In the Loop Fly Fishing Magazine - Issue 40

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#40 Europe’s free online fly fishing magazine THE AMAZON Journey into the Jungle SPRING 2024 // #40 ICELAND The Beautiful Struggle PUERTO RICO PR Poons on the Fly
By Sam Strauss NORWAY FLY
Rasmus Ovesen


There’s truth in wanting to do something yourself if you want it done right. So we did. Our Boundary wader collection with GORE-TEX Pro Wader laminate sets a new standard. No heavy sell. No BS. We make gear all anglers can trust, 100% of the time, no exceptions.


Photo by Sam Strauss

Time sure flies when you’re fishing. It does so too when you’re busy working. We thought we’d been in the “business” of putting out our free quarterly fly fishing magazine for a decent while, a good long haul, a number of years. But it wasn’t until we randomly digested the fact that this is our 40th edition that we summed things up and realized that this is our 10-year anniversary edition.


It’s been quite a journey, and we’re extremely grateful for all the support we’ve received over the years. We put out this magazine because we want to give back to the fly fishing community; inspire people to explore, engage, and conserve. And we couldn’t have done it without the help of a vast array of equally passionate fly fishing writers and photographers, who have contributed visually striking and well-written pieces for our magazine.

You know who you are, and you should know that we are forever grateful for your time, effort, and consideration. THANKS!!!

And to all our readers: Thanks for hanging in there. We hope you’ll stick around for another decade. We certainly plan to…

Photo by Sam Strauss


Fly Fishing the Alps and Beyond

Journey into the Jungle by Emily Rodger

Fly Fishing for Sea-run Arctic Char by Rasmus Ovesen

PR Poons on the Fly by Eugene Pawlowski

The Beautiful Struggle by Anne Wangler

The monster Peacock Bass of the Rio Marie in Brazil by Justin Stuart

And much much more...

Oslo-resident, Rasmus Ovesen, was handed his first fly rod at the tender age of eight, and

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Justin Maxwell Stuart, after a decade of service as an infantry officer with the British Army, on retirement reverted to his life-long passion for fly-fishing. With an eye for a challenge and adventure he founded Where WiseMenFish, an internation al destination travel business in 2007, followed by Shadow Flies, a fly tying workshop with over 120 employees, producing in excess of 1,000,000 flies every year. Both fishing and the manufacture of flies for Atlantic Salmon have been the corner-stone of both businesses, but his passion to continue to explore and record on camera and film his exploits have taken him to an exceptional wide and varied array of desti nations around the world.

fishing ventures. Now, he care fully split his time between fly fishing and shooting fly fishing imagery. For more info:

Fly Fishing the Alps and Beyond Austria

Overall, Austria’s blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and culinary delights makes it a popular destination for travellers seeking diverse experiences. For the fly fisherman there’s equally diverse experiences to be had – from trout and grayling in high alpine lakes and streams to massive Danube salmon in roaring rivers.

I grew up in a small town in the East Alps with good access to beautiful mountains and crystal-clear lakes. At the same time, the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas are not far. My father taught me snowboarding at the age of 4, but I never learned to ski, which is unusual in a place like Austria. We also spent a lot of time near the Adriatic Sea, and windsurfing was my passion for many years.

Later on, I traded the sail for waves and fell in love with surfing. With all that, I was able to pursue a career as a professional photographer, focusing mainly on sports, landscape, documentary, and advertisement photography. Since 2013, I have been making a living from my photography, and I’m very grateful that this endeavour has been successful. When I was a kid, my grandfather took me fishing a couple of times, but over the years, other things caught my attention. Some years ago, my good friend Dominik took me spin fishing on one of our nice lakes, and we went for pike. It didn’t take long before I caught my first

one, and then the classic story continued. I was super hooked but lost in a new world of things to buy and techniques to try. Then, on April 16th, 2021, my other friends guided me to my first trout on a dry fly.

“Since 2013, I have been making a living from my photography, and I’m very grateful that this endeavour has been successful”

Another world opened up, but I was sure this would be my final step in fishing, and I would continue it as long as I could. From that moment on, I was lucky enough to have great mentors and got the chance to catch some proper grayling, rainbow, and brown trout, as well as barb, chub, and a small hucho while streamer fishing for trout in the middle of the summer.


