Steve and Dave’s Tips for a Most Excellent Fly Fishing Adventure

fly fishing adventure

The past four years of podcasting and writing articles (weekly for both!) have been a terrific fly fishing adventure in its own right. We announced in our last podcast that we’ve come to the end of our run. We are feeling a bit sad. But the time is right, and we’re excited about what’s next.

That includes more fly fishing. You can listen to our last podcast to hear the reasons behind our decision. So in honor of four wonderful years, we thought we’d pontificate even more to make your next fly fishing trip a most excellent fly fishing adventure:

1. Now is urgent. [Dave]

You’re not getting any younger. Even if you’re only 25.

It’s tempting is to kick the can down the road. Don’t. Pick up your fly rod now. And go fish. Pick a date on the calendar. Put it all on a credit card. And save your regrets for later, when you’re paying it all off one month at a time for two years.

2. Pack carefully. [Steve]

I am still shaking my head about the time I grabbed the wrong rod tube on the way to catch a flight to Colorado.

I meant to take my 4-weight rod. I spent the week in small mountain streams casting a 4-weight line with an 8-weight rod! Actually, it handled better than I anticipated. But it’s best not to forget your rod, reel, flies, waders, and boots — or to grab the wrong fly rod.

3. Find a Fishing Partner Who Is a Planner. [Dave]

Steve is so organized that he pulls his socks from the bottom of his carefully stacked clean pairs in his tidy drawer. He wants to wear each pair of socks out equally.

I like that in a fishing partner.

Steve would happily plan what I have for dinner after a great day on the water, if I let him. God bless planners. They design great fly fishing adventures.

4. Don’t bring your family along on a fly fishing trip. [Steve]

You’ll be disappointed. So will your family.

In fact, they might leave you. At least they will be mad at you. If you insist on trying to fly fish, agree on a set amount of time you’ll be gone. If it’s 3 hours, you’d better get back on time. We’ve learned this the hard way.

So do as we say, not as we’ve done.

5. Go easy on the guide’s new Orvis rod. [Dave]

Guides for the most part are warm, kind, and generous.

They bring a 3,000-calorie lunch for you even though you won’t burn even 179 calories casting from the drift boat. They might roll their eyes as you snap off another fly, but they do it behind your back. They might silently mock you when you can’t cast farther than 20 feet, but they wait to laugh uncontrollably until later that evening with their fellow guides at the local bar.

But the generosity ends when the guide warns you not to let the big rainbow dart under the drift boat, yet you still do. And the $1,000 fly rod that the guide most generously lent you snaps in half. It’s all fun and games until you break the fly rod.

This is no fly fishing adventure for the guide, trust me.

6. Now mend your line. [Steve]

Those words from my mentor, Bob Granger, still ring in my ears every time I cast a fly on the water.

Trout will ignore your fly if they spot the slightest bit of drag. So mend your line. Add small mends (stack mends) as you go. Consider a “C” loop while your fly line is in the air. Do whatever you can to avoid that dreaded drag on your fly. Water skiers leave wakes; dry flies should not.

7. Use a landing net. [Steve]

You may not need a net to land a trout; but the trout will thank you.

The rubber netting is a lot easier on their bodies than your hands. Besides, a good net will keep you alert. As you’re sneaking through the brush, the net will get caught in a pine branch or a bush. Then, after you walk five more paces, it will snap back and slap you square in the back. At this point, you’ll be a lot more alert as you approach the river.

Plus, you’ll remember that you brought your net. Win, win.

8. Bring ear plugs. [Dave]

Now I’m not saying that I have never snored.

Maybe I have. Maybe I haven’t.

But if you’re on a trip and the two beds in the hotel room are only five or six feet apart, then you need to bring a pair or two of ear plugs. Ear plugs are as basic as hopper patterns in mid August. Essential.

You need to be fully rested for the hard day of fishing ahead of you.

9. Stay safe. [Steve]

Yeah, we’ve hammered this point to death.

But that’s because a modicum of prep can keep you from death, or at least from serious injury. Bear spray. Wading staff. Fishing buddy. Caution. Quality wading boots. You know the drill.

And if you’re in Yellowstone on your fly fishing adventure, don’t pet the bison. Seriously.

10. Grab your rod tubes from the overhead bin. [Dave]

It’s always a win when the case you make to your spouse for a new fly rod is based on the fact that you really need a fly rod.

You forget to mention to your beautiful wife that you lost your two favorite rods on the last fly fishing trip. It’s hard not to imply that someone “stole the rods,” even if the stealing probably happened after you forgot them in the overhead bin as you made your way off the plane in Chicago.

Go on a Fly Fishing Adventure Now!

Life is short. Catch more fish.

Response to the @CastingAcross Open Letter

Dear Matthew, we’re still stinging from your Open Letter to us on January 3, 2018.

The stinging was caused not by the content of your post but the reminder of our last Skype podcast interview with you. Gazing at your unbelievably pristine lumber-jack beard during the interview was a rebuke to our manhood. Even in midlife, Dave has no real shot at such facial hair, and Steve’s goatee is nothing short of pathetic, a feeble attempt to validate his deep outdoor insecurities.

So we must begin our reply with nothing but deference to and accolades for your facial accomplishments. You have achieved legendary countenance status in our hearts and minds.

Before we go much further, we want to be sure to accept every wonderful comment that you make about our podcast and book, The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists: Life is short. Catch more fish. Did we mention that we’ve published a book?

Now that we’ve covered our annoying self-promotional, self-aggrandizing hoo-ha, we’d like to address the big idea of your post: that we need to broaden our fly fishing experiences to the East Coast.

Key Lines of the @Castingacross Open Letter

To properly respond to every nuanced thought in your post, we’ll break it down:

“I did want to remind you that I still haven’t received the royalty checks for my two appearances:”

Say what?

Didn’t you mean to say, “I still haven’t sent you the royalty checks for the privilege of being on the podcast?”

“… it is clear that your fly fishing hearts lie beyond the Mississippi.”

We think it’s clear that we are cheap. We begin all our fly fishing planning with, “Do we have family or ‘loose family ties’ that we can mooch off?”

Steve is a master mooch, and Dave is Steve’s mooch conspirator, for Dave never complains when Steve finds free lodging on one of their Montana excursions.

“I’m just asking you to seriously consider some angling opportunities that lie a little more eastward.”

Eastward. Hmmm. Is that a direction?

A River Runs Through It has captivated recent generations of fly fishers, and rightly so. Still, that brand of western angling nostalgia only looks as far back as the early 1900’s. Places in the Catskills and Central Pennsylvania are literally the birthplaces of American fly fishing.”

Uh, this may be a bit embarrassing for you, but everyone knows Brad Pitt is the founder of fly fishing and that Norman Mclean was his father in real life. Everyone. Given that bit of historical, uh, truth, the royal lineage of fly fishing seems to run through Montana.

“It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that I am the chief sinner when it comes to just going where it is comfortable.

We don’t want to judge you, but the phrase “chief sinner” had come to mind before you mentioned it.

“So what say you? Maine brook trout? Massachusetts striped bass? Carolina catfish?

You had us at Carolina catfish.

“Sincerely, the hopefully-soon-to-be 3rd guy in a river out east,

You are here by officially knighted as the Third Guy. We’ll send an invoice for a third of the expense of it all shortly. You can pay us by saying yes to another podcast episode real soon.

Your Western-Biased Friends,

Dave and Steve
2 Guys and a River