Fly Casting Lessons in New England: Embrace the New

Throughout my life, many people have told me that I should be a teacher or a coach.  Much of the time, I have dismissed their suggestions.  However, I have finally come to the realization, whether on or off the river, I was put on this planet…

Throughout my life, many people have told me that I should be a teacher or a coach.  Much of the time, I have dismissed their suggestions.  However, I have finally come to the realization, whether on or off the river, I was put on this planet to do one thing; to teach (solving problems and helping people -- it's what I do best).
Lucky for me and my fly fishing students, my only intention is to educate.  In other words, I have no desire to sell you anything and I have no desire to be:
  • a famous fly fishing angler, author, photographer, or videographer 
  • known as the best guide in New England or the world
  • an industry model, pimp, or conveyor of fishy BS

My only desire is to be the best teacher for my students -- even if it means doing things entirely different from the industry.  In my opinion, to be the best teacher, first and foremost, you must understand how people learn. Unfortunately, in the fly fishing industry, there is very little emphasis placed on this -- the majority of instructors simply do what has been done for generations (in my opinion, the educational/instructional model is backwards).  Again, though a firm understanding of fly fishing knowledge and fly casting technique are important, the emphasis should be placed on a proven educational model focused on student outcomes -- not solely on how Joe instructor taught 50 years ago.
At FCFF, our instructional model has been built upon a proven modern science.  The science is called Emotional Intelligence (EQ, not IQ).  Don't dismiss this, EQ was developed at Yale, Harvard and the University of New Hampshire.  It's real and it works.  For example, read what a recent client has to say about his experience with our teaching model:         
I'm an expert fisherman but novice fly caster and have been "stuck" for 5 years both trying to self-teach and to pick up some basic instruction from fishing guides, videos, etcetera. I finally realized that I needed more focused help and found Mark when searching for instruction in my part of seacoast New Hampshire. 
Mark's approach was absolutely perfect for my needs. He focused on fundamentals, has a very organized approach and was patient, encouraging and incredibly helpful. He was also insightful enough to discern that even with the number of years that I had been trying to learn, a basic "level 1" class was the smart place for me to start. Most important, he gives results! At the end of 3 (VERY reasonably priced) hours of instruction I was hitting my casting target consistently and accurately, and the grin on my face was a huge testimonial to Mark's skills as a teacher.
Don't spend another day frustrated with your casting, just call Mark and get results.
E. Nash. Exeter, NH. USA
Final Words
The best teachers have no self interest.  They focus their attention entirely on their craft and are only concerned with independent measurable outcomes.  In other words, instructors can proudly display their credentials (an official badge) and personally believe they are the best instructors, but does that prove they are the best educators?  Absolutely not.  In the end, what matters the most are outcomes -- what your students feel and say about your program.
Teaching is an evolving and effortful art form, which I truly enjoy and love.  Thank you to all my students for your willingness to embrace and experience the new -- EQ of fly casting instruction. 


In an ongoing attempt to catch up on long overdue catch reports I have once again decided to combine October and November reports and will probably do the same for December , January and others . I think everyone will remember the smokey days of…

In an ongoing attempt to catch up on long overdue catch reports I have once again decided to combine October and November reports and will probably do the same for December , January and others .

I think everyone will remember the smokey days of October as the fires in Indonesia cast a shadow over most nearby countries . The smoke covered most of southern Thailand.

The smoke only lasted a few days and sure didn't affect the fishing here at EFT.

As I look back on October and November I would have to say that for different species these 2 months are definitely some of the best months to visit EFT.The Giant Snakehead, Arapaima , Goonch and other exotic catfish came out in big numbers, evident here with Sue and one of many Wallagoo Attu.

Alligator Gar come out all year, but if you are looking for the big ones they really do seem to prefer some overcast weather . That's a good reason alone to consider October and November for your next visit..

November was also a busy month for all big game anglers in Phuket as the PIST big game fishing tournament was run out of Chalong Pier .I didn't know about the added photo opportunities when I showed up to present our sponsor prizes for the tournament , but was presently surprised .

We like to provide prizes which benefit junior anglers . This young man was all smiles and I dont think it was just about the trophies.

Lets get into some fish photos with Paul and Christie from Darwin Australia who were staying at Beyond resort in Khao Lak and joined us for a 2 day visit which started with some Amazon Redtails

They also landed a very plump Ripsaw catfish

Next up was their dream fish with their first Arapaima .

It didnt take long for them to better their first Ari with this beautiful specimen .

Tim and Sue came to see us after a referral from Paul and Christie . It didn't take long for them to get in the swing of things with this good sized Giant Feather back

The busy couple also caught Amazon Redtails and 2 Arapaima

We were joined by our second Thai guest who ironically caught only Thai species all day including Giant Snakehead and and Asian Redtail before landing a huge Arapaima

Shane Elliot was happy to visit us for the first time catching a prehistoric looking Ripsaw Catfish

This wasn't his only Catfish species as he quickly followed up with one of "Mike's Monster Mekongs" as some of our customers have started to call them .

