Family, Faith, and Fishing are the best words to describe this week’s Faces of Fly fishing. We had the opportunity to sit down with THE Derek Olthuis. There is no doubt this guy can fish… He has the patience, intelligence, and spirit that several fishermen seem to lack. This past winter he and InTents Media released a trip targeting the “holy grail” up in Canada’s Arctic Circle.
Flylords: Who is Derek Olthuis?
Derek: I am simply a guy who loves fly fishing so much that I couldn’t possibly handle the thought of an office job and so… I pursued a career in fly fishing! I am a Christian, a family man, and an outdoorsman.
Flylords: How do you get to do what you do?
Derek: Obviously, there is a lot of luck involved in being able to travel and fish some amazing places around the world. Probably the biggest thing is developing relationships with companies and providing them with value. Lodges, guides, and outfitters need media more than ever and being able to provide them with content that will help bring exposure to their fishery and business. It has been a good way to build great relationships and open doors to fish in various places around the world.
Flylords: When did the fly fishing journey begin?
Derek: As a boy, I grew up on a small lake in Montana, fishing was the daily norm. Around 8 years old my uncle invited me to come to Bozeman and give fly fishing a shot. He set me up with all the gear, gave me a quick lesson, and sent me out on the Gallatin River. My mind was blown, casting, reading the river, and the fish was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It only took once with the flies replacing the spinners, and the ugly stick turned into a Browning fly rod with an Orvis reel. Since that first time I have never looked back, fly fishing became my main focus.
Flylords: Is there a downfall to all the traveling?
Derek: The hardest part about traveling is being away from my wife and kids. After roughly a week on the road, it becomes tough to be away and as good as fishing might be I start looking forward to being at home.
Flylords: How do you manage fly fishing time and family time?
Derek: Managing time between family and fly fishing can be tough. My wife and I look at a calendar and figure out when there is a family event or something for the kids that is important and we plan around that. Often fishing means hitting the water early in the morning and coming home around the same time the kids are home from school or fishing at night when the kids are asleep. It certainly requires some sacrifice but if doable when we sit down and figure out the days of the week that will be best for me to get on the water.
Flylords: What was one of the most memorable films that you were apart of?
Derek: Without doubt one of the most memorable trips was heading to the Canadian Arctic to film Seriously North.
Flylords: What makes the Arctic char the “holy grail”?
Derek: All of us (the InTents Media crew) love char, for us, those colored-up sea run arctic char are rare, difficult to access, and among the most beautiful fish on earth. That combination makes them extra special to us and the Holy Grail.
Flylords: Whose idea was it to kneel during the struggle?
Derek: I am not sure that anyone person came up with the idea to kneel down and pray. Everyone on the trip is religious and believes that God is aware of us. As we talked about the trip, the struggles and that this might be our one chance to catch these fish we decided to kneel down together and ask for help from a higher power, from our Heavenly Father.
Flylords: Were you ever afraid of the dangers on these trips?
Derek: We are always aware of the dangers involved in a trip like that, part of the fun is knowing there is a risk that can really turn the trip into an adventure. We do a lot of research and talk through the possible dangers to make sure we have the proper gear and a game plan for anything that might arise. I am a firm believer that being prepared removes the majority of the fear and allows for a more carefree experience. On almost every trip we have experienced discomfort, bad weather, tough fishing, and genuine adventure but I guess that is what makes these types of trips so much fun!
Flylords: What’s the largest fish you’ve ever caught on a fly rod?
Derek: Probably a tarpon. There is something special about tarpon. It is almost as though electricity pulses through the line and into your body when you hook up on a big poon. Trout and char are my bread and butter; however, every fly angler should catch a tarpon on the fly at least once!
Flylords: Favorite fly pattern?
Derek: I am going to have to say a bugger. Buggers are so versatile, you can pound the banks with them, dead drift them, or fish them like a leech in lakes. In fact, I am sure that if you tied them on a salt hook you would do well in the ocean with a bugger. I have caught several species of fish all over the world on a bugger and can’t think of a pattern that is a better no brainer searching pattern like a bugger.
Flylords: What’s the most underrated piece of gear you have?
