This is Fly #57

I just got my email notification regarding the newest edition of This is Fly, Issue #57.

I haven’t read this one yet, because I’ve got a hard drive in front of me, and I’m saving it for some passenger-seat-entertainment. But based on their solid catalogue of previous work, it’s probably worth adding to your harddrive as well. That’ll run you about $2, so instead of filling up on that big mac, maybe consider filling up with some solid articles instead. Taking a quick look at the table of contents, it looks like we’ve got something for everyone this time around. Salmon Fly hatch, Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, Fly Tying, Dating advice?

Even if you don’t want to pay for the pdf, you can always read the issue for free on their site. Check it out.


Cinnamon Ant

Now that we’re getting into the late-summer and early-fall, I don’t have to tell anyone that terrestrial season is here at last. I also shouldn’t have to tell you that Tim Flagler has you covered again with the latest from Tightline Video.

But I suppose I just have.

Check out his newest simple tutorial below.


“Journey On” from Tight Loops

So Friday’s workday is coming to a close. Each tick of the second-hand increases my anticipation for the impending weekend. But come Monday, I’ll be neck-deep in my email inbox once again. Caffeine might jolt my senses, but it can’t stop the daydreams that every cubicle-jockey shares: quitting tomorrow, exploring the country, fishing new waters. I’ve planned it so many times my map is practically annotated already.

But we don’t all get that opportunity; either due to constraints we impose or constraints imposed upon us. I’m certainly still working my day job, and buying two-dollar-tickets for a chance at my powerball fantasies. But there is something to be said for vicarious living, and for that, we’ve got "Journey On."

I caught wind of this film earlier this week following a writeup on the Loon Journal. A sparse teaser and some beautiful pictures. Later in the week, I watched the trailer (below), and I think it’s officially lodged in my brain until I’m able to peep the whole movie. Mr. Mortenson (of thefiberglassmanifesto fame) pegged it at about an hour, so it seems like a justifiable investment. At the very least, I’ll try to tell the wife that if she’s able to share the drive cross-state tonight.


Gold King Mine Wastewater Spill Investigation Underway

Do you remember the Animus river’s color-show last year? Anyway, the EPA is finally starting up a criminal probe into the Gold King Mine wastewater spill that caused it.

Huffpo gave a simple write-up here.

Anyway, we’re talking about 3 million gallons of wastewater with 900,000 lbs of solids/heavy metals. Usually I’d approach this from a fisheries perspective, but that would dwarf the significance of the event itself to native communities downriver. The following is a quote from Senator John Barrasso’s statement:

“Tribal communities in the affected region have been devastated and the EPA has not taken responsibility for the mess it made. I hope this investigation uncovers who is at fault and holds them responsible. We will be watching closely.”

I’m glad they’ll be watching closely, and I will be too. That being said, accountability is rare within the highest levels of bureaucracy. Possibly best not to hold my breath.


Brooks Midge Emerger Pattern

In all my recent trips to the tailwater… it’s been midge patterns that have been killing it. Considering that, I was very excited to see Tim Flagler’s latest video, even though I think I might be running to the store for hackle and hooks as a result.

Either way, the video makes a great distraction, whether you’re at work, or not. Check it out below.


Marketing and perhaps a bit of PokemonGo

Let’s think of the last fishing advertisements you’ve seen. What did it look like? I think there are only two or three anyway… so let’s be specific. 

First you have the NASCAR type. These generally target the gear-side of the industry. Musically, we’ve probably got some lightly distorted electric guitar riffs. Visually, we’ve got short cuts. Bass boat. Hook set on the bow. Rod bent to about the midpoint. Aggressively postured fish-grip. Lure colors are garish reds, or cream white. Soft plastics are muted. Narration throughout, emphasizing numbers and specifications if possible. As if numbers have anything to do with fishing.

Option two is less specific, but it’s dust-covered. The transition between shots is less jumpy, and the mood is milder overall. Some quieter guitar music, acoustic optional. Emphasize family. Emphasize tradition. Emphasize values. Bass Pro Shops has run some of these recently I believe…

Don’t even get me started on commercials that are lazy enough to use the dopey-fisherman stereotype…

In fly fishing, we’re working with a smaller market segment, so there are less TV spots. That being said, there are corporate messages that get across. These generally come from our film festivals, digital media, branding, word-of-mouth, etc. Irregardless, there are only a few messages. Quality comes first, but tradition is a close second. Hardy’s logo is the turret of a castle, Eagle Claw drapes the American flag on their brand, and Orvis is old enough to have sold Jesus a rod or two.

Anyway, that’s not necessarily my point. In particular, I want to talk a bit about how this seeps into conservation marketing as well. But first I’ll have to talk about something no one wants to talk about… PokemonGo.


