February 2012
Your Local Fly Shop
February 21, 2012

Your local fly shop By Kevin Jurgens

Learning the sport of fly fishing is no small feat….like many other sports, it is very complicated and involves a lifetime of practice, intution, instruction, and trial and error.  Learning how to cast is one thing; add entomology, presentation techniques, fly tying, rod building, leader and tippet science, line science, and soon a degree in Electrical Engineering seems easy.  “How” to fly fish is complemented by “where” to fly fish, a lifetime of experience and an inventory of coveted locations that represent geographic places on earth you prefer to “wet the line”.

With all of this to learn, share, and research, it is no wonder that Fly Shops are a very integral part of the Fly Fishing Experience.  From my own experience, they have been a major factor and influence on every aspect of the sport, and have left many memorable impressions on my journey.  I learned to Fly Fish in college, and after the affliction caught on,  I spent more time in the fly shop than in the classrooms.  If truth be known, I got a degree in Fly Fishing with a minor in Business Marketing.

Fly Shops are more than a place to purchase products.  They are a culture, a conduit, a chat room, and a for meeting other like-minded fisherman.  They offer more of a “hands on” approach to learning the sport than anything you can find on the web or in a superstore.  Even though fly fishing is a quiet, independent sport, sharing those experiences with others is equally important, and equally important is the FREE knowledge from professionals that steepens the learning curve of the sport.

We all get caught up in the chase to find the best “deals” on fishing gear.  The web has provided that comparison model for finding the best prices.  Our first inclination is to forget about the local shops to save a couple of bucks at the superstores….more often we forget to even give the shop a chance at price matching.  The “volume” model has swallowed corporate America….it is seen by the big biz. as the future in retailing;  offer the most for the least and with 100’s of stores, snatch up all the market share.  This works great for groceries, but not necessarily for the fly fishing industry.

Your local fly shop is feeling the squeeze from the giants.  Fly shops across the nation have been financially unable to continue and have thus closed their doors.   While some need to step up to the plate, others who have a good swing already are striking out.  Just remember your local guys the next time you decide to save $1.50 by going to the giants.  You just might not have them around, and an important part of the sport will be gone forever.

Kevin Jurgens

Redfish on the fly in South Carolina
February 14, 2012

Fly Fishing for Redfish in Charleston, S.C.
February 1, 2012

            Just got back from a great trip to Charleston, S.C. to visit a good friend on mine and to fly-fish for Redfish. I had never been to Charleston before and was looking forward to exploring the city as well as the Red fishing.

            The weather was great for us, with above average temperatures and plenty of sunshine, which you tend to appreciate more when you live in a place that’s much colder during the winter months. We did have a good amount of wind that we had to deal with while fishing. Not only is it harder to cast in the wind, but the wind also tends to churn up the water & muddy bottom making for poor visibility and spotting fish more difficult. You can still find fish, but you have to look for muds (dirty spots where feeding fish have stirred up the bottom), or nervous water (a disturbance on the surface caused by moving fish below).

            We fished most days and found fish on every occasion. We were casting & stripping baitfish patterns to small schools of Redfish in open water or along grass flats depending on the height of the tide. During the summer months, you would target fish that were tailing on the grass flats feeding on crabs.

            Redfish are a big-shouldered saltwater fish that can run in size from a juvenile fish of a couple pounds (called a rat), to upwards of 40 lbs. or more. They readily take flies when presented properly and put up a bulldog of a fight when hooked. Our most productive fly was an Enrico Puglisi baitfish pattern tied on a 1/0 hook, although we did catch a number of fish on other deceiver style patterns. Casting accuracy and presentation seemed to be more important than the actual fly pattern used.

            We caught lot of Redfish that ran between 5 and 15lbs, and enjoyed being able to see most of the takes. On the worst of our water visibility days, we would spend a lot of time blind casting to where we thought the fish were based on muds and nervous water, but the best was when the water was clear enough to sight cast to small schools of feeding fish.

            We were fishing Winston 7wt. BII-MX fast action rods with floating Redfish lines & 16lb. Redfish leaders, which was the perfect set-up for the size of fish we were catching and fighting the wind.

            The amazing thing about this great fishery is that it’s available right in town or just minutes from anywhere. You can hook up the boat at home, drive to the water, launch and be fishing for Redfish in less than 30 minutes. Now that’s urban angling at its finest.