Lee Wulff and Curt Gowdy in Labrador

Greetings blog followers and friends! Long time no see! 😀

It has been a long while since I posted anything here. Lots of reasons for that, mostly living a busy life, still tying flies, drumming and singing in the Classic Rock band and the church Praise Band, enjoying life with Mary, to whom I am now engaged for a June 2016 wedding. Together, we’ve spent time at soccer and T-Ball games with our collective eight grandchildren. We went to Maine in June for the Carrie Stevens weekend at the Rangeley Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum. We both love music, and we saw Garth Brooks in Concert last May. In less than two weeks, we are going to see Joe Walsh in concert in Poughkeepsie, New York. Then in October we have tickets to see Paul McCartney in State College, Pennsylvania, just an hour away. I did manage to get some fishing in, and gave Mary some fly casting lessons. She is anxious to get on the water where she can hook some trout! Hopefully before the autumn leaves are gone. I have quite a backlog of stuff to post here. I have also been very busy with some personal matters and getting caught up on things as life always moves forward.

This video link was sent to me by a friend. I started watching it and thought, how very classic and iconic, and I wanted to share it. Lee Wulff and Curt Gowdy fishing together for trophy brook trout in Labrador. I met Curt Gowdy in the 1980’s when he came to speak at our Trout Unlimited Chapter. This came about because a local angler and chapter member reached out to Curt in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s when he was in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, as the sports announcer for the Little League World Series Games. My friend, Dave Wonderlich, who works at the Slate Run Tackle Shop (see link to that fly shop on the right), offered to take him fly fishing. Dave provided all the equipment since Mr. Gowdy was not prepared to fish on this particular visit to Williamsport.

This is one of the episodes of “American Sportsman” and I believe it was filmed in the 1960’s. It is just under a half-hour in length, but will be well-worth your time to view and enjoy it. Grab a beverage and some snacks and relax!

Recycled Fish

Yes, indeed. A fish made from recycled materials. Who’d have thought this up? But apparently two women artists from western Pennsylvania did, and made this “beast.”

One of my blog followers and friends who lives in the area near Pittsburgh, saw this in a local recycling center and took the photo. In this shop, they also have almost anything and just about everything for sale, including used furniture, doors, car parts, etc.

Recycled Fish. I'm not sure if this creation actually has a name...

Recycled Fish. I’m not sure if this creation actually has a name…photo by Bill Havrilla.

It measures sixteen feet long and weighs 1500 pounds. The two women who built it made it entirely from trash and junk collected along the Allegheny River and donated it to the center. It has at least three bicycle forks (on this side) in the dorsal fin and two more in the caudal fin. The mouth is made of a couple front quarter-panels from a car, and various bits and pieces. The eyes on both sides, are car headlights. The fins are all made of bundles of electrical wiring in among the bicycle forks.

Oh, and it’s not for sale…in case you were wondering.

Bastian’s Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger

I had announced this on my facebook page last week, but I also wanted to post something here. I am pleased to announce that the Orvis Company has picked up for the third year, my original pattern, “Bastian’s Floating Cadddis Emerger.” It is offered in their online catalog:


This pattern was created in 2006, a revised fly that began in 1996 with my original Hatching Caddis Adult pattern. It has been field-tested in Pennsylvania; on Penn’s Creek, Big Pine Creek, and Spring Creek. I also used it successfully on the Beaverkill in New York, and Montana’s Madison River, and my brother has used it on Maine’s Penobscot River for land-locked salmon. It has also proven itself as a very effective still-water fly. Since its release with Orvis, a customer and his wife from Massachusetts, who guide with the 2014 Orvis Guide of the Year, Tim Linehan, used it on the Missouri River in 2013 and hammered ’em. Tim had not seen the pattern previously and was surprised by its success. He bought some from me afterward.

Here is a photo of Susan Ukena with Tim Linehan, and a fine Missouri River rainbow that took my emerger – a #14 tan:

Sue Ukena and Orvis 2014 Guide of the Year, Tim Linehan, with a Missouri River rainbow that fell to Bastian's Floating Caddis Emerger.

Sue Ukena and Orvis 2014 Guide of the Year, Tim Linehan, with a Missouri River rainbow that fell to Bastian’s Floating Caddis Emerger.

