Articles

Miami Vise | Lucas Utrera

Lucas Utrera is a fly tyer born in Córdoba, Argentina, currently residing in Miami, USA. He started fly tying in 1996 at the early age of 12. He dabbled in commercial tying for some year, but later dedicated most of his time to tying special flies for collectors and participating in competitions. He is currently a member of the AhrexGulff and Semperfli Pro Team.

Add these 6 patterns (with materials list) to your arsenal today!

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New & Noteworthy | Airflo Superflo

The new SuperFlo series from Airflo features three different tapers designed for all your trout-fishing needs: the Tactical Taper, the Universal Taper, and the Power Taper. Each is meant to solve a different problem. The Tactical Taper, available in 2- through 6-weights, features a delicate front taper and an extended rear taper, perfect for placing tiny dries on a dime from any distance. The Universal Taper is designed as a more do-it-all line for anglers who may nymph, throw dries, and toss streamers from the same rod on the same day. It’s available in 3- through 9-weights, which should cover a variety of situations. At the other end of the spectrum is the Power Taper, an aggressively weighted line meant to throw far, turn over larger flies, and counteract today’s fast-action rods. It’s available in 3- through 9-weights. Each of the SuperFlo lines is 90-feet long and features welded loops on both ends. No matter where you find yourself in trout country, Airflo has built a SuperFlo line for you.

$100 | airflousa.com

New & Noteworthy | Scientific Anglers Absolute Tippet Supreme

Fluorocarbon is an interesting material. For starters, it’s nearly invisible under water, it has a higher abrasion-resistance than monofilament, and also sinks faster than mono. While that doesn’t make it ideal for dry-fly fishing, many anglers use it on small dry flies. That being said, fluorocarbon is an absolute must for nymphing or throwing streamers, and especially in salt water. In recent years, the fluorocarbon game has been somewhat stagnant, with no real notable advancements. This year, that’s changed.

The team over at SA has developed a breakthrough fluorocarbon material, improving the break strength over its previous material by up to 33%. The innovation here begins with the material: it features a unique dual-layer construction, with a softer outer layer to help knots grip into themselves and a harder core that provides much of the tensile strength. While each 30-meter spool comes in at a hefty $29.95, if SA’s strength claims are true, it will be worth every penny the next time your knots hold on the fish of a lifetime. Absolute Tippet Supreme is geared mainly to big-game and saltwater anglers, and is available in 8-lbs. Through 20-lbs., with SA’s patented cutter spool and easy ID tippet band.

$29.95 | scientificanglers.com

The Health Collection: Gold Fever

We know that you’d rather be out fishing right now. So would we. While we may not be able to make that happen, hopefully this might help. The International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) and Fly Fusion Films have opened up our video vaults to provide you with some excellent fly-fishing films to help get you through these trying times.

Keep your eyes peeled every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for another film from the archive. Now for today’s featured film: “Gold Fever” by Burl Productions.

Gold Fever is when you get the taste of gold and you will stop at nothing to get more. Jobs, relationships, obligations are disregarded. The only thing you can think about is another nugget. In this case those nuggets are huge wild brown trout from the heart of the Mother Lode in the Sierra Foothills of California.

Reece’s Subsurface Sensations | Bob Reece

Progress often provides opportunity. In the world of fly tying, recent advances in materials have fuelled the creation of subsurface imitations that were previously not feasible. The three patterns in this article were created to raise the bar for durability and productivity.

New & Noteworthy | Orvis Bugout Backpack

Fly-fishing packs have taken a number of forms over the years, starting with vests, then transitioning to backpacks, chest packs, hip packs, and sling packs. We can say pretty confidently we haven’t seen a pack like this come along in a while. From a host of innovative features to standard Orvis-quality construction, the Bugout Backpack is a solution for those anglers looking for the next great pack to wear on the water.

Designed as an angling pack, but just as handy as a carry-on, the Bugout Backpack offers all the features an angler would need: a back-panel integrated net holder, an external water bottle or rod tube holder with an extended sock to keep rod tubes from going anywhere, and accessory docking stations on the shoulder straps. It also features an internal zippered drop pocket with a removable divider, a tricot-lined sunglasses or phone pocket on the top flap, as well as a padded front pocket that will fit a hydration bladder or a laptop (though ideally not both at the same time.) But perhaps the most innovative feature is the side-entry access. By simply swinging the backpack around like a sling pack, you gain access to the main compartment, which has been a gripe of ours about backpacks for a long time. For those that need additional storage, the Bugout Backpack is also compatible with the new Chest Pack and Chest/Hip Pack.

