Nearly half the seminars at last week's 13th Bass Expo, Saltwater Fishing & Fly-fishing Show were aimed at fly-rodders and those interested in fly fishing.
Whether your interest lies in bass, trout, panfishing or saltwater trophies, such as striped bass and bluefish, a fly-rod will make itself right at home and, in many instances, out-fish spinning and casting equipment.
Beyond doubt, the fastest growing area of sportfishing in our area is saltwater fly-rodding.
Until recently, Norm Bartlett and Joe Bruce had the Chesapeake Bay fly-rodding business pretty much to themselves. But demand has far outstripped the supply in the guide business. Richie Gaines, Jeff Pharis, and Pintail Point's Sarah Gardner are three of the newer additions to the Bay fly-rod guide business and darned good at what they do.
The techniques involved in fly-fishing local rivers, such as the Middle Potomac, Pipe Creek, Morgan Run and Monocacy, are similar to Chesapeake fishing.
The local trout or bass angler must be concerned with presentation of the fly; the Bay angler must be concerned with covering more water and contending with more wind. In this game, if you can't get your fly near that rockfish or breaking blue, presentation doesn't mean a thing.
A good all-around Chesapeake rod handles a 9-weight line and measures 8 1/2 to 9 feet. I have always enjoyed fly-rodding for river and pond bass, and my bass rod is a perfect match.
A few large popping bugs and a couple of Clouser minnows (I like white/red) take care of the terminal end of your leader.
For casual saltwater fly-rodding, your freshwater reel will do just fine, but rinse it in fresh, running water after each day's use.
Sources for countians interested in fly-rodding include: Patapsco Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter 622 is a very active group that meets monthly at the Bear Branch Nature Center, near Westminster. The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 13.
Jim Gilford has been conducting the local Fenwick Fly Fishing School for more years than we both wish to publicize, and happy graduates number in the thousands.
The earliest scheduled basic fly-casting classes are March 22-23 and April 19-20. Classes are in Frederick, with the two-day
course costing $150. Call him at (301) 663-3966 for details.
Looking for tuna?
Westminster big-game fishing and hunting fan Jim Orzolek is looking for five people to share the cost of a giant bluefin tuna trip out of Cape Hatteras between now and the end of March. Jim's number: (410) 875-2199.