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a49fe398-1d83-4365-8757-2b1374f7b5a2On the afternoon of Saturday April 23, 2016 the Syracuse Program hosted renowned fly-tier Pat Cohen at Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango, NY.

Pat is a longtime friend and generous supporter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and as a resident of upstate New York he graciously agreed to provide a comprehensive presentation, discussion and demonstration on fly tying, and fly fishing, for smallmouth bass.  In addition to the veterans and volunteers from the Syracuse NY Program the group was also joined by members of the Fort Drum Program who made the journey south for this great opportunity.

From his website,, “I specialize in deer hair bass bugs, but I tie everything from streamers to nymphs. The artistic freedom that fly tying offers is what drew me to it. All of my flies are meant to be fished with the exception of the display offerings. Every piece of each bug – be it the hair, feathers, or weed guards – has a purpose. The final product is a fish catching fly and a miniature sculpture all in one. To my way of thinking, there is nothing like watching a five pound bucketmouth or an 18 inch smallie erupting from the water to crush one of my bugs as it’s drawn across the surface.”  Pat has become world renown for the innovative patterns, tools, techniques, and research he has brought to the sport of fly fishing.  He has been a continuous supporter of PHWFF through demonstrations, donating incredible custom flies, and much more.

The presentation at Clear Path for Veterans was focused on smallmouth bass flies and tactics – and was complimented by our wonderful friends at Clear Path who provided a veritable smorgasbord of snacks, treats, and coffees for all.  The thoroughly engaging talk was complimented by a dynamic, well-researched power point identifying feeding habits, habitat, and tactics for perusing the smallmouth on the fly.  All in attendance eagerly soaked up the knowledge he imparted to the group.  With an abundance of smallmouth bass water in the vicinity of both Syracuse and Fort Drum it was readily apparent that these newly gained insights would be put to quick use by the participants in the program.

To conclude, all were treated to a number of fly tying demonstrations with everyone eagerly gathering around to watch a variety of streamers, crayfish, and other smallmouth treats tied – and talked through – by Pat.  It was a great afternoon and invaluable to those wishing to expand their angling repertories to the smallmouth bass.