Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cabin Fever Fly Tying Contest, entry number 5- Michael's Marabou Slider

Michael's Marabou Slider

We are finally getting close to the voting. I have one more fly to post after this awesome slider pattern that was sent in from Michael Byrnes of North Carolina. I named this fly because it simply describes the fly. I am a big fan of sliders so when I saw this fly I instantly started salivating over the potential fish I could catch on this fly. Again I will post Michael's email with his own words, but like some off the other entries this fly is very versatile. The quality of this fly is top notch and it is obvious that Michael takes pride in his tying ability. I was really glad to see another fly submitted from outside Florida, thanks Michael. Here is what he had to say about his fly.

The tail/claw is marabou with a little flash, some palmered hackle to cover up the marabou. I then tied in a 7/32 nickle (with eyes) dumbell eyes to get this fly down. I figure you could use any weight eyes from plastic, bead chain and up to the 7/32 to either let it float/suspend or sink. Between the eyes and palmered barred hackle I tied in, flaired, deer body hair above and below the eyes. I chose to use the lighter color for the belly for obvious reason. I figure it may minic anything from a crab or mullet to some other baitfish. Dirty water or clear the hackle and deer hair will push some water and help this fly to be found and eaten. Also it can be tied with or without a weedguard...I chose not.

What did I tie it for? Redfish, snook, Tarpon, Striped Bass is what I had in mind. A few weeks ago in North Carolina I found a school of reds in deep water and hit them a clouser with a 7/32. Took a few out of the school but the water was very dark and stained. Fish were deep and holding in the current. Went home and tied up this fly in a Chart/white (as in picture) and a week later went back to the same area. Found fish again and over a 4 hour period we boated and released almost 40 fish...what a day...oh yeah..all fish taken on fly were taken on that Chart/white pattern.

Michael was also wise enough to send in a photo with a redfish he caught on his fly. I think this may help him get some votes. Keep the comments coming I know everyone likes to hear in put. I still have a few more days full of charters, then I will get back to posting more articles full of useless knowledge. I hope all of you have a safe New Years.

I love the "Life is Good" hat, because life is good and everyone reading this should remember it!

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Now I remember

Now I remember why I love guiding so much. After having three of the slowest months I can remember, this week Santa has brought me lots of charters. It feels like the old times and I love it. I have had the chance to fish with some great people and we have had loads of fun. Fishing wise everything has been the typical winter time fishing loads of ladyfish and trout, mixed in with some pompano and snook fishing. To be quite honest with you the wind has been blowing like crazy and I am looking forward to my two trips today because the wind is suppose to be down. Sorry for the short report but as you can see on the post time it is just before 6:00am and I am out the door for my morning trip. I do have two more flies ready to go for the fly contest and I will get them both up soon. I was going to post one of them last night but I feel asleep early because I was exhausted from all the emotional energy I burned during the Dolphins game. As many of you know I am a huge Fins fan and yes I will be going to the playoff game on Sunday!!!!!!!!!!! I will report back soon, I have some fish to catch.

my guide service website http://stuartflyfishing.com
my photography website http://pbase.com/stuartflyfishing

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cabin Fever Fly Tying Contest, entry number 4- DH Classy Clouser

Deer Hair Classy Clouser
Here is entry number four. It was tied by Rich Santos from Jacksonville, Florida. Rich has been a client and friend of mine for over 6 years, and is about as passionate about flyfishing as anyone I know. He is actively involved in the Jacksonville fly fishing club and is also a casting instructor. Rich's fly like all the other entries is well tied and creative. He put a twist on the Clouser minnow by spinning dear hair on the head, kind of a mix between a slider and a clouser. I know this fly is basically a redfish fly but like the others could probably catch just about anything that swims.

Here is what Rich has to say about his fly, and then I will let the pictures tell the rest.

Name: DH Classy Clouser or ( Deer hair Classy Clouser)

Species: Redfish, Snook, Spotted Sea Trout, Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel and more

Materials: Mustad Shrimp Hook C47S-D No.2, Red or Black Danville’s 210 Denier Tying Thread, Medium Red/Blk. Lead Dumbbell eyes, Fox tail or equal under belly, Holographic Flash sides tied long, Bucktail back, Deerhair shoulder-head trimmed to shape.