Derek: Either sunglasses or the hook. I see a ton of people show up to fish with an expensive rod, reel, line, fishing bag, waders, and so on. Then often people’s hooks are cheap, rusty or dull and they are wearing sunglasses they bought at the gas station. Sunglasses are what allows me to see fish and observe them, giving me all the clues to catch them. And hooks are your most important link between you and the fish. All the other pieces of equipment only work if the hook is sharp and strong enough to get the job done. All of the best gear is next to worthless if you have a crappy hook.
Flylords: What destination would you recommend for a group of angling buddies?
Derek: Huh, that’s a tough one. There are so many great places to fish it is hard to choose one but I might say Alaska. Alaska has so much to offer any angler it is hard to think of a better place for almost any ability level or type of person. There are enough salmon in the river that anyone can catch a fish, a trophy rainbow will provide a challenge and if you get tired of catching fish just look around and enjoy the bears, scenery and overall experience of being in a location that has so much to offer an outdoorsman.
Flylords: Have you learned any lessons about life or fishing from all the fishing you do around the globe?
Derek: Fishing around the world has really taught me a lot. It has shown me how many amazing places there are in the world, how many great people love fish and fishing, and just how lucky I am to live where I live. As much as I love traveling it is hard to beat the Rocky Mountains in the US and Canada. There is so much diversity in the West between types of fish and places to pursue them it has really made me appreciate the areas I so often take for granted.
Flylords: Any upcoming trips?
Derek: In the remaining months of the year myself and the crew will be heading to Minipi in Eastern Canada, Katmai Trophy Lodge in Alaska, and Seychelles. Each will be unique from the others but I can’t wait to fish them all. To be honest, I am really looking forward to fishing around the home from most of the summer, it has been a blast so far!
I’m pretty careful of my fly rods and reels. Only a few pieces of gear have truly been damaged. I can’t say the same thing about waders, however. For whatever reason, I’m tough on waders and wading boots. Maybe I “fish hard,” or maybe I don’t look where I’m walking. Regardless, I’ve put holes in and torn through neoprene, Gore-Tex, and even vulcanized rubber.
Thankfully, all but the most colossal rips can be repaired. And virtually every repair can be made stream side. All you need is the right stuff, properly applied.
Since I’ve had a little bit of experience, including recently punching the hook of a thick-shanked saltwater streamer through my waist, I thought I’d share my take on the what and how of wader repair. I have two product recommendations and four tips on actual repairs.
If you imagine a perfect day on the water, pleasant temperatures and sunshine probably come to mind. But rain, which is a common summer afternoon occurrence, leaves most anglers packing up their cars and heading for home.
But, if you’re willing to stick it out through the bad weather, you’ll reap some major benefits. The moment the first drop falls, people will start heading for home, and that’s the first advantage to staying out. Most likely, you’ll get the water to yourself.
Apart from that, the fishing itself is likely to improve as well. Some people love fishing in the rain, since the low light conditions and abundance of food can trigger heavy feeding in fish. Fishing during a rainstorm, though, requires different tactics than on a bluebird day. Not all rain is created equal, either, so knowing how to approach each situation is key. Tailoring both your fly choice and presentation to the conditions can make or break a rainy day on the water.
While fishing in the rain can be an opportune time, don’t discount the cool, calm time before the storm. Fishing right before it rains can be just as effective as during or after a rainstorm.
Opinions differ on what exactly causes this increase in activity before inclement weather. Two of the main guesses are barometric pressure and low light conditions.
It’s hard to argue against the idea of low light conditions being a good thing. Low light, with or without rain, often causes an increase in fish activity. Hatches may start to come off, harsh direct light goes away, and fish may be harder for predators to spot. Fish respond well to all of these things.
As for barometric pressure, many anglers swear by it, while others think it’s more of a correlation than causation. Pressure tends to fall dramatically right before a storm, and it’s during this time of rapid change that fish are thought to feed the most aggressively.
It’s well-known that fish can sense pressure changes due to organs like the swim bladder, which are acutely tuned to pressure. The thoughts about why pressure affects fish, though, vary widely. One idea is that a drop in pressure may cause small baitfish and plankton to rise in the water column, leading to a feeding frenzy among predators. Another guess is that the predatory fish themselves will rise temporarily in the water, making them easier to target in the shallows. A third idea supposes that fish make the connection between pressure drops and bad weather, so they choose to feed before the rain mucks up the water.
