Thursday, September 27, 2012

Troutober Fest 2012

TroutoberFest 2012

Saturday, October 6th - Sunday, October 7th

Fall is just around the corner and the hot days of summer will soon be behind us. This means shorter days, colorful leaves, and FALL TROUT FISHING! As the days get cooler the insects and the fish start getting active, and to celebrate we are holding our First Annual TroutoberFest!
This two day event will feature fly tyers, instructional classes, presentations, new products, tackle appraisal, special deals, and FREE FOOD! It is also a chance to get together with other anglers and share you fish stories from the summer…or hit the rivers one more time in pursuit of "the one that got away"!

If you have any questions, or would like to sign up for a class, please contact us at (607) 498-5194

Some of the highlights so far include:

Loren Williams - chosen as Fly Fishing Team USA's first fly tyer in 2005 and an angling member of the team since 2007, Loren is an experienced nymph and streamer fisherman as well as an accomplished spey caster who guides for steelhead and salmon on New York's Lake Ontario tributaries. Saturday, October 6th: 9:30am - 10:30am "Fly Fishing for Steelhead" presentation; 11:00am - Noon "Experiencing the World Through Fly Fishing" presentation; Afternoon Fly Tying Demonstration. Sunday, October 7th: 9:00am - Noon "Nymph Tricks" on the water nymphing class. $50/person, limited to 4 people. Call to sign up; Afternoon Fly Tying Demonstration.Detailed class and presentation description can be found by clicking here.
Dave Brandt - an award winning fly tyer and senior instructor at the Wulff Fly Fishing School who also teaches fly fishing coursed at SUNY Oneonta, Dave will be behind the vise whipping up some of the patterns you may have seen in the magazines or his DVD "Traditional Catskill Dry Flies". Dave will be tying from 10:00am-1:00pm on Sunday, and his presentation "After The Hook-Set: How To Play Your Fish" will start at 2:00pm
Tom Zemianek - our Orvis representative who ran our Memorial Day casting competition, benefiting Casting For Recovery, will be here with the new Helios H2 fly rods. This is one of the first chances for the general public to get a look at these highly anticipated rods, and Tom will have them all set up and ready to cast. H2 test casting will take place on both Saturday and Sunday, Orvis Fly Fishing 101 classes will also be held both days starting at 2:00pm. Tom will also be hosting a free cookout on Orvis's behalf on Saturday, October 6th from 11:00am - 1:00pm
John Shaner - our Hardy representative will be in the shop offering free cleaning and maintenance for your Hardy fly reels. John is a scholar of the sport and very knowledgeable about fly fishing's history and tradition. If you have an old bamboo rod or other fly fishing gear you would like to know a little more about, bring it in and John can look it over.Sunday, October 7th: 10:00am - 11:30am tackle appraisals; 1:00pm - 2:00pm Intermediate Fly Casting Course; 2:30 - ? Fly Tying Demonstration
Eric Reed - our Beulah and William Joseph representative has also taught the two handed casting classes we have held in the spring these past two years. Eric is back again to help you polish your switch and spey casting before the steelhead season really heats up. When Eric is not on the water, he will by tying tube flies and saltwater flies in the shop, and will also have a strong selection of Beulah and William Joseph products for you to check out. Sunday, October 7th: 1:30pm - 3:30pm Switch & Spey Casting Class, $25/person limited to 4 people. Call to sign up; Morning and afternoon Tube Fly and Saltwater Fly Tying Demonstration
TROUTOBERFEST Fly Tying Contest - send us your favorite interpretation of a Woolly Bugger and we will display it throughout the weekend as a part of our Fly Tying Contest. The winner will be chosen by people attending the event, and afterwards all flies will be donated to local Trout Unlimited Chapter. For full details click here Deadline for fly submissions is Friday, October 5th
Fly Tying Material Sale - 25% to 50% off all fly tying material except tools, Whiting products, and Daiichi hooks. Fur, feathers, dubbing, will all be on sale so you can stock up for the winter ahead!
Vern Burm - Vern Burm, owner of Custom Flies by Vern-O, will be with us tying soft hackles and steelhead flies. Vern has a passion for flymphs, soft hackles, and flowing steelhead flies as well as two handed casting. He has his own fly fishing blog "Custom Flies by Vern-O" and has written numerous articles for Hatches Fly Tying Magazine. So stop on by to see him in action! Vern will be tying from 10:00am - 2:00pm on Saturday, October 6th
Jonny King - Born and raised in Manhattan, Jonny is an accomplished Jazz musician, attorney, and fly tyer. He has been tying for over 30 years, and tying saltwater flies since 1990. Jonny is known for his innovative use of materials, and has been featured in many of the top fly fishing magazines. The Delaware River system is one of Jonny's favorite places to fish for trout, and he has developed a series of patterns to help fool some of those picky fish. Jonny will be tying from 10:00am - 2:00pm on Saturday, October 6th
ORVIS Fly Fishing 101 Classes - great for the beginner or people looking to get into the sport. It has been so popular for us the past two years that we wanted to make it a part of the event! Classes will be held Saturday, October 6th and Sunday, October 7th at 2:00pm. More details can be found here

Keep checking back as we hear from other participants and will be posting and revising the itinerary.

If you have any questions, or would like to sign up for a class, please contact us at (607) 498-5194

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tying For A Cause and Skunks

As you may or may not know, HMH vises and Casting For Recovery have teamed up and now HMH offers a pink colored vise.   $25 from each pink vise sold goes to Casting For Recovery.

