Let’s Take It Back

Have we overthought it? Does it need to be as shiny and perfect as we demand? It’s not that complicated.

For your viewing pleasure . . .


Tell Me A Story


Word on the skreet is that Providence (by Confluence Films, trailer above) has taken home a few of The Drake Flyfishing Video Awards. The awards are well deserved, but the one that strikes me as most appropriate is that it won Best Story. I think there’s a lesson here.

I’ve followed the fly fishing film phenomenon since the beginning, and we have seen some absolute gems. Running Down the Man felt like one of those adventurous yet attainable ski films that leaves you longing for new destinations. I remember that same sort of feeling I always got watching good climbing films. There was Low and Clear, a film that brought the people to the front of the stage. The fish were just the x-ray glasses that revealed the characters. More recently, A Deliberate Life proved that point to perfection. It was on a steelhead trip to NY that Matt Smythe, a friend of mine and the writer of A Deliberate Life, first showed me the film. I remember not quite being sure how to react and hoping that a smile would give cover to the tear forming in my eye. I think I mustered a simple “well done,” but I know that wasn’t sufficient.

Good films, even those ostensibly about something as trivial as fly fishing, tell a good story. It can be a story about dam removal or personal reflection; the details don’t much matter.

We’ve turned a corner, though, in the films that make it to the top. I have to think that production budgets now exceed those of B-movie horror films, and in many cases the exotic destinations stand in for compelling characters. The good films to me, though, are those that don’t let the scenery overwhelm the tale itself, and Providence does that for me.

Unless you carry gravel in your voice like Jim Harrison or somehow find a way to draw blood with your words like Tom McGuane, leave the four-minute opening pontifications to the side. The dirtbag chronicles are exciting, but they don’t last. The ones that stick, the films that I watch and rewatch, are always the films that are first driven by the story.

I’ve Got That Old Feeling



T minus 3 weeks.

I’m deep in countdown mode again – three weeks until Belize. Three weeks until tropical sun, that familiar salt air, and, if I’m lucky, a few fish.

I need a vacation. A new job has meant less time on the water; it seems funny that the more time you spend in this business, the harder it becomes to actually get out and fish. I suppose that’s just the trade-off that must be made, and I always enjoy the time I do get to spend on the water regardless of the outcome.

If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be in San Pedro by noon and on a bonefish or two that afternoon. There will surely be a few rum drinks in there somewhere, too. Then, we’ll see what the next few days hold.

So, I’ll be counting down the days and making large red X’s on the calendar in my mind. I’ll go through the usual packing and repacking, and I’ll tie more flies that I’ll ever use. After all, the anticipation is second only to the experience.

More Bad News For Atlantics


I don’t suppose we should be surprised, but the finalized population estimates from the Atlantic Salmon Federation for 2016 look even worse than expected. I’ll leave it to you to read the details, but the fact that their estimates indicate 27% fewer fish returned to North American Rivers in 2016 than in 2015 should give you some idea of the peril these populations face.

Let’s Talk About Bottoms

We’ve all got bottoms, and sometimes we all treat our bottoms in a rough manner. We grind our bottoms, we slap our bottoms, and on occasion we’ve even been known to penetrate our bottoms. Yes, boat bottoms can be problematic. Lucky for all of us bottom abusers, Todd Gregory and the boys over at Towee Marine has come up with the solution for all those abused bottoms out there. Total bottom makeovers are not just a dream anymore, I’ll let Todd explain…

Towee Boats and Towee Marine and Industrial LLC have released their new “T2 River Armor” coating for your drift boat or jet sled. Developed in conjunction with a major coatings company, T2 River Armor is the first coating developed specifically for adding significant protection for river craft that operate in rocky, harsh service environments.

