10,000 New Anglers A Year

  • By: Mike Conner
  • Photography by: Tom Rosenbauer
Girls Fishing

Grow fly-fishing.

That’s the mantra of the fly-fishing industry, which has admittedly been flat since the A River Runs Through It electricity died sometime in the 1990s.

Fly-fishing growth would provide multiple benefits, and not just to a manufacturer’s, retailer’s or guide’s bottom line. More fly fishers, in fact, could increase fish-habitat and fisheries-resource stewardship, and that means more quality water and desirable fishing for all of us. Unfortunately, growing fly-fishing may be the single most difficult task the industry has, and nobody seems to have a clear answer on how to get newbie anglers onto the water and enjoying rewarding outings.

Fishing Music: Ben Winship & David Thompson

  • By: Bob White
Fishing Music 2

Like “the important part of fishing” says, the process is often more important than the product, and this is particularly true when it comes to fly-fishing. Perhaps, that’s why I enjoy road-trips so much. Whether it’s watching the sun come up while I pull a boat to the river, or the long quiet on drives home, time on the road has become an integral part of my fishing experience, and the music I listen to while driving is fundamental to the experience.

New Sales Methods, New Markets

  • By: Kirk Deeter
Angling Trade fade

We’re hearing a lot about the new products fly companies will unveil in 2012 (and rest assured, FR&R and Angling Trade will detail the hot newcomers before they even hit the racks of your favorite fly shop). Here are a few hints: Patagonia is coming out with a wading boot that uses mountaineering technology to dramatically improve traction. Sage shelved its Z-Axis in favor of a rod line called “One”; by early accounts, it is indeed something special. Orvis, Hardy and others are introducing new products across wide price ranges that should have consumers chomping at the bit to try (and buy). Overall, I expect 2012 to be a solid new product year—one of the best in a decade.

Cape Cod Stripers

  • By: Rob Conery
  • Photography by: Bob Mahoney
2010maybass_lg.jpg

You can hear it as soon as you step on the Centerville property. It gets louder as you walk down the grassy path, past the flats skiff and the old Bahamian smuggling vessel up on stands. From the open barn door near a small pine grove, in the humming, electric air, an urgent buzzing pops. Inside, from the rafters hang fly rods, surfboards and yacht club burgees.

To Buy Discount Or Not?

Angling Trade

A few months ago, a number of Sage Z-Axis fly rods, as well as Simms G4 waders, mysteriously appeared on the sales racks at 16 Costco locations throughout the country. And, true to form, the super-big-box retailer had drastically slashed prices, knocking hundreds of dollars off the MSRP.

But, alas, it was a short-lived phenomenon. When those companies heard about their products being sold through Costco (apparently, they were sourced to Costco by different agents and accounts), both Simms and Sage snuffed out sales by actually repurchasing their own products, at retail price.

Mike Savlen's Suggestion

  • By: Bob White
  • Photography by: Bob White
Technicolor Fishy

I enjoy mike savlen’s paintings for the same reasons I like the man: The artist and his work are bold, honest and colorful.

Savlen grew up near the water, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and began to fish with his father at the age of two. Since then, he says, water and fish have fascinated him. His interest in painting began at about the same time, when he found a can of house paint in the trash and decided to re-paint the family car. “I guess,” Savlen says with a grin, “that my parents didn’t quite understand my artistic vision!”

Sylvester Nemes 1922-2011

  • By: David Hughes
Sylvester Nemes

Sylvester Nemes passed away at home, in Bozeman, Montana on February 3, 2011. Best known for his classic 1975 book The Soft-Hackled Fly, he also wrote seven other fly-fishing titles.

He was born on April 2, 1922 in Erie, Pennsylvania. He grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and fished Pennsylvania trout streams. His fly-tying mentor was his barber. When he spotted several simple partridge-hackled dressings in bamboo rod-maker Paul Young’s fly shop, he was forever hooked.

Dick Talleur 1932-2011

  • By: David Klausmeyer
  • Photography by: Tim Savard
Dick Talleur

There are a lot of good fly tiers in the world, but there are very few great ones.

A good tier makes flies that catch fish, but a great tier is an ambassador for the craft. He is a patient teacher and is eager to help novices learn how to tie flies. He willingly shares hard-earned knowledge and expertise with more advanced tiers so they can learn the finer points and create better patterns. A good tier develops new flies that are named for him; a great tier shows a beginner how to make a simple Hare’s Ear Nymph in one sitting so he can enjoy the thrill of catching a fish with a fly that he made.

So long, Billy

  • By: Rick Ruoff
  • Photography by: Val Atkinson
Billy Pate

I am sitting on Buchanan Bank waiting for Billy Pate, who died in April (sources disagreed on whether he was 80 or 81). About 75 yards to the east is a white cross sticking out of the water, the final resting spot for some of the most famous tarpon guides in the history of the sport: Jimmie Albright, Cecil Keith, Jack Brothers—all were Florida Keys legends. This place is called “the Pocket,” a dip in the bank that tarpon are forced into by falling tides, giving a lucky fly fisherman the perfect angle to cast at those grand fish. It is the most hallowed spot in tarpon angling. Billy spent hundreds of days at the Pocket and, although not a guide, will soon be the most famous angler resting here. The memorial procession of family, friends, fellow anglers and guides is on the way. I can see dozens of boats on the horizon, all heading here.

Off the Water

  • By: Jim Dean
A-Bar Ranch

Fly fishermen were shocked and saddened when eastern Idaho’s fabled A-Bar closed in 2008 [see “Last Call,” March 2010 Fly Rod & Reel] but the good news is this: The A-Bar, legendary among parched trout fishermen, road-weary travelers and rambunctious locals, was purchased by TroutHunter, its next-door neighbor, and is being refurbished with plans to reopen this summer.

“Our goal is to fix the roof, do some painting and repairs and reopen on July 4, 2011, or as soon after that as possible,” says Rich Paini, one of the A-Bar’s new co-owners. Other partners include Paini’s wife, Millie, Jon Stiehl, Allen Ball and renowned fly tier René Harrop.