Fly fishing the Upper Genesee River in New York

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Despite the cold temperatures, it was nice to have the sun make a brief appearance on this winter afternoon on the Upper Genesee River.

Kevin has declared this year to be “The Year of the Smallie”.  Smallmouth bass are my favorite species, so I’m all game for them to be the focus of our addiction – our drug of choice – for this year. To this, I’ve added an additional personal challenge of fly fishing.

Toward this effort, my son and I took to exploring the Upper Genesee River today in the Southern Tier of New York and made it all the way down to Allegheny County to a stretch just north of Shongo.

I knew there was purportedly trout water and smallmouth bass down this way and we gave it a try in the sub-thirty degree air temperatures.  We had some minor trouble with our rod guides icing up, but nothing too major.

No fish were caught, but at least I finally have proof that I fly fish to show on Fishgator (fly-catching might be another story), and we had a great time getting away for the afternoon. I know that I was using too heavy gear and flies that were too large, but at least I got in some practice casting.

My soon-to-be 16-year-old son has really taken to fly fishing – truth be told, he’s much better than I am…

It is great to watch my son, Alan, developing to become a skilled fly angler.

We are contemplating returning for a float and fly fish trip by kayaks sometime this Spring. I’ll try to be better prepared if we do!


Lack of winter ice fishing leads to a new fishing activity…

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Lack of ice fishing due to warm weather prompted my taking up a new fighing related activity - tying flies like this double bunny strip. I'm nowhere near a proficient fly tyer, but still hope they'll catch fish!

It’s funny how unplanned things can lead to other things.  Early in the winter I was eagerly anticipating the coming cold weather with thoughts of getting onto the ice for some great fishing.  As the winter went on, it became apparent that thick ice (what I would consider safe) was not coming to Western New York.  I even had the opportunity on week ago to get out and do some some kayak fishing with Kevin because a lake that normally has a foot of ice by this time of the year was completely open water.

I wasn’t about to let the lack of ice stop me from some type of fishing-related activity this winter, so after I made a long-overdue upgrade in my prescription eye wear, I set about doing something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time, and began tying flies.  I’m still very much a novice, but I’m quite proud of my progress.  As it turns out, I really enjoy tying flies!

A re-purposed stainless steel medical roll cart makes a great fly tying bench!

With the help of some Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Christmas gift cards that were burning a hole in my pocket, I’m amassing a nice assortment of fly tying tools and materials.  This afternoon with help from my son who has been tying flies for the past two years, I even re-purposed a stainless steel medical roll card to be a fly tying bench.

Most of what I have tied over the last week is intended for bass fishing.  I can’t wait for things to warm up a bit so I can try ‘em out!

guys,flies and pies Rochester, NY

Guys (and girls), Flies, and Pies!

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I’ve been waiting for the next annual Guys, Flies, and Pies since I first heard about it at the 2011 Rochester Sportsman’s Expo last March, where I met Michael Simmons, the event organizer. Michael was tying flies at the Seth Green Society Chapter of Trout Unlimited booth right next to our Western NY Kayak Fishing Association Booth. I had a budding interest in fly tying at the time (my son had beat me to it by a year or so…) and Michael told me he had just begun kayak fishing. He then told me about Guys, Flies, and Pies and invited me to come.  My wait is nearly over because IT’S NEXT WEEKEND!

Guys, Flies, and Pies is a public event in it’s fifth year running, and is an afternoon and evening of fly tying, demos, door prizes, raffles, and eating all the PIZZA you can eat (hence the “Pies” as in pizza pies…). It promises to be a lot of fun!

Here is the pertinent information:

Date: February 18th 2012
Time: 3pm – Midnight
Location: 3666 Latta Road Rochester, NY 14612
Cost: $12 at the door ($10 if prepaid via PayPal)
Website for more info:

Bring your vise and tying materials and join me! NOTE: It’s also not just for guys. ;)

Red Truck Premium Series Fly Rods

Red Truck Premium Series Fly Rods

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Red Truck Premium Series Fly Rods

Leland Outfitters has announced the new Red Truck Rod Premium Series Fly Rods.

