Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Circle C Spey Cast

The "Circle Spey" or "Circle "C" as it is sometimes called can be used as an alternative cast to the single Spey cast, as it is another cast that is much safer then a Snap T when using a fly like a lead eye intruder. This cast should be used in an upstream wind or no wind . It is also a cast that can assist you with your anchor placement if having difficulty with the single Spey.

•A very good cast for consistent anchor placement.

•It can be very useful to raise a sink tip to the surface.

•Can be used to good effect when making a variety of angle changes.

Start with the line downstream and rod tip toward the water.

Lift the rod tip up and draw a "C"

The Anchor will land consistently in the right spot.  This shows how safe the rod tip is compared to a Snap T

Come right back to where you started, rod tip facing downstream.

Sweep around just like a single spey cast.


Then let it fly.

Monday, December 5, 2011


One of the common mistakes I see while guiding spey anglers is how they mend.  Every mend is the same after each cast and after each step.  With each step you take down thru a run the current changes, so should your mend(s).   To use the quote in Skagit Master II,"Steelhead are a fish of a thousand casts, but not the same thousand casts."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

M & M's

Nothing like starting your day on the water swinging flies with a couple of M & M's - Meiser and Muddler.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rio's New UniSpey Line

RIO's UniSpey is the ultimate mid length, general purpose spey line, with three different style options. 1) A fully integrated floating line is ideal for casters that prefer one piece fly lines. 2) The full floating and 3) VersiTip shooting heads are an excellent choice for casters that like the versatility of switching between shooting heads. This short film shows the UniSpey in action, and illustrates the different models available.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Swing Time....

Some egg suckers resting on my Bougle

Gotta love this time of year. The river is full of leaves, cool mornings have arrived, and the river is full of fish. Dead fish, half dead fish, and LOTS of fish dropping eggs everywhere. Even though there are a boatload of Steelhead in the river, they are keyed in on pretty much one thing only-EGGS. Unfortunately for us who swing flies, this poses a big hurdle. Watching pinners and egg bouncers hammer fish all around us is one of the most frustrating issues to contend with, but we can also learn from them. Watch where they are finding fish, watch how they are fishing.
Try this: instead of the normal down and across approach, cast across the river or slightly upstream. Kick in a big mend and let 'er sink and dead drift. Usually you will get a take as the fly is sinking, before it begins to actually swing. Try to keep a tight line throughout the sink early in the swing. Egg sucking leeches work really well this time of year also. Lastly, don't overlook the fast pocket water. This is where the MOW tip systems works really really well combined with a weighted fly. Don't be afraid to experiment and try various casting angles. The fish are there, we just need to adjust to the conditions in order to bring a few to the bank.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oh Mother Nature

Spey Rod, Check....Sinktip Wallets, Check....Large weighted flies, Check......Plenty of water, Check....Blow off a sick day at work, Check...

It's time to swing it deep, Swing it slow and hold the hell on!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rio's New Scandi Short

Rio's new Scandi Short VersiTip.......Maybe it should be called Skandi Short instead.  Take a look.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

5 Tips - Swinging for Kings

Jeff with a Big October Salmon River King

  Salmon Season is just right around the corner for us here in the Northeast. Every Fishing Forum is seeing a lot of traffic along with Face book pages for that first King to be caught. If you plan on swinging flies for kings this season here are 5 tips to help you.

  • Cast down and across - With lower flows, a shallow river and heavy flies you don't need to straight across and mend the heck out of it to get it down to King level.
  • Keep the fly line in a straight line - Kings like the fly slow and in their face. Cast, mend and hang on.
  • Don't set to quick - A king take is head shake, head shake, pull and turn. Wait for the pull before you set the hook. Remember to set low and hard to the bank.
  • Put the boots to them - Kings are big, strong fish. The longer the fight lasts, the longer the hook has to work itself free. After the first run or two, Walk backwards and get yourself near the bank. This will help get the fish into shallow water and make it easier to land.
  •  Revive the fish - Water temperatures are pretty warm in early September, take the time to revive the fish and make sure they swim off on their own.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pineville Bridge progress

Here is a picture of the New Pineville Bridge on July 24th.  The water is flowing at 750 cfs in this shot from the north side of the Salmon River.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

White Mouse

"The White Mouse"
                    That spray of water is called "The White Mouse" it's a big part of Spey casting.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Perfect Fly

This fly has been very productive on the Salmon River, is it the perfect fly?  No pun intended.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Start Them Young

11 Year old Jessica locked in to a fish with a spey rod on the Salmon River.  Jessica is on her second year with the two handed rod and loves skating dry flies for trout in the summer.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What's in the vise???

