Saturday, September 7, 2019

Fort Collins Fly Fishing: Travel and Fish Argentina Patagonia Presentation

Today's Blog Post

Traveling and Fishing Argentina/Patagonia

All Welcome to Attend -- Slide Show Presentation
September 18, 2019
6:30p -- 7:30p
Kid and family friendly

Ever dream of traveling and fishing Patagonia?

Mark Foley of First Cast Fly Fishing will present a slide show about traveling and fly fishing in Argentina.

In 1999, Mark spent one year hiking and fishing the Andes mountain range, and he is a former Argentina Orvis endorsed fly fishing lodge manager.

During his presentation, he will take us on a journey from Tierra del Fuego to the border of the Bolivian rainforest. We will see spectacular pictures of the Andes, wild trout, Golden Dorado, and other wildlife. Lastly, he will share many travel and fishing tips, giving you many DIY options.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Fort Collins Fly Fishing Lessons: Casting Rehabilitation

Today's Blog Post

He started fly fishing at age twenty.  Thirty-two years later, we meet.  Before class begins, I ask him to hit targets at 40, 50, and 60 feet.  I watch carefully, not saying a singe word.  Just before target distance his line does what I call a knuckle ball -- a wonky/snake gyration, and does not hit the target. I ask him why, and he replies, "I don't know, that's why I am here."  

The lesson begins. Three hours later, problems fixed.    

Why work with FCFF?

- Expert at analyzing and correcting technique
- Teach mind-body casting mechanics 
- Beginner to advance classes 
- Class size -- 4 people maximum
- On land, casting pond, or river
- Custom events (birthdays, anniversaries, dates, etc). 

Thanks, and looking forward to casting with you!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Fort Collins Fly Fishing Lessons: Casting Pond

Today's Blog Post

Casting class challenge:

50 ft cast, from land to water.  No false casting.  Trees and shrubs to the left and right, with extremely narrow backcast alley.

Cast options: Vertical or roll cast.  She opted for vertical, and did it with ease and good form, but it was ugly.  

Instructor feedback: Slow it down. 

Results: Desired distance, accuracy, and beauty/grace.  She smiled and laughed, stating, "I can't believe I can cast so effortlessly and get the desired results."      

Why work with FCFF?

- I teach mind-body casting mechanics 
- Beginner to advance classes 
- Class size -- 4 people maximum.
- On land, casting pond, or river
- Custom events (birthdays, anniversaries, dates, etc). 

Thanks, and looking forward to casting with you!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Fort Collins Fly Fishing Lessons, at City Park

Today's Blog Post

Client Testimonial: 

What an amazing lesson!  If you want to learn great technique, practical and simple strategies for any skill level, Mark is the teacher for you!  We cannot wait to get out on the river and try out our new skills!  We wish we took his class sooner!

Michelle and Seth Morton.
Fort Collins, CO.

Why work with FCFF?

We offer multiple classes, and will customize for special events (e.g., birthdays, anniversaries, dates, etc).  

Thanks, and looking forward to casting with you!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Fort Collins Fly Fishing: Tenkara and Tight Line Nymphing

Today's Blog Post

Largest fish of the day

On July 6, 2019, I assisted team Zen Tenkara at 5280 Angler Fly Fishing Festivus event, held at Boxwood Gulch  This is an annual event and more information is at 5280 Angler Festivus

It was my very first time at Boxwood Gulch, which is private land-water.  My job was assisting 5280 Angler clients, who wished to try Zen Tenkara rods 

Prior to the start, there was some pre-game chatter about fast-high-dirty water, rigging, and which flies to use.  When I fish new water, I utilize the K.I.S.S. principle (i.e., Keep It Simple Stupid).  This translates to fish the conditions and think the following:  
  1. Velocity (CFS) and depth of water
  2.  Length of leader-tippet and weight
Notice how hatch, flies, or other were not part of my pre-game thinking.  With such fast-high-dirty water, the game plan was nothing more than: 

How to get 'meat flies' down as quickly as possible, into their face!

As seen in the above photo, the game plan paid off.  With the Suimenka rod, I set up a non-indicator two fly nymph rig using:  

Anchor Fly: Fast Water Prince Jig
Top Fly: Non-bead pheasant tail

With this very simple rigging and the Suimenka rod, I was happy to see clients catching plenty of big healthy fish.   

