Except for the angler, a fly reel is the only piece of fly-fishing equipment with any significant moving parts, and those of us with a weakness for fine reels appreciate them in part as machinery. Some offer the finely tuned elegance of a Ferrari, others the classic, understated solidity of a Rolls or Bentley. Hatch reels are a little different: their engineering appears to derive largely from a Brink’s truck—a very handsomely crafted, precision-made, cleanly finished Brink’s truck, to be sure. But their philosophical core clearly owes much to the armored car.
- By: Buzz Bryson
- , Joe Healy
- , Greg Thomas
- and Ted Leeson
For more than a year now, we’ve published articles in our Short Casts section with the header “Giving Back.” These have included profiles on such organizations as Family Tyes, Casting for Recovery and Project Healing Waters, groups introducing the values of fly-fishing to broad-based audiences. In this issue, we hear from Kathy Scott on how she began a successful in-school fly-fishing program in Maine. Giving back…the phrase reminds me of a note I received recently from Greg Thomas, our managing editor, about fishing with his daughters.
The bonefish had been tough to approach and on this day, the last day of the Redbone tournament in the Florida Keys, the wind speed must have dropped to zero because it was dead calm. It was a day on which the water and the sky don’t make a defined horizon and the least disturbance would send bonefish to another zip code.
- Photography by: Chico Fernandez
I prefer to use stripped-and-dyed rooster-neck hackle quills for all my mayfly imitations. Since the advent of Asian bird flu, however, strung Chinese rooster-neck hackle has not been easy to find. And our own domestic quill-body capes, although very good, are not always…
- Photography by: A. K. Best
Q: What leaders, and connecting knots, are best for bluewater fly-fishing?
Sitting here in Loreto, Baja Mexico, taking a break during a tough week of fishing (all sympathy appreciated), I’m reflecting on the many questions asked, and answers provided by, the mix of newbies and experienced pros to bluewater fly-fishing here at the lodge. Such a grouping is a fertile environment for moving up the fly-fishing learning curve. Inevitably, the focus becomes leaders and, more particularly, knots. The question boils down to, What leaders do I use and how do I connect the pieces?
- Photography by: Buzz Bryson
New Zealand’s South Island is a trout hunter’s dream. In this land of big fish and gin-clear water, Kiwi guides tell you to forget large numbers of fish caught—it won’t happen here. There can be zero-fish days that are thrilling, as you may spend hours stalking a 10-plus-pound brown trout that refuses every offering until it finally “stiffens” as Kiwis say about fish that are off the feed. No matter; we’re here, after all, to test ourselves against the best trout in the world. A friend presented a perfect toast at the end of a New Zealand journey when he simply said “To the Everest of trout fishing.”
- By: Cathy Beck
- and Barry Beck
- Photography by: Cathy Beck
- and Barry Beck
A Fly Fisherman Writes
By Richard Chiappone
The Never-Ending Stream
A Tribute to Fly-Tying Form and Function
By Scott Sanchez
The Flies that Catch Fish
By Chris Sanford & Friends
I WAS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE beauty of the low Mexican morning sunlight to shoot photos of my friend Dave casting toward the white-sand shoreline…when Dave paused his cast. Our guide quietly, very serious now, said “Si.” About 50 yards down the beach appeared a dark shape hovering over the sand—a piece of driftwood? No, it was a snook. A huge snook. Dave, a lefty, was having a hard time loading the rod with the cross-wind. As the guide poled our skiff closer to the dark form, Dave told me to step up on the casting deck. I put down my…
“Photography is an act of life.” So is the motto of Brian L. Schiele, who creates photographs that have been described as serendipitous, nostalgic, cinematic and dreamlike. As an artist, I’m nostalgic by nature; so it’s not surprising that his work strikes a chord with me. After all, the square-formatted, black-and-white images that this Utah-based artist creates remind me of the family photos in my parent’s attic.
If you ask Western anglers to paint the face of The Orvis Company, you might end up with an illustration of some stuffy Classics professor in tweed casting a bamboo rod on a manicured streambank, trying to lure some minuscule brook trout from the brush with 7X tippet and a standard Adams dry fly. Somewhere along the fly-fishing timeline, that’s the vision my hard-core Western friends and I developed. Fortunately, that stereotype got quashed a few years ago when I attended a trade show and met Tom Rosenbauer.
