Casting for Fly Fishers

April is an exciting month for the Delaware Valley Fly Fishers Club. The season has opened for local trout waters (and bass are now catch and release only for the duration of their breeding season). We will be holding our regular meeting later this month where, along with our guest speaker, there will no doubt be plenty of stories and photos of our early season catch. The Club will also be holding its “On-Water” fly fishing class along the banks of the Little Lehigh. More on these to come!

April marks the time of year when fly fishers buzz with activity around here – and the Delaware Valley Fly Fishers Club makes for a pretty good place to learn the tips, tricks, and insight of local waters to make the most of your angling season ahead.

With that in mind – I’ll be keeping this post short so I can go out and get my line in the water, but I’ll leave you first with this thought: When you find yourself elbow to elbow with other anglers please encourage them to visit our Club. Membership growth is the ONLY way we can continue to make our fine programs available, so put a few of your Club business cards in your vest and hand them out with a smile and an invitation.

Much of what the Delaware Valley Fly Fishers has to offer has been nicely summarized by one of our founding members, and Executive Director, Jerry Girard Sr. Please enjoy this brief message from Jerry, and share the Delaware Valley Fly Fishers’ message with others to help build our membership ranks.


We hope to see you at our next meeting!

Dave Allbaugh’s “Fishing The Wet Fly”

The Delaware Valley Fly Fishers Club is proud to present Dave Allbaugh as our guest speaker on March 26, 2014 (7:30 PM). Dave is a master wet fly angler, guide and native son of Pennsylvania. Born and raised in Johnstown, PA., Dave has availed himself of many of the finest limestone streams found throughout Central Pennsylvania and productive freestone streams of North Central Pennsylvania, and it is within these magnificent settings that Dave offers his “Wet Fly Water Guide” guide services and personalized lessons in wet fly trout fishing.

Dave Allbaugh

Dave Allbaugh with a nice late-June wet fly catch.

Fishing with wet flies is arguably one of the oldest methods recorded, and while our Pennsylvania waters have a robust history of wet fly fishing, in more recent times very few of us have actually practiced these truly classic techniques. Dave Allbaugh will bring his multi-media presentation to introduce us to a few of the more storied trout streams in the Commonwealth and provide us with a detailed discussion on equipment, flies, leaders and tactics to use – year round – for successfully fishing with wet flies.

Count this as a presentation you don’t want to miss.
We hope you will join us and Bring a Friend – Guests are always welcome!

Fly Fishing on a Budget

I recently had the pleasure to speak at length to a founding member, and Executive Director of the Delaware Valley Fly Fishers Club, Jerry Girard Sr. Jerry’s knowledge of fly fishing spans far beyond the act of angling – he is also a recognized historian of fly fishing in America and is a collector of antique fly fishing equipment and ephemera. Jerry’s interjection of these topics among his educational presentations at club meetings and classes helps to emphasize the robust history of our sport – lending the modern angler a very real sense of connection to past generations of fly fishers.

As our conversation turned to focus on the economics of fly fishing, particularly those costs associated with entering the sport, Jerry reassured that it can be done on a tight budget – though he is quick to include that fortunes large and small can also be spent. Among some angling circles today fly fishing continues to be labeled a sport for the wealthy. At one time, here in the U.S., that may have been so. Well-balanced rods with finely tuned action could only be purchased from a master craftsmen who could spend a hundred hours or more creating such a rod by hand. Rods such as these could cost a fortune and be wholly unattainable to the average working-class angler. I’m quite sure that this rooted perception has wrongly kept many people from fly fishing today. Thus, the goal of this article is to dispel the myth of fly fishing as a sport only for the wealthy and to encourage anglers who may be feeling the pinch of today’s economy that they can begin fly fishing for less than $100.00.

On the first stop on your shopping trip, particularly if you haven’t fly fished before, I strongly recommend you attend an Introduction to Fly Fishing Class – and the Delaware Valley Fly Fishers Club offers an excellent course later this month on March 22, 2014, and this is where you should spend your first $25.00 from your budget. For more information or to reserve your seat call us at: (215) 245-0677. A class such as this will provide you with the information you need to select the equipment necessary for you to reach your fly fishing goals – and as such, this article will not cover those details of what to purchase and why – those are covered in the class.

A quick online search this morning of the “big-name” outdoor sports vendors revealed that a very nice rod and reel combo (with floating weight-forward line, leader and backer) can be purchased for as little as $40.00. These are moderate action, 4-piece, graphite rods available in line weights of 5, 6 and 8 lbs. The lengths available are either 8.5 ft. or 9 ft. and come with cork handles and aluminum reel seats. The reels themselves can be switched for either right or left hand retrieval and are built with adjustable disc-drag. (Just to note: the next least expensive combo with similar features was priced at $60.00.) These modern rods are quite durable and surprisingly cast worthy… certainly well enough to provide years of angling fun.

