Finding the Right Balance

Casting a fly rod is a pretty simple matter of physics once you get the hang of things and know what a well presented fly and line looks like in the air and on the water, but it can be a physical workout if you’re not used to the exercise or have equipment that isn’t moderately light or well-balanced in the hand.  We strive very hard to come up with outfits that “just feel right” the moment you pick it up and anglers definitely appreciate the extra effort once he/she is on the water swinging it back and forth a couple hundred times in a morning.  But what makes a well-balanced combination?

 I’m first going to compare throwing a fly rod to shooting a shotgun on the trap or skeet range and shooting geese, as opposed to a field gun for grouse and quail.  I know it may seem a bit strange to look at it this way but you’ll get the connection if you hang in there for a few paragraphs.  Shooting shotguns is all about acquiring the target, mounting the gun smoothly, starting and maintaining a smooth swing while pulling the trigger and passing through the target without pause.  Any hitch in that process will cause problems for sure.  So what does a gun’s balance have to do with that process and how is that compared to Browning Citori 725 Fielda fly rod?

Browning Citori 725 Pro Trap 



Trap shooters and goose hunters traditionally shoot long barrel shotguns (up to 32 inches) because maintaining a smooth swing through the target during the shot is more important than overall gun weight.  A longer barrel can make the gun feel a bit front heavy but that ensures that the gun remains in motion once the swing has started. Conversely, a true field gun will have somewhat shorter barrels (26 to 28 inches) and lighter stocks because the quickness (the amount of time needed to acquire the target and mount the gun) needs to be emphasized more than maintaining a lengthy swing on birds or targets flying a somewhat predictable path at a steady speed.  Flushing birds need to be acquired quickly and shot before getting out of range or ducking behind cover, thus requiring a light, fast-pointing shotgun.

Fly rod balance can be equally important to the angler but it’s more a matter of angler “feel” and how hard it is to control the rod’s path through the air once in motion.  Front heavy or butt heavy rods can cause fatigue, unnecessary torqueing or twisting, and a sluggish or listless sensation for the angler.  A perfectly balanced rod and reel combo feels light in the hand, accurate, responsive, and is generally a pleasure to throw all day.

Sage TCX 9" 6wt and Orvis Access

So how do you put together a properly balanced outfit?  Thankfully, the reel manufacturers think about this issue when they develop their products and a recent test session wherein I weighed a large number of our most popular reels in six and eight weight models, proved that they’re all pretty similar given the specific line weight they were designed for.  There was only a .5 to 1.0 ounce difference between fifteen different 5/6 weight models.  There was a much greater variation in fourteen 7/8 weight models with the lightest being 5.5 oz. and the heaviest being 10.0 oz.  Much of that difference can be attributed to drag design or the fact that the reel was intended to cover three different rod sizes (7/8/9) instead of the usual two (7/8).  I guess this means that balancing a number six rod is easier, given the similarities in reel weights, than a number eight.      

The rods themselves can vary greatly in physical weight but many times it’s a question of how the weight is distributed rather than the actual total.  Some rods are tip heavy and would require a heavier reel to balance out properly, while others are butt heavy and would benefit from a lighter reel to avoid feeling like you’ve got a brick hanging from the handle.  You just have to test fit a variety of reels to find the one that gives the proper balance for your needs.

Keep in mind also that the rod’s length will affect its balance as will the addition of backing and line.  Short rods have a center of gravity different than standard or long ones so there are instances we’d sell the customer a reel one size smaller than normal to keep the proper balance.  Of course we have to watch the amount of backing going on the reel at this point, but that’s not normally a problem given the rod’s intended purpose.  Short bass rods and ultralight outfits are the most obvious examples of combinations where we need to ensure a compatible match up.

The rod and reel combination pictured above is one of my personal favorites and it fits my hand so well that it seems like Sage called for my input before designing it .  The balance is exactly where I like it and because of that, I can cast all day, put the fly right where I want it, and easily become "one" with the rod.  There's nothing like having a piece of equipment that matches you perfectly so spend a little time building your next outfit.  Pay attention to the balance and how it's going to affect your fishing performance and how much you enjoy waving that stick around.  You'll be glad you did.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


Fly Fishing on the Rapidan River

        On the first cool, crisp morning of the fall, Charles and I headed up the rutted road that led to the headwaters of the lovely Rapidan. Arriving at the Meeting Pool, we chatted with three visitors from Korea who had come to hike along the scenic trail that led to Herbert Hoover's Rapidan Camp - a short distance downhill from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

        Charles and I headed downstream at a nice, leisurely pace and breathed in the Autumn air. For the next couple of hours we took turns fishing alternate pools as we worked our way back upstream. We noticed a few mayflies here and there but no signs that the trout were actually looking up and taking them. Nonetheless we decided to fish dry flies and settled on a size 14 Stimulator as an attractive pattern that could be easily spotted by the brookies and the eyes of senior citizens as well.

        We used our favorite cane rods on this historic little river where President Hoover had fished his Hardy "Marvel". My rod was similar to Hoover's as it was 7 and a half feet long and limber and slow in action. It was made for me by Bob Nunley of Poteau, Oklahoma. Bill Harms made the 7 foot 4 inch quadrate rod that Charles chose to fish the Rapidan on this lovely day.

       We fished through the early afternoon and raised a fish or two in nearly every run, pocket and pool. Most of the beautiful little brook trout were too quick for our reflexes but we did manage to bring a couple of them to hand for a moment's admiration and a gentle release.

Come see me in the White River Fly Shop at Bass Pro Shops – Ashland, VA!

Michael C. Simon

Brook Trout Basics Trout Fishing Great Smoky Mountain National Park


Salmon Fishing on the Salmon River

Upstate NY is know for this time of year.  Salmon fishing on the Salmon River.  Please check out for all information and fishing regulations for fishing on the Salmon River.  Below is some information from the New York State Fishing Regulations.

Salmon River

Picture of the Salmon River.

The Salmon River, located in Oswego County, stretches 17 miles from the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir in Altmar to where it empties into Lake Ontario at Port Ontario. There are 12 miles of Public Fishing Rights along the river. The Salmon River offers some of the finest sport fishing in the country. Two major fish records have been set in the Salmon River: the Great Lakes record Chinook salmon (47 lbs. 13 oz.) and the world record Coho salmon (33 lbs. 4 oz.).

Public Access

Pine Grove Boat Launch- Pine Grove Rd., off Route 3 half a mile south of route 13 at Port Ontario. Dual gravel ramps. Access to Lake Ontario. 120 cars and trailers.
Port Ontario - Rte 3, Wheelchair access. Parking.
Blackhole - North Jefferson and Bridge Streets in Pulaski.
Long Bridge Pool (Staircase) - South Jefferson Street in Pulaski.
Short Bridge Pool - Rte 11 Downtown Pulaski.
Haldane Community Center - North Jefferson St. and Maple Ave. Parking.
Railroad Bridge Pool - County Rte 2A.
Papermill Pool - County Rte 2A.
Compactor Pool - County Rte 2A. Parking.
Drift Boat Launch - Compactor Pool, County Rte 2A. Parking.
Sportsman Pool (North) - Centerville Rd. Parking.
Sportsman Pool (South) - Rte 13. Parking.
Pineville - Rte 48. Parking.
Trestle Pool (North) - Sheepskin Road. Parking.
Trestle Pool (South) - Rte 13. Parking.
Ellis Cove - Rte 42. Parking.
Altmar North- Rte 52. Parking.
Drift Boat Launch - Rte 52, Altmar. Parking
Lower Fly fishing Section - Rte. 52 Altmar. Parking.
Upper Fly Fishing Section - Rte 22. Parking.
Orwell Brook - Tubbs Rd. Parking.
Trout Brook - Rte. 48. Parking.

