Back Issue Content: 2014

The Guardian

Lee Spencer and the steelhead of the North Umpqua

THE SUMMER OF 1998 was good to Lee Spencer. By fall he’d raised 77 steelhead to his fly on Oregon’s famed North Umpqua River, landing about half of them. (Spencer keeps meticulous notes.) Yet there was a problem. Of the fish he’d landed, three had died—two of them wild. He’d also once brought in a steelhead eyeball on his hook.

The Holdout by dave hayward

Chasing one elusive sunfish

I passed the Rock Bottom Brewery on the final mile of my evening bike loop, where more than once I’d stopped for a thick porter to celebrate not being killed riding the second busiest road in Houston. Restaurants come and go quickly around here, but this place had a twist: A lily pad-filled concrete moat stocked with ravenous rent-a-bass. Even late into a summer pub crawl, I could see hotwater gamefish finning below the front deck, making predatory lunges at dip spit, lime rinds, and roaches.

The consequence of Gierach

The consequence of Gierach


“It took A.K. to teach me how to make real camp coffee.”
—John Gierach, “Camp Coffee,” Trout Bum, 1986
“U.S. military satellite captures footage of A.K. Best and Ed Engle slyly and simultaneously dumping out their cups of John Gierach’s famous camp coffee when John’s not looking. " —The Drake, Scuddlebutt, Fall 2011

“What are you up to?” Ed asked wryly, watching A.K. pour his coffee beneath a bush near the edge of the stream.

“He’s gone to take a crap,” A.K. nodded toward the trail leading downstream. “The only reason I ever drank this stuff is cause he’s so damned earnest about the ritual. But today’s is just too putrid to stomach.”

Trending: Golf Course Bass

Central Florida largemouth on the links

You go to florida to fish the salt. But if you also happen to love largemouth, as I do, and you live in a place that’s a mile high, with a nine-week window to fish for them, then you take advantage of every opportunity to chase them elsewhere. Attending this summer’s annual flyfishing trade show in Orlando provided just such an opportunity.

First Bone

Appreciating the introduction

The act of walking across a white-sand flat, knee-deep in endless shades of blue, is made much more interesting by bonefish. Especially if you’ve never caught one. After a few days spent searching empty water on the Bahamian island of Exuma, we drove down a twisted dirt road, past rotting cars and abandoned dishwashers, and finally found a promising flat. We were DIYers, looking to catch them on our own, but only if Ray didn’t kill us first.