Design Description: Jig like action. Produces an erratic flashy movement and looks more life like. The Deerhair head profile also creates a larger silhouette that pushes more water for better predatory fish attraction. It can also act as weed guard if tied heavy and possibly feel meatier to a fish!..maybe LOL Just kidding.

I got blown off the water yesterday so I do not have a fishing report, but I have 8 trips over the week after Christmas so I hope to have lots to report and photos to share. I can't wait until the new year when I get to launch my new redesigned website. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and I will be reporting back before the new year! Thanks for reading this blog, pass it on to your friends.
Merry Christmas, John

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Monday, December 22, 2008

An unforgettable day

Here are some pictures of my first Keys Bonefish on fly: Photos by Rick DePaiva

Well I accomplished something yesterday that I have wanted to do for a long time, land a keys bonefish on fly. It all started with a last minute invite to fish in Key Largo with Capt. Rick DePaiva. Rick as many of you know guides in Fort Myers but was on a busman's holiday with his good friend David Mcleaf and they had a couple great days with lots of shots at bonefish. David could not fish the third day and Rick was not done so I got to be the replacement player and man am I glad I got the call. I guess these guys weren't really on a holiday because they both are great photographers and they were working to get some good shots of bonefish. These fish are notoriously tough to catch on anything especially on fly, but I was up for the challenge. I have only fished for bonefish in Florida a few times with my good friend Capt. Jorge Valverde (954-822-0647) and we have always had great success but all the fish were landed on spinning rods. Not to take anything away from catching them on a spinning rod because no matter what tackle you catch them on they are an unforgettable fish. I have caught bonefish on fly in the Bahamas but it was not the same. The fish there are smaller and easier to catch, again not to take anything away from the Bahamas bonefish because I would go back quicker then a bonefish can get you in the backing!

Our first goal was to just catch one so we could photograph it, and then from there on it was fly rod all the way. Rick landed one on a spinning rod giving me a great opportunity to photograph a species I have yet to capture on film (disk space?) I was really pleased with my photos and I had to share a couple here. Rick and I are both bonefish rookies so we were like a couple of kids filled with excitement every time we saw a school.

All in all it was an unforgettable day with a good friend and perfect conditions. I also have to give a quick thank you to Capt. Honson Lau (786-298-1436) who gave me the fly the night before. Honson tied the fly and promised me they would eat it and he was right. To anyone who is reading this, if you have yet to accomplish the Florida bonefish give one of these guys a call. I can't say it enough it was unforgettable! Thanks guys.

I still have 3 more flies to post for the Cabin Fever Fly Tying contest, before we start the voting. Two of the flies I have and I am still waiting for one more in the mail. I think everyone will agree that the flies so far have been well tied and very creative. I will try to post the last 3 flies some time soon but, the holidays have been kind enough to bring me lots of charters so I will be working quite a bit over the next 10 days. Stay tuned for more fishing reports and more flies. Believe me I have lots of interesting posts coming up, and maybe I can get Honson to send me some more info on his bonefish fly. I know it works!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Cabin Fever Fly Tying Contest, entry number 3- Cas' Cinnamon Slider

Cas' Cinnamon Slider

We are flying right along with this tying contest now. I am waiting on 2 more flies to get to me and then the voting will start. These 2 remaining flies will give me a total of 6 entries for you guys and gals to vote on. This fly came from Cas Summers of Longwood, FL. Cas is the treasurer of the Backcountry Flyfishing Association. www.BackcountryFlyfishingOrlando.com I really like what Cas did, he gave a classic fly a modern twist. The Borski bonefish slider in my opinion is one of the best slow water flies ever designed, and Cas took new materials to create his own slider. Very well done Cas. This fly is primarily a redfish fly but like so many other flies it will work on anything that feeds on the flats.

