Fifteen for Under $50

So, I get it.


At a certain point, it might come off as redundant to link Cameron Mortenson’s writing at The Fiberglass Manifesto as a solid article, but here it is again. This little gift guide sets us straight for all our fly fishing buddies at a price point that won’t break the bank. Shopping for other outdoorsmen in your life? No worry, there are still solid looks for campers, artists, hunters, and tyers out there as well. Visual shopper? plenty of eyecandy available for the peepers. Check it.


Headbanger Sculpin

After heading up to Erie yesterday, today is just a lazy Sunday. Calls for plenty of sitting around with afternoon football, and a few fly tying videos. The highlight of which is definitely the Headbanger Sculpin, brought to us by Rich Strolis and the fellas at Schultz Outfitters. It looks to be an effective pattern, and is tied simply enough, being a simple variant of Wooly Bugger tying techniques. Check it out below, or find other videos on their youtube channel.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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 for posts; even though they’re not regular, they’re always worth it. Check his latest here.


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.