Rick Whorwood’s Fly Casting chool

My friend Paul Beel, blogger at http://www.frankenfly.com

just did a writeup about my close Canadian friend, Rick Whorwood. It features some of Rick’s spey and Dee flies, but the main feature is a an image of Rick’s Jock Scott salmon fly that he was commissioned to tie for Canada Post in their second series of fishing fly postage stamps in 2005. The fly photos and information on the patterns is very interesting. Here’s the link to the write-up about Rick: http://www.frankenfly.com/rick-whorwood-teacher-guide-fly-tyer/

Here is  Rick’s web site link as well:  www.flycastingschool.com

April Vokey

Here is a photo of April Vokey, and Jim, a client of hers and one of my best friends, Rick Whorwood, of Ontario, while they were working together on Sunday October 7:

April Vokey and Jim, on Ontario’s lower Grand River. April served as a guide with my friend Rick Whorwood last Sunday. She used her guiding experience on the Dean River in British Columbia to assist their clients, and this was just one of the fish taken.

April owns Fly Gal, http://www.flygal.ca/ a company based in British Columbia where she is from. With his business, Rick Whorwood’s Fly Casting School (see the link in my sidebar), he booked April to conduct a Women’s Fly Casting Clinic on October 6, and then Rick and April used Rick’s raft and drift boat and took four anglers on a  guided float trip on Sunday October 7th on the lower Grand River. This steelhead and others caught by the group run up from Lake Erie. Rick has some dates available for steelhead fishing.

April is a Federation of Fly Fisher’s Certified Casting Instructor, and Rick told me April is a very good single-hand caster. He has informed me that she is also pursuing her FFF Masters Certification as well. Rick has earned all three FFF Certifications; Casting Instructor, Master Casting Instructor, and Two-Hand Casting Instructor.

Before arriving in Ontario, Rick set up a class on Thursday October 4th with April instructing at The First Cast fly shop in Guelph. When that class filled, the shop scheduled a second date, and that filled too.

I talked to Rick on the phone yesterday. He said he was very impressed with April; her knowledge, her professionalism, her experience, her casting ability (you can look up some video of her casting a spey rod), and skill.

I am also pleased to announce that April is also one of the contributing fly tiers for my book on the 19th century Orvis flies, in progress. It is an honor to have someone of her skill as part of the project. Rick is also one of my contributing tiers. He posted this photo on his facebook page and gave me permission to use it here.

April is also one of the field editors for Fly Fusion magazine. Speaking of Fly Fusion, my friend, fellow MyFlies.com fly tier, and Fly Tying Field Editor for Fly Fusion, Al Ritt, recently honored me by asking if I would contribute to their monthly feature, End of the Line. I said, “Sure!”

End of the Line is a single-page feature in Fly Fusion that presents six patterns in a range of numbers. I sent them the following: Two Carrie Stevens streamer patterns – Blue Devils, on #1 – 8x hooks, one BXB (extended body) Slate Drake Thorax Dun (boy did I catch a lot of trout on that fly this past season!), two Bastian’s Delta Trudes (a new original pattern), three Polywing Sulphur Thorax Duns, two 19th century Scarlet Ibis Bass Flies, and two La Belle Bass Flies. I believe it will be in the next issue, though I am uncertain as to its release date.

After more work on the book last night, the number of patterns in my book now stands at 500. Thanks to everyone for your support.

Green Patriot

Charlie Meck, fly tying and fishing author of Pennsylvania, created an attractor dry fly pattern over sixteen or more years ago called the Patriot. Back about 1996 or ’97, I invited Charlie to go to Ontario to fish the Grand River with me, since my 1995 article, Ontario’s Grand River in Fly Fisherman magazine had been published, and was more or less my first step into fly tying and fishing notoriety. We were guests at my friend Rick Whorwood’s home in Stoney Creek, a suburb of Hamilton. My youngest daughter, Lyneah, went along to hang out with Rick’s daughter Nikki, since they are the same age. A fly shop in Waterdown, Grindstone Angling, arranged to have us both at the shop for a day. I would be presenting a fly tying demo and Charlie was signing books. The rest of the time we hung out with Rick, and mostly fished. I remember my daughter telling me after we got home, she didn’t see how anyone could talk about nothing but fishing, all during the five hour ride up. And then again on the way home. And there were no in-car video games, movies, or cell phones then, at least not for my kids. She survived though.

More or less going along with the infamous Green Weenie fly, that Charlie popularized with a looped-tail, I took the inspiration of Charlie’s Patriot and the known fact that fish love chartreuse and created the Green Patriot. Sort of like the Lime Trude, but more on the order of a Wulff. The Green Patriot is dressed just like the Patriot, except that it uses fluorescent green thread instead of red, and pearlescent Krystal-flash instead of the light blue of Charlie’s pattern.

