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Second fly swap

As winter sets in there is no better time to get back to your vises. With that in mind I am happy to announce our Second fly swap.

The theme for this year will be Bass flies. This swap is open to all members all levels. I encourage our new members and beginner tiers to participate. Swaps are designed to help motivate you. Practice and refine your technique, share thoughts and questions with fellow tiers and in return receive several new patterns for you to copy, fish and discuss.

We will need an even number of swappers and to be added to the list of participants please send me a message. We will go with 6 players but I would prefer 10 max 12. It Ambitious, I know. This year we will be each tying two flies.

The rules and procedures of the game are as follow.

If you would like to participate sound off. Please let me know ASAP. I will get a list going. Closing date for signing up is January 31.

Each tier will tie two different patterns. Large or Smallmouth flies are acceptable. Both surface or subsurface flies are acceptable. Any fly you choose is acceptable however I will recommend one surface one subsurface for variety if possible. The amount needed will be announced once we have closed participants. In turn you will receive a variety of 12 – 24 or so distinct flies tied by fellow club members.

The swap is done via mail. Your dozen or less flies will need be shipped to me to arrive before cutoff date of March 3rd. A self-addressed stamped envelope will need to be included with your flies for me to return your package. A crush proof container would help keep you flies in good shape. A condiment container, altoid or pill box work well for this. If you choose to not send a self address stamped envelope please include 2 dollars to cover stamp, and envelope. We can complete swaps at meeting and fly tying if you choose to skip the shipping. I will have the flies returned to you by March 10 as long as everyone meets the deadline.

Each fly should have a toe tag for identification. Since you will be getting 12-24 mixed flies it is an easy way to ID who tied a particular fly and what the fly is called. A small slip of paper with the info in-palled on the hooks works great. That way, if you wish to ask questions about the fly you can speak to tier without having to send out a mass message asking who tied the fly and your question. I will usually place a piece of tape on the small slip of paper to reinforce it so it doesn’t come off in transit.

Dates to remember

Sign up by Jan 31

Flies completed and shipped before March 3rd

Flies returned around March 10.

Had a great trip to Laguna Madre, TX last weekend. It was a very short 3  day trip. I traveled on Wednesday meeting my fishing partner in Houston for our connection to South Padre Island airport.  A one hour flight from Houston and one hour drive from the Harligen airport put us on the shores of Laguna Madre.

A huge, beautiful expanse of water. Just a few miles from the Mexico border.  It contains miles and miles of 2-4 foot deep flats of crystal clear saltwater. Our first day the guide ask if we were OK with a long run and exploring a new area and once we agreed he ran the boat at 35 miles per hour North for well over an hour. Nothing but flats as far as the eye could see and not another flats skiff spotted the entire run.

The first day, as is always the case with me. The weather followed me around and posed its challenges but it was much milder than my last few trips. Mostly overcast skies and scattered showers made the fishing difficult at times. A light breeze kept conditions comfortable for the Texas heat. My partner Collin, having been a trout angler in Denver his entire life spent most  of the time on bow getting his casting and spotting dialed in. He quickly got his legs under him and under the guides instruction he casted, teased and hooked a fish without ever seeing the fish before the strike.  We boated our first Redfish by 9 AM. The fishing was slower then the guide had hoped for but by the end of the day we had both boated several Redfish and large Speckle Trout.

The second day got of to a real bang, only 20 minutes away from the launch we pulled into a bay full of tailing Redfish as far as the eye could see. Thankful and impressed by the capabilities of the guides Hell’s Bay flats skiff we ran in at top speed in less than a foot of water and polled within casting distance in two-three inches of water. We found lots of happy and hungry to cast too.  We were plagued by some heavy rain shower off and on that kept us putting and taking off our rain jackets. The showers would move quickly rain for 15-20 minutes and move out leaving a blinding Texas sun.  We spend 6 of our 8 hour of fishing in a bay the size of round bay. I caught about ten reds the second day. With my partner boating half that. Back at the dock at 4 and to the airport for a 630 departure.