Mick Foley returned to EFT and started off his visit with some colourful Amazon Redtails

Here's Mick Foley with his first Arapaima and a new PB

Mick quickly caught a 2nd Arapaima which was even bigger than the first one .

Brian Roberts visited us for the first time chasing Alligator and Arpaima . It didn't take him long to catch his first fish.

Brian's Arapaima got bigger with each fish that he landed

He got some great Arapaima in his short visit but also landed lots of Exotic species

One of his favorites was this Ripsaw Catfish

One of the most sort after exotic catfish here at EFT is the Goonch Catfish .

Most customers agree that the Tiger Shovelnose is one of our prettiest fish .

Brian also landed a Chao Phraya Catfish which are one of the fastest running fish here .

Theo managed to convince his wife to spend just one day of their honeymoon here at EFT. He caught some good fish starting with this Wallagoo Leeri

He also caught Albino pacu , 2 Amazon Redtails and 2 Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

His biggest and favorite fish of the day was of course his Arapaima .

Unlike some other fisheries in Thailand we welcome all Russian guests here at EFT .A great example of some of the nice Russian guests we have met so far are Alaksei Mulenko, Viacheslav Sivyakov and Dmiitry Martynkov . Our new friends were rewarded for their polite and easy going nature with both Amazon and Asian Redtails ,Alligator Gar and Pacu

The highlight of their catch report was of course their first Arapaima

Theo and his wife from Holland came to EFt for a few days and had an amazing visit. This Giant Snakehead was a monster for its species estimated at almost 9 kg

Theo caught lots of species including a Goonch catfish

He also added a few Pacu to the mix .

While Theo was filling up his catch report his wife was busy with one of our cooking classes .

We now have the new activity of fruit carving which Theo' wife also enjoyed .

She wasn't just busy in the kitchen as she was also happy to get in the water and help Theo with an Arapaima

And yes also with another Ari

Once it got dark though Theo was on his own in the water.

One of the younger anglers to catch an Arapaima this month was Lukas.

Lukas was also happy with a colourful Amazon Redtail

You guessed it .. Yet another Goonch for the month ..

Jordan Reid also got in on the great Goonch action.

Jordan has caught lots of Redtails before but we figured this lump was worth a photo

This is one one of 2 Chao Phraya Catfish Jordan landed on this visit.

He was ecstatic to land this Arapaima.

He was also all smiles when he managed a new PB Alligator Gar

The Gar was part of a double header with the second of his 2 Chao Phraya Catfish

Return customer Andy dropped by for a quick monster Arapaima and what a stunning fish it was..

It was a great pleasure to have Lee James Mcsween visit us for the first time . A nicer guy you will never meet .

Lee was to say the least , extremely eager to catch an Arapaima on the fly .It had been his dream for many years yet took less than an hour before he had hooked into his first Arapaima and on the fly a that .

Lee landed a total of 3 Arapaima on the fly and was over the moon .

Not all the Aris came easy for Lee, with this fish being the result over over 5 hours of casting in 35C heat .

Lee didnt care what he caught after his first Arapaima . Up next was a nice Siamese.

Another amazing catch for Lee was this beautiful Giant Snakehead

Lee started off his catfish quest with one of our more common catfish the Amazon Redtail.

This beautifully marked Goonch Catfish was next up for Lee . Goonch are a regular catch each month here at EFT .To our knowledge we are the only commercial venue in Thailand perhaps the world where these fish are caught regularly or perhaps at all.

One exotic catfish which can give the Goonch a run for its money when it comes to beautiful markings is the stunning Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

Lee wanted a Ripsaw next and guess what he caught ..

In my opinion Lee's catch of the trip was a rare specimen catch Wallagoo Attu

The lake was fishing so well that even I managed a few fish, including this amazing catch of a lifetime 80lb Chao Phraya Catfish on the fly .

I also managed this chunk of a Giant Snakehead close to 9kg.

Oliver from Germany joined us looking for a big Arapaima but instead was off to a good start with an awesome Alligator Gar .

Oliver persevered and finally got this beautifully coloured monster Arapaima with just minutes to spare .

Gunter Fertig joined us again for a few days with 2 friends and caught some great fish including this Giant Snakehead .

Gunther's group always gets an Arapaima or 2 :).

This time they also managed a nice little Goonch Catfish.

First time visitor Ben was well pleased with this lovely Arapaima .

Fly fishing enthusiast Yuri had a big smile after reaching his goal of catching his first Arapaima on the fly .

Lewis Janes visited us several times in October and November so we chose to combine all of his pics here

Lewis just loves catching Arapaima on the fly .

