I grew up in Los Angeles and my fly fishing addiction began at the age of 14. Through my teens and early 20's, I fly fished places like Piru Creek, San Gabriel River, Bear Creek, and the LA River; but also made frequent jaunts to the Sierra's, Northern California, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
In 1989, I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Physical Anthropology. It was at that point, that I strived to become a crime scene investigator. I attended graduate school at Michigan State University, where I was in the PhD program in
Forensic Osteology, with an emphasis in Human Anatomy. Following roughly 3 years of research and field work, which included many hours in the morgue, I began to wonder if I was really cut out for that line of work. I enjoyed my research, immensely, but I didn't enjoy seeing dead bodies rolled into the morgue on a daily basis.
I understood that fly fishing was my passion but often wondered how I could make a career from my hobby. I worked in fly shops, in some capacity, all through undergraduate and graduate school. I knew the world of fly fishing and how fly shops worked. With this in mind, I decided to throw in the towel and quit graduate school.
Those were the days in ye' old Montana. Life was great! The fishing was superb but I also realized that the fly fishing industry was a tough field to make a living in; long hours, relatively little cash, women, and a lot of booze induced nights. You know the story....
Almost 17 years following a rash decision to quit graduate school, and years of struggles and unforgettable experiences with the fly rod in hand (in places like Montana, Colorado, Michigan, New Zealand, Mexico, and Christmas Island), I'm finally where I dreamed I would be. Making a living, as meager as it may be, in the fly
fishing industry and loving every minute of it. The struggle part is in every individuals life, no matter what we do. Regardless, I'm glad I decided to go with my passion.
I have fly fished and tied for roughly 30 years. I received the coveted Orvis Fly Tier of the Year award in 2005, and was 1 of the 4 nominees for the Orvis Endorsed Guide of the Year in 2011.
Invasive Species, Felt Soles, and the Future
Invasive species are a real threat to our fisheries across the globe and it’s encouraging that all companies that manufacture wading gear are looking at alternatives to felt soles and other fabrics that help these aquatic hitchhikers
from moving from one place to another. Orvis is working on this problem from many directions, and below is an explanation and clarification of their position on the subject.
Are felt soles becoming obsolete? Will I have to throw away my felt-soled wading shoes? Should I even buy a pair of felt-soled wading shoes or waders?
There is no doubt that felt, along with porous fabrics in wading shoes and laces, help transport invasive species without proper care (http://www.orvis.com/intro.asp?subject=3591).
However, if you always fish the same watershed, felt soles are not a problem. Aquatic birds and mammals transport far more spores that you can on your felt soles. Thus, you can keep your felt-soled waders reserved for a specific watershed.
In addition, with proper care, you can greatly minimize the threat by cleaning, drying, and inspecting (http://www.orvis.com/intro.asp?subject=3591) your felt soles after each fishing trip.
Trout Unlimited has called for a ban on selling and producing felt-soled wading shoes by 2011 but it’s doubtful that we’ll see a wholesale, government-regulated domestic ban on felt soles like the ban New Zealand has implemented, anytime soon.
So, if you are used to the idea of wearing felt soles and will use them on the same watershed, rest assured your current or future felt-soled wading shoes won’t be obsolete.
What does Orvis sell right now in rubber-soled waders and wading shoes?
Their product developers are currently testing and designing a host of felt sole alternatives, working with the top worldwide manufacturers of rubber soles, as they have been doing for five years. Orvis' goal is to have sole designs that are 100% as reliable as felt soles on slippery bottoms.
They will not sacrifice the safety of their customers to anything that is not as least as good as felt. By spring of 2010, Orvis will have at least three and possibly four new wading shoes with non-felt soles, plus two price points of bootfoot waders with non-felt-soled boots.
Hot New ZG Helios Switch Rods
Switch rods are a new type of fly rods that are lighter and shorter than traditional twohanded
rods, and thus can be used in places where delicacy and accuracy are paramount,
while still employing the advantages of two-handed rods. They can be used with a
traditional overhead casting style, where their length allows longer casts and much
greater line control on the water, yet can also be used with Spey casting styles where lack
of back cast room, wind, or just a tired angler makes two-handed casting more desirable.
