof pocket. With Allen Fly Fishing being an online-based retailer, it seems to reason that the majority of their market might be carrying smartphones or cameras streamside. While not a necessity, this would have been awesome to see.
  • I’ve excercised the zippers quite a bit, and although they haven’t jammed, there have been some times when they needed a bit of gentle coaxing. This could possibly be something where there is a break-in period… I just don’t know.
  • Honestly… not much else.

 

Overall, this is a solid bag. I’d definitely consider one for myself. I can’t wait to update you guys once my brother has an opportunity to put it through it’s paces. I’ll let you know! Pictures below!

 

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‘Light’ Reading for Your Humpday

So, you’re in the middle of your workweek. If you’re anything like me, daydreams about last weekend are a painful reminder of something you’ve lost. Somehow though, the upcoming weekend’s reveries still seem like an unattainable dream on the far horizon. If your lunchbreak has just ended, you might be wondering whether the clock has stopped or whether it’s actually moving backwards. You’d rather read your local library’s card-catalog than your boss’s most recent email, and if Bob-from-Accounting doesn’t get his damn dishes out of the sink, he might as well start searching the dumpster for their porcelain remains with a bottle of gorilla glue on-standby.

 

Either way, you could probably use a pick-me-up. But luckily, there are tomes of solid fly fishing writing online, none of which has anything to do with me. Days like this probably call for something a little light-hearted. Whether you prefer the bone-dry humor, or a whimsical take on practical advice, we’ve got you covered.

Six Fly Anglers You’ll Meet on the Water

The boys over at PostFly always have what you’re looking for, and that goes beyond their monthly assortment of fly fishing goodies. In addition to their fly pattern and fly tying subscriptions, PostFly also offers some solid blog offerings, branded as “The Wade.” A little while back they posted an article exploring archetypes within fly fishing which was, if not painful… incredibly accurate. But, there’s only a thin line between pain, truth, and humor anyway (or so they say), so give it a quick read right over…. here.

 

Six MORE Fly Anglers You’ll Meet on the Water

No explanation needed here. The popular article get’s a dutiful follow up, and hopefully there are more coming. Rounding out the classifications at a solid 12, I can definitely see myself, or a previous version of myself, in several of these categories. Unless you’re scared of learning the same, check out the following.

 

12 Tips on How to Survive a Pit Toilet

So, the title for this one says more than I ever could, but this was certainly an interesting read. While not fly or fishing specific, we’ve all been there… and none of us want to go back. My favorite excerpt:

7. Don’t hover.

Ladies, you may think this works out for you, but it never works out for the next person. In fact, if there’s a line outside when you enter a pit toilet and you do this, you might as well have just offered to pee directly on all the people in line behind you instead.

 

Give the rest a read right here.

 

Making Hell a Few Degrees Cooler

Barton is killing it as usual with his most recent post, which I’d best describe as ‘a reflection on gamesmanship.’ Here, he describes how he spends his time when the fishing is lousy on his homegrown… restoration projects? Dry, honest, and reliable. Definitely keep checking out www.singlebarbed.com for posts; even though they’re not regular, they’re always worth it. Check his latest here.

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Deer Creek, PA a Quick Video

I definitely wanted to follow up on yesterday’s post with a quick video of the trout fighting for territory in Deer Creek, PA.

 

Yesterday’s post covered the ‘fish-in-a-barrel’ nature of the whole experience, but I’m not quite sure I conveyed the aggression that we were seeing. I’m not quite sure what we’re looking at, but it’s definitely intriguing. Most likely, it’s completely territorial, but I would be curious to hear if it has anything to do with mating behavior. Whatever, probably just scarcity and competition.

Here’s the video.

 

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Fall Stockings – Deer Creek

Another stockie Another stockie

Every fall, I find myself stretched thin, but I think it’s just seasonal. Sometimes I’ll lust for the sun-drenched warmth of the past few months. Simultaneously, I’ll ache for the steelhead fishing is just beyond the horizon. The cooler days bring my thoughts to pumpkin beers, holidays with family, orange leaves, and the solitude of a snowy day on the water. Iced-out-guides and all. That being said, I’m still pretty easily distracted by any trout in local water, and that makes the fall trout stockings, a pretty big event in my life. I’m lucky enough to find myself about 30 minutes from Deer Creek, PA which means I’m heading to the water pretty frequently this time of the year.

 

Yeah, this is clearly a 1st-world-problem, but the burden of choice is a significant one. Time that could be spent tying up some Senyo patterns has been burned streamside. The same could easily be said for rod-building (working on a cute 2-piece stick currently), or, I don’t know… hitting the gym, cleaning out the basement, cooking healthy meals, earning OT at work, or whatever.  And that can have me feeling, conflicted.

 

Sometimes though, I do feel conflicted about the fishing itself, as well. The water is low in the fall season, and the temperature isn’t fantastic, but there seem to be plenty of good holding water, in the creek. For whatever reason though, 90% of the stockies (rainbows) are stacked up in the same pool. Of course, I could be spout some bs about how the trout have been stacked up in one pool for their entire life… and I suppose I already have.  It’s the only feasible reason I could concoct. Either way, with all of the fish in one pool, all of the fishermen are too. Despite being a DHALO section (Delayed Harvest, Artificial Lures Only) I can see the litter from the night before. Coffee cups, a tin of nightcrawlers, and powerbait smeared across the nearby boulders. I guess my beef is that it’s a… less-than-natural experience. The ten-yard walk from the parking lot is less than a scenic one.