Salmon River Caddis-
Hook: AJ size 5
Thread: UTC 140
Tag: Med Holographic Tinsel
Body: Brown Mini flat braid
Wing: Squirrel tail
Hackle: Brown saddle hackle
This is a good fly for the Summer on the Salmon River fished on a floating line.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spey Nation - June 25, 2011

Spey Nation offers the unique opportunity for enthusiasts and manufacturers of 2 handed rods to gather in a streamside setting. The Location is the Pineville Boat Launch on the Salmon River in Pineville, NY. And yes, the rumors are true; we are sending one of you to British Columbia again in April of 2012 courtesy of The Spey Lodge!

Spey Nation features a full BBQ sponsored by the Oak Orchard Flyshop, raffles, “On the water” demonstrations, and interaction with some of the biggest names in 2 handed casting from the East and West Coasts. Mixing styles, knowledge, and backgrounds, Great Lakes anglers finally have the opportunity to learn Traditional Spey, Scandinavian, and Skagit techniques from the experts, try specialized equipment on the water and talk with other fishermen in an atmosphere dedicated exclusively to 2-handed casting while enjoying a burger and a brew. Please visit and support our supporters.

The Spey Lodge, Frank Swarner III, Paul’s Guide Service, The West Branch Angler,Scott, Guideline, CND, CF Burkheimer, Airflo, Wild Water Fly Rods, Orvis, The Spey Company, Hardy, Temple Forks Outfitters, Echo, JP Ross, Buelah, Sage, Thomas And Thomas, Ross Reels, No Float Stix, Castle Arms/Heritage Fly Rods, Hatch Reels, Loop Fly Fishing, DTX Mackenzie, Mad River Dubbing Company, The Red Shed Fly Shop, Malindas Fly Shop, Isle-Fish Guide Service, Snake River Oufitters, Tight Lines Fly Shop, The Oak Orchard Fly Shop, River Time Guide Service, Cattaraugus Creek Outfitters, Neversink River Fly Fishing Guide Service.

- Paul

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring Time High Water Fishing


We all know its going to happen, it’s just a matter of when. Hopefully sooner in the season then later. Some of my best springtime days have been in really big water and this year we sure have had some crazy flow rates.  Fishing big water is not as intimidating as it may look, but safety must be the number one concern for Anglers.

  Lets break the river down to find fish in high water. Obviously this is not easy but we can narrow it down quickly. The heavy river current will push fish out of there normal holding spots and force them to the soft pockets along the riverbanks. By skipping over the pools and deep water you have eliminated 90% of the river. Now spend your time fishing the other 10% of the river. With the fish hugging the riverbanks they will find there way up the diversions and side channels, some of the side channels on the Salmon River a plenty big enough to swing flies in. With Steelhead holding along the riverbank approach the river with caution, start fishing at your feet (on the bank).  The number one mistake that most anglers make is to reach the river and wade out over the knees. If the spawn has begun even in very little visibility Steelhead have a habit of giving themselves away. Look for a cloud of mud, this can give away an active spawning female on a redd or dark shadows on the bottom, fish for the active males downstream of the female. These males are very territorial and will smash large flies that pass in front of them.  Fish will also hold on the inside seams of corners, in front of diversions and below a point of an island where the water forms a "V" in the current. Look for a current break below fallen tree's (Ellis Cove is a good example).

You can beef up your tackle in the big water, Steelhead are not going to be line shy now, 12lb to even 15lb Maxima wouldn't be to heavy for high colored water.  Just because the water levels are high doesn't mean you need to fish heavier tips either.  You are fishing soft slower water now, Having a fly with a big profile and alot of movement,  fished very slow is the ticket for for success.