- Photography by: Joe Healy
Bob Orsua was in full cry on September 15, 2010. “That’s a lie!” he told me between deep inhalations as he spoke unofficially for the 100-member Flathead Wildlife Inc. rod-and-gun club and virtually all outfitters, charter skippers and guides who work 122,885-acre Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana.
- Photography by: Peter Thompson
New gear from Winston, Hardy and Scientific Anglers.
- By: Ted Leeson
- and Darrel Martin
I’d like to thank Jerry Gibbs for doing such a professional job of chronicling his experience of fishing with us here in Chilean Patagonia…
Revisiting Henry’s Fork
I enjoyed Greg Thomas’ (always well-written) article on the return of the Henry’s Fork (Autumn 2010). But as former chair of Trout Unlimited’s National Resources Board…
Past July I was speaking with Geoff Moore of Tourism British Columbia, trying to secure a flight to Bella Coola. He said, “Greg, according to our records you’ve tried to get this flight and a spot on the Dean River for 15 years.” I’m a patient man—and so is Moore. Later, flight confirmation showed up in an e-mail with an interesting addendum. Moore, an avid angler, wrote, “I’ll give you the good news and the bad news at once. Here’s a ticket to paradise…and a return ticket home.”
- Photography by: Greg Thomas
It’s sometime around midday and either Martin or I —I forget who— has just landed the five-pound lake trout that will be our lunch fish. Our guide, Craig Blackie, motors us to shore, digs out a blackened iron grate and props it off the ground on rocks while Martin and I hunt for firewood. We’re at the northern end of Great Bear Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories, above the Arctic Circle and near the northern tree line, so wood is scarce, but we only need enough for a quick twig fire.
- Illustrations by: Bob White
Fly Fishers always have the same reaction. When I say, “We offer fly-fishing to all 8th graders in phys-ed classes. And I’m the co-advisor of the Varsity Fly Fishing Club at the high school,” that news sinks in for a minute. Then they always say, “Wow, I wish I’d gone to your school!”
- Photography by: Kathy Scott
“First thing you got to know is that you never touch the fly line,” Jake Jordan tells his sailfish-school students. “If you keep touching it, then I go below deck and come out in my nun’s outfit and crack your knuckles bloody with a ruler.”
- Photography by: Jerry Gibbs
The Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award is once again open for entries. Send your work of fiction or non-fiction by the May 16, 2011, deadline to: Traver Fly Fishing Writing Award, Fly Rod & Reel Magazine, P.O. Box 370, Camden, ME 04856. We're looking for: “A distinguished original essay or work of short fiction that embodies an implicit love of fly-fishing, respect for the sport and the natural world in which it takes place, and high literary values.” Send in a typed, double-space manuscript of no more than 3,500 words, along with an electronic copy on a disc. E-mail submissions won’t be accepted. Go to flyrodreel.com “News” section for complete contest details.
After a full day of flats fishing out of Abaco’s Sandy Point, it was time for a much-anticipated Bahamian après-fishing ritual. Our group—Stu and Jeaninne Apte, Jean Cochran, Clint Kemp and me—huddled around the dining-room table and dove into piping-hot conch fritters with tall, chilled Mojitos in hand. Our host, marine artist and Black Fly Lodge Bonefish Club partner Vaughn Cochran, eventually joined us. He cleared off half the table and unrolled a white canvas.
- Photography by: Mike Conner
Looking ahead to the 2011 fly-fishing season, the average angler/consumer is going to see certain trends come to the fore. For starters, 2011 will be a make-or-break year for many manufacturers, and in the context of fly rods, I mean that literally. As we reported in Angling Trade and Fly Rod & Reel this summer, a new nano silica manufacturing process (now used by St. Croix, G.Loomis, Hardy and others) is yielding rods that are lighter and reportedly more durable. We’re going to find out just how resilient (and in many cases, how well some models justify a $700-plus price) as everyday anglers start pulling on fish with them.