brook trout

Spring, Fly Shops &OSKAA Fish For Winters End

OSKAA

A few local, dedicated kayak fishermen have formed a new Facebook group called the Ocean State Kayak Anglers Association. Speaking from personal experience, these men and women have salt water in their veins, know how to have fun and think about  kayaking all the time. Tom Adams and Brian Hall are two of the founders and have been featured on these pages over the last few years.

brianhall

Oh that Brian Hall…

Talking about OSKAA, Tom said, “We started our own group to get back to the core roots of why we did all this in the first place with those that have the same purpose and goals as us: building friendships, sharing fishing knowledge, experiences and having fun along with supporting/promoting local vendors and businesses we know and love.” You can check out the administrators, moderators and new members then decide if their page and community is right for you.

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Tom Adams, an albie and a very big smile

Again from that personal experience, this is a strong group of fishermen who genuinely enjoy sharing their skills, local intel and what gear works or doesn’t. Really, they just want to stay in touch with other fishermen, have more than a few laughs and go fishing.

Lots and lots of fishing.

Find them at OSKAA on Facebook. Fly shops can be pretty low-key affairs. Rods on racks, walls of waders, files of flies, older gentlemen smudging back grey hairs spinning yarns behind a vice. Often based in nondescript buildings on back roads to fine rivers, sandwiched in mauve mini-malls between a “I’ll Cut You” hair salon and a watch repair shop or occasionally in some big water towns, decorated with sawn timber facades, casting pools and windows full of stoneflies, they are a fisherman’s oasis. Thankfully in our area, fly shops are the real deal and a few have some real character, especially in the off-season.

In Middletown, Peter Jenkins and his Saltwater Edge have built a reputation for carrying the best names in fly fishing and surf casting gear.

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Peter Jenkins, center, guides on the water and at the fly table

What’s more, Peter knows how to keep his customers happy through the fishing doldrums of winter. His shop frequently hosts speakers and special events, like Fly Tying Nights. They’re a much needed few hours of lessons, laughs and obligatory storytelling while Peter marinates the whole deal with steak tips and a classic rock soundtrack.

peterjenkinstieflies - EditedIn his 1914 poem, Mending Wall, Robert Frost wrote, “Spring is the mischief in me,” and indeed, a walk around his store at 1037 Aquidneck Avenue will bring your mind back to where it belongs: thinking about Spring, stripers, fishing before work or possibly instead of work, boxes tight with flies and that mischievous fishermen smile.

The next Fly Night is scheduled for March 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Peter is also an in-demand speaker, welcomed for his years on the water, his grace with a fly rod and ease sharing ways to locate and catch fish. On February 20 Peter spoke to the Rhody Fly Rodders about “Reading the Beach-How to Eliminate 98% of the Ocean.” In his own words, “This talk will help you understand how the topography, hard and soft structure and the whitewater it creates can provide valuable clues to help you eliminate 98% of the ocean.” The Fly Rodders are the oldest saltwater fly fishing club in America and meetings, held monthly at The Sportsman’s Club, 19 Mohawk Drive in Riverside, are open to the public.

Up in Taunton, Ma., The Bears Den Fly Fishing Shop is tucked off a road tucked off a highway in a big metal building packed with gear and a very cool owner, Scott Wessels. To highlight new gear, introduce customers to industry representatives and happily announce the horizon of Spring, they throw a party. A big one, with live music and American/Mexican food. This year is the twentieth anniversary of their Fly Fishing Expo and like most of years past, the shop and adjoining spaces was absolutely jammed. 

The United Fly Tiers of Rhode Island along with the International Federation of Fly Fishers worked their vices as people walked from table to table, meeting noted tiers, authors and the occasional artist. The retail store has an extensive selection of flies from the mightiest of midges to giant steelhead streamers and most vendors have bucket raffle items, which is a big draw for the day.  All the big names were there, including Trout Unlimited and Stripers Forever as well as G. Loomis, Yeti, Cheeky, Patagonia, Fulling Mill and Hatch.

All this talk about new fishing clubs, nights tying flies and retailers getting ready for a new season surely means Winter’s days are numbered. That’s great cause to drag the kayak out of the garage and think about cutting away the shrink wrap holding back Spring and all her promises.

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