Whatever the true cause of the action, it’s evident that the fishing improves before a storm, so target this time aggressively.
Different Types of Rain
Fish respond differently to different types of precipitation, so it’s important to cater your techniques to the type of rainstorm.
A quick, mild drizzle likely won’t affect fishing much at all. If you don’t even think to look for your rain jacket, you probably don’t need to worry about switching your rig, either. Fish may take dries or nymphs during a light rain, although rises may be hard to spot among the raindrops!
If the rain picks up into a steady shower, it’s probably time to switch tactics. Fish will likely stop rising to the surface for tiny insects, so swapping out for a nymph rig is a good idea. The other option is to use large, gaudy dries like hoppers. Rain knocks tons of insects and other food sources into the water, so fish may sit along the shore ready to gobble up terrestrials as they tumble in. You can get the best of both worlds by tying a nymph off the bottom of your hopper.
When a heavy downpour rolls in, the water starts to rise and turn muddy. This may effectively eliminate dry fly activity, as well as small nymphs. Now’s the time to throw on something large and juicy like a San Juan worm or streamer. Flies in this type of water should be visible and appetizing. Save your delicate flies for the nicer weather.
General Rainstorm Tips
Use quicker retrieves – If you’re fishing the high-activity period right before rain, try fishing any stripped fly more aggressively than normal. During this frenzy, fish key in on fleeing prey, and you can take advantage of the chaos by giving them something to chase down.
Adapt – Probably the most important thing to keep in mind when fishing in the rain is that you must be willing to make adjustments along the way. If you keep the same rig from pre-storm to post-storm, you’ll probably strike out through most of it. Changing tactics frequently to match the weather is the way to go.
Look for slow eddies near shore – Especially in a medium-strength rain, try to fish the slower pockets near shore. Not only do these pockets give fish a safe haven during rising water levels, but they also collect insects that fall in from the banks.
Prepare for another bump in activity after the storm – While the calm before the storm is great due to pressure and light changes, don’t forget to fish after a storm, too. If you catch it just right, you may be rewarded with massive hatches of insects as clearing weather meets with a cooling evening. Get ready to throw your dries back on as soon as the rain stops.
Fly Suggestions for Rain
The three top categories of flies during a rainstorm are terrestrials, large nymphs, and streamers.
Any terrestrials can mimic bugs falling in from the shore, but sticking with large ones like hoppers or big ants is probably best, especially if the surface is disturbed by rainfall.
As for streamers, try visible colors like black or dark brown to make them stand out against the murky water. A black woolly bugger is perfect.
If you’re nymphing, stick with large, visible flies like a Pat’s Rubber Legs or San Juan worm. Prey items like worms and chubby stoneflies get kicked up during rough water and make for a juicy, highly visible meal.
The iconic brand is on a mission to go 100% recycled
by Chad Shmukler
Did you know that the clothing industry pumps more carbon into the air—roughly 1.2 billion tons—than all international airplane flights combined? The creation of materials used throughout the clothing and apparel industry, whether natural or synthetic, is a carbon-intensive process, and one most often powered by coal-fired power plants. Using recycled materials can prevent an enormous amount of carbon from ending up in the atmosphere. And that’s why Patagonia is on a mission to completely eliminate virgin materials from its manufacturing.
If reaching their goal of using 100% recycled materials sounds like pie-in-the-sky snowflake stuff, consider that, as of this year, Patagonia has already made it to 69%—leading the charge on the use of recycled synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon, as well as natural fibers like cotton, wool and down.
Sadly, the industry average is a paltry 13%. But Patagonia wants that to change. According to the brand, if the clothing industry as a whole recycled at the same rate as Patagonia, the atmosphere could be spared the same amount of carbon emissions that would be generated powering every household in the state of California for an entire year.
The latest in Patagonia’s recycling mission is its new line of its revered Black Hole bags. The new Black Hole line of bags have body fabric and webbing that are now made with 100% recycled materials—mostly plastic bottles.
According to Patagonia, 10 million plastic bottles went into this year’s lineup of bags—which includes everything from the latest version of the venerable Black Hole duffels, backpacks and rolling luggage to ultralights, waist packs, cubes, totes and even mini-hip packs (read: fanny packs).