 

But on the brightside, the fish are beautiful. Most have been educated, but they’re willing with the proper presentation. One or two rainbows, about ten to twelve inches, even have a nymph or so stuck deep into their jaws. This is a good sign for anglers the same way frat guys probably love seeing a tramp stamp. If they were willing to make one mistake, maybe they’ll make another.

 

What I love most however is that it’s a great place to practice the mechanics. The ‘parking-lot-pool’ is pretty low flow, without much shade (honestly awful trout water). The trout are spooky, and presentation is key, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities. It’s a great way to work out those kinks, whether it’s lazy casting, a loose nymphing connection, or twitchy hookset. And if you’re looking for better scenery, you can always go downstream and chase those chubs and dace. I know I did.

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Fighting the Impulse Buy

Summer is retreating, and it’s taking all of our free fishing time with it. Of-course, if you’ve got some water or friends that are amenable to the night-time hours, this might be your favorite time of year… but count me out. Now that the autumnal equinox is in our rear-view, the sun is setting earlier every day. You’re likely working extra hours to squeeze it in before your holiday vacation. Nowadays, post-work-water seem like more of a memory than a possibility.

 

Either way, a waning ability to fish might have some plus-sides after all. Quieter nights can be spent on the couch with a solid book. Colder temps also point to the start of steelhead season which requires some prep, and is a great reason to sit down at the vise. (Speaking of vices, there’s always Whole Hog Pumpkin.) If winter fishing isn’t for you, it’s probably a great time to start prepping for next spring. Whatever I find myself doing at the end of the day, I’m constantly fighting off the impulse buys (#passionpurchase), and in the spirit of that fight, perhaps some elaboration here will quell the urge.

 

Senyo’s Fly Tying Materials

Ooooh! Colors!
Fusion Dub In the Easy Hareline Dispenser

So after taking a peak at Greg Senyo’s “Fusion Fly Tying,” I can’t wait to hit the vise. That being said, as the title implies, most patterns use a solid amount synthetic materials, a lot of which are specially designed and tested on the same Great Lakes tributaries that I’ll be fishing. Do I need them for the flies to work? Who knows. Is that a chance I really want to take? Probably not.

 

That means I’m looking at you, Senyo Fusion Dub and Senyo Laser Dub. Don’t worry predator wrap, I haven’t forgotten. What happens at the roll-top, stays at the roll-top. Wifey never has to know…

 

Epic 686 Blank

 

To be 100% honest, it’s probably Swift Fly Fishing’s newsletter that gets me in the most trouble. Every so often, I see the notification pop up on my phone, and the next thing I know I’m on their website in one browser tab with my bank account balance open in another. More often than not, I’m looking longingly at the Epic 686 Fastglass Blank, usually in olive. With praise coming from folks like Shane Gray, Cam Mortenson, and Zeb Tonkavich, I’m pretty sure that this guy lives up to the hype. And boy would it look purdy with some custom threadwork and maybe a deco-ring handle. It’s about time I spun one up anyway…

A solid choice for streamers next year?
Epic 686 Blank in Olive

Sideling Hill Hackle

 

With Swift Fly Fishing located in New Zealand, I’d definitely have to round out the list with some goodies from closer to home. After checking out a few posts on social media, I’ve definitely been keeping a keen eye on Sideling Hill Hackle and some of the varieties they’ve been featuring. The quality seems top-notch, it’s nice to check out some local talent, and with the prices, there doesn’t seem to be much comparison. Unfortunately, with Evan running a smaller-batch operation, it seems that I might have to wait a while before I get some. Perhaps I’ll just have to do some more searching.

 

Xi #4 10′ Czech Nymph Blank

 

I know, I know. A second rod blank on the list? You might think I’m just perpetuating my own lust, but as every fisherman knows, an angler needs exactly one more rod than they currently possess. That being said, I’m free to dream so get off my back. Especially after reading Dynamic Nymphing by George Daniel, I can really see the value in a stiffer rod with a bit of extra length. I find that my wading is sometimes-than-spectacular, so I can definitely use some distance between myself and the fish. More than that, I could throw a rock from my house to the fellows at Hook & Hackle, so it always feels good to lend some local support, even if it’s not to a brick-and-mortar establishment. Would I love to fish out the blank before building on it? Sure… but if it’s gonna be a specialty nymphing stick, I’m not looking for a silky-smooth cast either way. Add it to the list!

 

A Master’s Guide to Building a Bamboo Fly Rod

a-masters-guide-to-building-a-bamboo-fly-rod

Alright, so I’m being ambitious here, but it’s a classic. Not only that, I know next-to-nothing about bamboo rods, so why not use the best resource available. And with a section on refinishing and refurbishing older rods it seems like an excellent choice considering the bamboo I picked up from my brother-in-law after the wedding. Plus, with some of the price tags I’ve seen on bamboos at the local shops, it might be my best shot at ever fishing one.

 

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