Casting Across: Win a Vedavoo Seam Sling

Congratulations to Matt from New England for winning the Vedavoo Seam Sling. Thanks to all who entered!

Earlier this week I wrote about the newest product to come from the good people at Vedavoo. Previously, I’ve told you about two of their core packs that I personally fish. Now, I’m giving you the chance to walk away with great, brand new for 2018, gear from Vedavoo and Casting Across.

The Seam Sling is the mid-sized pack of Vedavoo’s core lineup. Sitting in between the Tightlines and Beast, the Seam gives you enough space for a handful of fly boxes, a holster for your drink, and more connection and lash points than you could ever use. The pack has been slightly retooled for 2018, including a small clip that you can use for extra security when bushwhacking or storing your gear.

The Vedavoo sling that is available is an unused, slate grey Seam (as pictured). More details can be seen here.

So, how do you win the Seam? Easy!

  • Follow Casting Across on Instagram
  • Like the picture featuring the Seam Sling
  • Comment, tagging a friend (or enemy…)
  • *Repost the  picture and tag Casting Across for a second “entry”

Here are the rest of the details:

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Vedavoo: Wading into the Mainstream

The reality is that most fly fishers are not full time, professional fly fishers. We have office jobs, we go to school, and we fill our days with various important responsibilities. Time on the river is so special because it is the exception, not the rule.

That doesn’t mean that the part of us that wants to be on the water isn’t always there. That is what the whole “fly fishing lifestyle” movement is all about. Clothing and accessories that bridge the gap between every day and those special days represent what fly fishing means to us. The brands and imagery that signify the pursuit of fish transcend angling and enter the mainstream of life.

That is precisely what Vedavoo is doing with a product like their Mainstream Messenger Bag.

Vedavoo has made their impact on the fly fishing scene through hand crafted, American made packs and bags. Their slings, such as the Tightlines and the Beast, are lauded for being versatile, functional, and bulletproof.

The very same concept of well-built simplicity that serves fly fishers so well in the field carries over to pieces designed for day-in, day-out use. The Mainstream Messenger Bag is the first product in Vedavoo’s MAINstream line of everyday carryware. Without a doubt, it matches the quality and practicality of the rest of Vedavoo’s offerings.

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Last Cast of the Week, 12/1/2017

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  In the Riffle/OPST, Between Two Banks, & Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo.

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:

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It is Getting Cold – Are You Going Fly Fishing?

It is getting cold out. Although the calendars say “fall,” the thermometers say “winter.” More importantly, the frost on the windows and the  chill that finds its way through jackets are saying “winter.”

So, are you going to go fly fishing?

Excuses and reasons alike have the tendency interfere with even the most ardent angler’s plans. Time is hard enough to deal with, let alone the discomfort of being cold. And then there is the ice. There are real dangers. The truth is that the fishing is slower. But mostly, it is all about not being as comfortable as one would be during April hatches or August striper runs.

State regulations may limit your options. Ice, again, might physically impede you from fishing as you’d like. Chances are, there are still plenty of places to go fishing. Tailwaters and spring creeks. Heated discharges and seams of warm ocean water. If one is flexible, setting the fly rod aside for an auger and an ice fishing pole works just fine too.

The fishing itself is going to need to change. That might be the hurdle that is more difficult to get over than finding open water. Although there are always exceptions to the rule, the fishing is going to be lower, slower, and will require more patience. Just because it is cold doesn’t mean that fish aren’t going to eat. Just because it is cold doesn’t mean that they can’t be fooled into eating flies.

Be honest. It isn’t the fish that don’t want to play ball.

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Steelhead Retreat

Driving through the mountains of Pennsylvania, well under the speed limit with windshield wipers frantically smearing wet snow, the two steelhead I landed didn’t seem worth it.

It was the dark and snowy homestretch of a fly fishing trip that took an immediate and unexpected turn. Jeff and I were both on edge. He was driving in the mess. I was watching him drive in the mess. The excursion didn’t last as long as we’d wanted, and the parts that we did experience didn’t pan out as we had wished. A quick-moving storm forced our evacuation from Erie. It was the right choice, as we later learned parts of I-79, I-90, and I-80 were closed shortly after we left the region.

The trip was a big deal for both of us. It was my first trip back to Northern Virginia from college. Thanksgiving meant I got to leave South Carolina for a week, and I wanted to spend at least a few days fishing. Jeff hadn’t been out much since I had gone to school. Neither of us had fished for steelhead. We bought gear, made plans, and got sufficiently psyched up. After the holiday, we headed up to the lake.

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Black Friday Fly Fishing Options

Happy belated Thanksgiving from Casting Across!

Also, if you’re among the many who get this unofficial holiday off I hope that you’re able to take advantage of today however you choose. Fly fishing, shopping, napping, decorating for Christmas: however you find joy on Black Friday is fine by me.

Outdoors pursuits are certainly a good option. In fact, the oversaturation of doorbusters and pre-Black Friday sales has made Friday a perfect time to get outside. There are a bevy of opportunities to shop online during your turkey coma on Thanksgiving night and throughout the week following this weekend. Today, while everyone is running around, fighting over single-serve coffee machines and Turbo Man dolls, you can be in the woods. It might be a little chilly, but you and your family have a chance do extend the  real joy of the table out for another day.

