Guides as Teachers

  • By: Jim Dean
  • Photography by: Barry Beck
  • and Cathy Beck
Guides Teaching

It’s a waste of money to hire a guide to take you fishing. Say what? I’ll put it another way. If your reason for hiring a guide is simply to catch a lot of fish, you’ll be happy with the result most of the time. But if that’s your only goal, you’re squandering a superb opportunity to significantly improve your fly-fishing skills.

Junkie Fix - Northwest Steelhead or Tierra Del Fuego's Sea-Run Browns

  • By: Dec Hogan
  • Photography by: Dec Hogan
Dec Hogan with Rio Grande Brown Trout

After years of dreaming and fantasizing about fishing sea-run brown trout in South America I finally scratched that 30-year itch. And let me tell you it felt, at once, familiar and good.

You may already know that my passion is pursuing steelhead on western rivers, where a good day is just being on beautiful water swinging a pretty fly, anticipating an electrifying grab. A great day is when I actually hook a steelhead and anything beyond that is considered a banner day. It’s what I’ve come to expect; it’s how I roll.

4+ Piece Rods: Don't fear the Ferrule

  • 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).

Travel Fly-Tying Vises

  • By: Buzz Bryson
  • Photography by: Aaron Goodis
Travel Vises

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.

Angling Duffels

  • By: David Hughes
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Once you’ve booked that trip of a lifetime, you almost immediately bump into the twin set of questions: “What do I take?” and, “What’s the best thing to take it in?”

Trips rarely get ruined by any absence of gear; don’t worry about that, unless you have size 14 feet and forget your size 14 wading boots. If that happens your anatomical predisposition may prove troublesome; for most of us, lodges carry anything you may have left at home, within the range of averages for fitting and gear. Size 14 boots don’t fit the average.

N.Q. (Not Quite) Spinner

  • By: A. K. Best
  • Photography by: A. K. Best
Not Quite Spinner

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.

From Scratch: Fly Rods

  • By: Zach Matthews
Graphite Prepreg

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.

The Magic of the Adams

  • By: A. K. Best
  • Photography by: A. K. Best
The Magic of the Adams

Why an article about the Adams? Because I recently rediscovered the Adams as a lifesaver during what could otherwise have been a very frustrating day.

A few weeks ago, my friends Mike Clark and John Gierach invited me to fish some trout ponds not far from Boulder, Colorado that had been stocked with some rainbow/steelhead hybrids several years ago. We’ve fished these ponds several times over the past few years and knew the trout were large, very strong, extremely fast and would eagerly rise to midges. It was mid-April, so we assumed that midges would be the order of the day. I packed fly boxes loaded with midge adult, emerger and larva patterns in all the colors that had been successful in the past.

Sex Dungeons, Yellow Yummies, Moscow Mules

  • By: Greg Thomas
  • Photography by: Greg Thomas
Sex Dungeon

I like catching as many fish as possible, and I’m prone to keeping at least loose track of numbers if only to gauge, in a vaguely scientific way, one day or one season versus another. Some say that scorecard mentality is all about vanity and ego. In fact, I’ll take quality over quantity every time because dealing in sheer numbers, in fishing and life, is a setup for failure.