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Wednesday, August 24 2016 @ 04:23 AM EDT
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Summer Bass

Valley Angler

   Valley Angler
Summer Bass
by Bill Thompson

 

 


  All most every day someone will walk in the shop and say: “Oh…. you just sell flies”? To which I reply: “Yes we are a fly shop”. The most common response is that they only fish for Bass and only use spinning gear. They always look a little surprised when I tell them that I too fish for Bass and I use a fly rod. I usually go on to say that people were fishing for Bass with fly rods long before the spinning reel was invented and that bass plugs are plastic imitations of spun deer hair Bass bugs. As proof the famous lure maker James Heddon of Dowagiac, Michigan made and sold excellent bamboo fly rods and sold deer hair bugs before he began making his famous wooden lures. When bait casting reels came along tackle manufactures like Heddon began to experiment with hand carved wooden lures made in the image of the old flies used by fly rodders. Today you can walk into a Bass Pro store and purchase a Heddon Meadow Mouse that bears a strong resemblance to the deer hair and foam mouse patterns I carry in my shop.

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Low Water

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Low Water
by Bill Thompson

    There is no question, our rivers and ponds are in dire need of a drink of water. People tubing the Saco are probably doing more walking than floating. Despite the low water there are still trout to be found. The question is do we really want to fish for them? If you are planning on keeping a trout for the frying pan than there is no problem, however if you plan on releasing fish there is a moral question. The chance of a trout surviving after being caught in warm water are greatly diminished. 

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Road Trips

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Road Trips
by Bill Thompson

   

 Summer is the time for road trips, especially those that include fishing. National Lampoon epic movie Vacation, staring Chevy Chase, has immortalized the “road trip” forever in the hearts and minds of us “Baby Boomers, who remember those trips with our parents. My own memories were made traveling from Maine to Fort Knox, Kentucky in the early 50’s. Those were the days when the interstates were just being built and there were no bypasses around the major cities; which meant you drove through Boston, New York, Baltimore, and Washington. It was quite an experience for a young kid from Maine that thought Agusta was the largest city in the world. Motels back than were mostly the tourist cabin kind and there were no fast food places either and you ate in real dinners and small town restaurants; it was true that truckers knew the best places to eat. You really did get to see and experience America in those days.

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The Gift

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
The Gift
by Bill Thompson

 

    The truck came to a stop in grassy area just off the road; I have been here hundreds of times before but tonight was a special event. I opened the trucks passenger side door and lifted my old dog out and on to the ground beside the truck. She sniffed about for a moment or two before she remembered where she was and then headed down the path to the river. 

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Getting Started

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Getting Started
    by Bill Thompson   


A happy camper.
A happy camper.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of working in a fly shop is introducing new people to the sport. Helping prospective anglers getting started is something that most fly shops do right. Sadly a great many people make the assumption that they are getting something for less at a big box store. They might save a buck or two on a rod but what they lose in personal attention and expertize is a net loss. Taking into account my personal prejudice, I firmly believe that box stores are a detriment to our sport. 

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Bamboo Gets Under Your Skin

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Buying Bamboo
by Bill Thompson


It happened again and I am ashamed of myself; I am a man obsessed. I just can’t help myself every time someone shows me a bamboo fly rod I have to own it. For some unknown reason I have seen a lot of old rods in the last few months and although I exaggerate a little, I have purchased a few of them. I have been trying to break the habit, but there is just something about bamboo that gets under your skin.

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Interesting People on the River

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Interesting People on the River
by Bill THompson
     

 


Henry Winkler, better known as the “The Fonz” wrote a book titled “I Never Met an Idiot on the River”. I wish I could say the same thing, but by in large Henry is correct in his thinking. I guess, from my point of view, a better title might be “I Meet the Most Interesting People on the River”. Time and time again I meet people on the river that in any other situation I might never have taken the time to talk to. 

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Fathers and Sons

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Fathers and Sons
by Bill Thompson

 

   


 Many years ago, while fishing the Androscoggin, I came across a family fishing near Seven Islands Bridge. An old man was setting in a lawn chair surrounded by several younger men. The young men represented at least three generations; sons, grandchildren and maybe great grandchildren. The old man in the chair was holding a fishing rod and his eyes were focused on a red and white bobber a few feet in front of him on the water. A young woman was standing by and I said hello as I approached her. She returned the greeting and I mentioned that it was nice to see a family out fishing together. “It’s Father’s Day” she said, “and the boys always take Dad out fishing on Father’s Day”. She went on to say that it was a long standing family tradition and this year the whole family had come because they thought it might be the old man’s last time. I wished them a good day and went on my way. I have often wondered if they still carry on the tradition today and if grandpop had managed one more good year.

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Fishing in the Rain

Valley Angler

  Valley Angler
Fishing in the Rain
by Bill Thompson
 

 

   A rainy day often crates opportunities that might not be available on a sunny day. This was the case for me last Sunday. Thanks to Mason working the shop for me I have been able to take Sundays off; thankfully giving me some needed time away from the shop. I had a number of things planned to do around the house including mowing the lawn, however because of the rain I put that project on hold and decided to go fish instead. Just so you don’t think of me as a total slacker I did manage to get in a dump run before taking off to play.

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Alders

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Androscoggin Alders
by Bill Thompson

 

 


 Rivers are often defined by anglers by their hatches. The Saco is widely known for the Gray Drake Sinner falls. Mention the Alder Fly, to any area fly fisher, and they will immediately say; “Androscoggin”. The Alder is not really an alder at all, but a member of the caddis family.  The other alias that the Alder goes by is the Zebra caddis. When they are on you will have no problem identifying them. They are a large, size 10 or 12, bug with a typical caddis tent shaped wing. The wings colors are what give them the name Zebra. The wing is a dark purplish gray and tan stripped camo pattern. The other give away is that they hatch in biblical proportions. It is not uncommon to see clouds of them moving up river. When they move into the vegetation along the river bank the simple act of shaking a tree can cause a feeding frenzy of trout.

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