On top of using 100% recycled body fabric, Patagonia’s Black Hole bags are also made in Vietnam at a factory that produces zero wastewater. The facility treats all of the wastewater from their manufacturing onsite and uses it to water trees around the factory—eliminating wastewater pollution in nearby rivers and stream while recycling that water into the natural environment around the factory.
To see the entire lineup of new Black Hole bags, visit Patagonia.
Buying gifts for anglers can be a tricky task. Whether you’re a participant, or someone not quite familiar with the sport, picking the perfect gift is often an intimidating and sometimes stressful endeavor as each angler possesses a unique taste. That being said, we here at Fly Lords wanted to take the guesswork out of the process and deliver to you the ultimate fly fishing gift guide for 2019.
Whether this gift is something small for a friend, or the gift of the year, we explored the internet far and wide to culminate a plethora of options that will fit anyone’s budget! Like what you see? Click here to be taken to our buyer’s directory.
How to choose (for non-anglers)
When it comes to finding a gift for the angler in your life, it feels like there are a million options to choose from. So, when trying to find the perfect gift to give, focus on the person you’re buying for, not an exact item or brand. If they are someone who never seems to be outside of an airport terminal, focus towards a gift that embodies travel such as a backpack, or rain jacket. If they’re more of a weekend warrior, consider smaller gifts like a water bottle built to last, or a cool hoodie. By matching the lifestyle of the person you’re buying for, as opposed to their estimated taste, you’re far more likely to find the perfect present they didn’t even know they needed. (But just in case, it never hurts to save the receipt)
Finally, remember that sometimes it’s better to think little! Whether it’s a holiday, or just a token of gratitude, sometimes its a hat, shirt, or replacement tool that ends up being the gift that means the most. Not everyone needs something big and flashy. Plenty of times, just the simple reminder of knowing you care is more than enough.
This fly box is streamlined to carry 168 flies, and can slip into just about any pocket you have. Built with a shatter-resistant polycarbonate body, as well as a magnetic closing system, this is the ultimate all in one box for any angler.
One of the most looked over, yet useful devices an angler can carry on them, the Smith Creek rod clip is a fly fishing must-have. Being small, yet extremely durable, this rod clip provides a third hand to anyone removing a hook, changing flies, or dealing with a nasty tangle.
Say goodbye to sheep’s wool and say hello to the Fishpond Beavertail Fly patch. Gone are the days of twisting and bending hooks out of weathered patches. The durable foam pad allows for dependable storage of wet flies, as well as easy access for a quick fly change. With an easy to use velcro attachment system, this patch can be slapped onto any velcro surface withing seconds.
Every smart angler knows to never leave home without a pair of forceps, and to never settle for a sub-par make. Loon outdoors provides a compact, top quality pair of forceps that are sure to last as long as you can keep track of them. Made with a comfortable grip finish, as well as a rust-resistant finish, these forceps are all you could look for, and then some.
What’s more important than staying hydrated? Nothing. With the stylish and extremely durable yeti 18oz rambler, you can keep water cold ALL DAY, and look great doing it.
Gifts under $100
Dead Drift Fly Fishing T-shirt
Work less, Fish more; truly a motto to live by. A perfect gift for the angler who seems to spend more time in the office than on the water, this athletic poly blend t-shirt is a quick and easy way to remind someone (or yourself) what really matters in life. Not to mention, because of its durable construction, you can wear this shirt on and off the water (With a few washes in-between).
A fan favorite on the river, keep your hands cool and safe from the sun’s harmful rays. These gloves come in a multitude of styles that are sure to match the hatch when it comes to each angler’s unique taste.
Duck Camp Co. Bamboo Hoodie
Made from a 67% bamboo blend material, this hoodie will allow you to blend in with your surroundings, and keep you feeling comfortable all day. Moisture-wicking technology combined with soft lock seams come together to keep you dry and on the water all day.
One of the most convenient over the shoulder packs, as well as one of the most cost-efficient, the Orvis safe passage shoulder sling pack is designed with comfort and practicality in mind. Constructed with specialized pockets for water bottles and fly boxes of all sizes, this pack never fails to accommodate any angler’s preferences.