So the next time the rivers go high and off color don’t be intimidated, go fish! Just breakdown the river and remember safety is the number one priority.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Redd Alert

I found this on a Fishing forum based on the West Coast Fishery, Not Great Lakes Steelhead where it's common to fish to spawning fish, but it can be a reminder to ALL.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rod Review - TFO Deer Creek Spey 12'6 5/6

Temple Fork Outfitters - Deer Creek Series Spey Rod. This spey rod has a traditional design by Bob Meiser and Mike Kinney. 

Rod Specifications:

12' 6" 5/6 weighs 7.6oz, 4 piece.  It is rated for 350-550 grains.

I recently got this rod for a client rod and what a fun light rod to fish with.  I have it loaded up with a 425grain Rio Skagit Flight and it will cast 10' of T-11 and decent size weighted fly with some serious flight time.  I mostly fished it with 10' of T-8 and poly leaders, with very little effort this rod will make some really long casts.  Being a 5/6 weight, it is great tool for fighting fish, you really feel the fish and the feel of the take is awesome.  This rod is the perfect Steelhead Spey rod for the Salmon River.

The price point of this rod is $349.95 and accompanied by the "No Fault" warranty, in my book it’s as good as gold, trust me I know. I broke the tip off  another TFO rod in the truck door, sent the rod back with $25 on a Thursday and had it back in 5 working days.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stan Bogdan passes on.....

I saw this on Clarks classic fly rod forum today:


The fly fishing community has lost a master reel maker and a great man. In case you've been living under a rock for the past 60 something years, Stan built incredible Salmon reels by hand. Even the screws! Notorious for a 3-4 year wait and a superb drag system, I can personally say they are well worth it. My deepest sympathy goes out to Stephen and his family.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hang on to your Hackle

Looks there is becoming a shortage of hackle due to the latest women's fashion...Women are buying hackle and clipping it on to the hair as a latest fashion statement.  Really, its no joke...  Some shops are sold out and soon we'll be buying hackle at a salon.  Here is a link to more on the latest trend.

 Feather Heads

Monday, February 28, 2011

Part IV....

Final Steps....

Applying the epoxy thread wrapping finish....
I prefer light build finish for the thread wraps. It is nice and thin, and goes on in 2 coats. The first coat I put enough on to saturate the thread wrap down to the blank. But not so much that it's goopy and messy. This is the most important step in the entire rod building process. MAKE SURE TO MEASURE EQUAL PARTS PRECISELY!!! This is crucial as I've found out the hard way in the past. The finish will turn cloudy, then get clear again when properly mixed. Try to limit air bubbles when mixing since they will end up on your guides!

A little trick I've learned is before mixing the finish epoxy, place the bottles in hot water for a few minutes. This makes the two part epoxy easy to mix and apply. A little goes a long way and if it starts to harden or get gooey toss it and mix another batch to finish the application.

I have a slow turning motor, 6 RPMs. It works but I am going to get a two speed motor of 24 RPMs for applying the finish a little quicker, and 6 RPMs for drying. Let the rod rotate for 8 hours while the finish evens out and dries. After the epoxy is dry, cut off any loose or frayed thread along the guides and then apply the second coat. Let dry another 8-10 hours. You can give it a 3rd coat, but I'm way too impatient for that and you shouldn't really need it.

Here you can see how the wrapping finish darkens the thread color. This is as the first coat is drying....

Butt wraps and some basic info so I don't forget what rod it is....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Part III...

Marking and Wrapping the guides...

Ok, so the butt section is finished. Now it's time to mark the guides, tape them in place, and finally wrap them with thread. I have only a few colors of thread so I chose Gunmetal Grey. It looks bright but the color dulls significantly after the thread wrap epoxy is applied. I don't use Color Preserver before the epoxy, it's just one more step I can avoid! Plus it prevents the epoxy from seeping into the thread and creating a durable bond. Just my preference...

