In Defense of the Palomino

Gimmicky. Bananas. Unnatural. And worst of all: stockers.

Those are some of the pejorative terms used by anglers to describe a particular flavor of rainbow trout. The fish in question is, of course, the Palomino.

Otherwise known as the golden rainbow, and sometimes improperly (and abhorrently, to the chagrin of west coast anglers) referred to as a “golden trout,” this hatchery product can be found pretty much anywhere rainbow trout are stocked. The official story is that these genetically modified fish were cooked up in a West Virginia laboratory a few decades ago. I like to put on my tinfoil hat and assume that Three Mile Island had a hand in their genesis.

The neon yellow and orange fish are derided online and amongst anglers. But palominos are the ABBA of trout. You make fun of “Dancing Queen” in front of your friends, but when it is on the radio you turn  it up. When you see a palomino, you fish for it.

Don’t lie. It is okay. And here are three reasons why:

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15 Days

Today is September 15, 2017. You know what that means?

This is the longest I have gone in any month this year without catching a fish. 15 whole days. And, I haven’t even tried. I have not gone fishing once in the month of September.

January? I caught fish. February? Fish. Even those two cold months started off with fish in hand. The springtime and summer were easy enough. Bass, trout, you name it.  Salt, fresh, warm, cold.

But here I am, halfway through the ninth month of the year, with no fin to show for it.

“But you just moved, certainly that is a perfectly reasonable excuse!” you might say. Unloading boxes and remodeling are precisely why I should be fishing.

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A Good Day at the Fly Shop

Believe it or not, I do other outdoor stuff outside of fly fishing. I run, I (enjoy it when someone else tends to the) garden, I hike. I’m even comfortable enough to spend a whole day doing one of those things, even if it means that I am “giving up” a day fishing.

That doesn’t mean that I am not going to be thinking about fishing. Or looking in mountain streams for brookies. Or noticing big, cruising carp in a subdivision pond. Or planning my next trip to wherever I am currently, this time with fly rod in hand.

A few weeks back I was up in Vermont, doing some trail running and exploring a part of New England that I had yet to venture into. Vermont is beautiful, but the location of the state makes it such that you’re not going to be there unless you want to be there. No one just drives through Vermont. The Stowe area, where I was, is great. But unless you ski, there probably isn’t much of a draw for folks from a distance.

The ridge of Mt. Mansfield, containing the highest peak in Vermont, was the draw for me. I hit it early in the morning, enjoying spectacular weather and views only slightly obscured by wildfires blazing to the north in Canada. After the run, I ate some pizza in Stowe, and headed back down to Massachusetts.

When what did I see? A sign for “The Fly Rod Shop.”

I’ve known that the shop existed, primarily from seeing social media buzz for their relatively young fly fishing show. Being “The Vermont Fly Fishing Show,” I rightly assumed it was somewhere in Vermont – but I had no clue I’d be passing it on my trip.

So, I stopped in.

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Casting Across: Like, Share, <3

I don’t ask much of my readers. Aside from tolerating the occasional rant, sifting through language that may or may not be sarcastic, and dealing with an endless regression of in-site links, reading Casting Across is a relatively simple task.

I know that most writers say this, but I can assure you that I mean it. I am not writing for fame or fortune. I legitimately enjoy it, and hope that I am adding something to the culture of fly fishing.

Here is how that looks: It is very rewarding when something I have written sparks some dialogue online. Even more so, when I occasionally have the opportunity to do so in person. It is also very gratifying to know that someone is enjoying their experience of being out on the water a little bit more, and some sundry way, because of the site. It is only natural that this happens more when more people are reading.

So here is my request…

One simple favor…

It will only take a minute…

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Rusty Flybox: Big & Little Fly Fishing Retail

This past week I wrote about a less-than-pleasant experience that I had at a fly shop. This unnamed establishment seemed great by every external standard, but fell short on the particular day that I was shopping for some unknown reason.

A lot of people read that article. Probably because negativity sells. Controversy, conflict, and contrarian opinions get the clicks. That wasn’t my intention,  but it certainly happened.

In the interest of being fair and balanced, I thought I’d link to some older posts with some different perspectives and more positivity  about fly shops.

