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Zooming and Fly-Fishing into the 21st Century

by Tom Hogye

Shifting gears can be super difficult if your clutch is bad and your synchros aren’t working properly, crunching through the gears, with a shift lever that won’t move, a car that won’t go and a clutch pedal that won’t give up.  Well, I’m happy to say that your Fly-Fishing synchro’s – the group you might refer to as “The Board” – of SCFF are synced and seem to be expert at navigating gear changes quite good.  Afterall, who else will drive 5 hours or fly twenty-four hours to a destination with a plan, only to find it changing in an instant.   Weather, flies, water condition/volume, hole in yer waders, hook in the neck, broken rod, dropped your best fly box in the water…   COVID-19 got nothing on this bunch of seasoned veterans – with all due respect.

Not to take lightly the situation at all, but your board came together battling things we often resist or just leave alone as we mature for the benefit of you.  Yeah – you!

For the first time in the forty-three years the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen has been in existence, we held our board meeting via “Zoom”- an internet based teleconferencing application that made it easy for anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone to access.   Even when some of us had never done such a thing, it was not only fun, but very productive.   Elaine Cook, your Master Fly-Tying instructor, even launched her meeting from the passenger seat in Big Red, as she and John were obviously returning from a top secret, never to be disclosed, socially distant day of fly-fishing.

All of us wore our favorite fishing hats, donned a libation, sat in our favorite spots and launched further into the 21st Century than any of us would have ventured, ever.   I dare say that if I ever told the board, let’s do something like this for “fun”, it would have passed like the worst constipation you’ve ever had in your life – I know, bad picture.  But look; we simply would not have done it.   You throw a deadly virus at us and tell us we can’t meet for the benefit of our membership, our mission, fly-fishing, scholarships, a beer together, and what we can do to help?   Get out of the way.

As many of you know, if I miss a board meeting or a club meeting, it’s because of work.  Oh – and I’m still working – twice has hard to do half as much with thirty percent less.   But I am grateful.   Anyhow, I miss everyone when we can’t get together.  Having the board meeting via the internet came terrific and it was really good to see everyone, hear their voices, laugh together and do our job.

So, while we physically still can’t “get together” for the May meeting – we’re gonna get together.  We are going to have our May Meeting on Zoom.   You will all get an invite in your email – so make sure it’s up to date.    Wear your best fishing hat, and we’ll get through the business portion quickly.  AND – we’re going to test out a raffle by having a super nice door prize for anyone attending.  Jeff Goyert said his wife will do the draw – so we know it wasn’t fixed!!  Then we’ll have a Zoom presentation with Western Rivers Conservancy.  Yes – a presentation – on line, with questions afterward.

The new website is up, AND in less than a month, we had our first member who signed up on line.   I can’t wait till we have our first member join from a different country!!  How cool is that!    Over the next month or so, the website is going to get even better and there will be opportunities for lots of fun stuff.

Look, I know it’s really a mess out there and I realize that without my phone and with out the internet, I likely wouldn’t have the job I have, and the club wouldn’t be doing much at all.  So while all the technology and traffic often gets on my nerves, I am so grateful for these opportunities to do so much good, in a time when we need to focus more on that.

Stay tuned, I’m working on Mark to do some YouTube or Zoom casting instruction / Q&A, and I’m trying to convince Elaine how awesome it would be to do some Zoom based fly-tying.  And Sam Bishop is organizing some Social Distance Surf Casting for Perch and Stripers.   So watch the newsletter and schedule.   The surf is open and this is an excellent time of year to get out on the surf.

Things will continue to change as we adjust to all of this conundrum we’re in, so keep close to your newsletter and the website.   Write, call, talk to each other, get out there and practice yer casting.   We will be back on the water.  Think how terrific all of this is for the environment, for the fish, for those places you like to fish.  Know they aren’t getting hammered, but they are being left to recover.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea if maybe every couple years, we just shut down everything to let the earth heal from all that we do to it?

I think so.   Thank you all for our support, we are wishing you well and a safe return to a new normal.

Peace out.   Tom

Date:  May 13th

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May Fly Tying Class Cancelled

by Elaine Cook. Fly Tying Master

So sorry, covid 19 is causing us to cancel our monthly class again. It was to have been a Green Drake pattern. I have rescheduled it for next year. Don’t hesitate to try tying the Fly Of The Month however.  It’s a Bead Chain Bugger, easy to tie and good for beginners. Be sure to attach the bead chain eyes well and apply glue to hold them in place and not spin. Check next month’s newsletter for the status of the June class. Stay safe, 6ft. apart, and wear a mask.