Switch rods are excellent for nymph fishing with or without an indicator, long-line dryfly
fishing, stillwater fishing, and salmon and steelhead fishing during low water
conditions. Some fly fishers even use them in the surf to get long casts over the last wave
without false casts.
The main drawback to conventional switch rods are that they are heavy, and when
constantly mending line or high-stick nymphing the caster’s arm can get very tired
holding a rod that weighs almost 6 ounces high above the water all day long. With
Helios technology, our exclusive aerospace-derived graphite resin systems allow us to
build switch rods lighter than any other.
Guides and testers on the new Helios Switch Rods
I think anyone will be a better caster with this rod and a little time on the water.
Mike Schultz, Michigan steelhead guide and tester
I have cast the Sage Z-Axis rods and I think that the 11' 8wt Helios is a better rod. Not only is it lighter, better
action, but the top and bottom handles are much better than the Sage switch rods that I cast. This rod is
going to be incredible for those who want to use switch rods for trout. They can have the best of both worlds
and have an awesome high stick or indicator rod or swing flies with two hands.
Doug Duncan, tournament Spey caster (in 2007 and 2008 he placed second at the International Spey
Competition in San Francisco) and manager of the Orvis Retail Store in Rosedale (Sacramento) California
In all my 27 years of fly fishing, no other fly rod has offered the versatility and performance of the Orvis
Helios Switch Rods. In a league of their own, the Helios Switch Rods emerge as a true one or two handed
fly rod. Its superior lightweight design allows me to cast single handed to rising rainbows during a stonefly
hatch. After the hatch is over and the fish go back down, I use Spey casting to launch streamers to the
other side of the river. When I use them to teach casting lessons, my students prove not all rods are
created equal. They learn faster and perform better. Thanks Orvis for making my job easier.
Jeff Putnam, one of the finest Spey casting teachers in North America
I think it is exceptional, my clients are going to love the rod because it won't intimidate them. When I put a
longer and heavier rod in their hands many clients don't like the idea of learning to Spey cast. This Helios
can be fished one handed and still provide the advantages of an 11 foot length.
Chuck Hawkins, Hawkins Outfitters, Michigan
The rod just loves to mend line, never have I mended with such a sweet stick.
Tommy Lynch, steelhead and trout guide, Michigan
WOW! Those rods are unbelievable.
Dave Hise, Caster’s Fly Shop, North Carolina
What a great Nymphing rod! And the really good thing was, at the end of the day, my tendinitis in my right
arm was not flaring up; the Helios is so much lighter than the Z-axis switch rod!
Steve Gossage, Angler’s Covey, Colorado
My Hook TV Profile
Hook TV is your Digital Water. Join the web's most vibrant community on fly fishing. It combines fly fishing and fly tying videos from pros, guides and enthusiasts with forums, groups, channels, promotions and more.
Create and maintain a profile, discuss hot topics on forums, get insightful tips, and find awesome deals on new gear. Hook is consistently being upgraded so be sure to see what's new each week. It's the MySpace and YouTube for the
Fly Fishing Community. Hit this link to visit my personal profile on Hook TV and vote or leave comments for my videos and photos; good, bad, indifferent.
Below are a few video shorts that are featured on Hook.
If you have the opportunity, please visit the Orvis website and rate my flies; but, only if you have used them. The links to Orvis can be found in the Custom Fly section
of this website.
Hise's Fly Section Link
Step by Step Fly Tying Video for Tying Hise's Early Black Stonefly:
Step by step tying instructions for Hise's Early Black Stonefly. This pattern is meant to represent the nymphal stage of the tiny winter black and early black stoneflies.
It most effective when fished under an indicator from mid winter through spring in the rivers and streams of the West, Midwest, and Southeast. Best in sizes 10-16.
Step by Step Fly Tying Video for Tying Hise's Ridonculous Cray:
This pattern isn't just ridiculous, it is ridonculous. Ridonculous Cray is an extremely time consuming articulated pattern but will last for a long while if tied properly.