Casting for Recovery was founded in 1996 in Manchester, Vermont, the unique brainchild of a breast cancer reconstructive surgeon and a professional fly fisher (at right, Dr. Benita Walton and Gwenn Perkins). CFR began as a local grassroots group with a big heart and an original national vision, and quickly received endorsements from medical and psycho-social experts for its innovative healing program model while at the same time provoking intense interest by national media.
Casting for Recovery was founded on the principles that the natural world is a healing force and that cancer survivors deserve one weekend — free of charge and free of the stresses from medical treatment, home, or workplace — to experience something new and challenging while enjoying beautiful surroundings within an intimate, safe, and nurturing structure.
The Program
We provide an opportunity for women whose lives have been profoundly affected by the disease to gather in a natural setting and learn the sport of fly fishing. Just as importantly, the retreats offer an opportunity to meet new friends, network, exchange information, and have fun.
Our weekend retreats incorporate counseling, educational services, and the trained facilitators that staff each retreat, including a psycho-social therapist, a health care professional (e.g. physical therapist, nurse), as well as fly-fishing instructors and river helpers.
Casting for Recovery has inspired the generous and loyal support of donors large and small, and continues to believe in its mission of providing women with powerful tools for healing at no expense to them.

 I decided to jump on helping to promote the vise. In the future I will be doing all my tying demos on the vise to help get the word out and hopefully inspire some people to make donations to the cause and maybe buy a vise in support......and oohh yeah my daughters think it's a pretty cool vise!  I wanted to come up with some fancy fly to tie and showcase the vise, but realized a better way to get peoples attention was to tie a fly that works.  The first steelhead  I landed on my two handed spey rod was my version of the green-butt skunk.  The largest steelhead I have landed came to hand with the rose-bud skunk.  Fairly easy flies to tie and they work.  For those in recovery and learning to tie flies, there is no need to feel overwhelmed with this pattern.  It's a joy to tie and fish.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Theriault Family Farm

As you travel North from Bangor, Maine the exits get fewer, the mountains get taller, and the speed limit signs on the interstate read 75 mph. 
 In the shadow of Mount Katahdin lies a small town known as Stacyville, Maine.  Stacyville has a population shy of five hundred people.  Among those few folks residues a family farm.  Not just any old cow and corn farm.  A unique farm much like the natural environment that engulfs the area.  The farm is owned and run by the Theriault family, mostly just Alvin and his wife Connie nowadays. 

 Their daughter Holly has moved to the Texas oil fields as a geologist. As a youngster she used to raise prized rabbits for show competition and fly tying materials. Holly at one point had over 200 rabbits and was winning praise and prize for her wonderful animals.  She gained respect quickly and soon had folks asking her for advice on raise such prized rabbits. Holly is no stranger to a fly tying vise, at the age of four she was tying her own flies.  For many years she supplied Mainers with the famous Maple Syrup  Nymph.  These days the Theriault farm consists of perennials, vegetables, goats, six llamas, and fly tying birds.  Lots of birds for fly tying; hens, roosters,  guinea fowl, and even jungle cocks.  Along with the farm they run a rock and gem shop and a fly tying material shop that can easily consume any fly tier for half a day or more.  The shop is spacious with so many bird skins to pick through it is tough to know where to begin.

There are several fly tying books worth cruising through when you become overwhelmed in the hackle inventory.  Then there are the furs, dubbing, synthetics, the custom dyed colors, vises, and tools.  The list goes on and could sound like any ordinary fly shop, but this place has charm, and that down home feel.  Alvin is a blast of knowledge and stories that seems to fit the niche of the shop to a tee.  It should since Alvin built and expanded the shop twice, himself.  Alvin is a retired Game Warden for the State of Maine.  His wife Connie ran the fly shop and tied flies while Alvin was a Game Warden.  She now works for Baxter State Park full time.

Alvin claims to have fished so many days in his life that he is satisfied being busy with his business and supplying fly tiers from all over. A big portion of his business is supplying flies to other stores and mail orders.  At the age of twelve he was tying his own flies and at fifteen he was raising chickens for fly tying. Alvin reminisces about fishing everyday at the camps which his father ran for family and private cliental. Alvin thrived on a daily lunch on soda and a large bag of potato chips.  The stories that Alvin shares are full of detail and passion, even to a virtual stranger like myself.  When our conversation switches to raising birds for fly tying, Alvin quickly shows his knowledge and thirty plus years experience.  Confidence glows from him as he fills an open ear with tales of success, trial, and error.  Fascinating to me is the difficulty of raising jungle cock. Alvin tells me of the first batch of jungle cock he tried to raise, that ended in instant disaster and a $500 investment was gone as quickly as it had started. These birds are so sensitive to human contact, that disrupting their daily routine can send them into days of sulking or even suicide.  Even after years of breeding jungle cock still remain a tough bird to raise.  As Alvin tells his stories  I paw through the bin of jungle cock skins and notice that none are alike.  Getting the perfect cape of jungle cock eyes is very difficult, and time consuming.  Once you’ve raised a good bird it is hard to sacrifice them for their cape since you want to keep the bloodlines strong for future generations.  It’s easy to see why jungle cock capes can fetch $100+. 

Searching through all the variations of not so perfect jungle cock, I’m enthralled at the uniqueness of each one and envision the endless possibilities of flies to be tied in my mind’s eye. As our visit wraps up, my family takes me to see some of the Theriault’s family farm and animals.  It really makes you appreciate the fact that you can still find good people and American run businesses.
As we pile in the family vehicle and head back to the coastal shore of lobster land I ponder all the facets to the Theriault Farm and Maine itself, with all the hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
You can visit their shop in person or online