I also wanted to get the fly on the MyFlies.com site, but could not in good conscience place the same pattern there. So I made two changes in the pattern, number one, the way the hackle is applied. On the MyFlies.com version, Bastian’s Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger, I side-lash the legs. And number two, I added a chartreuse foam indicator to the top of the fly and the neck, between the body and head section. This helps improve visibility of the fly, which rides on the surface. It is called an emerger, but this fly is actually a dry fly, even though it is unconventional in its appearance as a dry fly. Another thing about it, even if swamped by surface turbulence, it remains in the film. That is why the hi-vis indicator is helpful. Plus I have successfully for the last three seasons, doubled-up and used a tandem dry fly rig with this pattern; a sulfur dun and a ginger colored “sulfur” version of Bastian’s Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger. The larger, high-floating, more visible dun pattern keeps your eye tracking the drift of the emerger as well. Trout flash, swirl, boil, or just show themselves under the dun, and they are generally always looking at, or most times, have taken the emerger. This is why I have trained myself to be quick to strike at any sign of a trout. Even with just 10″ of tippet between the dun and emerger, the dry fly does not always give indication that the trout took the emerger. They are faster and quicker on the “take and spit” than most of us ever realize.

There are about ten or eleven articles here on my blog related to this pattern. Use the search tab, type in “Floating Emerger,” hit the enter key and they will come up. Lots of photos, success stories, tactical stuff, tying instructions…it’s all there.

Here is a pic from the MyFlies.com site:

This is the gingeerr colored veersion of Bastian's Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger, this KILLS on Speing Creeek and any stream where the sulfurs, Ephemerella rotunda exist.

This is the ginger-colored version of Bastian’s Floating Caddis / Mayfly Emerger. This fly KILLS on Spring Creek and any stream where the sulfurs, phemerella rotunda exist.

A customer here in Pennsylvania recently ordered some of these. Here is a quote from the e-mail I got the other day when he received his order:

“Received the flies. Once again, I am just stunned at the character of these flies in person, I am not surprised they are so killer.”

These flies are available from Orvis, or from MyFlies.com. I also offer them in custom colors and sizes, I have tied them as small as #20, and as large as a #10 – 2x long in brown as a Slate Drake Emerger. Now all we have to do is wait for Spring…

Rock ‘n’ Roll

Soon, in the next couple posts, I will reach the number 400 in the total number of posts I have made here since starting this blog in March of 2010. A lot of water has passed under the bridge in the last five years, and I have had some difficulties, actually longer than five years if you consider this coming February 22 will mark eight years since the beloved mother of my daughters passed away from pancreatic cancer, but nonetheless, life has been getting better for me. I am involved in an amazing relationship with a wonderful woman whom I’ve actually known for 43 years. Bearing down on eight months now, Mary is a fellow musician, great singer – she was formerly in a Heart cover band and also sang in another ’80’s Band, where they performed an entire set of Heart and another of Pat Benatar’s music. She also plays guitar and keyboards. She and I also share so many other mutual interests: good food, wine, Captain and Coke, Dirty Martinis, cooking, photography, good beer, she loves my fly tying and is fascinated by it, nature, dancing, she loves to fish, though I will be getting a fly rod in her hands for the first time when the weather warms a bit. It is just amazing and miraculous to find someone this late in life when one might have though the best has already passed by.

My music career, hobby that was more or less given up in ’79 when I dropped out of the rock band I was in (back then we were just a rock band; the term Classic Rock had not yet been invented), has taken off as I’ve been drumming full-time in a Classic Rock Band called Pepper Street. We played fifty-seven gigs last year. It’s great fun, relieves stress, and I’ve met new friends and gotten reacquainted with old ones from back in the day. For not playing at all in thirty-four years, save for the occasional performance in church and a few theater musicals in the ’80’s, I had not played at all. Sadly, the drum kit was just collecting dust. I’ve since gotten my playing stamina back, and am getting my chops tuned as well. 😉 And doing some lead vocals, either from the drum kit or fronting the band when a friend who is also our soundman sits in. Such a blast!

Here is a shot of me at my vintage Premier drum kit:

Don Bastian - Premier 1975 Powerhouse PD2500 drum kit.

Don Bastian – at my vintage Premier 1975 Powerhouse PD2500 drum kit. Taken on my birthday in April 2014 at a local American Legion Post.

The hardware is all new, upgraded to the heavy-duty stuff from the last ten or so years. We play tonight. Another night of fun and music!