Last spring, I began to tie my own flies and streamers as well. Most of them worked well on my local rivers, so I will continue making them on my own. On my last surf trip in the Mediterranean Sea, I took my fly rod and got addicted to fishing for mullet and seabass near the surf spots.

From the very beginning of my fly fishing journey, I took my camera with me and collected quite a big collection of photographs in a pretty short period of time. I have all the equipment for shooting underwater since I’ve done surf, wakeboard, and apnoea dive shootings. With that knowledge, I try to get a different view of things under the water surface. But I will always stick to classic photography, using both analogue and digital devices as tools, like a carpenter uses his hammer.

I only realized not long ago that fly fishing opened up a completely new view of the place I grew up in. In the last couple of years, I’ve explored our wild mountains in summer and winter. Now, I’m exploring all the rivers flowing down the mountains, and I’m slowly starting to understand how all these things work together.

Fly Fishing in Austria

Overall, fly fishing in Austria offers a rich and rewarding experience amidst stunning natural surroundings, making it a destination worth exploring for fly anglers around the world. Austria’s picturesque landscapes, including its mountainous regions and pristine rivers, provide stunning backdrops for fly fishing. The country boasts numerous alpine streams, rivers, and lakes that are home to a variety of fish species including brown trout, rainbow trout, grayling, Danube salmon (hucho hucho), and brook trout.

These fish inhabit the clear, cold waters of the Austrian Alps and other regions throughout the country. However, if you’re into chasing pike, perch, and zander with a fly rod, there are plenty of places to do that as well.

“Fly fishing in Austria can be enjoyed year-round, with different seasons offering unique opportunities.”

Among the most productive rivers in Austria are the Kimmler Ache, Salza, Gmundner Traun, Steyr, Stubach, Felberbach, Isel, and Amerbach Rivers. These rivers offer great grayling and trout fishing.

Mur, Drau, Enns, and Pielach rank among the best in all of Europe. Fly fishing in Austria can be enjoyed year-round, with different seasons offering unique opportunities. Spring and early summer are prime times for targeting trout and grayling, while autumn can be excellent for fishing as the fish prepare for the long and cold winters.


Like many European countries, Austria has regulations governing fishing, including specific rules for fly fishing. Anglers typically need a fishing license or permit to fish in Austrian waters, and regulations may vary depending on the region and the type of water.

Licenses are typically quite inexpensive, ranging from 5 – 20 euros per day, and they can be bought at tackle stores and tourism agencies. Catch-and-release policies are often encouraged to preserve fish populations. More info can be found via the following link:

When targeting danube salmon during the winter months, the

Equipment and Gear

Anglers visiting Austria for fly fishing will need appropriate gear for the local target species and fishing conditions. The local fly shops and outfitters can provide advice on equipment and gear suitable for Austrian waters, but if you have standard 4 – 6-weight fly tackle and a mixture of dry flies and nymphs for trout and grayling you should be all set. When targeting Danube salmon, it’s a completely different story, however. Here, you need 9’ 10-weight single-handed rods (or 910-weight double-handers) in combina-

tion with sinking lines and long, bulky streamers. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but the rewards can be big.

Guided Trips and Services

For those unfamiliar with the local waters or looking for guidance, guided fly fishing trips are available in Austria. These trips often provide access to private or restricted waters and include instruction from experienced guides.

For more info:


Journey into the Jungle

It’s not uncommon for me to be talking on the phone with my mom, going over the mundane details of the week, and nonchalantly say, “I just booked a flight to Egypt,” later adding in the fact that I would be traveling solo in the remote Saharan desert from Cairo to Libya. That’s how I told her about my first solo trip when I was 17 years old. That initial trip set ablaze something within me that hasn’t been put out since, more than 23 years later.

Luckily at this point in my life, my mom and family have become pretty accustomed to my adventure-seeking, not really skipping a beat when I mention things like I will be fly fishing for peacock bass in the remote jungles of Brazil followed by a trip to Pirarucu Lodge to fly fish for Arapaima. I came back from that first trip with all my fingers and toes - despite some people’s disbelief that it was safe to be fishing among whatever lurked in the bottom of the Amazon rivers.

