Land of the Noonday Sun

I’ve now been to the Nantahala River in North Carolina three times.  It definitely won’t be the last.  This time I had the pleasure of fishing with professional guide, friend and fly fishing enthusiast Clint DePriest.  Watching Clint fish reminds me how much I still have left to learn. You can check out his website here:

And go ahead and look him up: Noon Day Fly Fishing on

The weekend marked another trip full of amazing fish, good food and relaxation.  Of course, some people wouldn’t call standing in cold water, climbing incredibly steep cliffs, and hiking around a valley relaxing.  Plenty of fish were landed, and new scotch was sampled!  I was fortunate to be able to shoot enough video to capture the weekend.

One of my favorite parts about fly fishing is exploring the unknown in search of those more challenging fish.  What do you like most about fly fishing?  Post it in the comments section below.

Fly Fishing Videography

My first video of 2016 is actually from my trip to Georgia near the end of 2015:

A lot of people ask me how I make my fly fishing videos.  It’s actually not too difficult. Here’s what you need:

  1. Preparation and Patience
  2. An HD camera (you can use your smart phone, but I highly recommend a waterproof case or bag to keep it safe so you don’t accidentally make a disaster movie instead of a fly fishing movie).
  3. Video Editing Software
  4. A Place To Show Your Video

With regards to Preparation and Patience, you need to balance your need to fish with the need to get good footage.  Sometimes, I spend an hour during prime fishing hours just getting some great footage.  It also helps to catch fish .  .  . and get it on camera.  There are plenty of times the camera ran out of power, or wasn’t ready when the fish finally decided to cooperate.   That brings me to preparation.   Make sure you have all the right equipment, and pack it carefully so that you can get at it easily (extra batteries etc.).

With regards to Cameras, in another post, I’ll talk specifically about the GoPro camera that I use.  But it’s important that you use a high definition camera (minimum resolution of 720p) so that your video quality looks good in our “high-def” world.  Between the GoPro and the iPhone that I use, I can get almost all the footage I want.  There are some things only a drone or a professional camera can grab, but a smartphone and GoPro can make some beautiful videos.

For Video Editing Software, most smart phones come with some sort of editing software, and there are plenty of cheap options in the “app store”.  If you want to, you can spring for Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro or another professional editing software, and then you are able to edit on a computer.

Finally, you will want to Share Your Work with the world.  I highly recommend Vimeo instead of YouTube for public viewing, but if you start to get a lot of followers, or want to increase your viewership, then YouTube can help with that too.  For sharing with family and friends, you can email a link directly from these sites.  In addition, Drop Box is a great way to store your files online so you can access them anywhere and share private links with family.

Stay tuned; I’ll share more tips and tricks about each aspect of my fly fishing videos in a later post.  Do you have any tips for making fly fishing videos?  Share them in the comments below!

No Keeping Fish, No Barbs, No Fishing Pressure, No Problem!

Hatch reels get it done!

Hatch reels get it done!

One of my fly fishing buddies, Jeff Smalley, yes, the one from the original “Trout Team 3”, recently invited me to join him for an amazing opportunity for some fly fishing on Duke’s Creek in Georgia.  The Smithgall Woods area is an amazing trout haven.

Jeff prospecting for rainbows.

Jeff prospecting for rainbows.

Anglers must register in advanced to fish, and they only allow fifteen anglers on the river per day (one morning slot and one evening slot).  The fish are reproducing naturally because it’s entirely catch and release.  Also, on this section of Duke’s Creek, you are only allowed to use barbless hooks (which I adhere to anyways).  Furthermore, they provide supplemental feeding to ensure the fish are healthy. All of this results in an amazing fishing experience with rainbows and browns that are crafty, intelligent and battle hardened.  I had more than twice the number of fish that I caught figure out a way to de-hook themselves.  And this was not due to the barbless hooks.  These fish have figured out just the right moves to throw their head and lose the hook point. They are powerful, acrobatic and energetic.  Not to mention that they are numerous within this five mile stretch of river.

After a full day of fishing, I had over a dozen rainbows battled into the net for a quick photo and release video.  I had twice as many get away, including some real hogs, ensuring I will visit this trout sanctuary many more times.  I also made a new friend, Clint DePriest (, who happens to be an amazing guide out of North Carolina.

Clint's all over these 'bows.

Clint’s all over these ‘bows.

The moral of the story is: Whenever a friend asks you to go fly fishing with him, you say yes!  Have you ever been asked to go fishing, and aren’t able to go, only to hear later about the epic hatch you missed out on or the “once-in-a-lifetime fish” that was landed?

Check out the video I made for this trip too (in the videos section or click the link here: ).

The Stolen Fishing Trip

native brookie

native brookie

Fly fishing opportunities can present themselves in the most unusual of circumstances.  For instance, a friend and colleague of mine happened to fly in for a sales meeting.  I saw this as an opportunity to steal away to the river for two to three hours and show Jeff a little bit of the driftless area in Wisconsin.  After picking him up at the airport, and heading to the river in scrubs, we skulked around the river hunting for active trout.  A bunch of beautiful brookies and browns later, we were admiring the sound of the river as we put our gear away into my Subaru.  That’s when Jeff coined the phrase (for me at least): He said: “Michael, this was really a stolen fishing trip”.  He described it as stealing a moment in time for something you never have quite enough time to enjoy.  It’s amazing what a little relaxation on the river can do for the soul.  Have you ever had a stolen fishing trip? Share yours in the comments!

The stolen fishing trip

The stolen fishing trip.  Here’s Jeff masterfully handling my CFO reel and Orvis Helios-2, 4-weight rod like a champ!

Fly Fishing Purism

My grandfather fished dry flies, wet flies and streamers.  And he was deadly at it.  The same goes for my father, although he incorporated nymphs and emergers in his own arsenal.  Always on the artificial fly.  Always barbless hooks.  I think something about this technique makes you a better fly fisherman.  You develop that sixth sense that tells you when to set the hook at the faintest line twitch, the softest shudder, or that quick flash in the water as the fish turns over.

This is what my father always referred to as purism or “being a purest” when it came to fly fishing.  No strike indicator or split shot was needed.  No hopper-dropper, thingamabobber, Czech lines, or drifts boats.  It would be man (or woman) wading into nature’s home court, with the most primitive tackle handled in the most elegant way.  I was brought up learning to fish this way, and I think it really helped my brother and I hone our skills before we started introducing newer technical aspects of fishing for our own personal arsenal.

I’ve got to be honest though.  There’s nothing like making a trout rise to a single dry fly.  But then again, I’ll do everything I can to catch a steelhead or that “fish of 10,000 casts” . . . muskellunge.  These fish are so hard to catch, I’ll take any advantage I can get.  For me, I just love being out on the river, with dreams of the last fish and thoughts of the potential next fish drifting through my thoughts.  Whether it’s with split shot and jig hooks, or with a single barbless #12 Hendrickson (tied Catskill style of course . . . ), the way that you fly fish says a lot about your personality and style.

And then of course, as my family always says, it’s almost as much fun looking at all that cool fly fishing gear as it actually fishing with it.  I’ll continue to be an active participant as fly fishing evolves with new products and materials: bamboo, graphite, switch, Tenkara, anodization, disc drag, weight forward, sink tip, beads, flashback, tungsten, brassie, woven, jigged, choked, articulated . . . fly fishing is evolving like any other art form.  So embrace all the new tactics and toys, and fuel your fly fishing addition with the next big thing.