In the mid-’90s I was doing programs for the Canadian Sportsmen's Show in Vancouver B.C. The event was at B.C. Place Stadium and I stayed in The Georgian Court Hotel across the street.
At that time, the hotel was home to many actors that came to “Hollywood North” for filming. Robin Williams was there and happened to see one of my televised demonstrations. Turned out he was interested in flyfishing and needed some pointers before heading to Alaska. He wanted to learn how to throw a shooting-head with a floating running line. The “Teeny Tip” as it’s called in the business. He contacted the show and asked if I could give him a private demonstration.
Robin had a free morning from filming and we met early before the show opened. He was shy, calm, and small in stature, and once inside the stadium, we started working on his casting at the pond.
Surprisingly, he was quite good. As the show floors started to fill a few people began milling around. He suggested that he might want to make a quick exit if it got too hectic. But he wanted to make a few more casts before he left.
I showed him that a pull or “haul” in flyfishing lingo would add another 10 feet or more to the cast. He was ready to try it. The casting pool had a barrier to protect people from getting hit by the line. Robin let go a cast that went beyond the barrier and hit a biker chick right in the chest as she was walking up the aisle with her boyfriend.
The biker guy was right out of central casting. He was huge, and wore chains and tattoos and leather pants. The girlfriend let out a yell as the line drilled her. As they looked up to see us standing on the casting platform, Robin handed me the rod and stuck his hands in his pockets.
The biker ran down the middle of the pool, water splashing, and heading directly at me. Within a few feet of punching my lights out, he looked up and saw Robin.
“Robin Williams,” he yelled, “you are my hero!” The furious girlfriend demanded that punishment be given to the man holding the rod, me. But within a few minutes there was a crowd and Robin was entertaining everyone.
Security whisked me away and all was forgotten. A couple of nights later, I was having my end of the show dinner and a bottle of champagne showed up with a note from Robin.
It read: “Thanks for the lesson, I now know the Harley-Davidson cast.”
At some point in every young angler’s life, you’ll have to sit them down and have “the hex talk.” Conversation timing completely depends on the person. Some may not be ready, some will, and others are already experimenting with hex—without you even knowing.
Here are a few key points to remember when it’s time for that all-important heart to heart, considering a lot of what’s portrayed in the media is not real:
1) You don’t just go out and immediately start having hex. The hatch bounces around, and a stretch of river that was blowing up with bugs one day won’t fish well the next.
2) Every hookup isn’t going to be with a trophy. Don’t feel bad about lowering your standards at times.
3) Just because every fish in the river is up and eating on the surface, doesn’t mean you’re going to score. You still need to spit a little game in the form of a well-timed drag-free drift.
4) Bring a wingman. Doing it in the dark is a team sport—especially if you're in a boat. Good positioning is essential. Your wingman needs to be hyper-aware, focused on opportunities. And the guy on the rod needs to perform.
5) When it’s good, it’s addicting. Make sure they know their decisions can have lifelong consequences.
Finally, once you’ve had the talk, accept the fact that new anglers are going to be the ones making these decisions on their own. As much as you might want to, you can no longer control or dictate their actions.
And I already know what you’re thinking, If I sit down and talk hex with them, won’t that just make them want to do it more? Absolutely.
Quebec-based graphic artist Mathieu Laroche—aka, Matel—has worked with brands such as Volcom, Rome, and Spy, lending his street-inspired art to everything from snowboard designs to accessories and streetwear. His latest “Reel Art” collection stems from trout, Atlantic salmon, and striper hankerings, and was prompted by close friends seeking reels with a one-of-a-kind look.
“The project came about randomly,” the 33 year old says. “We wanted to customize our reels and did it with the help of friend Martin Gravel, who distributes TFO in Quebec."
Gravel provided the blank-slate reels and Matel went to work on their transformations, washing them in vibrant colors and adding intricate "Aqua" and "Topographic" accents to the spools and frames. Like all his works, mediums vary: from spray paint to acrylic to ink to marker. “Anything I can find to achieve the results I’m looking for.”
[For more of Matel’s animated POV, check out mrmatel.com and IFOUND—a brotherly brand focused on shred accessories, with some flyfishing flavor in the mix. Matel's Morgan Bridge Gallery is based in Quebec City and includes works from emergent and underground artists from across the province.]