Tenkara Lessons?

If you would like to learn how to blend traditional or tight-line nymph fishing with tenkara rod fishing, we offer a 100% customized class, called E.I. Fly 5X

With the 5X class, you tell me what you want to learn and I'll teach you! 

PS.  I had a great experience -- thank you to Zen Tenkara, 5280 Angler, and Boxwood Gulch.

Monday, July 22, 2019

'Donation Only' Family Fly Fishing Class: Fort Collins Client Testimonial

Meet Fort Collins newest fly-fishing family.

Client Testimonial:

The other night my family and I met with Mark for our very first fly-fishing class.  Mark really focused on my eight and ten year old boys, introducing them to casting methods in a fun unique way.  

My boys enjoyed the paintbrush and bubble games the most.  If you and your family are new to fly-fishing and want to test the waters without a huge expense, I would highly recommend Mark’s intro class.  It’s a great way to learn something new and spend outdoor time with your family.  We will be doing other classes with him in the near future.

G. Baca.  Fort Collins, CO


1. Info at USA Lessons
2. During your class, we do not sell products, guided trips, advertise/promote, or other -- classes are 100% dedicated to education/teaching and fun!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Fort Collins Beginner Fly Fishing Class: Donation Only Payment

Today's Blog Post

Hey FoCo, guess who just moved here?

I am Fly Fishers International (FFI) certified fly fishing instructor, that offers adult lessons and:

Donation Only 
Basic Fly Fishing Lessons for Kids and Families 
(ages 6-12)

I am pleased to announce, I have taught my first FoCo family, and hope to teach many more.

At City Park, the Baca family (mom, dad, and their two boys) spent 1.5 fun filled hours learning basic fly casting skills and lots more.

Since 2004, via New Hampshire Fish-n-Game, Trout Unlimited, Phillips Exeter Academy, and First Cast Fly Fishing, I have taught hundreds of kids and families (it's my way of giving back to my community -- all donation $ pays for equipment, supplies, prizes, gas, etc). 

Also, I am a Colorado counselor-therapist and life coach (passed all state and national background checks).

If you are looking for educational, outdoor family fun, without spending tons of $, click link: Kids-Family Donation Only 

Thank You Fort Collins! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Fort Collins Fly Fishing Lessons: A New Beginning

Today's Blog Post

Meet Greeley's newest nymph fisherman.

Mr. Shetter completed our new E.I. Fly™5X class.  This class provides clients:

  • Create/customize your own class  
  • Focus on your trouble areas (e.g., casting or nymph, dry, wet, river, pond, lake fishing).
  • Fix nagging problems that prevent you from catching fish
  • Learn how to fish the conditions (e.g., deep-fast water)  
  • Combines technical casting and fishing instruction, in-water.  

He wanted advance instruction on nymph fishing (Euro Tight Line).  How did he do on extremely high-fast water of the Big Thompson? 

In short time, we corrected a handful of classic beginner errors.  He finished the day with approximately 10-14 bows and browns, with 12" being the largest.  Considering the conditions of the Big Thompson, I say he did EXCELLENT and is now on the right path (that's our goal).

Client Testimonial:

"Recently I had the privilege of spending an afternoon on the river with Mark.  Unfortunately, I didn't grow up fly-fishing and it's only been a few years since I decided to dive into the sport.  Needless to say, it's been a blast learning... but it's also been incredibly frustrating!  I was amazed at how just a few hours of instruction with Mark has breathed a new excitement into me for this amazing sport.  (He also introduced me to euro-nymphing, which is a lot of fun if you haven't tried it yet!)  If you're looking for a coach to help you move your game to a new level, Mark is your man.  He's patient and full of a passion for fly-fishing that can't help but rub off on you.  Oh, and one other thing... even on a bad day, you'll catch lots of fish with him!

T. Shetter.  Greeley, CO.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Fort Collins Beginner Fly Fishing Lessons: About Your Instructor

Do you remember catching your first fish?  I do, and more importantly, I remember who I was with. My first fish on a fly rod was an Eastern Brook Trout, other wise known as Salvelinus Fontinalis.  I was in the third grade, and I was with an older boy from my neighborhood, named Mike Vinsel. Mike had taken me fishing on many occasions, but this time our adventure would be different, and it forever changed my life!

