LL’s Perdigon Torch | Landon Lacroix

LL’s Perdigon Torch

Hook: Daiichi 4647 Size 16

Bead: MFC Slotted Tungsten Lucent Bead-Orange

Thread: Uni 6/0w-Doc Blue

Tail: Calftail-Orange

Body: Veniard Stripped Quill-Orange

UV: Solarez Bone Dry

Wingcase: Solarez Thick/Hard and Solarez UV Fly Finish-Black

 

Featured in “End of the Line” in the Summer 2021 issue of Fly Fusion

Fly Fishing Sucks

Sometimes the best way to say something difficult is just to say it. So here it goes. Fly fishing sucks.

 

It’s actually really hard. The visuals presented in fly-fishing films and Instagram photos are quite misleading. Sure it looks inviting, but there’s so much you don’t see…like how many mosquitoes and black flies the angler had to swat away while holding that prize trout at just the right angle, which is only slightly out of the water (like only one third of the fish). And you also have to position it at the perfect angle, with one hand holding the fish’s tail just slightly outstretched and the other arm, bending only slightly at the elbow, holding the fish’s body nearly fully extended. There’s a reason it’s called “angling.” It’s so complicated. And if you have really large hands and are naturally “big boned” then you need to really question whether or not you want to take up fly fishing at all. Trout appear smaller when held by large people, which will not make for enticing social media images.

 

Maybe that’s a good place to start, by questioning your motives. Why do you want to take up fly fishing? Is it because it’s niche? You’re looking for a peaceful pastime that takes you outdoors so you can spend time clearing your head while avoiding the crowds. Not going to happen. It’s next to impossible to throw a stone in the air in Montana, Idaho, or Alberta without hitting someone with a fly rod in their hand. Not that I recommend throwing stones with fly rods around. If you happen to miss a fly fisher and hit one of their rods, you’ll likely break it, which really angers these people, especially in the middle of trout season. Sure the rod is likely to have a warranty, but it takes months to get the rod fixed. And going out and buying a new rod is out of the question because the poor guy probably took out a second mortgage just to buy the first one.

 

If you’re still thinking about joining the fray, you’ll need to purchase the following: a fly rod for $1000, a reel for $400, waders for $500, boots for $250, a gear bag for $150, a fly box for $50, and you might as well throw in a drift boat for $8000. Try not to worry when you max out your Visa because the feeling you get the next season when you realize all your gear is outdated is…priceless.

 

On top of that you’ll have to buy flies, casting lessons, and go out with a guide so you can learn what’s going on (ballpark $1500 for that trio). That knowledge will be good for at least a few days, until the Ephemera simulans hatch is over. Oh, I forgot to mention that you’ll likely also have to take an online Latin course in order to enhance your entomological understanding.

 

Now that you’re broke your time is going to be more limited because you’ll likely have to get a second job. You’ll want to make sure the extra hours come in the evenings so you can keep your weekends free for studying Latin and for fly fishing, especially through the summer months. This is the most productive time to fly fish.

 

Manage your limited free time wisely because summer only lasts for about 90 days. With weekends off, you’ll have 24 days where you can get out and cast a fly to trout. Of those 24 days, let’s say six of those will be too hot to fish, for even Shakespeare knew that “sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines.” And then three of those days are likely to be cancelled because of thunderstorms. Again I’ll defer to Shakespeare’s meteorological insight: “And often is [the sun’s] gold complexion dimmed.” How can you argue with Shakespeare?

 

You’re now left with 15 days to fish this summer, which isn’t too bad I guess. But with climate change causing high water temperatures, there are usually quite a few river closures. Last summer in my region I think I endured two weeks of closures. If that happens, now you’re down to ONE DAY. 

 

I know this goes without saying, but if you’re getting into fly fishing to relax and get away from it all, you might want to reconsider. It’s going to be challenging to relax when you’re stressed about the looming academic load and the financial burden you’ve incurred for that one day of fly fishing. Realistically, there might be a reason it’s perceived as niche. You may want to take the family to the water slides instead. Even if you don’t pack a lunch and buy burgers at the park, you’ve likely saved around ten thousand dollars.