General Fishing Information

Chinook and Coho Salmon

Photo of anglers with large Chinook salmon

Maturing Chinook and Coho salmon returning to the Salmon River usually begin to stage off the Salmon River mouth in late August. Chinook (or King) salmon are the main attraction this time of year. The fish range in size from 15-30 lbs., averaging around 18 lbs. The Great Lakes record Chinook salmon, caught in the Salmon River, weighed 47 lbs. 13 oz. Coho salmon are generally smaller and range in size from 3 to 10 lbs., averaging around 8 lbs. The world record Coho salmon, caught in the Salmon River, weighed 33 lbs. 4 oz. Trolling in the estuary with spoons, dodgers/flies, cut-bait and plugs works well for these staging fish. Salmon usually begin entering the Salmon River around Labor Day.

A caught Salmon laying on leaves.

Once salmon enter the river they are no longer actively feeding. Despite this, they do exhibit behaviors that make them vulnerable to traditional sportfishing techniques. One of these behaviors is aggression, or territoriality, and the other is their attraction to fish eggs or egg shaped lures. The peak of the spawning run usually doesn't occur until the latter half of September and the first half of October. Fish are generally spread throughout the river depending on the spawning stage they are in. Some fish will be making their way upriver (often referred to as running), holding in deeper pools and actively spawning. Fish engaged in the first two activities can be caught on egg sacs, egg imitating flies or plastics and streamers. Fish that are spawning, especially the males, can become very aggressive and will strike gaudy streamers swung past their spawning redds.


A fisherman holding a Steelhead.

The Salmon River offers the opportunity to fish for two strains of steelhead, the Washington strain and the Skamania strain. The Washington, or winter run, begin entering the Salmon River in late October and continue through Spring. They feed aggressively on the abundant salmon eggs in the Fall, thus making it a very good time to go steelhead fishing. Using egg sacs or egg imitating flies and plastics are your best options. Fish that entered the river in the fall will hold over in the deeper pools of the river throughout the winter. Fishing the deeper pools with egg sacs, egg imitating flies or nymphs works well this time of year. Warming periods during the winter may bring new fish into the river. Spawning usually takes place during mid-March and through early April.

After spawning the fish begin to drop back to Lake Ontario. These fish can be very aggressive. These fish feed heavily because they are hungry and finished spawning. They can be caught on plugs, spinners, flies, egg sacs and night crawlers.

Summer run skamania steelhead begin entering the river around June. They tend to run during periods of increased flow. Your best chance to encounter fish is after a heavy rain or planned water release from the hydro plant. The fish remain in the river until they spawn the following spring.

Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic salmon were native to Lake Ontario. They are fall spawners and start their spawning run as early as July. Atlantic salmon can range from 5 to 20 lbs. Fishing techniques are similar to steelhead fishing methods.

Brown Trout

Brown trout enter the river from mid-September to mid-November. Brown trout are also on a spawning run, but will feed heavily on salmon eggs. It can be difficult to target brown trout, but one option is fishing downstream from actively spawning salmon with egg sacs and egg imitating flies and plastics. Brown trout range from 2 to 20 lbs.

For current fishing information a fishing hotline is available at Region 7 Fishing Hotline or by calling (607) 753-1551.
For current water level on the Salmon River call 1-800-452-1742 code 365123.

Fisheries Management

Fishermen standing in the Salmon river.

The five major gamefish are Chinook and Coho salmon, Atlantic salmon (or landlocked salmon), brown trout, and steelhead. Smallmouth bass are also found in the river. The Salmon River is stocked yearly with around 300,000 Chinook salmon, 80,000 Coho salmon, 120,000 Washington strain steelhead, 40,000 skamania strain steelhead and 30,000 Atlantic salmon. Natural reproduction does take place in the Salmon River but to what extent this adds to the fishery is not known. The Salmon River is an important part of the Lake Ontario salmon and trout fishery. Some of the returning salmon and steelhead to the Salmon River make their way to the Salmon River Fish Hatchery. These fish are then used for egg collection and the resulting fish are stocked into many Lake Ontario tributaries, along with the Salmon River. A total of 1.76 million Chinook salmon are stocked annually by NYSDEC into Lake Ontario.

Special Regulations

Salmon River has some special fishing regulations, these can be found in your fishing guide in the section Great Lakes and Tributary Regulations. There are two catch and release fly fishing only areas. Conventional fly fishing equipment is required. The area above the County Rte. 52 bridge in Altmar is open from September 15 to May 15. The upper section is located adjacent to County Rte. 22 above the Salmon River Hatchery and is open April 1 to November 30.

Bass Pro Shops has just what you need to make salmon fishing safe along with giving you the right equipment to make it successful.  Check out or click on the product below to see just some of what we have to offer.

White River Fly Shop Osprey Chest High Stocking Foot Waders for Men are just what you are looking for. Made of 100% waterproof/breathable membrane material, quick release suspenders, safety belt, inside chest pocket and reinforced knees and seats.  Pair them with the White River Fly Shop Extreme Wading Shoe for Men.   Rubber outsoles with re-moveable metal studs are perfect for slippery conditions.

Check out the  World Wide Sportsman Deceiver Rod/Kingfisher Reel Complete Fly Outfit.  It is one of our best sellers.  Flies?  Stop on by and talk with our knowledgeable associates as to what color or what fly is needed.  They will be happy to direct you.




Spend a Few Days in Matlacha


Folks that aren't familiar with the area may not get the rhyme I was shooting for but just like many other names here in Florida, it's pronounced differently than it looks.  Mat-la-SHAY is the proper phonetic spelling for the name of a small community along the Gulf coast between Pine Island and Cape Coral/Fort Myers.  And if you didn't know you were passing through the community, you'd miss it.  But that's exactly what makes it the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life without traveling a great distance.

Matlacha is a sleepy little town that sets its time by the tides with activity ebbing and flowing with the water flowing under the three bridges and around the mangrove shorelines.  The busiest time of the day is when the fishing activity peaks with the rising tide and the fishing poles outnumber the residents since everyone knows you need more rods than you have fingers.  Redfish, black drum, snook, sheepshead, shark, seatrout, and many others come across the rails when the timing is right but you can look forward to a whole bunch of catfish if it isn’t. A night bite is most popular since this is semitropical and the daytime sun can be a little bit oppressive.  Kayaking around the mangrove islands and dipping into the water occasionally is about the only way to get relief on a particularly hot day.