Here are a couple more pics of the band in action:

The Pepper Street Band performing July 2014 at the Tiki Bar and Patio at the Pier 87 Bar and Grill near Montoursville, PA. We have five bookings there again this summer.

The Pepper Street Band performing July 2014 at the Tiki Bar and Patio at the Pier 87 Bar and Grill near Montoursville, PA. We have five bookings there again this summer.

Pepper Street Band at the New Mountain Tavern, Allenwood, PA.

Pepper Street Band at the New Mountain Tavern, Allenwood, PA.

A highlight of the band’s gigs from last year: At Shade Mountain Winery and Vineyards, north of Middleburg on PA. RT. 104, and near Pennsylvania’s famed Penn’s Creek, at their Annual Fall Harvest Festival. There were more than 500 people present at this outdoor event in October. The band had a blast, the crowd loved us!

Crowd of 500-plus people aat Shade Mountaain Winery in October 2014, music by the pepper Streeet Band, covering Classic Rock and Rock 'n' Roll Oldies.

Crowd of 500-plus people at Shade Mountain Winery in October 2014, music by the Pepper Street Band, covering Classic Rock and Rock ‘n’ Roll Oldies.

View of the Pepper Street Band, behind the stage at Shade Mountain Winery for their Annual Fall Harvest Festival, October 2014, near MIddleburg, PA. Rock 'n' Roll!

View of the Pepper Street Band, behind the stage at Shade Mountain Winery for their Annual Fall Harvest Festival, October 2014, near Middleburg, PA. Rock ‘n’ Roll!

View toward the front of the stage, the Pepper Street Band is rockin'!

View toward the front of the stage at the Annual Fall Harvest Festival at Shade Mountain Winery, the Pepper Street Band is rockin’!

More good news: We have been invited back for the Annual Fall Harvest Festival at Shade Mountain Winery on Saturday October 10th, 2015.

Bastian’s Red Squirrel Silver Picket Pin SBS

Now that we are a few days into 2015, I figured I better get something on here. When a friend sent me this link on one of my original patterns – the title fly, or “RSP” as it is now called for short, I thought it would be great to highlight an excellent step-by-step tutorial posted on Fly Anglers On Line (FAOL).

It was done by a fellow whose forum name is ScottP. He did a great job on this, so I figured I could post this here, and augment it with some pertinent fishing info.

The RSP was created over twenty years ago, a brainstorm of mine to modify the famous Pickett Pin wet fly / streamer pattern. Hence the Red Squirrel Silver Body Picket Pin was born. Initially I tied the hackle palmer fashion as on the Pickett Pin, but I later dispensed with that for ease of tying, and the increased durability one achieves from a solidly lashed-in throat hackle.

With a six-word title the fly had way too long of a name, but I never did anything about it until a few years ago. The RSP has accounted for a lot of fish over many years, primarily in Maine, where I ventured nearly every year since 1986 with my brother and a number of different close friends. I assume the fish take the RSP for a minnow, with the gleam of the silver body and added flash of the oval tinsel rib. By itself as a small bucktail type of fly, it does not have a lot of built-in action, but what one imparts with the rod and line hand during a drift and retrieve – twitching, falling back, stripping, slow retrieve with short jerks, etc., can create wonderfully pleasing results. Meaning to say, “Fish on!”

In May of 2011, my brother Larry, his daughter Emily, and I spent a long weekend fishing Maine’s Magalloway River, in the area between Wilson’s Falls and Aziscohos Lake. This fly was posted back then, lacking the SBS, but the highlight of the trip was three large brook trout that all took the RSP, all in the same pool, two in the evening, five minutes apart, and one early the next morning. Here are those pics:

My brother, Larry, with a 17" Magalloway River brook trout caught on the RSP.

My brother, Larry, with a 17″ Magalloway River brook trout caught on the RSP.

Don Baastiaan with a 17-1/2" Magalloway Riveer Brook trout caught on the RSP.

Don Bastian with a 17-1/2″ Magalloway River Brook trout caught on the RSP.

Emily Bastian with the biggest Magalloway River brook trout of our trip (of course!) - a 20-1/2" female, caught on the RSP.

Emily Bastian with the biggest Magalloway River brook trout of our trip (of course!) – a 20-1/2″ female, caught on the RSP.