PokemonGo is an alternate reality game wherein players walk around the real world looking for imaginary animals/characters called pokemon. Once you find a pokemon, you do your best to catch it before it runs away. Anyway, there’s a ton of crap you can do in the game, but the main goal is to “catch ’em all” (i.e. all 150ish pokemon). You’ve likely seen a bunch of kids walking around your neighborhood recently. Their necks are bent at 90 degree angles, and their eyes are physically attached to their phones.

That’s PokemonGo, but that’s not all it is. PokemonGo is a market force. It added $11 BILLION to the net worth of Nintendo in the week of its release. There are about 7 billion people on earth. If every one of them put a dollar into a pot, planet earth could not buy PokemonGo. 

I love my TROUT (unlimited) magazine. But the last issue was “Pride” themed. There’s nothing wrong with pride. It’s evocative, relatable, and a catchall for a broad range of other emotions. But we’re targeting the same demos that the commercial guys target, and that excludes the young. These tactics target the white, the pocketbook, the tradition, the fathers, the male, the family values, but more importantly, the old.

I have a confession to make. I play PokemonGo.

It’s a silly game, but it’s fun for the same reasons that fishing is fun. It’s getting outside and exploring what’s around you. It’s the unknown. It’s the excitement of catching something you never have before. It’s ‘adding something to your list.’ It’s making friends in a community of other players and interacting.

The similarities are actually laughable. In a void of information regarding pokemon location, theories have risen based upon time of day, location, day of week, population density, etc. Other people ferociously counter with their own rumors or theories. Players chum-the-water (so to speak) using in-game “incense” or “lures” to attract pokemon.

Anyway, this game is an $11 billion dollar giant for a bunch of the same reasons that I enjoy fishing. 

Maybe… perhaps… we could start leveraging those assets to draw people into fishing?

Maybe we can retire some of the tropes we currently find in our collective marketing handbooks?

Maybe we can get a new generation involved in protecting our wildlife?




Constructed Wetlands Cleanse Mine Runoff

Another spot-on article from the folks over at 90.5 WESA.

This time we’re talking about abandoned mine runoff and the "Creative solution for a problem all too common in Pennsylvania." Specifically, the article discusses a recent tour of the Somerset Artificial Wetland Site.

Pardon the snark, but I find it difficult to classify recreation of environmental landscapes as ‘creative.’ After all, anybody with access to wiki could tell you that "Wetlands play multiple roles in the environment, principally water purification […]"

Sarcasm aside, this is great to see, especially because down the line, the cleansed water is pumped into the Stoneycreek River. While I can’t claim to know half of the specifics I’d like to, it looks like a series of pools allow for the iron to settle out of circulation. These pools seep into gravel beds where manganese is filtered out by microorganisms. Moreover, the DEP cites a construction cost of $313k, for the Somerset County Wetland project.

Maintenance costs were not addressed in the article, which raised some questions: If the iron will be occassionally removed after it settles, how extensive of a cost will that be? Once microorganisms start absorbing the manganese, is there a saturation point?

Either way, this sounds like an awesome project I wish I could have toured myself. Spare a few minutes to check out the pictures in the WESA article.


Some Excuses


So I’ve been less than active lately, but it’s that time of year. The temperature is about to peak, and the days are about as long as they’ll get. With the higher temperatures come increased stress at work which (naturally) leads to nights spent on the water rather than at the desk. On top of that, there’s always the normal things: maintaining old friendships, building new ones, and the unavoidable dramas that seem to accompany everyone’s family these days. Speaking of family, I’m married now. So that’s a thing, and I’m immeasurably happy.

That being said, in-spite of the apparent hiatus, we’ve got a ton of stuff in the pipeline. Coming shortly, I hope to be discussing some books I’ve read recently, namely Daniels’ Dynamic Nymphing and Senyo’s Fusion Fly Tying. There are gear reviews coming, including some Vedavoo. We’ve got fly patterns to discuss, and plenty of pictures to unload. We’re also gonna talk leaders, and feature the kickass artwork of artist Ryan Keene (#pittsburghproud).

Speaking of artists and weddings, I’ll definitely be boasting about my wedding band at some point, which was made by Zeb of Snowman Custom Rodworks. If everything else goes as planned we’ll have some other projects to unveil as well, so I’m excited to be back.

It’s good to be back.


Bluelining – Redington: Find Your Water

Redington nails it again with the latest in their series of ‘Find Your Water’ videos. This one follows a pair of younger anglers through the southern Appalachian foothills. In only a few minutes, this video perfectly exemplifies what I love about bluelining here in the Laurel Highlands.

Short video. Definitely inspiring. Check it out below. Check out more of the Find Your Water video series here.

Find Your Water: Season 2, Episode 4: Blue-Lining from Redingtongear on Vimeo.