$189 | orvis.com

New & Noteworthy | Scott Centric

No matter which rod manufacturer you look at, you’ll find a wide range of models, line weights, and lengths available. But at the end of the day, the bread-and-butter models for most manufacturers are trout rods. Many technological advancements in fly-rod design have been made with trout in mind. From gently placing tiny midge patterns on tailwaters to throwing articulated streamers for big browns, trout rods have become specialized in a variety of ways.

The new Centric, from Scott Fly Rods in Montrose, Colorado, is a testament to the idea that a good trout rod can, and will, do it all. At the heart of the new Centric is its combination of new tapers and new resin system, which reduces the overall weight of the rod and provides anglers with unparalleled stability and recovery speed. This is the fastest, and most efficient, rod Scott has ever produced, and it’s quite apparent after just a few casts that this is a well thought-out rod, designed to do everything a trout angler could ever need. The Centric is available in lengths from 8-foot 6-inches up to 10-feet, and in 4- through 7-weights.

$895 | scottflyrod.com

 

Spring Arsenal | Jake Vanderweyden

After a long cold Canadian winter of dreaming of warmer days on the water, restocking fly arsenals, spooling up new lines and patching your favourite waders. Spring is always a season every angler looks forward to. The start of a new fly fishing year, exploring new waters, camping and hiking deep into the backwoods with friends. Having a wide range of fly patterns is essential for any early spring fly fishing adventure.

Read more to see materials list for 6 patterns Jake keeps in his Spring Aresnal!

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New & Noteworthy: RIO Elite Flats Pro

The last thing you want to worry about on a trip to a tropical destination is your fly line, so it pays to choose the right one before you go. When targeting bonefish, permit, or tarpon, your fly line needs to be durable, provide enough mass to turn over heavy flies in stiff winds, and allow you to make quick shots at moving fish.

The Rio Elite Flats Pro provides all of that—and more. Built on RIO’s low-stretch DirectCore, and featuring its new SlickCast coating, the Elite Flats Pro has all the bells and whistles a top-notch fly line should have. Its taper design is deadly for the flats; it features a variable length head (meaning it is different lengths for different line weights), a long rear taper (for carrying large amounts of line), and a long-enough front taper to ensure delicate deliveries when needed. These lines are built to do it all on the flats, and with welded loops and the Surefire triple-color line-marking system, you shouldn’t need anything else. The Elite Flats Pro is available in line weights 6- through 12 and is comes in full-floating (F), 6-foot intermediate StealthTip (F/I), 15-foot intermediate tip, and full intermediate (I) densities.

$129.99 | rioproducts.com

Celebrating a Life Outdoors: Leigh H. Perkins, 1927-2021

Leigh H. Perkins, who purchased The Orvis Company in 1965 and over the next three decades transformed it into one of the country’s most respected sporting, apparel, and dog brands, passed away at the age of 93 on May 7, 2021, in Monticello, Florida.

Although he built his reputation as a shrewd businessman and marketer, Leigh was most at home wading in a trout stream or walking behind a bird dog in the field. He was a lifelong outdoorsman who hunted or fished more than 250 days a year into his 90s, and his reverence for nature was at the heart of his drive to conserve land and water resources for future generations.

Born in Cleveland in 1927, Leigh was raised by a mother, Katharine Perkins, who was a dedicated angler and hunter at a time when there were few women who engaged in the outdoors. It was she who fostered his passion for nature and the sporting pursuits, and these experiences shaped his desire to conserve woods and waters so that others could enjoy them. “She taught me to fish and hunt, and she was my principal sporting companion for the first 18 years of my life,” he wrote in his 1999 autobiography, A Sportsman’s Life: How I Built Orvis by Mixing Business and Sport. Together, they caught bluegills from farm ponds, cast to cutthroats in Montana, traveled to the Atlantic salmon rivers of the Gaspe Peninsula, and shot grouse, quail, and ducks.

Although he was born into a wealthy Midwestern family, Leigh chose to make his own way in the world after graduating from Williams College in 1950. He started as a rodman on a survey crew in the iron mines of northern Minnesota, working his way up to foreman before taking a job as a salesman for Cleveland’s Harris Calorific, which made gas welding and cutting equipment. It was during this time that he discovered the value of listening to the needs of customers, which would serve him well as he built Orvis. As Leigh once told his grandson, Simon, “You always learn more by listening than by talking.” Leigh often spent time taking phone calls and reading customer letters to ensure that he was serving their needs, a practice that continues at Orvis today.

Leigh H. Perkins

The idea of mixing business and his sporting passions first occurred to Leigh when he began looking for a company of his own to build. He had been a customer of the Vermont-based Orvis since his college days in western Massachusetts. After a nine-month courtship with then owner Dudley “Duckie” Corkran, Leigh closed the deal on the first day of 1965. He was a hands-on owner, serving as president, merchandiser, art director, product-developer, and whatever else needed doing. His attention to detail was legendary, and he personally approved every item in the catalog.