On a day when we fished the Grand River, it was warm and sunny, not a good day for fishing as I recall. However the few trout that we did catch rose to the Green Patriot, which I started fishing because I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. Charlie later used it to great success on one of his western trips, and did very well with it. I used to sell them at shows back in the late ’90’s and early 2000’s. I even had the fly in my Millennium Catalog, but my focus kind of shifted about the time Forgotten Flies was released, and the fly sort of faded into obscurity. That is until my friend Roger, whom I met over twenty years ago, recently contacted me and wanted to order some fishing flies. Roger wanted attractor drys for a small stream that he fishes. I suggested the Delaware Adams Wulff and a floating green inchworm pattern, and then before I shipped his order I remembered the Green Patriot.

I tied up a half-dozen and added them to his flies. Below is a photo and recipe of the Green Patriot.

The Green Patriot, an original attractor dry fly pattern created by Don Bastian as a variation of Charlie Meck’s Patriot. This is a size #12. There is a little hackle butt that can’t be trimmed any closer.

Green Patriot

Hook: Standard dry fly hook size #10 – #16

Wings: White calf body hair; white thread is used to set, divide, and post the wings

Thread: Danville 6/0 Flymaster #504 Fluorescent Green

Tail: Brown hackle fibers

Body: Fluorescent green tying thread; the rear and front-third of the body is formed with pearlescent Krystal-flash wrapped over the thread

Hackle: Brown

See my article on the Delaware Adams Wulff and making Wulff-type wings. https://donbastianwetflies.wordpress.com/?s=delaware+adams+wulff&submit=Search

Below is a photo of the half-dozen:

A half-dozen size #12 Green Patriots. Originated, tied, and photographed by Don Bastian.

The Green patriot is a good small-stream searching and attractor pattern. These days in many of our catch-and-release waters, having new and different fly patterns sometimes turns the edge in our favor.

Hendrickson Hatch – Ontario’s Grand River


Back in the early 1990’s I met Rick Whorwood from Stoney Creek, Ontario. He introduced me to the Grand River, a tail-water brown trout fishery that begins at Shand Dam near the town of Fergus. It flows quite a distance into Lake Erie. I wrote the article titled, Ontario’s Grand River, that was published in Fly Fisherman Magazine (my very first published piece). This piece introduced the Grand to the world in 1995. It was a relatively new fishery because Shand Dam, originally built in the 1940’s, was retrofitted for hydro power conversion in 1989. That is when it all started. Cold water releases from the dam created sustainable conditions for trout in a river that formerly held only bass, carp, and a few pike. Trout Unlimited and Izaak Walton Club members starting a program of stocking fingerlings of a Ganaraska River brown trout strain. It is an understatement to say these fish did very well. The combination of the cold and extremely fertile water conditions has created a wonderful brown trout fishery.

I remember meeting Ian Martin, a biologist, around the time of my article. Ian co-authored Fly Fishing the Grand River, a pocket guide (and very expensive, as I just discovered through an Amazon.com search). Some of the data from his stream biota samples were incredible. His team used a method of sampling a square meter of the stream bed, where they were able to contain and document nearly 100% of the invertebrate life. I remember reading that he recorded Hendrickson mayfly Ephemerella subvaria population densities of almost 1000 individual specimens per square meter. Sounds pretty incredible. It is, eh!? As my Canadian friends are so fond of saying…

Well, a friend, blog follower, and occasional commenter here, John Hoffman, of Fergus, sent these photos to me this evening. I had to post them. With his permission, they are his photos. See why?

Opening Day in Ontario – April 28th, 2012. The Grand River, near Fergus. John views a massive flotilla of Hendrickson duns drifting on the surface. He’s wondering why the trout aren’t rising.

A solid mat of Hendrickson duns on the Grand River – unfortunately dead and dying. These are not cripples or stillborn duns. Mother Nature can be quite cruel, so She was this day. The cold air temperatures prevented many of the duns from leaving the water. John said this was one of the smaller masses of flies he saw that day.

I need to get back to the Grand. I have not fished it for nine or ten years. I’d have to convert my old slides to digital images, but I can tell you, if I look I might be able to find photographic evidence of the most incredible and amazing 45 minutes of trout fishing I ever had in my life! It was here on the Grand River. I’ll expand the tale when / if I find the pictures. Suffice it to say the short version is I caught two sets of twins, in this order, 19″, 23″, 23″ and 19″, four brown trout. Even more amazing is that the first two were caught on a LaFontaine Sparkle Caddis Dry (it was actually one of his underwater pupa patterns dressed to float), on back-to-back casts, and after a half hour period of nothing, the second set of twins, was again taken on two back-to-back casts, on a Caddis Bead Head Larva nymph. I was with Dave Whalley, it was a Sunday morning before I was presenting a program at the Grand River Conservation Authority Annual Event that afternoon, and we had less than a couple hours to fish. And oh, I caught these four trout above the upper bridge, in the unregulated section of the river where it is not Catch-and-Release. What a day that was! Er, I mean an hour. I gotta find those photos.