This is still a small town and you won’t find a McDonalds or a giant souvenir shop full of cheap trinkets that will be broken or lost days after purchase.  Small mom-n-pop shops dot the street for the mile or so through the downtown area, selling things you likely won’t find in many other places, and all of them with a local flair.  Eclectic artwork abounds right alongside the bars and eateries so there’s plenty of things to look at for the visitors that aren’t really into the fishing side of things (although I can’t understand why they wouldn’t be), and every time I turned to look around I spotted another mannequin on a rooftop, a painted lizard, a doll in a rocking chair, or some other eye-catching novelty. 

Matlacha JackSt. James City and Bokeelia are a pair of communities at opposite ends of Pine Island just to the west and they also prove that Florida isn’t only about the big cities or interstate highways.  If you take a day trip over to the actual Gulf shore, the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva provide beach access for the shell collector or someone that just wants to view a spectacular sun set.  Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a birdwatcher’s paradise that shouldn’t be missed either.

Matlacha’s just right for anyone looking to slow life down a little bit so they can enjoy the small things. Watching the pelicans dive, the otters play, or the dolphins herding mullet in the shallows for dinner is the natural pace of things around here, proving that Mother Nature has her own clock without regard for neon lights and reality TV.  Take a day trip or stay the night in one of the cabins or cottages right there along main street, and you’ll find yourself settling into the island rhythm, humming a little tune proclaiming “This is the Way, to Matlacha.”

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


Backcountry Fly Fishing Association Presents "The Legend Series"

Steve Huff"The Legend Series" highlights some of the pioneers of the fishing world, and the Backcountry Fly Fishing Association along with Hell's Bay Boatworks is bringing a true industry trailblazer, and Florida Keys expert to Orlando to teach us a few things that will make our time on the water more productive and maybe a little more enjoyable.  Flip Pallot was set to be the original speaker for this event but will not be making an appearance due to unplanned circumstances.

Captain Steve Huff is one of those guys that seems to have seen and done it all when it comes to fishing and exploring the Florida Keys and the Everglades, which is saying a lot considering how many square miles of land and water we're talking about.  He's professionally guided for over 47 years (almost more years than I've been alive) and surely has forgotten more about saltwater angling than most of us will ever pick up by fishing only on weekends and holidays.  He along with Del Brown developed the Merkin Crab which is undoubtedly the quintessential permit fly that also produces well on species they hadn't even planned on, ultimately proving the versatility of the pattern and the ingenuity of the designers.  Steve has led numerous anglers to tournament wins in the Gold Cup, the Islamorada Invitational Bonefish Tournament, and the Islamorada Invitational Fly Bonefish Tournament, as well as many world record tarpon, bonefish, and permit including a 41 1/2 specimen on 8 lb tippet.

Captain Huff's inventiveness and constant search for perfection has proven invaluable time and again when the industry has asked for his expert guidance in developing more advanced flats skiffs, bow platforms, knots, and a myriad of other flats-fishing essentials.  He developed the Huffnagle Knot (I just got the connection) for joining light class tippet to a heavier bite or shock tippet, which is absolutely necessary when pursuing large tarpon such as the ones he chased in the Homosassa region on Florida's Gulf coast.  Steve's 186 pounder back in 1977 would have eclipsed the standing record by more than ten pounds but he never submitted for recognition because he felt that records should be left to anglers.  That's just the kind of guy he is.

Captain Steve Huff was inducted into the IGFA Hall of Fame in 2010, for his many contributions to the sport, but you'd never see this gentleman, whom many would consider to be "The Guy," hold himself in higher regard than others that enjoy the sport.  Humility, commitment, and enthusiasm are evident every time he welcomes an angler onto his boat, and he's surely converted more than one conventional-tackle angler to the fly rods as a patient and adept instructor for the Florida Keys Fly Fishing School.

I'd highly recommend taking a little time out of your busy schedules to attend the presentation.   

No-motor Zone RedfishSpending the night of September 10th with the Backcountry Fly Fishing Association at "The Legend Series" sponsored by Hell's Bay Boatworks is your chance to hear the stories first hand while possibly learning a few things that'll make you a better angler.  Becoming involved in a club made up of a bunch of guys who share your love of fly fishing, fly tying, or just spending time on the water can't be a bad thing in itself.  The club helped me to develop as a fly angler, ultimately leading me to writing about and sharing my love of the sport.  I'm no John Gierach, or Norman Maclean when it comes to storytelling but we all share something in common with Flip and his friends, and that's passion.

Make plans to spend the evening with Steve and some new friends (and possibly some new fishing partners) on Thursday, September 10th.  It's sure to be a gathering you won't soon forget.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando 



Summer Salmon Fishing in Alaska


         Every year in the summer months of June or July, I host a group to visit the Alagnak Lodge in the legendary Bristol Bay region of Alaska. This year my planning had a bitter sweet cloak as one of my best friends who is the marketing manager had left my and formerly his home state of Virginia to move to Kuwait. His wife had accepted an offer to join a pediatric group there and he will continue to be a stay at home parent. He tried valiantly to arrange a schedule for our annual visit but at the last minute was unable to make it.

          This year’s group now consisted of a father with an adult daughter from Virginia and two friends from the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. One of these two guys owns Despedida Lodge. Trust me that’s a long ways to come to go fishing! I could only hope they would think this arduous amount of travel was worth the effort! I had completed the planning for the group to meet in Anchorage and travel from there to King Salmon where we boarded a chartered float plane for the half hour ride over the tundra to the lodge. All went well and we all enjoyed a low calm flight where we saw nesting swans and some groups of the young born earlier.

         Once at the lodge we were shown to our rooms where the guides had placed the luggage while we were provided lunch and a brief introduction to the planned fishing periods. We assembled gear and gathered at the dock. It was explained in pre-trip letters that we would be targeting Chum (Dog) Salmon during our week. This species is known for its explosive strikes and strong, long runs. We attached short four foot 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader to the floating fly lines. The guides provided and tied on their own versions of flies that were pink, purple and mylar blend flash material with loop knots that allowed the flies to articulate. The guide selected a sand bar a short distance from the dock still in view of the lodge and anchored. 

         Alagnak guides performed brief but necessary boat safety explanations then make suggestions about casting weighted flies in the company of others! This is one case when a tight loop is not proper! The fishermen have a choice of casting from the boat or wading on a hard sand bottom in three feet of water. The fish are constantly coming across the sand bar in waves….wave, after wave, after wave. This is great fun for the fishers that are paired. Double hook ups are very, very common. The cast is made at 45 degrees downstream and the fly is allowed to swing in the current until below the angler then left to sway in the current a bit before a slow erratic retrieve.

           During our visit the third week in July the King Salmon (Chinook) should have completed their run….those trolling incoming tides using very stout boat rods with wobbling lures were still catching very large bright fish! Sockeye Salmon (Red Salmon) were still around but not in great numbers. An early Silver (Coho Salmon) was caught the day we departed, early for that run. All salmon species on the Alagnak were long and strong. This river is legendary in supporting species and good upriver Rainbow Trout fishing as well. Fly outs were available daily but no one felt they were needed with what was right at the lodge!

