Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tips on Avoiding Low Back Pain while Fly Fishing

When I first started fly fishing I could stand in one spot for hours and not feel any ill effects from it. Of course I was just getting started back then and have learned many things since.

First of all, you shouldn't be standing in one spot for hours in the first place. If the fish aren't biting, move on. Seems simple, but when I was younger my thinking was quite different. I'd often find myself saying things like "This is such a beautiful hole. There just has to be something in here." I'm much older and much wiser now and rarely will stand in one spot more than 20 minutes. Continuously moving up or down stream has proven to be much more effective.

Of course, this constant movement has as much to do with my back as anything. Unfortunately other, more strenous sporting activities have taken a toll on my back and I now suffer from multiple back conditions including a herniated disc and spondylolisthesis (slipped vertabra). So, I now practice different on-stream techniques that can still keep me on the stream for hours.

Another thing you may want to explore is potential foot problems. If you have high arches like I do, you may want to head the local drug store or supermarket and get a pair of the gel arch supports and put them in your boots. This has helped me immensely. You can also go one step farther and pay a visit to your foot doctor. If a problem is uncovered, you may get fitted for orthotics as well. Either one will have your back thanking you.

The next issue is stretching. Stretch out your back and your upper legs (quads and hamstrings) including your glutes and hips before and after you hit the water. This will help to keep any soreness at bay that evening and the following day. You will also want to periodically stretch out your back every 5 - 10 minutes if you are standing in one position. Don't let your back get to the point where it feels stiff because it will be much harder to deal with at that point.

Now let's talk about your stance. It needs adjusting, you know. Seriously, you want to continuously adjust your stance. Stand tall and do not slouch. The tendency for fly fishermen is to hunch their shoulders forward in anticipation of that big strike. Resist the urge. Hunching or slouching puts much negative pressure on the low back and shoulders. Stand tall. Stand with one leg slightly in front of the other with your knees slightly bent. Alternate legs often. Bend your knees every so often to stay loose. Its amazing how much this one simple thing can help your back.

Back pain can make any day on the water a complete disaster. Use common sense. You'll know what works for you and what doesn't. Try these tips the next time you hit the water. I'm sure at least some of them will help.

Find out more about how you can maintain a healthy back and get long-lasting back pain relief at the website.

One thing I'm hearing more and more of is how anglers are fighting nagging back aches while fishing. This is normally more of a complaint from "waders" rather than "floaters. Standing in the stream all day with very little movement can create an aching back very quickly. Check out a new blog called the Healthy Back Blog at for tips on how you can find long lasting back pain relief resulting from your fishing activities. The main website can be found at

Tight Lines,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Out before the first day...

I don't know about you but I stay as far away from the streams as possible on and shortly after the first day of trout season in PA. Over the years, I have gone out on the first day only to be surrounded by some very rude and insensitive people.
So on Friday, the day before the first day of trout season, I took the day off work and headed down to the DHALO section of the Little J in Bellwood for a gorgeous morning of fly fishing.
The water was still quite chilly at 49° but it was certain to break the 50° barrier on this fine day with temps predicted in the 70's and all sunshine. There were reports that the grannoms were starting to come off down stream so I knew I should be in for a great morning of fishing. The trout didn't disappoint me. I started working the lower end of the DHALO section and within minutes began to see a little surface activity. I put on a BH Pheasant Tail nymph with a mini white sucker spawn dropper (with bright orange thread around the shank) and that was the ticket. I was soon fighting a beautiful 18-20" rainbow but unfortunately he outwitted me and within about 15 seconds he unexpectedly made a run at me, surfaced and spat the fly right back at me. I stocked him for another 15 minutes but to no avail.
So, I headed upstream to let this section rest awhile and found a nice pool about 3' deep just down from a beautiful set of ripples up against the bank of the stream. I kept the PT on but traded the SS for a BH Hares Ear nymph and for the next hour pulled out a number of brownies and bows until my fingers (and feet) were numb.
With it being such a nice day and these days being few and far between in the spring in PA, I decided it couldn't get any better so I called it quits and headed home to do some yard work.
Life is good on these days...
Tight Lines,

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

No Erie trip this Spring

Well, I continue to read the posts about the Spring Steelhead fishing in Erie and it really pains me that I won't be making the trip up this Spring.
I really look forward to that pilgrimage each fall and spring but won't be making this trip.
I recently injured myself playing basketball and it has really put a dent in my activities. I have a slight tear in the plantar fascia ligament on the left foot and somehow got almost the same condition (plantar fasciitis) in the right foot at the same time. I was in a walking boot for 3 weeks and began physical therapy as well. It is still quite painful at times and standing in a stream, no matter how beautiful, would just be impossible for me at this point.
So, I'll try to be good and let it heal so I can at least hit the local streams of PA for the first big hatches here.

Until next time,

Monday, January 05, 2009

New website design

Well, after 4 years online as I've decided its finally time for a facelift. The original version was "ok" for a first crack at it but this new design should be much "easier on the eyes".
I should have the new site up within the next week so keep checking back. Thanks to everyone for all their suggestions in the past.
Please continue to email me with any new suggestions, comments, criticisms or whatever...and thanks for all the support.