December 5, 2010 (San Francisco, CA): With the growing popularity of Red Truck’s proven Diesel Series of fly rods, Red Truck raises the bar with its new Premium Series.

A New Approach for the Red Truck Premium Series Fly Rod

Backed by 200 years of combined fly fishing, guiding and casting instruction experience, the product development team at Red Truck offers their Premium collection of performance fly rods designed to compete with the best rods on the market. These lightweight, stable, great-tracking fly rods all share a true-progressive action. When using a modern, compact casting stroke, the result is amazing line control and effortless loops at any distance.

Sum of the Parts

Ultra-light, high-modulus blanks are adorned with the best components available. REC Recoil titanium snake guides are corrosion resistant, light weight and offer shape memory. This magic “memory metal” always returns to its original form if compressed. American Tackle’s titanium stripping guides are all but bomb-proof and further reduce rod weight.

A carbon-weave reel seat spacer, laser-etched gold anodized reel seat hardware and a top quality cork grip round out the component package. A quick-drying rod sock protects your investment cradled in the lightweight olive-died, carbon-weave rod tube. And of course, there’s a Red Truck “Brews-Key” bottle opener hidden in the rod tube cap…another added bonus for this ultra-light, high-performance casting tool.

The Red Truck Premium Series Fly Rod Line Up

The Red Truck Premium Series of 4- piece fly rods is initially offered in three single hand models: (9’#5, 10’#7, 9’#8) and two 2-hand models: (11’#7 Switch, 13’6”#7 Swing). Each model provides unmatched performance in the most popular weights.

Red Truck Premium Series Fly Rod Outfit Option

To compliment their Red Truck Premium fly rods, the team at Red Truck will offer a series of Premium fly reels. Machined from solid bar-stock, aircraft-grade aluminum, these anodized large-arbor fly reels incorporate a proven draw-bar cork disc-drag mechanism that is not only butter smooth but also powerful.

The Red Truck Challenge

Red Truck is so confident in their rods, that they bravely request you cast and fish them against your current fly rods. Regardless of brand and price tag, they believe it will be your new favorite fly rod. If it isn’t, they want you to send it back for a full refund.

The Red Truck Warranty

1. If your Red Truck fly rod breaks due to manufacturer defect, they will replace the broken section or make the appropriate replacement for your rod.

2. If you break your Red Truck fly rod due to normal fishing related activity, they ask that you pay the reasonable replacement price, at no profit to Red Truck.

The Red Truck Premium Series Bottom Line

Lightweight performance with the ultimate components at an unsurpassed value.

About Red Truck Fly Rods

Red Truck was formed with one goal: to make fly fishing better for everyone. At Red Truck, they think everyone should have the opportunity to fish with the best equipment available, at the best price possible. At Red Truck, you get more!

The Future of Kayak Fishing

The State of Fishing: Being an Ambassador

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With every privilege comes great responsibility.

The word responsibility has sort of lost its meaning over time, with everyone looking to duck blame, or distance themselves from bad situations that they might in fact themselves be responsible for.  It’s easy to fall into that trap when you watch the news, and listen to politicians shirk their own responsibilities, or when you watch reality television, and see people essentially go through lives that seem to have very little repercussion.

Every once in a while, you come across a writing that jolts you back to the REAL reality of the human condition.  We’re all in this together. This planet belongs to none of us, and yet all of us.

This week, I read just such a blog post.  It was written by a young man named Dylan Rose.  Dylan’s a fly fisherman andDylan Rose from Skate The Fly blogger, and from what I can gather on his website at, a pretty down to earth kind of guy.  His musings ramble like a good trout stream.  Although, from the home page, you get the feeling he might be more at home on a sluggish back water, casting poppers way too big for the fish that live there, and loving every minute of it.