          The steps (48) from the lodge to river seemed a bit steeper this year as I am dangerously close to 8 decades use of life’s calendar. I plan to be there next year and already have a few committed to the group.  If all goes as I plan it I will be returning to Nicaragua for a demonstration to guides of the Rio Indio Lodge.  The New Guinea trip for this November is ALMOST the bottom of my bucket list…we shall see?

Stop by The White River Fly Shop at Bass Pro Shops – Richmond, VA for all your Fly Fishing needs!

  -Harry Robertson

 Pro Staff at Bass Pro Shops - Richmond, VA                                                                    

A busted trip to Nicaragua Fly Fishing on the Big Hole River in Montana


Fly Fishing on the Big Hole River in Montana


       I was asked several months ago by two brothers who are good friends from California to find a lodge for us to fly fish with no international travel involved. There were stipulations besides the travel. Three full days of guided fishing, and a lodge that would accept and store carefully a case of wine sent before we arrived. I knew just the place, Five Rivers Lodge in Dillon, Montana.

      Five Rivers Lodge is located near legendary rivers such as the Beaverhead, Ruby and Big Hole so that with short drives from the lodge daily floats are easily accessed. The lodge is owned by my friends, a married couple Jay Burgin and Mary Jaque. The have managed and orchestrated the expansions of the property for over thirty years, and still strive daily with the guests’ comfort and expectations their goal.  Jay retired some years ago from developing real estate properties. Mary is a priest who works when called by the local churches as need during the winter months.

      Upon arrival from the Bozeman, Montana airport about an hour away we were ushered to a comfortable, well-appointed room with a stunning view of five mountain ranges in the distance. Each room has a private bath, and opens onto a deck we often enjoyed during cocktail hour. The lodge has the capacity to receive 25 guests.

      Each day of our stay started with a coffee at the ready well before the breakfast gathering of the guests. Fresh fruit, a variety of juices and cereals served in buffet style. Jay handles the kitchen requests with eggs, pancakes and French toast cooked to order for each guest.

       After breakfast we walked by a counter with an array of choices for packing lunch. After making sandwiches and adding choices like boiled eggs, fruits and homemade cookies the assembled meal was packed in plastic boxes, names added. The boxes were picked up by the guides and housed in coolers with a selection of beverages.

        The guides arrive at 8:00 A.M. Jay has an inventory of guides that he can rely on to deliver the type experience guests expect. Each guide will entertain two guests each, and arrives towing a drift bat or zodiac styled craft for the days float trip.

       Water levels were low in the area that had suffered minimal run off from the surrounding mountain ranges in the spring. Our guides selected sections of river, and we stopped to arrange the ferrying service for the truck, buy licenses. We launched and floated, and would find the truck waiting downstream at the prearranged take out. We were told right the first day…you missed the Salmon Fly hatch. I have always missed the Salmon Fly hatch on my trips out west. It is a calendar lottery that I do not attempt to win. We enjoyed fine days casting to the shoreline of the Big Hole with dry flies. Flies that worked well were the Kaufman Stimulator, Dark Elk Hair Caddis, and PMD and Yellow Sally imitations of various colors, all small size 12 delivered on 6 lb. leaders 9’0 long. I found those with 9’0 medium fast tipped rods were able to accomplish the necessary mend for longer fly drifts and rewarded with more strikes. The fishing was best in the afternoons when natural hatches began to show in great numbers. We caught adequate numbers to hold our interest of Browns and Rainbows with a few White Fish. Few fish were under 12” and some over 16”.

         In the afternoon at the conclusion of fishing we would journey back to the lodge to freshen up then gather to be regaled with tales from Jay and other guests about their day, Lyndon is always a pleasant time. I visit many lodges during a year in many countries. I can assure you the evening meal accompanied by lodge selection of wines is as fine as any I have enjoyed.

          On the last day of our stay before leaving the lodge I booked the same period for 2016, and have inked it on my suspense calendar. The two brothers who accompanied me are agreed and several from the Richmond, Virginia area have opted to join me. If any of you would like to enjoy the hypnotism of the beauty of the area and consummate care of this lodge please get in touch by visiting the information to reach me at   WWW.HANOVERFLY.COM

I wish no wind knots for you all,                                                                        

Harry Robertson                                                                                                                                                                                    Bass Pro Shops - Richmond, VA – Pro Staff


This Time of Year is Pretty "Fly"

It’s my favorite time of year again the months of June and July are when the mulberry start to get ripe and fall from the trees.  And to me that means time to catch carp on the fly.  One of my favorite things to do in the dog days of summer.  I spent most of my day off chasing and stalking carp all over the great Miami river. I found alot of fish in the shallow grass on the banks. I managed to hook and land four fish in the four to seven pound range on a crawfish fly.  I tied in a size six and I was fishing with a six weight rod and a 6/7 weight White River King Fisher Reel that reel is awesome.  If you haven’t seen one you should check it out.

Erics Carp

As the day went on and the temp climbed in to the 90’s,  the carp moved off the bank but I was able to locate some really active gar and with a special Gar fly that I tie. I was able to hook one and it was a bear to land it ripped a hole in my net and cut my hand all within a few minutes.  All in all the day was a success and it goes to show there is some really good fishing close to home. The great Miami river gets better and better every year so let’s all do our best to keep it clean so we can enjoy it for many years to come.


A Trout Fishing Rod and Reel Setup You Can Be Proud Of


             I recently went trout fishing with my father at Cedar Springs in Rural Retreat, Virginia and I had the opportunity to field test some fishing gear.

        The rod I used was the Browning 7 ft. Air Stream Ultra-Light Spinning Rod.  This rod is perfect for trout and panfish because it is lightweight and supersensitive.  It has a High-strength HTSC20 blank, stainless steel guides, premium Fuji reel seat and rubberized cork with a split-grip handle.  The reel I used was the Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite #10. It has a 7-bearing system, powerlock instant anti-reverse, double-anodized-aluminum spool, machined-aluminum handle and 5.2:1 ratio.  Understanding ratios and what it means is very easy.  The number before the colon is the number of rotations the spool makes per one complete turn of the reel’s handle.  So a 5.2:1 ratio means the spool revolves 5.2 times with each handle turn.  The larger the first number, the more line retrieved on each turn.  The Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite has about 20” IPT or (Inches per Turn) the amount of line reeled in with each full rotation of the handle.  The line I used was the XPS Fluorocarbon 6lb. which is perfect for freshwater spinning or baitcasting.  It has unparalleled abrasion resistance, and is virtually invisible under water.

          I used two different types of bait during my fishing trip.  The first bait I used was a Black Wooly Bugger Fly that was tied by our associates in the Fly Fishing Department.  The second bait I used was the BPS Gold Nitro Spinner bait which is compared to the Mepps #2 Gold Spinner.

        We fished from early morning to about mid-day, and the weather was nice about mid 80s and warm.  We caught about 20 total trout between my father and me.  About 6 were on the fly and the other 14 were on the gold spinner bait.  Overall the fishing trip was a success.  The reel did really well with the drag, and the rod had nice action to it.  I would recommend this rod and reel to anyone because it was successful and performed well.

        Stop by Bass Pro Shops Ashland, VA to talk with me about my trip, and feel free to ask me any questions or concerns you may have.  I look forward to seeing you soon!

