Monday, March 18, 2019

FLY FUSION - Cast Like A Pro: #1 The Basic Cast

Fly Fusion, in collaboration with Scientific Anglers, has launched a ten part fly casting video series with field editor Jeff Wagner and fly-fishing icon Bruce Richards.  

Click PLAY on episode one which covers the basics of fly casting and look for future episodes to be shared here in the coming days and weeks.

Need a need fly line or three?  Visit the Scientific Anglers website and of course be sure to follow along on Facebook, Instagram and their YouTube channel.


Calling all Montana guides and outfitters who are interested in taking their knowledge and services to a new level with the completion of the Guiding for the Future course which begins it's first session next month. 

Guiding for the Future has been created by the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana with a focus on the core values of knowledge, professionalism, ethics and stewardship.

From the Guiding for the Future presser...

Montana’s rivers are undergoing increased demands for water, recreation, and environmental services. These demands, in the face of increased periods of drought and other stressors, impact the rivers’ resilience and fisheries, while also translating into increased potential for conflict among users. The August 2016 closure of 183 miles of the Upper Yellowstone River and its tributaries to all water-based recreation was a wake-up call to the fishing industry and other river users that: 1) business as usual will not suffice, and 2) there is the need to step up as advocates for – and stewards of – the river. 
The Program
Guiding for the Future (G4F) is a program that provides advanced levels of knowledge and skill development for professional fishing outfitters and guides. The program’s goal is to inspire dedicated stewardship of aquatic ecosystems while increasing knowledge, professionalism, and ethics of fishing outfitters and guides as well as the fly fishing industry throughout Montana.

Led by the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana (FOAM), this program is part of a new continuing education program for fishing outfitters and guides in the state of Montana. G4F is a voluntary course of study and testing. Participating outfitters and guides will undergo a curriculum that strengthens competence, increases knowledge and skills, and establishes their commitment to helping steward the rivers on which their livelihoods depend.

Participants in the course will be required to complete both an online portion consisting of eight modules as well as a three-day hands-on practicum. Students will be required to successfully complete all eight online modules consisting of selected reading and an exam at the end of each module prior to attending the three-day practicum. The practicum will build on the knowledge gained during the online portion of the course and will consist of both classroom as well as hands on instruction. At the end of the three-day practicum there will also be a series of exams that will test the student’s understanding of the material covered during the course.

Successful completion of this course will provide participating outfitters, guides and fly shops with a set of credentials that distinguish them to outfitters, clients, other river users, and agencies.

Key Dates
  • The deadline for applications is March 25, 2019.
  • Students will have access to the online portion of the course starting April 1, 2019. Each module is estimated to require two hours to complete, including testing.
  • The three-day in-person practicum will take place at the B-Bar Ranch in Tom Miner Basin on May 6-8.

For More Information & To Apply
Visit the G4F website:

Saturday, March 16, 2019

GRAYWOLF RODS - McFarland Rods Yellow Glass 7'6" Spinning Rod

After a couple of decades really being a "Fly Only" kind of guy, lately I've seen where a spinning rod would be helpful to have around and asked Shane Gray of Graywolf Rods if he could talk Mike McFarland of McFarland Rods into rolling a medium heavy spinning rod blank.  It took some work to get right but Mike made up a beauty in yellow glass, four pieces for ease of travel and of course Shane's done a great job on the build that should arrive on my doorstep early next week.

I can't wait to mess around with this spinning rod over spring and into the summer.  I already have a Shimano Socorro reel lined up and ready to go and the local stripers running up the river or out on the lake might be a great way to break it in.

Need one of your own?  Contact Shane at Graywolf Rods to discuss a possible build.  I'm already thinking that a medium light spinning rod would be a good little brother to this one.  

THE MISSION - Issue 13

Last weekend I shared the latest issue of The Mission (see post HERE) but somehow missed sharing Issue 13, which was filled with stellar content as well.  Take a few minutes and give it a read over the weekend.


Friday, March 15, 2019

THE LETTER - A Fenwick FF705, Destiny & Mojo

There are a lot of reasons why I write The Fiberglass Manifesto and sometimes I'm given an insight into other angler's experience with glass fly rods which I always get a kick out of.  