I often hear others speak of ‘leaving a part of their heart’ behind when they travel, but for me, I resist that analogy. My entire heart accompanies me wherever I go; however, certain places have an extraordinary capacity to enrich and fulfil my heart more profoundly than others. As soon as I returned home, I wanted nothing more than to get back there again.

That was 2019, and little did we all know what the world had in store for us over the next few years. Suffice it to say, I didn’t make it back to the jungle in 2020 … or 2021 … or 2022. It was only in the fall of 2023,

by then practically itching with pentup desire, that I was able to venture back to that remote, mysterious ecosystem, a place where cultures are so deeply embedded in nature and community, this time in the country of Bolivia - to Tsimane Lodge.

Immersed in the heart of the jungle

It might sound unconventional to some, but there’s an inexplicable sense of ease that washes over me in the heart of the jungle. This ease isn’t derived from merely glimpsing a sanitized version of the wild and then retreating to the comforts of civilization, deeming the experience complete. No, when I embark on a journey, I immerse myself fully in the midst of it all. For me, I think those feelings of ease come from bearing witness to how this ecosystem works in such synchronicity—everything coming together to support everything else. It’s a profound connection to the natural world, a harmony that extends beyond the lush vegetation and flowing rivers, touching the very essence of my being as I become a humble observer of nature’s masterpiece.

The lodges I’ve had the privilege of visiting— Rio Marie, Pirarucu, Tsimane—while exploring the lush jungles of Brazil and Bolivia, have played an indispensable role in fostering my profound sense of calm and safety.

What makes these experiences truly exceptional is the reunion with some of the guides from my earlier expeditions. The serendipity of being guided by familiar faces in a new setting added an extraordinary layer to my journey, elevating the sense of connection among friends and those dedicated to ensuring the best possible experience for every angler. Their commitment to safety, evident in every aspect of the journey, establishes an unspoken trust, a comforting bond that transcends the ordinary.

Surrender and the unknowns of adventure

That first trip to the jungle taught me that surrender is just part of the deal when it comes to embarking on an adventure like this one. As I reflect on turning 40 this year, I look back and realize life, for me, has been a journey of embracing the unknowns. Sometimes over and over again.

“For me, life has been a journey of embracing the unknowns”

From that initial trip by myself at 17 to this latest excursion to Bolivia, I’ve always loved adventure. It’s what’s fuelled me to try new things and propels me to heights I never thought possible. But that love for adventure has also come with its fair share of missteps, closed doors, and stories that I wasn’t sure of the ending while living there in the middle.

In the years since I’ve embarked on these adventures, I’ve come to this realization that my love for adventure is an integral part of who I am as an individual. It’s closely entwined with my appreciation for the untamed beauty of life, both of which present themselves as soon as you step foot into the jungle. Maybe that’s what brings me this innate, unexplainable sense of comfort every time I journey back to the jungle: I feel at home there because, in essence, it reminds me of my own day-to-day.

Purpose in the unknowns

Just like life, the jungle is constantly presenting you with challenges to face and then overcome. You’re required to trust the people around you, and your own intuition, along with always being prepared for the unexpected around every turn.

One night during the recent trip to Bolivia, as fellow angler Chris and I, along with our guide Nico, were walking, we stumbled upon a giant snake on the jungle floor.

Long dead, covered in thousands of ants, Chris remarked, “Everything serves its purpose, dead or alive.” That casual statement made me ponder why I came here in the first place.

Every encounter in life has a purpose. In the vast jungle ecosystem, everything—dead or alive—is interconnected, thriving on mutual support. This interconnectedness can be intimidating, even mind-boggling, as we think about every little thing that needs to go right for something else to work correctly, but in that same way it’s also awe-inspiring and decidedly humbling.

For so many years I had been held back by the unknowns in my own life, but as I ventured deeper and deeper into the jungle, I started to learn that the purpose behind those unknowns maybe wasn’t as out of my reach as I at first thought. In fact, maybe that was the point: to surrender to the wildness of life—of the jungle—in order to surrender to the larger plan that had been in place all along.