After glueing the tip top on, next we need to measure the guide spacing and mark it. I happen to have the spacing for a 10' rod, so I just adjusted as I saw fit for the 11' rod. I had a few extra guides so it worked out well. Measurements are from the tip top working towards the butt section. I used double foot REC Recoil guides and strippers for this rod, mainly because I already had a set and a spacing chart. Supposedly the are unbreakable-I can say for sure I will be able to test that out very soon!

After the guides are marked, I like to tape them in place with masking tape. Put the rod together, give a quick look to make sure they are straight along the rod and then time to wrap!

Let the wrapping begin! I just have a hand wrapper, but you can get motorized ones that are much faster. But it's kinda cool to do it by hand!

Snake guides...

I used double foot REC Recoil guides and strippers for this rod, mainly because I already had a set and a spacing chart. Supposedly the are unbreakable-I can say for sure I will be able to test that out very soon!

Ferrule wrap and stripping guide......

Winding check on and butt wraps complete. Nothing fancy here.

After all the guides are on, I give it one last look to make sure everything is straight before the thread wrapping epoxy is applied....

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Part II

After the epoxy has dried, time for the lathe to shape the bottom grip and the reel seat. I put about 1" of masking tape around the blank where the chuck will hold it. This keeps the chuck from crushing the blank. I then add some tape from that point to the top just to help prevent scratches while sanding the handles.

Into the lathe for sanding......

Bottom grip and reel seat complete and slip rings installed. I had to remove the rod from the lathe a few times to get everything just right for the rings. No big deal but it was a little extra time compared to a normal reel seat...

Next slide on the top grip rings and epoxy the same as the lower grip. Set in the clamp for another 6 hours or so before sanding. I like to use the 1" of upper grip per foot of rod. SO, for this 11' rod I used 11" of upper grip. The lower grip is 3 3/4". When building your own rod, you can make them as long or short as you like!

After 20 minutes of sanding and shaping on the lathe, the upper grip is finished! Again, you can shape the cork to your liking. But remember that you can't add more cork for diameter once you've sanded it. So I like to take it off the lathe and hold it in my hands until it feels just right!!

And a photo of what it looks like with my 3 7/8 Perfect attached.....I made the reel seat long enough to accommodate long feet on the old reels just in case I get another Perfect for this rod.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Building a rod....Part I

Since I haven't been able to fish in about 8 weeks, I need to do something fishing related! So I figured I'd build another rod. Having Steelhead and Salmon pretty much covered for two handers, I decided to build an inland Trout two hander I can also use on Smallies. In an effort to keep the project under $100, I needed an inexpensive blank-enter Anglers Roost! I bought the 11' 2/3 wt blank, $35 including shipping. Supposedly like lines in the 180-235 grain window-how cool?!! It's a 3 piece, full flexing light weight blank I will build into a two hander. So here goes.......

Step 1-Spine the blank
This is actually pretty easy. I like to do it a section at a time. You place the section on a flat surface (holding it at about a 45 degree angle) and bend it as you gently roll it across the table. Hold the tip with one hand and use the other hand to slowly roll the blank. You will feel it "jump" along the spine. Mark the spine side and repeat with all sections of the blank. I like to put my guides opposite the spine, some people put their guides on the spine.

Step 2-ream the cork

Using a tapered file purchased at a hardware store, ream out the center of the cork so it fits snugly on the butt section. Doing the grips piece by piece ensure a better fit than trying to ream out a pre made grip. I don't like creaking cork! Here I am doing the bottom handle and "reel seat". I use quotes because on this rod I am doing a sliding band style reel seat. The very bottom piece is rubberized cork for durability. Each piece is 1/2" thick by 1.5" in diameter. I also use fine sandpaper and scuff the blank a little for extra grip before applying the epoxy.

Bottom grip and "reel seat" fitted and ready for Epoxy...

Step 3-Epoxy the cork and then clamp and let dry.....

After mixing the epoxy, use a craft store paint brush to apply the epoxy to the blank and on the cork. Repeat with all the cork on the blank.....

In the clamp to dry for about 6-8 hours......

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bob Clay and Family

A Steelhead Family - Official HD video 3.1 from Andrew Hardingham on Vimeo.

Bob Clay is known for his bamboo rods and former BC Steelhead guide. This video he talk's about starting out as Guide in BC to the daily in's and out's of rod builing and his steelheading family.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What's In The Vise???

