With the Tour on Hold, The Boys Find Gold

A quest to find solace during a global pandemic.

Written by Nick Jones of the Fly Fishing Film Tour

The 2020 Fly Fishing Film Tour will most definitely go down as one of the most fun, engaging, and certainly most memorable tours of all time. For myself, Paul Nicoletti, and Parker Boswell, the time on the road was something we looked forward to from the moment we finished up our Alaska guide season. Working for the tour not only allows us to travel around the country showcasing awesome films, but it also provides ample opportunities to explore new water with a group of friends I consider brothers. 

Sadly, right as we were hitting our stride on the road in mid-March, major concerns began to surface across the nation. In a matter of days, the Covid pandemic halted cities and states across the country. Because of the increasing health concerns, we made the difficult decision to cut our adventures short with F3T and pull the curtains on the 2020 tour.

We’d been grinding nonstop for two months. After trekking over 10,000 miles on the road, hosting 22 individual shows, and having had far too many gas station dining experiences—we were weary to say the least. We needed to relax, we needed a break from our routine, but what we really needed was to string up our rods, unplug, and go fishing.   

After doing some research and talking to some friends, we decided to disappear into the backcountry of Wyoming. Armed with a full quiver of rods, toilet paper, and enough beer to make a normal person question the state of our livers, we looked forward to our newfound freedom and the prospect of exploring new water.

The mission was simple — load up our packs, start hiking, and pound the banks with streamers in order to find the biggest browns possible.

Upon arriving, there was no doubt we made the right call — simply put, Wyoming is stunning. After setting up our base camp we immediately started working the water. The first day was a bust—no fish landed.  Feeling deflated, we settled into our stash of beer and started to figure out our game plan for the next day.

Day two, although much colder and windier, brought with it the thrill of success. Several nice fish were brought to the net, all on streamers.

With rekindled confidence on fly selection and technique, we decided that the rest of the week would be devoted to exploring as much water as possible. Using the elevated banks, we worked every bit of good looking water with one person fishing and the other guys spotting.

With our new approach dialed, the final day was when it all came together.  I kicked broke the ice with a beautiful brown that absolutely hammered a “goldie” streamer; as you could imagine the stoke was high for what the rest of the day had in store. Everyone was charged up and extra motivated to continue the hunt.

Shortly thereafter, Paul found some nice water downriver and began picking it apart with a two-handed rod. A few swings into the run, I heard the telltale howl of excitement.

Without a moments pause, I was recklessly sliding down the steep embankment with my net and camera in tow to help. After a wordless, tense fight, both Paul and I let out a huge sigh of relief as I scooped the net under a gorgeous 25” brown trout! This was that classic “moment” that solidified our trip as one that we will never forget. Our goal wasn’t to catch lots of fish, our intention was to find that one special fish, and this no doubt the one we were looking for!

Fish or no fish, this trip was all about disconnecting from the chaos and reconnecting with a shared passion that gives our lives so much purpose.  A week without news, social media, and internet—especially in troubling times like these was the hard reset we needed.

Feeling refreshed, light-hearted, and our need for adventure satiated, we all went on our separate ways to our families. It was time to hunker down, reminisce, and weather out the storm. 

Timing is a funny thing—the idea of having to remain inside with no end in sight to beat this thing would have been a much more bleak prospect without having had made the call to go be wild while we had the chance. To those of you who managed make it out, be alone, and fish before shelter in place orders came down—good on you. To those of you who didn’t – try not to stress. In time, this storm will pass — and when it does, the fish will be waiting. 

To see more from the Fly Fishing Film Tour and from Nick, Paul and Parker, check out their Instagrams. @flyfishingfilmtour; @npeejer; @pablonicoletti; & @boz_to_the_wall.

Mega Hatch Success

When the Hatch of the Century Happens, Use These 6 Tips To Stand Out Amongst The Crowd.

Have you ever been in the middle of a mega hatch? You know the one. Where the water opens up and belches out more bugs than you have ever seen in your entire life? You know – the hatch that you’ve been anxiously awaiting for weeks, months, or even years. If you’ve ever found yourself in the midst of a mega hatch, you know all too well — sometimes, too much of a good thing can cause madness, confusion, and frustration. Some days we go out there and pound on them. Others, not so much. No sense in talking about solutions of those glory days. Those are easy. How about when we can’t solve the riddle that seems so obvious? Read ahead to learn some of the tricks and tactics I’ve used throughout the years to get my bug to stand out when the hatch of the century is on.  Continue reading

Low Light Equals Best Bite

Take Advantage of Low Light Conditions. By Simms Pro Team Member, Landon Mayer.

We all love those bright sunny, warm days but often times, “ideal conditions” don’t always lead to the best action. Here, Simms Pro Team member, Landon Mayer shares a chapter from his book, 101 Trout Tips, A Guide’s Secrets, Tactics and Techniques, (Headwaters/Stackpole Books) on how you can time your fishing sessions to take advantage of low light conditions.

