Browsing articles from "March, 2014"

Spey Casting Tip Tuesday—Mono Running Lines

Mar 25, 2014   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo  //  Comments Off on Spey Casting Tip Tuesday—Mono Running Lines

Skagit Line Caught Steelhead swinging fliesA bit of research at the beginning of this year and some limited experimentation has completely changed my program for winter swinging.   And what a winter to experiment with for cold weather spey casting.  Last February saw mainly 40 degree days and shelf ice free runs.  This one trapped me in the upper river fishing to stale fish for most of the winter to avoid slush and fully locked up pools.  It’s interesting though, the new techniques came through.

This and this and this  came together to allow me to use a skagit line all winter….not something I usually do in the spring summer and fall either.  I considered myself a scandi guy and I was quite proud.  I even swung further up the long belly line in the winter concluding that if I didn’t have to strip line, the guides wouldn’t get iced up.  I found myself hooking more iceburgs that way than fish.  The longer belly also lost control of the fly more often resulting in a faster swing.  It took some fishless days over the past couple of years to come to these realizations and cut through all the pride.  I mean aren’t skagit lines for deep swings and large flies….things that just aren’t reality in the Salmon River.  Low clear flows and spooky fish seem to scream long-belly/scandi/small flies.  Not so much, as I was to find out.  Using mono running lines and a scagit head on my 12 1/2 foot 6 weight allowed me to cut my “guide-clearing” session in about a third, AND using a shorter skagit head afforded me GREATER control of my fly.  I could now pull ALL the mono OFF the water and WALK the skagit head down and across with a high rod tip.  I still tended to gravitate toward the smaller flies for success but could gain great depth this way with extremely light tips, a 2.6ips Rio Versaleader and keep my presentation delicate.

Tip Tuesday: Anchor Placement

Mar 18, 2014   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo  //  Comments Off on Tip Tuesday: Anchor Placement


Week in Review….More Like Day In Review

Mar 8, 2014   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Mojo, Uncategorized, Week In Review  //  Comments Off on Week in Review….More Like Day In Review

So I went fishing yesterday,  Delivered some Fly Fishing Film Tour Posters.  You will be able to start picking up your tickets shortly.  You can pick them up at The Tailwater Lodge in Altmar, NY, Malindas Fly Shop in Altmar, NY, All Season’s Sports in Pulaski, Oak Orchard Fly Shop in Williamsville, NY (Buffalo Area) and Tight Lines Fly Shop, Parsipanny NJ.  They should all have tickets available by early next week.

Then I hit the river.  One thing I always forget is, how warm the March sun can be.  -1 degree at start, 10am and I actually was sweating alittle in my gear.  I am sure it doesn’t hurt that I was a small fortune worth of foul weather gear to begin with but I was definately overdressed.  Since it was so cold, the river had a tremendous amount of slush making swinging flies impossible below

the tressle area.  So that meant heading up to Altmar to find fishable water…it also meant fishing with everybody else.  I don’t consider it really steelheading, fishing for steelhead maybe, but steelheading?  No.  If you know what I mean, then you do.  If you don’t get what I just meant then that’s fine to.  I spend so much time on the Salmon over the year staying away from people, that I often forget just how many steelhead pack up into the upper river in the winter.  I must have seen 3 fish being fought in my brief walk downriver to find a spot.  Of coarse by 10 am, there had been at least 10 boats, 5 bottom bouncers, 2 pinners fishing through the run so I was really just casting for fun waiting for the lower river to clear of the slush.  It was fine though, I was casually casting into the riffle, minding my own business watching a switch rod fisherman bounce nymphs through the head of the run and watching the boat float bobbers in the bucket when the bottom bouncer leap frogged the boat into the tailout.  This allowed me to swing through the top of the run.

I was using an olive and copper Dee I have aptly name Sudden Impact.  And that’s what happened.  It was a solid bump from the fish.  A bit more spiritted than your typical winter take and the fish had a nice little fight in him.  In the low water, I had him in relatively quickly.  Here was a fish that had seen egg sacks, nymphs and who knows what else floated by him day after day, minute after minute and he chose to wack a swung fly.

I was later hanging out in the local fly shop.  I walked right into a conversation about what’s the best way to hook steelhead, nymphing or swinging.  To me it’s a non-issue but I really felt bad for the guy who nymphed.  He was being publically bullied into swinging flies.  Then they turned to me.  This is my response.  “I’ve been fishing up here for 20 years.  I’ve hooked steelhead every way imagionable.   There was a time when you could point out the fish and I’d hook it…not so much legally, but in the mouth, everytime.  And it’s all fun.  Nobody likes to hook fish more than me…but in that 20 years, I’ve hooked a ton of steelhead and salmon, more than anybody probably should be allowed to hook…There is one thing I’ve learned.  Steelhead are easy to hook.  Anybody using anything can probably catch steelhead.  When you think about it, their just big rainbows, and rainbows are pretty easy to catch as a rule, probably second to the brook trout.  But steelhead have one characteristic that make them steelhead.  It’s probably why their steelhead…curiosity.  They are curious by nature…sure you can hook them on something that they are eating, but steelhead will chase something totally foreign to them.  They are like a cat chasing a ribbon.  Who doesn’t like to dangle ribbons for cats.  It’s wildly entertaining.  Steelhead are like cats, and when they’re curious, and chasing ribbons, their fun, and wildly entertaining.  The rest is exactly the same as any other way you hook them,  They fight the same if you hook them on the bottom, with a bobber, or on the swing.  Then only thing that’s ever different is the grab.  And every grab is different.  Jiggles, slow pulls, yanks, the one I call “The 3 Bounces” and best of all the drag singer…They’re all different.  There are curious grabs, angry grabs, nips, territorial death grabs.  What’s not to love!”  That’s why I only swing flies.  I’ve seen steelhead, lots of steelhead.  It’s the grab that intriques me.  I’ve read about the guy on the North Umpqua that fishes without a hook.  I’m not there yet but I know where he’s coming from.


Fly Collection.

Mar 5, 2014   //   by Geoff Schaake   //   Cack Handed, Like Minded Mofos, Mojo, Raffle Prizes, Spey Nation Supporters  //  Comments Off on Fly Collection.

Taking up a collection of flies for our raffles.  Submit one fly of the “swinging variety”…email us for shipping address .  We’ll supply a fly box…and we will include the entire lot in our raffles on June 21 2004 at the Pineville boat launch.  Let’s see what type of flies we can come up with.


Proceeds from our raffle will be donated to the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club, a completely grass routes organization dedicated to re-establishing native fish stocks to Fish Creek in Upstate, NY with the primary focus on restoring runs of native Atlantic Salmon to Fish Creek. You can learn more about their efforts and follow their successes at

Facebook Feed

Stay Informed

Subscribe via RSS