FlyLords Artist Series: Lucky Hat
Born in the journal of Ed Anderson this hat came to life with the quote ” There is no explanation – a good hat can mean the difference between the words “skunk,” and “epic”. Supply is limited, so don’t miss out on the lucky hat that may be just what you need to finally land that once in a lifetime fish.
Patagonia Neoprene Socks with Gravel Guards
In the midst of summer. wet wading is every angler’s relief. However, there’s no need to toss aside your wading boots just yet. With Patagonia’s durable neoprene wading sock, you’ll be able to keep debris out, all while keeping cool and looking cooler.
This shirt specializes in comfort and breathability. Perfect for the long days spent on the salt, the PFG Tamiami shirt is constructed of omni-shade UPF 40 fabric, as well as Amni-wick moisture-wicking fabric in order to keep you protected rain or shine. An essential to any angler to keep your skin, and state of mind safe.
When it comes to fly-line, nobody does it better than Scientific Anglers. With their new line of amplitude line, SA utilizes patented divot technology to get your line further and smoother with each cast. Specializing in accuracy, this is the ultimate trout line.
Made to look good and function even better Costa’s 580 Polycarbonate provides high clarity, impact- and scratch-resistance along with lightweight all-day wear-ability. If you’re looking to take your fishing game to the next level, look no further than the sunglasses that are built by hand and backed for life.
“We’re gonna need a bigger…net”. Don’t find yourself on the river trying to cram your new PR into a tiny outdated net. Trust one of the most popular brands in the net game right now and upgrade to the Nomad Mid-length net. By prolonging your reach, and increasing your grip, kiss the awkward fish fumble goodbye, and say hello to the easiest net job you ever experienced.
Moonshine is making a splash in the rod industry right now, and their rods back the hype. Introducing the Moonshine Drifter series rod, available in sizes from 3-8 wt. there’s a rod for any angler. As if the High-performance graphite and grad AAA cork wasn’t trustworthy enough, this rod is backed by a no-fault LIFETIME guarantee. There are very few rods on the market that have this much value, for such a low price.
Simms Dry Creek Z Hip Pack
Built with the ingenuity one would trust from a pack made by SIMMS fishing, The Dry Creek z Hip pack is everything you could want in a fly bag and more. Engineered to be completely waterproof, the Dry Creek Z’s patented TIPZIP technology keeps your gear safe and dry. Built big enough to hold all your geat and then some; you’ll have to buy more fly boxes just to fill the main compartment.
Taking a place on our 2019 list for The Best Fly Fishing Packs That’ll Have Your Back, the Yeti Panga Waterproof backpack is as sleek as backpacks come. Capitalizing on patented THICKSKIN TPU lamination, and Hydrolock zipper technology, this bag is here to serve and protect from any and all elements. The pack is also compatible with the Yeti Sidekick Hopper, which can be easily attached to the back for added storage and accessibility.
When it comes to an all-day fishing trip, the last thing you should have to worry about is staying dry. Luckily, the Orvis pro wading jacket has your back. Engineered with a waterproof rating of 20,000mm and a breathability rating of 15,000g, no jacket performs quite like this one. Designed with the rugged outdoors in mind, the pro wading jacket is a class above the rest when it comes to keeping your dry and comfortable.
Abel TR Click and Pawl Reel
Scientifically engineered to last, this C&P reel is one of the most versatile high-end reels on the market. Made in the USA, this reel utilizes a time-honored click-pawl system that protects light tippet while preventing overrun with a Quick-change spool and large-arbor design. If that’s not enough, all Abel Reel designs can be personalized to match the heart and soul of any angler.
Thomas and Thomas Zone Rod
When you’re buying a T&T rod, you know you’re making a sound investment. However. something that makes the “zone” a little different from most other rods is its willingness to compete. Adaptable, durable, and surprisingly affordable, the “Zone” ditches the frills and sparkles most high-end rods decide to boast, and focuses purely on functionality. Built with Thomas and Thomas’ premium rod tech, the “Zone” is one of the best rods an angler can find for the price.
