Review: Orvis Chest Pack

Orvis' latest offering may convert even the most ardent vest wearers
Photo: Spencer Durrant

I’ve always been a vest guy. My granddad fished with a vest, my dad used a vest, and I used my dad’s vest until it met an untimely end thanks to a barbed-wire fence. Even though I had to retire my dad’s vest a few years after I started writing fishing gear reviews, I didn’t give a second thought to incorporating any of the backpacks, sling packs, and hip packs I’d tried out into my normal fishing routine. Those products, while good, just weren’t as comfortable for me as a fishing vest, and comfort is a huge priority for me while I’m on the water.

Scientists draft letter calling on governors to tear down the lower Snake River dams

For salmon and steelhead to survive, the dams must go
Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake River (photo: Bonneville Power / cc2.0)

Historically, the Snake River basin was the largest salmon producer in the Columbia River system, once home to salmon runs numbering in the millions. Today, all stocks of salmon and steelhead in the basin are gravely imperiled and some are at the precipice of extinction. Over the last 20 years, the federal government has invested nearly $17 billion into the recovery of Snake River Basin salmon and steelhead—with little to nothing to show in the way of results.

Big boy camping

The bacon sizzled in the skillet, and the lake, a giant black-water pothole lined by cypress, oak, beech and gum trees, was brimming with potential
Photo: William L. Farr / cc4.0

The hardwood fire smoked and sizzled in the early morning mist as Benny arranged the coals so they might support the weight of a cast-iron skillet lined with strips of fresh bacon. The smoke curled slowly — almost lazily — through the naked, gray branches of the cypress trees where it eventually mingled with the morning fog over the lake and seemingly disappeared.

Can you tell a good cast from a bad one?

The journey of a million casts starts with one clear image
Instructor John Juracek demonstrates proper casting mechanics to students at the School of Trout (photo: Jeremy Roberts).

I’m going to make a statement that may surprise you, but that I’m convinced is absolutely true.

Many fly fishers struggle to tell good fly casting from poor casting, or to distinguish a mechanically-sound fly casting stroke from a flawed stroke.

That sounds crazy, right? Every single fly fisher should be able to identify good casting. It’s the first thing we need to learn, because without that understanding — without knowing good casting when we see it — we have no clue what we’re trying to achieve with a fly rod in our hand.

Photo: Outwitting Trout with a Fly by Bertram Lackey

The photo shown above is from an obscure book titled Outwitting Trout With a Fly, Letters of a Western Angler, written by Bertram Lackey and published in 1929. I'm rather struck by the caster's attire. Seems to me more fitting for a night on the town than fly casting instruction. Then again, providing commentary on the sartorial choices of any female, in any era, is miles outside my ken. I'll simply note that styles appear to have changed over the intervening years. On the other hand, I feel much more qualified to discuss the casting mechanics being demonstrated.