Thursday, March 24, 2011

Custom Fly Wallets

One of my good friends, Marc Crapo, or Rowdy as most of you know him, just put together a short promotional vid for his custom leather work. Within the world of fly fishing, he’s mostly known for his amazing one of a kind fly wallets, but as the vid shows, there is way more to his creations than just bug cases. Check out the new vid and see for yourself. They really are some amazing works of art.
Rowdy and I have known each other since early 2009 while on the road with the film tour. He was also there with me when I stuck my best 20/20 fish of all time. Little did I know he was going to take things into his own hands and put that fish on a wallet for me. To this day it’s by far one of my favorite pieces of fishing gear, and the best meat locker this guy could ask for.
If you don’t have one you should get one. If your favorite fishin’ buddy doesn’t have one, get one for them.  Like Rowdy says…they are “super bad ass!”....they also happen to be one of the hottest things going in the biz right now. Just tell him "Chooch" sent ya.
The evolution of my fly wallet…..

Step 1.

Step 2.

Step 3.

Step 4.

Step 5.

Steps 5-9.

Final product.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

20 Great Things in Fly Fishing

This past week the newest issue of Angling Trade was released and they had an article titled “20 Great Things Happening in Fly Fishing Right Now”. It was written by Kirk Deeter, a heavy hitter in the world fly fishing blogs, news and literature. Kirk received hundreds of responses from readers about the best things going in our sport today. As you can imagine many of the top pics geared around conservation issues and groups, new age media such as blogs and websites and….wait for it, wait for it….the Fly Fishing Film Tour! Myself and the rest of the crew were ecstatic to see the F3T make the list…at #2 no less! An unbelievable about of time, money and hard work goes into making the tour the number one event in the fishing industry every year, and it’s great to see the tour receive such a high ranking.
 Honestly we’re not sure if we were ranked #2, or if it was just a random assortment of the top 20, but hell, why not number two!
In a time of what some consider “hard knocks” for the industry (the economy, box stores, quality hackle shortages) it’s nice to see an article about all the things that are right with that’s going on in our small little world of fly fishing. Thanks Deeter, this read was a nice breath of fresh air.  

Check it out here in PDF...Did I mention it was the cover article?
And cheers to all the people, companies, clubs and organizations that have helped make this industry what it is today…
PS- The film tour’s independent shows raised over 40,000 dollars last year alone for conservation groups…not too shabby.

It's it.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish'in I was fishin'.

Top O’ the Morning To Ya….
As one of my favorite days is upon us, I can’t help but wish I was on the water. Unfortunately with all the fresh snow the last few days (36in at the top of Squaw), access to one of my favorite winter rivers is not an option…
So let’s look back at a few fishy moments of St. Patties here and gone.
Clean bow.

A little mid day nappin'.

Have some fun today, it's St. Patties!

And watch out for crack head leprechauns!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Are women changing the chicken farming world?

For those of you that have been living under a rock the past six months or so, I wanted to fill you in on a little phenomenon that has been spreading across the country…fly shops…and the fly tying world.  It’s “Hackle Hair”. For some reason feather crazed women all over the country have decided that the use of high quality hackle makes for the ultimate hair accessory.
What ever floats your boat I guess...

In the past two months, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to and or visit nearly 60 fly shops all across the country and all have said the same thing…”Women are crazy!!” Hackle seeking ladies seem to be doing whatever it takes to get some premium grizzly in their hair…and paying top dollar in every shop on the planet.   
Rumors have been flying all over the place about the owners of Metz, Whiting and all the others trying to hide for days on end, just to get away from the out of control salon owners trying to place orders of ungodly amounts of our favorite dry fly feathers, and stopping at nothing to do so. I’ve talked to shops that have taken the prices off all their floor merch, so they can charge the ladies double or more. And they pay it! No questions asked. Guys are even breaking into their old boxes of unused hackle, and tying up small bundles of 5 or 6 feathers, and letting the ladies get into bidding wars on ebay as the price goes up and up!
The new variety pack?

Are you kidding me!!