Date:  July 12-16, 2020

Place:  Loreto, Baja California, Mexico

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Loreto Fly Fishing Trip

Fishmaster: Rich Hughett

Note: The Loreto trip is still scheduled but, Rich will be making a decision around June 1st about the ability to continue with plans or cancel. Check with Rich Hewett (831)

Sign Up Now! Experience a new HIGH! Fish for Dorado, and many other salt-water fish, including Bonito, Roosters, Yellowtail and Sailfish on a fly! Join the group going to Loreto in Baja from Sunday, July 12th through Thursday, July 16th. This trip includes:

  • Four nights at the beautiful Hotel La Mision, on the water-front next to Loreto Harbor.
  • Three days of fishing on 24-foot Super Pangas, with fly fish-ing guides.
  • Ground transfers and fishing licenses.

It does not include meals, because there are some nice restaurants (A lot of fresh seafood!) in town or if you prefer, eat at the hotel, where they will cook your catch.

The fishing day starts around 6:00 a.m. and we usually get back to the harbor between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. Spend the rest of the afternoon fishing from the beach, having a cool drink in the pool, exploring Loreto, or just sitting around telling some tall fish stories. And, you will have many exciting moments on the Sea of Cortez to talk about.

The approximate cost for everything but meals and airfare is: $900.00 per person (double occupancy). Interested? Please contact Rich Hughett, 831-757-5709, for all the details. You will need to book airline flights* as soon as possible. No advance payment needed.

*Southwest Airlines from San Jose and Alaska Airlines from Los Angeles to Loreto. Rich will help with your airline reservations

Date:  October 15-18

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O’Neill Forebay Fishout

The O’Neill Forebay fishout for striped bass is October 15-18. We’ll convene at the Meideros campground sites 26-28.

Please email Steve Rudzinski, for info. The sign up sheet will be at the club meeting on Oct. 7th at the Aptos Grange Hall.

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by prize guy, Jeff Goyert

I still haven’t figured out how to do an actual zoom meeting raffle collecting money and selling tickets, I can barely boot up my computer much less write binary quantum digital stuff. Having said that, during last month’s zoom meeting we were able to pull off a pretty good door prize give away. So we will do it again!

What we have this month is a really handy gizmo called a Stanley Fat Max jump starter and compressor.  Most of us in lock down have not been using our vehicles very often resulting in dead batteries and low tire pressure. To the rescue comes this jumper for you battery and an electric pump for your tires. This also includes USB ports to charge your phone and attached trouble light. Perfect for the garage or stashed away in the truck on your next fishing adventure.

Remember, every body gets a free ticket.  Winner must be present at the June Fly club zoom meeting.

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Schroeder Hopper

by Elaine Cook. Fly Tying Master

This grasshopper pattern has been around for many years and the trout sure like it. Most hopper patterns today feature foam bodies and rubber legs, which are easier to tie and are more durable. There are times when the foam flies don’t work and the fish gobble the Schroeder imitation up. Since hoppers come in a variety of colors, the fly can be tied with wings in tan or cream. The body in tan, cream, yellow, brown, green or orange.

  • Hook: TMC 5212 or 5262.  Sizes 8/12
  • Thread: brown or tan. 8/0
  • Post: white calf body
  • Body: golden-brown Antron dubbing
  • Wing: mottled turkey quill
  • Legs: Ringneck Pheasant tail feather
  • Hackle: grizzly saddle
  • Thorax: same as body
  • Wing and Leg Coating: Flexament or clear lacquer spray

1. Coat or spray wing feather. Allow to dry.

2. Crimp barb.

3. Attach thread behind eye. Wrap to 1/3 back on shank.

4. Cut small clump calf hair from hide. Remove underfur. Stack tips. Position on top of shank, tips 1/2 shank length forward. Make several wraps to secure. Cut excess buts at an angle. Wrap down butts. Hold post upright, making many thread wraps in front of it to hold position. To secure, make several wraps around base, then pull thread to rear and make several wraps around shank. Repeat a couple times.

5. Wrap thread to rear of shank. Dub generous tapered body forward to 1/8 in. Behind post.

6. Separate barbs on quill wing making section equal to hook gap. Cut from stem.cut butt end straight across. Round the other end. Length equal to hook length. Place butt against post. Tie in place.

7. I like to prepare many ahead. Cut 4 barbs from stem and tie knot in center for each leg. This is tricky to do. Look on U-tube for various techniques, or buy them already prepared. Coat to reinforce. Tie in one on each side of wing. Knee should be near bend of hook. Trim length (see sample). Dub more over wing and leg tie in section.

8. Prepare butt end of hackle with crew cut. Tie in crew cut in front of post. Holding upright, make a couple thread wraps to hold in place. Dub generous thorax from eye to post. Wrap thread clockwise around post leaving it hanging on your side of fly. Wrap hackle clockwise around base of post 3 times. Holding hackle toward you and slightly down, bring thread up infront of hackle stem, then around base of post 3 times, then forward to eye. Tie off, cut excess. Cut excess hackle. Apply sm. Amt. glue to final thread wraps and base of post.

