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Welcome to the online version of our newsletter. We hope you like it. The photo at the top is from a hot summer day in the mid south. If you're reading this in the winter, look at the picture and dream. If it's not winter, you should be outdoors!

By the way, if you have any suggestions for making this newsletter easier to view, let me know. You never know which font colors are easiest on the eye. If you don't like blue, just tell me!

Thanks to all the people who called during 2003. We had a number of talks with Lewis Barber, Don Ball, Scott Radow, Bobby Curtis, Al Hall, and the boys from around Rochester, Minnesota—including Ted Laska. Always glad to hear from you. We just got a call a few days ago from Steve Custis who lives in Alabama. He told me he wouldn’t be fishing much over the next several months. His wife just had a baby. You know these days they put the husband in the delivery room. He said he was so nervous they had to take the epidural out of his wife and put it in him. It worked and Steve made it through the delivery fine. He bought a few of our Olive Helgramites. I told him that was a top pattern so if he only had a few hours to spare, use that one. It’ll make your time worthwhile. He said if it doesn’t work, I will deserve to be shot. Sorry, Steve, but I only shoot people by appointment and not myself on the spur of the moment.

I finally changed the website to an online store. Yes, now you can order everything online. The convenience of online shopping is something most of you have asked for over the last couple of years. Please give the internet site a try. If you have any questions, be sure to call us at our toll free line.

Convenience isn’t the only reason to check the site, though. I still believe that our fly photos are as good as anybody’s and better than most. I’ve checked many fly tackle websites over the last few years and frankly I’m startled by the miserable quality of the fly photos. Either the photo is extremely small or it has poor resolution. My friends, LDF never has had anything to hide. We have taken high resolution photos which can be expanded to full screen. If you need to see detail or if you would like to see how the fly has been tied, just check the site. You’ll learn. So why do other sites use such poor photography? Could it be they don’t want you to see the poor quality of their products? I’ll say it this way: I try to do good photography because LDF’s flies will stand up to scrutiny. You go ahead and do the scrutinizing.

We need your help to make the photo and latest news sections more interesting. If you have photos or stories to share, send them along. We’ll be glad to post them either to the Photo section or to the Latest News section. I’m sure lots of our customers would love to hear what’s going on in the rest of the US. We’ll even consider some hunting stories if you pass them along!

Saddam had $750 thousand dollars when he was caught. They said he had a top NYC interior designer all lined up to redo his crawl space. And if you have any Saddam lines, pass them along. I’ll be sure to post them on the website.

Be sure to check the site often. You’ll find things there that we don’t have in the catalog. I can’t change the catalog from time to time, but I can change the website.

LDF has a second domain name this year. It’s You can enter the site that way just by typing the name in your address bar. Or if you want to use a search engine, just type in “LDF Flyfishing Tackle”. We’ve been indexed in Yahoo, Google, Atltavista, and MSN. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding us on the web. Again, if you do, just call us on the toll free line 1 877 426 2934.

Honest folks. A few weeks ago, I woke up very early so I turned on the Outdoor channel. I saw an ad for a fishing resort. “Get in touch with your inner fisherman.” At first I couldn’t believe what I heard, but then I thought maybe there’s a trend statement here. You know. Hippie retro fishing. “Let’s see how this might work,” I said to myself. I reflected on the whole idea with the result that I now have a hippie alter ego and I can’t get rid of him. His name is Maynard G. Schneider. Maynard is talking to me right now. He says, “Hey man, dig this. It’s far out. Here’s the headline. ‘Get in touch with your inner fly fisherman. It’s like a trip, man.’ Everybody can relate to that, man.” I don’t want to go that direction with my advertising, but I can’t get Maynard out of my mind. What do I need to do to get rid of the guy? Maybe Maynard G. Schneider will become the LDF Fly Fishing Tackle mascot. I sure hope not.

I dropped the dedicated toll free fax number. Years ago, we used to get calls from people complaining that we didn’t have a dedicated fax line. Well, four years ago, we got one. Guess what happened? The fax order volume fell off and continued to decline every year. Last year, we got very few fax orders. I’m sorry about this, but we couldn’t justify the expense if only a few people wanted it. We’ll keep an eye on things. If demand warrants, we can bring it back. In any event, you can still fax toll free at 1 877 426 2934 Page 2 Winter 2004 Newsletter.

With the improvement in water conditions over the middle and eastern part of the country, I got back to testing some new patterns. I got some good responses on several of them and I’m actually adding three to this year’s catalog. Others show some hope and I might try them again next year. Others are where they belong—in the waste can. Let’s talk about three of them.