If you’re looking for waders that manage to match their functionality with their ingenuity, look no further. The Redington sonic pro HDZ waders are a testament to wading technology and could be considered the most practical waders on the market. Built to withstand the most rugged conditions, the Sonic Pro HDZ waders include their patented TIPZIP waterproof front zipper, two-sided fleece hand warmers (with waterproof zippers), a large water-resistant pocket, and an integrated tool dock. If it’s time to toss torn and tattered waders, make sure to make the investment that will pay off for years to come, and invest in a pair of these bad boys.
*Note: Wading boots are not included in this list, but can be found HERE
Yeti Tundra 65 Cooler
When it comes to the Yeti Tundra 65 it’s going big or go home. There’s no need to explain why this cooler reigns champion amongst all other coolers but were going to tell you anyway. #1 in insulation, as well as #1 durability, Yeti coolers have made a name for themselves in the outdoor gear world. This cooler can carry just about anything but the kitchen sink (and maybe that too, depends on how good you are at packing), and keep the load at the perfect temperature for days. If you’re looking for the cooler that’ll last the rest of your life, look no further than the Yeti Tundra 65.
One can only go so deep with a standard pair of waders, not to mention, what about fishing lakes… or strong rivers? Drift boats are too expensive, and where can you store them? Here with a solution to all these problems is the CA Colorado XTS inflatable Pontoon boat. This boat comes with everything you need to get on, and off the water. Including over 20 insulated pockets, a swivel paddle seat, and a detachable transport wheel, this boat’s main focus is convenience. Not to mention, it can be deflated and folded up to fit in the back of your car (with room leftover!). Additional features include a removable stripping basket, adjustable footrests, quick fill valves, and a built-in anchor system, making this one of the most versatile pontoons in its price range, and the perfect gift for any angler looking to extend their fishing adventures.
Handmade/ Personalized Gifts
Brady’s Handmade Nets
Crafted by father and son, these nets embody the spirit of fly fishing and the connections the sport creates. Each net is individually constructed purely by hand in South Carolina, and can be customized to meet even the most specific preference of any angler. With an unbeatable price, these nets are the perfect way to show someone you really care, as it’ll be a staple to their fly fishing loadout for many years to come.
Hand-Painted Customized Abel Reel
One reel to rule them all. Hit the water with an all-new, customized VAYA reel from Abel Reels. Making their second appearance on the list, Abel enables any of their reels to be customized with a hand-painted finish that can be modified to incorporate over 70 different designs! Show someone you truly know them with the unique gift that will distinguish them from anyone on the water.
Handmade Scott Splitcane Flyrod
Inspired by the rod’s that started it all, The folks down at Scott Fly Rods are preserving history within each one of their customized split cane rods. In collaboration with Naoki Hashimoto of Hokkaido of Japan, these rods are works of art created through masterful precision and care. Pay homage to where the sport was born and embark on your next journey with a true one-of-a-kind tool that can be matched by no other.
The “what” and “why” of using a dry/dropper rig are explained a few weeks into Fly Fishing 101. You cover more water, present to more fish, and maximize your catching potential.
But there have always been many more ways to tap into 2 fly systems than a Chernobyl Ant with a Copper John underneath it.
Here are four dropper rig ideas for all types of trout fishing. These incorporate streamers, dries, nymphs, and even mice. What they all have in common is this – the flies work in tandem. Fishing the flies together can create a whole greater than the sum of each individual fly’s parts.
Check out the four rigs, as well as a few notes on knots and storage, below:
When our friends from Abel told us they were dropping “VAYA” a new reel in their arsenal of badassery, we were so excited we decided to pack our bags and head to Montrose Colorado to see this thing in person…
We had also been hearing rumors about a new Mayfly Headquarters – so we were excited for the chance to see this building in person. For those of you who don’t know, Abel reels and Ross reels are both manufactured under the same roof in Montrose, CO USA. Walking into this state of the art facility, I was seriously impressed with the size and efficiency of the operation.
An entire building dedicated to making the best reels on the planet. Walking around the factory and watching employees hard at work makes you really understand the power of USA made products. These reels are giving hard-working US individuals actual jobs, and they all greeted us with big smiles.
When Mayfly bought this land they secured a large stretch of the legendary Uncompahgre river, which was quickly donated back to the town in an effort to conserve the river and turn it into a fly only catch and release section of water. On top of being a throws distance away from the River, the Mayfly team also has a killer little bass pond directly outside. We had a chance to throw a few casts with a fellow employee!