The Problem: I  see fish in bright conditions, but they shy away from my flies.
The Solution: Make a mental note on where the fish were located and pursue them in low-light conditions the same day, or another day when the weather is bad.

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Tarpon Essentials

Before cashing in on your tarpon days, make sure you’re bringing along the essentials.

No matter how many times you have chased a specific species or how familiar you are with the gear required to pursue it, when it comes to a big trip, the question of what to pack always rises. It’s May, which for many of you means the excitement and anticipation that’s been building since you booked your tarpon days last season are transforming into reality. Before you pull your suitcase out and begin sorting through your salt water gear, check out our tarpon collection – there might be a few items here that come in handy when it counts.

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The Artwork of Jake Keeler

Heavy Metal, Dungeons & Dragons, Fly Fishing and Protecting the Boundary Waters.

If the name Jake Keeler sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the only artist out there who somehow, has cohesively blended fantasy and fly fishing. Formally trained, Keeler’s unique style was shaped by his love for heavy metal, Dungeons and Dragons and of course, his passion for fly fishing in his home state of Minnesota. Already a conservation minded angler/artist, Keeler was an obvious choice to design the Save Our Streams Boundary Waters T-Shirt. We recently caught up with Keeler to dive deeper into his inspirations and to get his thoughts on protecting the Boundary Waters.

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Growing Up on the Stone

Born and Raised in Livingston, Montana, James Anderson Speaks About the Current State of his Home Water – the Yellowstone River.

Born and raised in Livingston, Montana, quite literally, James Anderson grew up along the banks of the Yellowstone. Because of his upbringing, his connection with the river runs deeper than most. From dawn to dusk fishing excursions with his father, to refreshing rope swing plunges into the river’s pools, to guiding clients to trophy rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout, Anderson has been privileged to experience the Yellowstone in all its glory. On the flip side, after the temporary closure that occurred during the summer of 2016, he knows all too well what an unhealthy Yellowstone means to the town of Livingston and its community. Below, Anderson recounts some of his fondest childhood memories and candidly speaks about the current state of his home water.

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G4 Pro® Pack Collection

Easy Access and Fishy Internal Organization Meets Durable Weatherproof Protection.

Now that winter has come and gone, the time has arrived to gear up and get organized for full day pursuits on the water. Whether it’s drifting dries, stripping streamers or stalking the flats, the months ahead are some of the best for hike/wade enthusiasts. Those who fish on foot know the importance of a quality pack. Finally, after over 4,000 hours of rigorous field-testing, Simms is able to offer a collection of packs worthy of the G4 badge. Available in a backpack, sling, hip and tactical-hip style, the G4 Pro® line is no doubt the fishiest to ever leave Simms HQ. Read more:

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Brett Hite Breaks Down Conroe

Brett Hite weighs in on fishing diversity, breaking down new water, and the bladed jig.

Take a quick glance at the roster of anglers fishing the 2017 Bassmaster Classic, and you’ll be struck by the geography. Of the 52 anglers preparing to compete on Lake Conroe, Texas, March 24-26, 11 currently reside in the West, and three others (including Simms pro, Aaron Martens grew up in California.

The influx of successful anglers from the Pacific Time Zone into heavily Southern waters has been a noticeable game-changer on the Bassmaster Elite Series, and on the Classic. None more so than Arizona based Simms Pro, Brett Hite.

Hite won the very first Elite event he competed in (Lake Seminole, Georgia in 2014), and has rang up an astounding 11 top 10 finishes in the 33 tour-level events he’s fished since qualifying that year.

We caught up with Hite while preparing for Classic week. Here’s what he had to say:

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James Elam Prepares for his Second Bassmaster Classic

By Joel Shangle

Heading into the 2016 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake in Oklahoma, Simms Pro James Elam was tabbed as a potential favorite. Pretty heady expectations for a young Elite Series pro fishing in his first Classic. No surprise, though, to the many northern Oklahoma anglers who Elam had regularly beaten on Grand Lake since he was a teenager.

Fast forward to the final week before the 2017 Classic on Lake Conroe in Texas, and you’ll find a slightly different James Elam. Less pressure, fewer preconceived notions about the fishery, and a more open mind about what might happen on this San Jacinto River impoundment come March 24-26. Read more:

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Shaw Grigsby Preps for his 16th Bassmaster Classic Appearance

By Joel Shangle

Few faces in the world of professional bass fishing are as familiar as that of, Shaw Grigsby. Thanks to both a highly successful 40-plus-year B.A.S.S. tournament career and the 20-year run of his popular television show, One More Cast With Shaw Grigsby, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more well-known (and well-liked) personality than the amiable Floridian. Grigsby’s career is about more than longevity and TV recognition: the upcoming 2017 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Conroe, Texas, will be his 16th (the 15th-most among all-time Classic competitors). He’s made three Classic Top 10s, and has been identified as a threat on Conroe because of the later-than-usual time of this year’s Classic. Below, the veteran tournament anglers talks about his career and how he feels about his odds come March 24 on Lake Conroe.  Continue reading