Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don't lose your trip photos! Back up your computer!

I just received an email from my friend and fly-tyer-extraordinaire Bob Mead.  You may know Bob for his natural looking flies, such as the praying mantis and lady bug.  (Here's my picture of the ladybug fly he gave me in 2005.  Believe me, there's a hook under there.)

Check out the Web site he has with Dave Martin at: Bob and Dave's Auctions.  At this moment over 100 items related to fly fishing are being auctioned.

Anyway, I was just checking in with him because the January Fly Fishing Show in Marlboro, MA is coming up soon. Bob confirmed that he will be there and I look forward to saying "hi".

As we exchanged emails, Bob informed me that before Thanksgiving his 2-year old Apple died and he lost all his pictures, emails, addresses, documents and articles.... in other words, everything!

Losing photos would be unbearable to me and I know others would be lost without all the tunes they've downloaded to their computers.  The moral of the story:  backup your computer. 

There are many strategies and techniques for this.  I use two of them!  That's right, I back up two different ways:

1)  I have a 1-terabyte harddrive that sits next to my computer and is connected with a USB cable. Mine requires electricity, so it is plugged into my powerstrip, but there are other models that are portable which get their juice directly from the computer through the USB cable.  I believe 1-terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes, so it provides a lot of backupability.  Mine is made by Seagate. With the included software you can schedule backups to occur automatically, such as every night.  I back up "incrementally" which takes less time as it backs up only the information that has changed or has been added to my computer's internal drive since the prior backup.  I paid about $100 for this external drive.

2) If someone were to steal all my stuff or the house were to burn down, I would be out of luck with #1 above.  So I also backup online, to  The cost is about $50 per year for unlimited backup.  One warning:  you really need a fast internet service (i.e. no dialup) to make this work.  You can schedule Mozy to work in the background while your computer is on, though this does slow down the computer somewhat (at least it does on mine.)  Or, you can manually activate the backup, such as while you are eating dinner or while you're watching a football game... or tying flies!  I do this perhaps once a week.

Recommendation:  If I could do only one thing it would be Mozy.  A similar vendor is Carbonite, which my wife uses.  There's no extra hardware to find room for at your computer station and it provides great peace of mind.  From what I understand Mozy backs up your files simultaneously on servers in several cities across the country as additional disaster protection.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Forum "up" now on Fly Fisherman Magazine

I had lost track of my favorite bulletin board/forum.  It used to be called the Virtual Fly Shop (or, simply VFS) and most of us who frequented it (I started in 2002 or 2003) loved the thread-type organization of each post and all replies.  I don't know why they ever stopped it,  as it is a very popular forum technique of photography web sites such as the granddaddy of  them all,

After VFS, I think it continued for a while as a forum on the Fly Fisherman Magazine Web site.  But the format had changed and that turned away a lot of folks.  This I think was about 2005.  Many folks also didn't like the fact that you had to register as a user.  Now, of course, every Web site requires registration as far as I can tell.

The next step for the old VFS forum was a move to Florida Sportsman forums.  And here, things went smoothly until again the format changed.  More of the "old-timers" gave up.

I personally had lost track.

BUT, yesterday I googled "what happened to the old virtual fly shop bulletin board" and it took me right to the "old" board which has now migrated back to Fly Fisherman.  I was able to log in with my old profile information and added a reply to one of the posts just to be sure all was working. 

Very quickly I was comforted to see some old names:  Hans, Emerger, Fly Fisherman, Steve S, Flykuni, Charlie Craven, Eperous, Johno and others

Here's a link to the site:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Favorite Stuff: The Bugger Barn from Cliff Outdoors

I just wrote a short review about a really nice fly box, the Bugger Barn. This product comes from Cliff Outdoors of Casper, Wyoming. It's a sturdy little bugger, and well worth looking at if you like organized fly boxes with good carrying capacity. The review is indexed on the page called Articles/Favorite Stuff.

Or, you can skip the index and go directly to the review by clicking here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Another good day fishing for panfish and bass

I took Friday off from work, as it was supposed to be a nice day. With Hurricane Dan moving up the coast it was expected that Saturday and/or Sunday would be filled with rain and wind. Definitely not a good day for casting a fly. So, if I wanted to fish I needed to take a loooong weekend, and Friday was the day!

Well, Friday started out kind of "iffy"; not what I expected. Wind was cool and out of the east (generally not a good thing). The sky was a solid cloud bank when I awoke, and the air temperature was a cool 50F. But as the morning progressed the sun began to shine through and eventually I thought the fish might be starting to stir.

I packed up the Hobie Float Cat and got to my favorite pond around 11 am. The pond is long and thin and runs from north to south, so it was actually quite sheltered from the breeze.
I found the water was cooler than the week before and there was no surface activity of any sort. The yellow bodied Edson Tiger that was still on my line from its successful outing last week was not successful on this day. So, I switched colors to what is actually my favorite version of this fly... black. Its tied with a twisted black marabou body, a dun dyed mallard hackle and a few strands of peacock. I can't tell you that the herl helps, but if does look better! Plus, I just use the butt ends of herl I have collected from tying herl body flies. This is another fly which I definitely want to tie with step-by-step photos for the Web site this winter.

