My girls have a book titled Swimmer. It documents the life cycle of a wild Pacific salmon, including the very end, when Swimmer starts to decompose and litters the river with shreds of her flesh. Her death feeds big rainbows and Dolly Varden, but more important, she fuels the river’s nutrient base and, eventually, her offspring.
WHEN I FISH STREAMERS AND BIG NYMPHS FROM A BOAT ON MOVING WATER, I apply them most commonly against the banks, less often to obvious lies such as boulders out in the mid-currents. I do it as prescribed by either of two primary theories: placing my casts upstream or down, behind the boat or in front of it. Both were taught to me by guides, and I’ll outline each briefly here, because when you fish big, weighted flies from a boat, one application or the other works most of the time, and the results are likely to hang heavy in your net when they do.
- Photography by: Dave Hughes
MY FISHING BUDDIES AND I ARE BLIGHTED BY SEVERE GOUT. When we hobble into the offices of local doctors they tell us it results from our drinking habits. But we don’t believe that Ripple wine, which we never touch before 9 a.m., has a thing to do with our affliction. What’s more, we’ve consulted the sewer commissioner, the building inspector and the managers of five liquor stores. They all confirm what we suspect—that our diagnoses result from an abstinence cult among the medical profession, which opposes anything that feels or tastes good and which, in an effort to drum up business, is always trying to panic the public.
Thanks to an agreement between an Italian company (Avalon) and the Cuban government, anglers have fished Cuba’s Los Jardines de la Reina (The Gardens of the Queen) for the past 18 years. Tales of Los Jardines’ unblemished and underexploited waters make the archipelago a sought-after flats destination . . . especially in spring, when migrating adult tarpon pass through and anglers get their shots at 100-plus-pound beasts.
I grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, where my brothers and I chased fish wherever they were found, from farm ponds to shipping canals and everywhere in between. When I was 10 my parents started taking the family north to Wisconsin’s Wolf River country, where we pursued white bass, pike and walleye. It was there that I developed a deep and abiding love for the water.
Photographer: Louis Cahill
- Photography by: Louis Cahill
YOU CAN’T FISH THE DELAWARE RIVER, OR any other stream for that matter, with just anybody. They need to fish at a similar pace, match your eating schedule, and stay out of your way while you stay out of theirs, an agreement on personal space that’s arrived at without one word being said. Plus, they can’t get creeped out when you take them to Lordville.
I didn’t know it at the time, but Joan Wulff first had an impact on my life when, as a teenager, I tightly gripped the cork of my father’s fly rod and made my first cast. Fly-fishing was to become an obsession, and at that moment I, like many female anglers, was indebted to Wulff for making fly-fishing both accessible to and acceptable for women.
The first Chinook salmon I caught here was a 25-pound buck. He made several long runs and spent quite a while bulldogging before I got him in the shallows where I could slip out of the boat onto firm bottom to land him. A moment comes while playing a big fish when things begin to turn in your favor, but even then there’s only one way it can go right and dozens of ways it can go wrong, all of which will be your fault. So when he was finally in the net, I felt more relief than triumph.
- Photography by: John Gierach