He has probably caught more Arapaima on the fly than any other customer .

More Lewis with Ari pics :).

I obviously have many photos of Lewis with Arapaima so I thought I might mix it up as we have some excellent scenic action shots of him casting and fighting fish .

Another Ari for Lewis in the net at last .

Here is Thomas from Sweden with yet another huge Giant Snakehead

Up next was a very good sized Pacu .

This Alligator Gar which was not huge but another new species for Thomas

Another new species was this Hovens carp or Mad barb as it is also called

Last but not least for Thomas was his pride and joy Arapaima.

Our good friend Stretton joined us again on a Mekong Mission but unfortunately didnt connect with any of our monsters .. It definitely wasn't for lack of trying as both Stretton and the guides fished hard . Stretton ended up with at least several fish each day but wasn't eager to get in the water other as he has caught most species before

We did manage to get a few pics when he landed a chunky Ripsaw and a new species for him the Salween Rita Catfish

A highlight of November for me was when my good friend Paul dropped by on a quick break from a business trip in Asia ..Paul was eager to cash in his free days fishing after he won our first charity tournament the year before ..

Paul has caught many species here but loves to get in the lake for a photo .

Paul usually ends up with an Alligator Gar so came well prepared with his own fishing gloves .

Paul is also no stranger to Arapaima and added another monster to his trophy pics which I am sure he displays proudly in his office back in Canada

It wasn't all about the fishing though as we took time out to enjoy 18 holes at the stunning Katathong Golf Resort only 20 minutes from EFT . The course is situated in a scenic valley with almost every hole having a breath taking view ..

Paul didn't want to stop fishing long enough to get a suit fitted so we remedied that by having our preferred tailor do his suit fitting by the lake ..

Keaton from England visited us several times catching an interesting collection of species including this specimen Siamese

Keaton with the speedy Soldier river barb

A late in the day Alligator Gar .

Keaton finally caught his target fish . Yes you guessed it :).

Piotr from England with a lovely Siamese

His next fish was this picture perfect Black Eared Catfish

Piotr walked in the restaurant at 6;30 pm happy with his day but no Arapaima . I jokingly scolded him and told him to get back to his swim as he had the best 30 minutes left . What was the result ? Yes another last minute Arapaima

Andrew and Edward from England are the first angling twins to visit us ....It only makes sense that as twins they would get a double header catching an Albino Chao Phraya Catfish and Asian Redtail at the same time .

Here is One of the twins with an Amazon Redtail Catfish

The other twin ??? I think , unless they switched shirts with a Giant Gourami ..

Our good friend Danillio dropped by to take a break from his busy schedule and landed his first Arapaima .

He is the owner of Bellini Restaurant and had been busy getting ready for their grand opening ..They are located in Chalong just north of Villa market Plaza and are now open with some of the best Italian food in Phuket

Ivo and his Czech friends and family were busy catching everything that swims during their 4 day visit

Here we have a fat black eared catfish .

A small but very delicately marked Goonch Catfish

One of several Albino Pacu

Another stunning Giant Snakehead . Just look at the amazing colors and markings on that fish .

The first of 2 double headers for the group.

No wonder they caught so many fish when they were landing them 2 at a time ..

It wasn't just the men catching as the ladies were also getting in on the action

They caught their far share of Arapaima

This was their biggest Arapaima weighing around 140kg.

Arapaima weren't the only big fish they caught as they also landed one of "Mike's Monster Mekong catfish" .

Ian Parker started his catch report on his first visit with an impressive Ripsaw catfish

Another new species was this Wallagoo Leeri .

The thrills kept coming for Ian with a PB Alligator gar

He also caught a nice Amazon as it got dark

A strong finish to the day with a PB Asian Redtail Catfish .. Ian and his wife were so impressed with our fishery that they have already booked for a multi day booking in November 2016 taking advantage of our new lakeside Mountain view bungalows which will be finished n August

Our next guests were 2 brothers from Lithuania Manas and Rimas

Both caught a great selection of fish .

Their main goal was Arapaima and they had no problem fulfilling that .

Their fish just kept getting bigger highlighted by this beautiful coloured monster .

Patrik visited us guided by Neil Robinson of Fishing Khao Lak. Patrik caught some great Amazon Redtails with this being one of the biggest

He also managed a good sized Siamese Carp

A new species for Patrik was this Alligator Gar

Arapaima was of course at the top of Patrik's list and under Neil's guidance as usual ,the job got done .

We were also joined by the Singapore Fishing and Cider Drinking Club . President Dale Leach is seen here with one of the group's Arapaima. I will probably get an earful for my comments as most of Dale's group are very serious anglers and the percentage of cider seems to end up in which ever swim a Mr Alan Salter is fishing ..:)

I don't seem to have many pics from the group as once back in Singapore its all business and they always forget to send them .. Here's one of Tim Lavander though with another rare Wallagoo Attu.

