Fishing On The Fly

fishing-on-the-flyFly-fishing is a lot cheaper than bass fishing (no depth sounder, no fiberglass boat, no country-music CD collection); it just takes a little more practice.

Gear up: You can buy all the gear you need (rod, reel, fly line, tapered leader, flies) for less than $250 at L.L.Bean. The equipment you require roughly depends on which side of the Mississippi you’re on. The smaller creeks and closer quarters on the east side of the country call for a shorter, lighter rod–about 8 feet; the bigger streams of the West call for a 9-foot rod, which will help you cast for greater distance. Buy a good-quality 5-weight line and a pair of polarized sunglasses (for spotting rising trout) and you’re set. Before your trip, log on to The site has a finder that will locate a fly shop just about anywhere you’re headed. The shop can give you the 411 on which flies you’ll need to tackle the local trout.

Mind your mend: Cast upstream and watch as the fly drifts down to the waiting fish. See how the current takes the line faster than it takes the fly, creating a bow in the line? That’s bad, because the faster-moving line drags the fly behind it, making your morsel act more like a water-skier than a weevil. And that won’t fool any fish. The key to a realistic presentation is to “mend” the line: As the line begins to bow, lift the tip of your rod and flip the line like a jump rope, tossing the bow back upstream so it follows, rather than leads, the fly.


We’ve always had a serious objection to blood sports. Not on moral grounds. On fashion grounds. The entire notion of dressing up in neon orange camouflage is just too uncool to handle. Upland bird hunting, on the other hand, requires one to dress more like a country squire, with soft leather shooting gloves and oilcloth trousers to ward off the thistles. Like that natty gentleman on the right.

Gear up: Any Kmart offers an array of shotguns that’ll look fine mounted in your pickup, but the man of wealth and taste should try a vintage English hunting gun from Hill Rod and Gun Co. ( They come in two varieties: over/under and side-by-side, terms that simply refer to the positioning of the barrels. Either will wing a bird or a burglar just fine.

Move your butt: An accurate shot depends in part on how you hold the gun, says Bill Atchison, who runs the Rio Piedra Plantation wing-shooting lodge in Georgia. When you’re waiting for the bird (clay or otherwise) to take flight, the butt of the gun should be just below your armpit, not by your waist, where most amateurs hold it. This simple adjustment will cut your reaction time in half when you fully mount the gun on your shoulder.

Where to Go

Cast-and-blast trips are available throughout the country and may feature trout or salmon fishing, waterfowl hunting and wing shooting, and pretty much any other outdoor adventure you want to throw in. Here are some resources to get you started:

* Big Horn Lodge, Noxon, Montana Spitting distance from the Bighorn River, it’s where our disappearing vice president occasionally disappears to.

* Cullen Ranch, Dallas, Texas A full-service hunting preserve featuring quail, chukar, and pheasant, as well as fishing and–horrors!–golf.

* Great North-Alaska, King Salmon, Alaska Fly out by seaplane to remote locales for salmon and more. www.

* Blue Boar Inn, Robbinsville, North Carolina A bed-and-breakfast in the Nantahala National Forest, this outfit will set you up with guides for trout fishing and pursuing the local turkey population,

* Paradise Outfitters, Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania Pheasant and trout are at your mercy with a team of guides who’ll give you the soup-to-nuts instructions for bringing home a game dinner. (800) 282-5486

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