We did not ride our bikes to this new fishing location, it was too far to make the roundtrip journey in one day. I remember driving past my school and shortly after, my mother dropped us off. With rods in hand, and backpacks filled with food and fishing equipment, we followed a small stream through the woods.  The hike in was a jagged transformation from my mom's huge 1970 car, to a living forest, pulsing with eye opening beauty.  We arrived at a spot, and I stood upon my very first New England small stream pool.  This was no pond or lake water, with featureless darkness.  It was crystal clear, and boy was it magical.  I could see the bottom, easily seeing the colors of each pebble and the yellow patches of sand.  The sun was out, the sky was blue, and the trees were in full green. I immediately felt comfortable, as though I never wanted to leave this cozy micro-haven. Mike did what Mike was very good at, he caught fish, and lots of them.  I can remember watching the fish attack his fly -- I had never seen anything like this.  I stood frozen, glued, trying to see where the fish were coming from.  One second, nothing was visible, and then suddenly, a Brook Trout was attacking his fly; was this a trick, I thought to myself.  Mike gave me the fly rod (fiber-glasss Fenwick) and soon I was reeling in my first Eastern Brook Trout.  The colors on that fish were like nothing I had ever seen. I stared at the rainbow of colorful dots on its flank.  I was motionless, in a trance, but my mind and heart were exploding in joy.  I still get this feeling each time I catch a Brook Trout; especially the small wild colorful ones.        

Shortly after catching my first EBT, my family moved from New Hampshire to Connecticut.  I was sad to leave my fishing mentor and buddy behind.  As I type, I have not seen or talked to Mike in exactly thirty-nine years. Well, just a few days ago, that changed -- I found him on Facebook.  We have reconnected.  I was hopeful we could meet in person, but I discovered he now lives and works in Japan.  Regardless, reconnecting with Mike via digital means, has been one of the best life moments for me. Why?  Allow me to explain.

  • First and most importantly, I finally had the chance to thank Mike for being my fishing buddy. Time spent with Mike has had a HUGE positive impact on my life.  I have never forgotten about Mike -- our shared memories have never left my mind and soul (i.e., Mike was always with me, whether I was fishing in the USA or around the globe).
  • My family home environment was not healthy.  As a result, there are just a few things in my life that truly make me feel 100% safe and comfortable. Fishing and nature are two of those things. Prior to fishing with Mike, and until I caught my first EBT, I never felt such pure safety and comfort. Something very good happened to me on that day. Again, I am eternally grateful that I had a fishing buddy/mentor who took me under his wings and brought such good energy into my life.
  • Contrary to what you may see, hear, or believe, in honor of what Mike shared with me (fishing and nature), my mission in the fly-fishing world/biz has always been to pay it forward -- to provide a safe, comfortable, and memorable experience for clients and friends.  Fishing can heal -- I am living proof!  If I can be a mentor like Mike, I am a happy soul.  

Over the past several days, Mike and I have been swapping old fishing stories -- attempting to recall events that happened over thirty-five years ago.  During this process, yet again, my fishing mentor did something that ROCKED my world.  He sent me the following hand drawn pieces that reflect our experiences catching EBT's.  Life has not always been easy for me, but at this very moment, I feel blessed and truly lucky. Words cannot begin to describe the emotions I had when I first looked at these drawings.  Reconnecting with Mike has been the greatest catch of my life!

This was a tough spot for a young third grader, but I can remember watching my mentor catch EBT's at this location.  

If I showed you this spot today, you would never believe EBT lived there.  Just a short bike ride from our neighborhood, we had many EBT streams and brooks. 
This is the spot where I caught my first EBT!  It was a magical experience that forever changed my life.  

Final Words

My story took place in the mid 1970's, in the Amherst, New Hampshire area.  It was a time when boys rode their bikes many miles, down quiet country roads, to go fishing.  Obviously, we live in a different world today.  Perhaps, kids riding bikes through an ocean of traffic and chaos, to catch fish, is not the best idea. Regardless, I hope you can find a way to go fishing because some things don't change -- friendship and fishing are still important, and both, just might have a tremendous impact on your life.  

Thanks and looking forward to reading your story.