Here is what Cas had to say about his creation. They are very easy to tie. I just used some cool Puglesi tying material that I saw at the Orlando Outfitters, it's called EP Streamer Brush & EP Sparkle Brush & they also have EP shrimp dubbing. It has a wire stem and the material palmers easily. The chose this material because of it's buggy colors. The tail is made of Craft Fur and is flexible to the bottom color. The eyes are lead or bead chain depending on the depth of water or size of the fly. I use the fly for redfish, but also believe that it could work for bonefish. They seem to eat the same stuff that they find swimming around. I tied in a weed guard since it will be bumping along the bottom. I have caught redfish with it. The fly is very weedless. It rides hook up. The Puglesi material does not tangle like the baitfish flies. A comb is not necessary. The flies are tied on #4 Mustad 3407 hooks. I pinch the barb down before I tie them on.

Cas, thank you for entering this fly into the contest. I believe your pattern may give other fly tiers some good ideas and some more uses for this new material. Again I ask that everyone parrticipate in the blog by posting comments. Everybody enjoys reading comments about their flies especially positive comments. I have been extremely happy with the turn out of this contest so far, all the flies I have recieved have been well tied and very creative. Stay tuned the next 3 flies will be posted soon.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cabin Fever Fly Tying Contest, entry number 2- Head Stand Shrimp

Head Stand Shrimp

Okay, I am just going to start out by letting you know that my photography does not do this fly justice. This fly was designed by Rob McAbee, you know him by now as the Bugslinger guy, and he definitely "designed" this fly. He asked me my opinion on what makes a good redfish fly and I told him the basics. First it must sink fast and land soft, second it must ride hook up, and third it must have a weed guard that works. The last bit of advice was, the fish have to see it. Rob created a fly that sinks quick but is delicate enough to land soft and throw on a 6 or 7 weight. This fly always lands hook up and has a killer weed guard. Rob tested it and when I got it I tested it, if you drop this fly in the water it always falls hook up, hence the name "head stand shrimp". This fly has a vibrate yellow tail and 2 rubber legs, and 2 pieces of flash that give this little critter loads of life. This fly could easily be tied in a whole array of colors that would be geared toward redfish, bonefish, permit, and everything else that eats shrimp. I think it can go unsaid that the quality of this fly is perfect, but what else would you expect from an artist? I photographed this fly outside on the boat mainly because I wanted a background that helps see the detail of this fly. I may have some of the materials a little off but I am going to give you a basic recipe. Tail is a little yellow marabou. The body is ice dubbing with a feather palmered through the dubbing. Lead eyes tied back by the hook bend, 2 rubber antenna and 2 pieces of holographic flash tied off the back. The top of the body is epoxied for both strength and looks and the double weed guard is made of hard mono. Have fun with this one I think it would be a killer Bahamas bonefish fly if it was tied with tans and pinks or even just the way it is in yellow. Thanks Rob.

I am going to use this post to keep everyone up to date. Rob is currently redesigning my web site, and from what I have seen so far everyone should love it. I won't give away any details but it will include some incredible images. Check out Rob's line of fly fishing lifestyle apparel at http://bugslinger.com/ I would also like to thank everyone that has ordered shirts so far, I must say that the micro fiber shirts have been the biggest hit. Bug slinger also has a new micro fiber shirt out, as a matter of fact I am wearing mine right now, and also a brand new snook design. I would love to see some comments on these flies. I have 5 entries for this fly tying contest so far, so if I do not recieve anymore emails for people wanting to enter I will post the poll as soon as I post all five. Stay tuned and don't forget to spread the word about this blog with your friends.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

If fish only ate with theire tails!

Here are some of Rick's shots of me with a nice trout at sunset and the new micro fiber shirt.

I had the absolute pleasure of getting another invite to fish with Capt. Rick DePaiva over in the Pine Island sound. I drove over the night before and was able to get there early enough that Rick took me to one of his favorite spots to photograph birds and other wildlife. David McCleaf joined us and we all captured the last hour of the day. Rick claims it was only a 2 on a scale of one to ten as far as the amount of birds, but I was perfectly happy getting the shots I got. It was very cloudy so the light was not the best and all of my shots were taken at an ISO of 640. It did make for a very orange skies at sunset and the wind was none existent. Here are a few of my shots that I captured that afternoon.

