Friday, June 23, 2017

Fishing Hats

What makes a fishing hat a fishing hat??

 We have hats for everything from function to style.  Hats that keep you dry and hats that block the sun and elements.  We have trucker hats and low profile hats.  We have hats for every company it seems out there you can match a hat with your rod, reel, or even fly boxes.  But what makes a hat a fishing hat for you?  For me it's not always the logo or the fit but what story the hat tells.  The sweat stains from hiking into the back country, the memory of that big fish, and trips with great friends while you were wearing it.  A good fishing hat is like a book it tells a story of awesome trips and fish that you will never forget.  Fishing Hats for me is my WVAngler hat and so many awesome NY trips with great friends, my first musky on the fly, or elk river spinner falls, and all those great WVAngler memories weather it be cleanups or tailgates! My Vedavoo hat with wade trips, several 20 inch smallies, and my first walleye on the fly.  My RepYourWater hat because wearing it makes me think of home Almost Heaven WV and all those brook trout Hines it's made into the back country, slaty fork and big browns and browns that never were found, and several fishing buddies!  The colors on a hat my grade, the stitching may fray, the smell may be rough but the memories it brings will make it a treasure that you will never want to part with.  Yes a fishing hat can be many things but what makes it a fishing hat is the fish, the trips, and all those memories that make it special!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Somerset Fly Fishing Show Recap

The Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ is one of the biggest around and attracts tons of visitors and all the big fly fishing companies.  I made the 7 hour trip up to help Scott Hunter in the Vedavoo booth.  I was looking forward to the trip and being able to see some exciting new products that were due out on the market shortly.  It's always an epic time hanging with the Vedavoo brothers Scott and Joel but I was prepared for several epic moments during the weekend.  The weekend started with a late night road trip and plenty of pepperoni rolls and mellow yellow to cover the miles.  First day in Somerset was crazy at times lots of traffic and people checking out new gear.  It's great to see so many people come together for a common passion in fly fishing.  It's always great to be in the Vedavoo booth and see the passion and giving from Scott Hunter, a man that sees a cub scout and rewards him with a new pack with the promise he will reach Eagle Scout or just the giving he constantly does for Project Healing Waters with his Reel Service Project just being completed.  One of the highlights to start day two was waking up and seeing a VT car parked a couple spaces away at the hotel with a sticker on it a very cool thing to see!  Several products stand out over the weekend here is a recap of what stood out the most.

Vedavoo River Quiver - A storage pack for 4 piece rods.  The quiver will hold 4 9ft-10ft 4 piece rods.  With 4 rods and rolled up burrito style it makes it insanely hard to break.  Scott in a trip out west had one mailed back in nothing but a plastic bag with the rods suffering absolutely no issues.  It folds flat to easily fit into overhead storage compartments.
Waterworks Lamson Force SL Series II - This reel takes lightweight to a whole new level.  

Ross Reels Colorado LT - Ross will relaunch a favorite come April the Colorado series.  A lightweight, click and pawl, and large arbour reel.
Cohen's Creatures - Pat keeps adding to his tails and creatures.  One of the new items a double split tail looks like it will be fun to try on Musky.
Blue Halo - One of the vendors I was super excited to check out after hearing so much about their rods!  There RetroFlex II-C 3wt is one sweet 3wt.  Offers a nice glass look, super sensitive feel, and one great casting stick that will bend like nothing else!

Chota Outdoor Gear - Chota has out a new Hybrid Felt Soled Wading Shoe.  Looks to be lightweight, with good drainability, and super comfortable.

Jeff Currier Art - I've been a fan of Currier for a while not many get the chance to catch 300 plus species on a fly rod.  Jeff uses a sharpie to create absolute art on a cliff box.  My brookie turned out sweet!!

Towee Skiffs - The absolute perfect musky rig loaded with tons of great features that makes a day on the water slinging big flies a breeze.

Abel Reels - DeYoung and Larko designs on fly reels give absolute artwork to a reel truly a masterpiece!

Vedavoo Sling - Including brookie print by AD Maddox it becomes not only functional but also extremely cool looking!

River Song Nets and Vedavoo Net Bag - River Song Nets provide a truly awesome piece of craftsmanship a truly awesome net it pairs excellent with the Vedavoo net bag.
Photo courtesy of Vedavoo

Cheeky Fishing - A branch off from them Wingo Belts provide a fish skin wading belt that looks awesome in a brook trout skin!
Photo Courtesy of Cheeky Fishing

Team Vedavoo

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top WVAngler Moments of 2015

7.  Finally had the opportunity to help out PPKTU during the Seneca Rocks cleanup.  It's always good being able to give back and clean up our streams!  The Seneca Rocks stretch may lack in fish but it's one of the coolest spots to fish with the rocks as your backdrop! 

6.  It is always a good time when you get to fish new waters and meet fellow WVAnglers on the stream.  Ran into fellow WVAnglers on trout stream, steelhead waters, the mighty Ohio, and even musky waters.  Got the opportunity to meet Casey, Caleb, Mike, Zach, Jonathan, and several others on the water.  Always great running into new fishing buddies!

