Back Issue Content: 2017

2017

Obsessed. Permit in the Keys.

The pursuit and protection of our most adored and frustrating fish.

Tommy Robinson remembered his moment of enlightenment. It took place in the '70s, back when nobody believed you could catch permit on a fly. Robinson grew up in Key West, and began guiding before he'd even graduated high school. But on this day he was an angler, fishing from the back of the boat while his friend poled from the bow. "We were poling barges around back then," Robinson said. He held an 8-weight Fenwick in his hand, rigged with a Platinum Blondie striper fly—a chunky bucktail streamer of the Homer Rhode-Joe Brooks lineage. As they moved along the perimeter of Barracouta Key, in The Lakes area just west of Key West, he spotted a permit. "We'd caught permit on live crabs, but not flies," Robinson said. "I cast at it, started stripping, and not only did that fish chase the fly to the boat, but I could see it had its mouth opened by the end. I thought to myself, these sons of bitches eat flies."

Unexpected Journey

COMPARED TO THE INITIAL REPORT, our weather wasn't looking so bad. Wind was steady at eight or nine knots out of the northwest, pushing temps down to the mid-forties. The water had cooled significantly over the last week, and reports of trout and reds still being around were spotty and unsubstantiated. Our odds weren't good. Still, life had placed us here, with a boat, some fly rods, and a little extra time. Who cares about odds anyway?

SOMEBODY WAS HUNGRY. PHOTO BY COREY HASSELHUHN.

Seven years after the worst inland oil spill in the country, a once-damaged river is thriving.

The familiar tug, the comforting bend of the 7-weight, and another Michigan smallmouth—this one, 17 inches. Not a record, but it came to my net in a peculiar spot in an unaccustomed location; along a stretch of the Kalamazoo River west of Marshall, Michigan, where the tree-lined banks now give way to clear-cut fields and wildflowers. The late-spring sun simmers the brain on this part of the river now. It didn't used to.

MORNING ON THE MISSOURI. PHOTO BY BRIAN GROSSENBACHER

Sometimes you find the fish; sometimes they find you.

Mid-June after a May-long drought and, weeks before we thought they would, the rivers had begun to "take shape," an idiom I've always loved for its suggestions of primal formation and rebirth. What was just days prior a brown blob squirming primordially down from Rogers' Pass is suddenly the jade-green Blackfoot, its boulders and riffly musculature apparent and alluring, the bankside willows laden with salmonflies three whole weeks before the bar-sidled, self-proclaimed experts—myself included—had anticipated. Why hadn't the bugs consulted us before emerging?

The curious case of Fly Fishing Collaborative

"Gaining a good network of supporters is critical to the life of any new NGO, and in this day and age people can be very leery of supporting any non-profit; not everyone out there is completely sincere in their fundraising efforts."
—Bucky Buchstaber,
from the opening paragraph to his story,
"Fly Fishing Collaborative in South Africa,"
in Revive: A Fly Fishing Journal, fall 2016.

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