The day turned out to be another banner day of fishing, with loads of bluegills chomping on this one fly, with 4 or 5 largemouth bass thrown into the mix.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A good day fishing for panfish

This has been a crazy summer. July was one of the coldest and wettest in history here in New England, and I don't think I was even once was able to fish a river. Well, maybe once. But generally water levels were what they normally are in May, right after spring runoff.

That left me fishing ponds from my hobbie float cat. But even that has been something I have avoided for about two weeks due to the oppressive August humidity and high temperatures.

Well, I finally got out on Sunday and the fishing was fantastic. Humidity was down a bit, temperatures were below 90F, and there was enough of a ground level breeze to keep me happy.

The closest thing I had to the yellow jackets that were swarming the lily pads and were getting sucked in by the bluegills was a single Brooks-style yellow stonefly nymph which I tied with rubber band strands for a tail. Lots of action! It was unweighted and I fished it right along the edge of the lily pads with great success until I lost it after one vicious strike which could only have been a pickerel.

The reward was bluegills (males) in spawning colors. On the other hand, one photo here is of a male (yes?) in post-spawn lack-of-color. It was the greyist colored bluegill I had ever seen, and I thought a picture would provide an interesting contrast to the bright-colored spawning males.

After loosing that one-and-only yellow stonefly nymph I switched to the only other yellow fly I had with me. This is my own little version of a Dark Edson Tiger. (Mr. Edson named his fly after the "dark" wing and not the "light" body; the Light Edson Tiger is tied with a yellow wing and peacock herl wrapped body.) The bluegills slammed it and typically this meant removing the streamer with foreceps, whereas when I had fished the nymph it was usually dangling from the upper lip. A couple of bass fell for it too.

Friday, July 31, 2009

My Hobie Float Cat

I've just added a page in my Articles/Favorite Stuff section about my Hobie Float Cat. I have had this pontoon boat for nearly 15 years and its been a near constant companion. The build quality is excellent. Only the few scratches on the bottom of the polyethylene pontoons make it obvious that it is not new. Click on the link below for the article and a few pictures:

Click Here For Article and Images

Friday, July 24, 2009

Flies used fishing for trout on the Connecticut River

This picture is a follow-up to my previous post, about fishing for trout in northern New Hampshire along the Connecticut and Androscoggin Rivers. I hope to be adding individual close-up pictures of each of these flies to the Web site. But, in the meantime:

In the fly box on the left, at the 9:00 position: Deer Hair Caddis tied by Paul to match the alderfly. (see my earlier post for a picture of the alderfly.)

10:30 position: Hare and Herl Bugger tied by me. I tied this also with a lead wire underbody and with hen hackle wrapped over the entire body, to make a Hare and Herl Woolly Bugger. But the bead head version shown here was the only nymph I needed for this trip, which I fished unabashedly under a medium sized fluorescent red indicator.

12:00 position: Paul's "realistic" Alderfly imitation, tied with a lacquered church-window feather from a pheasant.

2:00: My favorite dry fly, a very visible Parachute Coachman. A size 14 is all I frequently need.

5:00: Paul gave me a few of his Elk Hair Caddis with light colored (or bleached) wing for easy visibility. On this trip, I fished this almost as much as the Parachute Coachman. I plan to tie some of my own as this was a very productive fly for me

6:00: Jon's favorite Alderfly imitation, tied with brown hackle wing and collar. I had a hard time seeing this on the Androscoggin where I first fished it, as it seems to match the tanic tinted color of the river. But Jon has far younger eyes than I do, and he scored big time with this fly during our first day's outing.

7:00 position: My Parachute Trude has a crinkly calf tail wing. Sometimes I tie-in a tail made from the hackle fibers of a pheasant's tippet feather (same as on the Parachute Coachman), though it appears that in this sample I either chose not to or simply forgot about it. The butt ends of the chartuese wing are tied so as to create the parachute post. Very economical and efficient! I find that chartreuse is a good color for early evening fishing. I have always thought that with a cream colored dubbed body and tan calf tail wing that this pattern could suitably imitate a small woodland grasshopper, as they are often tan or grey with a cream colored tummy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fishing way up there, near Colebrook NH

In June I took a four-day fishing trip with three friends to Colebrook, NH. This location is way up into New Hampshire. Our travels took us to the origin of the Connecticut River, and we were driving very close to the Canadian border on occasion. We fished primarily the Connecticut River below the dam at First Connecticut Lake and the Androscoggin in Errol.

On the Androscoggin we were fortunate enough to hit the beginning of the alderfly hatch, as sample of which is pictured here. A size 12 or 14 Elk Hair Caddis is a very adequate imitation. I will be posting some pictures of the flies we used, later. What we caught were brown, rainbow and brook trout, and small stocked salmon.

Below are several pictures from the trip. It is hard to believe it from the pictures, but we had rain most of the time.

