Choosing the Right Fly Rod and Reel

I recently read an article about choosing the right fly rod and reel. I have included the link to this article on my site because it answers so many questions and does so very well with great illustrations. This will allow the beginner to sit, read, think and relax a bit before being confronted with choices. Let’s face it… starting out in the fly fishing world is a big and scary place. Often the questions I get are excellent questions but they come after someone has already bought a fly fishing outfit that just isn’t what they were looking for. Fly fishing is hard enough. We don’t need to over-complicate all of it by purchasing a stiff 8-weight system when all you want to do is catch a few bluegill from the farm pond down the road; or you plan on heading out west to fish dry flies for cutthroat and wind up with a heavy duty 6-weight rod that is stiff-flexed. So, that being said… take some time to read through this well done piece made for fly fisherman of all levels, particularly you folks who are just starting out. If after reading you have specific questions then please go to my question section and shoot me an email and I will do my best to give you what I think is good advice.

Once again here is the link to the article … Choosing the Right Fly Fishing Outfit by Charlie Robinton.

Below is an example of one of the illustrations in the article …..
Understanding Rod Action - Choosing the Right Fly Fishing Outfit

Even More Sizzling Summer Fly Fishing Action


When the water is right you need to get all the fly fishing action you can…and the water continued to be perfect this past weekend. My buddy Frank joined me and we once again headed north about an hour to one of our favorite haunts. This was a good day for Frank as this was our first trip together since Frank had a serious heart surgery in June and if you have ever been down, been away from your passion, fly fishing…then you know how good it feels to be ‘back in the game’.

This may not be a surprise to anyone, but smallmouth are ambush predators; at least they start off in an ambush position. I actually like to think about them as the cheetahs of the water-in that they want to get as close as possible to any unsuspecting baitfish or crayfish, etc…and then if they have to, they pour on the gas, accelerate and overtake their prey. Smallmouth are amazing fish and on this trip, partially because of my new Smith Optics glasses, I was able to watch big smallmouth stage directly behind or under my fly…then in a burst of speed and power, engulf the fly!

The fly that I have been using for a few months is a combination of one that I purchased in the north woods of Wisconsin and my own creation; it has a very fluid tail made up of soft hackly feathers…the middle of the hook shank has chenille wrap in silver or silver/blue palmered forward to the front of the hook where I am tying in white bucktail backwards, folding it backwards then finishing the shape with a craft glue. This gives the fly a bullet shape that pushes water, yet a tail section that is fluid enough to move and vibrate while in the water…it is a lethal combination. Look for a tying demo at some point in the near future.

Pay attention to the fact that once again while fishing downstream, I am doing most of my casting back upstream into pockets where an ambush is a possibility. What I find is that little fish will follow and nip at the fly while the larger fish will as I said earlier, accelerate and quickly over take the fly. In a summer pattern you can’t ever pass by a smaller bowl or trough of water as I have found big smallmouth lurking in some very tiny spaces; in fact I am sure that this is indeed their MO and is how they surprise many of their meals.

I hope you enjoy the video below, if you have any questions please direct those to the question section of this very website where I will do my best to answer those questions completely.

Doc Willy’s Fly Fishing Book Collection

My good friend, William (Doc/Willy) Hutcheson passed away earlier this spring. You may have read my previous article about Doc and his inventory of fly fishing gear, rods, reels etc… that I was able to sell for the family. Just recently his widow, my good friend, Sherry, brought me a collection of Doc’s fly fishing books and manuals. Below you will see the list, included is the author, year the book was published and anything that would make the book special. For example, many of the books have been signed by the author…so please pay attention to that fact.

My goal is to sell the collection and obviously get a little cash for Sherry. All the books are in mint condition; so please take a look at the list, look the book up and then email me via this website with a reasonable offer. I will consider the offer and then respond; I will charge the exact shipping for the book. If you’d like more than one (or the entire collection) please give that consideration as it will reduce the shipping cost.

  1. Western Trout Fly Tying Manual
    … by Jack Dennis (Forward by Curt Gowdy) – 1974
  2. Micropatterns, Tying & Fishing Small Fly
    … by Darrel Martin (Book signed by author) – 1994
  3. Fly Tying with Synthetics
    … by Phil Camera – 1992
  4. Index of Orvis Fly Patterns (Volume 1A)
    … by John Harder – 1978
  5. Index of Orvis Fly Patterns (Volume 2A)
    … by John Harder -1980
  6. Wet Flies
    … by Dave Hughes – 1995
  7. Fly Patterns of Umpqua Feather Merchants
    … by Randall Kaufmann (Introduction by Dave Whitlock) – 1995
  8. Nymphing, A Basic Book
    … by Gary A. Borger – 1979
  9. Tying Flies with Jack Dennis and Friends
    … by Jack Dennis – 1993
  10. Presentation
    … by Gary A. Borger – 1995
  11. Trout Flies Proven Patterns
    … by Gary LaFontaine (Signed by author) – 1993
  12. Brook Trout
    … by Nick Karas (Signed by author) – 1997
  13. Patterns, Hatches, Tactics, and Trout
    … by Charles Meek (Signed by author) – 1995
  14. Tying Trout Flies, 12 of the Best
    … by Deke Meyer – 1993
  15. Popular Fly Patterns
    … by Terry Hellekson – 1979
  16. Caddisflies
    … by Gary LaFontaine (Signed by author) – 1981
  17. Tying Nymphs
    … by Randall Kaufmann – 1994

Fly Fishing Sugar Creek in August for Smallmouth


Any time you can get on Sugar Creek is a great time. I have long spun yarns about how good the fishing is and can be…however the yarns are mostly accurate. The fishing is special as is the beauty of the creek. Even on the first Saturday in August, while one has to deal with many canoers, kayakers and tubers…the fishing was still spectacular.