Utah-based photographer Jay Morr can often be found with his lens slipping back and forth between separate universes. The first is familiar. It’s places with trout, drift boats, requisite dudes looking dude-ish, and the awesome esthetics of the West’s best waters.
But Morr’s alternate reality, I hate to say it, looks even better. Musicians. Models. And did I mention, models? Between flyfishing and portraiture work, Mr. Morr and his shutterfinger are working full-throttle these days.
The result is a collision of inspired images that are hard to ignore. Here’s the scoop.
The Drake: Tell us about yourself, Mr. Jay Morr.
Jay Morr: Growing up, my folks put a huge emphasis on the arts and gave me every opportunity to learn and excel at it. I decided to get involved in my high-school photography program. My Father was quick to offer up his Minolta camera body for the cause.
After graduation I quickly realized that renting lab time and purchasing quality film was really expensive. I was more into buying flyfishing gear with the little money I made. When digital first hit the scene I ended up buying my first point-and-shoot. It was a 3.2 megapixel and I started taking bug shots and photos of my fly patterns. Digital changed the game and the rest is history.
The Drake: You say on your site: “I believe that imagery is therapeutic to the soul, can inspire the uninspired, and can save the lost. I know it to be true, because it has on all accounts done this for me.”
How has photography shaped you as a person?
JM: That quote pretty much sums it up for me. Photography has given me an immediate outlet to express how I feel and has become an extension of who I am as a person, an artist, and someone who loves to huck [flies]. Hopefully it inspires others to do the same. Sharing my imagery has given me great opportunities to meet people from all over, and I appreciate the relationships I’ve made beyond the shutter click.
The Drake: Actors, models, musicians… flyfishers. Which one of these doesn’t belong?
JM: That's pretty damn funny. There are a lot of photographers that only shoot a certain style or genre. People often assume that if a guy holding a camera can take a kick ass photo of a fish then they must be able to photograph a wedding, a pin-up, or can shoot product. I’m inspired by being able to photograph any subject and at a high level. It takes a lot of dedication, patience, and time.
It was flyfishing work that helped me land my first wedding gig. At the time I was thinking of the money and the new fishing gear I could buy. Shit got real when I was photographing a moment that could only be captured once and the client was paying a good sum of cash to make sure I nailed it.
The Drake: What’s the key, in your opinion, to staying fresh and standing out from the standard?
JM: I’ve always felt that true professionals set themselves apart by offering something unique. The proof is in the imagery. The way I stay fresh is by focusing on my own work and not getting caught up in what someone else is doing. I bully myself, look to improve my own game, and bounce my ideas off a great group of people I trust and respect. Being progressive is demanding and it requires relentless dedication. I can look back at my portfolio and see that progression. What I photographed last year was the best I could produce last year; it may be a ‘throwaway’ today.
The Drake: Where do you concentrate your fishing/shooting efforts… and what kind of esthetic floats your boat?
JM: I love any time on the water. Living in Utah, I’m surrounded by great options. I’m 3 hours from the Green, about 20 minutes away from several blue ribbon fisheries, and heading north I can be in Idaho or Montana in just a few hours. I feel very fortunate. Ideally I love heading out-of-state each year because I get more time to photograph certain things that are on my radar.
The Drake: What clients are you shooting with today, and what are your photo inspirations on—and off—the water?
JM: I share studio space with a couple other photographers. I spend most of my weeknights and weekends photographing full time. I’ve never been motivated by print. The amount of time it takes to send images to editors a certain way in order to meet submission guidelines is not something I have time to do. And I think there’s a misconception that print pays and also that by being in print a photographer is ‘killin’ it.’ Although it may not be as cool as landing on the cover of The Drake, the bulk of my work and client list consists of shooting portraits, models, weddings, product, and events.
The Drake: Last thoughts?
JM: Hmmmm… Rasta vibes. Nikon. Support stream access. Huck meat. Hot models. And turn the dial to "P".
See more at, jaymorrphotography.com
They came, they saw, they won a tournament and made history. All in one day.
RUSKIN, FLA—Chris Hargiss and teammate, Mani Pailer, dominated the 2014 Salty Fly with a back-to-basics approach. Others poled their way into position and threw from the bow with long presentations and sexy patterns. However, Hargiss caught his fish on foot with the simplest of flies—the Bendback.
