Angler of the Year: Chris Hayes

  • By: Chris Santella
  • Photography by: Jim Klug

Click image for slideshow.

On arrival for my first visit to Belize’s Turneffe Atoll, I stepped off the boat a little dazed, partially from a long day of travel from the West Coast, and partly from the six or so Belikin beers I’d consumed en route. After fishing my laptop out of the drink (a result of those aforementioned Belikins), I shamefacedly shambled toward the main lodge where I was greeted by a short, trim gringo with a soft voice and even quieter demeanor—Craig Hayes, Turneffe Flats’ proprietor.

Practical and Useful

  • By: Dave Hughes
  • Photography by: Dave Hughes

p>THE LATE POLLY ROSBOROUGH, AUTHOR OF Tying and Fishing the Fuzzy Nymphs, always declared that the biggest trout remain beneath the surface throughout a hatch, no matter how heavy, feeding on immature insects staging along the bottom or on their way toward the top for emergence. It makes sense: Insects are more vulnerable to interception then, and trout are less exposed to predation from birds and beasts, including you and me.

Fishing Soft-Hackles

  • By: Dave Hughes
  • Photography by: Dave Hughes
Sylvester Nemes on the Yellowstone River

I first met sylvester nemes through his 1975 book, The Soft-Hackled Fly. It was a small book, tightly focused on its single subject: wet flies tied with bodies of silk thread, sparse hackles, rarely anything extra. Sylvester’s prose reflected his subject perfectly. It was spare, compact and didn’t stray from its subject. Which is to say, the book was beautifully written. Best to me: It was—and is, because it’s still in print under the title The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles—one of those rare books that enthused me to immediately sit down at the vise, tie a bunch of the flies described, and rush from there to a stream to fish them.

The flies, and the methods described, worked. Sometimes they worked wonders. One of my favorite days with them came on a gloomy fall float of Utah’s Green River, downstream from Flaming Gorge Dam. Few trout rose all day. My friends and I tried pestering them to attention with weighted nymphs tumbled along the bottom, which turned out to be ineffective—and because it produced few trout, was also very little fun.

Welcone to the Jungle

  • By: Phil Monahan
  • Photography by: Scott Sanchez
  • Illustrations by: Fred Thomas
Welcome to the Jungle

Everyone knows that bass love weeds, but to cover big weedbeds efficiently, you often need a boat (although not necessarily a sparkly one). Unfortunately, and most noted in the South, the lake bottom around most weeds is mucky, with a thick layer of decaying vegetation on top. But in cooler climes—the northern tier of the country and at higher elevations—sandy or rocky lakebeds allow wading anglers to get in on the action. And because fish often bury themselves too deep in the weeds for boaters to reach, in some situations wading anglers may have advantages over their floating brethren.

Fly Girls

  • By: Stephen Camelio
  • Photography by: Dusan Smetana

Not every family fishing vacation has to involve all the members of your clan. Heck, not even everyone who joins the fun has to be a blood relation; just ask Oprah Winfrey, who this past fall went fly-fishing with her best friend, Gayle King, during their girls’ trip to Yosemite National Park. We all know that women pick up the rhythm and feel of fly-fishing quite quickly, so it stands to reason that one of the fast-growing types of angling vacations are for women only.