As we made our way around the office we eventually sat down with Jeff Patterson a true veteran with Abel Reels and an integral member of the Mayfly team. We had a chance to ask Jeff some questions about the VAYA!
Flylords:We know you have this new reel coming to the market. What’s it called? And why are you excited about it?
Jeff: It’s called Abel VAYA. VAYA is Spanish for go, as in go fishing, go outside, go on an adventure. This is the reel for it. It covers everything from freshwater to light saltwater. So it’s our go-to reel.
Flylords: How long have you been working on this design and when is it going to be available for people to buy?
Jeff: We’ve been working on it for quite some time. Well over a year. The concept goes back even further than that. It will be shipping August of this year for the first time.
Flylords: What makes the reel unique compared to the other Abels’ line up?
Jeff: It’s a completely new look for Abel reels. It doesn’t really look like anything that we’ve made in the past. However, if you see it in the case you might say, “Is that an Abel?” Because there are some similarities that the rest of our products have. Besides the same amount of details that go into the anodizing, the polishing, the aesthetics, and the material itself. There are no corners cut on this reel to get to a certain price point. It’s just something different for us and maybe a little larger arbor than we’ve had in the past.
Flylords: What weight is the reel going to be available in, and what are the different patterns and colors that you can purchase it in?
Jeff: We’re launching this reel with three different sizes. We’re doing a four-five, a five-six, and a seven-eight. On these models, all three actually have a different set of milled fly patterns on the inside. So the four-five is appropriate for a hopper dropper type rig. So that’s what we put on the inside of these. The five-six gets a little bit bigger. So we’re going more like a hopper streamer type of setup. And then when you start getting into the seven-eight you’re hitting the light saltwater world, so we’re doing a streamer and a Gotcha fly for bonefish.
Flylords: I know the price point’s going to be a little bit lower than some of the other Abel line up. Can you just tell us a little bit about what was the thought process behind that?
Jeff: It’s going to sell for $495.00 in standard black. It’s a drag system reel for under $500.00 from Abel, which is different for us. Like I said, it’s not something that we cut corners for. It’s a little bit less expensive for us to produce and therefore we could make it that way for our consumers. It’s a proven drag system with the five stacks of carbon fluoropolymer and stainless steel. It’s very durable and not a lot of moving parts inside of it. A really, really cool sound on the incoming click as well as the outgoing drag. It’s just a very smooth, cool-sounding reel.
Flylords:I know you just moved into a new facility here in Montrose. Is this the first brand-new product that you’re producing in this facility and are you excited about that?
Jeff: Yeah, but it goes back to the previous facility that we were working on this with, I guess technically this is the first new launch from our new building here at Colorado Outdoors in Montrose!
Flylords:Why are you excited about this place (The Mayfly HQ) and how do you think it’s going to affect your brands here?
Jeff: The building here at Colorado Outdoors is just a beautiful place. It’s a setting designed for our production. From the very beginning, it’s for the flow of our own production line. But even bigger than that, it’s a very eco-friendly building. It’s on a beautiful setting, sitting on a pond, looking at the Uncompahgre River.
Our team can go out and fish at lunchtime, come back and not miss a beat. Not to mention what we’re doing with all of Colorado Outdoors, restoring the Uncompahgre River, we already donated it back to the city of Montrose and designating it an artificial flies only catch and release section. It’s something that you would want to see as an angler.
Flylords: Is there anything else you want to add?
Jeff: We talked a little bit about what’s in the drag and the outgoing click – it sounds and feels incredible. You almost have to pick it up to understand. It’s like a Rolex or something. The other thing is the drag system – which is designed so the lower end of the drag has tons of adjustment, a really wide range. So from zero to three pounds, there’s just tons of drag adjustment in there. But it still ramps up to have 10 pounds of drag. I mean, it still is great for those bonefish and that kind of thing, but where it’s primarily going to be used we don’t use a lot of poundage, and you will have lots of the adjustment in there.