Egret in the grass

Blue Heron

Another egret

for you Gator fans

Ibis in orange sky

The next morning we were greeted to calm winds and clear skies, a recipe for a great day and a great day it was. Rick is not only an incredible photographer but one of the more knowledgeable guides you will find in the Fort Myers area. He is diligent in his game plan and knows how to follow it. Everywhere we went Rick call it before we got there, a sign of a true professional. We had shots at redfish all day long some cruising but most were tailing. Now I know I said in an earlier post that I planned on taking pictures of the tailers before fishing for them but, I did not have the will power to grab the camera. You see even though photography as a good hold of me, fishing has a bear hug on me and I still wanted to throw the fly before clicking the shutter. I would have been better off with the camera because one thing I learned is that redfish do eat with their tails! I did manage one redfish on fly but, in all honesty I am better then I performed because I blew shot after shot.

After getting a bit frustrated at them not eating my fly, even on some good casts, I switched to a DOA shrimp. Now most of you have seen me fish the DOA's and I am usually pretty efficient at it, well not this day. You see redfish in less then a foot of water do not like being hit on the head with a piece of plastic. At this point, since I was blowing most shots I took over the push pole and quickly poled Rick to the first tailer. Of course he proceeded to slap me in the face by catching one on the first fish we saw. I got a chance to take some pictures today and I really enjoyed that opportunity as much as the opportunity to fish with Rick again. I did redeem myself at the end of the day. Rick really wanted a big trout to photograph and I managed to catch his subject a nice 27 inch trout. Rick was able to take some incredible shots like the one at the top of this post and we both went home very happy. Rick has become a good friend and I am sure you will see some future posts with him mentioned. If you are ever visiting the west coast of Florida give Rick a call 239-246-8726 because not only will he give you a great day on the water but you will have pictures that are worth a million bucks. The pictures below are the shots that I managed to take yesterday of the redfish we caught.

I have 3 more flies to post so stay tuned they will be up as soon as I can photograph them, and the voting for the first cabin fever fly contest will begin.

my guide service website http://stuartflyfishing.com/
my photography website http://pbase.com/stuartflyfishing

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cabin Fever Fly Tying Contest, entry number 1- Midnight Tarpon

"Midnight Tarpon"

Here are my thoughts on this fly the Midnight tarpon, it rocks! The first entry was sent in by Rob Signorello of Boca Raton Florida. I met Rob years ago when I did a seminar at the Ole Florida fly shop. Rob actually sent me these flies a few months ago because he wanted me to try them out.I first asked his opinion on the contest and then asked if he wanted to enter his tarpon fly in the contest. I personally have caught snook on this fly, but I know it is primarily a tarpon fly and I can't wait until this summer to throw it at our pods of tarpon. As far as quality this fly is a perfect 10, Rob obviously put a lot of effort and time in tying these flies. He ties them in a variety of colors as you can see by the pictures, but the black in his opinion works the best. Rob it would help if you threw the other colors? Just kidding.

Here is Rob's original email to me about his fly:

the basic recipe is simple….
Tie in 4 saddle hackle curved out on each side
Steven Farber Midnight Blitz flash top, bottom, and sides
Big silver holo eyes epoxied…..
That’s it……very simple, anyone should be able to tie this fly…..
All materials purchased at Ole Florida Fly Shop…….go see the man Darren!!!

(there’s a good plug for you Darren!!!)
This fly has caught snook and tarpon in Biscayne Bay, St. Lucie River, and offshore

I believe Rob just named this fly for the sake of this contest, like many of us we don't have names for our flies. For added fun post comments below with name suggestions and your thoughts of this first entry. I will ask that we do this for all the entries, by the way, I believe I have four more entries in route to me. I will post the next entries as I get them. Great job Rob! I will be sure to send you an email with the high resolution photographs I took. The tying contest is officially under way, so keep checking back for more.

my guide service webpage http://stuartflyfishing.com/
my photography webpage http://pbase.com/stuartflyfishing

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pompano Fly- The Gold Digger