Once again I was out on a day with my father, Ivan. If you haven’t noticed my buddy Frank along for a while…it is with good reason. He is about a month out from a very serious heart condition and truthfully I am eager for him to once again be back fly fishing; and let me assure you, he is eager and chomping at the bit to once again hold a fly rod.

On this day I would do about 4-5 miles of Sugar Creek and wind up at Deers Mill, the east border of Shades State Park. As I have said before, if you are looking for a way to fish the creek, stop in on the good folks at Clement’s Canoes and rent a canoe or kayak or have them portage you up the creek a few miles.

The water this first Saturday of August was perfect…flowing at around 270 cfs; enough flow that there wasn’t a lot of portaging and not so much as to have water clarity issues. If you haven’t fished or been on Sugar Creek then you need to know that it rises quickly and can get out of control anywhere from 500 cfs up…honestly, the fishing can be a question mark past this level as it starts to become stained.

I could only venture a guess but let’s just say that there wasn’t much down time on my four hour journey as the smallies had me busy most of the way. I was using my 6 weight outfit with a type one sink tip line and a couple of self-tied baitfish patterns. The fish did their part as they were very aggressive and it made for one incredible day.

More Sizzling Summer Fly Fishing Action


Some fishing trips are special because of the area, stream or lake you are visiting. Other times the trip was special and memorable due to the numbers or size of the fish that were caught. On this, one of the last days of July, this trip was special for me because I was able to bring my dad along with me. He is now 85 and as most great things do…he is starting to slow. Worst off is that he now questions his own ability to be outdoors; on this day I convinced him to come along with me on a trip to the Big Walnut to enjoy the nature and some great weather.

My father, Ivan, was the one who started me hunting and fishing. I am not sure that he put the total love for the outdoors into me…I believe that was more of a God thing. Dad, however…was the one who always encouraged me and over and over told me to strive for the best. I still can remember the very spot when he and I caught a few smallmouth together. It isn’t too far from here and I still frequent that small stream on occasion.
On this day dad would drop me off at one bridge and pick me up at the other. In between I was able to land a few good smallies along the way. The weather and water couldn’t have been more perfect. It was as they say, one of ‘those-days’ that I won’t soon forget. It was particularly comforting to get to the end of my fish and see dad sitting there, reading his paper, waiting and enjoying the beauty of the water.

I do apologize for the wind and microphone issues on a couple of sections as the wind was blowing quite well. One thing that I have learned about my GoPro Session is that the sound is good if the wind is coming straight into or from straight behind…but not from the side. As I have said before…it is tough being my own camera crew?

I hope that you still have your father…and if not, I hope that you have all the great memories you should. My dad and I are best friends…not everyone can say that. I am proud of him…and proud to be his son. If you enjoy the video…please give me a like. If you have any fly fishing questions …don’t hesitate to contact me.

Fly Fishing Small Creeks for Summer Smallmouth


This, the summer of 2017, has taken me from here in southern Indiana, west to the Pacific Ocean and then back to the Midwest in northern Wisconsin…all in an effort to see our great country and to fly fish for various species along the way. Ultimately my fish of choice is always going to be the smallmouth bass and my time in Wisconsin was well spent as for three days I drifted the black waters in search of big, river smallies.

Just this past week I switched gears and fished, for me, the closest creek/stream available that holds a good population of smallmouth. This tiny creek…or as I like to call it…a micro-creek, has every bit of the same character that the big waters possess. These smallmouth don’t know that they have cousins that grow to be several times their size…what they do know is that in their little pool, they are King!
Small Stream in Southern IndianaTiming is everything when fishing one of these micro-creeks. The water needs to be clear, but not too clear. There needs to be a bit of a flow…yet not so much flow that a lone baitfish pattern thrown into a pool doesn’t raise an eyebrow or two from the ‘big fish’ of the pool. Lastly, I prefer to fish the small waters on days that are a bit overcast and the sun isn’t beaming straight down into the pools. On this day, the day this video was shot, all of the prerequisites came together and presented for me a golden opportunity to land several of these ‘king-of-the-pool’ smallies.

As you might guess, stealth is also a big part of being successful. I try to stick to the outside of the pools and walk as gently and quietly as possible; in fact, fly fishing a small creek is much like hunting for a native Indiana gobbler…every step needs to be correctly placed. Part of being stealthy is also being able to casts accurately from distance…all while dodging the many overhanging limbs just happy to snag a fly. When it all comes together, it is a treat…and one of my most favorite fishing experiences. Let’s just liken this experience to landing a true eastern brook trout. If you have ever fooled and then held for just a moment one of these natural beauties…then you can relate.

For you newbies I have thrown in a quick tip on how to get yourself ‘un-hung’ from a rock or limb…I am sure that you never have this going on? I hope you can enjoy the stunning scenery and the sounds of nature as you come along with me on another video. If you like what you have seen…please give me a like.