PS.  Mike, thanks for sharing your wonderful artwork!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Fort Collins Beginner Fly Fishing Lessons: Safety First

Today's Blog Post 

Fly Fishing Safety

Hypothermia vs. Hyperthermia

The below information was written for 'all' possible weather conditions.

Hypothermia is a condition in which an organism's temperature drops below that required for normal metabolism and bodily functions. In warm-blooded animals, core body temperature is maintained near a constant level through biologic homeostasis. But, when the body is exposed to cold, its internal mechanisms may be unable to replenish the heat that is being lost to the organism's surroundings. Hyperthermia, in its advanced state referred to as heat stroke or sunstroke, is an acute condition which occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. It is usually caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures. The heat-regulating mechanisms of the body eventually become overwhelmed and unable to effectively deal with the heat, causing the body temperature to climb uncontrollably. Normal or Core Body Temperature is 36.8°C (98.2°F). Hypothermia can be divided in three stages of severity. 

Three Stages of Hypothermia 

Stage 1:

Body temperature drops by 1-2°C (1.8-3.6°F) below normal temperature (35-37°C or 95-98.6°F). Mild to strong shivering occurs. The victim is unable to perform complex tasks with the hands; the hands become numb. Blood vessels in the outer extremities constrict, lessening heat loss to the outside air. Breathing becomes quick and shallow. Goose bumps form, raising body hair on end in an attempt to create an insulating layer of air around the body (which is of limited use in humans due to lack of sufficient hair, but useful in other species). Often, a person will experience a warm sensation, as if they have recovered, but they are in fact heading into Stage 2. Another test to see if the person is entering stage 2 is if they are unable to touch their thumb with their little finger; this is the first stage of muscles not working. 

Stage 2:

Body temperature drops by 2-4°C (3.8-7.6°F). Shivering becomes more violent. Muscle miss-coordination becomes apparent. Movements are slow and labored, accompanied by a stumbling pace and mild confusion, although the victim may appear alert. Surface blood vessels contract further as the body focuses its remaining resources on keeping the vital organs warm. The victim becomes pale. Lips, ears, fingers and toes may become blue. • 

Stage 3:

Body temperature drops below approximately 32 °C (89.6 °F). Shivering usually stops. Difficulty speaking, sluggish thinking, and amnesia start to appear; inability to use hands and stumbling is also usually present. Cellular metabolic processes shut down. Below 30 °C (86.0 °F), the exposed skin becomes blue and puffy, muscle coordination becomes very poor, walking becomes almost impossible, and the victim exhibits incoherent/irrational behavior including terminal burrowing or even a stupor. Pulse and respiration rates decrease significantly, but fast heart rates can occur. Major organs fail. Clinical death occurs. 

Hypothermia Treatment:

Treatment for hypothermia consists of drying, sheltering, and gradually warming (making sure to not rub the patient's body, to warm with blankets and, if possible, to transfer your own body heat). While blankets help a person retain body heat, they are not sufficient to treat hypothermia. It is vital that the core of the body is warmed first or else the cold blood will be forced towards the heart and may cause death. In the field, a mildly hypothermic person can be effectively re-warmed through close body contact from a companion and by drinking warm, sweet liquids. Moderate and severe cases of hypothermia require immediate evacuation and treatment in a hospital. In hospital, warming is accomplished by external techniques such as heated blankets for mild hypothermia and by more invasive techniques such as warm fluids injected in the veins or even washing of the bladder, stomach, chest and abdominal cavities with warmed fluids for severely hypothermic patients. These patients are at high risk for arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), and care must be taken to minimize jostling and other disturbances until they have been sufficiently warmed, as these arrhythmias are very difficult to treat while the victim is still cold. 

Wind Chill & Frost Bite:

Wind chill is the apparent temperature felt on exposed skin, which is a function of the air temperature and wind speed. The wind chill temperature is always lower than the air temperature, except at higher temperatures where wind chill is considered less important. In cases where the apparent temperature is higher than the air temperature, the heat index is used instead. 