 

Let’s not fool ourselves though. Life is not all about saving money. Everyone knows you can’t take the checkbook with you when you go. In the end it’s all about relationships, right? Okay, this is where fly fishing gets really tricky. Any way you cut the onion, it’s going to make you cry. If you’re married and your spouse doesn’t feel the same about spending time in nature casting a fly to trout, this causes tension because of the sheer number of days you’ll be “gone.” “Ahaha,” you say, “I caught you in a lie. I knew I’d be able to fish for more than one day out of the entire year!” Well, no. What I mean is that you’ll be eternally thinking about that one day because fly fishing is addictive. You’ll run through every scenario in your mind such as what flies you need to pick up, what stream you’re going to fish, who you’re going to go with, who’s going to pack the lunch (Shoot, I almost forgot. You need to run out and buy a cooler for $500), and what rod you’re going to bring. I may have also forgot to mention that you’ll need to purchase more than one rod. You’ll need one for big water, one for medium water, and one for small water. You’ll also need one for windy days, one for calm days, and one for slightly overcast days. You can never be too prepared for that one day per year you get to go out and enjoy!

 

Undoubtedly, your mind will be consumed. You’ll end up spending very little time thinking about your spouse, which can have very serious consequences. Likely, the only way you’ll be able to save your marriage is through couples’ counselling. Had this need come up before your addiction, you would have been able to afford it, but now you’ll have to sell some of your fly gear to pay a qualified counsellor to help you through your issues. It’s a classic catch-22 (not 22 trout…stay focused).

 

I know; you’re one step ahead of me. You’ll just include your spouse in your addiction. Really? I agree it’s the most obvious and viable solution. That is, until you start to double the costs above. That’s sure to create an insurmountable financial strain on the marriage. Then…back to couples counselling, which may eat away at your one day a year.

 

You see, you’ve been looking at the films and the Instagram photos all wrong. You see them and you think, “I want to do this. I want to be like those people.” No. Appearances can be deceiving; remember Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (et tu Brute). See, your Latin lessons are not wasted on entomology.

 

I’m telling you because you are my friend…fly fishing sucks.

How to Defile a Wilderness | Jim McLennan

Ours is considered a gentle sport for the most part, and that trait is part of its attraction. Recently, more people are finding solace and clarity—and much-needed gentleness—in the outdoors and the activities there, one of which is fly fishing.

 

And while it’s true that fishing, called the “contemplative man’s recreation” by Isaac Walton, can indeed be gentle and thought-provoking, sometimes our contemplation needs to be sharply focused.

 

An example is the recent controversy and struggle to prevent construction of a huge copper and gold mine in Alaska, called Pebble Mine. The effects of the mine on the environment and the Bristol Bay watershed would have been massive. For now the project has been canceled, thanks to participation in a long, arduous fight by a great number of people and groups who value the outdoors, including fly fishers.

 

A similar battle has been escalating in Alberta in recent months over the threat to the future health of land and water posed by proposed expansion of open-pit coal mining. The mountains and foothills are the headwaters and domain of Alberta’s best and best-known trout streams: The Oldman River, the Crowsnest River, the Livingstone River, the Highwood River, the Ram River, plus all their critical tributaries. These mountains and foothills are the Alberta wilderness. 

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Best Ties for Summer Flies | Simple Summer Nymphs

If you haven’t already picked up a copy of the Summer issue, now is the time to do it!  This “Fly Tying Triple-Header” covers off the Pro’s top recommendations for dries, terrestrials and nymphs to use this season.  The five patterns below are Jake Vanderweyden’s (@theflyfiend) picks, complete with recipes for you tying pleasure!

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New & Noteworthy | Yeti Trailhead Chair

Let’s be honest. Does anyone truly need a $300 camp chair? No. But, as always with Yeti, the Trailhead Camp Chair is another example of the company taking a simple product, over-engineering it to the max, and coming out with something that looks great, performs very well, and will stand the test of time. Falling squarely into the “just barely related enough to fly fishing accessories for us to include it on this list,” the Trailhead is the ultimate camp chair. After a long day of walking and wading, it’s good to know you’ll have a sturdy, comfortable chair waiting for you back by the campfire.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Trailhead is just how well-built it is. This thing is solid. Featuring a lightweight crossover frame that snaps into place with color-coded tensioners and the forgiving Flexgrid fabric, the Trailhead can support up to 500-lbs., yet remains comfortable while sitting for hours at a time. With an included cup holder, and extra-strong feet, there aren’t many things Yeti didn’t think of; speaking of which, the entire chair is UV-rated, meaning it won’t break down in the sun over time.

$299.99 | yeti.com 

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 | 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

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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