Is your fly fishing gear ready for the season?

A checklist and maintenance tips to make sure your gear is ready to go when you are
Photo: Chad Shmukler

If you’re like me, and the one fishing outing you took in January was so cold and miserable that you uttered some semblance of, “I’m too old for this shit,” stowed your gear and waited for spring, now’s the time to pull it out of the closet and get it ready. Spring has sprung across many parts of the country, and it won’t be long until we’re itching to get out and enjoy some fishing with the sunshine on our backs and the fly rod guides free of ice. Having your gear ready to go when you hit the water is a nice way to start a new season.

The flats angler's guide to middle-shelf rum

Forget Kalik, drink the good stuff
Photo: Chad Shmukler

For a lot of landlocked, would-be flats anglers, the last year or so has made travel to the warm, sunny places where bonefish and permit swim impossible, ill-advised, or otherwise difficult. Like most, I have only been able to fantasize about a flats trip. But, with coronavirus vaccination rates accelerating and pandemic-related restrictions easing, those dreams are inching closer to reality.


Everything you need to experience natural wonder is in your DNA
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain

As my eyes scanned the tangle of honeysuckle, other communications — a faint, familiar scent carried on the breeze and quick footfalls on dew-softened leaves — told me to be patient and keep watching. Something was coming. And based on this thread of information, I knew it wasn’t a deer; it wasn’t a squirrel. It was likely something canine.

5 tips to help your flies last longer

Tested tips to extend the life of the flies you tie or buy
Photo: Cody Kirbyson

I watched “Mysis Mike” Kingsbury throw a cast upstream to a pod of feeding browns. Mysis Mike’s dry fly disappeared in a swirl, and he waited a full count before firmly lifting his rod, driving the hook point home. His rod buckled and bounced, and I waltzed upstream to see the fish. Blue-winged olives hatched in earnest all around me.

“What fly are you using?” I asked Mike, once he pulled the hook free. He knelt and cradled the big brown — a nice 21-inch trout — in the water, admiring the fish’s pale yellows and bright blues.

“A hook,” Mike replied.

Backyard fire

Our favorite fire pits, ovens, grills and more for hardwood warmth and cooking
The Stahl Fire Pit [foreground] and Stadler Oven [background] at work (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Though few positive side effects resulted from the coronavirus pandemic that descended on the globe in early 2020, one of the most significant may be the nationwide and worldwide rekindling of people’s desire to spend time outdoors. Though initially a product of necessity—leisure activities or socializing with others, in many parts of the country, required one to be outside—this shift, for many, quickly blossomed into a revitalized love affair with all things outside.