Articles in the Category Stories

Dry or Die?

. . . There’s a segment of fly anglers who will never see streamers, nymphs or wet flies as a legitimate offering. That’s fine. Keep it to yourself.

There’s another segment of fly fishers who believe trophy hunting for big browns with big streamers is the only way to live out there. And everything else might as well be tweed hats and waxed catgut. That’s fine too. Keep it to yourself.

The majority of us are fishermen, just having fun, trying to catch a fish and then catch another one . . .

Life On the Water

Accomplished and skilled fly fishing requires that you give part of your life to the river. That’s evident in the first few trips, and I think the depth of all this surprises would-be anglers. It intimidates some, and it captivates others . . .

Patagonia Nymphing

I don’t know another time when I approached a slot with so much confidence. Better. Slower. This was it. At the end of the fishless drift, my certainly wasn’t questioned, it was simply re-informed. “Need more weight,” I said. It was an unforgettable, prove-it kind of moment . . .

Dry Flies In the Patagonia Wind

An account of our last and favorite day in Patagonia . . . We walked the banks and waded through it all — a new slate for memories, a new proving ground for tactics.

Wavering Confidence

Wavering Confidence

I was resigned to the plan but having a hard time watching it fail.

Why was my confidence so easily shaken? Because a river that was once the most predictable of any that I fish has now become the opposite. It’s a confounding mystery that I keep coming back to, wishing to solve. And I know that with enough time, with an open mind and by running the right experiments, I’ll find the answers . . .

Podcast: Freewheelin’ Two — Stories and Experiences — S5, Ep7

Podcast: Freewheelin’ Two — Stories and Experiences — S5, Ep7

It’s the things that happen while we’re out there that make fly fishing for trout the all-consuming, never ending pursuit that it is for us. And, in truth, all of us need to LET that happen. It’s in the choices that we make regarding where we’ll fish, when we’ll fish and who we’ll fish with. Those elements, the locations, the woods, the water and the friendships make all of this special . . .

The Good Wader

The Good Wader

The good wader keeps moving, believes in traction, casts in rhythm and makes no excuses. The good wader becomes the good angler . . .

Midnight Vise

Midnight Vise

Two more turns to anchor the tail. Keep it tight. Build a solid foundation, or the whole thing falls apart after a few fish — and that costs time. The shortening days steal enough of that already.

Everything Has a Flip Side

Everything Has a Flip Side

What do you believe in? What can you fish hard enough and long enough to effectively convince a sluggish trout that it’s hungry? That’s the fisherman’s confidence. And it beats out the hatch chart, the guide’s advice and last week’s river stories every time . . .

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Fish It Anyway

Fish It Anyway

And from somewhere subconscious, a part of me made the choice . . .

“I’m gonna stay on till dark,” I told Smith. “I tied on a dry-dropper, and I’ll cover the edges.”

I watched Smith walk toward home, toward the rest of life, into the lights, into the warmth, into the friendships. I stayed with the river and remained alone — pensive in the rain, resolute in the wind.

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Winter Pregame

Winter Pregame

Lessons like these linger, and they have an impact. His was a message not to fear the winter, but to respect it, to venture forth but to prepare for the unexpected. Seek adventure, with provision as your companion.

Most of Dad’s lessons were ingrained that way. And, years later, when fishing became a life for me, I saw no reason why snowy roads or ice in the rod guides should keep me from fishing . . .

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Last Cast

Last Cast

The light of the last day of the year began to fade, and I reminisced a bit. It’s been an incredible year for me, full of life lessons that I probably needed to work on for some time now.

Here’s to living the next year vividly . . .

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What to Trust

What to Trust

Of the good fishermen I know, one thing I see in all of them is how easily they can reach conclusions about fish habits. They have a knack for knowing what to trust and when to trust it.

The damned thing about a river is that it changes every day, and the habits of trout follow. If you’re observant enough to see the dynamics of a river, you can predict how the fish will respond, just by correlating their behavior patterns with the changes in water level, clarity, food availability, etc. Often, though, that’s a big leap to take. And it requires trusting in your observations enough to act decisively on them . . .

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