Notice we are all smiles! Each of these trout was caught using a sink-tip line, 6 or 7 weight, and a Wooly Bugger in front of the RSP. Both flies are normally attached on 3x or 5# Maxima leader material, about 22″ to 24″ apart. The water was high. We spent a half-hour nymphing to no avail, prior to my decision to go with the bugger and RSP rig. When I did, I hooked up in five minutes. Emily at once changed her rig and took her trophy on the very first cast. Larry was also into a third large trout minutes later, but his got away when the hook pulled out. Next morning we returned and gave him the hotspot at the head of the pool. Then he lucked out and landed his big trout, too.

Here is the link for the RSP SBS:


He altered the tail by using pheasant fibers; I always use schlappen or hen fibers and generally always tie in a beard-style or false hackle throat. Thanks Scott for a great job and great photos on my pattern!

Now a last word or two on the RSP. It works as a crappie fly. Most guys who have fished for them know they love minnows. I have done well with the RSP on crappies. I have sold some to local customers here in Pennsylvania, and they have contacted me telling of their success using it on my home waters of Spring Creek and Penn’s Creek…both hard-fished waters, and places I confess, I have mostly dry fly fishing and used nymphs for the last many years…they tell me the RSP works very well there, so I better start giving it a whirl come Spring. 😉

The RSP can be purchased from me on MyFlies.com:


The RSP - tied by Don Bastian. We almost always tie and fish this fly in a #8 or #10, 3x long shank hook.

The RSP – tied by Don Bastian. We almost always tie and fish this fly in a #8 or #10, 3x long shank hook. The wing is red squirrel. Scott posted that he used fox squirrel, which I have also done. They are both marked the same, but the red squirrel is shorter, making it better suited for the small sizes the RSP is normally tied in.

Santa and The Reintrout are Back

Santa and his Reintrout...

Santa and his Reintrout…

Last Christmas, I posted the painted card image of Santa, a sunfish, leading his sleigh with eight reintrout, being led by what we are led to believe is Rudolph, a channel catfish. People didn’t believe this, but now we can see for sure, courtesy of this artist’s rendition who just so happened to get a glimpse of Santa and his reintrout during the most recent full moon, just the other night in fact, as they are shown coursing across the nocturnal sky. It is believed that Santa was making some pre-Christmas trial runs across the far north to test out his new Orvis 9 foot, 7-weight bamboo whip / rod with a WF7F floating line…and isn’t that a beautiful loop he’s got going there? Especially in the face of a strong headwind, too. My source was unable to get a good definitive identification of the reel. However, as we all know, Santa would have nothing but the best. 😉

I have only question…where is Rudolph the Red-nosed Reintrout?

Chris Helm – Gone Fishing In Heaven

It is with great sadness that I announce that Chris Helm passed away last night, after a several year battle with cancer. I learned of this sad news on facebook, from Steve Wascher, fellow fly tier and friend from western New York. Chris operated his mail-order fly tying business, White Tail Fly Tieing Supplies, from his home. (yes, that’s how he spelled tying).

Chris was instrumental in the filming of my first DVD, “Tying Classic Wet Flies,” in April 2004. He had booked me to teach a classic wet fly class at his home shop in Toledo, Ohio. The class went from one day, to a second day, both sessions filling up with ten students. His fly tying shop was the most well-equipped / stocked tying materials shop I ever saw in my life. Seven brands of hooks, 8 brands of thread, every material you could think of for tying anything from basic trout flies to full-dress salmon flies, was on the shelves. He also bought about 30 deer hides each year, and totally processed them, by himself, washing them in a bathtub, dried them, and then cut, sorted, graded, and labeled the sections / packets for sale. I guess his wife Judy may have helped a little…

Chris totally set up the contact, booking, and filming for my first DVD, which I will always remember, since it was recorded on my birthday, April 4, 2004. Chris did the introduction as well.

Then in 2007, when Kelly and Jim Watt of Bennett-Watt Entertainment were making a new, hi-def video series on DVD, “The New Hooked on Fly Tying,” Chris invited me to participate in that as well. They were filmed at his house. My advanced wet fly and streamer DVD’s were recorded in one day.

A friend in Florida, and I saw this on facebook, drew this card, just this morning, as an expression of sympathy. I believe since Chris was one of the foremost bass bug deer hair dressers in the entire country, that it is very fitting, and the artist, Joe Mahler, kindly granted me permission to share it with my readers. Thank you Joe, for your heartfelt expression of sympathy, combined with your talent. Well done.

Goodbye Chris Helm...

Goodbye Chris Helm…