"Sometimes, you just need to go downstairs and waggle a rod..." - Scott Hanson

"Write what you know. If you don't know, make it up..." - Scott Hanson

"A dude can't live on just two fly rods alone..." - Scott Hanson

Man, I have some deep thoughts...

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Not Just a Winston Man...

I claim to be a Winston Man nowadays, which is true, since I am the proud owner of not one but two classic Winston glass rods. My first Winston was a 7'6" 4wt Stalker that I was lucky to acquire from the estate of a longtime customer of the fly shop I formerly worked at. Recently I got my second Winston, a lovely little 6'6" 4/5wt glass rod that actually predates the Stalkers. Both of these rods are as sweet as can be, and I count myself fortunate to be their current owner.


A dude can't live on just two fly rods, though, which sounds like a great life motto, now that I think about it... My quiver is full of other brands of fly rods, so the type of man I am changes from day to day, depending on the day, the river, the insects, and all sorts of other variables.


One day I might be a Winston Man, the next I might be a Diamondback Dude. Sometimes I might be a Fenwick Fellow, or an Orvis Hombre. I've been known to be a Sage Scoundrel and a Phillipson Fiend. On rare occasions I have been known to be a Berkley Boy. Some of the time I've even been a Scott Scott, which is both alliterative and confusing to some people...

Whatever the case, I am very pleased that the universe has allowed me to cast a ton of really cool fly rods over the years. Not sure how I got so lucky, but I will gladly accept the luck. Fly rods are the coolest tool that man has ever invented, as far as I am concerned. Let me know what your favorite rods are, if you have a chance! I love fly rods!
Sage

Berkley


Shakespeare

Phillipson

Orvis

Scott

Rods

Steffen


Scott

Timberline

Scott

Diamondglass

Cortland

Unstructured Glass

Scott

Winston

Livingston Rod


Scott




Monday, January 6, 2020

Get Your Learn On

Maybe you already know this, but even if you do, I have never been one to not talk about myself...

I teach fly tying classes all over the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area! And if you are in the area and have wanted to learn how to tie flies but have been putting it off, now is the time to stop the putting it off!
Flies you will learn how to tie!

And here's the thing: Not only will you learn how to tie flies, but you'll have fun doing it. If you don't have fun, that's your fault, because I most definitely will do everything I can to make it fun. I came very close to offering a 100% Fun Guarantee, but in my 45+ years on God's Green Earth I have learned that some people don't have fun no matter how much fun there is to be had...
Don't recycle it before you have a chance to leaf through it!

Here's how it works: You leaf through your local Community Education catalog that gets mailed to your house, you find the page where it lists my Joy of Fly Tying class, you get on your local Community Ed's website, and you register for the class. That's all there is to it! I will take care of all the rest (not including picking you up at your house on the nights of class. You will have to get to the class site on your own.) I provide all the tools and materials that you will need in class, and even let you take the tools with you between classes so you can practice at home! Each class night I will teach you how to tie three distinct flies, for a total of nine (9!) flies throughout the 3-week class. While tying those 9 flies you will learn the techniques that are required to tie 75% of all the flies that have ever been invented! What could be better?!?!
Will you learn how to tie a Wooly Bugger?!?! Of course!

We will use nothing but the best brands of hooks, thread, and other materials, ensuring that our flies will be well-built, provided that you can follow my tying directions... The tool sets you will be using are filled with quality tools and an excellent beginning-level vise, made by either Griffin Enterprises or the D.H. Thompson Company.
Will you learn how to tie a Highly Adequate Parachute fly?!?! YES!

We will start out with a couple of pretty basic fly patterns, and build on those first techniques as we go through class. By the end of class you will be able to tie fish-catching flies that you will be proud to say came from your own two hands.
Me and some totally enthralled students.

I have three sessions of classes coming up this Winter/Spring: First up is my class in South Washington County which starts on Tuesday, February 4th, at 6:30PM at East Ridge High School. After that I will be teaching at Como High School in St. Paul starting on Monday, April 13th, also at 6:30PM. Finally I will be up in Forest Lake starting on Tuesday, May 5th, again at 6:30PM. There is a good chance I will also be offering it in New Brighton in March, but those dates aren't set yet. Check back here if that option interests you!
A thoroughly happy graduate of my class!

Along with all the knowledge, you will also get a biz card and either a magnet...

...or a fun sticker!

And of course, you can then go out and catch some trouts on your own flies! Woot!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Resolved

Hey, look, it's 2020! I know in my head that I only age one day for every day that goes by, but man, I feel like I am getting older much more quickly than that. I know that sentence might seem like a jumbled mess, but if you are at least 45 years old, like me, you probably know what I mean. Which is good, because I don't know how to describe it any more clearly. In fact, the more I think about it, the more confused I seem to be getting...

