The Art of Fly Fishing: Josh Udesen

Talk long enough with seasoned anglers and eventually you’ll hear someone say, “there’s an art to fly fishing.” That’s a curiously poetic phrase. They’re usually talking about technique, presentation or tying, but it’s interesting to see the correlation one makes between angler and artist. The Black Gnats are equally interested in this connection, so we’ve started a recurring section called “The Art of Fly Fishing” to highlight the unique stories and individuals that bring these two worlds together. This week’s featured artist is …

Josh Udesen

Josh Udesen is many things – an educator, an accomplished fishing artist, a fly fishing guide and an outdoor and travel enthusiast. His guiding credentials include the Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska (Tikchik Narrows Lodge) and six summers of guiding on the Deschutes River in Central Oregon. His teaching background includes a stint as a high school studio art teacher in Anchorage, Alaska, as well as a high school career teaching History and Comparative Religions at Riverstone International School in Boise, Idaho. Josh also has some of the coolest and most respected art in the sport of fly fishing. He’s one of only a few artists to be commissioned by Montana Fly Company and has his artwork featured on many of their accessories, including flasks, gaitors, fly boxes, reels, and much more. Josh was kind enough to answer our questions for another installment of the “Art of Fly Fishing” with the Black Gnats.
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Diaries of a Musky Addict

Check out this awesome video shot and edited by Austin Weinstein called “Dairies of a Musky Addict.” Fellow Pennsylvania fly guy and friend of The Black Gnats – Ty Loomis (of Keystone Fly Fishing) – has a cameo!

“Diaries of a Musky Addict” is the teaser to a documentary called “Pursuing Esox: Pike, Musky, and Pickerel On The Fly.” The documentary explores the cultural phenomena surrounding the world of Esox (a generic etymological name for the Greek word pike) fishing on the fly — the tying, the boats, the people, and their obsessive lifestyles.

Tight lines!


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Small Bite: Spring Creek Suckas

By Andy Link

It might be hard to believe, but Garrick and I have never been to Spring Creek in State College. Well, since I’ve only been fly fishing for a few years now, it’s not hard to believe that I’ve never been there … but Garrick certainly has no excuse. This past Sunday we decided to change that and take a day-trip up to Bellefonte to see what we’ve been missing. Also, the break in the weather was just too good to pass up!

@theblackgnats on Instagram

We got to go “hole hopping” with @lv2nymph and @flyskillz on Spring Creek!

I’ve got say … Spring Creek is definitely worth the trip, no matter how far you’re coming from. Something else that made the trip worthwhile was the two dudes we got to fish with … Ben Rogers and Jack Fields.

Ben Rogers

Ben is a professional fly fishing guide from the Hanover, PA area. His credentials include being an ambassador for Soul River, as well as being a “farmer” for Pigfarmink State Penn, and just an all-around badass dude. (I got to hear the Cliff’s Notes version of Ben’s life story during our 90-minute car ride home and let me just say … I consider myself lucky to be fishing in the same water as this inspiring individual.) While we all had a hard time getting anything to bite, Ben managed to hook up with a couple suckers throughout the day.

Jack Fields

I met Jack through Instagram a while back and had the great fortune of meeting him in-person a couple weeks ago at the Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster. While making plans to hit Spring Creek, I regularly sought out Jack’s advice for what places to try. (Many thanks to Austin Dando, too!) Luckily, Jack was able to meet up with us Sunday morning for a couple hours before tending to the family. He made sure to point out some of the nicer holes and parking access areas above Bellefonte, and for that we are eternally grateful. I’m really looking forward to the next time I can fish with Jack … hopefully in better conditions.

Enough of the setup, let’s get to the video!

Until next time, tight lines!


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Sexy Scrimps


Worm Dunking

By Andy Link

This morning, the YouTube app on my phone alerted me that Tim Flagler had uploaded a new video to his YouTube channel. I’ve got to admit, I look forward to this every week. In my opinion (and I know a ton of others share this opinion), Tim has THE BEST fly tying videos in all of the internet. So, when his weekly offerings become public I’m one of the first to jump online and meticulously scrub through every frame.

Today, I was taken aback when I clicked to start the video and was greeted with this WARNING:

This isn't an episode of "Cops," but you might feel just as guilty after watching it.

This isn’t an episode of “Cops,” but you might feel just as guilty after watching it.

For a second, I thought I was watching an episode of “Cops.” I could even hear the infamous title music kicking in …

“Bad boys, bad boys … whatcha gonna do … whatcha gonna do when they come for you!”

As if the warning that “viewer discretion is strongly advised” wasn’t enough to pique my interest, the first thing Tim mentions is that the pattern was created by Fred Bridge of York, Pennsylvania. My sense of local pride swelled at the mention of another Central PA tyer. Enough delaying, here’s the video.

The “controversy” of fishing patterns like a worm has always fascinated me. On the one extreme, you’ve got your diehard fly guys that would scoff at the idea of using anything other than a perfectly crafted dry fly to land fish. On the other, you’ve got guys that will try just about anything to bring a bend to their rod. I fully admit that I fall in the latter category. I’ll go to just about any length (legal and ethical, of course) to trick just about anything that swims.

Another recent post/article on this topic is over at the Gink & Gasoline blog right now. Kent Klewein breaks down the 4 fly patterns that he carries in his fly box year-round. It’s definitely worth checking out, so head there next and give it a read.

Tight lines!


Here at Black Gnats HQ, we’d like to hear your take on worm dunking with a fly rod? Have you had any success with worm imitations? If so, what’s your favorite pattern? San Juan? Wiggle Worm? Green Weenie? Leave your comments below, and be sure to cast your vote in our online poll.

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Black Gnat Poll – February 2015


Pigfarmink IronFly: York

By Andy Link

Yesterday, Garrick and I were able to attend our first IronFly down in York, PA. It was hosted by Ben Rogers of Pigfarmink State Penn.

Here’s a small gallery of images from the event …

Ben goes over the finer points of deer hair Clousers to a noobie.

Ben goes over the finer points of deer hair Clousers to a noobie.

Gary's first fly. Ever!

Gary’s first fly. Ever!

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Utah Fly Fishing by Team Backcountry

Escape - Team Backcountry

Check out how the dudes over at Team Backcountry escape the daily grind in Utah. Dang!

Tight lines!

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Orvis Recon Video

We’re not really ones to promote a big brand name like Orvis (not that there’s anything wrong with Orvis, of course) but you’ve got to admit that this video for their new Recon line is pretty killer.

What are your thoughts on the new Recon series? Is it something you’re going to seek out? Have you had a chance to cast one? Let us know in the comments below.

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Merry Fishmas!

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