2012 Summer Contents

Drake 2012 Summer Issue
What's going on in Guyana?

One of the many appealing aspects of tarpon fishing is that tarpon come up for air, allowing anglers, in most cases, to view their quarry before casting to it. Just seeing a group of 100-pound 'poons rolling on the surface can be almost as exciting as that first strip-set. So imagine taking the largest tarpon you've ever seen, doubling or even tripling its size, then sticking it in freshwater.

Welcome to Guyana.

Despite English being its official language, most of us have never been to this small South American country. In fact, most of us don't even know where it is. ("Africa?" No. That's Ghana.) There are reasons for this, of course. Guyana has very little infrastructure, even less tourism, and consists primarily of uninhabitable jungle, with 90 percent of its population living on 10 percent of its land—that 10 percent being a mostly marshy strip of narrow coastline.

Image : Dusty Wissmath
If the big bugs don't show, what's option B?

South Fork of the Snake
Southeast Idaho

Pale Morning Duns are a prolific hatch all summer on the South Fork, and often all day long. In fact, not having PMD patterns in your fly box for a day on this river is like showing up in sweat pants to meet your in-laws for the first time. In other words, go home—you're better off being a no-show.

Way back in August of 2010, we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the can—canned soup, canned beans, canned tuna. This summer, it's about the beer. Once considered a sub-par compromise when bottles weren't available, cans are quickly becoming the preferred vessel for many a craft beer-drinker, particularly flyfishers, rafters, and other marginally employed types. Cans are lighter, better for the environment, and way easier to toss across a river. Drink up.

One of the only upsides to having a drought year out West is that we can backpack up to the high country a few weeks earlier than normal. And since it's hard work getting up there, don't shortchange your trip by bringing that broomstick of a six-weight or that noodley old fiberglass rod because "it won't matter if you break it." Get a two-weight. Backcountry brookies and cutties can still be selective, and even if they aren't, casting tiny flies to 10-inch trout just feels better with the appropriate rod—especially after you hook one.

Images: Alex Cerveniak
How cane is like a venereal disease

Bamboo fly rods are a little like herpes. Both are achieved out of lust which, in the light of day, provokes a certain retrospective guilt. Both, once acquired, invoke the sort of awe that elicits careful handling, and—be it split-cane rod or irritated genitalia—the newfound host might find himself wondering "Damn… should I even touch that thing?" Perhaps most importantly, both can prove terrifically hard to get rid of. That said, a bamboo fly rod is also often quite beautiful, and valuable, and typically created at the hands of someone who cares deeply for the craft and its requisite tools—and the gesture of quiet loveliness that throws a feather-wrapped hook at a fish.

Image: Brad Tyer

Missoula's got nuthin' on Oberlin

I thought I was just sharing a lark—fine: I was bragging—when I posted a Facebook update a month after moving from Missoula, Montana, to Oberlin, Ohio: "Just caught a dozen bluegill on a fly rod in a light rain standing on the shore of Oberlin Reservoir. I think I'd forgot how much fun fishing could be."

My friend Dan's comment caught me off guard: "Guy leaves a trout mecca to fall in love with bluegill on a fly. Story of your life, perhaps."

Dan was right, I'd avoided fishing in Montana—turned my back on a daily luxury that normal people spend thousands of dollars and precious vacation time to indulge. Why? Honestly, I'm kind of scared of you people. You fishermen. You flyfishermen especially. So serious.