The power of travel and embracing the unknown

Going on this expedition in Bolivia reminded me once again of the power travel has in my life. It’s the same rush I got when I ventured out on my own for the first time at 17 (though nowadays I try to leave my mom with more advance notice of my plans). Beyond comparison, travel fills me with pure joy. It’s that unparalleled feeling of happiness from connecting with nature in its rawest form— in this case, the jungle—and opening oneself up to all it has to offer.

But though it’s amazing and fun and there’s something new to be discovered around every turn, the jungle is also mysterious, and above all else, wild. It’s unknown, and unknowable. Kind of like life in a way, you never know what you’re going to encounter.

Like the ocean, there are so many parts of jungles around the world that have yet to be explored. Creatures we don’t even know exist yet lurk there among the many native plants and other animals.

This ecosystem lives and breathes with its own rhythm and cadence, inviting you to be part of its unique symphony. If the jungle has taught me anything it’s this: embrace that unpredictability - choose to be part of that symphony - as opposed to fighting against it and just adding to the noise.

“It’s beautiful and exciting not to know what’s around every corner”

The jungle will demand your undivided respect, and then humble you in the process of earning it. It’s beautiful and exciting not to know what’s around every corner, but it also can be dangerous.

But isn’t life the same way?

We’re all faced with this same choice: choose to keep a tight grip on anything and everything, never surrendering control, and forcing life to go exactly the way you planned it, or … we can loosen that chokehold. Choosing to embrace the unknown. Giving up the illusion of control (because that’s all it is really, an illusion). Leaning into the mysterious beauty around every turn. It’s in those seasons when I’ve surrendered to the process that I’ve found myself flourishing the most as a person.

I want to invite you to do the same. Take the leap. Whether it’s a metaphorical step into the unexplored territories of your dreams or a literal journey into the depths of a jungle, embrace the uncertainty. Let go of the illusion of control, and in doing so, discover the beauty of surrendering to the wildness of life.





Fly Fishing for Sea-run Arctic Char

In Northern Norway a different coastal fly fishing experience awaits - one that will remind you more of what epitomizes highland nymphing and dry fly fishing. Follow in Rasmus Ovesen’s footsteps to the area around Tromsø where schools of feeding sea-run arctic char patrol the coastal shorelines.

AS A CHILD, I was very fascinated with arctic char, but one thing puzzled me: The Danish name for arctic char is “fjeldørred”, which basically means “highland trout”. It implies a fish that belongs to the rivers and lakes of the inland mountain ranges – a fish that I’ve always associated with the grand and picturesque expanses to the far, cold north. Its Latin name; ”Salvelinus alpinus”, underlines its geographic affiliation, but I was always confounded by the fact that the Latin epithet “salmo”, which characterizes all the salmonid species I knew from my home country, didn’t apply to the arctic char. As I would later discover, this mysterious species wasn’t actually a trout –at least not in the taxonomic sense of the word, but rather a close relative of the trout; a “char”.

The Salvelinus genus belongs to the salmonid family and counts a large number of sub-species, which require cold, clean, and oxygen-rich water to thrive and reproduce.

Among others, the Salvelinus-family counts the following char; dolly

varden, lake char, brook trout and bull trout (Yes, even the Americans are confused). These salmonids differ from trout in that their distribution is much more Northernly circumpolar, (or in other words “arctic”), and by having light spots over dark flanks, small scales, and white fin slashes. Furthermore, opposite of trout, their vomers only have teeth at the very front end.

Canadian lake char and brook trout have been stocked with varying degrees of success in Scandinavia, but arctic char is the only subspecies of the Salvelinus-family, which occurs naturally in Norway (and Northern Europe as such). It’s an incredibly adaptive species of fish and a master of disguise with lots of genetic variations, which can vary in appearance when it comes to colorations, body shape, and size depending on their environments, feeding habits, and altitude. In Lake Thingvallavatn in Iceland, for instance, there are four phenotypically unique subspecies of arctic char, which vary dramatically in everything from size, diet, behaviour, and colorations.

