Last Cast of the Week, 12/2/2016

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Most Fridays on Casting Across are  devoted to other people’s contributions in the fly fishing community. Articles, pictures, social media accounts, videos, podcasts, products, and more will be featured on The Last Cast of the Week.

Today, I’m sharing items from Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo, DoubleHauled, & Cheeky Fishing.

If you’d like to be featured in the Last Cast of the Week, or have seen something that others might be interested in, use my contact form or shoot me an email (matthew[at]castingacross[dot]com). Also, be sure to subscribe to Casting Across to never miss a post.

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Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo

December means that winter is right around the corner. And with winter, comes the slate of fly fishing expo shows around the country. If you live in the south or mid  atlantic, the WNC Fly Fishing Expo in Asheville, NC, is the first big event on the calendar. December 2nd & 3rd, there is a full slate of vendors, classes, and exhibitions. If you’re nearby, stop in to do some shopping and some mingling. Plus, learn more about a region that is exploding in the fly fishing world.

DoubleHauled – Saturday Night’s Alright for Biting

If the crowds keep you away from the fall runs of big fish maybe getting at it after everyone else has headed in for the night is the answer. Assuming your state is okay with it, night fishing can be incredibly rewarding. Gabriel from DoubleHauled retells some stories and shares some lessons from a few nights chasing big fish by headlamp.  Consider the challenge that this kind of fly fishing entails, but also think about the opportunities.

Cheeky Fishing – Limitless Launch

The bright and powerfull reels that Cheeky make have made waves in the fly fishing world.  Their newest series, the Limitless, promises to continue that trend. 5 sizes will cover you in situations where you’re chasing trout to big game. Durable construction, a solid drag, and striking aesthetics will put these reels in magazines, awards considerations, and a lot of anglers’ Christmas lists. They come out on December 12th, so look for them soon!

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Fly Fishing, Science, & a Trout Named Steve

I totally understand that fish are just fish.

By that, I mean that I am not the kind of person that ascribes some sort of metaphysical depth to the experience of a bluegill. Fish are great, fish are worth protecting and pursuing – but fish, at the end of the day, are just fish.

But, you have to wonder sometimes.

For example: When two fish are hanging out, all chum-like (salmon pun!), and one gets caught – what do you think the other one is thinking? Again, “thinking” is all relative. Regardless of the cognitive capabilities of a trout, fish A seeing fish B going berserk surely elicits some sort of response.

If you’ve fished enough, you’ve probably seen the three common responses.

  • “Oh crap, what’s happening to Steve!?! I’m out of here!”
  • “Bugs… water… bugs… bye, Steve… bugs…”
  • “Steve! That looks awesome… I’ll do it too! Yee-haw!!!”

Let’s tackle them briefly, one at a time:

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Better Fly Fishing Gifts

Christmas. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Gift giving is big business, but more importantly it is serious business. Like, certain relationships put a make-it-or-break-it proviso status on gifts. Who am I to say if that is wrong or right? What I do think is wrong is giving gifts with the laconic sentimentality of clicking a “buy now” button off a list.

We can do better. Fly fishers are a sentimental lot. Standing in a wild place chasing wild creatures allows for all sorts of introspection and whatnot. Add to that the whimsy associated with bamboo, Norman McLean, and early mornings? You’ve got a recipe for some grade-A thoughtfulness. That experience on its own, with all the accoutrements that make it special, is worth giving.

But what else can you do to really take fly fishing gift giving to the next level? If you already plan on going fishing with people on your list, how can you go the extra mile? What will push your gift over and above a new pair of wading socks or a Costco bag of beef jerky?

Here are a few ideas that could really be fun. Fun to give and fun to receive. And they can definitely be given in tandem with that fishing trip, so you can still buy the five pounds of jerky and share it on the river.

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In Thanksgiving of Fly Fishing

I am thankful for fly fishing.

I am thankful for being able to go off the marked trail and into wild places. These are places that I would enjoy to see on their own, but would struggle to justify visiting otherwise. Quiet meadows and intense valleys; places that only see the occasional footprints from anglers or intrepid hikers.

I am thankful for early morning drives. Even before I’m in close proximity to the stream, I’m content with what I’m doing. There are breakfasts on the run, misty sunrises, and empty highways. And that first cup of coffee doesn’t have to be good – it just has to be hot.

I am thankful for gear. Although accumulation and striving for things is not important, there is real joy in this aspect of fly fishing. The feel of a brand new cork grip or one that has been used for generations. The sound of a reel as I’m slowly reeling it in or the sound it makes as a fish tears line into the backing. Vests and packs with a place for every necessary little thing… and everything that is in those places.

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Mapping out Fly Fishing: 3 Keys

Reading maps is a lost art. What began with plugging an address into MapQuest a decade ago evolved into simple smartphone GPS navigation that we are used to today. A DeLorme Atlas would be about as foreign to your average elementary school student as a book written in cuneiform. Many millennials wouldn’t fare much better.

I could go on about the potential deficiencies of not knowing how to read a map: math application, special awareness, and just general problem solving. But more pertinent to you and me is the fact that being proficient in reading maps can open up a world of fly fishing possibilities.