Over the next 27 years, Leigh would grow the company—founded in 1856 by Charles F. Orvis—from a niche business with 20 employees and $500,000 in annual sales to a mail-order and retail powerhouse with more than 700 employees and sales topping $90 million. Along the way, he was a pioneer in both business and product development. Among the first to capitalize on changes in the direct-marketing world, Leigh made the Orvis catalog a household fixture from coast to coast and opened Orvis retail stores in cities around the country.

Leigh prioritized products that solved problems and enhanced a person’s time on the water or in the field. He introduced the first retractable zinger to hold fly-fishing tools and the first Gore-Tex rainwear. Orvis graphite fly rods were not the first on the market, but they were better-designed and more durable than competitors’. Leigh’s love for working dogs led to perhaps his biggest coup, the Orvis Dog Nest bed—the first of its kind sold in the U.S. in 1977—launching an entire category for the company.

In 1966, Leigh launched the world’s first fly-fishing school in Manchester, Vermont, teaching 150 students the basics. He added a wingshooting school several years later. “It was one of the first outdoor schools of its kind,” says Tom Rosenbauer, Orvis’s chief fly-fishing enthusiast and one of the sport’s best-known teachers, anglers, and authors. “Kids got that kind of stuff at summer camp, but it was groundbreaking for adults and the industry.” The company now offers free instruction to more than 15,000 would-be anglers per year. As his grandson Simon explains, “His passion for education and sharing has grown over the years into an important Orvis legacy of increasing access and participation in the fly-fishing and wingshooting communities.”

For Leigh, the importance of handing down family traditions—in life and in business—to the next generation was always on his mind. As his mother had done for him, Leigh passed on his passions to his children, who are all keen anglers, wingshooters, and conservationists. His sons—Leigh H. “Perk” Perkins, Jr. and David—made Orvis their lives’ work. When Leigh retired in 1992, Perk became president and CEO, with Dave working alongside him. Under their leadership, Orvis quadrupled in size. Today, the company is run by Perk’s son, Simon, while his brother, Charley, and his cousin, Hannah, also hold important positions in the business.

Leigh’s fervent belief that anglers and hunters must work to protect those resources that make time in the outdoors so fulfilling became a company ethos and business imperative. In the 1980s, he helped pioneer corporate conservation efforts by donating 5 percent of pre-tax profits to conserving fish and wildlife through organizations including Trout Unlimited, the Ruffed Grouse Society, the Nature Conservancy, and the Atlantic Salmon Federation. “I think this is his greatest and most lasting contribution to the outdoors and the industry,” says Rosenbauer. “It wasn’t a cynical business decision. Leigh did it because he wanted to be a steward of this world he loved. And if the company didn’t make enough profits in a year to support a project, he would reach into his own pocket, quietly, without telling a single customer or even his employees.”

He also served on a variety of non-profit boards, and in 1985, he founded the Orvis-Perkins Foundation, which has donated millions of dollars to habitat and wildlife conservation efforts over the years. “It’s no exaggeration to say that Leigh Perkins was a friend to anglers everywhere,” says Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops and long-time friend of Mr. Perkins. “Leigh was a lifelong conservationist. Through his generosity and clear-headed advocacy, he was an inspiration to all of us who care about the outdoors. He was one of our heroes.”

Humble with a self-effacing sense of humor, Leigh once responded to an interviewer who asked what he’d like to be remembered for by saying, “my duck soup recipe.” However, for his dedication and impact on the outdoor world, Leigh received many accolades, including the 1992 Chevron Conservation Award. Nine years later, the University of Minnesota awarded Leigh an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, for “[helping] some of the most prominent and important conservation organizations in the world to modernize their practices, create scientific research programs and achieve their potential for service,” as well as for creating a permanent forest-wildlife research program at the university. In 2016, Bonefish and Tarpon Trust named Leigh Sportsman of Year, honoring his conservation work and dedication to the preservation of the fish and waters he so loved.

Despite all the good he did, Leigh didn’t think of himself as a do-gooder. “No one feels sorry for me,” he once said. “I’ve done exactly what I enjoy most all my life.” It is that example of pursuing the real joy in life that he will be remembered for by everyone with the good luck to have known him.

Leigh H. Perkins is survived by his wife, Anne; children Perk Perkins, David Perkins, Molly Perkins, and Melissa McAvoy; stepchildren Penny Mesic, Annie Ireland, and Jamie Ireland; grandchildren Simon Perkins, Charley Perkins, Hannah Perkins, Molly Perkins, Jake Perkins, Leigh Perkins, Spencer McAvoy, Emma McAvoy, Ralph McAvoy, Melissa Mesic Marshall, and James Mesic; three great-grandchildren; and a pack of four-legged family members.