Fly Fishing On the Rocks

nickBy Nick Curcione, TFO Advisory Staff.

San Diego is touted as America’s finest city.

While other metropolitan areas may debate that claim, San Diego does boast a number of angler friendly features that make it a very desirable travel location.

If sport fishing is on your to-do-list you are in the right place.


Fly Fishing on the Rocks. The Author said that there is excellent fishing just a short walk from hotels on the bay. Photo by Nick Curcione.

It is home to the world’s best long-range fishing fleet and its bass lakes are justly famous. But, if you don’t have much time there are plenty of local fishing opportunities to light up your day.

If you are a visitor, (business or pleasure) and are staying at one of the local hotels like the Embassy Suites, Hilton, Hyatt or Marriott that border San Diego Bay, you can enjoy a unique brand of room service.

Fly fishing on the rocks.

The primary species in San Diego Bay is the spotted bay bass. This feisty predator readily takes a host of artificials making it an ideal species for spinning and fly enthusiasts alike. It is available on a year round basis and the tackle requirements can be kept to a travel friendly minimum.

My favorite setup is a 9-foot TFO 6-weight fly rod, matched to a BVK III reel. Since you will be casting from the rocks a sinking shooting head is the most practical line.

The leader can be very simple, a five foot section of 8-to 12-pound test looped directly to the shooting head. Most of the prey these fish target tend to be small, so your fly selection should incorporate hooks sizes 1 to 6. A variety of standard bonefish patterns will work, as well as Clouser Minnows (try to fish streamer patters no longer than about two-inches).

A stripping basket is also a must when casting on any rocky outcrop, where fly lines can become easily tangled.

A spotted bass hooked on a fly. Bass can be hooked on flies, size 1 to 6. Photo by Nick Curcione.

A spotted bass hooked on a fly. Bass can be hooked on flies, size 1 to 6.
Photo by Nick Curcione.

The old adage that advises the “best time to go fishing is when you have the time,” applies here but, I would limit my efforts to daytime hours. Ideally you’ll want a period of moving water so an incoming or outgoing tide will yield the best action. The fish are subsurface, so give the sinking head time to drop and try to cover varying depths until you start drawing strikes.

Being close to the rocks, most depths will be less than 15-feet. The bass often hit hard and are great fun on a 6-weight.

Give this a try and I’m sure you’ll find your trip to the bay enjoyable.

Help save Bristol Bay! Tell the EPA you Support full Protections for Salmon

Courtesy of Scott Hed, Director, Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska


For over 8 years, the threat of North America’s largest copper and gold mine has loomed over the communities located around the headwaters of the two major rivers flowing into Bristol Bay, AK. If built, this ill-conceived project would directly impact the world’s largest and last great sockeye salmon run, putting in jeopardy 14,000 commercial fishing jobs, a 10,000 year cultural tradition of subsistence, and a huge recreation economy.

Photo courtesy of Pat Clayton.

Photo courtesy of Pat Clayton.

All told, the proposed Pebble Mine would threaten an existing long-term sustainable economy valued at over $1.5 billion annually, for a short-term mine. The EPA has the power to ensure restrictions are in place that will not threaten the fishery. Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, EPA has the authority to restrict or deny a permit that will have adverse effects on this fishery.

EPA took a justified step in February to start the process of restricting or denying any large-scale mining permits in the Pebble copper and gold mining deposit. Now EPA is asking the public to review their proposed determination before making a final decision to protect the fishery.

We have this one final opportunity to have our voices heard, and encourage EPA to follow the science and stop Pebble Mine once and for all.


For more information, please visit:

Habits of Highly Effective Anglers- Deneki Outdoors

The gang over at Deneki Outdoors have compiled some of their best tips on what makes an angler “highly effective.” Below are some of their top suggestions, but check out the full post, “13 Habits of Highly Effective Anglers,” and learn how you can sharpen your game and most importantly, have a more enjoyable time on the water.

Photo by Flip Pallot, TFO Advisory Staff.

Photo by Flip Pallot, TFO Advisory Staff.

  1. Check your knots.  Every single time they tie a knot, effective anglers give it a good tug to make sure it’s strong and seated correctly.  Every time.  It is very unusual for a really good angler to ‘break one off’.
  2. Keep your hooks sharp.  Almost any time he touches his fly, a great angler will check its point to make sure it’s sharp.  If it’s not, he’ll sharpen it or replace it.
  3. Organize your gear.  It’s kind of obvious when you say it this way, but having the right gear for the situation, organized so you can find what you need, helps a lot.  If you look inside the gear bag of an effective angler, you don’t see a big pile of doo doo.