Frostbite is the medical condition whereby damage is caused to skin and other tissues due to extreme cold. At or below 0ยบ C (32°F), blood vessels close to the skin start to narrow (constrict). This helps to preserve core body temperature. In extreme cold, or when the body is exposed to cold for long periods, this protective strategy can reduce blood flow in some areas of the body to dangerously low levels. The combination of cold temperature and poor blood flow can cause severe tissue injury by freezing the tissue. Frostbite is most likely to happen in body parts farthest from the heart and those with a lot of surface area exposed to cold. The initial stages of frostbite are sometimes called "frostnip". If frostbite is not treated immediately then the damage and the frostbite become permanent. Nerve damage will occur due to oxygen deprivation. Frostbitten areas will turn discolored, purplish at first, and soon turn black. After a while nerve damage becomes so great that feeling is lost in the frostbitten areas. Blisters will also occur. If feeling is lost in the damaged area, checking it for cuts and breaks in the skin is vital. Infected open skin can lead to gangrene and amputation may be needed.

Frost BiteTreatment:

To treat frostbite move the victim to a warm location and seek medical help. Soak frostbitten areas in warm (not hot) water or, if in wilderness, warm by contact with the skin of a non-frostbitten person. Continue until the victim has regained sensation and movement in the afflicted region; this often follows great pain as the nerves thaw. Never rub, slap, or shake the stricken region as ice crystals in the frostbitten skin will damage surrounding tissue. For frostbite in the feet, keeping feet in warm saline water will provide relief. Follow the treatment with a period of constant warmth: refreezing following thawing worsens the damage.

How to Prevent Heat Loss & Reduce Exposure to Cold/Wind:

1) Insulation: Cotton vs. Synthetic/Wool Fabrics

Wearing cotton in cool/cold weather is a particular hypothermia risk as it retains water, and water rapidly conducts heat away from the body. Even in dry weather, cotton clothing can become damp from perspiration and chilly after the wearer stops exercising. Synthetic and wool fabrics provide far better insulation when wet and are quicker to dry. Some synthetic fabrics are designed to wick perspiration away from the body. Last, poor circulation can cause heat loss. So, tight clothing or boots, cramped positions, fatigue, certain medications, smoking, alcohol use, or diseases that affect the blood vessels, such as diabetes can cause poor blood circulation.

2) Down Feathers vs. Poly-Insulate vs. Wool

When dry, down feather insulation is among the best in the world. However, when wet, down feathers will lose almost all insulation properties and take more time to dry than wool or poly- insulates such as sleeping bag material and poly-synthetics such as Polar Fleece.

3) Wind and Weather Proofing 

Whether we are exposed to cold or warm weather, our number one priority is to protect our skin and insulate our bodies. You have many modern “high tech” options such as Poly/Nylon weave with a Gore-Tex type material. This type of outer shell material offers the following: strength, light weight, windproof, waterproof and breathable performance. Traditional protective clothing such as rain coats, down jackets, or heavy wool jackets work well but they all come with pro’s and con’s.

4) Layering System 

For insulation and barrier protection, all outdoor enthusiast and experts agree that layering is the best method. By layering your clothes, you are able to add or subtract clothing when necessary. Ultimately, the key to a good layering system is dependent on each person’s knowledge of their own body performance in different climates, education of materials available for purchase and real world experience. For instance, Polar Fleece is available in 100, 200, 300 weight (typically, the higher the number the more insulation offered). But, a heavier weight layering system may not provide you the best insulation system available. Why? While active, a heavier weight layering system may lead to excessive perspiration may which will lead to wet clothing, which may lead to body heat loss.  


  • Feet: Water proof/insulated boots or rubber insulated boots. Gators. Poly/Nylon and wool sock combination. Extreme cold: down bootie inserts or fur products.
  • Body: (1-2) Layers of poly/synthetic underwear followed by light weight (100) polar fleece and wool.
  • Internal Shell: light weight poly shell, down or fleece.
  • External Shell: Synthetic “high tech.” 5. Hands: Waterproof outer shell. Inner fibers wool and down mittens or gloves. 
  • Head & Neck: Windproof fleece, regular fleece and wool hats, wool scarf. Why wool scarf’s? Great back-up system to warm hands.
  • Eyes: Polarized glasses or ski goggles.
  • Face & Lips: SPF skin lotion. 
  • Note: Under normal cold conditions, and while physically active, I find the combination of fleece/poly and wool products work best. However, in extreme cold conditions, when I am not physically moving, I find fur products (hat, gloves) and more down products, keep me warmer.

Walk-Wade Safety

If you want to be safe and dry, get a wading staff! Buy one or make one, just get one; it could be the best investment you make.