Gear Review submitted by:

Patrick Farmer

Fishing Team Lead – Bass Pro Shops, Richmond, VA

Spring Trout Fishing Give Me 45 Minutes -- And I'll Show Unbelievable Bass Pro Shops Micro Lite Elite Spinning Combo



Hitting the Road to Adventure

Brook TroutThirsting for something new is something many anglers have to fight if they want to maintain any type of marital harmony, but every once in a while we need to give in and depart upon a quest for new and yet to be conquered pursuits.  For me, it’s been freshwater trout and smallmouth.  You’d think they would have been some of the first species I chased with a fly rod, however, seeing as how saltwater was the first environ I chose to enter, rainbows, browns, and brookies seemed too far away to hope for.

Soon though, I’ll be soaking my toes in a cool mountain stream as I ply the bubbling water for fish I’ve yet to encounter because after many years of crying and begging, our bags will be packed and rods rigged as my wonderful woman and I head north to the Pisgah National Forest in search of new and exciting adventure.  My packing started weeks ahead of our scheduled departure (as is normal with an obsessive compulsive), and I’ve now reached the point of stacking clothes and pre-staging the camping gear.  Sleep has been difficult and it will only get worse as the day draws closer and my dreams fill with glorious beauty and much needed seclusion.Brown Trout

Part of the fun has been the gathering of intelligence, albeit limited in my case according to certain fellow anglers and close friends.  I’ve burned up the Internet for hatch charts, stream flow data, campground locations, and everything else you can imagine the traveling angler might need before venturing forth, and I surely hope all the preparation proves fruitful considering how much of a pain in the neck I’ll be if I don’t get the chance to land at least one of the intended fish.  The timing isn’t quite right for a high degree of success but beggars can’t be choosers when the fishing time’s limited.  “Plan carefully and execute violently” is my motto.

Two four weights, a six weight, numerous lines, and boxes stuffed with Hare’s ears, Princes, Pheasant Tails, Stimulators, Caddis, Light Cahils, Hoppers, Ants, Adams, numerous types of streamers, and many other miscellaneous pieces of tackle are packed and ready to be deployed when the time arrives, but the calendar just doesn’t seem to move along quickly enough.  She’ll have to put up with another week of manic preparation before hitting the trail, but it will all be worth it when we’re standing alongside a deserted stream somewhere in North Carolina looking for that first fish to reveal itself.  God help us all if the first cast of the trip finds its way into a tree or some other type of obstacle.

Rainbow TroutExpanding our horizons and getting out of our comfort zones on occasion provides the spice of life, and fishing in general or searching for more and more species, gives us a good reason to keep testing our boundaries.  It doesn’t always have to be an exotic location that entices us to leave home since every new adventure helps us grow as anglers.  Maybe we’ll learn something about ourselves at the same time.

I’ll hopefully have something good to report once we return, but the trip will surely be a success regardless of how many fish are actually landed. 

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


She Says Stubborn, I Say Persistent

Bridge SnookThis is an opinion that many other folks hold about my fishing style, not just my wife.  I’ve been called stubborn, obstinate, pig-headed, inflexible, immovable and a few other unflattering synonyms that all boil down to being a dedicated and persistent angler.  I’ve often told my buddies that if I can spot a fish, I’ll spend the time to catch it, or drive it from the area; whichever comes first.  Occasionally, I’ve brought fish to hand that other folks walked past without seeing, or only gave a halfhearted attempt because the fish’s position would have meant a difficult presentation and/or a risk to precious tackle.

I happened upon one such group of fish a few days ago and they helped to reinforce how important it is to spend the time trying to figure out the fly, the presentation, the retrieve, and anything else that might lead to a successful hookup.

A small school of snook was nestled on the backside of a trio of bridge supports on one of Tampa Bay’s many bridges.  They seemed pretty happy hovering a few feet below the surface as the tide rushed over them, flicking their tails only enough to burst forward to grab an unsuspecting minnow that strayed too far from the bridge’s shelter.

Let’s start by saying that casting a fly rod between two cement columns six feet apart, while standing under a bridge that’s only about three feet over your head, and a sloped bank behind you, is one of the toughest circumstances I can imagine.  And it leads to quite a few moments of fear when the rod tip accidentally contacts cement.  Add to that, a right to left current, and a swirling eddy pulling line in the wrong direction, and you’ve got a recipe for frustration.

I spent over three hours working this school of fish, going through numerous fly changes, line changes, leader rebuilds, and many frustrated moments mulling over how to get the fly around or through those darn supports and across the backward-flowing eddy without becoming snagged on the bridge or the bottom.  I walked away numerous times, only to come back to the same spot, thinking “just a few more casts and I’ll leave them alone.”  Obviously that’s not an option to someone as obsessive compulsive as myself.  I just had to give it a little longer since the fish weren’t going anywhere.  I was afraid the tide would stop flowing and their feeding activity would cease, leaving me little choice but to load up and leave.

Everything finally came together, when the cast went far enough, the fly sank deep enough, and one of the fish became hungry enough to investigate my offering on what felt like the 10,000th presentation of the day.  I thought I was snagged when the line just came tight, but the game was on when it pulled back strongly after I added some tension.  He tried everything to get around the pilings, under the rocks, and into the current, but I wasn’t about to be denied what I’d worked so hard to accomplish.  Besides, how was I supposed to go back to my wife and explain that I spent nearly four hours casting at fish without any tangible results?  Not today buddy!  NOT TODAY!

After a brief but energetic fight my quest finally ended as I gripped a beautiful fish in my shaking hand after which I reflected upon what it took to land that exquisite example of nature’s beauty and diversity.  Snook hold a dear place in many Floridian’s heart and many of us will go to unusual measures to land them, even when the conditions are tough.  They’re strong, selective, personable, and challenging enough to keep everyone coming back for more year after year.  It’s not hard to see why certain folks become “Snook Season Specialists, although I don't consider myself in that company since I just dabble when I'm lucky enough to find a few willing players.”

Persistence is a virtue that serves anglers well if they can learn when to turn it on and when say enough is enough.  Snook, steelhead, baby tarpon, tilapia, and many other fish we love to chase can test our patience, but the rewards are beyond compare, especially when we continuously conduct an internal battle against the urge to pack it in and leave the area in search of easier targets.

Stick to it and work out the problem because eventually your stubborn desire to succeed will pay off.  It did for me on this day.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


Fly Fishing Made Easy

Fly Fishing Made EasyAlthough I'm not sure anything truly worth while comes easy, it sure is nice when someone comes out with a publication or video that helps newcomers leap in with both feet without a fear of epic failure and ultimate defeat.  Fly Fisherman magazine has produced an exceptional magazine that has just enough information to get someone past some of the steep learning curve associated with picking up a fly rod and all the associated equipment.  They put it together in a beautiful package with plenty of graphics related to tackle, tactics, and destinations, sure to give everyone the fever.  Even the experienced anglers will find learn something or discover a far away location they'd like to visit some time down the road.  They may even figure out how to get the lady of the house interested in sharing more time on the water with them.

