One Last Dance

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See, I draw you in with a Swayze reference. You know my favorite line from that movie? When he turns to his lovely costar and asks her what she’s doing tomorrow night. “Why, I’m going to SCOF Mystery Movie night,”she says. “Aren’t you?”

True story. Sort of.

Tomorrow night marks the final installment of our Summer Mystery Movie Series. We’ll kick off the double feature a little after dark, but feel free to come by an hour or two before. There’s a cash bar on site, and the food truck that will be there is almost worth the trip on its own. To wrap things up the right way, we’ll be raffling off a TFO Mangrove along with a Cheeky reel and an SA line to benefit the French Broad Riverkeeper. Finally, the crew from Flood Tide Co. will be making the trip up from the Lowcountry.

See you there, homeys.

What’s Caught Your Eye?

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There have been a lot of new products released in the last year, and most of them were highlighted at IFTD. While they aren’t all on the market just yet, I’m curious to hear what you are most excited about. Is it Scientific Anglers’ new graduated density sinking lines? Orvis’s made in the USA Mirage? The Sage X or the Ross Colorado?

For me, a few things stand out. The first is the Orvis Hydros SL reel. I have a few, and I’ve been pleased with them on everything from brook trout to bonefish. Also, Tacky Fly boxes have found a lasting place in my pack. They are as solid as they feel, and the four or five I have now just don’t feel like enough.

So, what’s done it for you this year?

Movin’ On Up: The Intern Edition

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As you may remember, Alan won the 2015 IFTD Best of Show – Freshwater Fly Pattern with fly shown above, Broyhill’s Jackknife. Now, from the crew at Flymen Fishing Company, we have the press release shown below. Well done, Alan.

Flymen Fishing Co. & Fulling Mill launch award-winning fly – Broyhill’s Jackknife.

Brevard, NC, USA – September 21, 2016. Flymen Fishing Company announced the highly anticipated launch of Broyhill’s Jackknife, which won Best of Show – Freshwater Fly Pattern at the 2015 International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Orlando, Florida.

“When most people think of musky and other predator fishing, they think of heavy flies and sore shoulders,” said Alan Broyhill, designer of Broyhill’s Jackknife and 2015 winner of The Southern Classic Hardly, Strictly Musky tournament.

“The Jackknife design was focused on creating a solid all-rounder big-game streamer with the kick-around action that predators crave, then making that fly as light as possible so anyone can cast it all day.”

The design incorporates the Flymen Big-Game Fly Solution, which is a combination of a Fish-Skull® Fish-Mask, Living Eyes, Big Game Shanks, and Body Tubing.

It’s currently available in 3/0 and 6/0 sizes and Purple/Black, Rainbow Trout, and Red/White color combinations.

Broyhill’s Jackknife is tied in the T-Bone style, which is a style of articulated big-game flies created and popularized by American fly tyer Blane Chocklett. Chocklett is also well-known for pioneering the Game Changer style of streamer tying, which uses Fish-Skull® Articulated Fish-Spines to achieve animated ultra-lifelike motion.

The fly is produced by Fulling Mill, a British commercial fly tying company with worldwide distribution.

“Members of our dealer program and their success are important to us,” said Martin Bawden, founder and head product designer of Flymen Fishing Company. “We’re connecting our dealers who want to carry Broyhill’s Jackknife with Fulling Mill to make sure they can provide their customers with this exciting streamer pattern.”

Broyhill’s Jackknife is available on Flymen Fishing Company’s website, Fulling Mill’s website, and through Fulling Mill dealers worldwide.

Oh My . . .

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Over the last few years, I’ve been seeing some pretty incredible pictures coming out of Gabon. Don’t know where Gabon is? Think the part of Africa that a lot of people never really think about, bisected by the Equator and almost entirely dependent on oil revenues. Apparently, however, the fishing is the stuff of legend. Check out the picture above from Tourette Fishing. Oh my, indeed.

To read more about what’s going on in Gabon, check out the newest issue of This is Fly. Is this real life?