Here is a good write up from the boys over at Angling Trade, and some of their thoughts on this recent trend, and a few quotes form the lady who started it….
Not being a shop employee, or doing any retail, I was a bit out of the loop with what was going on in person with the ladies, until recently. I was at work the other day when my (non-fly fishing) phone rang. I answered sayin “Hi this is Matt…”, she replied with “Do you have any grizzly hackle you can sell me?”. I laughed a little on the phone and very politely told her I didn’t and that I don’t do any retail. I then asked how she got my (work) number and she replied that she looked me up online. When I started to ask her details about if they were for a salon, or personal use, and told her that I knew a little bit about the background of the hackle craze…I soon realized that she had hung up on me! Haha.
Run while you still can!!

Found this nice little nugget over at Hatches Magazine...

So let’s see if we can sum this up a little….
-Shops are selling more hackle products that ever thought possible. At extremely high the ladies anyway… Great for fly shops all around.
-There may be a new market for the everyday chicken farmer?
The future?

-If the huge hackle manufactures can’t keep up with demand, how can shops? If shops can’t keep up with demand, where will get our premium hackle? If we can’t get our premium hackle, how will we tie dries? If we can’t tie dries…well you get the point.
Although it’s too soon to tell the long term ramifications of this (hopefully) trend, we can only hope that shops continue to make a few extra bucks, and that we’ll still be seeing our premium hackle down the road.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring 2011 Patagonia Catalog

Just wanted to share with ya’ll the new Spring 2011 online catalog from Patagonia that went live recently.  It is sick! I’ll keep this post short and sweet…but I will say they hit the nail on the head with their new short vids on top of the killer pics. Patagonia is makin' some serious moves in the fly fishing world, watch out.
I had a chance to check out a bunch of the new stuff in the catalog on the road, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of 2011 goodies, especially the Black Hole Duffle in feather grey. Ok I’m done…click and enjoy.

I love stickers, I really love big stickers.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Big Browns and Bosie

Continued from last post...
The next day we headed to one of my favorite places in the world, the Nunya River, it’s about 100 miles north of Nicetryville. The three days didn’t disappoint. We hit it a bit early this year and just missed some of the best big bug dry fly action in the lower 48. Not that I’m complaining, Thad and I each got a few eats on the big guys, while Chad was busy chuckin’ streamers. But small flies where the rule of the week. Mostly small midges, and the occasional BWO emerger seemed to do the trick.
Hell Yes.

One of my all time favs.

Film Tour breakfast of champions.

NZ in 10 months!!

Thad doin' his thing.

4-6-3 Double Play.


After three insane days on the water, we were off to Boise. Just like a few other stops on the tour, there was a huge pre show party planned at the Idaho Angler. Tim Anstell really has his stuff together over there.  The party had about 100 people in and out the doors over the two hours that beer and some delicious eats where being served.  Like usual we headed to the venue and blew the roof off. We had about 600+ at the show, not too surprising considering the city we were in.
The best spinach artichoke dip on the planet.

Idaho Anlger rockin' it.

Full House.

Hired Help. Don't worry, their fake IDs were legit.

Lastly we have a few people to thank from our Boise run… First off thanks to Steve Vance, of Scandalous Sticks. Steve wraps is own custom rods and has quite the loyal following of customers for his amazing fly rods. Steve fished a few days with us, but more importantly, he held an after show fund raiser that included one of his custom 7wts. All of the proceeds went to wild steelhead conservation…not a bad deal.

And second, Brian Huskey of Fish Bite Media. Brian has quickly become a well-known photographer and film maker in the fly fishing world. Brian is a good friend of the tour, putting together the Casting For A Cure promotion that we start the program with, along with owning the cover shot for this year’s Stonefly Magazine (see jail bait pic above). Brian and his fiancĂ© let us crash at their pad for a few days, and we were very appreciative once again to have a real bed to sleep in. Brian also let us swipe a few of his pics from the wall in the spear bedroom…a sweet little ritual for guests of the Huskey household. 
Top Pic, Catch Mag Cover Shot. 

Well my first month on the road is officially in the books. I’m back in Tahoe for the next few weeks trying to spend as much time as possible with my beautiful, reasonable and very understanding wife, Lulana.
Thank you babe!

Hey redfish and tarpon of the southeast, see you soon….


Friday, March 11, 2011

Mon Freakin' Tana!!

The Montana Run
I could just some up the MT run in one blurb…”Highs in the single digits”, but I won’t.  We left northern ID and headed east all the way across the state to Billings. But not without first spending a night in my old stompin’ grounds of Livingston, one of my favorite places in the world. In typical Livingston style, my boys had me doing shots and pounding PBRs within minutes of stepping foot in town.
It's Always Sunny In Livingston.

