Thursday, September 16, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
As a fly fishing traveler, guide, and freelance journalist, the covid 19 situation hit me on all levels. In February when the pandemic was just starting to spread out of China, there was very little indication of what was going to happen over the next couple of weeks. At this point, I was preparing for a trip to Argentina to fish for trout and Golden Dorado. A trip I have been looking forward to for years.
Here my feet are set in stone, A timeless river, a permanent home, Gathered here for love of trout, Take a cast I do not doubt. Before we cast we all must pray, To see the river one more day, Bless these waters, our playing field, In hopes that soon a trout may yield. Hearts beat fast with keen set eyes, Around the bend a trout may rise, If she does I’ll take a cast, With any luck the fly won’t last.
The internet and online stores have saved some shops while others are struggling to stay afloat. When Covid 19 hit the United States back in March, and the country shut down, it was anyone’s guess what might happen to the fly-fishing industry and, especially, its small fly shops. Some people said that many of these shops would finally die. But a strange thing happened on the way to the tank—those with an existing online presence may have thrived, and those that quickly jumped into the digital fray may have kept themselves alive.
Like, you want to catch a permit? Talk to Bruce Chard. You want to catch giant trout? Throw a Galloup streamer. You want to catch suburban milkies? Obviously, you call Tedla Morgan, a.k.a., The Milkman. I first met Tedla over the Australian saltwater flyfishing forum in 2013. I’d just moved to Townsville, Australia, and being new to the sport—or should I say the lifestyle—I was hungry for any local information that would assist me in my journey. I stumbled across one of Tedla’s posts where he shared his latest milkfish outings. For Tedla, it was just another morning at the milk bar. For me, it was a chance to learn and later hook into something solid . . . more solid than the 30-centimeter flathead I caught the previous week, and the out-of-season barra I’d sightcasted to, thinking it was a trevally. For those not familiar with the Far North Queensland fly-fishing scene, Tedla is a Townsville local, originally from Jamaica. He has a degree in marine biology from James Cook University and is one of few people who can claim they’ve caught fish in a puddle. He specializes in catching fish on waters where most wouldn’t consider casting a line, let alone chucking a fly. When not on the water, he works at Townsville’s Tackle Warehouse.
James: From building paddleboards, to guiding in Colorado, Maine & Argentina, as well as managing a lodge in the Bahamas, it’s safe to say that you have lived a life of stories worth telling. Are there any guiding principles or concepts that have led you down this unique path that many anglers would aspire to follow?
Things are crazy and weird in 2020. Travel bans are still in effect in many areas. People are adapting and looking for new places to fish. If you love to sight fish, your options may be limited this year, but what if I told you that it was still possible to fish “flats style” and target fish over 20 pounds, with the possibility of a 40 pounder. What would you say if I told you that these fish and flats were right in your own backyard? Well then, let me tell you about carp.
Triggerfish are a diverse group of species that fall within the family of Balistidae. There are over 40 species of Trigger, with the majority of diversity coming from the Indo-Pacific region. While the vibrant and diverse Indo-Pacific Triggers get the majority of attention from both the fly fishing media and traveling anglers, the Atlantic’s Gray Triggerfish (Balistes capriscus) offers much of the same allure and sport.
I was 16 years old, and it was my second time visiting central Pennsylvania to attend a USA Youth Fly Fishing Team practice. A great mentor, teacher, author, guide, and representative of our sport, George Daniels, was performing a demo on how to fish a dry fly and a nymph on a European style mono leader. It was early June during the caddis hatch that occurs on central PA’s limestone creeks. After a few words of introduction about the tactic, the “watch this” began as George pitched a cast quartering upstream across a fast riffle towards a slow seam on the far side of the river. The rod accelerated quickly and stopped high, tucking the nymph underneath the leader, landing the dry in the same lane just below it. As the flies entered the feeding lane, George elevated his rod and leader, gaining contact with a tight line to the puffy CDC caddis dry fly. Just as the dry fly was about to start dragging, he popped the rod tip ever so slightly and began dancing the caddis on the surface while the drifting nymph anchored it to the drift. A few seconds later the drift began to enter the main current, and one last hop was all it took. A buttery brown trout exploded out of the seam engulfing the dry fly out of mid-air, and my teammates all shook their heads in disbelief.