On Bird Hunting

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We’ve been sleeping with the windows open for the last few weeks. It was about a month and a half ago that we moved into a new house, into our house. I’m nearly done renovating a basement room that is soon to become the room I’ve always wanted for my tying desk, my gear, and the art that needs a proper place to hang. At night, while we lay in bed, I can hear the wind in the leaves and the quiet murmur of the small creek that runs through the back yard. The last few mornings, though, I’ve woken with a new chill. It isn’t cold, but it is fresh. It’s that start of fall that feels just like the first breaths of a new spring.

For me, fall is the true New Year; this is when everything begins. We will fish streamers on the tailwaters and catch a few big browns, and the brook trout will start to take on the colors of a Caravaggio still life. And just as the leaves begin to mirror the brookies, I’ll set a new course. Instead of the valleys that hold the beautifully-colored fish on which our attention is normally focused, I’ll begin to haunt the hills and slopes that look down upon them.

On October 17th, North Carolina’s grouse season will open. It will run until the end of February, and for four-and-a-half glorious months, my two man team, my dog and me, will wander in search of birds. When I first started grouse hunting, I worked under the impression that the birds were the central aim of each endeavor. My dog was young and my skills were lacking. The success of my trips was measured in numbers, and I thought Tucker, my bird dog, understood that the job was to find birds for me. I suppose he still thinks that, but my perspective has certainly changed.

Tucker just turned six, and he is in his prime. If he never gets any better at his job than he is right now, I’ll be just fine with that. He’d most likely be bringing up the rear in any field trial competition, and you won’t see me at the top of the score sheets of any sporting clays tournament,  but we’ve become the team that I had hoped for.

What has changed is the way I approach the whole endeavor. Tucker finds the birds for me, but I knock them down for him. Strangely, I think the dog work is enough for me. I could go a whole year without taking a bird and not lose any sleep except for the fact that Tucker deserves better than that. He’s earned it.

The rain has just started falling tonight, swelling the creek behind my house and fattening up the rose hips and bittersweet that the grouse need before the heavy frosts set in. Soon, we’ll take to the woods. We’ll take a few birds, I’ll miss a few more, and we’ll start the countdown until the end of February. These months are what I wait for all year. These months, that dog, and cold mornings in the western NC mountains. That’ll do.

 

Barring love, I’ll take my life in large doses alone – rivers, forests, fish, grouse, mountains. Dogs.

– Jim Harrison

A Question For You Fly Tyers

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I’ve been tying on a Renzetti Traveler for over ten years now, and it has served me very well. I bet that vise has seen over ten thousand flies, and there’s no doubt it has another ten thousand in it. However, gear lust has taken over. I’ve been checking out all of the current offerings, and a few have caught my eye, including the Renzetti Master shown above. I’m curious; what are you using?

In Other News, This Isn’t News

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At this point, you don’t have to be a member of Greenpeace to know that aquaculture presents an enormous slew of problems that we don’t fully understand. A recent article from Science News does a good job of explaining what can sometimes be a complicated issue.

I am not the sort of person to be swayed by sensationalism, but when estimates show that Norway’s 500,000 returning wild Atlantic salmon each year are dwarfed by the 380,000,000 (yeah, that’s 760 times more) Atlantic salmon currently in marine farms within the country, it’s almost impossible not to react with shock. I don’t even come at this from a particularly environmentalist standpoint. I simply think that we might very well be doing catastrophic damage to both individual species and broader ecosystems without understanding the true impact.

On a somewhat unrelated note, one of the more illuminating books I’ve read on aquaculture is An Entirely Synthetic Fish by Anders Halverson. This book, and the broader topic, have made me seriously consider three things. First of all, entirely benign motives can lead to serious consequences. Are fish-farmers the bad guys? I’m not convinced. They are just out to make a buck, and consumer are more than willing to eat it up (see the second graphic in the Science News piece).

Secondly, and perhaps more difficult to answer, is the question of what words like wild and native really mean. At what point is a wild fish no longer wild? Is there a genetic percentage threshold that, once crossed, can never be regained?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what the hell are we doing?

Let’s Do It Again

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We’ve had a great time with the Summer Mystery Movie Series over the past few months, and we’ll be at it again tonight. The movie starts when the sun goes down, but feel free to show up an hour or two early. There’s a bar and a food truck onsite, so come hang out and enjoy an outdoor showing of Roadhouse.

PS  – The mystery movie is not really Roadhouse. Maybe next time.