Hell or High Water 2012- recap

Articles, featured, Magazine — By on April 19, 2012 9:58 pm

April 14, 2012 The West Branch Angler & Resort played host to the 3rd annual Hell or High Water Event. This event marks the kick-off to the 2012 Catskill region season. With unseasonably warm weather, bugs and active fish didn’t wait for this event to start off 2012. The event was a full schedule of talks and seminars, vendors, Orvis 101 and 201 schools, and some fun casting events.

Where it all went down

This was my first trip to the Delaware, let alone the West Branch Angler… and I was quite impressed. Sam and his team run a top notch operation. Every single person I met (employee or event staffer) couldn’t have been more helpful. The entire property is a family friendly laid back atmosphere that left nothing missing. Make sure to check them out if you are in the area or want a trip to some great water- http://www.westbranchangler.com

So on to the event. Starting at 8am there were talks every hour ranging from Loren Williams detailed presentation about fishing in varying weather conditions, fly tying demos, bug talk, and even how to take better photos. While I was able to catch bits of most of the talks, any of these on their own were worth the trip.

thats wall-to-wall fly fishing goodness

The shop was running the Orvis 101 and 201 classes through out the day. These are really great FREE events that focus on education and dispelling the myths that may seam intimidating to new Fly Anglers.

Want to know line tapers? they can help
Want to learn knots? yup they do that
Want to learn to cast? grab a rod

Plus gear, flies, rigging… in a few hours you can learn it all

Line tapers explained

learning how to cast

Steve Silverio was presenting the history of bomber patterns and their evolution. As always there were more than a few flies to drool over.

Steve sharing some knowledge

Bomber goodness

Through the morning the fly shop was pretty busy. Flies, leaders, rods, waders… you name it, they were being bought. John Shaner from Hardy spent a few hours reconditioning and sharing history of various Hardy reels.

John cleaning up a vintage CFO

Well stocked fly bins... the sign of any good shop

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) was there as well. This is probably the BEST organization in fishing today. I had the honor of sharing lunch and dinner with 2 of the participants and it really opened my eyes to the great work they are doing. There was an auction going on, and while I never heard a final number… I know it was a good day. Please go to http://www.projecthealingwaters.org/ to find a chapter near you and get involved. We have some things in the works and hope to have PHWFF tiers featured in the near future.


Stickers, patches, and fly boxes... make sure to visit the site

I took a break for a bit to check out the river. Matt Smythe (http://www.fishingpoet.com) and I kept our eyes peeled for bugs and risers.

Not a bad view from Cabin #1

Blue Quill

Water was a bit low

There was lots of gear to see.

Lots of good on this rack

Water was a bit low

Regal is known for their high end tying vises, and they’ve started casting boat parts. While Oar locks and anchor rigs have been out for a while, they are now releasing a full raft frame. This thing is super strong with the quality you expect from Regal http://www.regalsportingtechnologies.com

Outcast with the new Regal frame

A great part of this event were the Fly Games. While it was a competition, it had a nice open format allowing people to sign up and cast whenever they were free. Setup on the lawn behind the restaurant, it allowed for people to watch (or harass) while enjoying a sandwich or burger.

Sage and Rio sponsored the distance casting. A 9′ 5wt Sage ONE paired with a Rio Gold line had everyone gunning for that 100′ cast. Five casts to get your best distance, but you hand to be accurate… the lane was only 12′ wide.

West Branch Angler guide Johnny Miller lays one out

Friendly and laid back day

Keep those loops tight

The winning cast... 94'

Another neat event was the “High Jump Cast” sponsored by Ross/ Scientific Angler. At 3 distances each angler to make 3 forward and 3 reverse casts… all from a chair.

Never has a folding chair been more intimidating

lay it out for the reverse

Laying it out... backwards

get it

Never has a folding chair been more intimidating

There was a sack race sponsored by Scott. 3 targets to hit, but the catch? You move between them in a burlap sack.

That takes skill

the big winner

More bugs were showing up and had me move down to the home pool to check on what was going on.

these guys were everywhere...

on the rocks...

on rods...

... and with some fish.

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  1. Lisa Sheppard says:

    The West Branch Anglers Resort is my favorite place to spend some time, catch some fish and have what I consider the most relaxing time on & off the river :)

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  2. Jamie L. says:

    Looks like you had a great day! I will definitely keep an eye out for it next year!

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  3. Matt Smythe says:

    Great re-cap! Thanks for the shout, too. Hope to be there again myself.

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