Size 6 Mini Skidmarks
Anyways, welcome to 2020! Like a lot of other people, I made a long list of resolutions I hope to achieve this year on a personal level. I won't bore you with any of those, but I do have a few blog-related resolutions to run past you. If you feel like, please help me stay accountable as I go through the year. If you see me not doing the things I mention, feel free to send me a friendly or even not-so-friendly email, text, or phone call reminder.

So, here are my 2020 Blog Resolutions. Oh goody...:

1. Write one post every week! My plan is to post them on Mondays. I will put a link on our Facebook page and tweet it out, as well. If you don't check those two platforms often, feel free to sign up to get an update emailed to you whenever I post something! Do it!

2. Re-do all the video tutorials on my YouTube channel and repost them here. Obviously, my teaching in all the videos is pretty much flawless, but I want to update the graphics and stuff to make them look more professional. And, the teaching probably isn't as flawless as I think, so I will try to make that better, too.

3. Do at least one new video tutorial each month. I have a ton of great flies in my arsenal, and would love to teach how to tie a bunch of them.

4. Fish more! Our kids are starting to get older and more independent, so I am hoping to fish a lot more this year, and have lots of good pics and trip reports to post here. Wish me luck!

Remember to help keep me accountable. If you want to let me know your 2020 resolutions, I can help keep you accountable as well! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Belated Thanks!

I don't know if you noticed, but Thanksgiving happened a few days ago here in the Good Ol' USA. Along with that, we also celebrated our youngest child's 4th birthday that same day. There were 28 of us crammed into my in-laws' house that afternoon. About a third of those people were under the age of 10, and if you don't know, humans that are under the age of 10 are often quite loud. When you add in 20 or so adults trying to be heard over those under-10-year-olds, the noise can be quite deafening. Despite the din, I very much enjoyed our Thanksgiving get-together, and had a great time hanging out with the Relatives. I am of course very thankful for my amazing Wife and four great Kids, as well as all of the other usual stuff you hear about in blogs like this: good friends; warm house; steady employment; good health; yada, yada, yada...

I am also very thankful for things in the fly fishing world, and thought I would mention a few of those things, since this is a fly fishing blog. Here it goes:

I am thankful for strong yet thin fly tying thread.
I am thankful that there are people who are willing to shear rabbits and other mammals and put the fur in tiny zip-lock bags so I don't have to.
I am thankful that there are people who have spent their lives figuring out how to genetically grow chickens with amazing feathers.
I am thankful for ceramic tubes on bobbins.
I am thankful for Frank Matarelli.
I am thankful for super sharp and super strong steel hooks, even in the tiny sizes.
I am thankful for all of the synthetic things that can be lashed onto hooks nowadays, and the open attitude most tyers have about it all.
I am thankful that the DuPont company invented Antron so many years ago, even though I am sure they were not thinking of me and my fly tying friends at the time.
I am thankful for the students who keep showing up for my fly tying classes year after year.
I am thankful for the people who squirreled away their old fiberglass rods when graphite became the next best thing, and who now are willing to sell those glass rods to me. (Although I am still looking for an old Berkley Stream Specialist, if you know anyone who might have one. Preferably a 7' 5wt...)
I am thankful for exposed rim fly reels.
I am thankful for micro bubbles.
I am thankful that I don't have to lay out my fly line to dry after every fishing trip.
I am thankful for breathable waders.
I am thankful for polarized lenses.
And last but not least, I am thankful for all of the friends I have made through fly fishing and fly tying. You all are the best! Have a great winter!
I'm even thankful for tiny trouts!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Bugger Time

This past Sunday I had the chance to do some trout fishing for a couple of hours. My buddy, Bryon, and I went to our favorite trout stream over in western Wisconsin, and had an action-packed afternoon catching multiple species on Wooly Buggers. I knew that Wooly Buggers would work well for two reasons. First of all, this particular river had been high and muddy fairly recently from a heavy rainfall, and was just getting back to normal levels and normal clarity, so the trouts would be ravenous, since they probably hadn't been eating much while the water was off color. Secondly, this river doesn't have all that much insect life, so big, meaty flies oftentimes work better than small, dainty flies.
The River

Knowing what I knew about the situation, I took some time over the previous few nights to tie up some more Buggers, so both Bryon and I would have enough. I tied up some of my old reliables, like some olive Buggers, some silver Buggers, and some of my world famous Mushroom & Swiss Buggers. I also tied up a few wine colored Buggers (Burgundy Buggers?), and I found some nice gold-and-red tinsel chenille in my stash and tied some Buggers with that. I was feeling good about the ammunition we would be going to battle with. Now we just needed the fish to be as hungry as we were hoping!
Fresh, new Buggers!

