Tag Archives: trout

Morning On The Holston

A Question: A Reflection On Fly Fishing

Fall Fishing A question was asked of me today of which I thought I knew the answer, but upon further introspection, I suspect that perhaps I need to reset my footing.  A friend asked me today why exactly it was that I fly fish and why it was that I do not keep the very thing that I spend so much time and effort to get in my net?  I gave him what I suspect would be considered an answer gleaned from the liturgy of the angler, an answer that contained all the right keywords to at least insinuate that I knew what I was doing.  I am writing a book about it for goodness sake, so my answer came forth without any forethought.  Not because of any rehearsal, but because I have conversed enough, I have read enough, and perhaps on some levels I have written enough so that I have all the right words.  But a wise man once said to me, “If your words and your actions do not match, no one will believe a word you say”.

I used all the key phrases that would get the approving nod from my contemporaries.  Words like, challenge, nature, peace, wild places, clean water, skill, beauty, conservation.  All of these, or at least some of these will appear in literally every published volume on the sport, which would justify, in effect, that what I was saying was correct.  But just because you say the right things, you are not granted membership into those who “get it”.  Many are the folk who have all the accouterments of the sport-the right gear, the right look, the proper technique yet they seem somewhat empty.  I suppose it is the empty ones who do not last very long in the sport.  As a matter of fact, I have a couple of friends who dove into the deep end, bought all the gear, but when there was nothing left to buy, they found that it wasn’t the sport they were interested in at all.

So what makes me a true angler?  If I were to remove the nice gear and replace it with the worst possible equipment-would I still hold the passion?  If I were to be dropped into a situation where the only place I had to cast a fly were to bluegill in an algae laden farm pond-would I still hold the passion?  If I had never stepped out as a writer of fly fishing- would I still hold the passion.  If all the key words and catch phrases were removed from my rather limited vocabulary- would I still hold the passion?

In all honesty, after much introspection, the answer would be yes.  You see, as far as a great…or even good fly fisherman…I am at a loss.  More times than not my cast is not pretty and if I am in the water for more than three hours it is a certainty that I will manage to create a mess of my leader that would be in league with the Rubik’s Cube in difficulty to repair.  I am often quite clumsy as I wade, and the biggest fear I have in life is drowning.  My flies are not pristine, and my selection looks more mutant than even an attractor pattern might imply.  As a fly fisherman, I am just about as undone as you will find.

Therefore, without an abundance of skill and a limited perspective, I am faced with a burning question imposed upon me innocently enough by a curious companion.  Why exactly do I fly fish?  And to answer in as simple a way as I know how, the answer comes to me without having to dig very deep at all.

I cannot even try to imagine myself NOT being one.

This sport is as much a part of me as my next breath, much as a runner with his or her next stride.  The great race horse Secretariat was said to have a heart larger than is common for a horse.  Larger heart meant an incredible blood flow and an expanded capacity to do that which it was born to do.  I can see myself in no less of a term.

Great WaterIf you fish with me, it is a near certainty that you will outfish me.  I know this to be so because of the number of times it has actually occurred.  For me the epic day is nothing more than blind luck.  I can read the water well thanks in great part to Tom Rosenbauer.  I can understand the methodology of fly selection, casting, and most other things that encompass a day in the water.  But all the information in the world will not make you a great angler.  There comes a time when skill must take over…and in that department I am most lacking.

Yet I continue to frail about, stumble, make messes, and admire those of whom I spend time on the water.  I get so frustrated at times with myself that I curse under my breath at the bad luck or bad technique, yet the very next opportunity I have to fish, I will be there playing the role of jester in my own court again.  Not because I am a glutton for punishment and self degradation.  It is because I am a fly fisherman, and I cannot help but do that which I have found to be a very large part of me.  Tangles and all.Morning On The Holston

Fishwest - All Things Fly Fishing

Thoughts on 2014 from the Fishwest Staff

With the New Year comes New Year’s resolutions and here at Fishwest we have been thinking about how that relates to fly fishing. The staff here at the shop has compiled our respective fly fishing resolutions and would like to share them with you.

Jake WellsJake W. – Shop Manager

“One of the great things about the sport of fly fishing is that there’s always something new to learn.
But with that being said, there is so much to learn that anglers may find it necessary to solely focus on only one or two things over the course of a year in order to full perfect his or her skills and knowledge in that specific area of the sport. For 2014, I have decided to focus every magazine article that I read, every internet video that I watch, and much of my time on the water to the art of spey casting with a two handed fly rod and the world of steelhead.”

Scott “Scoot” – Web Team Manager / Shop Staff

“I just want to keep it simple and have my fishing year focus around friends, camping, and spending time with my dog. I think it will be a good year and hopefully I will get to be a part of the other goals on this list”

Morgan G. – Shop Staff

“My goals are simple for this year. I would like to buy some kind of boat. Do more pike fishing and finally I would like to learn to use a Spey rod and do some steelheading.”