Just a quick post to share with you my pompano fly that I tie, I call it "The Gold Digger". A couple quick things to think of when you create a pompano fly, first they are typically on or near the bottom, so your fly needs weight. They primarily feed on mole crabs or as most people know them sand fleas, so keep your flies in tan, yellow, gold, etc. Most of the time pompano will be found in 3 to 6 feet of water so use an intermediate line and let it sink, again you want your fly near the bottom. Give the fly short strips so your fly stays near the bottom, are you seeing a pattern here. My fly is obviously super simple, the tail and wing can be tied out of any material (I used tan craft fur in the one pictured),but the gold flash, gold eyes, and gold ice chenille body is what makes it a gold digger. Have fun with it and go catch some pompano.

"The Gold Digger"

Here is one that John Madert (blog fan JM) emailed me, his is very similar and works well on the pompano and whiting in the North Carolina surf. Thanks for sharing John.

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Just a teaser

This is just a teaser of things to come.

I have had a pretty good response to the tying contest so far. I know I have 2 entries for sure and another 2 that I got emails from that are suppose to be getting flies out to me. I will tell you that I know 2 of the guys entering and they are talented tiers so you should enjoy their creations. Just a reminder, each entry will get it's own post with photographs. Read the post "Cabin Fever Fly Tying Contest" for more details. I need a few more entries I know there are loads of tiers out there, don't think you are not good enough because quality is not as important as creativity! The main reason for this contest is for you guys to share your flies. I just threw in the prize to make it more interesting.

I also wanted to take a second and thank everyone that has ordered t-shirts, the response has been good. Another reminder, there are a handful of people that have signed on as follower to this blog and have not introduced themselves to me. If you are one of these people please send me an email so I can get to know you and also I will mail you a free fly oval decal. That also goes for anyone else that signs on as a fan to this blog.

I fished yesterday and the bite was nothing short of great. Pompano, ladyfish and jacks were abundant and loads of fun. I will post a pompano fly here soon, pound for pound they fight as hard as any fish out there, perfect targets on a six or seven weight. Looks like charters are picking up the week after Christmas, but if you want to get out before Christmas I have plenty of days open. I am planning on fishing with Rick DePavia again this coming Tuesday over in Fort Myers so stay tuned for photos from that trip. If Rick will allow it I am going to try and photograph the tailing redfish before I cast to them! Stay tuned and keep checking back. Thanks again for the response on this blog! John

check out my fishing web page http://stuartflyfishing.com
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cabin Fever Fly Tying Contest


Here we go, a way for you to share your flies with others and win a cool prize. I am launching a fly tying contest right here on this blog, the “Cabin Fever Fly Tying Contest”. This contest is open to anyone who wants to enter and is not a species specific contest, any saltwater fly will do. The winner will get a 16X20 print of my photo, “Armor” a $60.00 value. Here is how to enter, just email me with the description and name of your fly, if you don’t have a name, maybe one of our readers can help? I want to know what species it was designed for and what makes your fly cool. Include as much information as you like, this will help me write a review. Each entry will get its own post with photographs and a description. I know many of you are thinking that I am just trying to fill my fly boxes. Well, I am! Just kidding, the winner will also get each of the flies entered. If you want me to fish with your fly and write future reviews then include a couple copies of your fly, because one of the flies is going to the winner. I would suggest that you send in different color variations, if they apply, it helps with photos. I am not the judge of this contest, you are. Once I have at least 5 entries, hopefully more, I will put a poll on this blog and you guys get to vote. The poll will run for 2 weeks, and then the winner will be announced. I will post entries as I get them, and then once I have the final entry I will group the post together before the polling, so it is easier to compare flies. Anyone who enters will also get the high res photographs of their flies for your own personal use. Good Luck and I hope to get many entries. You can email questions and entries to info@stuartflyfishing.com

check out my fishing webpage http://stuartflyfishing.com/
my photography webpage http://pbase.com/stuartflyfishing

A window into my world

A couple days ago I got an email from my buddy Rob McAbee, the Bugslinger guy, the subject line was “a window into my world”. The photo below was attached. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, but I can’t think of a 1000 four lettered words?