Be sure to check out the Reel at your local fly shop later this month to really get a first hand feel for this new piece and check it out online here. Full specs listed below:
Partially-ported frame for the perfect balance of weight, sound, and visual appeal
Different sets of milled fly pattern silhouettes on interior of each frame relevant to the size of the reel
I consider myself an avid reader of fly fishing content. The scope of my interests ranges from literary classics to random posts on social media. For whatever reason, fly fishing writing has a unique penchant to transcend “I caught a fish” or “this is how I caught a fish” and wade deeply into “catching a fish made me stare into my own mortality and the very meaning of reality.”
If you read fly fishing content at all, you know that last phrase isn’t hyperbole. If anything, it is an example of subtlety within the genre.
The contemplative, quiet nature of fly fishing is tailor made for romance. Standing in the same water your quarry swims in, and the necessity to understand the rocks and the weather and the seasons draws one’s consciousness to the smallness of our existence within the… see? See how easy it is to slide from rote explanation to gushing loquaciousness?
That is fly fishing. But I have a concern.
My concern isn’t with the language and the syntax. Frankly, I am not even opposed to the poetic; be it truly heartfelt or blatantly verbose. Expressing what it is like to be outdoors, doing what you enjoy matters. It is wonderful if fly fishing is a significant part of your vocation or recreation. Blessed is the man who can fish often and still balance the rest of his life. I harbor no ill will toward anyone who fishes, catches fish, and shares their passion for the pursuit.
My concern is this: does fly fishing give meaning to your life, or does your life give meaning to fly fishing?
Flylords caught up with Mickey Finn to discuss his recent goliath of a Murray Cod that he caught. Mickey is an Aussie fly fishing guide based down in the Snowy-Mountains/CBR Australia, who specializes in everything from Murray-Cod and Trout.
How did this fish go down?
I fished by myself for a week chasing these fish with only one that MAYBE looked at the fly, that’s pretty normal this time of year as it’s the big fish that are around. I went out with my mate Will (@willcurtin_) and on the second cast my fly got RAILED! Literally, as I was talking to him about the advantage of being able to hang flies in these fishes face. The next few minutes were a blur, I’m still shaking.
Where were you and what weight rod and tackle were you using to land this trophy?
I was 20 minutes from my house on a water supply Dam called Googong in New South Wales in Australia. It has a reputation for being incredibly tough, even for spin guys, but having some of the heaviest Cod in Australia. Because its water supply you can only fish certain hours and you have to row, paddle or electric motor to fish. It is incredibly beautiful and quiet.
I was using a 9wt Loop Q with a Loop Q reel, Scientific Anglers Sink 30 warm line and a big ass fly (pictured above).
Tips for targeting big cod?
Tip 1:Never stop casting. You have to put in the time to find the fish and harass them. If your fly isn’t in the water and you’re not concentrating you will not catch fish.
Tip 2: Fish slowly with plenty of long pauses. Big cod in the winter don’t really want to chase and hang time is everything.
Tip 3: Fish with a mate. I would not have caught that fish without my buddy Will, I have been fishing it solo but with a mate, you’ve got a much better chance of landing a fish like this, not mention getting a great photo of it!
What makes Murray Cod unique?
They are the largest freshwater species in Australia, and one of the largest in the world.
Murray Cod are Apex predators and will eat anything and everything they can.
They’ve evolved over millions of years in one of the toughest environments on the planet, they’re pre-historic Australian monsters.
They can be incredibly long-lived for a fish, 30 even 40 years old.
They have come back from near extinction to a healthy and viable growing population.
My grandfather used to fish for them with live Cockatoo’s (a large parrot).
One of the most common ways for them to die is to chock to death on another cod.
3 Reasons to Come from the States to Fish for Them:
Reason #1: Murray Cod are only in Australia, they are our largest native freshwater fish, they don’t exist anywhere else in the world.
Reason #2: They nail flies, top-water and sub-surface. In the summertime you can get good numbers and size, winter is tough but there’s a shot at a lake trophy (like above!).
Reason #3: They live in the most beautiful and unique environments in Australia, you can drift down giant eucalypt lined rivers or slide along a lake edge while kangaroos stare at you casting at banks.
Bonus Reason: They are one of the coolest fish that have their own personality and patterns that range from digicam to buttery yellow and chartreuse. They are one of the few fish that can really put the fear of God into you.
To book your trip with Mickey check out the Aussie Fly Fisher website here. And be sure to follow Mickey on Instagram @mickey.finn.