Murph Training, Week II: Introducing Stay and Reinforcing the Calm in Murph

(photo by Tim Bronson)

Given the weather up here in the Northeast, not only do I feel sorry for Murph having to go outside but I feel pretty sorry for myself sometimes. Standing outside at 3 AM and waiting for Murph to take care of business is actually pretty comical, but not much fun, particularly when it is below zero. In retrospect, I would avoid getting a puppy in the dead of winter again unless I lived south of the Mason Dixon. But, and it’s a big but, I wanted this breeding. I’m thrilled with Murphy, and I’m finding ways to work around the weather both inside and outside when it’s reasonable.

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In the Loop 01.25.11

Here is a gorgeous film about Korean carp fishermen, which I think captures everything that’s great about the sport. Despite the fact that the anglers are casting on an urban river right next to a highway, they seem to be lost in the natural world of the current, the insect life, and the fish. After watching this, you’ll have no doubt that fly fishing is an international language. Some of the strikes, . . .

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A follow up to ‘Canine Cancer Hits Home’: Riley and Josie Visit Orvis

Last week I posted a piece on my daughter Riley’s puppy, Willow, succumbing to canine cancer at just 6 months old (read the story here). So many of you wrote such kind things on Facebook and in the comments of my original post that I wanted to give you all some happy news.

Here is my daughter Riley visiting the Orvis home office with the newest addition to our family, Josie!

Riley and Josie Visit Orvis

I think they look pretty happy together, don’t you?

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Six Tips on Sinking Line – Tom’s Advanced Podcast

In my most recent Podcast, I go into detail on sinking lines, giving you six useful tips. I boiled the tips down here, but to get the most of the Podcast, give my latest episode a listen!

Click the play button below to listen to this episode. Go to to subscribe to future episodes

If you cannot see the podcast player, please click this link to listen.

  1. When to use a sinking line? In still water when the water is deep and using floating line is not working. Use sinking line to get deeper. In moving water/current, if you’re swinging flies and a floating line is causing the fly to rise and skim along the surface or just under it in water that’s more than a few feet deep, switch to sinking line.
  2. Don’t worry about what system you’re using. Whatever system you use, practice with it. Get used to how it works. All systems are meant to get fly down deeper than you can with floating line in still water, and keep it there as you strip. In water with current, sinking line is used to get the fly down below the surface and keep it swinging at the same depth.
  3. In still water, cast as far as you can since you don’t know exactly where the fish are (except that they are down deep) and you want the fly down deep for the entire retrieve. Count down as you would with spin gear, to whatever number you think gets the fly down to where you want it. If you’re getting hung up often, count down a little less. In current, angle cast and use mends to get fly deeper or more shallow. The shallower the water, the more downstream the cast. The deeper the water, the more you cast upstream and mend to get the fly down. Let the fly swing as it passes by you and goes downriver, mend as you go to get it deeper.
  4. An integrated sink line is often easier to use than a loop-to-loop system and best used when you know you’re going to fish sinking line all day and not change up spools. There are several types to choose from, each detailed in the Podcast.
  5. Loop-to-loop systems have a place in your arsenal too. Check out the details on the Podcast at 37:45.
  6. What size and length leader do you use with sinking lines? Often a shorter and heavier leader is in order. The Podcast gives you the specifics.
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Snow Hound

Snow Hound!

Living in the southwest corner of a northeastern state has its advantages. For instance, when it’s 0ºF in Burlington, it’s a balmy 5ºF in my neck of the woods. When they get pounded with an inch of slush in Philly, we’re buried in a foot of snow. Some may not see this as an advantage, but I do. I like snow. And this year so far has been a doozy in terms of storm activity. But as long as it’s gone by Memorial Day, it can snow every day for all I care.

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Somewhere in the Neighborhood of Six Tips on Sinking Lines – A Black Diamond Episode

Tom goes into great detail in this podcast on sinking lines. This is advanced stuff, but plenty for everyone here.

In the FLY BOX section, Tom touches on how to remove ice from the guides on your rod, casting around objects and gives a couple pointers on choosing a good fishing guide.

Click the play button below to listen to this episode. Go to to subscribe to future episodes

If you cannot see the podcast player, please click this link to listen.

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Friday Film Festival 01.21.11

Marlin To Fly: Vintage IGFA Video from Costa Sunglasses on Vimeo.

Welcome to the Friday Film Festival. We’re kicking things off with some amazing archival footage, from the IGFA, of the very first striped marlin landed on a fly rod. How often do you get to see such a first? The boats and tackle seem primitive by today’s standards, but Doc Robinson’s pioneering methods of teasing the fish to the boat are still used today. His wife, Helen, looks like a. . .

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Canine Cancer Hits Home at Orvis

Willow and Riley

Willow and Riley, 2010

We found out on Christmas Eve that Willow, our daughter Riley’s six-month-old golden retriever, had cancer. She was Riley’s best friend since we picked her up this summer. We waited until after Christmas to break the news. Needless to say Riley was devastated.

Riley asked a couple of times if we were sure that she couldn’t be saved. Unfortunately, the answer for Willow was “no”. All we could do was love her as much as we could in the time she had. Riley did just that, she got up before the sun and took Willow out, fed her, and then played with her all day. The only breaks taken were for Willow to catch a nap while Riley’s snow clothes dried out.

We lost Willow a couple weeks ago, two weeks to the day of getting the news. Riley kept Willow’s toys. Every night she puts them on her bed in the spot where her pup used to sleep.

This was heartbreaking for my family, but it hit home for me as an Orvis associate how important the Orvis commitment to helping end canine cancer is. I’m grateful, as well, to all of you, our customers, for your help in curing canine cancer. Thank you.

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In the Loop 01.20.11

If you’re headed to the tropics for bonefish this winter or plan to try for salmon in Alaska next summer, you’re going to have to learn to cast into the wind. Here are a couple of helpful tips from a Cayman Islands fishing guide. 

fish icon A study commissioned by Trout Unlimited to assess the combined value of sport, commercial, subsistence, and hatchery fisheries in Southeast Alaska has determined that these activities top $986 million and account for nearly 11 percent of the region’s jobs.  According to Trout Unlimited communications director Paula Dobbyn, “The bottom line, it is a huge economic driver of the economy, and we hope the forest service will take this information and really move forward with its. . .

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