The rod and reel combo above requires the additional purchase of a tippet or two to get started. Ranging from 3X to 6X the same vendor offered 30-yard spools for $1.88 each. Buying tippet materials by the spool is the most economical option, though you can also purchase tapered tippet-leader combinations of various lengths but you will pay a premium for the convenience of not tying your own.

Finally, the flies need to be purchased. While assortment packs are available and may seem to be the way to get a large and broad selection, I would recommend another option and this will require a visit to your local fly fishing vendor preferably one located near the waters you intend to fish. Go to the shop and introduce yourself to the proprietor who, in almost every case, will be a wealth of knowledge about the local waters, and ask them to help you select flies from these categories:

• Match the Hatch
• Attractor
• Dry or emerger
• Sinking or wet.

Fishing some combination of surface or near surface fly along with a sinking or wet fly tied onto a dropper will increase your chances for a bite. When matching the hatch, ask for guidance on selecting flies of different sizes. Depending on your selection, these flies can cost between $0.75 to $1.50 each. Consider selecting between 16 and 20 flies – with a few duplicates for those recommended as the most productive – and we’ll average the cost for simplicity here at $1.00 each. You can skip the specialty fly storage box for now and make use of something you have at home (empty prescription bottles, small candy tins, etc.). Once you get these flies home, if you are planing to release your catch, use a pair of pliers or a small file to remove the barb from the hook.

So, we’ve made a significant number of purchases to get us on the water for opening day. Let’s examine our total:

1 ea. Rod and reel with backer, line and leader = $40.00
3 ea. Tippet line = $ 5.64
1 ea. Shipping = $ 5.00
20 ea. Flies = $20.00
1 ea. Introduction to Fly Fishing Class = $25.00
Total = $95.64 (taxes not calculated)

Keep in mind, this is a bare-bones set up and a spartan example just to illustrate that you can start with nothing and build a kit and the knowledge to fly fish for under $100.00.

This, I believe, is a good starting point for budget conscious anglers – whether you are tentatively frugal entering a new sport, selecting an outfit for an angling youth (who knows what they will be into next week?), or simply in a pinch between pay days. Fly Fishing is affordable, fun, and provides a great opportunity to get close to nature, in peaceful solitude or with family and friends.

For more information about fly fishing come out to one of our monthly meetings, or better still, enroll in our Introduction to Fly Fishing Class.

We hope you join us!

Notice: Introduction to Fly Fishing Class

I want to take this moment to remind everyone that the Delaware Valley Fly Fishers Club is offering its Introduction to Fly Fishing Class on March 22, 2014 (10:00 AM to 4:00 PM). The fee for this class is only $25.00. Seating is limited so you are encouraged to call ahead to pre-register: (215) 245-0677. Bring along your notebook and your rod and reel with line (though not required).

From personal experience I can say that this class is probably one of the finest available – for many reasons. When I attended this class – the first time – I had already been fishing for over 30 years. I learned much more than simply how to “fly fish”… I learned specifics about fish behavior and angler behavior that, once applied, brought me even more joy and success in the angling sports I grew up with.

Our expert members will share their knowledge:

At the right time: This class will provide you with all the information you will need in order to have a fun and fulfilling “opening day” fly fishing for trout in Pennsylvania.
Of the right gear: From rod and reel to boots and hats – you will learn what you need and what you won’t need to fulfill your fly fishing goals.
Of the right tactics: You will learn to “read the water” and to “match the hatch” to help you decide whether to fish the top, the bottom, or somewhere between.
Of tips and tricks: You will learn about what goes into all those vest pockets – from the latest little gadgets to well tested home-made tools and much more.
Of fly casting: Bring your rod or borrow one of ours because you are going to learn to fly cast, or, learn to fly cast better than you do already with help from our FFF-certified casting instructors (Federation of Fly Fishers).

If you enjoy this class and want to take your skills to the next level, or you are looking for more advanced training, take a look at our upcoming “on-water” Fly Fishing Class on the Little Lehigh Creek. We’ll discuss this at greater length in a future posting.

One other personal note I would like to share: Fly Fishing is NOT an expensively exclusive sport. You will learn that you can – even with a small budget and simple equipment care – enjoy a lifetime of fly fishing without breaking the bank! (More about fly fishing on a budget will be presented in a later posting.)

This class will be held at the Yardley VFW Post (#3693), 1444 Yardley-Newtown Road, Yardley, Bucks County, PA 19067. After the morning session the class will take a break for lunch and you are welcome to join us at one of the nearby eateries, then, back to start the afternoon session.

Please share this with your friends, neighbors and family – this truly is a great class for beginners to get started as well as a refresher for those with some experience. This is also a wonderful and affordable opportunity for a “Family Day” outing and even an “early” Father’s Day present.

You can find images from a previous class on our Past Events page.

We hope you can join us!