Hook: AJ 2051 # 5
 Body: Purple Ice Dub
Wing: Purple Rabbit 
  Head: Pink Laser Dub
Try in various color schemes.

A quick easy fly that has plenty of flash and movement, the Ice Dub head creates a nice profile and pushes the water around the fly so the rabbit moves nicely in the current.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Had A Hour To Play

After taking a break from fishing for the Holiday’s I managed to get out for a short time the other day. We received a few inches of wet, heavy slop overnight and I wasn’t ready to trudge through the snow with only a limited amount of time to fish. I took a quick look at the river down low and saw no slush, Hmmmm, I thought, I need a transitional spot where a hot fish or two maybe resting and there is no shelf ice near shore to hinder me getting access to such a spot. I knew just the place, a resting spot just above some faster water with about 2 foot of depth across most of the spot with a 3 foot bucket with a big boulder in front of it.

So I strung up my switch rod, looped on a 3.9 ips poly leader and tied on a copper prom dress tied on a short tube and got set up in the top of the run. I started out fishing slow and close after working down the run about 20 feet, I was getting into a rhythm as my fly started to get close to the sweet spot. I cast, stepped down and just before the fly started to swing a quick grab…Damn, I knew one would be there…  I finished down thru the tailout and made a few extra casts just over the lip incase I backed any fish out of their lie.

Headed back up and tied on a Orange and Pink Trade Secret, started back down thru the spot and just as my fly gets to the same spot where I had the grab on the first pass, bang! A nice bright chrome fish jumps with my fly hanging out of its mouth. A couple of decent short runs and some near shore head shakes, I was able to grab the leader.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Modern Bugger

This fly is basically a bugger...with a few extras.

Start by putting the cut shank in the vise, add the mono loop

Next, time to build the tail. I used Arctic fox here but you can also use marabou or rabbit. Add a little flash as well.
Add some sleek brown grizzly hackles to complete the tail. I like thin ones since they really wiggle in the water. Wider hackles are ok too.

Tie in your chenille, wire rib, and hackle that will be wrapped bugger style. Here I am using copper chenille and orange grizzly hackle....

Wrap everything forward to the eye. COUNTER wrap the wire rib, this adds an incredible amount of durability to the fly and allows multiple fish on a fly before the body hackle breaks.

Next take some Black Rhea and either put it in a dubbing loop, or you can do what I did here. Split your thread with a needle, and stuff the trimmed end between the thread fibers. Spread out the Rhea, give your bobbin a good spin to tighten everything, and then wrap the Rhea as a collar. Some of the Rhea will point forward after this step, that's just fine. Pull it back into position over the fly and secure with thread. I like to use flat waxed thread for this trick. I prefer this over a dubbing loop, it's faster and I have more thread control.

Here is what it will look like after all the Rhea has been carefully wrapped into place and secured. Leave it like that and DO NOT fold it down and secure, this will cause the Rhea to lay flat against the fly in the water. We want it to poke out and get washed around by the current, this equals movement!!

Next pick a nice long webby feather from a Pheasant skin. Or any long webby feather of your choice.

Wrap it on as a collar. I don't peel one side of the feather before I wrap it on. This will give a sparse profile to the fly. I like to dress my flies full, and pluck feathers off while on the river if I feel the need for a more sparse profile. Add lead eyes if you wish......

Now time for a wing. Hackle feathers are fine for this as is just about anything you want. Here I am using the burnt orange/brown feather from a Jungle Cock. Pick 2 that are close to matching and tie them in.

This pic shows the JC tied in and I also added a finishing collar of Arctic fox spun the same way I did the Rhea. By splitting the waxed thread with a needle and stuffing the ends between the thread. Again, this can be done using a dubbing loop as well...whip finish and cement.

Top view...
View from the bottom......
Side by side on the Taupo.....

This style of fly can be tied in a ton of various color combos. Some of my favorite are; Brown/copper (the one here), black/purple, Olive, Olive/black, PINK!!!!!!!! hint hint, all Black, and pink purple. Have fun and experiment, just remember to hold on when you fish them!