Through the years, it has been effective for smallmouth bass, trout, summer steelhead, and even carp. Fish it under a sink-tip fly line with a short, 3 foot leader. Strip it
and manipulate it like a crayfish would move along the stream bed- strip, strip, strip, pause.
Step by Step Fly Tying Video for Tying Hise's Wiggler Variant:
One of my top 5 favorite flies of all time. The Wiggler Variant was designed to imitate small forage fish and large mayfly nymphs.
It is especially productive for trout, steelhead, smallmouth bass, salmon, crappie and carp. Dead drift it, swing it, twitch it, or just fish it how you like. Best in sizes 6 and 8.
Orvis Featured Pattern- Step by Step Fly Tying Video for Tying Hise's Ooey Caddis/Grub Larva:
One of my best selling Orvis patterns 3 years in a row. Simply put, it's a grub. This pattern is meant to imitate the immature stage of a variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects;
caddis larva, cranefly larva, bee and wasp larva, beetle larva, you name it. Just vary the thickness, size and base color to achieve the desired effect. This pattern is productive for trout, smallmouth bass, and steelhead
(particularly winter steelies) in sizes 6-16.
Here is a recent testimonial on the effectiveness of Eggi Juan Kenobi. "For Tom Rosenbauer--I recently saw your recipe of a worm and
egg combination. I tied a few up for a fishing trip to North Georgia. Everybody laughed at the funny looking fly; however, I weighted it and on my
first cast caught a 24 inch brown trout. Thought you might be interested.
Best Regards, Jim
Tom replied,"Hi Jim, I'd love to take credit for that fly pattern but it came from the amazing vise of my friend Dave Hise of Caster's Fly Shop in Hickory, NC. I do highly
recommend it and only wish I could come up with patterns that are as cool as Mr. Hise. I've cc'd him on this e-mail so he can see your thoughtful comments".
Featured Fly Patterns of the United Kingdom; including England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales
Are you growing tired of tying and fishing the same patterns over and over? Recently, I have been testing out various patterns that are widely used by fly anglers
throughout the UK. The Brits, Scots, Welsh, and Irish are using patterns which are highly productive for trout, worldwide. These fly patterns are split up into various classes
and they come in numerous shapes and sizes; Diawl Bachs, Crunchers, Buzzers, and Snatchers. Below is a brief description of their origins, history, uses, and effectiveness.
Diawl Bach Nymph Patterns
"Diawl Bach, is Welsh for ‘little devil’. This all round nymph attractor pattern can be fished in a variety of ways and it gives good results in rough water as well as calm.
It is suggestive of all sorts of aquatic insect life, especially the midge. In Britain and some areas of Northern Europe it has become one of the most popular stillwater flies of recent times.
This is quite an acclaim for such a drab, non-descript fly. The secret to this fly’s success is its sparse, nymph like profile making it a fly for all seasons and conditions. In North America,
the Prince's Nymph is King, in Britain it is the small Welsh little devil, the Diawl Bach.
There is a mystery over who originally created this excellent fly. Was it Jimmy Evans at Chew in 1950, Glyn Isaac of Pembrokeshire or Albert Horne from Cardiff in South Wales? Used on the river Chew,
it then gained favor on the competition circuit when it became an essential team component of any cast. Its ability to look like an edible, natural food item on a cast of attractors often made it the
taking fly once a trout's interest had been aroused by the more gaudy lures. Such is the confidence in the Diawl Bach that many anglers always start fishing - particularly from a boat - with one on their
casts. If it takes a fish, then a second one may go on; and teams of three are commonplace". The English Fly Fishing Shop, Estate and Country Sports Equipment Ltd.
Buzzer Epoxy Nymphs and Pupae
"Tiny Chironomid flies that inhabit lakes and slow-flowing rivers are more commonly known as midges or buzzers. They appear in vast swarms on most still-waters towards the evenings. They generate a
characteristic humming or buzzing sound. It can be difficult to breath sometimes without getting one in the back of your throat. They can tolerate relatively high levels of pollution. Where they congregate
on the windward side of a lake, their tiny larvae and pupae are scooped up in large numbers by surface feeding trout. They are at their most vulnerable when they make their journey to the surface. The midge
pupae drift gently up to the surface where the survivors struggle to break through the surface film. Many do not make it, especially if the water is very choppy or if a flat calm has allowed oily film to form.
