Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Godfather

The old man parked his minivan streamside and approached the bridge to inspect a pool he may have fished over a 1,000 times. Although Ryan and I were zeroed in on one particular fish, he had several questions for us.

"It's been pretty slow out here huh? said the old man. 

I replied, "It's been alright," even though the fishing had been quite good the previous day and a half...

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Even the most well known and widely trafficked streams harbor some sense of anticipation for the uninitiated. One's mind develops a mental image of what they think the stream looks like, behaves, and fishes. Upon arrival, that image can wildly differ from the litany of fish stories one hear's about a body of water. In my particular case, the perception I had of a wild brown trout stream situated in a highly populated area, far surpassed ten plus years of thinking I knew what to expect.

What I found was a beautiful clear flowing stream encased in several inches of freshly fallen snow. Winter's last gasp fell in the early day's of spring and I wasn't complaining. Expecting early black and brown stones, I found a fairly intense midge hatch. Due to the amount of midges on the water, I thought I was going to have an easy time of it, but the fish did not give in to my presentations nor flies. It took an hour, but I finally saw my first rise form in an area of a run I wasn't looking for one in.   A delightful wild brown missed my dry fly and then fell for my dropper on the next cast. She signaled  in the beginning of my spring and a burgeoning relationship between the new stream and I.

We can't ask much more than our expectations to be surpassed. Rather than having the run of stream from the get go, I prefer my fishing situations to be more of a challenge. In this particular instance, I now know that this flowing body of water will not be giving up her secrets easily. Our relationship will need to be forged overtime. As the seasons and hatches change, I look forward to getting to know this small stream and either falling short, matching, or exceeding the stories I've heard about her and her trout.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Muddy Mudskipper

The Muddy Mudskipper

"The highlight of the day came on my hike back to the truck. I decided to focus on fishing streamers on my return journey. I chose a large sculpin with the idea of going big or going home. I was rewarded with one of my largest fish from this stretch of water. Along a slow deep pocket, I bounced the weighted fly along the bottom before coming tight to something that had some weight to it. After a few tense moments I landed the beautiful brown for a few quick photos before sending her on her way." -From Solo in January of 2011. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cape Town Trout

We've been living in Tanzania for three years, and have saved a long break for a trip to Cape Town that we finally cashed in a few weeks ago. Last summer on our road trip through southern Africa, we met some Capetonians in Zambia and hit it off over mutual interests, including fly fishing. They crashed with us for a few days in Dar es Salaam towards the end of their journey, and they repaid the favor by generously hosting us in the city for an entire week.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Variations of a Classic

The Al's Rat...

I found myself stream side gearing up for something I had not done in a very long time, fly fish for trout on my home waters. I happened to be on one of the lesser known limestone streams of my youth  that flows through the middle of one of the largest cities in Pennsylvania. It is and has been home to a thriving population of wild brown trout despite the bad hand they've been dealt over the years. After catching a few wild browns, I saw a beauty of rainbow hiding in some slack water along the roots of a willow. The micro pheasant tail that caught my browns, was steadfastly refused by the big bow. Just like in the old days, I reached for my midge box and picked out a classic Lehigh Valley pattern. An Al's Rat. I sight fished the pattern downstream to the 18" inch fish and picked him up on my first cast. The Al's Rat might be the most simplistic fly pattern I have ever used while simultaneously being the most productive. Over the years, I have fished the original and a few variations of it successfully everywhere I have gone. It is a pattern that should be in every fly box, especially on streams where midges are a predominant food source.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Steelhead Gathering

Got chrome?

A steelhead gathering was conceived in the Fall to spend a few days fishing with some friends whom I have not fished with in quite sometime. Ben had just switched jobs and didn't have to work a weekend for the first time in my living memory. My other buddy Dan moved to Miami last year to take up a job with the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust and never got to truly use his first two hander for steelhead. Another friend Eric, fished with us last year with a single hand rod and left the river wondering "what if". Upon realizing he could come on this trip, he immediately dropped a $1,000 on a brand new spey rod, reel, and line. Joined by two new converts and Ben it was a swing or go home type of time...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Holiday Steel

A holiday well spent...

With Christmas in the rearview mirror, Adam and I escaped north to swing for some steelhead. We were intent on landing some silver before ringing in the New Year. Over the course of three days, we experienced several types of weather but all resulted in some fish...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Fish of 2014


2014 was another fine year for TRIW and our friends. A lot of nice fish were caught and some of them were downright beautiful. The year brought big time stripers with Tyler Nonn of Tidewater Charters, cobia with Kyle Sawyer and Ben Sheppard, tigerfish on the Zambezi, and Adam's first year guiding in Alaska. I held down the home front with the typical trout, carp, steelhead routine. If you happened to fish with us this past year, thanks for all the memories and cheers to 2015!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My 2014 Alaska Guide Season: The Aftershock

© Barry & Cathy Beck (

As some of you know, I spent my summer guiding and fishing at Reel Action Fly Fishing's Alaska Lodge located on the Kanektok River. I had an incredible time and I'm looking forward to the 2015 season. Since being back, I wanted my first post to be a special one... So instead of sifting through thousands of photos from Alaska I thought I would start with the photos I began taking  within moments of stepping off the plane...

Friday, December 12, 2014


Colors of GL steel...

With the thought of several fishless days on my mind, I eagerly anticipated a day when everything would come together. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait too long because of an extended weekend. Adam had a few days off from guiding and we were able to reconvene for our first steelhead action together in almost a year. The last time we swung the river together, it produced one of our best days of fishing. This particular trip did not disappoint and we were able to find quite a few willing participants...