Photo from @onlyny.

WOT 68: The Neversink River and Tightlining with Sean Witman.

In this episode we Wadeoutthere with Sean Witman from Avoca, Pennsylvania.  Sean tied flies for years before partnering with a long time fishing friend to open own their fly shop, Housefly Fishing.  We discuss:

  • The Neversink River.
  • Presentation versus fly selection.
  • Techniques and flies for tightlining.

** NOTE** Podcast episode and upcoming guests appear at the end of this short article.

Subscribers have access to submit questions for future guests.

I had caught several fish already. Fishing was good. A size 16 pheasant tail with a zebra midge dropper. Most of the takes were on the midge. It renewed my confidence in this confidence fly, and in the idea that my fly mattered far less than the rest of it. My casts were landing softly. My drifts were sliding smoothly. The fly line flowed evenly with the indicator and my hooksets were effective. It all felt right. I was in the groove.

When my fly snagged a rock at the head of the seam and broke off, it stopped the rhythm, but gave me an opportunity to re-rig. On a whim I tied another midge off the lead fly. Also small. Also black. Nearly identical except for the collar, but it changed the day. The casts and drifts remained the same, but after the second solid brown trout leapt from the river and then left my net, I paused to contemplate. This little fly was making the difference.

I go back and forth on presentation and fly selection. When I began fly fishing, I focused far too much on fly selection. In hindsight, I see my bias, and how crippling it was. Everything could be solved with the right fly back then. Funny, I never found it.

If I had stopped looking for the perfect fly earlier and dedicated more energy on presentation, I know I would have found more success earlier in my fly fishing journey.

That experience forces me to lean heavily into presentation. Almost out of embarrassment of misallocated time and energy. But days where a tiny tweak to a tiny fly doubles the fish I catch reminds me to respect what fly I tie on as well.

Which do I favor now? It depends…

Which do you?

Key Takeaways.

  • The Neversink is best fished wading and not well suited for drifting.
  • Simple, effective flies on the Neversink include a beaded pheasant tail, zebra midge, and olive thread frenchie.
  • The Neversink River is stocked with rainbows and browns and there are healthy wild browns and brook trout.
  • Brook Trout are the only native species on the Neversink.
  • Perdigon flies are very streamlined and sink fast.
  • Perdigon flies get down quickly and work well in pocket water and fast water.
  • A common error in contact nymphing is using too much weight.  You want to avoid dragging bottom.

Learn More.

You can find out more about Sean or check out his fly tying on Instagram at:


Visit Sean’s fly shop online at:

Or follow on Instagram at:


If you want more information on some of the topics we discussed try reading these blog posts from Wadeoutthere:

READ: WADEOUTTHERE | The Orange Scud Theory.
READ: WADEOUTTHERE | Five Things to Change Before Changing Flies.
READ: WADEOUTTHERE | To Drift or Not to Drift, That is the Question.

Upcoming Podcast Guests.

  • Josh Miller – Euro Nymphing and competition fly fishing
  • Shyanne Orvis – Colorado
  • Allison Helen Hendricks – Wyoming | Traveling guide | Casting
  • Rachel Leinweber – Anglers Covey Fly Shop | South Platte River, CO
  • Cameron Cushman – Wild Trout | Veterans
  • Matt Wagner – The Driftless Region
  • Marina Gibson – Fly fishing in the UK
  • Paula Shearer – Bow River, Alberta Canada

Subscribers – Ask a Question on the Podcast.

If you have a question for an upcoming guest, I would love to hear from you. I will ask questions from Wadeoutthere subscribers towards the end of the conversation during “Wadeoutthere Wants to Know.”

If you enjoy the Wadeoutthere Fly Fishing Podcast, and want to help it grow, please leave a rating and review.

I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed talking with Sean.


Subscribe to Wadeoutthere for free and never miss an article.


Jason Shemchuk

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