At this stage, trout patrol the surface where they sip in huge quantities of hatching midges.
It wasn't long ago that to fish with anything other than a streamer lure for the first month or two of the fishing season was considered madness. What changed was the increasing number of reservoir
and lake fly fishers who began to realize that even during the early months trout feed heavily on large dark midge pupae in relatively deep water. This understanding lead to the development of the slim epoxy
buzzer imitations. The most popular predecessor of this type of fly was Arthur Cove's Pheasant Tail Nymph. Brown in color, its midge pupae like shape and the fact that it is fished deep and
slow on a long leader made it extremely effective. Skinny buzzers had been around for sometime before the Pheasant Tail but had not gained the same popularity. In the 1920's Dr. Howard Alexander Bell developed
some extremely good slim buzzers as an imitation of the midge pupa for fishing on Blagdon water, Central England. They have been developed over the years to a general shape that has moved away from the
straight shanked hook to a more natural looking curved hook. Wing buds were added to the side on some patterns and on others the white breathing filaments.
One of the best indicators of recent buzzer activity is to look for floating shucks or adult buzzers on or near the water. Certain areas will hold fish and buzzers, these being the obvious places to start.
It is important to find the right spot. Small tree lined waters are rarely a problem. Mud or silted areas with a reasonable depth of eight to fifteen feet of water are usually good places for buzzer fishing.
On a large lake or reservoir try to find a point or headland where a depth of eight to ten feet is within casting range. Try and choose a location where the wind is behind or if from the side it is light.
If there is too strong a crosswind then I find it difficult to keep the flies moving nice and slow. Long leaders and headwinds are a recipe for disaster. Your leader will be turned into a tangled ball.
On breezy days, selecting areas with some shelter can produce well. They warm up first and thus encourage insects to hatch. Cold winds always slow down hatches". The English Fly Fishing Shop, Estate and Country Sports Equipment Ltd.
Snatchers or Margarets
The Snatcher series of flies originated in Scotland. They are a combination of a traditionally dressed palmered pattern and a modern buzzer type imitation. Some are dressed anorexically and the traditional style
is dressed much fuller, lending them particularly suitable to fishing in stillwaters or river and streams. Originally developed as an imitation of the large buzzer pupae on Loch Leven, snatchers are a very versatile fly,
and can be pressed into use in a number of situations.
"Snatchers can be fished using a variety of techniques. The main one I like when boat fishing is to fish a team of three on a 17ft fluorocarbon leader of around 5-6lb breaking strain. This is teamed up with a slow sinking
intermediate line, and the flies are figure-of-eighted back to the boat, with the occasional long pull mixed in. This is a good technique for exploring the top three or so feet of water. Takes can be savage. When a rising
fish is covered, the flies sit up long enough without sinking for many covers to be converted into takes. When fish are feeding just sub-surface, but not taking dries, two snatchers fished just under on a light copolymer
leader can often be really successful. This technique works well in the early part of a hatch when the fish are taking ascending pupae and emergers, and when the fish are not sufficiently tuned into the adults for dries to
be successful. The method has served me well, fishing off the bank at venues as diverse as Portmore loch (for big rainbows) and the Outer Hebridean machair lochs (for wild brownies).
When buzzer fishing in the classic fashion, a snatcher positioned on the top dropper, with two other, slimmer nymphs below, fished on a copolymer leader in particular, will keep the nymphs fishing high in the water on
days when the fish are cruising around on the fin looking for food items. Often in these conditions, slim heavy nymphs such as epoxy buzzers fished on fluoro, will sink below the feeding zone (unless held up by a float.... Er, sorry, I mean a 'tache).
Interestingly, our southern cousins just seem to have woken up to this fact. It's nice to think that we found this out many years ago and adjusted our rigs to suit conditions accordingly". Alan Morrison
Recently, I brought some of Jan Siman's Czech Nymphing Products (from the Czech Republic)
into the store and have been extremely happy with the flies they have been producing. Now we are receiving fly tying products from the UK,
(Steve Thornton Virtual Nymph Products), and Spain (Andres Touceda). These two gentlemen are probably the best known 'Realistic Art Fly'
fly tyers of our day. Their work is magnificent!