Speaking from personal experience, I know that the first few years spent on the water with a rod were not the prettiest to behold, and it took a long time to demystify the riddle of loop control, line selection, rigging, and fly presentation.  Before the internet came along (yes there was a time before the internet) starting a new hobby meant finding a willing mentor, a kindhearted retailer, and posessing stubborn desire to succeed.  Nowadays you don't have too look far to discover a wealth of information (some good, some bad) all designed to help you along the way.  The trick is finding a source with credibility and track history behind it.

Fly Fisherman Magazine has everything you need and the credentials to back up what they say so you can rest assured that they're telling it like it is and not just trying to rope in unsuspecting folks with money to burn.  They know what it's like to struggle and fight their way to landing a few fish.

I never thought too hard about pursuing milkfish but after browsing through this addition to our magazine racks, I'm ready to book a trip.  So if you know someone interested in a new lifestyle (it is a lifestyle, not just a hobby), or you're just looking to learn a few things, stop by and pick a copy up before they're all gone.  I can see  us adding one to every outfit we sell.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


What Makes a Leader?

Rio Bonefish LeaderWe could ask this question quite often as it relates to some of our past and present leaders of the country but right now those aren’t the ones I’m referring to.  I’m thinking about the leaders used in fly fishing set ups.  They're probably the most misunderstood and misused part of the complete outfit and a lot of people would probably increase their success if they just thought about modifying their leader practices and make a few adjustments.  So why are leaders so important to the whole system, and why should they be constructed in a particular manner?  Let’s take a look.

  • Leaders are designed to roll out and extend fully to place the fly a given distance (generally between 7.5 and 10 feet) from the end of the fly line.  A tapered leader gradually rolls forward, smoothly transmitting and dissipating the energy that has been sent down the fly line and ultimately to the fly.
  • Leaders are a stealthy connection between the line and the fly that hopefully allows us to make a reasonably “lifelike” presentation to the fish without them seeing the line itself.  Leader length and strength/diameter is adjusted up or down depending on how spooky the fish are and how delicate a presentation is necessary.
  • Leaders provide a safety link or “emergency breaking point” to allow the angler to break off the fly in the event that he/she has snagged an immovable object, hooked into an unlandable fish, or any other time the fly needs to be sacrificed rather than risk damaging or losing valuable fly line, backing, rods, or reels.
  • Leaders provide the sporting challenge for those anglers seeking to land large fish on light tackle.The class tippet section of the leader is the lightest link in system and its breaking strength is the standard by which records are rated and compared to each other.

Typical Leader Construction

There are simpler ways to do things but in the case of leader construction, trying to cut corners by using straight (a single strand of heavy or light) monofilament line is guaranteed to sacrifice one or more of the performance features of a leader.  Roll out is poor, stealth is nonexistent, sporting quality is limited, and you may even risk losing all your line or breaking a rod.  I inwardly cringe when I hear folks talk about using this type of system because I know they’re risking equipment or unnecessarily handicapping performance by taking a shortcut, all for the sake of cutting cost or the desire to avoid knots.

The leader is a much more important part of the system than most folks think.  Its construction is done in a very particular way to provide functionality, protection, and sport for a group of anglers that insist on doing things the hard way.  Take a look at this part of your setup and you'll likely make some adjustments that increase your potential for success and manage the risk of doing damage to the rest of your equipment.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando 


In Honor Of the Humble Bluegill

Tosohatchee BluegillEven though there are so many different fish and so many ways to catch them, few species hold a special place in more people’s hearts like the humble Bluegill.  And there are a lot of reasons they rank towards the top of the list when you ask random fishermen what they enjoy chasing most, and why.

I’d be willing to bet that if you ask 100 anglers of varying ages “What was the first fish you can remember going after when you started out?” you’ll get a very diverse list but the bluegill will rise to the top by a pretty solid margin.  They’re everywhere, they eat a variety of baits (natural, artificial, and fly), they fight like the dickins, and they taste pretty darn good when scaled and fried up just like mom did it.   Innumerable folks start out chasing bluegill as kids with a simple outfit complete with a Zebco rod and reel, a red and white bobber, single hook, and a coffee can of red wigglers.  I count myself as one of the lucky ones to have spent a good portion of my young life sitting along the bank of Howard Eaton Reservoir, or anchored in the lily pads in Presque Isle State Park.  Family fishing trips taught us patience and how to get along with our siblings in a small boat, as well has how to appreciate the beauty and peace of fishing.  Bluegill played a big part in our young lives for sure.

Nowadays, I don’t target them as much unless I happen upon a spawning congregation, but even then it’s just to do some experimentation and see how a new fly works, or to end a long dry spell between fish.  They’re always around and almost always willing to play along for a few minutes provided I can figure out what fly to throw at them.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and that’s why I keep trying.

There is a bit of a challenge to catching gills if they really aren’t in the mood, and a lot of people don’t figure it out for a while.  Bluegill aren’t chaser’s in the same sense that bass are, meaning they don’t pursue their prey very far and most people work artificial baits and flies too fast in the first place, missing a lot of catchable fish as a result.  Topwater flies should shake and shimmy to imitate a distressed insect, while subsurface offerings can either slowly sink through the water column or be stripped along slowly and steadily.  Before making that first cast, try to imagine how far and fast a grass shrimp or damsel fly larva moves through the water.

Presque Isle FishingRed wigglers, crickets, wax worms, grubs, small minnows, bread balls, and many other natural baits (even hot dog chunks) will entice a strike when in the zone, so kiddies and their parents or grandparents aren’t left out in the cold.  Tossing bait and waiting for something to happen is how a lot of fishermen got started in the past and it still works today, especially when indoctrinating youngsters into the sport.  Just be sure to have something else for your budding angler to do between bites since it may take some time for things to heat up.

Bluegill unfairly get lumped in with all the other “Bream” down here in the south and maybe there should be a movement to correctly identify them out of respect.  They’re hungry, strong, available, tasty, and willing to eat a wide variety of offerings, so load up the tackle, the kids, and a can of red wigglers for a ton of fun while chasing the humble Bluegill.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando.


Who Stole Spring?

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Ok, just one question. Who stole Spring?  It seems I remember snow, sleet and cold blowing  rain just a moment ago.  I'm not Rip Van Winkle. I didn't sleep through it.  It's late March and it's 84 degrees outside.  Spring is supposed to have brisk mornings followed by brilliant rays of sunshine that melt away the gloom of Winter, not cranking the air conditioner to full blast to fend off the heat.

  What does this have to do with fishing? Well, pretty much everything at this time of year.  The four most popular fish, largemouth bass, crappie, sandbass/hybrids,and catfish use the cool of Spring to do their spawning.  If the water temperatures soar above the optimal for our favorite species, they will most likely have an abbreviated spawn. What does that mean?

First, and most importantly, it means if you want to catch fish during their spawn you better get cracking.  The largemouths were just beginning to get into their pre-spawn patterns when that frozen blast knocked the bottom out of water temps. It also caused the the water  to rise into places it hasn't been in three to four years. Combine these conditions and just when poor mama bass was just about ready to drop her eggs and go into defensive mode  Mother nature threw her a curve.  It also muddied up the water in the areas they prefer to lay their eggs. These thee factors changed not only where you might want to look for them, but what you might use to catch them.