My apologies if we have missed anyone from the report as we dont always get everyone's photos, but do our best .

Just a reminder that if you have children who want to fish, please don't forget ask about our "Family Special" when booking .

For children who are too young to fish we have our Mountain fish park with over 20 aquariums and feeding ponds . Exotic Fishing Thailand is a great way to get everyone outside to be close to nature ..

We look forward to seeing more smiling faces here soon .

For bookings please use our website booking form at or you can also email us directly at

Social Responsibility or Fish Porn: An Easy Choice for Me, What About You?

We live in a world where we constantly see the following on social media: fish porn, moronic fish videos, millions of photos of the same fly patterns, the cork handle of a fly rod jammed into an angler’s mouth, fish tattoos adorned on human bodies, pro…

We live in a world where we constantly see the following on social media: fish porn, moronic fish videos, millions of photos of the same fly patterns, the cork handle of a fly rod jammed into an angler's mouth, fish tattoos adorned on human bodies, products purposely placed in fishy photos such as craft beer, or a ridiculously over-priced cooler. Truth be told, I don't enjoy the majority of these photos or videos -- what purpose do they serve?  Further, I wonder how much precious non-renewable energy is being wasted on creating this senseless crap (anglers are suppose to be conservationist, right?).  I am not entirely innocent of not posting fishy pictures. In my defense, I do run a fishing business, so posting (advertising) is a necessary evil. However, as I get older, I find myself posting less, and I am less interested in the ocean of fishy photos and videos -- how many times do I need to see a Rainbow Trout; a PT Nymph; and BTW, photos/videos of young girls with fake boobs don't do much for my rod (you know what I mean).  The last time I checked, all of this BS did not cleanup a river, or take down a single dam and help restore our fisheries. In fact, the decisions to promote this fishy lifestyle, either by corporations or individuals, may very well continue to contribute to the problems our fisheries face.  Why is social responsibility and fishing such a challenge?

Leave it to humans to create a mess (everyday, we shit in, and poison the water we drink).  More specific, what our creator/god or mother earth has created in billions of years (i.e. wild fish), modern civilization (advanced societies) has managed to destroy in less than 500 years.  From a purely wild fish perspective, post industrial revolution (the age of fossil fuel), we live in a apocalyptic fairy land -- almost everything is not wild anymore (think hatcheries and stocking programs). Completely destroying, or forever changing something that is wild and natural, in my opinion, is a tragedy, if not a crime.  Can we learn to live/survive without destroying all things wild -- shouldn't that be the bar we set?  We are beyond blame/fault, going there makes no sense.  We have chosen, including me, and we continue to do so everyday, thinking our lifestyle choices are normal, with no effect on our environment. What can be done?

Question -- Think -- Do.  I don't think you'll find the answers at your next Trout Unlimited meeting, or for that matter, any other organization.  I think each person has the knowledge and power to make simple, yet effective change right now, without dramatically effecting the quality of their life. Consider the following:      

  • Examine your lifestyle and change one thing that will have a positive effect on your health, and your community - environment. 

Personally, I am far from being perfect, but I have made dozens of choices that favor my personal health, and community/environment. I am still alive, doing well, and don't miss anything that I have given up.  Here's a few examples:

  • In 1996, I ditched my TV/Cable.  I spend more time outside feeding my brain/body/soul with more healthy things.
  • Over a decade ago, I turned my grass/yard into a wild flower field -- bee pollination field.  I no longer waste precious personal time mowing and watering non-native grass. I save drinking water; use no chemicals/fertilizers; reduce my carbon emissions; and save tons of money (town water is not cheap).  Plus, I have more time to fish.
  • Over twenty years ago, I stopped using Dryer Sheets.  I developed an allergic reaction to the scent, which after researching the topic, I discovered are toxic fumes.  I now use a wooden drying rack, both indoor and outdoor.
  • At the store, I use cotton/canvas reusable bags -- I rarely use plastic bags anymore.  
  • Whether solo or in a group, I actively clean my community/environment (see below photos).

2016 Volunteer Cocheco River Cleanup is an example of one person creating an event that may effect a community and the environment.  You can easily do this in your community.  

As a guide/instructor/angler/human being, I feel it's my duty to create events that help people, especially family-kids, engage in their community and environment.
If you're fishing just to catch fish, you're missing a great opportunity to engage in community and environment. This event may have a huge impact on this little girl's life.

Final Words

If you have read this far, and think I am a nut-ball, you're not the first to think or say so.  As George Carlin once said, 'I do this thing called thinking, and it gets me into trouble all the time.'  Yes, I am guilty of questioning, thinking and doing -- hate me all your want.  However, please consider taking a moment to think about how you could make one choice that will help you and your environment (fisheries).  

Thanks for reading.  Take a break from the fish porn and good luck.