The new fly tying materials are, obviously, great for use on 'Realistic Art Flies' but they are equally as useful on 'Functional Flies'. Some of you may have heard of the materials
but have never seen them due to the fact that they come from half-way across the world. Realistic Legs, Elytra (beetle) Bases, Arrowheads, Shrimp Cases and Grasshopper Realistic Legs are various products from Andres Touceda,
and products from Steve Thornton's Virtual Nymph collection include Flexibody, Nymph Skin, Stoneclinger Head & Wing Plates, Flytyers Designer Skin, Polywing, Stonefly Wing Buds, Waterwing, and Synthetic Quills. Whether you've wanted to
try your hand at tying 'Realistic Art Flies' or you would rather tie 'Functional Fish Flies', you need to try some of these new editions to Casters Fly Shop material selection. They are extremely rare and useful.
Come by the store or give me a call and I'd be glad to send you some (free standard shipping for orders to the lower 48's).
This is the best reason I can come up with.
Traveled West to Spread Ali the Fish Dog's Ashes
I just returned from a short trip to my old home in Montana, the Slide In of the Madison. This section of river is, as far as I am concerned,
the Mecca of American trout fishing. Where real mountains, fast riffle water, a multitude of aquatic insects, and large "wild" trout are the norm.
I specifically went out to show a few friends/clients how to fish large, fast moving western rivers and to spread the ashes of my late best friend,
Ali the Fish Dog. I put her down last summer on July 2nd, 2008, 2 days short of her 16th birthday.
Roughly 17 years ago, I picked her up from the breeder on my way to the Slide In. She was 6 weeks to the day. I figured that I'd show her,
from day one, how she was going to spend the rest of her life. She loved to be on the water and this particular stretch of river has and always will
be a special place for us. That is the reason I chose to let her ashes rest there.
The experience was bitter sweet. As I approached the "Swirl Hole", I noticed a large bald eagle sitting in a large tree just across the river.
I thought nothing of it at the time, other than how cool it was to see one. At that point, I figured I'd say a brief prayer and throw her ashes
(in the rushing torrent) before I began to angle, selfishly. During the process, I noticed that the baldy had been circling above. I saw that big
ass bird circling above and flying about during my whole trip. Sure, you can say it was evident because it lived there, but I believe there was
a deeper meaning. Regardless of the reason, I felt more at peace with it present during my 2 1/2 day trip.
The fishing was just like it was when I moved away from Big Sky Country. RIDICULOUS! We saw pseudocleons, tricos and caddis in the mornings, and epeorus, pmd's, and
caddis in the afternoons and evenings. The most productive patterns were rainbow warriors, disco midges, trico emergers and spinners, and epeorus nymphs and spinners;
but hetero-genius nymphs (orange) absolutely hammered them. I also believe Mother Nature and the Fish Gods repayed me for the contribution to the system.
Rest in peace, Ali. I will always miss your kind ways and your high fives.
A Tribute to Ali, the Fish Dog
On July 2nd we, the Hise family, lost our best and most loyal friend, Ali the Fish Dog. She was two days away from turning 16 years old.
I still remember the day I picked her up from the breeder some 16 years ago. I had the whole day planned; pick her up on the way to the
Slide In of the Madison, and show her the ropes by catching some monster trout on the fly. She absolutely loved the new experience. Tons
of new smells, birds to chase, goose poop to eat, grass to consume, and an interesting slimy creature the humans called, TROUT. That is
exactly the way she grew up.
Ali, the world traveler. Throughout her long and happy life she resided in Montana, California, Michigan, and North Carolina, and travelled through
every state in between. Eating, sleeping, playing with her trusty tennis ball, eating, sleeping, and enjoying every minute of her existence.
And did I mention.... eating and sleeping a little more. Father time finally caught up with her and said it was time to take her from us.
She was so close to my ultimate goal of her making it to 16 years old- 2 days.