That traditional saltwater standby led to a three-fish total of 83.25 inches, a Salty Fly record, just ahead of second-place Kapers Murph (80.1) and third-place Leigh West and Jay Wright, who amassed 77 inches.
The tournament format called for two redfish and a trout—total inches, photo release, fly only. Hargiss, a Palm Harbor native, won $1,500, which he split with Pailer.
The two fish together often, so Saturday they decided to work close to their home waters in Sarasota. Efficient and effective, they hustled back to tournament headquarters more than an hour before the deadline, which meant a long wait before official results were announced.
“It was one of those days where everything lined up perfectly,” Hargiss said. “It shows that if you put in enough time, you’ll catch the fish you’ve been looking for. It was just a good day of fishing.”
All of the winning quarry were sight-fished, a style of angling Hargiss honed while owning a kayak for several years before buying a Hell’s Bay skiff several months ago.
“[A kayak] makes you dial in on fish,” Hargiss said. “You don’t want to spend your whole day paddling and expending energy to find them. You learn to pick your tides, the weather, and the time of year for different flats. It makes you focus on the finer points.”
Hargiss, 27, wasn’t the only angler celebrating Saturday evening. Murph was the first solo angler in Salty Fly history to place, and West and Wright were the first team to pull off multiple top-three finishes. The pair took third in 2012.
An old timer with an 8-inch Buck Knife strapped to his belt once told me that mousing for trout was invented on the North Branch of Michigan's Au Sable River. Not long after brown trout were introduced there—shortly after the grayling were gone—an angler was field-testing some bass poppers he'd carved and accidentally discovered that these German fish were eager to eat after dark.
320 reasons why, Hier kom groot kak
Flyfishing filmmaker Jako Lucas has been on a world tear since dropping Gangsters of the Flats on U.S. audiences in 2012. The bangers of those Seychelles flats were, of course, large and in charge giant trevally. With Aqua Hulk, last year's Best New Film at The Drake Film Awards in Vegas, he went deeper into the exotic, wrestling a relatively unknown flats species called humphead parrotfish, aka bumpies. The fish was freaky and the fishing, again, was high-voltage.
Lucas, head guide with the team at FlyCastaway, was raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. His fishing passport includes the outer atolls of the Indian Ocean: Cosmoledo, Providence, Astove, Assumption, Farquhar, and St. Brandon's. And as of late, he's expanded that repertoire with Atlantic salmon in Norway and taimen in Mongolia. For 2014, he's also been fine-tuning 320 The Movie, which will premier on this year's F3T tour schedule.
We recently caught up with Lucas, where he detailed the making of 320, as well as the meaning of hier kom groot kak. Translation, the shit's about to hit the fan. Read on.
Drake: Take us back to the beginning. What kind of fishing opportunities did you experience from a young age?
Jako Lucus: I was introduced to saltwater fishing at a very young age by my dad, who's managed the South African Rock and Surf fishing team for six years now. Here we catch and release monster sharks and other fish form the beach. It's pretty radical.
Growing up in JoBurg was cool, we have some great freshwater fishing on the Vaal River for smallmouth yellowfish. There's an epic sight-fishery called Sterkfontein Dam. We also have a few good trout fisheries in Cape Town, Rhodes, and you can cross the border for amazing trout and yellow fishing in Lesotho.
Overall, the South African flyfishing scene is small compared to the U.S. But I have to say I have a lot of respect for South African guides. The one's that have been around the block are just awesome, super hard-working and good at what they do.
Drake: Walk us through your transition from University of Johannesburg student—studying marketing—to fulltime guiding. Seems like a leap, at least as far as two very different career paths, no?
JL: I remember the good old days as a student. We'd be on the river fishing and I would ask my mate, "What class are you supposed to be in?" And he would just say, "Economics." We'd laugh and just keep on fishing hard. Hey... at the end of the day we got our degrees. I've been lucky to have a very supportive girlfriend and understanding parents. They know fishing is my life and that I really love guiding, and want to be 'kick ass' at it.
I just hate it when people ask me when I'm getting a real job or why I'm just fish for a living. I have huge respect for all the serious fulltime guides out there. Not too many people understand what it takes to be a great guide. I've always loved working with people, getting to know them, and helping anglers achieve something that they truly want out of fishing. So I think in that sense it was easy going from marketing to becoming a guide, and I suppose the huge passion for fishing helps.