Just a few short days after arriving from Belize I was greeted in Port Austin Michigan with 42 degrees, overcast rainy skies and my trusted old friend of 20 knot winds. Catch and release season for Smallmouth open just one week ago and in hopes of getting in some fishing before the gear anglers get going for the catch and keep season we made the long trek up to the tip of thumb. The strong cold front that made Trap Pond interesting for you guys put the fish down and my foul mood up instantly. I refused to suffer in silence as I talked my fishing partners ear off about how people have to be mad to live in Michigan when its 40 degrees almost well into Summer. I complained about the warm hat I left behind the lovely waterproof gloves that are safe and sound in my basement and the fact I was on a flats boat in 90 degrees not 7 days ago having way more fun. Not surprisingly he had very little sympathy for me, having been born and raised in Germany I was surprised he wasn’t wet wading in shorts.  I am pretty sure I have a self induced eye injury from the massive amount of eye rolling I did every time one of the 40 Michigan fly club members that had been fishing all week in the area said the phrase  “You should have been here yesterday, I caught 18, or 22 (one even said over 30)”

We began fishing Friday evening and fished most of the day Saturday. Although people came and went we stuck it out and manage a decent amount of fish for the conditions.We landed around 10 Smallmouth during the two days of fishing. I am extremely happy with the outcome since we must have seen 100 people wade out give it a try and head home skunked. I only saw two other fish landed during our weekend. Of course it is not always about the catch but the adventure of the trip itself……that’s what people say when you don’t catch fish.


Spent a few days in Belize with wife getting in some great fishing time. Spent 10 days in the North part of Ambergris Caye DIY fishing. I made use of my refined casting skills as the wind blew 15-20 knots almost every day. After complaining up a storm about the wind my prayers were answered and I was rewarded with two days of zero wind. I quickly regretted it as I had to employee the little Trout fishing skills I have and had to go to a 12 foot leader and dry fly presentations to catch any Bonefish during the calm days. I averaged between 5 and 10 Bonefish per day. I walked an average of 10 miles in search of my Permit and after only one solid opportunity during the week I had to move on without making it happen. I caught several Tarpon over the week and was rewarded with a broken 10 WT for my troubles.

I moved into town to finish up the last few days. I had two days with a guide and burned my retinas off in search of Permit that never showed. On the second day the guide was relieved when I said I was done looking for Permit lets looks for Bonefish.





Three weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Wulff Fly fishing school in New York. The class was hosted on the Wulff property along the banks of the Beaverkill River. Three days of intensive fly casting instruction. The group of 18 consisted of a very diverse mix of anglers looking to advance our casting skill.  The 4 gifted and talented instructors had us casting more in a few days than I do during most of my fishing vacations. Joan Wulff made several appearances during the weekend and at 91 she is still as sharp and graceful as she ever was.  Over all it was and amazing experience. Almost too much to take in in a single weekend.  I only wish I had attended the school many years ago before I developed all the bad habits I had a difficult time breaking.



A special thank you to Joe Bruce and all the FSFF members who came to this morning’s Bullet Head Darter tying demonstration.  Twenty people received Joe’s excellent advice not only on tying the Darter and its many variations but general tying tips applicable to all flies.  He also discussed how to fish the Darter.  I know I speak for those who attended in thanking Joe for sharing his time, talent and ample angling knowledge with us.

Special thank you to all the members who participated in our first fly swap this year. The theme was Bluegill/Panfish flies all member submitted outstanding patters. Nice job guys.

Joe Slayton Bully Spider


Mike Mattia with a personal patter he calls the Eyedaddy. Nice job Mike.

Frank Klemm’s Mickey Finn

A special thank you to Jeff Bahr who is no longer in the area but continues participate in our functions.

Jeff Bahr

Walter Marcella

Luis Santiago Muddler Minnow

Luis Santiago Mosquito

Luis Santiago Bluegill popper