We arrived in Billings not really sure what to expect as far as a turnout. We had four local shops selling tickets, and for the most part online sales were slow. But as we soon learned, our now good friend Barrett Kaiser was busy as hell promoting the show in town, on radio and in TV ads. On top of that he put together a pre-show party, with wings, nachos and a keg of local brew. What a way to get ready for a show.  On behalf of film tour crew I would like to personally thank Barrett and his wife for all their hard work, and ….letting us crash at their house. It was a much needed break from the daily hotel bouncin’, and blow up beds. Did I mention he had a new keg of IPA waiting for us too in his basement kegerator? Barrett, congratulations, you just won film tour fan of the year!  Take advantage of the swag man, you deserved it.
Drake Eat's.

Best wings of the tour, reminds me of back home in upsate NY.

Oh yeah, the show. It was our biggest in Billings by far…ever. We’ll be steppin’ it up a notch next year, so keep your ears open for the killer new venue announcement.
The line up.

More fine MT weather.

The next day we headed to Missoula, with a high of five, FML…So much for our day off of spring creekin’. Maybe next year. Before we even got to Missoula, the phone was ringing off the hook from the fly shops running out of tickets. We dropped off tickets as soon as we got to town. Woke up a bit hazy the next morning with the phone still ringing…”When can you guys get your asses back over here, we need another 100 tickets”. So we did. Then the phone rang again…notice a theme here? This was the beginning of what was about to be the epic night in film tour history. Right before the show, we were treated to another pre show party by the Grizzly Hackle, kegs, cans, dogs and burgers. Sweet diggity.
Packed house at the Grizz.

Not long after that we bounced for the show and instantly the line was forming. 20, 50, 150 people in line with temps around zero. Now that is dedication. When all was said and done, the dust cleared and we started to do a final count…..over 850 people!! What a party!!! I mean show, show, it was a great show.  I really don’t have many pics because we were so busy the whole night, but man did this event rock. The F3T's single biggest show ever! The highlight of my first month on the road had to be watching the crowd react to an 8 yr old boy winning the Sage VXP outfit. It was truly something I will never forget, thank you Missoula MT, damm you are one fishy town!! We may have a good video of that raffle coming soon…
Cell pic of an ass ton of people.

Clearing out the masses.

The happiest damm 8 yr old in Montucky.

I woke up the next day “not good” to put it nicely. And my awkward feeling only got worse on the way to Bozeman. Believe it or not, it had nothing to do with the local brews of Missoula. I was sick. Very sick. I was pretty much a worthless sloth during the set up of the Bozeman show, and it only got worse. About 30 seconds before we were about to open the doors I made a B-line outside to take care of some upset stomach issues. Not even caring about the 100 or so people in line behind me while I keeled over and projected last night’s dinner clear into the Yellowstone. Blep.
I had the 24 hour bug, and killed any chance of me having any fun at what is it one of my favorite towns and shows. Shitty.  But as far as the show goes, how do you think it went? It’s Bozeman. Everyone was wasted, had a blast, filled the seats and partied like rock starts till the sun came up. Except me…I was in the hotel room with the cold sweats. Blep again.
I always miss all the post show fun! Hahaha.

Woke up then next morning feeling like a million bucks…thank God, we had three days of fishing ahead of us. On our way south to Boise, we took a little detour to Five Rivers Lodge, one of the sponsors of this year’s tour.  I have to say, Jay Burgin the owner has put together one fine operation down in Dillon MT over the last 25 years or so. He is also one of the coolest old timers I’ve ever ran into. We offered him a job on the road crew on the spot…he respectfully declined but did mention that if it was 50 years ago, he was in! We got the grand tour of the 35,000 sq. foot lodge; listened intently as Jay told stories about the numbers and size of the browns in his backyard…the stats are literally mind blowing. We also got to check out one of the largest fly selections in the world…fact. It was more flies than some fly companies have in stock. And the kicker is they are only available to guests…not a bad deal if you’re staying there if you ask me. Talk about some local secrets. Jay, nice to meet you man, I’m sure I’ll be back out your way real soon.

Fishy pics from the next three days coming soon...