We certainly didn’t plan on having a baby on Christmas morning. But that was, without a doubt, what happened.
From the outside looking in perspective, or even our own once-held this might actually happen standpoint, a December 25th birth isn’t ideal. Yet here we are, and it was more than fine. To be fair, the more important birth that we’re thinking about on Christmas also transpired in less than ideal circumstances. That isn’t something I told my wife during her labor, mind you.
Now I have four boys.
The ultimate holiday of the year is nearly upon us. Children are waiting with anticipation. My refrigerator is over capacity. Magic is in the air (mingled with a smidge of stress).
Yet even with all the enchantment of snow and reindeer and yuletide and whatnot, I’m unable give everyone a unique, personal present.
However, I have the next best thing: an angling-themed parody Christmas carol. I know – just what you’ve been wanting.
So gather with kith and kin around the old piano. Pour yourself a tall, frothy eggnog. Get the fire crackling. Have Aunt Gertrude flex her ivory-tickling muscles and join together in song.
For today, I present to you…
The Twelve Trash Fish of Christmas
Does your car help or hurt you in your fly fishing endeavors?
The truth is that there are a few things you can do in, and to, your car to make it the perfect fly fishing vehicle.
Just yesterday I put my 2001 Subaru Forester out to pasture. I didn’t shed any tears, but I won’t lie and say that there wasn’t a montage of sentimental moments that flashed through my mind. To Michael W. Smith’s “Friends.” But a quarter-million miles is enough. He fought the good fight.
It all got me thinking about what made the Subaru such a good fly fishing vehicle. Listen below, or in your favorite podcast app:
Want some great last-minute fly fishing gifts? Want them in your hands in less than three days? Want to make all of this happen without leaving the comfort of wherever you currently are?
You shouldn’t wait until the last minute to buy gifts. It adds stress to an already stressful time and, more importantly, sucks some of the joy away from the occasion.
But it happens. To all of us.
Obligatory Disclaimer 2:
Fly shops are worth patronizing. You’re going to have to drive. You might pay a small percentage more for the same product than you would if you just hopped on the internet. But good fly shops are staffed by friendly, knowledgeable, helpful people. No internet ever gave my kids a few free flies or hosted a get-together.
But every once in a we get in a pinch. We aren’t close to a shop, and we need a gift in two days.
So we can all agree that we should be proactive, loyal fly shop customers? Good.
Okay, now on to plan B:
At riverside pull-offs, in fly shop parking lots, and online, we’ve all seen fly rod tubes affixed to vehicle roof racks. Guides use them out of necessity. Hardcore anglers have them for convenience. But are they something that the common, weekend warrior fly fisher needs?
Recently, I asked someone who knows a lot about them. Luke Winkler is the product manager for Riversmith. Based out of Boulder, Colorado, Riversmith is one of a handful of companies making rooftop rod holders. I asked Luke some legitimate questions I have had about products like this. Also, I played the devil’s advocate and raised some concerns I’ve heard thrown around by skeptical anglers.
Aren’t rooftop rod holders only for guides and trout bums in their 20’s?
Not at all. We see applications for all kinds of different fly fishers. For example, time is one of the most valuable things we all have. Using a rod holder lets us stop and hit a few more holes more without taking that extra time to tie on tippet, tie on flies, and rig it up all over again. You might think that a spot might not be worth stopping and re-rigging. But if your rods are ready to go, you might get into fish when you wouldn’t have stopped otherwise.
Is there an advantage to putting something on the roof of my car over how I’ve always done things?
Arkansas might not seem like a premier angling destination.
But if you’ve heard of the enormous browns, the beautiful rivers, and… the delicious Southern cooking, you know that the Ozarks is one of the most unique fly fishing spots in the USA.
I caught my first trout in Arkansas. That experience, and a whole lot more that followed, made rivers like the Little Red and the White an important part of my fly fishing history. The miles of river and the quantity of fish are truly mind boggling. Plus, you can probably fish however you want – nymphs, midges, or huge streamers.