1) Bubblehead Parachute Emerger—I’m very excited about this one. I had speculated for years that a small plastic bead at the head of this pattern would make it even deadlier. My guess was that there were circumstances where a higher float would improve the power of the fly and the bead would help keep the head end of the fly up on the surface. Also, many hatching insects develop an air bubble near the head. The bead would imitate an air bubble. Last year I had several customers test it over most of the US—except for the Rockies. We got some first rate results. In some cases, the fly performed similarly to a normal Parachute Emerger. In other cases, though, the fly performed better. From the reports I got from my customers, the better performance seemed to come in rough water circumstances. However, I fished exclusively in Missouri last year—that means limestone spring creeks—and I got very good results with the Hare’s Ear style. I also noticed that skating the fly is easier with the bubblehead version—that is, you can move the fly without sinking it. One matter you might notice is that we’re not selling the Bubblehead PE in the smaller sizes—that is, smaller than size 18. There just isn’t enough shank on the Daiichi 1130.

1. Hare's Ear Bubblehead Parachute Emerger2. Black Bubblehead Parachute Emerger3. Light Olive Bubblehead Parachute Emerger4. Sulfur Bubblehead Parachute Emerger5. Pale Morning Dun Bubblehead Parachute Emerger

2) Crystal Loopwing Emerger—this is a move I had wanted to make for years. Again, the idea is that emerging aquatic insects very often develop an air bubble around the head. What we did was take our very popular Loopwing Emerger patterns, tie them on the popular Daiichi 1130 hook, and add a small plastic bead at the head. This had the effect of keeping the fly high in the water. A consistent result was that the March Brown and Hendrickson versions were far better patterns than the plain loopwing pattern. The Blue Winged Olive and Sulfur produced comparable results, but the Crystal versions of the March Brown and Hendrickson were definitely superior. By the way, if you want to fish the Crystal version deep, you will need to add weight to your leader.

We have to make an apology for the background of the photos below. To get the bubble to show up, we had to do some gymnastics with the light source. That's the reason for the sickly color of the background.

1.Crystal Loopwing Blue Winged Olive Emerger 2.Hendrickson Crystal Loopwing Emerger 3.Light Cahill Crystal Loopwing Emerger 4.March Brown Crystal Loopwing Emerger 5.Sulfur Crystal Loopwing Emerger

3) White Wooly Bugger—Finally, something for the white bass and crappie fishermen. For years, when I’ve gone out to catch some crappie, I’ve taken white marabou streamers with me, hoping to find crappie willing to chase minnows. It nearly always works. Now, with the white version of the Wooly Bugger you can go deeper and use this fly as the fly fisherman’s version of a jig.

We’ve got a number of discontinued fly patterns. They are mostly wet fly patterns. They are for sale for .60 each. Check the website or call us for patterns and inventories.

“On to the drought.” I wrote those words at the beginning of 2003. At the beginning of 2004, looking back at 2003, the country was split. The eastern part of the US broke its drought. Many places had flood until May and June. Quite a contrast to the conditions which occurred in Pennsylvania during 2002 when you could easily wade into the Susquehannah. Anybody who tried that during 2003 probably would have drowned. Right now, the eastern third looks great for 2004. However, we now must come to the west. It was not good in 2003. Take Montana. The Big Hole and Smith rivers were closed again due to low, hot water. I’m sure you all heard about the fires that occurred all over the Rockies. Fortunately, the snow and rain were good during the late fall of 2003. I hope this isn’t another head fake. California and the inter mountain west need the water.

I did no fishing out of the state in 2003. That has to change in 2004. I also have one other confession to make and a request for help. A couple of you have heard me complain about having trouble catching warmwater fish like crappie, bass, and bream after August. Going back more years than I like to think about, I go out to my favorite ponds after the weather cools off and routinely get skunked. Once mid January hits, my luck comes back. It hap pened again in late 2002 and the fall of 2003, I got skunked again. In a couple of weeks (mid January), I expect to try some of my hot spots for crappie and I bet that I'll do great. I suspect everything is related to light conditions, but I'm not sure. Does anybody out there have any suggestions for me? Does anybody else have the same trouble?

Once more, the Olive Helgramite wins the best selling fly contest hands down. That’s two years in a row now. Those of you who haven't tried it, should. It ranks with the Hare's Ear Parachute Emerger as one of LDF's can't miss patterns. Buy this one in size 14, and fish it just off the bottom. Then get ready for the trout. As usual, good health and good fishing to all!

Robert Schneider * 3801 Eminence Avenue * Berkeley Missouri 63134 USA