I responded with my own photo and this, “Sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner, but I have been busting my ass all day!"

His photo did give me an idea. Many of the readers here are in areas that winter has completely taken over and more and more time is spent indoors, and for many of you that means tying flies. I figured what the heck let’s kick this blog off with a fly contest. Read the post “Cabin Fever Fly Tying Contest” for the details.

check out my fishing webpage http://stuartflyfishing.com/
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New shirts! Just in time for Christmas

Pictured below: front of the micro fiber

Okay, this is where I shamelessly plug my t-shirts. Today I picked up my order for my new, logo design t-shirts, and again I am up with the times. In addition to my typical cotton shirts I included technical fishing micro fiber shirts. If you have not started wearing micro fiber yet you don't know what you are missing. The comfort of cotton with moisture wicking properties. Most of you know that when I am fishing I am wearing a long sleeve shirt for sun protection. Here's the downfall of a cotton shirt, once you start sweating or if you are throwing a cast net and get wet, you are screwed. By the end of the day your shirt is around your ankles, and your neck line looks like Jennifer Beals from Flashdance. If you don't know the movie Flashdance, don't worry your not missing much, just an extremely hot girl dancing around in a loose shirt. This does not happen with the micro fiber it dries quickly and does not loose its shape.

I have two different designs and they are both available in long and short sleeve cotton, or the fishing technical long sleeve micro fiber. Check out the pictures for the designs (the fronts are the same on all shirts). Unfortunately I can not afford to give these shirts away, so here are the extremely reasonable prices. S/S cotton is $15.00 the L/S cotton is $18.00 and the micro fiber shirts are $28.00, I can invoice you right through email and it is very convenient. The quanities are limited but right now I have M, L, XL, and XXL. I also have a few Carolina blue micro fiber shirts available in XL and XXL.
If you are new to the blog check the rest of it out you may find something interesting, and if you have been here before keep coming back.
Pictured below: Full Logo long sleeve micro fiber
pictured below: Oval Logo short sleeve

Email me with your order and I will include a free decal.

check out my fishing webpage http://stuartflyfishing.com/
photography webpage http://pbase.com/stuartflyfishing

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My go to flies part 1 - mackerel flies

I had to set my beer down while I took the picture and it looked good in the shot so I left it. Help me name this fly.

I have decided that since I have this avenue to share information I am going to let you in on a few of my favorite flies. I will try and do this over the next week or so, but I will start with a mackerel fly since it’s winter and the mackerel are swarming the beaches right now. Let me start by saying that mackerel will eat any fly if it is stripped fast enough, but there are a few elements to a mackerel fly that are essential to optimizing your time chasing them. First they must be durable those critters have the nastiest teeth around. Secondly, it must have some flash, they are like women they love shinny things. The last thing to consider is weight, now I love catching these guys on crease flies, but the reality of it is, if the fly is down you will get more strikes. My last bit of advice is, keep it simple, you will go through loads of these flies in a day. Remember on a good day you will hook over a 100 fish. Even if it is durable it will still only last for 15 or so fish. So here is how I incorporated these elements into my fly design, sorry I have not named it. First the fly is tied with a super hair tail and it is tied halfway back on the hook shank, this allows me to use lighter leaders, 50 to 60 pound, without getting bit off. The super hair is very durable against their sharp teeth and comes in a variety of colors, I like bright colors. This ties into my next element, they like bright colors and flash, so I use a product from Orvis called Holographic & Tri-Lobal Hackle. This is the same as a longer Estaz or ice chenille, and I palmer the body of the fly and trim it to my desired length. You could use a shorter Estaz and I don’t think it would matter, just keep it bright. The last element I factor in is weight, I tie on dumbbell eyes and I use a clear intermediate line. Be creative and design your own simple, bright, durable mackerel fly, they are the most fun you can have while keeping your flip flops on.

Remember if you enjoy this blog sign in as a fan and recieve a free oval fly decal. Just click "Follow this blog" in the upper right hand corner and email me your address and user name for your free decal.

check out my fishing webpage http://stuartflyfishing.com/
my photography webpage http://pbase.com/stuartflyfishing