Sure, his little bio picture to the right shows him holding a blue bell trout in “fine and far off” conditions.  But, go look at this home page.  You might be surprised at his featured image.

Further though, you start reading.  This guy knows what he’s doing.  He catches big trout.  He has beautiful pictures taken of them.  He might be JUST LIKE the lawyer you met on Oatka Creek that tried to muscle you out of a honey hole you had every right to be in.

But he isn’t.

Last week, he posted a piece about Oprah Winfrey.  I know, I know, classic fly fishing fodder.

As I read it, I was amazed at how his attitude mirrored mine so much.  It’s not the fly rod you carry that makes you.  It’s not your waders, or your fly selection, or the logo on your hat.

Rather, it’s your respect for the waters you fish, the people you fish them with, and the fish you target.

Dylan says:

Yet again I was made privy to an article that made me want to vomit a little in my mouth by the ever endearing Moldy Chum blog. This time it was Matt Labash’s post on the Daily Caller about the recent fly fishing excursion Oprah made to the Merced River in an effort to create a camping/outdoorsy themed show. He decides to take the position of a grizzled fly fishing vet all bent out-of-shape because Oprah went fly fishing (whom he regards as a “war criminal”), and is frightened that “tens of thousands” of “…galoots following Oprah’s lead…” will go tromping through the “best water” and spoil the fishing for “…the rest of us”.

Really? You’re going to be that guy? The alarmist scared fly fishing old man that is bummed out about the fact that all the good water is infested with fly fisherman that are not anointed because they weren’t on the river before the River Runs Through It craze? The same guy that would blow me off on the river when a 17 year old version of myself asked “what’re they were biting on?”, only to get smirked at because I was wearing soaking wet Levis instead of Simms waders, and getting skunked because I didn’t know what the Latin name for the little green bugs flying around was (still don’t know). Are you part of the fly fishing contingent on the far right that was scared that Obama was going to ban fishing for all eternity several months ago? Give me a break.

Please, please go read the rest of his post here: An Oprah Rant; Get Over It, Dude.

We Should Be Fishing Ambassadors

The Future of Kayak Fishing

We were all that kid in Levi’s at one point.  Unsure how to hold a fly rod.  Not aware of how to launch a kayak through breakers on Lake Ontario or the Atlantic Ocean.

Now that I’m both a kayak fisherman and a fly fisherman (and, dare I say, more than two times 17), I think I’ve quietly accepted my mission.  I don’t want to be the guy that doesn’t help out.  I don’t want to worry about 2 kayaks being at my favorite spot on the Finger Lakes, or a caster being at my favorite slick water on the Oatka.

I’d prefer to be an ambassador.  It’s why we started the Western New York Kayak Fishing Association.  It’s why I invite anyone and everyone I meet to come fishing with me.  And it’s why I’m late to work sometimes, because someone stops me in a gas station parking lot and asks me about the Liquid Logic stuck on my roof.

“Is it stable?”

“Can I duck hunt out of it?”

“Where did you get it?”

The kids are always the future of any sport, pastime, or worthy pursuit.  That’s an idea beaten into our heads mercilessly.  I think too that my father in law, my next door neighbor, and some random guy that sends me an email are the future of our sport as well.

And that’s why I discuss it at length with anyone who will listen.  I want to grow the sport, not keep it for myself.

It’s not all altruism either.  There’s strength in numbers. Masses have a voice, and that’s important to all of us in these days of “ban before understanding” legislation.  I’ll admit, I was a little worried when the Obama issue came up that Dylan mentions in his post.  But that’s the beauty of a group having a voice.  Could the banning of recreational fishing on public property really come to pass?  Very, very, very unlikely.  I know that now.

And it’s in reading well thought out pieces like Dylan’s that the point gets driven home.  Thanks for writing it, Dylan.

Again, you can read more about him at or follow him at Twitter: SkateTheFly.