5.  It is always great being a part of the Eric Workman Memorial Musky Tournament.  The tournament is always a special time that honors a true hero that gave his life protecting others.  This year was another record year for the tournament.

4.  2015 was another good year spent with good diversity with several different fish species on the fly rod.   In total 15 different species on the fly including musky, gar, smallmouth bass, and black crappie.  Had the opportunity to fish several new bodies of water including the New finally and ot a good taste of is smallies.  Also got lucky enough to be able to land one of my personal best brook trout.

3.  2015 had some great fishing moments and a lot of citation fish but one of the most memorable was a personal best Brook trout.  While helping out during the Seneca Rocks cleanup I was able to get in some time on the water.  The area had been slammed with rain so the streams were running pretty high and full, so what better time to break out the streamer box.  With and average size of 10 inches the biggest fish of the day that whacked a woolybugger was a true gem!!

2.  2015 also brought a new fishing buddy into the year.  My wife and I were blessed to be able to welcome our second daughter Isabella Rose into the world in January.

1.  In 2015 I was very lucky to be able to fill in for Scott Hunter of Vedavoo and help man the Vedavoo booth with Joel at the Lancaster Fly Fishing Show.  It was an awesome experience and truly great being able to represent such an awesomely made in the USA product.  Check out their awesome packs and gear a

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Brookies, Buggers, and Boulders

I finally got a Saturday off and was able to lend a hand at the annual stream cleanup put on by PPKTU at Seneca Rocks.  With several TU chapters , Boy Scouts from Morgantown, and some WVAnglers we were able to clean up a pile of trash!  By the time we were done and a few pepperoni rolls were consumed it was time to find some trout.  With recent rains the water was moving and there was a lot of it, pure whitewater in spots.  It was conditions that some don't look for but personally I was excited.  Conditions like these meant that it was a god time to breat out some streamers and wooly buggers, today was destined to be a day of Brookies, Buggers, and Boulders.  I knew if I could find a few seams and some slack water created by those big mountain boulders there would be some good sized fish willing to take a bugger!  Things started off slow but I was soon rewarded by a nicely colored Brookie.  With the skunk off it was time to get serious and go after some big fish.  The sun put a little bit of heat in the air made it perfect for wet wading and also perfect for a nice little blanket Caddis hatch.  The fish were on with the conditions and with the Caddis hatching they started getting aggressive and slamming the bugger or pheasant tail.  They stayed pretty aggressive to the bugger all day and fish were picked up in every good holding spot.  Some people get different joys out of fishing, some go nuts over a fish rising to a dry fly for me there is nothing better than a fish slamming a streamer especially if your fishing a light weight rod.  This day my old Orvis Silver Lable 3 wt was the rod of choice it's one of my first rods and still holds a special place in the collection especially when you take it out onto stream for an epic day.  Most people see heavy rains and streams flowing full and fast shy away me I just grab a fly box full of streamers and hold on sometimes you strike out but other times your rewarded with huge fish!  This was one of those days where the average Brookie was around the 9-10 inch range a day you can call a blessing and a success!


Friday, March 6, 2015

WV Birthplace of Rivers National Monument

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend The Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster, PA.  The Harrisburg/Carlisle area is not far away and with it comes such history and treasures from years past.  Sharing the Vedavoo booth with a fellow PA Native Joel LaMarco I heard tons of stories of these fabled waters.  They had a booth for the PA Fly Fishing Museum which has collections at a few places including Boiling Springs.  Even growing up fishing the Elk I often heard elkfisher talk of this area and its waters.  Attending the show it just showed how they want to preserve this rich heritage and the true pride they do have for it. 

Heritage is an important thing and without preserving it at times it gets lost or forgotten by future generations.  The Birthplace of Rivers National Monument would preserve traditional land uses like hunting and fishing for the future.  The land would be preserved for generations to come without fear of it being developed by any means. The protections created would protect the area for all to enjoy.  This is a special area as it is the headwaters of six rivers the Cranberry, Greenbrier, Williams, Cherry, Gauley, and the Elk.  This plan is not to change the area but it only will do the same thing a museum does it will preserve this pristine area for future generations.  When most people think of fishing they think of these streams whether it would be taking a backpack trip into he cranberry, fishing for Browns on the Williams, wild bows on the Elk, or catching native Brook trout in the Monongahela National Forest.  These are areas where most can say they first cast a fly or went trout fishing with dad.  By becoming WV's first National Monument it would allow our grand children and their children this same opportunity.  People will always have that opportunity to hike, camp, backpack, bike, and fish here for many many years.  Sometimes we get afraid of change but this monument would not change this for outdoorsman it would only insure others have that same opportunity.  Hopefully this heritage can be preserved and this national monument becomes a reality and we can preserve the birthplace of WV waters!

Monday, December 22, 2014 Top Moments of 2014

6. It was the year of the game changer.  The VEDAVOO TL Beast sling made fishing so much easier being able to have a bugger beast jr box handy made wading smallie streams and throwing big flies a cinch.  The fly of the year and my go to the game changer it took several different species of fish, so many big smallies, and personal best fish it was like having money in the bank and made a good year that much better!