Below are two pieces that explore  the multifaceted and important role that retail plays in the culture of fly fishing:

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A Bad Day at the Fly Shop

I was looking at reels for a long time. A long time. Across the counter, he couldn’t have been more than three feet away. Not once did he look away from the computer monitor.

Now, I shouldn’t have been surprised. When I walked in, I didn’t get a “hello” or even a head nod. When I asked if the nets on display were new I got a quick “yup.” And later, when I left, the only sound that followed me out was the beeping of the door… which was presumably installed with the sole purpose of letting the proprietor know that the temperature was about to shift ever so slightly.

Could I have gone into the fly shop on a bad day? Sure.

Might there have been some significant bookkeeping issue that required his utmost focus? Yes.

Is there a chance that he had something overwhelming going on in his personal life? Absolutely.

…or maybe he just didn’t want to talk to me. A customer. Who fly fishes. That was in his fly fishing establishment. Me, who is also always willing to buy a hat, shirt, or local flies – just because.

Not that day.

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7 Fly Fishing Labor Day Facts

It is Labor Day. Everyone celebrates this delightful, national holiday; few understand its significance.

Aside from commonly being confused with Memorial Day, there is a lot of history wrapped up in the unofficial start of fall.

Moreover, it is significant to fly fishing. For example, did you know:

  • On Labor Day, there is always a mayfly hatch in the Western states – sometimes it is just very, very light.
  • On Labor Day, every fly shop that is open sells flies at the regular price.
  • On Labor Day, tailwater dams are always regulated so that the temperature at the bottom of the lake is consistent.
  • On Labor Day, brook trout always feed.
  • On Labor Day, the weather is usually just a little bit warmer or a little bit cooler than you would expect.
  • On Labor Day, every state is open to bass fishing (unless there are regulations that prohibit it). 
  • On Labor Day, you can always go fishing… but it might cause family drama when you are not at the annual cookout.

Have a great Labor Day, and tight lines/belts.

Rusty Flybox: Stuff I Use

I use stuff and I write about the stuff that I use. That isn’t uncommon for outdoor writers, bloggers, and the like. What I don’t see as much (and I wish I did) is updates or follow-ups  regarding product reviews and/or previews.

Today I’m sharing a quick updated word on two of the small but integral products that I’ve been using for nearly a season of fly fishing. Furled leaders from Appalachian Furled Leader Co. and the fly patch from Pirate Fly Fishing have basically been involved in one way or another in all of the fishing that I have been doing since the spring.

Here is the great thing about both of these products: they only cost a few bucks. Check out what I have to say about them today, and then go back and read the original article (the photos below act as links) to get a better overview of what makes these “little” pieces of gear so valuable.

Is there a new or underappreciated yet essential piece of fly fishing paraphernalia that I should know about? Let me know in the comments or contact me through the site!

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Fly Fishing Kickstarter: A New Species of Fly Box

Everyone is trying to build a better mousetrap. In fly fishing, it seems like fly boxes are the equivalent of mousetraps.

Think about how many different styles there are. Think about how many different materials, shapes, sizes, and mechanisms go into fly boxes. Then, think about how they are essentially all combined in different ways to produce dozens upon dozens of channels for storing your flies.

Like most fly fishers, I like gear. “Stuff” is an integral part of angling and other outdoor pursuits. New mousetraps have different levels of excitement and hype around them, and fly boxes – as mundane as they are – generate varying degrees of buzz.

This past week, I came across Ripplebox. It is the latest fly box concept to come onto the scene, and it is being funded through crowd sourcing giant Kickstarter. From my perspective, you’ve got two interesting components going on with Ripplebox:

  • It is one more fly fishing product that is being promoted and funded through crowd sourcing.
  • It is a variation on a fly box theme – the question is if the variation is good or different enough to make it  the next new thing.

So how does it fare?

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Where the Light Shines Through

Buying and renovating a new home is an equation that doesn’t equal “fly fishing.”

That’s okay. There’s a time for everything. “A time to tear down and a time to build up.”

The whole thing is overwhelming. As I’m writing this, I’m seeing some trim that needs to be replaced. And a baseboard heater. And some wiring. Honestly, I don’t even know where I’m going to put my fly rods in this house. (Don’t worry, there will be a place.)

I did find what used to be a water feature and a koi pond. But do I have time for dealing with fish that I can’t catch? Probably not. It’d just be one more distraction.

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