In this episode, I give a brief overview of the major tailwaters and make a case for why you should fish the Ozarks.
Listen below, or in your favorites podcast app:
“Running silent, running deep, we are your final prayer…”
That is a line from Iron Maiden’s Run Silent, Run Deep off of the 1990 release No Prayer for the Dying. Decent song, decent album. It is nothing near as good as 1988’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. But I digress. The song, and the lyric above, is about submarines, not fly tying. But the sentiment is basically equivalent.
Especially come winter time, your prayers for trout will only be answered if you get your flies running deep.
You’ve got two choices in the matter. You can fish harder or fish smarter. Fishing harder means calculating the best position from which to present your fly. It means learning new casts that plunge your fly deeper, quicker. It means fiddling with different lines, leaders, and boring. It means mending and mending and mending some more. It means working. Fun, right?
Fishing smarter means packing the weight on.
“But,” you say, “there are so many materials and methods for adding weight to flies! It is sooo confusing!” Yes, there are. And yes, it can be. That is why I’ve created a bit of a hierarchy for bulking up your buggers. Here’s a guide to what kind of weight to use in your tying if you want to get your fly down in front of fish:
Today I’m introducing the Casting Across Fly Fishing Podcast.
Fly fishing podcasts are something I’ve written about frequently. I have learned a lot from listening to them. More importantly, I enjoy them. Through the ten articles that have appeared thus far, I have sent hundreds and hundreds of Casting Across readers to the following podcasts.
Rob Snowhite’s Fly Fishing Consultant Podcast is what introduced me to the medium, and I appreciate how he can lecture and give angling play-by-play with ease. Steve Goetz and Dave Mathewson, the guys of 2 Guys and A River, explain the sport very well utilizing their friendly banter.
April Vokey holds amazing interviews with some remarkable people. Orvis and Tom Rosenbauer do Q&A and industry sit-downs better than anyone. The Drakecast, over too soon, told engaging and pertinent stories. And I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention The Open Fly Podcast: long gone, but perhaps my favorite in the genre.
I’ll keep listening to those shows – and you should, too. With the Casting Across Fly Fishing Podcast, I intend to do something different.
Shiny and new, eh?
After three years, Casting Across has received a little makeover. I didn’t sink dozens of hours into focus groups and hundreds of dollars into design consulting. I knew the direction I wanted to go in, and with a few tweaks I got there relatively quickly. The new font is bolder, the new colors brighter, and the overall feel is cleaner.
Of course, typefaces and colors don’t mean a can of split shot if the content is lacking. Casting Across has been, and will continue to be, about fly fishing writing. However, if you’ve read for any period of time you know that I appreciate the aesthetics of angling. Whether it be actual gear or even just the branding, there is something very pleasing about thoughtfully crafted imagery. It doesn’t make the fishing, but it can make it better.
What a time to be alive and to fly fish: Some people take pictures so they can brag. Some people don’t take pictures of fish, and then brag about that. It’s a real topsy-turvy world of pride, prejudice, and virtue signaling. And a bunch of poor trout are caught in the middle.
Just to catch you up to speed, if you’ve suddenly walked back into civilization and logged onto this website, I’ll explain what’s going on. We don’t kill fish, but taking pictures is okay. Unless it isn’t. The circumstances which define the line which ought not be crossed are murky. It seems to be a collaborative effort between science and mob rule. And the latter seems to be steering the ship.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the abuse of fish. I’m not crazy. I’m also not “comment section on social media” crazy, AKA the moral compasses of all things angling. I, along with a lot of reasonable fly fishers out there, like to take a picture of a fish now and again. I keep it wet as much as I can, handle it minimally, and send it back once it’s regained its bearings. I do share some pictures online. Not to brag (seeing as I have little to brag about). Certainly not to show the gold standard of photography.