Seriously, Fly Fishing Socks

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What if I told you that, for $34.95, you could have a top of the line  piece of fly fishing gear?

It isn’t a fly box. It isn’t a small tool. It certainly isn’t a rod or reel. It is something that is significantly less prestigious, but absolutely necessary. It is a good pair of good socks.

(And, to be clear, you don’t need to spend $34.95 on a pair to get socks that will literally change the way you fish. That was just the most expensive pair of wading socks I could find from major  retailers.)

Why should you care about socks? How can the punchline of gift giving be worth serious consideration? With all of the engineering that goes into fly rods and the sheer volume of entomological knowledge necessary to match the hatch, why should the lowly sock demand any of your busy brain’s energy?

Simple: comfort.

Comfort transcends “it feels good on my feet.” Comfort entails cushion over a long day on your feet, proper circulation, moisture management, and warmth. It doesn’t make much sense to spend hundreds of dollars on waders with ergonomic  booties and nearly as much money on wading boots if you’re wearing just any socks.

Moreover, comfort means you can spend longer periods of time on your feet on the water with greater focus. Good socks, or any other piece of gear, aren’t going to keep you fishing into your later years. The cumulative effect of lots of wise choices, however, can.

Here are four things to consider when it comes to socks for under your waders:

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Float Into the Afterlife in This Coffin

Forget cremation, this is the way we want to be buried, as long as we can take our secret fly patterns and fishing spots with us. An Arkansas coffin maker, Glory Boats, is making caskets for the outdoorsman who wants to go out in style. They make a few different colors and can also do custom designs.

Hopefully, a drift boat model is in the works however there is no word on whether or not you can include a custom Yeti on the bow…

Source: CBS News. Glory Boats.

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Fly Fishing, Sales Pitches, & a Little Orange Thingy

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I love a good sales pitch. In fact, one of the things I enjoy the most at fly fishing shows is hearing people hawk their products. But after riding the circuit for a while, I start to say “no thanks” when people ask if they can show me how their gizmo will surely help me land more big fish.

When I have two kids in tow? Its a hard pass.

After a frenetic morning of visiting booths, sticker collecting, and politely asking to place the thousand dollar rod down, I was in no mood for more product demos. Primarily because patiently watching an adult conversation is the absolute last  thing my six- and four-year old wanted to do. That was about the speed of most sales pitches, and rightfully so. Gear X is 50% more fishier than the last generation and 75% fishier than the previous model. Not riveting content for the kindergarten crowd.

Just as we were about to leave the show, I heard the common refrain: Can I show you how this works? I was forming the no thanks when I realized that he wasn’t talking to me. He was talking to my sons.

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“Going Monk”

For those Zoolander aficionados let’s be clear from the start: I did not – I repeat, I did not – magically pull my underwear off whilst wearing pleather pants and hoist them victoriously over my head. That’s not to say haven’t tried. And while I am sorry to disappoint those hoping to garner the secret methods for said act, I did do what I consider the piscatorial equivalent. Last spring, on one of the rare nights when two hectic schedules aligned, I was able to get on the river with my good friend Mike. I clipped the hook off my fly. That’s right I clipped it off – and to be honest, I’m still not entirely sure why. Maybe it was fatigue, maybe it was the humidity, maybe it was that I lacked the near unattainable flexibility to accomplish what Hansel so aptly achieved. Maybe. In reality it was probably some distorted and deranged melding of those factors and many more. Regardless, I am glad I did it.

I know I’m not the first person to ever clip a hook off a fly, not by a long shot. In my fishing youth though, the mention of such a brash decision seemed outlandish and otherworldly. I can assure you it is neither of those things, but rather an action followed by a choice, and one I don’t regret.

There I stood, trusty Echo 3 in hand, questioning my very existence. I won’t lie, for the first few minutes I was pretty much convinced that a fish wouldn’t even look at my fly. I even began wondering if there were even fish in the river (doubt seems to be a common symptom of straying from the proverbial norm. Other rare but serious symptoms may include verbal self flagellation, soul mockery, feelings of futility and as always, in severe cases, diarrhea). Some infallible part of me stood confident that they wouldn’t appreciate my backhanded gesture of peace. I could hear them saying “All or nothing, jackass!” I couldn’t have been more wrong (wronger should be a word).

What ensued was complete chaos. Not only did the trout, brimming expectantly with June’s promised bounty, eat my fly, they crushed it– some multiple times. Some even hung on for a few seconds thrashing wildly, not because of a new lip piercing but rather out of sheer frustration and confusion. With my innate compulsion for smart assery, I began to play a game which simply consisted of seeing how many times I could get the same trout to eat my fly. The results blew me away. I found that if I let a trout eat and made no attempt to set, the same fish would chase it multiple times. They would take it and swim back down to their lie, ultimately letting go only when the currents tension made them realize “this is not food”.

What was initially a half baked attempt at some sort of zen transcendence became an all too entertaining and educational experience on the water. I believe fully in deflating the status quo. That’s not to say I don’t’ have the utmost respect for tradition, but I was ruined the first time a fish ate a fly presented in a way that would, by the all too often rigid standards, be incorrect. Further ruin ensued the first time I casted an Echo Base– seriously though that thing is amazing, but I digress.