  Lots of folks traditionally creep lizards or crawfish soft plastics through likely places. With the water deeply stained by sediment  you pretty much have to hit that big spawning female right in the nose to get her to react.  So far this season we're getting  good reports from fishers who've added lures that both represent nest poachers and either vibrate or click to their usual collection of "normal" Spring offerings. If you let the fish know that potential danger is near the nest with bass jigs with rattlechambers, like the Bass Pro Shops Rattling Enticer  Jig  you will surely let that trophy bass have something to zero in on.  You can also try slow rolling a colorado-bladed spinnerbait around fairly shallow, stained water, that  is close to cover and deeper water. A couple of good choices in spinnerbaits are the Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Tandem Spinnerbait or  add a selection from Booyah Spinnerbaits. The best selling bass lure right now has been the all new Bass Pro Shops Chatterbait. This new bait comes in a number of colors, but there is one called bully bream that I can't wait to try out!

  Crappie fishers have been hitting good numbers and the photos I've seen recently show a lot of big fat "slabs".  The water temperatures haven't been as critical on the crappie population as far as their spawn...yet. Crappie usually hang in deeper water around cover like brush piles until the water temps reach between 52 and 65 degrees. Hopefully the shallows where they love to lay their eggs will clear up in the next week. When it does, all you waders, float tubers and paddle-powered fishers need to be ready to pounce !  The air temperatures will warm the water quickly if this quick warming trend continues so be ready.  For now the best results have been on crappie jigs. All kinds of color combinations have been flying out the door. If you want to know my personal'll just can't go wrong with the Bass Pro Bumble Bee in Monkey Milk color for deeper water.  Switch to  black and chartreuse when they do move up shallow.

  For our minnow dunking friends the reports have been good too. Don't wait til the last minute to get your minnow bucket, aerators, dip nets, hooks and bobbers . The spawn may be abbreviated this year. Don't miss any of it waiting to gear up.

 Attention sandbassers and hybrid hunters!  The recent rains that have raised our lakes with water, pretty much emptied our area lakes of huge numbers of sandbass and hybrids.  Yes, as the water from the feeder creeks pouring into the lakes, the sandbass head upstream looking for moving water in which to lay their eggs and fertilize them. Sandbass don't make nests, they are actually programmed to do all their reproductive rituals in moving water so get out your mud boots and find a good feeder creek. Running water is good, but creeks that are fast moving and swolen by rain are dangerous and the fish tend to scatter. Remember that hybrid stripers are a mix of sandbass and saltwater stripers. They can't reproduce, but they did not get that memo and travel along with the sandbass into creeks and rivers.

  I found a really good creek stomping sandbass chasing, dependable, strong, smooth reel. It's actually a Crappie Maxx spinning reel. It's drag is smooth and strong enough to handle the strong sudden smash of a hybrid when adjusted properly.  One great lure selections for sandies in the creeks are the Blue Fox inline spinner, either silver or blue with the number 2 blade. Another is any one of a group of soft plastic three inch minnow imitations mounted on a 1/16 or 1/32 jig head. Bounce these offerings off the bottom and as close to the channel as you can. Hang on!

You'll have to hurry on the sandbass/hybrid action to. As soon as the water temp in the lakes and the stream temps are equal the sandies won't bother making the trek upstream. They will simply spawn in the lake off windy sandbar points.

 Catfish have not been as affected by the rising warming water too much yet. They're still going to be found fairly shallow. Their spawn is right around the corner, as a matter of fact, it may be accelerated by warming waters.  Here are a couple rules of thumb for you. Generally speaking...I say generally... blue cats tend to hit fresh dead shad. Get a cast net and a bucket and probe boat launches to get your fresh bait.

Channel cats seem to prefer stink baits, also called "prepared baits."  The big flatheads lean toward prefer to munch on bream (sunfish) .  Get some worms, crappie nibbles, small hooks and go "perch jerking," to garner goodies for these monsters.  Don't forget you'll need size appropriate hooks too. Catfish in the "eater" class usually take baits that can be mounted on 3/0 hooks and smaller, while "trophy cats" require a larger, stronger hook to handle their lockjaw grip, weight, and fighting ability. Come in soon to get outfitted with the Catt Maxx rods and reels for all the cats you want to catch, it's an extremely dependable outfit that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg.

  So it doesn't really matter where Spring went. What matters is that you get busy, get equipped, get informed and get on the water.

 Bend a rod for us!
 Bill Sankey
Fishing Lead
Bass Pro Shops, Garland Tx.


Come Join Captain Jerry Appling Fly Casting Class

Working at Bass Pro Shops is an awesome experience especially when you get to work with legends such as Captain Jerry Appling. Captain Jerry is currently employed in our Fly Fishing department, and has been for the past eight years.  In addition, Captain Jerry has been teaching customers how to fly cast for over 35 years.  He states that fly fishing has always been his passion since he started back in 1955.

Fly casting may seem easy, particularly when you watch Captain Jerry in motion. However, Captain Jerry states that fly fishing requires more performance than regular rod and reel casting; it’s a technical way to fish. It’s a method that involves a lot of practice in order to perfect this skill. If you’ve been struggling or are interested in learning how to fly cast, who better would we recommend than Captain Jerry Appling.  Capt.

Jerry holds his fly casting classes at Bass Pro Shops Miami in the Fly Shop department, every Saturday at 4pm. You must call in advance to make an appointment because class sizes are limited (4 customers max).  If you, a friend, or family member would be interested in learning how to fly cast (free of charge), feel free to call Capt. Jerry at 305-341-4200 extension 4045, to schedule an appointment. Also, its first come first served. Where are we located, at Dolphin Mall Miami: 11551 NW 12 Street Miami, FL 33172. Please call if you have any questions 305-341-4200. Hope to see you there!


Capt. Jerry recommends customers to use a 5 pound fly rod and line for fresh water fishing, & a 9 pound fly rod and line for salt water fishing.


White River Fly Shop Fly/Spin Rod and Reel Combo (SKU# 949449)

Created by: Victoria Sanchez

Special thanks Captain Jerry Appling


Tie One On: San Juan Worm

We’re getting back to the roots of Tie One On blogs this month. We’re going to focus on a specific fly pattern, which has not happened for a couple months. The pattern I chose is actually quite controversial to some. Many people consider fly-fishing an art as opposed to a sport. You know the kind. They’ll have a one-piece bamboo rod and be dressed straight out of some Thoreau. And that’s OK because to each their own. Honestly anyone can appreciate the delicate work it takes to fly fish, but that is the thing: fly. This month’s pattern is not a fly but a worm. The San Juan Worm.

Fly patterns are created to mimic the natural forage of fish. Some are specific and other can imitate numerous things, but that is their purpose. They are designed, crafted and worked to catch fish. And to catch fish, it needs to look like food.

The San Juan Worm was designed for part of the San Juan River in New Mexico. Here, part of the fish’s natural forage is small aquatic worms. They are roughly a couple inches and found on the bottom of the riverbed. It is quite common to be able to flip over a rock, stir up some mud and see the little creatures moving. So the fly pattern was designed to imitate those worms.

