- By: Buzz Bryson
- and Darrel Martin
Years ago Dave Whitlock, a doyen of American fly-fishing, trudged toward the beaver ponds on Montana’s Big Hole River. The glorious day promised tight tippets. As he clambered through thick brush, Dave’s elastic-tethered net snagged. He did what we all do: He kept walking, waiting for the net to pull free. It did not. He turned around just in time to receive the net between his eyes. After regaining consciousness, he gathered his spiteful net and continued on his way with two black eyes.
- By: Zach Matthews
- Photography by: Greg Thomas
“DEAR SIRS,” the e-mail started, “My name is Reginald Kibugi, and I am seeking to sell you excellent-quality fishing flies.” My cursor hovered over the Spam button, but the next line made me hesitate: “My asking price is $3 per dozen.” That’s a quarter a fly. Was this a good deal? A bad deal? I didn’t know, and chances are, you’ve received similar e-mails, if not this very one, and you don’t know either.
In order to answer that question, you have to know a bit about the world of commercial fly-tying, and that means you need some history. Back in the 1970s, an American professional fly tier named Dennis Black was driving from shop to shop to peddle his wares. On one of his long road trips across the West, he had an epiphany: He might be better off supervising other tiers than doing all the work on his own.
- By: Chico Fernandez
- Photography by: Louis Cahill
- and Chico Fernandez
Going fishing is an adventure, and no matter how long you’ve fished, you never know what awaits you. And this is part of the thrill, sometimes.
Once, on a flight to Belize, I looked down and all I saw were whitecaps, even on the shallow flats. A few minutes later we were on the small island of Ambergris Caye; the wind that met us had to be over 20 miles per hour, with stronger gusts. This was not good for any kind of fishing, but for a group of fly fishermen looking for bonefish, it was terrible.
That evening I gathered the small group before dinner and suggested they think of fishing some of the creeks and rivers in the area. They offer great protection against the wind and a variety of fish species to chase. But the group was set on bonefish. They had thought about bones for months, and they couldn’t give them up. I understood.
- By: Zach Matthews
FACT: Fly fishers love travel. Unfortunate fact: Travel is a lot more difficult than it was 10 years ago, thanks mostly to international terrorism. In fact, I’ll never forget the time I watched a gentleman heading out on a cast-and-blast trip trying to negotiate security at Miami International Airport. He had forgotten that he had recently worn his travel vest while doing some upland shooting. Thanks to a little gunpowder residue in his pockets, he was locked inside MIA’s shiny new “puffer” bomb-sniffing device, while red lights flashed and security sprinted into the area (to the great amusement of his fellow anglers).
- By: Buzz Bryson
- Photography by: Aaron Goodis
There are two primary considerations for any fly-tying vise: It must hold the hook snugly, and it must allow you to tie a fly easily, i.e., the vise can’t get in the way. The only practical reason to buy a travel vise is that it is smaller—lighter and more compact—than your primary vise, while maintaining an acceptable level of function. It’s that simple.
- By: John Gierach
- Illustrations by: Bob White
We were in my kitchen in northern Colorado on a warm August evening. I was at the stove stirring a pot of elk spaghetti sauce; Susan McCann, the journalist and editor I’ve lived with for the past 20 years, was constructing an enormous salad and Ed Engle, the fishing writer and my oldest continuous friend, was slicing French bread. Daniel Galhardo, owner and founder of Tenkara USA, had offered to help several times, but it was a small, crowded kitchen with cats underfoot and there was nothing left to do, so he’d settled for volunteering to wash the dishes.
- By: Darrel Martin
- , Jim Butler
- and Ted Leeson
Fly Rod & Reel reviews the Ross RX reels and Evolution rods, Patagonia Nano Puff pullover, Abel's nipper and Nautilus FWX reels.
- By: A. K. Best
- Photography by: A. K. Best
It was a phase of mayfly hatch I hadn’t seen before nor heard of. That evening, I sat at my vise and tied some N. Q. Spinners and went back to the stream the next day. If you think I got lucky, you’re exactly right. The new fly was a killer.
- By: Zach Matthews
If there’s one thing fly fishermen get worked up about, it’s fly rods. Golf addicts may expound for hours about a club head’s “sweet spot,” and ammunition reloaders go glassy-eyed talking about ballistics and shot patterns, but even these fanatics would be hard pressed to rival a shop full of anglers discussing “swing weight,” “modulus” and “action.” The funny thing is, most of these same experts have little idea how a graphite rod is made (and in the fly shop we’re all experts, at least when it comes to what we think a rod should be). The process is as fascinating as it is complicated. Knowing a thing or two about rod construction greatly increases your appreciation of what fly rods are . . . and yes, maybe what they should be.
- By: Landon Mayer
- Photography by: Cathy Beck
- , Ted Fauceglia
- and Barry Beck
Streamers often coax big trout into violent takes, causing many anglers to say, “The tug is the drug.” That’s why most enthusiasts run heavy, articulated streamers through the deepest water; these flies have so much motion they may convince you to take a bite. Other anglers target big browns and rainbows using ridiculous stoneflies that appear to be part nymph/part tarantula, with legs wiggling in every direction.