Tight Lines,

Friday, July 18, 2008

Awesome new fly fishing knots pocket guide

I recently stumbled across an awesome new resource that I just have to share with you.

Have you ever been out fishing and needed to tie a knot that you haven't tied in awhile and just couldn't remember how to tie it? Well , that happened to me a few weeks back. I was a bit embarrased and had to ask myself, "How long have you been doing this now?"

This left me searching for answers. After an extensive search, I think I found it. Check out to see their solution to my problem. I've seen other fly fishing knots pocket guides and even used them, but this site offers animations on how to tie different fly fishing knots as well. What I like even more is that they have these little laminated cards that you can carry right with you wherever you go. It's much better than the little booklets as they're a little too bulky when you're trying to minimize as much as possible.

Everyone who fly fishes needs a set of these cards. Check them out...

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Sorry for the absence

Every once in awhile I get a little lax in my posting and go offline for awhile. Many of you have emailed me asking where I've been. I apologize for my extended absence. I coach my kids in baseball and basketball and have been tied up with that for quite awhile now.
I'll be doing another worthwhile post here shortly but wanted to put this out there now with my apologies. Chat soon...


Monday, September 18, 2006

Gotta love Spruce Creek

I must absolutely be one of the luckiest men in America. We just completed our second trip of the year over to Spruce Creek and what a night it was.
We began by helping Doc with some stream clean up as we do every year. We cleared the dams and other stream improvement devices of debris, which is the only time that anyone is ever allowed to wade in this pristine section of stream. Then we headed back to the house and suited up. The sun was still high and the trout were inactive so we started out slinging streamers. We couldn't get any to move.
Doc has many spawning beds and the browns are just beginning to spawn. So Doc had one of the other guys try an egg pattern. Success! He got one to bite...a small 12" brown, but it was a start. We moved out of that section to let it rest a little.
We moved down stream to another productive section. I tied on a medium sized roe colored egg with a single BB split shot. Within about 5 minutes I had my first trout of the night...a decent 18" brown. From there it was a flurry of activity. We pulled in trout after trout ranging anywhere from 12" to 22". I lost count after 10.
After about an hour of this we moved further downstream and decided to try some dries. None of us could get a rise but Doc did. He's just an incredible fly fisherman. He cuts his hooks off half way through the bend so he can feel the thrill of the take and then this allows the trout to get free without harming them. They're his babies and he definitely takes good care of them.
Some people have even asked me if these Spruce Creek stories are actually true or if I embellish some. Well, I can tell you for a fact that every word I write about Spruce Creek is true. It's a little piece of heaven on earth. To prove it, simply pick up last month's copy of Fish &Fly magazine. There is a huge article in there written about Spruce Creek and a good portion of it is focused on Doc's property. It features George Harvey and Joe Humphreys who are both very good friends of Doc's and who we have met at Doc's in past years.
I count my blessings and thank God before, during and after each trip to Spruce Creek because I realize how fortunate I am to be able to experience this. Thanks Doc.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

New Yellow Creek parking lot

Last week I finally got over to fish the fly fishing only section at Yellow Creek in Bedford County, PA. While I couldn't have picked a worse day for this trip, I did end up acquiring some useful info.
I got up early and checked the internet for the weather. It showed isolated thunderstorms in surrounding states but nothing in PA.
I headed out with high hopes. I got to the stream and parked where I had seen others park in the past, geared up and started my trek. About 25 yards upstream from the bridge was an elderly gentleman spin fishing (he was just below the Fly Fishing Only section). I asked how he was doing and he had caught 2 nice 12" browns earlier in the morning. There were a few rising right in front of him. He commented how they were tormenting him with his spinning gear. Anyway, he asked if I knew about the new parking lot that had been put in upstream a little ways. I said that I was not aware of it.
Apparently earlier in the year, a few groups got together and put in a new gravel parking lot, making it easier than ever to access the fly fishing only section now.
I crossed the stream and headed up the other bank and within minutes came to the new parking lot. What a great improvement. I'll have to try that next time :)
Anyway, I fished for about 30 minutes before the skies just opened up and let loose. Naturally I had left my rain gear in the car. I was drenched within minutes and was now about a 30 minute walk from the car so no sense in rushing back. I found a large leaning tree and took up shelter under it. The rain stopped about 10 minutes later. I walked upstream another 1/4 - 1/2 mile to another beautiful spot and began fishing again. Five minutes later the rains began again. This time I began my trek back to the car having had enough of this...good thing too as it continued to rain the whole way home.
That just goes to show you how unpredictable the weather can be.
Oh get to the FFO section of Yellow Creek and to the new parking lot, turn off Rt 36 onto the small road at the Frontier Restaurant near Loysburg. Go 2.2 miles on this twisting road and there will be an unmarked gravel road to the right. Turn onto this road and you'll go back probably a little over 100 yards to the parking lot. Great improvement there.

Tight (and wet) Lines,