I had the opportunity to fish with Field & Stream chief Anthony Licata and Joe Cermele, one of the magazine's bright editor stars (you might have seen his recent photo essay on the Texas coast) the other day. Great fun, and thanks to Joe for running the "Tunacious" to the sharkin' grounds.
You know what the difference is between outdoor writers/editors and many other writers/editors? In the outdoor world you have to do what you write about (and do it well) or you won't make it. In other words, you can cover the New England Patriots or New York Yankees having never played competitive football or baseball in your life (many beat reporters haven't); and you can cover the Obama or McCain campaign having never run for as much as class officer in high school. But you can't make it in the outdoor writing world unless you're out there walkin' the walk on a regular basis.
These boys at Field & Stream do.
So how about a little Monday bonus quiz for a prize? Who can tell me the species of shark Anthony caught from the photo below? I'll pick a correct answer (more than one, we'll draw from a hat) and send you an autographed copy of the book Tideline.
I don't know about you folks, but when I was young I didn't get into burning insects with a magnifying glass or dousing them in gasoline. Nope, I was far more sadistic. I'd find bugs and feed them to panfish, trout, or the most creepy of all - spiders. Talk about a slow painful death...
I spent the last week helping my good friends at Horny Toad clothing company on a photo shoot in Baja. The surf camp we were shooting had spiders hanging from almost every cactus in sight. Along with the spiders were tons of beetles minding their own business in the dirt. The last day I was there the lightbulb finally went on... For the remaining couple of hours we were in camp I was the nut job hooping and hollering around camp throwing beetles to their deaths and filming it with my little point and shoot.
I figured since most fisherman are entomologists on some level you'd get a kick out of this. It took the spider all of two minutes to completely wrap this guy up.
Those of you who know me understand that I am the "anti-guru" when it comes to casting. I say casting matters for beans. At least on a river. And some of those "certified" whips who equate fly casting to quantum physics, I believe, are BS merchants who create more problems (by intimidation) than they solve.
But now I find myself on yet another saltwater foray (this one for stripers), and I realize casting matters most here. Maybe I should take some lessons. This is, after all, an entirely different sport. Any gurus wanna help?
This is the inside of a hat I've had for about eight years now. Quite simply I could not do without this piece of fishing equipment. If you can't read the label in this photo, here's what it says:
THE TILLEY HAT- THE FINEST IN ALL THE WORLD
INSURED AGAINST LOSS, GUARANTEED FOR LIFE
(Replaced Free if it ever wears out)
It floats, ties on (front and/or back), repels rain, blocks UV rays and it won't shrink. It comes with eight "brag tags" in the security pocket plus a four page owners manual.
Ten ounce USA treated cotton duck; The best British Brass Hardware; Hydrofoil headband for superb anti-sweat comfort; handcrafted with canadian persnicketiness.
Machine/hand wash warm frequently (sweat permanently discolours fabric). Reshape, Air dry, then re-stretch over knee.
I love how those canadians spell color...
Anyhow, I've lost this hat - twice. Both times it was replaced free of charge. The ties for wind protection are some of the most elegant simple pieces I've ever seen on a hat, it floats (trust me I've tried it), and the stash pocket in the top is perfect for a fishing license. If you want a hat that does it all call the folks at Tilley Endurables. You will not be disappointed.
I know some of you wonder how we at Field & Stream select "The Best Fishing Cities" and "The Best Fishing Towns" in America. I can't tell you, otherwise I'd have to keel-haul you. The secret rests in a vault somewhere next to Cindy McCain's cookie recipes. Let's just say, however, that the methodology is somewhere this side of ballots being burned and white smoke flying up the Vatican chimney; and just on the other side of flipping off the cap and letting the foam settle in my bottle of Fat Tire.
Nevertheless, I feel inspired to leave you all this week with my own list of the "Flyfishing Capitals of America." There is no methodology here.
The overall flyfishing capital of America: Denver, Colorado. We sport the highest concentration of anglers and fly shops, per capita, of anywhere. And we're the new home of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association. The fishing ain't bad either... trout, bass, carp, pike. I live here for a reason.
The trout flyfishing capital of America: Bozeman, Montana, with all due respect to the Catskill region in New York and elsewhere. And no offense meant, Missoula or Ketchum or Jackson, but the motivated angler can stage from Bozeman and hit your rivers also.
The striper flyfishing capital of America: Montauk, New York.
The tarpon flyfishing capital of America: Key West, Florida. Same for bonefish and permit.
The redfish capital of America: Hopedale, Louisiana. Love you Texas, but the big bull reds eat Cajun food.
The bass flyfishing capital of America: Hill Country, Texas. How's that for a make-good?
The pike flyfishing capital of America: Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
The big rainbow and salmon flyfishing capital of America: King Salmon, Alaska.
The big brown flyfishing capital of America: Bull Shoals, Arkansas.
The smallmouth bass flyfishing capital of America: West Lafayette, Indiana. (That one's for you, Chad.)
And the carp flyfishing capital of America... okay, you won me over, Gary Indiana!
Agree, disagree... prove me wrong. In any regard, I hope you hook 'em up and have a great weekend!
Today will mark the start of Funny or Stupid string of posts on Fly Talk. My mission is to find something I most likely will find pretty funny. I do, however, have a pretty sick sense of humor so I'm sure there will be many who disagree with me. So, let me know what you think - Funny or Stupid? Heck, I'm even open to changing the name of this weekly event.
This just in from our good pal Conway Bowman in San Diego... the mako shark bite is happening big time, but it seems the good Captain has found another little fascination that's chewing up a lot of his free time. Conway's gone carp. And seeing how the guy holds a world record for fly-caught redfish, travels the country to make television shows, and diddles around with 200-plus-pound predators for kicks, I'd imagine the carpin' must be pretty good in So. Cal. to have lit his pilot like that.
"KD, it's off the hook; I got a 20-pounder yesterday," he explained on a call yesterday.
Which got me thinking: What would be the flyfishing carp-ital of America?
For the M.A.S.H. Unit flyfishing tales, I'm going with jpfarley, who shared the story about the gaff and Clouser stuck in the leg and head, respectively. Man, that's a tough way to win a fly line, but you did, so hit me with your E-mail, please, at email@example.com.
And Blue Ox wins the books by admitting when he flyfishes it's like Winnie the Pooh with his head caught in a jar of honey, or "hunny," as it were.
Good work, and I'll think of another giveaway soon.