Towee owner Todd Gregory explains that, like most great ideas,  T2 River Armor was born from a great need.  “Owners of drift boats and jet sleds, whether they are fiberglass or aluminum, have always faced the same issues.” “First, the hulls themselves can only take so much abuse due to the nature of both the materials themselves and the construction techniques – this had been the state of the art so to speak for a long, long time”. “After a few years of service, the owners are usually forced to bring the boats in for a bottom service or to have tears welded on an aluminum hull” . “The problem here is that not only is this expensive and inconvenient, It only brings the boat back to “original condition” at best and will need attention again in a few seasons. At Towee, we chose to address this issue by developing our proprietary hull material lamination schedule that produces a far tougher and lighter hull” .  “However, we routinely receive requests to repair great boats built by other builders that just weren’t quite so resilient. The second part of the problem, according to Gregory, is that there just weren’t any good options available. Builders and owners have tried most everything conceivable from heavy HDMW sheets to epoxy mixed with various fillers to bedliner sprays, air boat bottom coatings and the like. Each have their own issues and none have adequately addressed the needs of the hard core river angler.

Over the past year, Towee has worked directly with one of the worlds largest industrial coatings manufacturer’s Research and Development departments to develop the first coating designed specifically to greatly improve the protection and performance of boat bottoms in harsh service applications. “From the beginning, we didn’t want an off the shelf solution, we wanted something specifically formulated for what our clients do” said Gregory. “We had to have it meet all four of the basic criteria: Extreme impact resistance, abrasion resistance, light weight and low drag coefficient (slickness)”.  The team at our partner supplier really knocked it out of the park on all four criteria and provided us with a proprietary product that will change what is possible with river craft .”  “We have actually had a sheet of simple 1/8′ fiberglass in the shop all winter that was treated with an early variant of T2 and I’ve been just wailing on it with a 2 lb hammer for visiting Pro Staffers and collaborators.” ” It has had to taken at least 500 hammer strikes and I finally got a small crack with an 18 inch pipe wrench the other day – the crack was in the fiberglass, not the coating.”

After a winter’s worth of R and D and Spring testing, Towee is ready to add performance and reliability to your drift boat or jet sled and add years to its life. For traditional fiberglass drift boats and sleds, Towee will repair existing damage, build up the chines with additional layers of material and coat the bottom and chines of the boat to provide the owners with  super tough hull protection system for little more than a traditional “rebottom” service from one of the major boat builders.   In addition to improved service life, the slickness of the coating combined with the reduced surface area achieved by the glass smooth crinkle finish result in a hull that not only takes the abuse of a rocky river but slides over rocks and logs with ease without reducing motoring performance.

Available only from Towee, T2 River armor is applied in a two coats, a base coat and a top coat then baked at a specific temperature to ensure a proper cure. Gregory can be reached directly with questions and inquires at todd@toweeboats.com.

I’ve already had my bottom T2 armored, and I’m loving’ every minute of it. Don’t you owe your bottom the best? Give Todd a call and let him work out your bottom problems.


SCOF: Good Books


I’m nearing the end of Douglas Brinkley’s The Wilderness Warrior, and I feel compelled to share this one with you for a number of reasons. Before I get into that, however, I feel as though you should be forewarned. Coming in just short of a thousand pages, this one might take you a while. Chronicling the conservation work of Teddy Roosevelt through both the formative upbringing and the implementation itself, I’ve come away with a new appreciation for our twenty-sixth president. It’s long, but it’s worth your time.

The Wilderness Warrior seems especially important in our current environment. After the wildlife decimation of the nineteenth century, it was TR, along with men like Pinchot and Burroughs, who laid the foundation for the good old days of wildlife that many of us were born into. While so many are begging to undo the work that TR helped start, I can’t help but think that reading this book will allow all of us understand what it is we are fighting for and why it is so important that even small concessions must not be allowed.

It might be hard for non-hunters to understand the mindset of a man like TR, and I can see the seeming contradictions. The truth at the time, and still today, is that sportsmen are the greatest defenders of wildlife. We are the greatest force for conservation that exists. Roosevelt had a hand in creating over two hundred million acres of public land, and many today seem intent on undoing his accomplishments. While reading a book of this size might seem like a TR-sized task itself, I can’t recommend it enough.

Read it, and continue to fight the good fight.