For the complete list, visit:

Recap- Hardly, Strictly Musky – The Southern Classic





The 2014 Hardly, Strictly Musky – The Southern Classic was a great success this past May, as dozens of anglers bounded upon McMinnville, Tennessee.

Jim Shulin of TFO was on hand not only to fish with Advisory Staffer Blane Chocklett (Oh, and TFO’s Bob Clouser also fished the tourney!), but, also to unveil the new TFO Esox Series.

Photo courtesy of Blane Chocklett.

Photo courtesy of Blane Chocklett.

Here is a link to a short write-up by Pile Cast Fly Fishing.

There was also a great write-up on the event by Dave Hosler in the latest edition of American Angler Magazine.

Check out their Facebook page: Hardly, Strictly, Musky-Southern Classic for some bad ass photos from the weekend.

Team TFO of Blane Chocklett, (left) and Jim Shulin (right) prepping for a weekend of slinging big flies.  Photo by Jim Shulin, TFO.

Team TFO of Blane Chocklett, (left) and Jim Shulin (right) prepping for a weekend of slinging big flies.
Photo by Jim Shulin, TFO.

Check out this first Texas Council of Fly Fishers Expo this weekend!




Starting on June 13, the first ever Texas Council (International Federation of Fly Fishers) will be holding their Fly Expo, in New Braunfels, Texas.

Join TFO, fly vendors and fly fishing enthusiasts on June 13-14, in New Braunfels at the Civic Community Center, and Cypress Bend Park.

The expo will be in multiple locations, so fly anglers can take full advantage of classroom and on the water situations.

Photo illustration courtesy of the Texas IFFF.

Photo illustration courtesy of the Texas IFFF.

Cypress Bend Park will be the location we use for the Casting Programs, Certifications, and on the water classes being offered.

There will be plenty of free parking available and a shuttle service will take you back and forth to the Civic Community Center.

Thursday night the 12th, there will be a Welcoming Dinner to get to know each other, and set the stage for the days to come. Friday night the 13th, we will be hosting the Fly Fishing Film Tour. Saturday, June 14, there will be an Awards Dinner, Auction with BIG Time Raffles and a Special Guest Speaker.

The main Fly Fishing Expo will be on the 13-14.

For more in formation on the Expo, please visit:


Joey Nania Takes First in Mark’s Outdoor Annual Tournament




Angler Joey Nania of Cropwell, Ala. overtook 486 anglers and several Elite Series pro’s this past weekend in the Mark’s Outdoor Annual Tournament on Logan Martin Lake.

According to Nania, the pair (along with co-angler Kolby Tishler) went directly to structure offshore and caught a small limit.  Nania landed most his fish on 8-pound fluorocarbon, a 3/16-ounce shakey head and the TFO Shakey Head GTS rod. 

Nania finished the day with 20-pounds, 7-ounces.

The anglers combined for over 30 fish during the one-day tournament.

Photo courtesy Joey Nania.

Photo courtesy Joey Nania.

Nania’s day was further complimented by his finish over some of the Elite’s Series top anglers. Pitted against seasoned anglers like: John Crews, Brandon Palanuik, Hank Cherry, Mark Davis, Randy Howell, Bill Lowen, Mike McClellan and several other Elite Pros.

The duo edged out Elite Series angler John Crews by 1-ounce, who caught all of his on a frog.  Hank Cherry finished the day at No. 3.

Fly Rods and Ferrules

 Courtesy of Ray Schmidt and Kate Smith


Because of the strain and pressure placed upon fly rods during a cast, rods must be manufactured to exacting standards, especially the joints (ferrules) that hold them together.

When rod sections become unseated, fly rods can break. When failures like this occur, they are typically seen at the joint near the loose ferrule.

It is recommended that anglers assemble rods by putting sections together with what is referred to as, a “twist lock.”

Exposed blank on the Professionall II Series fly rods.  Photo by Temple Fork Outfitters.

Properly secured ferrules on the Professional II Series fly rods.
Photo by Temple Fork Outfitters.

This is done by intentionally miss-aligning the rod sections as they are pushed together to seat the sections. By setting the guides apart, at a 90-degree angle, then twisting the sections into alignment an imperceptible seal or “lock” will form, keeping the sections together.

To disassemble the rod, simply twist the sections so the guides are oriented at a 90-degree angle, than pull apart.

With heavier weight rods, the same process should be utilized.

With long, two-handed rods or big streamer rods, casting heavily weighted lines and shooting heads can twist rod sections while under load. Although, the argument can be made for taping ferrules, the best remedy is to follow the “twist lock,” method and regularly check rod sections to ensure they are tight.

If multiple failures occur, than it may be best to use surgical or electrical tape on the ferrules to secure their fit.


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