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Sportsman's Connection /
Outdoor Talk Network
Charlie Meck Reveals His Secrets…
Charlie Meck is big, real big. As I write this, he is completing his eighth book on fly fishing. Charlie is known across the country for his fishing feats and his writing skills. One of his books is on its seventeenth printing. Some of his books are considered fly fishing bibles. I believe he was the first to attempt to fish hundreds of our streams and put their hatches and secrets under one cover.
Charlie’s roots are tied to Pottsville, PA. He was born there and grew up fishing the area. He remembers the 1940’s when the Little Schuylkill ran black. Thankfully, the Little Schuylkill is now a premier little stream. He will tell you we have made massive improvements in our water quality. He also feels we have a long way to go.
After college at Penn State, Charlie stayed in that area and worked for the University. He fly fished the fabled streams of Central Pennsylvania. He began to write while the college employed him. After his first few books were quite successful, one day he went to his boss and delivered that often-dreamed about statement. “I am resigning my position. I have decided to fish and write full-time.” And fish he did.
Charlie will tell you that writing books is not all that it is cranked up to be. A big-seller would be 5000 copies over its lifetime. I have always contended that book authors must keep producing fresh material to keep their names in front of the public. One builds a following that likes your style just like an outdoor newspaper columnist. A book author may earn a mere dollar or dollar-fifty for every book that is sold. It takes many books and many printings for the big bucks to roll in.
During our radio interview, I asked Charlie what could he share with my listeners to improve their catch rate. I was listening very closely as well. Charlie answered, “tandem flies.” It seems this is a relatively new strategy even for Charlie. He has become a believer. His is a simple rig with the dropper fly tied to the turn of the dry fly or indicator fly. Charlie has done extensive testing and insists the dropper leader (tippet) should be at least three and one half feet long. He has experimented with shorter leaders and has not done well. He told me a story of fishing a 100-yard stretch of a very productive PA stream. He caught some fish. He immediately re-fished the same water with the longer leader on the dropper and just slammed them
When nothing is coming off, Charlie uses an attractor pattern for his indicator and a nymph or wet on his dropper. However, something he always does is weighting the dropper. Since he ties his own flies, he always starts with a bead head. He is convinced the weight of the bead and extra long dropper gets it down. He swears it works from PA to Arizona. . He confessed that he uses Glo Balls. He says they are killers if you tie them on a bead head.
In recent years Charlie has become a dedicated fan of fluorocarbon tippet material. This new material is virtually invisible underwater. It was extremely expensive, but prices are coming down. I have friends that spool their spinning reels with fluorocarbon line. They claim unprecedented fish catching results. Some bait fishermen use a barrel swivel at the end of their monofilament. To this they tie 24 inches of fluorocarbon tippet material and finally a hook and minnow or worm. The invisible tippet fools ‘em. It is time for me to re-spool and I will give it a twirl and let you know my results.
When I asked Charlie his favorite all-time fly I was counting on him saying the “Adams” or “Henryville Special” or some other classic fly. He knocked my socks off when he said the “Zebra Midge.” Charlie spends his winters’ fly fishing in Arizona. He owns a home there. He works the tailwaters of those giant western dams. Those waters do not have a hatch cycle, as we know it. Years ago he stumbled upon the size 20 “Zebra Midge” and he fishes it from coast to coast. Not having heard of it, I was embarrassed to ask him to describe it. I can only guess it was a black midge with a white stripe.
I am proud to have interviewed this gentleman called Charlie Meck. You can visit him at his website at www.charlesmeck.com. His books are available mail order and at almost every sporting goods store in this state. He is a great fan of my radio show listening to me on WMAJ in State College.
Honestly, a noticeable pattern is developing. The great trout fishing state of Pennsylvania produces the vast majority of icons in the fly fishing world. Yes, there was Theodore Gordon and Lee Wulff and a few others from NY. However, when one reviews the national scene, PA is a factory of fly fishing skill, research and writing talent. We just seem to produce the biggest names and contributors.
Regardless of what NY claims, in my mind PA is the birthplace of recreational fly fishing. It is the birthplace of Charlie Meck.
“The act of fly casting is an example of the science of motion. The act of fly fishing is an example of the passion for art.” JS
Sportsman's Connection / Outdoor
By: Jim Slinsky