Scott N – Web Team / Shop Staff

“Last year was a very good fishing year for me. Every time I went I was met with great success. The biggest problem was that I didn’t get out as often as I should have. In all I don’t think I was on the water even 20 times for the whole year. This must change, and so my resolution for the year is to get out a minimum of twice a month every month, once the days are longer(and warmer) increase to 4X with after work jaunts to the local spring creeks. Finally I am also resolved to fish on at least three new waters this year and expand my species list to include carp, pike, ect”

Will M – Customer Service Rep

“This year I resolve to help bring respect to the grossly underrated  and underappreciated whitefish.  From their blistering runs to their  willingness to readily eat a sow bug, these majestic native fish
have it all.  I resolve to not only fish for them and fish for them  hard, but tell anyone willing to listen about why these craft river dwellers are the bees knees.”

Richard L – Web Team / Shop Staff –

(A recent Maryland Transplant who just discovered how awesome Utah is) “Looking forward to 2014 I’ve only got a few goals, catch larger trout on dries, explore more of Utah and the west’s watersheds, and land new species on the fly, specifically pike, stripers, and carp.

Last but not least I would like to share my thoughts and “goals” for the upcoming year.  I would like to spend more time fishing with friends and having a good time no matter what water I find myself on that day. Hopefully I also can be a part of all of these other resolutions as well.  All I know is that the ole Subaru is going to be spending a lot of time on the road this upcoming year in search of new water and new adventures with old and new friends alike.

On an unrelated note I just wanted to express my gratitude to all of you who take time to read our blog here at Fishwest as well as those of you who read my articles as well. As long as you guys & girls keep reading we will keep writing and sharing our experiences. But on that note we would always love to hear your stories as well. So from all of us here at Fishwest I would like to wish you a happy 2014! Tight Lines!

Thanks,

JC

Web Team / Shop Staff

WInston BIIIx

R.L. Winston: The Boron Story

 

The Winston BIIIx was the most recent addition to my quiver this summer in a 590.4 . This rod is simply amazing for throwing dries.  I cant wait to fish this thing more and really put it through it’s paces. Once I do I will most definitely have share my thoughts on that beautiful piece of Winston Perfection. Till then check out this video that explains the intricacies and benefits of Boron infused blank construction that make these rods so special to cast & fish.

Check out all Winston products by clicking HERE

 

 

Loop Opti Reel

Loop Tackle: The Story

 

Being Scandinavian in origin means that Loop doesn’t have a huge following here in the United States however that is slowly changing because the products they offer are exceptional especially the rods and reels . Check out this video that gives a little insight into the world  Loop Tackle. We have had a chance to spend some time with Loop Rods and Reels here at the shop and they are pretty awesome. Are they on your Holiday Wish List?

Check out Loop Tackle products for your self by clicking HERE

Sage Method Fly Rod

Ultra Fast Action Performance: Sage Method Series Fly Rods

 

The staff here in the shop have been extremely impressed with the Method Series rods for both freshwater and saltwater applications.  As always Sage is pushing the limits in terms of fly rod performance.

You can check it out by clicking HERE

Fishpond Road Trip Fly Tying Kit Bag

Holiday Gift Ideas: Fishpond Road Trip Fly Tying Kit Bag

I know most guys complain about their in-laws, but I have to say, my in-laws give some of the greatest gifts. A Christmas or two ago, I ripped off the wrapping paper to find the Fishpond Road Trip Fly Tying Kit. Fishpond definitely hit one out of the park with this bag and it goes with me on any out of town fishing trip so that I can tie a few extra flies after a long day on the water..

What I like -

Organization – there are more pockets and compartments in the Fishpond Road Trip Kit than you can shake a stick at.

  • Padded internal storage pocket for your vice and tying tools.
  • 2 small storage pockets
  • Four large “see through” zippered mesh material pockets
  • Two 9” clear tubes for thread spools
  • One 4.5”x9”x1” molded plastic organizing box for hooks, beads, etc.
  • Nine 4”x6” resealable, clear, poly bags with Velcro binding attachment
  • Nine 3”x4.5” resealable, clear, poly bags with Velcro binding attachment

Before any big trip, I sort through the different pockets and make sure I have the right materials for area that I’ll be fishing. Most of the bags, boxes, tubes are velcro attached and can therefore be rearranged to fit whatever your needs are for a particular trip. It never ceases to amaze me how much I can actually fit into this case.

Fishpond Road Trip Fly Tying Kit Bag10Construction – The case is built out of the Fishpond Diamondtech fabric, which makes it extremely durable. Being constructed of fabric and with dimensions of 12” x 9.5″ x 4”, The Road Trip Kit is just the right size to squeeze into a suitcase or gear bag.

The Fishpond Guarantee – “At Fishpond, our goal is to build a reputation for unmatched quality among the outdoor enthusiasts using our products. Our soft goods are covered by a lifetime guarantee.”