The San Juan Worm is typically tied onto hooks sizes 6-10. The standard is a red chenille tied on the shank of the hook and formed to resemble a worm. Some will use copper wire to add weight to their fly in order for it to sink faster. Of course there are some in different colors or sizes or variations, but the standard is just that.

Most new fly-fishermen would see this pattern in a shop and instinctively purchase some. I mean the night crawler is such standard bait in regular fishing, that it has to be the same in fly-fishing. Right? Eh. Not so much. Will it work in the San Juan River? You betcha. Other waters? Maybe. Don’t know until you try. But if there are no small aquatic worms present in the body of water you are fishing, I’d say try a different pattern.

Honestly some of the biggest controversy with this pattern is that it has the word worm in it. A long time ago fly-fishermen and regular fishermen started a kind of rivalry. Regular fishermen would use a simple hook and worm technique to catch fish, whereas fly-fishermen would spend minutes if not hours preparing to fish. Sure worms caught fish, but in a much less artistic and personal way. When you get a fish on a fly-rod you can feel the fish so much better and almost get an understanding of it. Sounds weird I know, but it’s true.

Not buying it? Well don’t hate until you try. And what’s the worst that could happen? You spend a day on the water, trying to fly fish and don’t catch anything? You can do that with regular fishing as well!


Woolly Bugger Royal Coachman Pheasant Tail Nymph Crawshrimp

Trilene Knot The Adams Dropper Loop Spinner


Tilapia Fishing or Watching Paint Dry.... Your Choice

Scott's Blue Tilapia on FlyIf a title like that doesn't catch your attention then nothing will, but trying to fool a fish that for the most part is unwilling to take any type of bait can be a true test of will, sanity, and patience.  Each year during the spring we'll hit the local lakes and ponds looking to hook into one of the regions more successful invasive species, the Blue Tilapia.

Blue Tilapia have expanded their range to include just about every waterway imaginable across the state and their spawning beds make for a pretty conspicuous clue that they're in the area.  Tilapia spawn right after most of the bass and their beds can make the sandy shallows look like a moonscape.  Each bowl-shaped nest is about the size of a truck tire and during the peak of the season there will be a single, fiercely-aggressive, and meticulously-cleaning, tilapia parent.  Their aggressive nature and obsessive compulsive cleaning is what we use to our advantage when trying to catch one on fly.

Unfortunately though, this is a waiting game with very limited casting followed by extended periods of standing as still as a hunting heron, and then impossibly light strikes. The normal scenario includes finding an active bed with a fish on it, the fish spooks, you cast into the bed, the fish eventually returns, it stares at the fly for a while, it picks up the fly and tries to move it out of the bed, fight on.  I've actually stood over a single bed for upwards of 15 minutes waiting for the fish to return after fleeing the bed, only to have it spook again or come to rest in the bed without noticing my fly.  That can be more than a little irritating.

Five or six weight rods with fairly light leaders and smallish and lightly dressed flies are the tools of the trade when chasing tilapia because they aren't overly powerful nor are the flies so large as to require a heavyweight rod.  About the only trick to hooking up is using a fly that's large enough to get the fish's attention but dressed sparsely enough that the fish gets the hook in its mouth rather than a bunch of fluffy material.  A simple wooly bugger or something similar should work pretty well if you find cooperative fish.  Bowfishing is another popular method of taking tilapia during the spawn but there's no way to practice catch an release with an arrow so it's only a method to explore if you have a way to dispose of your catch

So why would anyone go through all this for a very low likelihood of success?  Because it's a fish, there's a ton of them around, they'll eventually bite, and are a lot of fun on a fly rod.  Scott and I are in an informal competition to catch the most fish species on fly so he just had to get one since I've already checked that one off the list.  Living in a place with as many fish as Florida means that we throw a fly at anything that swims no matter how tough or uncooperative it might be.  Being well-rounded and flexible allows us to extend our season through the entire year, with very little down time.  We might even come home with something for dinner on occasion.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando



This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - 2015 Spring Fishing Classic!

With all this snow, we're READY to talk spring! The Spring Fishing Classic kicks off this Friday, February 6! Ten days of deals, promotions, seminars and, of course, our Next Generation weekend just for kids!

Here's this weekend's line up!

Friday, February 6

The Spring Fishing Classic begins!

Throughout the Classic (Feb. 6-15) enjoy these promotions!

  • Rod and Reel Trade-In: Trade in your old reel and save even more on a new one! Trade in your old rod and save on a new one of those, too!  Not only does the event now last for the duration of the Classic, it also now includes fly rods and reels!

Rods and reels must not be broken...they are donated to Lake View Camp in Pella, Boy Scouts, the DNR, and Wounded Warriors.

  • Instant Rebate - Use your Bass Pro Shops MasterCard to buy new gear and receive an instant rebate up to $100. Use any other MasterCard and receive an instant rebate up to $50. Details and limitations at!

Uncle Buck's Fish BatterSaturday, February 7

Fried Fish Sampling - 2-5 p.m. We're frying up fish using Uncle Buck's Fish Batter in Original, Mild, and Hot & Spicy (by the aquarium, while supplies last).

Try Before You Buy - Noon-4 p.m. Our Gifts Department will also be serving up samples of Uncle Buck's Summer Sausage with Cherith Valley Mustard (by the Sunglasses Counter, while supplies last).

Pro Staff - Pro Staff Lance Baker, representing Daiwa, and Kary Ray, representing Lowrance products, will be in the store to answer your questions!

Sunday, February 8

BassMaster University - 2 p.m.

We welcome National Pro and Walleye Champion Chase Parsons! Check out the link to hear what Chase will be talking about!

Try Before You Buy - Noon-4 p.m. The Gifts Department will handing out samples of our various Uncle Buck's Extra Large Virginia Peanuts (by the Sunglasses Counter, while supplies last)!

Maui Jim Vendor - Find out more about Maui Jim Sunglasses - 11 a.m.-4 p.m. - A vendor rep will be at the sunglasses counter to answer questions!

Legal Heat - Concealed Carry classes will be held Sunday. Visit to register!


Coming up for the second weekend of the Classic?

Next Generation Weekend, Women's Outdoor Cooking and Fishing Tips, and Local Pro Seminars!


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Pay it Forward: Rod and Reel Trade-In

The 2015 Spring Fishing Classic Rod and Reel Trade-In programs bring a new twist this year - you have TEN DAYS to bring in your trades!

Start looking through your garage and rod holders now Trade in your old reel and save even more on a new one! Trade in your old rod and save on a new one of those, too! 

More good news - fly rods and reels are now included!

Here's the most important part of the rod and reel trade-in...they need to be usable, because we, in turn, donate them. Last year our amazing Bass Pro Shops Altoona customers donated over 360 reels and 210 rods! All were donated to the Mid-Iowa Boy Scouts, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Lake View Camp for kids, and to Wounded Warriors.

Have kids or grandkids? Make it a project for and work as a team to go through your fishing rods and reels, then bring them in and take advantage of this great opportunity.

Pay it forward - and help a child, help a veteran, help a family learn to fish.

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