The other day I received a page and a half long handwritten letter in the mail (which is weirdly uncommon in the age of email) from Mike Conklin.  He sent along a letter to say thank you for the couple freebie T.F.M. decals that I had recently sent his way and also included a story of a beloved Fenwick FF705 which had fallen into his hands after years of wanting one.

Mike wrote... 

"Cameron, thank you very much for The Fiberglass Manifesto stickers!  They are already displayed on my rod tube of the Fenwick FF705.

I just wanted to drop you a line and say thanks for The Fiberglass Manifesto site.

I grew up in the 60's and 70's.  As a boy, my dream rod was a Fenwick FF705, but as funds were short, I could never afford one.  So I fished various fiberglass rods, Berkley, Diawa, Ike Walton, etc. but never got the FF705.

Fast forward forty-five years to last summer and a friend called me as his mom had passed away and he was cleaning out the house.  He said that there was some "fishing stuff" in the basement that he was going to sell and if I wanted anything for "free", to come over.

As I sorted through all the junk rods, I saw the brown blank and famous butt wraps.  It was my childhood dream rod, the FF705.  It was a K-Series dated from 1971 to 1973, when I was 11-13 years old and it was in mint condition!  Destiny?  Luck?  

My first time out with the rod and I caught two nice brown trout from a small stream that I have caught and released wild brookies and some stocked rainbows, but never a brownie...

I now believe that this rod has a special "mojo" and I do believe it was destiny that "we" were brought together.  The rod casts a DT5F as smooth and accurate as any fly rod I have ever fished.  I am truely looking for to the next season and seeing what other "mojo" my dream rod has in it!

I just wanted to share my story with you and say thank for the stickers and your website.

Tight Lines,

Michael T. Conklin"

Thanks Micheal, I really appreciate you taking the time to write and I hope that you continue to enjoy your Fenwick FF705.

ORVIS Presents: Paul

There are a lot of very personal stories in fly fishing and it’s not uncommon for this sport helping to get someone through the toughest time of their life.  Take a few minutes and enjoy the latest film from Orvis.

Jump down a deep rabbit hole of videos on the Orvis YouTube channel.

Thursday, March 14, 2019


(This article has been re-posted with permission from Scott Thompson and this article was first published on the South Water Adventures Belize blog a couple of weeks ago.  It's a good read and really helps put into perspective where the idea for the Southern Belize Fly Tying Initiative came from.  Not familiar with this initiative?  Please visit past T.F.M. posts HERE and HERE.  Enjoy.)

Last year as I was sitting at my fly-tying desk spinning up some bugs for the next day’s trip, I got to thinking about all that went into what I was doing at the vise.  Not just the tools in my hand or the ridiculous amount of materials hanging from the pegboard on the wall, but more a reflection on the gift that was given to me by my father.
When I was 7 years old, my father Joe brought home a vise and some tools that he had made by hand in the machine shop at Gates Rubber Company.  He was working the graveyard shift as a pipe-fitter and by way of marrying my mom, had been baptized as a fly fisher ten years previous by my late grandfather Hank.  Joe studied a fly tying book to come up with a design and enlisted a co-worker to help him do it.  In those days many of the guys on the night shift would use raw materials laying around and make stuff like knives, hitches, log splitters and even boat trailers on their time off and smuggle them home. 

His first challenge was the vice.  After machining the stem out of solid brass, he turned the head in the shape of a cigar and made a single cut down the middle to form two jaws.  Then a hole was drilled, and a single screw inserted to tighten the jaws and hold the hook.  The stem was then threaded into a clamp to attach to the table.  For the bobbin he took two dissimilar diameters of copper tubing and slipped one inside the other after tempering them both to the right pliability.