One of these is an almost char-coal coloured dwarf-species, which lives in cracks and faults along the rugged lava shorelines.

The arctic char’s Latin family name “alpinus” indicates that it primarily belongs to the upper air layers. In biogeography alpine regions are characterized by mountainous terrain or vegetation zones above the tree line. But even here there’s something that doesn’t quite add up. Because even though arctic char thrive far inland - in high-altitude plateau waters, mountain lakes, and highland rivers, it can also be found in lowland terrain. In fact, it can be found as low as sea level – and even below the surface of the sea!

In early June, during what can only be described as Spring in Northern Norway, I visited the area around Tromsø. The main purpose of my visit was actually to fly fish for sea trout along the open coastal shores and in the fjords, but a different species quickly caught my attention: The sea-run arctic char. It turned out I was in for a unique encounter

with a shy and wary fish; a fish with a surprisingly explosive temperament and brutal powers.

In the Northern estuaries and in fjords fed by glacial and highland rivers, it’s very common for populations of arctic char to migrate between fresh- and saltwater, just like their local anadromous cousin; the sea trout. They spawn and overwinter in the rivers and then scurry downstream and head for the colossal and varied hunting grounds provided by the ocean – and here, they become increasingly chrome. Just like the local sea trout – but perhaps to an even greater extent, sea-run arctic char school up and hunt actively together. But while sea trout, oftentimes, head out into deeper water to hunt for bigger prey such as sprattus, sandeel, and herring, the sea-run arctic char can usually be found right along the shoreline where they display a well-developed taste for small prey items such as gammarus, mysis, and small shrimp. I was quickly interrupted in my half-blind and machine-like hunt for seatrout.

The weather-protected fjords were dead-calm and reflected the dark and majestic surrounding mountain ranges with the greatest of precision, and it wasn’t very difficult to see when a fish broke the dormant mirror-like surface. On several occasions, I had to abort planned excursions to new seatrout spots, pull off the road, and rush to the water’s edge because of fish I’d spotted while driving along the fjords. I quickly found out that many of the fish that I spotted were in fact sea-run arctic char feeding on midges.

I was of course pretty gutted about not having brought along a box of dry flies, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fish weren’t too selective. They also fed on many of the small crustaceans that were fluttering around in the sunlit surface water, and I had plenty of such imitations in my coastal fly boxes.

During the four days of fishing that were available to me, I found myself becoming increasingly focused on the sea-run arctic char and the incredibly exciting sight-fishing opportunities they presented. I gradually cracked a few codes: Found out that it was primarily during low tide that the fish would actively feed along the shoreline; and that bays and straits close to river outlets or fjord mouths, where tidal currents would lick up against dead water, would often house schools of fish. At the same time, I developed the cool and calm needed to set up correctly when casting to spotted fish. If the fish weren’t circling in a constricted area, they would usually be moving fairly rapidly along the coastal shorelines, and I soon realised that it was pointless to rush things. Getting stealthily ahead of the fish and placing a discrete cast well ahead of them was pivotal. Otherwise, they would spook.

The first sea-run arctic char I landed was a robustly built fish in the vicinity of 55 centimetres that inhaled my fly as it lay suspended in the surface film at the end of a long and thin

leader. The fly, which was a small gammarus imitation with a bit of foam in its carapace, disappeared in a small whirl while I was breathlessly waiting for a small school of fish to approach. I had followed the school along the coastline for a bit of time before finally getting into the right position and placing my cast. And as the fly disappeared and I set the hook, the water exploded, and the fish took off with such brute force that I was temporarily stunned. The fish fought diligently and with greater stamina than any seatrout I’d ever caught of similar size, and I had to put maximum pressure on the gear to tire it out and bring it towards the landing net.

Once in the net, I marvelled at a handsome fish that was completely different from the many arctic char that I’d caught previously in rivers and mountain lakes. It was as bright chrome as an immaculate April sea trout but completely devoid of spots. The flanks were like shining mirrors, and it was as if whatever silvery substance that permeated the fish had a liquid quality to it.