Once on the river it did not take long to find some fish that wanted to eat. I caught a nice brown after a few casts, and moved a couple more that spurned my Bugger at the last second. Unfortunately that became more of a trend throughout the day than I would have liked. I landed about a dozen trout, all browns other than one colorful brook trout, but had many more than that come and take a look at my fly and then make a hasty retreat without chomping. And, of course, all the trouts that refused to eat were far bigger than the ones I caught...
A lovely Brookie
One of Bryon's Browns.

It's not like there wasn't a good amount of action happening, though. The creek chubs were in full force. I must have landed about 20 of those, some of which were starting to turn a bright dusty pink color, in preparation for the spawn. They were almost kind of pretty... I also caught a rather nice sized crappie that was in the river for some reason. All in all, it was a good day! Catching fish on fresh, new Buggers is always a good time!

Chub.

Crappie? What's he doing in there?

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Camping Trip #5

Here's a weird story for you: The Wife and I went camping over the weekend, and our kids weren't within 5 states of us! We had planned this trip to northern Wisconsin's Pattison State Park several months ago, and initially we were all going to go. But then the Sister-In-Law decided to head south, and our kids went along with her. So The Wife and I had a wonderful weekend to ourselves, doing whatever we wanted to whenever we wanted to. It was awesome!
The Black River in Pattison State Park
Pattison is about 20 miles south of the south shore of Lake Superior. It holds the tallest waterfall in Wisconsin, plus some other, smaller waterfalls, within its borders. All of these falls are on the Black River, which is lovely, but not a great fishing destination. So, while in the Park, The Wife and I did other things, mainly consisting of hiking. We also hiked at the nearby Amnicon Falls State Park, which is packed full of waterfalls, none of which are all that tall. Both parks are very fun to visit!
A bad pic of the tallest waterfall in Wisconsin.

A better pic of a shorter waterfall.
A crazy wad of roots we came across on a hiking trail.

Before the trip. The Wife and I had celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary by doing nothing. So, on this trip we decided to find a nice place to go out for dinner and celebrate "Us". After doing some research, it seemed that the restaurant that got the best reviews in the area was the Dreamland Supper Club, about 10 miles from the State Park. I hadn't been in a Supper Club for about 35 years, and to be honest the words "Supper Club" didn't inspire all that much confidence in either of us, but we decided to try it out. We are glad we did! It was a fun place, and the food was excellent. The Wife got a petite cut of prime rib, and I got their famous "french fried turkey breast", which was delicious! It was a four course meal that got better and better with every course. Our compliments to the Chef. We are glad we didn't let the name scare us away!
The Wife, getting ready for prime rib.

Of course, I brought my fishing gear with, even though I wasn't sure if there would be any good fishing nearby. After asking one of the State Park employees, we determined that the best fishing in the area was 45 minutes away in the world-famous Brule River. The Brule is one of the most popular destinations in the Upper Midwest for people looking to catch lake-run salmon, steelhead, and brown trout in the spring and fall. Despite that fact, and the fact that I have been crazy about fly fishing for 35 years now, I have only fished the Brule once in my life, a fruitless trip 15 years ago or more in which the river was super high and muddy from snowmelt run-off.
Wild raspberry that The Wife ate. She did not die.
I wasn't sure about making the drive to the Brule, but thankfully The Wife thought it would be fun. So we headed over there on Saturday morning to give it a try. After checking out a couple of access points, we decided to park at a prime-looking spot near the Copper Range Campground. The Wife parked herself on a sunny little beach area to soak up some rays and read a book while I headed downstream to see what I could catch. The answer: Nothing. So I went upstream to a fishy-looking spot. At least I hooked a couple there, but still I didn't catch anything. After an hour and a half of flailing away I was hot and ready to head out, but The Wife encouraged me to keep fishing, at least for a little while. Have I mentioned that she is the best wife a dude could ask for? If not, I should have...

I went back upstream to give that fishy-looking spot another try. By this time there were some fish rising to some kind of insect. I saw a few caddisflies flying around, along with a few small mayflies flitting about. I got a couple of half-hearted strikes to a Female Adams Parachute, but couldn't actually hook anything until I switched to a glass-beaded CDC Hare's Ear thing I tied several years ago. I fished it downstream on a swing, like a wet fly, and the trouts seemed to like it. I was expecting them all to be brook trout since that's what the locals said were in that stretch, but the first fish I landed was a lovely little brown, and all the other fish were rainbows. I was hoping to catch a brookie to round out the "Wisconsin Slam", but it was to no avail. Oh well.
My phone's camera stopped working properly, so I did not get a pic of my first Brule River trout, but it looked a lot like this one...
Tiny little baby Rainbow Trout.

I'm glad I finally caught some trouts in the hallowed waters of the Brule. Maybe I'll get back up there again some day and land some bigger ones. All in all, The Wife and I had a great weekend to ourselves. We have decided we need to go camping without the kids more often! If any of you want to babysit some time, let me know. I will be waiting anxiously for your phone call...