There were not many empty chairs at February's Al Hazzard TU monthly chapter meeting. The reasons: 1) Artie Loomis, and 2) a TU chapter of eager fly fishermen. Loomis, an employee of the Cortland Line Company and accomplished local fly angler, gave a presentation profiling central NY fly fishing opportunities. And it was a presentation not to be missed.
Artie was introduced and talked a bit about his role at Cortland Line Company, which will celebrate its 100 year anniversary in 2015. He currently manages "private label" accounts at Cortland. These are brand name customers, like Jim Teeny, that contract the manufacture of their fly lines through Cortland Line's manufacturing plant. Cortland, of course, is famous for their own brand of fly lines and they are hard at work developing new lines, such as a clear tip floating line (based on guide feedback), and a tactical tailwater fly line for nymphing. Artie also addressed the recent purchase of Cortland by eight private investors. An interesting aside on the company's products is how the '333' line name came about. Apparently the day the Cortland team developed the final version of this line, one of the team members parked in a parking space numbered '333'. This decided the line's name which has been carried on as 444 and 555.
Artie Loomis then proceeded with the subject of his presentation which focused on the extraordinary diversity found in central NY state. Among numerous points made were the following:
- Winter can be a great time to catch big fish under solitary fishing conditions.
- Fly fishing for carp can be challenging and great sport. A good time to target these fish is post-spawn and/or when they are sighted 'mudding': a position where the fish is seen nose-down in the water rooting around the bottom with tail up.
- Fall and spring fly fishing on Finger Lake tribs can provide excellent streamer fishing for big lake-run fish. Artie prefers black, olive, and white colors.
- Pike fishing on local lakes can be excellent in spring. Big streamers can be effective for pike laying in shallow, warmer water at this time of year. In the fall, fish for pike with big streamers when the water temperature drops below 55 degrees F. Bite guard wire is not always necessary when fishing for pike. Heavy mono (Artie recommended 20# flourocarbon or greater) is all that is needed to prevent bite-offs.
- Although often overlooked by fly fishermen, pickerel can provide great sport on a fly rod. Artie talked about fishing for these mini-pike in the spring when water temps climb above 49 degrees F. Clouser streamers are a great fly choice.
- Summer bass fly fishing is all about a fly rod, a canoe, and some poppers, according to Artie. Float fishing ponds and lakes can provide exciting topwater fishing in the early and late hours of the day.
- A very unique fly fishing opportunity that Artie discussed is fishing for longnose gar. Artie explained that a hookless streamer fly made of untwisted rope is used for this long toothy-billed species. Artie's only complaint about gar fly fishing was the number of missed strikes one often gets from bass! Some of these fish can reach lengths of 48" or more.
Artie also talked about dry fly fishing techniques for trout, small stream brookie fly fishing, and smallmouth bass fishing on our local rivers. He finished his presentation urging chapter members to mix it up for the diversity of species in NY state waters. There were quite a few questions after the presentation. All in all, it was another great Al Hazzard TU monthly chapter meeting