As if catalysed by relentless centrifugal forces, the silver in its flanks seemed to seep into its tail root radiating along the fin rays. A startling glow, somewhere between olive green and marine blue saturated its back, and along the gills and jaws a golden shimmer was subtly visible like a reminiscence of the spawning colours the fish had been adorned in during winter. The eyes shimmered iridescently as if bursting with gold dust.

The strikingly beautiful male sea-run arctic char was the first out of twelve fish I caught and released during a sea trout trip that gradually ran more and more off its tracks – a trip that brought with it a new obsession with a fish that wasn’t previously on my radar. The fact that I lost a massive specimen that was undoubtedly in excess of two kilos on the second to last day didn’t exactly put a damper on my newfound enthusiasm – on the contrary!

Now, there is a good chance that next time I journey up North my sea trout equipment won’t see a lot action.

FACT FILE – Sea-run Arctic Char

Sea-run arctic char have been documented in more than 100 coastal riversheds from Bindalen to the south and all the way up to Troms, Finnmark, and Svalbard to the very north.

The Bindalen-area is considered to mark the southern distribution boundary of the sea-run arctic char because of their water temperature preferences and demands. They thrive in cold water (between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius) – and tolerate high levels of salinity.

Sea-run arctic char grow relatively slowly, and they typically migrate between fresh- and saltwater for three years before eventually becoming sexually mature. At this time, the males are around 25 centimetres in length while the females are between 30 and 35 centimetres. The spawning occurs sometime dur-

ing Fall in- and around lakes interconnected to the ocean via rivers.

They then overwinter in the upper reaches of the rivers and tributaries. Their period out to sea is relatively short and hectic. It typically stretches from the end of May to the end of August, but a lot of fish only spend somewhere between 30 – 50 days in the ocean every year, and usually within a 20-kilometer radius from the river in which they once hatched.

In certain places in Northern Norway, notably on Svalbard, sea-run arctic char can grow up to 5 kilos. Specimens over 2 kilos, however, are considered trophy fish. Their diet in saltwater mainly consists of small crustaceans such as gammarus, idotidae, mysis, krill and smaller shrimp, but midges and other insects that accidently crashland in the ocean are favoured prey items too.

FACT FILE – Equipment for sea-run arctic char

A 9’ 4-weight fly rod is the obvious choice when sight-fishing for searun arctic char in calm weather. However, if you find yourself fishing more wind-exposed coastal stretches a 10’ 5-weight might be better suited.

When fishing on days where the wind is howling and waves are rolling in, you can always resort to blind-fishing and, here, an intermediate fly line in combination with small crustacean imitations or brightly coloured UV-enhanced attractor flies, that are retrieved abruptly, can provide great results.

Whenever the fish reveal themselves by breaking the water on windless days, it’s all about presentation. Here, a good floating WF fly line with a relatively long front taper (like, for instance Scientific Anglers’ Amplitude Infinity) and a 5 – 6-meter-long leader that tapers into a 0,20mm tippet is just what need.

The flies need to be relatively weight-neutral and should aim at imitating the various crustaceans that are found along the coastal shores, optionally tied with a bit of foam to help them become perfectly suspended in the surface film. A small box of various midge imitations in sizes ranging from 22 – 18 is also very good to have when these insects hatch in river mouths and estuaries. When sight-fishing for sea-run arctic char, you’ll be walking along the coastal shores – across rocks and bladderwracks, and a stripping basket is therefore essential. From shore you’ll be facing the task of quickly and quietly getting into casting range and carefully placing the fly some 2 – 3 meters in front of the fish so they don’t spook. As soon as they close in, start retrieving the fly. Use long, steady pulls so you maintain contact with the fly at all times and be prepared to lift the rod, once a fish cautiously inhales the fly.

FACT FILE – Catch & Release

In as much as 25% of all Norwegian watersheds, in which sea-run arctic char occur, the populations are either decimated or vulnerable. In some rivers, the populations suffer from overfishing, while in others they’ve been decimated dure to Rotenon-treatment related to salmon lice epidemics. Searun arctic char are commonly known to be an extremely good and coveted culinary treat, but we have a common responsibility to protect this unique species. So, please consider gently releasing the fish you catch, especially if you’re fishing areas where arctic char are pressured or declining.