There is something to be said for going fishing on a holiday, or a day immediately abutting a holiday. You’ll get solitude, a chance to zig while the rest of the culture is stressfully zagging, and you’ll be fishing.

Say you do want to do some online shopping. I do have some suggestions:

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The Perfect, Nontraditional Fly Fishing Gift

Stop!

Before you start copying and pasting Amazon links and fly shop web pages, hear me out.

It is wish list season. The holidays are approaching. Christmas music and decor are taking over like some abominable mistletoe/tinsel/kudzu hybrid. Everyone from your spouse to your parents to your kids to your aunt Myrtle wants to know what you want for a present.

Yes, a gift card to Cabela’s is easy and practical. Sure, the reel that you hand pick and they buy will make you happy. Of course, you could get all of the fish socks that Wingo Belts sells. (Wait… actually, that might be a pretty great gift… we’ll talk about that later.)

Or, you could  ask for something better. Something nontraditional. Something that requires a little effort on the gift-giver’s part, and a little bit of thinking on your’s. Incidentally, this is what gift-giving looked like before the dawn of the 1,000 page Sears catalog. How novel!

Try this: “I want to go fishing with you.”

“Wait,” you say. “That goes against all of the common courtesies of impersonal and predetermined yuletide transactions. I live in a happy world where we essentially exchange currency, with  the occasional Apple product sprinkled in.”

That is a valid point. But just sit back, grab a delicious pitcher of eggnog, and go on a little trip down memory lane with me.

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Fragile

Trout are creatures with paper-thin fins and gossamer bones. Their optimal temperature and dissolved oxygen thresholds are relatively narrow.  Touching their scales with dry hands or laying them upon the bank can render them susceptible to deadly infection. Trout are survivors, but they are fragile.

It isn’t just fish, though: A creek, sustaining all manner of organisms until it is impeded or polluted. An angler, boldly venturing deep into the woods where not even modern technology can prevent a fall that leads to mortal peril. Every successful and non eventful fly fishing  excursion belies how delicate and fleeting life is. It isn’t until the trout is hooked too deeply and fails to revive in the current. It isn’t until the once productive stream bed is baking, dry in the sun as far as one can walk. It isn’t until the news story comes across the screen, beginning with that common line  “he was an experienced outdoorsman…”

Ecologically speaking, the fragility of the natural world is clearly seen. Siltation from impoundments, a bacteria that depletes a year stock, or a hundred-year flood each radically alter a watershed to the point where it is biologically and hydrologically unrecognizable. Fish, insects, vegetation, and riparian zones can literally be wiped out in mere days or hours.

As awful as those all-to-frequent disasters are, and as much as conscientious stewards ought to  mitigate our role in such events, they are rarely irreversible. It takes effort, resources, and much more time than we’d like, but rivers that flowed sterile a few generations ago have rebounded. Still, the contrast between the cost of restoration and the speed of destruction is indicative of how sensitive something as massive and intricate as watersheds truly are.

And to think, human life is even more fragile.

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Happy Beard-Day to Me

One year ago this Sunday, I shaved. Like any other morning when I’d have to get up and go to work or appear in some sort of formal capacity in front of civilized people, I showered, dressed, and shaved. All was normal. Things were smooth.

Later that day I headed down to a conference in scenic Lynchburg, Virginia. I ate dinner, I had a good night’s sleep, I woke up and went for a run, I got cleaned up. Looking at my razor that morning, I thought “no… not today. In fact, being the week of Thanksgiving where all that is expected of me is eating and lounging, no – not for the next seven days.”

If I am being honest with myself, it was by day five or six that I knew I wasn’t going back. “No Shave November” diffused most people’s questions or comments. By the time December rolled around, people assumed that it was my attempt to ward of the cold. Come March, there were serious concerns.

19th century Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Growing a beard is a habit most natural, scriptural, manly, and beneficial.” I could make a case that fly fishing, and outdoorsmanship in general, likewise meets all four of those categorical distinctions.  Perhaps that is why beards have long been associated with hunters and anglers.

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Fly Fishing Books, part 4

“What are you reading these days?”

I ask that question at work, of family, and to folks that I interact with in the fly fishing community. It might come across as nosy or weird, but I am truly interested in what people are interested in. What we read, and the rationale behind it, is fascinating. Desiring some specific knowledge makes the most sense. Entertainment is as good of a reason as any. Morbid curiosity works, too. Books allow you scratch all of those itches, and more – even in the world of fly fishing.

If you fly fish, you can get pretty much anything and everything that you need from the internet or talking to people. But if you rely on just those two things, you’re missing out on some really beneficial stuff.  You can learn, be amused, and see why those people fish that way. To be honest, I’ve read and bought fly fishing books for all of those reasons and more.

While I don’t break down my recommendations by those lines, I have tried to offer up a couple of types of books. As I’ve done for all of the entries in my “Fly Fishing Books” series, I’ve spread the selections over three rough categories:

  • Guide (regional, site specific)
  • Technical (methods, locations, fly tying)
  • Literature (novels, biographies, history)

Check out one kind of each book, why I suggest it, and a bonus read below. And follow the links in the headings to get a copy for yourself!

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