Little black shit

Sometimes it's better to simply have faith
Photo: Chad Shmukler

I own about 450 flies spread out over a dozen boxes or so. Dries, nymphs, streamers; crazy stuff I bought internationally—probably not going to use that 4” dragonfly from Argentina on a Catskills’ creek—but all have a reason and purpose.

Here’s the thing about my flies … I didn’t tie a single one.

Gear we love right now: December 2021

What's working on, and off, the water
Photo: Chad Shmukler

Fly anglers are overloaded with gear choices—rods, reels, boots, waders, lines, packs, bags, boxes, vests, apparel and more. It seems harder and harder to know what's worth coveting and what's worth ignoring. Gear reviews are a great way to explore in-depth what might be right for you, but not every piece of gear is suited to a full-length review and, even if it were, there's simply too much of it to get to. With that in mind, we periodically showcase what's working for us right now, to hopefully offer more helpful feedback on gear that's worth a second look.

No tide

Life inside a drum cartel
Photo: Ryan Fries

Sometimes you have to disappear.

Not because something's after you but maybe because you were chasing too much after it. The world has an odd way of falling at your feet when you disown it. When you put it in its place and go back to basics — that's a good thing. And in my forty-six spins around the sun, I've always found that kind of reset to be refreshing and necessary.


A reset on priorities. Reset on goals. A way of blocking out the noise. And when it comes to fly fishing, a chance to invent a new dynamic in a well-worn, storied sport. That's inspiring.

How we fish matters

Conservation doesn't begin or end with catch-and-release
Photo: Chad Shmukler

I was engaged in a conversation recently about the methods used to catch trout on a fly, and I was particularly interested in how one angler — an accomplished long-rodder by all counts — espoused the virtues of keeping a low profile, using lighter tackle, small flies and miniscule tippets.

5 ways my fly fishing changed after I became a guide

How a summer spent guiding trout anglers changed everything
Photo: Chad Shmukler

Last summer, I had the privilege of working as a professional trout guide. I went from fishing once or twice a month to guiding 4-6 days a week. I probably watched more eats, netted more fish, and spent more hours tying on flies in 3 months of guiding than I had in the previous 3 years. Yet, I rarely cast a fly rod. During my one off day each week, I’d often spend time on the water with a rod in my hand, but the vast majority of my “fishing” happened through a client.