Clipping the hook in many ways may have defeated the purpose. I subtracted a major part of fishing. But with setting, fighting and landing the fish completely removed from the equation I was able to hone in on the actual eat. Without the flurry of activity that erupts when a fish takes I was able to experiment, I was able to change the way I saw a critical piece of the puzzle. I had to slow down, I had to force myself not to set, (this took a few fish). I had to break away from the engrained rhythm of eat, set, fight, land, release and become excited and curious with just the first. And as a result I gained a new perspective. I changed the way I looked at the process and moreover I had fun. It is these little moments, these epiphanies on the water that make fly fishing so exceptional. And more often than not these moments are the result of blasting a hole through the narrow confines that sometimes accompany our sport.

At this point I could bore you with further specifics of what happened or what I learned, but to do so would actively rob you of the experiences you are going to create when you go out and explore your own version of “Going monk”. So go experiment with your own fishing. Go break some rules (not actual laws). Go do some exploring and as always, GET OUT THERE!

CATCHING FISH WITH COFFEE

Article by Jared Neider

In the third week of October I took my steelhead rod to the Umatilla in hopes of catching another salmon. As steelhead was closed to retention the weekend before but salmon was still open.

I got to the river early to ensure I got the spot I like to fish from. No worries, I got to “my” spot. However, there was a boat drifting their gear right in front of me. That changed after a few casts over their lines.

Took a couple hours, and more people showed up. Another boat with 3 people, 1 person on the bank above me and a few people on the bank below me. I normally use gel or liquid scents on my bait, unfortunately I forgot them. So, to at least as an idea to get scent in the water I literally soaked my coon shrimp in my coffee. No joke! Within minutes I had my first steelhead of the day. Two more followed after that, and the funny thing, not one of the other fisherman caught a single fish! Haha! Guess those fish liked the darker flavor.

Bait used: coon shrimp 1/4 oz black jighead 1/0 hook

7 Ways to Have a Bad Day at a Fly Fishing Show

Virtually everyone has a good time at fly fishing and outdoor shows. What isn’t to love about an exposition hall filled to the rafters with the people, places, and things that make fly fishing what it is?

However, some people like to take the difficult path. You might have a natural proclivity for pessimism. You could desire to purposefully sully your experience. To be fair, maintaining the image of “crotchety” or “stuck up” has it’s place within the fly fishing culture. With that in mind, I’ve compiled seven surefire ways to limit your enjoyment of a fly fishing show.

I do want to issue a disclaimer: These aren’t foolproof. The positive energy of sheer angling osmosis might overpower your best grumpy efforts. Yet sticking to any or all of these guidelines will inevitably lead to the negativity, internet complaining, and general sourness many seem to strive for.

Check out my list. Then, think about how one of more of these seven ways to have a bad day at a fly fishing show appeals to you:

Don’t buy your tickets online. Who doesn’t like spending time in lines? Who doesn’t like saving a few dollars? Being a high roller is kind of part of the fly fishing ethos. So that $3 ATM surcharge for cash-only events is a badge of honor, too.

Don’t look at the schedule ahead of time. There is nothing like showing up fifteen minutes after that seminar on nymphing or Labrador brook trout has started. If only you would have known; if only you would have gotten online and looked at the posted schedule. Sure, you are really interested in nymphing and Labrador brook trout. But how were you supposed to know?

Don’t take the time to sit in on classes or seminars. The last thing you’d want to do is hear what the experts have to say. After all, what could people who are professional anglers offer? You have YouTube and the guy who always fishes the hole below you and does really well. How could presentations on tactics, locations, and fly tying get any better than that?

Don’t spend any money. I mean, those vendors want your hard-earned dollar. You’re smarter than that. You can check out their product at the show, head home, scour the internet, and find a deal from a third party for a few pennies less than you would have if you would have just purchased it right away. Smart.

Don’t ask any questions. This is a biggie. Asking anything makes you look like you aren’t an expert, a proficient fisherman, a person who has it all together. As anglers, we’re supposed to be well-versed in every imaginable scenario and situation. You’d better keep that image, lest anyone think you want to catch more fish than you already do.

Don’t think about the coming season as you walk the aisles. Think about the crowds, think about the flat-brims and tattoos, think about the temperature being a little too warm or cool, think about how things are slightly different than last year. Whatever you do, don’t give serious thought to the one piece of gear or guided trip or lodge stay that would help make this coming season better for you.

Don’t be considerate while casting. Casting the newest rods is a lot of fun. The only thing more fun is showing all the envious onlookers how you can unload 80+ feet of line (with some pretty impressive tailing loops and sonic-boom like snapping). If anyone questions you, especially the volunteer staff, make sure they notice your annoyance.

In all seriousness, I’ve seen and heard people complain after neglecting precisely what I’ve mentioned above. Given I don’t know the details of every story. However, a little planning and a little time getting in the right mindset can go a long way. It helps with the whole general sourness thing, too.