5. Brookies was the name of the game this year.  It was great being able to chase them on some new waters and hiking after them in beautiful streams with good friends.  This year was one I found a new love for Cain!  I was very lucky to be able to have a rod built by Phil Smith of Vandalia Rod Works it's truly a special Brookie Rod.  Had fun breaking it in early in the year with Jonathan Paine in a duelin bamboo session.  There was a lot of brookies caught and some good solid fish!

4. Had a busy year and with weather I was able to only attend one fly fishing show.  I was lucky enough to be able to make the Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster PA. It was filled with some great vendors, awesome fly tiers, and big names in fly fishing. It was great to meet up with several guys including Nick Masteller of Keystone Flyfishing, Morgan Kupfer of TLTFF, and Joel LeMarco.  Even had the chance to run into some big name guys like the crew from Mossy Creek , Harold Harsh, Beau Beasley, Pat Cohen, and one of the best Bob Cluser.  Bob did an awesome presentation on warm water fly fishing the guy is a smallmouth legend!  Throw in being able to watch Joe Humphreys on the casting pond truly an epic time.  The highlight of the trip was being able to hang out in the Vedavoo booth with Scott Hunter and rep some of his truly awesome handmade in the USA Vedavoo gear!  I can't say enough about his awesome packs check them out at . 

3. This year on the water was a year of big fish and diversity.  I set out a goal to catch 15 different WV species of fish on the fly and easily made it to that as well as catching two personal best fish.  I was lucky enough to take two trophies on the Ohio River both on a game changer.  Early in the season I stuck a 20 inch smallmouth then mid season I landed a slug of a 26 inch hybrid.  As for the diversity a few fish I came up short on but managed 21 species of fish on the fly all from WV waters.  Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass, Sauger, Sucker, White Bass, Skipjack, Black Crappie, Bluegill, Green Sunfish, Common Shiner, Drab Colored Rosyside Dace, Gar, Pumkinseed, Carp, Long Eared Sunfish, Shad, and Walleye.  Not a bad overall year!

2. It was a special experience getting to fish in the Eric Workman Memorial Musky Tournament.  Eric was truly a special person and a true hero that wore the WV State Police Uniform.  The conditions were tough and I got shutout but spending an evening win great WVAngler friends and telling stories about Eric is always a good time.  Throw in the fact that my good buddy Jonathan Paine took the biggest fish a monster 50" inch Musky!

1. Being able to spend Father's Day on the water with my baby girl and chase some blue gill is one of the best times I had all year.  Being able to share a fishing experience with a good friend, a kid or a loved one makes it that much more special on the water.  Being able to see the smile on my girls face is a time I won't forget!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Big Fish Big Fly

As the old saying goes bigger is always better.  We as humans like big things.  No matter if we are biggie sizing our food, going for the bigger car, the bigger tv, or wanting the bigger gift for Christmas we are obsessed with bigger things.  This year for me looking back was the year of the big fish.  I caught more citation and bigger fish than I have caught in years past.  

This year I never caught a smallmouth under 15 inches with the biggest being a monster 20 inch Ohio River brute.  I usually enjoy throwing some small poppers and picking up some average size fish and that I'm fine win.  Most of the year was spent throwing flies between the 5 and 10 inch range.  I relied on the 7 and 10wt rods, the Cheeky Mojo with a super smooth drag, big big tippet the biggest possible, and of course big flies.  Upscaled flies can be tough you might not catch tons of numbers but when you do it's more than likely memorable.  When your playing the go big or go home game your bound to be left with some moments you'd like to forget.  Yes there will be moments when the fish spooks because of the 20lb tippet, or loosing huge fish on thrown hooks (unfortunately this happened to many times), or just moments when you blow it under pressure and flat out miss the fish and the hook set.  This year I owe a lot of success to my gear the Sage One 7wt has been an absolute workhorse throwing some big flies match that with some 20lb Rio Tippet and Rio Smallmouth fly line and your ready to go.  Add in a bugger beast box loaded with some bug ugly flies that fits like a dream in e new Vedavoo sling and yor ready for a lot of success.  Speaking of success I can't say enough great things about Pat Cohen's creations his EP Game Changers were far and away magical on big fish.

Throwing a big game changer and watching a smallmouth just come out of cover and inhale it brings a rush to any angler.  The big flies like those game changers just make fish go nuts.  They are like feeding candy to Hybrids having a 25" monster inhale one as it smam through waters of the Ohio was another great moment and big fish memory of the year.  People talk about feeding candy to something and them going nuts the game changers did that for me.  I love throwing streamers especially when you have a visual take nothing beats that rush for me.  The Game Changer has became that big fish bait for me fishing it twitching it like it's an injured baitfish or even just a swim if minnow it does if all and just finds the fish .  Big fish want a big meal so when your wanting to catch the if one it always helps to biggie size.  Whe your throwing steamers try to upscale your fly and go up a few sizes and see if you get any reaction strikes and see if you can land a monster.  Big fish have hungry appetites so why not throw some huge flies and see if you can intice a big brown or smallmouth!  Small flies will catch big fish as well but big flies definitely get the attention of lunker fish and will create some wild reaction strikes!  Go big or go home!!