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 Hatch Magazine / Patagonia, Beaverkill Angler / Orvis, & Cortland.
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.
Check out the links, along with my thoughts, below:
This brook trout was caught within its species’ historic range. You might respond with very little excitement, as that is precisely where one would expect to find any animal. Or, you could appreciate the fact that the historic distribution of char up and down the East Coast has been greatly diminished to the point where there are relatively few populations remaining.
Let me tell you something: this trout is unremarkable in the first sense and very special in the second. But there is much more to this fish than either of those things.
Tbis brook trout is an urban brook trout. it was caught just outside of city limits. Cities, as you know, have been the bane of nature for as long as development has existed. While we can absolutely be good stewards of the creation that is around us, it is totally impossible to not have any negative impact. Some species, and some ecosystems, are much more fragile than others. They feel the brunt of modernity much more quickly and much more pointedly.
Spring creeks and salmonids are up there when it comes to fragility. That is why this brook trout is special.
So, why even fish in a place like this? Isn’t it a bit hypocritical or counterintuitive to stress an already stressed creature and habitat?
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:
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.
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.
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…
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:
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.
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.
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!