Please pray for us as we go through this difficult time. It was one of the hardest days of my life when I had to put her down.
In fact, I am still mourning the loss like it was a few minutes ago. Dudie, the Akita, is taking it extremely hard, as well. He is now a
house dog and we are showing him extra attention; especially Olivia and Gabi, our two daughters.
Fall Steelhead Blog
I only wanted one......
A special thanks to Larry, Robert, Dave, Don, Mack, and Bobbie for the wonderful memories that we experienced on our recent trip to southwest Michigan for fall steelhead.
Also, a high ten to our guides Jeff Bacon, Aaron Spence, John Kestner, and Nick Garlock for working their tails off to make our experience as memorable as possible. It surely was memorable.
Great food, great company, great beer, great guides, and great fishing were the end result.
Knowing the steelhead game and how fickle the fish can be, I travelled to Michigan hoping to put one STEEL to hand. As mentioned beforehand, steelhead are known as the fish of
1000 casts. They will always have that reputation. My expectations were exceeded and I believe, for the most part, everyone elses were, as well. We braved the wind, cold, and lake effect snows
hoping for that tug and we got it. Eggs, eggs, and more eggs were the food of choice; however, Bobbie did manage to land a few fish utilizing a green caddis pattern and Robert landed one that crushed a streamer.
I was a bit skeptical about the effectiveness of TroutBeads; but, I am here to tell you, those little plastic beads are unbelievable. All I fished were pastel colored yarn patterns and different toned TroutBeads at the
end of my rig, 2-3 inches away from a circle hook; a similar technique to that used in Alaska. We "bottom-bounced" and "boondogged" the runs and pools with great success.
The power and stamina that these fish have is overwhelming. The chrome bug has bit a few more anglers and I was happy to share the experience. Be sure to join us on our excursion in the spring.
What it's like to have your ars handed to you by an average piece of steel. Imagine what a larger one does.
Spring Steelhead Blog
Never give up hope......
We recently travelled to western Michigan to fish for early spring steelhead and I was quickly reminded of the importance of remaining positive.
The first day of a three day trip we experienced temps in the high 20's/low 30's. It was a chilly (and windy) day on the Muskegon river, casting (endlessly) and hoping for a dime bright steelie tugging at the end of the line.
Nothing! The fish of a 1000 casts lived up to its reputation. Actually, more like the fish of 10,000 casts. Our dreams of hanging on to a chromer were shattered until the next dream.
We decided that the best thing to do that evening was to ponder next to a cold beer. There is no better place to do one armed curls than a pub with 50 beers on tap (no domestics) and 200 beers in bottles (no domestics);
so, you could imagine how we felt the next morning ; )
The second day of our journey we wade fished the Rogue river (a trib of the Grand river). The weather was much different than the day before. In fact, we were witness to the
warmest temps that Michigan had experienced all winter. Unfortunately for us, these temps were accompanied by torrential rainfall that lasted throughout the day (and evening). The rivers turned muddy and blew out within an hour of our arrival.
Blanked again! So..... we drank some more beer. I never really gave up hope because I knew we had one day of angling left. I knew that the steelhead game was fickle, at best; a game of feast or famine and
not for the faint of heart.
The question was, where were we going to fish with rivers that were over their banks (in feet, not inches)? Well, we decided to try the "Ace in the Hole", the trusty Grand river.
The Grand is Michigan's longest inland waterway (nearly 250 miles); it is a large, ominous river with a lot of history. Sometimes, a lot of fish. That last day, Mother Grand greeted us with turbid, dirty water, which was bubbling and churning
like a pan of boiling water on the stove. Plus, it was cold and blustery with 30 mile an hour winds and snow flurries; a typical day of steelhead fishing. We geared up, jumped in the boats, and went at it. Our last glimmer of hope
was in the hands of Mother Nature. I wont bore you with the rest of the story because you can see the photos below. All I can say is, never give up hope. We remained positive throughout the whole process and were
treated to Epicdom! Is that a word? Who cares, it sounds good.
Casters Fly Shop
3034A N. Center Street
Hickory, NC, 28601
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North Carolina Fly Fishing and Beyond