Drake: Your guiding resume is exotic—big, colorful, and fierce. What is the ultimate flats species in your opinion, and why?
JL: That's a super hard question considering all of them have their own unique personalities. Well... I think if you speak to any 'Saffa' [South African], or person who's experienced the brute force of a GT, I would have to say the gangster of the flat... Mr. GT. I don't know any other fish that hits the fly with the sheer power of a GT.
I also have huge respect for Indo Pacific permit, but as with all permit... well, let's not get into it.
Drake: The greater flyfishing community has been getting to know your adrenaline-charged fishing through award-winning edits such as Gangsters and Aqua Hulk... and now 320. What inspired you to jump into flyfishing filmmaking?
JL: I've always been addicted to fish porn... ok let's keep it clean. The first time I saw a flyfishing movie with soul I was on a boat in the Seychelles watching Trout Bum Dairies and soon after that, Running Down the Man. I started following The Drake Film Awards in 2006. That's what inspired me to start filming and to show everyone what we as guides see on a daily basis.
I still have a lot of hard work ahead of me when it comes to the filming, cinematography, and editing. My stuff is raw and I often get too excited in the fishing moment, then I forget to film properly [laughs].
Drake: Your new film 320 is featured in this year's F3T tour. Talk about the idea behind number, why 320 days? And at what point in that heavy season does the burnout factor begin to set in?
JL: I've been guiding for about nine years. During the last six years I've logged 270 days apiece. But after adding a couple of new destinations in 2012, I ended the year guiding 320 days. The movie is an in-depth look at what you can accomplish as a fishing guide if you put your head and heart into it.
The burnout factor is always a big one in guiding. To avoid it I try to fish completely different locations, back-to-back, to stay fresh. I really love a challenge, so I prefer new water and pushing myself to the max to make it happen with clients.
Drake: Yelling and aggressive fishing seems to be a common theme in your work. What are some of the choice South African words, terms, and phrases Americans should get to know... in order to help us translate the chaos?
JL: Shit... sorry I do swear a ton. I just can't help myself. I just get too pumped. Let me hook you up with some words.
F%$# bus: This is both the same in English as in Afrikaans, but it means monster fish! Get your shit together!
Inside: Fish on.
Bliksem hom or Moer hom: Afrikaans for hit him. Set the damn hook!
Strip: I'm not asking you to take your clothes off... It means strip as if your life depends on it. And now go faster.
Hier kom groot kak: Shit's about to hit the fan, so hold on.
'Tis the season for The Drake's annual Hot Holiday Gift Guide—A full assortment of special selections to wow the flyfisher in your family.
Tenkara is the simple Japanese method of flyfishing where only a rod, line, and fly are used. Be the first to buy the whole franchise, including Tenkara rod manufacturing facility, Tenkara Magazine, Rights to all Tenkara Flies, Tenkara Lines, Tenkara DVDs, Tenkara Nippers. Zen-like enlightenment sold separately. $10,000-$12,000
2) Scent of Kamchatka, Cologne
Smells like musk, tastes like vodka. Imported. $49.95
3) Real Life Flyfishing Guide™
People spend big bucks and travel far to get belittled by flyfishing guides. With your very own Real Life Flyfishing Guide™ at your 24-hour disposal, open your doors to a fun-filled world of long-winded stories, late nights, and endless packs of Marlboro Reds. Where's the television remote? Your Real Life Flyfishing Guide™ knows: "11 o'clock, three feet to the right of the Doritos... Douchebag!"
$7,500 imported ($8,500 for Florida Keys variety, gas not included)
4) Christmas Island
Since it's Christmas, you may as well own the whole fucking island. $12,000,000
5) Revolutionary "TWO" Fly Rod
Similar to the all-water fly rods we've grown to know and love, the TWO offers the same precision casting accuracy needed to cover a wide range of conditions—only you need both hands to cast it. It's a game changer. $1,985
6) Seasonal Collection of YouTube Fly-Tying Videos
Add more whip to your finish with the 2013 YouTube Fly-Tying Anthology.
Featuring more than five thousand 4-minute or less fly-tying tutorials, catch all the action with: Flies that Float; Low-Light Midges; Tying With One Hand Tied Behind Your Back; The Wondrous Woolly Bugger Part 18; Tying While Getting a Tattoo, The Secrets of a Fly-Tying Cell Mate; Dubbing with Pubes; Rob Ford's Crack-a-lacka; Hackle Stacking for Dummies, Really Basic Parachute Posts, and more!
