Monday, April 8, 2013

A Resolution

For more than a few years, I've had some ambition to become a certified casting instructor through the Federation of Fly Fishers. The fly fishing industry considers the FFF program to be the gold standard for training highly qualified educators -- those skilled both in the art of teaching and in the techniques of fly casting. I have understood, at least in theory, the intense preparation this exam demands. But I never developed the wherewithal or discipline to see this goal to completion. There was always tomorrow; another day of contemplation, another opportunity for inaction.

In common parlance, I would be defined as a late bloomer. I am still traveling down the road of self discovery, trying to find my place in the world. Fly fishing - and by extension fly casting - have become important parts of my identity. When the cruelties of life kick me in the face, I take solace in the realization that fly fishing is one of my perpetual joys, sustaining me through hardships that come my way.

Everyone develops at their own pace. I think now is my time. I am ready to invest myself into earning the FFF designation as a certified fly casting instructor. The journey will be long and have many bumps along the way, perhaps even a detour or two. But my commitment to the process is unwavering. If I believe in myself and follow my heart, I will accomplish this long term goal and move closer to finding my place in this life.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Over the past six months, I've been hosting a weekly chat on Twitter. On Thursday nights at 9 EDT, a nice group of guys and gals meet up to talk about topics related to casting -- with particular emphasis on fly casting. As the host, I am charged with establishing a topic for the night's discussion, but as things go, the conversations usually ebb and flow around the pre-established theme. Such is the nature of these chats.

The impetus for Casting chat came from my desire to connect with other anglers who were interested in taking the Certified Casting Instructor's exam sponsored by the Federation of Fly Fishers. Under my original conception, the chat would function as a Twitter "study group" where we'd discuss the major components of the test, pose questions to each other, and build a repository of reference material under the hashtag #castingchat. How cool would it be to use social media to help anglers train for the fly casting exam? Of all the available social media platforms, Twitter seemed the best suited for this task.

As the first few sessions of Casting chat demonstrated, though, the number of fly fishers pursuing certification was small -- perhaps too small for the structure I initially conceived. But I still noticed general interest in having a chat devoted to fly casting. Fish nuts love fishing. It only seemed natural that Casting chat would provide another avenue to talk fishing. And frankly, at the end of the day, that's what drives us. Casting chat has etched a small place in the Twitter landscape, and for this, I am grateful.

So what is Casting chat? I think the best answer is that Casting chat is really Presentation chat. Every aspect of one's presentation influences the topics I suggest. Techniques, equipment and personal practice habits are just some of the issues we discuss on a weekly basis. And the level of our chatters' fly casting range from absolute beginner to seasoned veteran. Everyone contributes to the discussion in their own way, which gives us a variety of vantage points and experience levels to draw upon.

Looking for a way to spend an enjoyable hour on Thursday? Have a question about your fly cast?  Need recommendations for equipment? Searching for the best knots? Want to share a story about that latest pig you caught? Join us on Thursday at 9 PM EDT. Search under the hashtag #castingchat and participate in the conversion. We'd love to have you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reel in a Cure

During the spring of 2008, I had the good fortune of obtaining one of Ross' Reel in a Cure specials from my local fly shop. Due to limited production and high demand, I wasn't sure what pink beauty would join my family of fly reels. And, frankly, I wasn't even guaranteed one would come my way. A few weeks later, after placing my request, I received a call from the shop saying a 1.5 Rhythm was ready for pick-up. 

Rated for a 3-5 weight line, the Rhythm was a pin-up among fly reels -- one of the most aesthetically pleasing pieces of fly fishing tackle I've ever owned. Engraved with two breast cancer ribbons, Reel in a Cure inscription and a "35th Anniversary" notation, this reel seemed more like a collector's item than a serviceable, every day fly reel.

With this thought in mind, I decided to donate/auction the reel, with the proceeds benefiting Casting for Recovery. It took a few years to find the appropriate venue for my Rhythm, but over the fall, I was able to connect with CFR's online Holiday Auction. Valued at $185, the reel sold for $270 to a fly fishing gal from Arlington, Virginia. What a great success!

On a sad note, A&N Outfitters, the fly shop in Milford, Ohio where I purchased the Rhythm, is no longer in business. I would like to publicly thank owner and friend, Steve Waak, for helping me secure this reel. You rock man.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ghosts of Colorado

There is something about the Golden Ghost. The name itself conjures images of a faintly discernible fish, acutely aware of its surroundings and ready to flee at the intimation of danger. One errant step, bad cast or misjudgment on the angler's part can abort the success of a ghost "stalk." Generally the only remnant of the carp's presence is the lingering mud cloud left in its fleeing path. For all the exciting moments we have when the Golden Ghost eats our flies, there are even a larger set of experiences where the Ghost gets the best of us. This is the stuff of hunting carp with the fly rod. And I damn well love it.

My introduction to Colorado carp came from pursuing the multitude videos on YouTube and chatting with friends on Twitter. Being from the Midwest, I cut my fly fishing teeth on warm water species and learned very quickly the challenges of taking carp on the fly. But there was something intangibly intriguing about these Ghosts of Colorado. Perhaps the habitat was a little better, the fish a little bigger, and, just maybe, the experience a little better.

I hooked up with my Twitter buddy, Dave Maynard, for an afternoon of stalking the Golden Ghost on Denver's mud flats. Armed with a 7 weight Sage, 2x leader tapered to 3x fluorocarbon tippet, and some Backstabbers, I set out to stalk and battle some of Colorado's finest.

After a few unsuccessful attempts at feeding carp, I found another fish "locked in" rooting. I made the cast well past my target and stripped line until the fly was in the carp's field of vision. A short twitch of the rod tip, marabou and hackle undulating, was too much for the Ghost to ignore. He charged my Backstabber and sucked in the fly. I strip struck and the rod bowed. The fight was on.

Palming the reel during runs and working the rod to subdue the fish, I eventually landed my first Colorado Golden Ghost. What a great feeling!

During the rest of the afternoon, Dave and I continued to work the mud flats, putting our flies in front of as many active carp as possible. Some spooked, some were ornery, but some just ate.

In my journey and development as a fly angler, I haven't fished the saltwater flats yet. After systematically working the mud for carp, though, I have a greater understanding and appreciation for this type of sight fishing. The flats engender a whole range of emotions -- frustration, accomplishment, irritation, joy, disappointment, satisfaction. But, quite frankly, it's becoming one of my favorite places to be.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Back in Ohio after an awesome week of fish bumming in Colorado. Much to share later.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


If I told you I needed new waders, I would only be partially right. My current pair of breathable White Rivers are still serviceable and have performed admirably since my introduction to fly fishing. Sure, they're patched and sealed, but that's to be expected from years of use. But after borrowing a pair of Simms last year in Montana, I realized that I need to take my waders to the next level -- or in the case of Simms, maybe four or five levels.

When I first began fly fishing a number of years ago, I didn't know the role it would play in my life. What became merely an extension of my fishing hobby has turned into a bone-fide passion. Such a passion, in fact, that I hope to make it part of my livelihood one day. With this ambitions in mind, I decided to add of pair of Simms G3 guide waders to my arsenal of fishing equipment. The fit is near perfect, with enough room to negotiate challenging wading situations, but still comfortable.

Those G3s will make their debut at Ohio Casting for Recovery's annual retreat at the end of September. I'll be volunteering as a river guide, helping women attending the program enjoy a day on the water and hopefully catch fish. Then it's off to Colorado to break in those G3s on some trout and carp.