I remember that my younger sister had seen my dad tying in the evenings and because she was so tiny, had crawled up into his lap and learned how to tie thread ants by tapering the body into an hourglass shape with endless turns of black sewing thread stolen from my mom’s sewing basket.
I sat down for the first time when no one was around and started wrapping turn after turn and watching the body grow and then begin to unravel when the steepness of the angle got to be too much.  My father taught me a half hitch and this seemed to solve the problem.  I smiled and would go on and on tying the fore, then the aft of #14 ants until I would use up almost an entire spool.  I eventually got bored with black ants and added red thread in the aft to imitate the ants that I saw while playing with my army men in the garden.  I still wasn’t sure if I would ever catch fish on them. I don’t think that I ever did.

It wasn’t until I learned how to tie a muskrat wet fly that I caught a trout on a fly of my creation at the age of 9.  We were camping with my grandparents at Balman Reservoir in the Sangre de Christo Mountains near Westcliffe, Colorado when I first tied one on.  It had slate grey wings from a mourning dove that we had killed the fall before and a body of muskrat fur that my father had gotten from the South Platte River not far from our house in Englewood.  The head was, like most beginner tiers, way out of proportion with the body and shaped more like a lemon than a tapered head from the pictures I had studied.  Thank God for head cement.  I was still using a fly and bubble setup on a spinning rod at the time and had been casting all afternoon with a #14 renegade which was our families “go to” wherever we fished.  Balman Reservoir sits at 9500’ and like many high mountain lakes, the fish only feed during limited times of the day.  Usually in the early morning and late evening of summer and even then, for only an hour or two at most.

Out of nowhere, every fish on the lake started rising and right on time, down came my father, brother, and grandfather for the hatch.  I casted over and over and reeled in as slowly as I could.  Nothing, nothing and nothing.  All of us had the same results.  My grandfather tied on a brown hackle peacock, the other family favorite, and went on to try a gray hackle yellow, grey hackle peacock, orange asher and everything else he had in his box.

I looked down at the miserable misshapen muskrat in my box and it was the last thing I had left to try. It looked so ugly I put it on without any confidence at all.  The muskrat fur had not been dubbed on tightly and was beginning to unravel.  As you might guess, it worked.  I felt the tap tap tug of cutthroat after cutthroat with the occasional brook trout over and over again for the next 45 minutes. Soon my grandfather was the first to humble himself enough to march over to where I was standing and give me the look.  I proudly gave him one and everyone else until they were gone from my box. This was the first time that I realized that I could garner attention and family fame by having the right fly on hand.  I enjoyed the attention and quickly figured out how to get it regularly.  I started tying day and night and this was when my love for fly tying really blossomed.

When I was in my early teens, I used to sit at the picnic table of our family campsite during the heat of the day and whip up enough bugs for the entire entourage to fish that evening.  One by one my uncles and cousins would work their way over to my “office” as they were putting on their gear and ask me for a few renegades or beetle patterns.  I milked it for all I could by telling them how hard I had been working for the betterment of the clan and which one had worked well for me while they were all still sleeping at 5:00 a.m. that morning.  I liked the role that fly tying gave me in our family and I like it today.  Although not a big fan of "Insta fame", I have a hard time not liking those that choose to post their creations online.  I figure if they took the time then they should get an attaboy just like I relished as a kid.

I am ashamed to say that the idea for the Southern Belize Fly Tying Initiative didn’t hit me until after I had returned from a year of living in Belize.  I realized that I had been so busy running a company that I had failed to see the overwhelming need for fly tying and tiers down there.  There are no tools, vises or hooks available for purchase and there are few, if any, experienced tyers to teach the youth. For example, a single 4/0 mustad saltwater hook sells for $2.00.  No wonder why no one can tie their own flies.  Instead, guides rely on their clients to bring them down and this results in zero benefit for the local economy.

So what is needed is to not only garner a steady supply of tools and materials at a reasonable cost but also to create a culture where Belizeans teache Belizeans the craft of fly tying.  My hope is that one day soon a little boy will be tying on a picnic table somewhere on the beach with guides gathered all around him, collecting their flies for the days trip and giving him the respect he craves and deserves for becoming an integral part of the game of fly fishing.

About the author: Scott Thompson is a guide for Minturn Anglers in Vail, CO and managing partner at South Water Adventures Belize. He is an Umpqua Signature Fly Designer.