Services and Offerings


GUIDING



Several years ago I talked with an acquaintance from another state who proceeded to inform me he didn't like to guide.  That's right.  He guided fly fishers but he didn't like it.  Not only that but he felt that as a guide his job was to get the client to the stream and point to where the fish were.  From there it was up to the client to do whatever he/she could to catch them.  He felt no obligation to help the client formulate and execute the best approach and presentation that might lead to success.  Nope, he wasn't having any part of that.  I must admit to wondering at times how long that guide stayed with it.  

I began guiding fly fishers back in the '80's.  At that time I was still working a full-time job and periodically folks would ask, "As much as you like to fish why do you spend all that time taking other folks fishing?"  I always responded with "Well, you see, when the person I'm guiding gets a fish or learns a new technique now there are two people enjoying the moment."  

When I'm guiding I'm fishing vicariously through the client.  That means I'm constantly observing and analyzing conditions and the water.  Where do I expect the fish to hold?  Where to place the client to be in the best position to get the best presentation?  What adjustment(s), if any, do I need to make to the client's system to ensure the best possible presentation/drift?  And then I've got to enter the client's skill set into the equation.  

While I tell my clients that our primary goal for the day is to have fun my secondary goal is to give them something they can take away that just might help them be more successful in the future.  Too, I inform my clients that catching trout isn't a guarantee;  rather, it can be viewed as a bonus.  While there are some guide businesses out there that guarantee you'll catch a fish or if you don't they provide some sort of compensation - well,  I'm not about to do that.  After all, trout are live critters  with a mind (albeit a simple one) and I can't force them to take a fly.

Living where I do puts me about equidistant to the best limestone-influenced streams in central PA and some of the best freestone streams in north central PA.  The limestone-influenced streams include Spring Creek, Penns Creek, Bald Eagle Creek and Fishing Creek.  The freestoners include Pine Creek, Little Pine Creek, Kettle Creek, Slate Run and Cedar Run.

While some guides limit their guiding to only wild trout streams I don't do that.  I feel as long as a trout learns to feed on flies I'm willing to fish for them.  While I definitely prefer fishing for stream-bred trout I've learned a lot from hatchery originated trout over the years.


INSTRUCTION:  ADVANCED TO BASIC

This is where my passion lies.  Now, I'm not afraid to admit that even though I've been at this game for well over 50 years I've still got a lot to learn.  Sharing my knowledge and working to transfer some of that knowledge to others - well, it just doesn't get any better than that.  Whether it's instructing on the finer points of nymphing - I've been contact nymphing/tight-lining with a sighter system since the mid-70's - or using indicators it's not only about the how-to it's looking at the pros and cons of each and recognizing when one system might be more appropriate than the other depending on conditions.  

Of course, there are a number of facets of fly fishing.  There's reading the water;  there's learning approach and presentation.  And it's important to understand why these things are important and how significant they can be to success on the stream.

While I began with the complex I'll wrap up with the basics.  Each and every fly fisher had to pick up a fly rod for the first time.  While I did just that many years ago someone did it for the first time today.  There's no substitute for getting some quality instruction right from the beginning.  The investment someone makes now should pay great dividends in the future.  Bad habits are not easy to break.  That's why exposure to quality instruction early on can save a beginning fly fisher much frustration.  Believe me, it's worth it!

FEES - AND WHAT'S INCLUDED

Clients are responsible for their own transportation to and from the stream.

With the changes as a result of COVID-19 I made the decision to no longer provide lunch, snacks and drinks.  As a result I lowered my fees.  I have chosen to make this change permanent.  That means for full day trips clients are responsible for their own lunch, snacks and drinks.

Half day trips:  1 client, $250.;  2 clients, $300.

Full day trips:   1 client, $335.;  2 clients, $370.

I do not provide flies;  however, any guide worth his weight in Snickers carries some flies that might be relied upon to catch fish in case of need.  Further, clients are expected to provide their own equipment and accessories.  Depending on conditions and stream choice I will require all clients to have wading boots with studs or cleats and to carry a wading staff.  It's a liability thing.

FLY CASTING INSTRUCTION



If you can't cast you can't fly fish.  It's as simple as that.  Going a step further, I say cast better, fish better.  It's all about building substance, building skills.  While a good fly cast may look pretty it's not about art;  rather, it's about function.  

Some of my friends would say I'm a casting geek.  I'm always analyzing casts:  breaking them down to determine cause and effect.  I really enjoy trouble-shooting a fly cast.  It's amazing how correcting a small error can make a big improvement in a cast.  

A fly rod is a tool.  It all starts with the basic cast.  As you learn how to use the rod properly you learn how to control line placement to achieve better drifts and presentations.  Going from straight line casts to controlled slack casts opens up a whole new world.   And then there's distance.  Casting 30 feet to a target (fish) is one thing.  Being able to get that fly to a fish at 60 feet requires a higher skill level.  

For someone who wants to increase their proficiency with a fly rod there's no substitute for investing in some time with a good instructor.  And I've got to point out that I feel strongly that when the focus is on learning how to improve your casting it's not a good thing to do it on the water.  The reason is simple:  water is a distraction.  The best learning environment is one that keeps distractions to a minimum.

Fee for fly casting instruction:  $75./hour for 1 or 2 clients.  Equipment can be provided if arranged in advance.