Hard Goods

Field Test rods

  • By: Ted Leeson
Wog Cast Fmt         

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At some point, every serious angler confronts the naked truth—no matter how many fly rods you own, the prospect of a new one is irresistible. Part of the attraction undoubtedly owes to an unspoken suspicion lodged in the fly-fishing heart—that a “better” rod will make you a better angler. This comforting (if vain) thought gives us hope, which is a primary component of fishing generally. Sometimes, however, the allure is less easily explained. A few seasons back, I somehow embraced the groundless conviction that the ideal trout rod was eight-and-a-half feet long, and my nine-footers were now insufficient. Time to replace them. Still, there’s often sound logic in the appeal of the new. Over time, your casting style or tempo may change, and you want a rod action that better fits the way you fish now. Or you might seek an all-purpose rod that performs all of its purposes with less effort and greater control. Conversely, you may need a rod for a particular water type or angling technique or fishing circumstance. Or maybe you just want to fish something that feels different from what you use now, just for a change. Sometimes it’s that simple.

Wet Fly Ways

  • By: David Hughes
  • Photography by: David Hughes
  • and Greg Thomas
Davy Wotton   

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I wrote a book titled wet flies, and generally consider myself competent to fish them. Recently, however, I fished with Davy Wotton on the White River, near Cotter, Arkansas, and received a set of lessons that gave the effectiveness of wets a quantum leap for me. I was invited to present a workshop for the North Arkansas Fly Fishers, in Mountain Home, and did two smart things: accepted the invitation; and instantly booked a day to fish with Wotton.

I’d met him, discussed writing with him, studied his videos, but had never fished with him, and had not got around to incorporating his concepts whole into my own fishing. When I finally got that chance, I was astounded at the breadth and depth of his knowledge about fly-fishing. I also hung well behind him on the river, so that no contrasts could be drawn between his artistry and my ineptitude when we got fly rods in our hands.

The Ice Cream Cone Chironomid

  • By: Brian Chan
  • Photography by: Brian Chan
Rainbow on a Leech  

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Fly-fishing continually evolves, be it advancements in tackle, the challenges of new fisheries, or the evolution of fly patterns and fishing techniques. In fact, what may seem like a simple fishing or tying advancement may turn into a significant step in the refinement of a fishery. That’s often the case with stillwater trout fishing, where creative anglers are attracted to the sport because it offers plenty of challenge and equal reward, in the form of skeptical trout that run much larger on average than their stream-raised counterparts.

One of the most productive lake-fishing methods is to fish with chironomids, also called midge pupae. In nutrient-rich waters these members of the Diptera insect family form a significant part of a trout or char’s diet. During spring and summer daily chironomid emergences cloud the water with pupae wiggling to the surface. Chironomid pupae must taste good, because the biggest trout gorge on even the smallest pupae. Fish literally swallow hundreds of the insects as they slowly ascend to become adults. But matching chironomids and getting a fish to take isn’t as easy as you’d think it would be. In fact, in lakes fish have the time to study them closely, and they’ll likely refuse anything but a perfect match. That’s why matching chironomids has become an art form, and Kelly Davison, who runs Searun Fly & Tackle in Coquitlam, British Columbia, made one of greatest advancements in chironomid construction of all time.

2012 Kudo Awards

  • By: Greg Thomas
  • , Zach Matthews
  • , Buzz Bryson
  • and Darrel Martin
2012 Kudo Awards

In my opinion, the late Jack Charlton’s legacy is that he designed and built the two best fly reels ever made. Ever. We could debate that over a single malt, and I acknowledge there are exceptional fly reels other than the Mako—and its predecessor, the namesake Charlton reels—but I don’t know anyone who thinks he can trade up from a Charlton.

Fab 5 Fall Hatches

  • By: Matt Supinski
  • , Skip Morris
  • , John Holt
  • , Greg Thomas
  • and Tom Keer
  • Photography by: Louis Cahill
October Caddis Serendipity

I enjoy watching friends fish, but this debacle was too much and I was on the verge of losing it. My pal Dan Summerfield had just missed, like, 15 eats in a row.

“WTF,” I shouted from my perch above Idaho’s North Fork Clearwater River, mocking our dreadful societal sway toward slaphappy acronyms, as if I were texting instead of sharing an afternoon on the water with a friend. He answered, “This size 20 Baetis is so small I just can’t get a good set.”