Friday, July 10, 2009

First visit this year to the Land of the Nuclear Sunfish

When water levels are high (as they are in New England right now) I turn from river trout fishing to bass and panfish in local ponds. My favorite was named by my brother as the "Land of the Nuclear Sunfish". For the life of me I can't figure out where the smaller sunfish are. Really, truly, 90% of the sunfish I catch are between 8.5" and 9.5". Granted I use fairly large flies. And maybe the rules of the pond are the big 'uns get first crack at any food source. Well, whatever.

I had a great first day and took a few pictures (link below), including a photo of the fly I caught all the fish with. The top one in the photo is a virgin fly to show you how it looks after tying. The conehead gets it deep, and the fly is tied with only one material: rabbit fur from a pelt or from a zonker strip.
The instructions are simple: (1) a patch of fur tied in as a tail, about the length of the shank, (2) dubbed body using a dubbing loop and fur cut short (or just use pre-made rabbit dubbing) and (3) a collar of fur applied using a dubbing loop. I get a big kick out of fishing real simple flies! (I plan to take some step by step photos one of these days, but it is a pretty straight-forward pattern.)

The bluegill pictured below was one of 3 that measured (plus or minus) 10". Total take on the one conehead fly this day was about 60 sunfish with a few perch mixed in.

You can see more (7) and bigger images here:


Friday, July 3, 2009

I have added Photo Galleries

Other than this blog (which is hosted free by google blogspot), uses Frontpage 2003 for software. All changes are made on my computer and stored on my hard drive, then uploaded to Godaddy which serves as my Web site "host".

Frontpage 2003 is very old and cumbersome and even uploading photos is a pain. So, I have decided to sometimes upload pictures instead to my photo site,

Within this site I have set up a seperate folder on the "All Galleries" page, appropriately called "Photo Galleries for".
My first entry is a 15 image sequence of an emerging dragonfly. I took these during a 30 minute period while fishing the Millers River, earlier this season.

You can get there either by going to the gallery home page and finding the first folder of galleries here:

To whet your appetite here is the first of the 15 images:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Here are two of six new fly photos

Bob Erickson gave me six flies to photograph and to include in his article on fishing for Atlantic Salmon in Newfoundland (see previous Blog posting). Two photos are shared here; all six have been added to his story:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Atlantic Salmon on the Rock

I have just added Bob Erickson's story about fishing for Atlantic Salmon in Newfoundland to my "Flies With a Story" page of this site. You can see Bob's trip pictures and read his story here:

Also, he sent me a few of the fly patterns mentioned in the story, and their recipes. I will photograph them soon and add them at the bottom of the story.

To tempt you, below are just three of Bob's pictures.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Panasonic announces its first waterproof compact camera

Panasonic entered the shockproof, waterproof, dustproof market this week with the new 12 megapixel DMC-TS1. I am a real fan of panasonic cameras, owning a Pany FZ8 ultrazoom and having given my son the well-regarded Pany TZ5.

Unfortunately (in my opinion), like the Olympus and Pentax water-proof offerings, there is no optical viewfinder. Nice big LCDs (this one is quite ample at 2.7") are nice, but in bright light on the water an optical viewfinder is always a nice option... especially since LCDs are often hard to see with polarized glasses.

What has promise with the TS1 is that the zoom is a very useable range of 28mm wide to 128mm. The Olympus has a similar zoom range. And, like the Olympus, the camera is equipped with image stabilization. The Pentax, however, has a less useful zoom and lack image stabilization.

A 60 second minimum shutter speed sounds pretty good. Perhaps it can get some good evening pictures, as the sun sets and the hatch emerges.

The bad news is that when available in April 2009, the price will start at $400, whereas the older Olympus (if you define "old" as being announced in August, 2008) sells currently for about $250. Though this may make purchasing the Olympus a "no brainer", I am personally looking forward to the online reviews on the TS1, as both the Olympus 1050 and Pentax W60 water-proof cameras scored a low 15 of 20 in image quality in recent reviews on That's pretty poor as it is pretty easy to find compact cameras (non-waterproof) scoring higher.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Favorite picture From 2008

This fine Salmon Fly, called the Murdoch, was tied by my friend Eric Austin so that I could photograph it for a photo print competition at my local camera club. The theme that month was "outrageous color" and with this digital image I was able to score high enough to get a first place. At the end of the club's season I submitted it again, but this time for the "Print of the Year" competition in the assigned theme category. (Besides the "assigned theme" each month we also have "open" and "nature" categories.) I was very pleased that again the print (an 8"x10")received first prize! This is the first (and only) fly photo I have ever printed. And I must say, prints look far nicer than do images on computer screens. The colors are richer and on good print paper there is a certain depth and substance to the image that just isn't there when viewed on screen.

Why I created a Blog for

I recently noticed that it has been nearly 2 years since I added anything to One reason for this is that adding new material is time consuming with Frontpage 2003, the software that runs fishingwithflies.

Blogs, on the other hand, are designed to be easy to update. By adding a blog to fishingwithflies I will greatly simplify things, as I can now eliminate the Updates page, the Email Me page, the Personal Profile page, and the Photos and Images page. All these can be handled easily on one Blog.

Google is behind the software for this Blog and they have made it all very slick. I have customized the appearance using their tools and settings to be as close as possible to the appearance of fishingwithflies.