Category Archives: Fly Fishing Tips

Averting Doom – Part 2

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

Part I of this article dealt with wading mishaps. Part II will discuss other risks.

Myself, if I ever actually took a swim while wading, I’d be thinking, “Now keep yer head. Avoid the primary catastrophe here. People have gotten wet before…no biggie. That fly box I just dropped can be replaced…I can ruin my electronic car keys and camera and phone…all replaceable…my waders can fill and drag me down and I can go unconscious and end up miles downstream with amnesia…I can even never come up at all and wind up a statistic in tomorrow’s newspaper…all that I can accept. What I can’t accept is if I break this fine hand-made fly rod.”

So keep the wand above your head, or toss it out in the water in front of you, or flip around and splash down nose-to-sky. Just don’t land on the rod.

Figure 2

Gear risks are common in gear-intensive sports, and the finer the gear the more nervous we get. Among the most common risks I’ve fallen prey to is hiking down riverside paths to a likely or favorite hole and finding myself being lightly caressed by briars. It’s not a big deal until I realize there’s now a leak in my prized waders. It’s worth carrying a stick to ensure a clear path, or failing that, to carefully “walk down” those wispy briar branches until there’s zero chance of getting grabbed by one. But then don’t make the mistake of thinking later that the path is clear on your return hike! Other anglers may have come by, and even if not, briar branches have a way of getting themselves back up across paths, like sinister spider webs intent on snaring a hapless fisherman. more…

Averting Doom – Part 1

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

I sit here recalling with an occasional shudder the close calls I’ve had while fly fishing–situations either foreseeable or unexpected that could have been very bad. I thought I’d recall a few of them here.

Naturally risk to self outweighs risk to gear, and as a wading angler most of what I’ve come up against involves danger of drowning. I drove from Ohio to the American west coast as a college student once, got myself up into the High Sierra, and found a little trout stream near a campground. I could see the small pebbles on the bottom so clearly that I knew it was only a foot or so deep, so despite its swiftness I donned my four-dollar vinyl waders and stepped off the bank. And I was in no way a stranger to the wild, or to Mother Nature, either, yet still I was caught by complete surprise that the shallow clear water was actually at least eight feet deep, and that those pebbles were boulders far down below me. “Where the @!*%[email protected] did the bottom go…I was aimin’ right for it, how could I have missed?!” I thought as I went in over my wader tops, saving myself from a brutal flume ride down a swift narrow mountain gorge by clinging to some thorny briars that had thankfully elected to hang over the edge right there. A bad experience turned into no more than a night of shivering in an open-air sleeping bag and a couple of bloodied-by-briars hands to remind me that I was in The West, dang it, where water was clearer than Ohio’s air.

Figure 1

As I wised up (across decades, I admit), and especially now that I’ve spent the last few years teaching my child fly fishing and wading…and thinking about the perils in a more serious way, I found that the primary risks to taking a swim while wading are: more…

Going Up North

Guest Blogger: John Satkowski, Toledo, OH, fly tying demonstrator and instructor, you can find him @ River Raisin Fly Company on Facebook

The coffee was hot and the last drop of grease from my sausage breakfast sandwich was still lingering on my top lip as we crossed the threshold of the Zilwaukee Bridge. When you cross the bridge, you kind of know you are “up north”. Trout of any species were the target and we were going to fish hard for the next two days. We usually leave southeastern Michigan at 2:00 am to get to the river by a little before first light. Michigan’s Au Sable River is one of my favorite places to fish on this earth and I consider myself lucky to have it located in the state where I was born and raised. The river has brook, brown, and rainbow trout in many areas along the scenic banks of northern Michigan. Its beauty is only matched by its rich history and conservation.

The moment you step out of the car, you are greeted by the wonderful aroma of pine and the kind of air that catches dreams. The ever present bald eagle soaring over the river in the distance or the almost audible hum of the many prolific hatches on this historic water engrain themselves into your memory. Whenever life becomes a little too real, I close my eyes and return to this magical place in my mind. Even just driving to the different places to fish offers a glimpse into the logging life of northern Michigan and the Grayling area. If you are not into fishing, there certainly is enough beauty and history to study but we were here for the fish. A quick stop to the Old Au Sable Fly Shop gave us a bit of insight into the current hatches and water levels. I laced up my boots, put my pack around my back, and started down the steps to take my first step into the sandy, crystal clear waters. “Au Sable” in French means in the sand and you will find these sandy banks all along the river’s edges. more…