What I don’t like

The thread spool tubes - Nice idea that doesn’t really stand up. The tubes hold multiple spools of thread, but have a tendency to pop open and have them fall out everywhere. I ended up using a piece of tape to keep it securely shut.

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Bottom line – The Fishpond Road Trip Fly Tying Kit is an essential piece of gear to keep you organized and churning out flies when you’re on the road. A must have for the traveling fly fisherman.

Check out the Fly Tying Kit by clicking HERE

Rivershed Boots

Product Review: Simms Rivershed Boots

Rivershed BootsI’ve been wearing the Simms Rivershed Wading Boot for about 3 years now and while I don’t quite agree with the Simms marketing angle, I sure do like the boot.

Simms describes the Rivershed Boot as, “An athletic design for anglers who want lighter boots to hike into the backcountry.”

At 62.4 ounces, it’s not clear to me what Simms is comparing this boot to. It is lighter than their Guide Boot, but only by a few ounces. I think it compares more to a heavy-duty backpacking boot—good for hiking into the backcountry, but not exactly light.

Just know that if you make this purchase thinking you’re buying a light boot, you’ll likely be disappointed.

Here’s how the Simms Rivershed Wading Boot performs:

Comfort

Awesome. The boots are fully lined with soft neoprene, and the soles have plenty of cushion for my needs. I tend to hike 2 or 3 miles whenever I fish, and I have never had a blister, hot spot, or aching feet at the end of a full day on the water.

Note: I wear extra-thick socks to fit these man-sized boots to my lady-sized foot.

Stability & Support

Excellent. The boot cinches tightly at the ankle, the footbed feels wide and sturdy, and the toe box is stiff and covered in durable rubber.

I’m not the most confident wader you’ve ever seen, so I’m always pleased with the foot and ankle protection these boots provide. I never wonder if I’m going to twist an ankle or crunch my toes while navigating a difficult streambed.

Traction

Out of the water, the StreamTread soles perform just like a serious backpacking boot. I’ve hiked on muddy trails and scrambled up and down steep stream banks without losing my footing.

In the water? You have to install the Simms HardBite Boot Studs or Star Cleats to get trustworthy traction. The StreamTread sole grips wet boulders just fine, but add a little slime and your foot will slide.

I put up with the slip-and-slide effect for a while (good balancing practice I told myself). But when I finally installed the Simms HardBite Boot Studs, they made a world of difference. No slipping. No sliding. Just a solid grip that I trust.

The bottom line: The Simms Rivershed Boot (with studs or cleats) is a great choice for anybody who wants a rubber-soled wading boot that offers comfort, on-trail traction, and serious foot and ankle protection.

You can purchase the Simms Rivershed Wading Boot from Fishwest and receive FREE shipping. (And don’t forget to buy the Simms HardBite Boot Studs or Star Cleats at the same time.)

Drift Cover

Confluence Films: Drift Film Review

If you have read my other posts you will know that I am not a certified critic, but I do like a good movie. This is my review of the movie “Drift” by Confluence Films.  At the encouragement of the staff at Fishwest, I watched this movie and I must say that watching this film was enjoyable.

The film opens with a segment on the Deschutes River with John and Amy Hazel and incredible scenes of spey casting for steelhead.  They both seem to connect with the fish on a personal level.  In the pursuit of a fish of a thousand casts, when rewarded, they do not take the fish for granted. After seeing their passion, it brings the question to mind, does the fish catch the fisherman?

The movie will then take you to Belize with Brian O’Keefe on a quest for permit.  He is hosted in Punta Gorda at Turneffe Flats by the Garbutt brothers, Ewort, Oliver, Scully and Dennis.  If there is another saltwater trip I would take, (other than the Fishwest sponsored Andros bonefish trip) I think it would be here.  The Garbutt brothers proved instrumental in the Belizean government declaring that permit, bonefish and tarpon are now protected, catch and release only.

A couple of quick stops on the “A” section on the Green River with Adam Barker and Tommy Knight and the Frying PanDrift Cover River with R.A. Beattie and Boone Klug and then on to the Bighorn River with Robert Boyce, Robert Eddins and Jordan Gage that illustrates good times with good friends.

My favorite part of the film was on Andros islands with Charlie Smith, the inspiration and co-creator of the Crazy Charlie.  Guiding bone fisherman for over 50 years, he still practices his casting everyday to make that perfect cast so he can mentor clients on his boat.  In his words he loves being with people, loves catering to tourists and loves fishing,that is what keeps him smiling.

The final segment is a lesson in cultural awareness when Travis Smith and Jon Steihl fishes in Kashmir India with Maqsood Madarie while fishing the Yarbal River

Hopefully I did not spoil the film for you but instead motivate you to get it.  My recommendation, order Drift from Fishwest, and watch it.  It took me out of the city on a cold winter day, I give Drift three dry flies and three Crazy Charlies.

For more info on this great film please click HERE