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Casting Practice

by Castmaster Mark Traugott

The shelter-in-place directives and changes in DFW regulations have caused many of us to postpone or cancel our plans to fish this spring. If you feel the need to re-connect with your favorite sport, consider this possibility:

Find a suitable place to cast and devote fifteen minutes to one hour of practice time a day to maintaining your skills or learning something new. At home or nearby is best, as you will be more likely to pick up that rod spontaneously and will put in more time; but, if necessary, any public space with an open, grassy area will do fine. In a pinch, your driveway or the street may suffice (though you will want to dedicate an old and disused line for the purpose, as asphalt and concrete are hard on high-tech coatings.) Once you start whipping that rod around and throwing a line, you will likely find that other people stay at least the recommended six feet away. A few simple props (hula hoops for accuracy, soccer cones for distance or for specialty techniques like curve casts) are helpful but not really necessary. The important thing is to work on upgrading your skills. If you need suggestions for what to focus on, you may want to look at the Fly Fishing International skills challenges. They offer three levels – bronze, silver, and gold – each of which involves a series of tasks that casters of increasing levels of competence should master. (The skills challenges can be downloaded here: In my experience, even well-seasoned casters seldom succeed at every one of the tasks on the bronze challenge on the first try, but you’ll be amazed at what a little practice can do.

If you want to up your game and are someone who learns best from books, try consulting the classics by Mel Krieger (The Essence of Fly Casting), Joan Wulff (Fly Casting Techniques), and Bill Gammel (The Essentials of Fly-Casting). However, many people find that a more visual approach is helpful. Our club’s library of DVDs includes some relevant titles, but in this time of social distancing, a more readily available alternative is the Internet. A quick search on will connect you to an overwhelming variety of instructional videos on almost any casting technique you wish to explore and at any skill level from beginner to advanced. Here are a few that I have found especially easy to understand, insightful, or entertaining:

Peter Kutzer is Orvis’s resident casting instructor. You may have met him at the Pleasanton show in February (which must now seem a long time ago because it happened just as we were all becoming aware of Covid-19.) He offers an entire series of professionally produced videos on a wide variety of subjects, several of which are indexed here:

Australian Casting Champion Peter Hayes has an appealing series of videos (the production values of which are, unfortunately, highly variable), all delivered with good humor and in an engaging Aussie accent:

And for those who want a more in-depth treatment of both the theory and practice of fly casting, you may want to work your way through the many subjects covered in Paul Arden’s Fly Casting Manual on ( His explanations can be a little harder to follow, but he has thought through the physics of casting in depth.

One instructor whose explanations I find particularly clear is Carl McNeil. He has a complete instructional DVD for sale on the Echo Fly Fishing site, but a few of his videos are available free on youtube at:

If you have a favorite site or instructor of your own, let me know so they can be shared in a future issue of the newsletter. Until we are able to gather again on our favorite lakes and streams, a little coronavirus-casting in the back yard is a great way to stay limber and sharp, ready to return to the water when the all-clear sounds.

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Kelsey Lake ( near Snelling Ca. ) May 7th and 8th

by Elaine and John Cook

First heard about this large bass lake from Jim Black, thanks Jim. Being a private lake we thought it might be a place where we could effectively accomplish social distancing and indeed that was the case. Booking is easy over phone and on line while Al Smatsky provided us with lots of great information. $100/day/fisherman, camping $25/night. It took us 3 hours to get there but we are slow behind the wheel. Now to the nitty gritty. Although we didn’t land many fish the quality was remarkable. Fat 17-22 inches beauties that fought like heck. Too bad it was a full moon and there had been a bass tournament 4 days prior. We did land ALL on poppers and that was the only method we used. Believe it or not, John caught the big ones. The bass habitat with lily pads was impressive and then there was a rock wall. We were also impressed with the camping area that was all grassed in under large trees making it easy to tolerate the heat. We are anxious to return, and will.

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Shelter in place at Goodwin Lake

by Elaine Cook for Roy Gunter

Roy has sponsored several club fishouts at his lovely 2 bedroom home at Goodwin Lake which is full of large rainbows. If you would like to escape from COVID for the next year, he will be leasing it out for $1,450 per month plus utilities. It includes a boat with motor the get around this beautiful private  lake. You can reach him at for more details.

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150 Active Membership

by Bob

Membership is holding steady @ 150 members including 30 new members. Membership donations are in excess of $1,500 for scholarships and conservation.

For every $35 membership, an additional $11 is contributed in donations. Thank you