7) Quaaludes—Holiday Assortment
Source instant relief from the stresses of fishing with significant others, or that annual steelhead skunking—and be a part of the resurgence of this recreational mainstay.
About 8 bucks (current street value)
8) Braided Fly Line Hair Ribbons
What better way to instill a love of flyfishing in your young and disinterested daughters than with these hand-crafted, genuine Sri-Lanka-made hair ribbons? As a bonus, this company will actually accept donations of your old, scarred up fly lines for "up-cycling" in the hands of their many elementary-school-aged employees.
$12US, or 1,800 rupees apiece with purchase of 1,000 or more.
9) 1974 Mercury Marquis Brougham American Classic
With only 197,844 miles on odometer and garage kept this beauty is in first class condition
351 cu In V8 with an automatic transmission; Luxury features and options; Gangster Black; AC, Power Steering, Power Windows, Power Locks; Interior And Exterior Excellent; 460 Ci Power That Still Runs Like New; Vinyl Top Is Flawless; Big 2 Door Car With Factory Tinted Windows; All Tires Are In Good Condition
Pictures Do Not Do Justice: $500 OBO
Dust off the Holgas, dump the hard drives, do your best Terry Richardson, and delivereth your mind-blowing fishing images for a chance to win swag. As 2013 comes to a close Trout's Fly Fishing has teamed with The Drake and drakemag.com to run its year-end photo extravaganza.
What’s up for grabs? 1) A one-year subscription to The Drake Magazine. 2) A $100 gift certificate to Trouts or our Online Store. 3) A Trouts Signature Trucker Hat and Water Bottle. 4) An assortment of Drake flyfishing paraphernalia.
—Yep, we’re looking for big fish – but most importantly we’re looking for great photography and people having fun!
—Stick to fish porn, no one (except Tom and Geoff) wants to see you "gripping and grinning" with your aunt Bethel
—It doesn’t need to be a trout – it can be a bass, a carp, a permit, northern pike, wiper, tarpon, blue gill, bonefish, dorado, jack, etc… or just someone fishing or hanging out…
—The fish/image has to have been caught/taken in 2013 (we’re counting on your honesty here)
the photo can have been taken anywhere in the world
maximum one (1) photo entry per person (give us your best!)
—We see a ton of “grip-and-grin” photos so creative shots are going to score points – improper fish handling shots most likely will not make the cut. If you want to read a great post on how to safely handle fish when you are taking images of them AND get better shots, CLICK HERE.
—Images will be judged by our readers and followers and votes will be counted on our blog (only one vote per person please!)
Send your best fly-fishing photo (one image only per contestant) taken in 2013 to will@troutsflyfishing. We’ll put a blog post up in mid-December with the best-of-the-best and then let you vote for your favorite image. The photo with the most votes on January 3rd will be declared the winner (to be announced on Jan. 10). Note: Winning submissions will also be featured on drakemag.com.
Earlier this month a group of Fort Collins, Colorado-based flyfishers fused the ancient arts of beer drinking and hackle stacking for the first in a series of "Iron Fly" events.
Loosely based on the Iron Chef TV show—but with more drinking and lots of yelling—contestants are presented with mystery ingredients from which they craft flies to be scrutinized and judged after the... er... drinking and yelling.
On Wednesday night more than 60 tiers, onlookers, and barflies crammed Tony's Bar & Rooftop for the sophomoric effort presented by Pig Farm Ink. The night's surprise ingredient? Halloween remnants plucked from the mean streets of Fort Collins.
Jay Johnson, who co-founded Pig Farm Ink alongside Matt Schliske, Mark Brown, and others, says the two Fort Collins nights have been a catalyst for good times with friends, as well as introducing new people to the sport—planting the seed for an Iron Fly movement that's set to go nationwide.
"At least a third of the people we're seeing just want to learn more about flyfishing, and several are tying their first flies ever," Johnson says. "Ten other cities start Pig Farm Iron Fly tying nights next month, with more e-mails and messages coming in everyday."
More on Pig Farm Ink, Iron Fly, and bitchin' tattoos, here.
[Photos by Russell Schnitzer photography]