You’ve probably heard it a million times before, but if you just stick to the popular and well-marked streams you are missing out on some amazing fishing and some real adventure. Short of just taking off into the wild, you’re going to need to utilize a map in some capacity to find water – and more importantly, water with fish in it.

While a primer in cartography might be needed (“obviously this blue part here is the land…”), that is not something I feel compelled to lay out today. And though nothing will ever take the place of being able to read a topographic map and make an educated decision, there are some great tools that can be an entry point in exposing an angler to using maps.

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Last Cast of the Week, 11/18/2016

lcw

Most Fridays on Casting Across are  devoted to other people’s contributions in the fly fishing community. Articles, pictures, social media accounts, videos, podcasts, products, and more will be featured on The Last Cast of the Week.

Today, I’m sharing items from Fly Fisherous, TheStevenLee, & The Fading Angler.

If you’d like to be featured in the Last Cast of the Week, or have seen something that others might be interested in, use my contact form or shoot me an email (matthew[at]castingacross[dot]com).

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With this week’s Last Cast  I’m hoping you’ll check out some other fly fishing / outdoors blogs.  Here  are three websites that you might not have heard of that are worth checking out, clicking around, and subscribing to.

bFly Fisherous

6 years is pretty old in blog years. Cory has been at it for that long, sharing personal stories, fishing videos, and gear reviews.  He’s got a sharp web design and one of the cooler logos I’ve seen. Take some time to scroll through the immense archives and enjoy his work.

aTheStevenLee

Steven’s shiny new website features some great photography and accounts of his outdoors pursuits. Hiking, camping, and fly fishing with family are what he writes about.  Be sure to give him a follow on social media, where he is prolific and diverse in his content.

The Fading Anglerc

The Fading Angler fly fishes. And he has Parkinson’s Disease. That should be enough of a preview to get you reading his perspective on angling, spending time outdoors, and life.  This pursuit can really create a point of contact for those  of us in a wide variety of circumstances – good and not so good.

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Is an Old Fly Rod Enough?

Congratulations to Michael from Ohio, the winner of the Casting Across Anniversary giveaway!

I want to thank Michael and everyone else who has read and subscribed. Also, a huge thank you to all of my partners, including Monthly Fly, Risen Fly, Trout Life, and Vedavoo.

Keep reading for more great things to come…

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Every once in a while, in a moment of weakness, I wonder why I have expensive gear. Generally, I come to my senses immediately and realize that I can cast faster and fish harder when I “have my premium rod on.”

But sometimes I do wonder

I have my grandfather’s fly rods. He wasn’t a fly fisherman by any stretch of the imagination. As far as he could recall, he used them a handful of times in Wisconsin for bluegill and little pike. They are beat up bamboo, glass, and cherrywood fly rods of dubious origin.

Why wouldn’t they be sufficient for the majority of my fishing – bass ponds and medium-to-small trout rivers? I only cast 20-30 feet most of the time. A “better” rod would be handy, but not at all necessary.

Before eyes begin to roll and anger starts to mount, let me say that I am happy to have an array of rods that fit into practically every niche imaginable. (And I could always use one or two or seven more.)

Hopefully you’re somewhat introspective about your hobbies. Fly fishing practically begs it. There’s the whole romantic notion of standing in a river and reaching out to a wild creature that can’t be seen until you fool it. The fly rod is usually the focal point of this quasi-mystical relationship. So it makes sense that fly rods have a special aura about them.

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Fly Fishing & the Back Roads of Memory

I used to keep track of all the placed that I fished. In a black and white composition book, I’d jot down the name of the stream or pond. When I had the time, the species of fish I caught would also be noted. It never got to the point of writing down conditions or flies, let alone how many fish I was able to get into.

For whatever reason, I stopped the practice years ago. Laziness was undoubtedly a significant factor, but I was also fishing more. On a weekend fishing trip, I might bounce to four or five spots. I’d forget where I had been, and then the list seemed less legitimate. So for all intents and purposes, I can’t know for certain everywhere I have gone fly fishing.

So when I am driving down a back road and I get that I’ve fished here before sense, I generally assume that there is some credence to it. Especially if you live somewhere for a prolonged period of time, the chances that your angling travels will effectively canvas an area are great. You may only cast a fly in any given stream a handful of times, but you will have been there.

Without getting all whimsical, I can confidently assert that there is a lot of truth to the idea that we change a lot like rivers do. What you’re then left with is water that is constantly being altered while you are growing and changing as well.

All of that is to say this: it can be exciting to return to those waters that you may have fished a long time ago but have since forgotten.

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Last Cast of the Week: Election Edition

What a week. There are a lot of particulars I’d like to comment on regarding the state of our country. However, that isn’t what Casting Across is about.

I am aware that the priorities and policies of an administration can have significant implications for water, land, and the fish that we’re trying to pursue. At the same time,  I can’t begin to assume that fish are more important than people. But, that doesn’t mean that fish and the wild places in which they live aren’t of immense value.

So how do we communicate that to people of red, blue, and green values? Is it possible to be affirming of who someone is and what they firmly believe in… but also disagree? And to do it in a way that is respectful, honoring, and decent?

Unfortunately, the answer today seems to be a resounding “no.”

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