I started traveling to Alaska alone when I turned 16, taking a salmon-cannery job that required 17-hour workdays, seven days a week, for three months straight.
The first time I took a fly pattern to a manufacturer was back in 1980, and since then I’ve submitted many, many more. For me it was a relatively easy process because there were very few people submitting new patterns at that time; now, as an established fly designer (and a shop owner for more than 30 years) it’s even less of a chore.
- Photography by: Louis Cahill
I NEARLY TRIPPED OVER the shed antler, one side of what had been an impressive 10-point whitetail buck’s rack. It was concealed in the leaf litter, slightly mossy and gnawed a bit by rodents (probably squirrels), but it was still beautiful. I zipped it into my pack and continued hiking up the Appalachian creekside trail, following the blue blazes and yelling for my buddy James to “Wait up!”
- Photography by: Zach Matthews
Sometimes things work out. And sometimes they don’t.
All right, picture this, ALMOST than 25 years ago: I’m the newly minted associate editor of this magazine (at the time, it was still called Rod & Reel, the Fly coming later). I’m newly married. I’m on my honeymoon. To top it off, my wife and I are spending that honeymoon in Belize, for our first flats fishing experience.
- Photography by: Brian O'Keefe
The challenges facing native fish aren’t limited to a single watershed, species or geography, or to salt or fresh water—they are global. Overfishing, introduction of invasive species, destruction of habitat and spawning grounds, man-made pollution and general lack of data are universal factors that endanger native fish, whether they are wild cutthroat in the Rockies, bonefish in the Florida Keys, permit off the Yucatan Peninsula . . . or even Slovenia’s softmouth trout.
For some, it’s the roar of the crowd in the Big House—100,000 strong, all bellowing for the maize-and-blue. For others, it’s the irresistible attraction of the opposite sex. They claim Ole Miss’s campus-wide speed limit is 18 miles per hour because that was Archie Manning’s number. But one look at the co-eds strolling the pathways and you’ll know the real reason. And then again there is actual academic achievement (it turns out that this often-overlooked factor has some bearing on future employment, if you’re into that kind of thing). Whatever your main motivation, there’s no denying that choosing a college is a heavy decision.
Fly Rod & Reel’s Angling Adventures 2013
p>It was on the flats of Homosassa that the first giant tarpon was landed on a fly. The angler was Lefty Kreh; the year, 1971. A long procession of saltwater angling luminaries, inspired by tales of Lefty’s success, soon followed, among them Norman Duncan, Steve Huff, Stu Apte and Billy Pate. By the late ’70s, word was officially out. “Back in the good old days, it was not unheard of for the best anglers to jump 50 fish in a day,” my buddy Mac McKeever shared during one of our long phone conversations leading up to my first visit. “You don’t hear reports like this anymore, but the big fish are still around. An angler named Jim Holland, Jr. landed a 202.5-pound fish in 2001, just north of town. I’ve seen fish pushing 200 pounds swim right past my boat. To know that your fly is a few feet away from a fish like that is incredibly exhilarating . . . whether they eat it or not. When they do eat, it’s remarkable. ”
- Photography by: Tosh Brown
Many of us travel far to tackle the great flyrod species—tarpon, permit, steelhead, Atlantic salmon, big brook trout and the like—but fewer take on the true test of our angling resources, that being how to travel, fish and remain sane with young kids in tow.
- Photography by: Greg Thomas
I was halfway through a pitch to fish two different rivers in two days, one of which flows through highly private lands, when my potential partner, Jeff Wogoman, asked, “Are we going to get shot at?”
- Photography by: Greg Thomas
There’s a moment during any do-it-yourself trip when you have to wonder, Am I ready for this? I asked just that as a floatplane that delivered me and a few friends into the remote Alaska landscape disappeared over the horizon. That’s when the reality of our adventure hit me—for six days we would have to be self sufficient while searching for big leopard rainbows on the upper Copper River, near Bristol Bay.
In a fly-fishing world where nymphing for carp is considered high sport, as it should be, actively seeking mountain whitefish, except in the winter months, is considered at best déclassé. Mention of trips to favorite whitefish holes generates expressions of incredulity and disgust. As the Doors so aptly said, “Faces look ugly when you’re alone.”
Reuben didn’t like the looks of the weather, and this is a man who’s squinted at plenty of threatening skies before climbing into the front seat of a float plane.
WE WERE DRIVING OVER A DIRT-ROAD PASS THROUGH Wyoming’s Salt River mountains: two muddy wheel ruts running next to the stream we’d fished that afternoon, which this high up the drainage was narrow enough to straddle. It was near sunset on a clear September evening, and as we started down the back side of the pass the valley ahead of us was a bowl of purple shade trimmed in gold. Doug reached over and turned on the GPS unit in the pickup. A meandering red line stretching to a digital horizon appeared on the screen and a female voice said, “Street name unknown.”
- Photography by: Bob White