2012 Kudo Awards

  • By: Zach Matthews
  • , Darrel Martin
  • , Greg Thomas
  • and Buzz Bryson
2012 Kudo Awards

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.

Carl Hiaasen 2012 Angler of the Year

  • By: Kirk Deeter
  • Photography by: Brian Smith
Carl Hiaasen

Miami Herald columnist and novelist Carl Hiaasen casts all hues of the writing spectrum as well as, if not better than, any American author. From “beach-read” novels and stinging political commentary to wildly popular books for young readers, Hiaasen shows an innate ability to command attention from, inform and entertain the broadest audiences.

Stir Crazy

  • By: Greg Thomas
  • Photography by: Greg Thomas
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Being cooped up during winter does strange things to people, especially in the northern Rockies, where snow may hit the ground in September and remain through May. There’s sanity to be had if you strap sticks to your feet and chase powder days, or can escape to sandy beaches in southern climes, but the rest of us rot until spring brings assurance that we haven’t entered another ice age.

Fab 5 Fall Hatches

  • By: Matt Supinski
  • , Skip Morris
  • , John Holt
  • , Greg Thomas
  • and Tom Keer
  • Photography by: Louis Cahill
October Caddis Serendipity

I enjoy watching friends fish, but this debacle was too much and I was on the verge of losing it. My pal Dan Summerfield had just missed, like, 15 eats in a row.

“WTF,” I shouted from my perch above Idaho’s North Fork Clearwater River, mocking our dreadful societal sway toward slaphappy acronyms, as if I were texting instead of sharing an afternoon on the water with a friend. He answered, “This size 20 Baetis is so small I just can’t get a good set.”

Cold-Weather Trout

  • By: Dave Hughes
  • Photography by: Dave Hughes
Oregon's Deschutes

The standard advice for trout fishing in nippy winter weather is TO rig with a sinking line and a big streamer (to coax idle fish into action), or with a pair of weighted nymphs (to roll along the bottom and right into open mouths). Both formulas have their appropriate places, when temperatures fall and also when water levels rise. But rigging takes second seat, in winter, to something far more important: Reading water to find the trout. If you cast those sunk streamers and tumbling nymphs in water that holds few fish, or just as often no fish at all, you’ll have system failure, even if you do everything else precisely right.

Riviera Redfish

  • By: Walter Kirkland
  • Photography by: Walter Kirkland
  • , Greg Thomas
  • and Tosh Brown
Big Bull Red

Looking forward to the late fall and winter, my neighbors in Fairhope, Alabama, duckaholics for the most part, work themselves into apoplexy anticipating the beginning of their annual bird slaughter. Those not as mad at them ducks might turn their attention to catching redfish in Louisiana or Texas. But, I don’t care for freezing my butt off in futile attempts to blast mallards from the sky, nor for hauling my boat down to the Biloxi Marsh to stalk fickle redfish that disappear on anything other than a perfect bluebird day.

Sight-Casting for Black Drum

  • By: Chico Fernandez
  • Photography by: Chico Fernandez
Black Drum

Black drum get no respect. And I really don’t know why: THEY TAIL while feeding on the flats, you can sight-cast to them in shallow water, they are plentiful, they grow to more than 100 pounds (that’s not a typo), they can fight hard and they are not easy. If you haven’t cast to a big, tailing black drum, I recommend you give it a try. You may become a better angler for it. I have always thought that when you go after a new species, you can’t help but learn more about the fish’s environment and the different foods in their habitat, while improving your casting accuracy, fly manipulation and fish-fighting.

Midges in Moving Water

  • By: David Hughes
  • Photography by: David Hughes
Midges in Moving Water

The most difficult part of solving any moving-water midge situation is figuring out when you’re in one. Midges are usually so small, and so often hatch at either dawn or dusk, that it’s often impossible to see them. You see trout rising, you suspect they’re not doing it as a hobby, but you can’t see anything they might be taking. When that happens, make midges your first thought because they might be dying in those rises.

Seven Great Flies for the Boston Metropolitan Area

  • By: Michael Doherty
  • Photography by: Fred Thomas
Traver Award

One evening in mid-may, Jenny Muldoon caught her first largemouth bass, on an orange popper. That beautiful three-pounder fell for a really ugly fly. We tied that popper together, figuring how best to hold everything on the hook, how a whip knot should go. It’s hard to tie a knot when you’re reading about it.

Going Coastal

  • By: Greg Thomas
  • Photography by: Greg Thomas
Chasing king salmon along the Bering Sea.

I have adventure-seeking in my blood; my great grandfather hunted sharks for their oil from a wood skiff during World War II and was a market hunter during the Klondike gold rush; my sister used to cruise around Alaska on commercial fishing boats and now runs fish-buying operations there; my father was a part-time commercial fisherman and hunted mountain goats and brown bears in Alaska; and an uncle and a cousin are cut from that mold, too, one brewing moonshine and prospecting for gold in Idaho, the other a trapper, a bow-hunter and a sailor who now wants to ride a horse, solo, across Mongolia.