- By: Ted Leeson
EVERY FLY-FISHING SUBSPECIES CONFRONTS ITS own particular version of the same predicament—how to carry flies on the water in some reasonably organized and easily accessible fashion. For trout anglers, who tend to accumulate more flies than a Dumpster collects bags of trash, the storage problem stems from the sheer number and variety of patterns. For saltwater fishermen, it comes from oversized streamers on big irons; for bass folks, from bulky popper and divers. Every season, it seems, begins with a clever new storage scheme and ends with the same two thoughts:
- By: Ted Leeson
Here’s the perfect chance for those special people in your life to show how much they really love you. From the classic Art Deco styling—decidedly retro yet still strangely futuristic—to the cushy interiors, Airstream trailers are an authentic American icon. And the Sport 16 is the ideal road-tripping model; at 16 feet long with a GVW of 3,500 pounds, it’s compact enough for easy towing and set-up, but large enough for two or three people. With a polished aluminum skin and signature rounded corners to cut drag, it’s your personal fly-fishing rocket ship, your portable fishing lodge, and the coolest thing on the road. It’s estimated that 60 to 70 percent of all Airstreams ever built are still in use—truly the gift that keeps on giving. Expect to give a little in return, though; this silver bullet runs about $40K. www.airstream.com
- By: Bob White
Most sporting art, especially angling art, has a practical purpose or function. Painters, photographers and printmakers try to capture a moment in time and preserve memories. Sculptors recreate objects cherished by anglers, be they fish or fly. Rod makers, net makers, boat builders and fly tiers create the tools with which we pursue our passion.
- By: Thomas Whiting
The cree cape is a vibrant tweed, splashed with tints of red, white and black. Finding the origin of the term “cree” is nearly as difficult as finding a quality cree. Apparently, the truncated word was, at times, applied to creel. Creel (or crele), a label given to a rare Old English game fowl, is a bicolor hackle with white and red bars. Today we call the creel color a ginger grizzly. Evidently, through time the cree became a tricolor, a creel with black bars. Cree is a coloration, rather than a breed of bird. A simple description has worked in fly-tying: A cree is a tricolored hackle, with red and black on a white ground.
- By: Zach Matthews
With a few simple techniques, and someone else’s curling iron, you can build welded loops and any fly line you might need—on local waters or at the ends of the earth.
- By: Ted Leeson
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.
- By: David Hughes
- Photography by: David Hughes
- and Greg Thomas
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.
- By: Brian Chan
- Photography by: Brian Chan
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.
- By: Buzz Bryson
- , Greg Thomas
- , Zach Matthews
- and Darrel Martin
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.