FACT FILE – Logistics

There are flights via Oslo to Bodø, Tromsø, Kirkenes, Longyearbyen (The island of Svalbard). In the fjords surrounding these cities, there are plenty of good spots to find sea-run arctic char – and since most roads run along the coastal shorelines, you can simply rent a car and effectively scout and explore lots of water until you locate fish.

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PR Poons on the Fly

As we motored out of the boat launch, Barrett cranked up the turtle box. Soothing reggae tunes started filling the fresh Puerto Rican morning air and – suddenly - all the previous day’s flights were forgotten. He put the hammer down on the Maverick and we raced away across the early morning glass conditions and into PR Tarpon Town.

Puerto Rico may not be some wild, remote location, but traveling there from Australia certainly presents its challenges. You also tend to garner some strange looks when you explain why you’ve journeyed so far just to catch a fish. But not just any fish! The last time I encountered Megalops Atlanticus was in early 2019 in Cuba.

“They are arguably the number one fish to pursue on a 9-foot rod”

Thanks to the Kung Flu, this experience was long overdue, and Puerto Rico had been on my radar for quite some time. With plenty of Google searches under my belt and glimpses of pictures, along with some half-arsed YouTube clips, my anticipation was building.

For anyone who has had an encounter with tarpon on a fly rod, they’ll understand just how much these fish get under your skin. They are argua-

bly the number one fish to pursue on a 9-foot rod. Whether fishing them on dreamy clear sand flats, in dirty river mouths, deep in jungle rivers with howler monkeys watching from the canopy, or amidst the mangroves with hordes of mosquitoes attacking, tarpon will test your skills and determination. But regardless of the scenario, they will still try to outsmart you if you don’t give them full attention with your fly rod.

Strings pulled

So, after enduring five flights and reconnecting with a couple of Yank mates (whom I believe I met in Bolivia back in 2017), we boarded the puddle jumper. However, not without facing a serious last-minute logistical challenge at San Juan airport. I wouldn’t recommend traveling with 2-piece fly rods on Cape Air; they really don’t appreciate those “dirty” fly rods in the plane. Fortunately, some strings were pulled, and a big shout-out goes to Cooper & Matt at No Name Lodge.

As I left three new NRXT2S rods with a total stranger at the airport, I mentally prepared myself that I might never see them again. But to my relief, later that evening, the rods arrived, and all was well. A few cold rum drinks were certainly in order to celebrate, and the rod tube was humorously labeled “the bazooka” thereafter.

Getting into the groove

Frank and I were up early, with the coffee brewing and engaging in good old-fashioned “yarns” (Australian slang for catching up), reminiscing about the past couple of years and our fishing adventures together in NZ.

Slowly, the rest of the house stirred awake, and the aroma of coffee had everyone eagerly anticipating the day ahead. We loaded up the Maverick skiffs and set out. Thirty minutes later, we found ourselves standing on the dock, greeted by the resident boat ramp poon—a promising sign, to say the least.

Barrett idled back the Yamaha outboard and poled us into our first spot. It didn’t take long for him to direct us to the first pod of poons coming our way, and Chris, my fishing companion, made the first shot. A fish peeled off, tracking the fly, but turned away at the last minute. However, it wasn’t long before the next fish appeared. Chris took another shot, and before we knew it, there was 30 pounds of silver airborne. That set the tone for the rest of the day, with us either landing or jumping fish, going fish for fish.

Tackling PR tarpon

(I used a 10wt fly rod with a floating intermediate line, a black and… blah, blah, blah blah!)

I won’t get too deep into what when and how, just a run-down of what we encountered. As I am sure most of you have made it this far, you have surely fished for tarpon or are aware of what’s involved. You just need a double haul, good quality brake, and a rod with decent lifting power.

What we encountered in PR was absolute gluttony on the tarpon’s behalf. We fished on front-edge mangrove shorelines, coastal flats, and some mangrove pockets, and if there was some sargassum weed in the mix, the tarpon were not going to be too far away. Add to that a black and purple tarpon fly or if you really wanted some fun, a gurgler or popper. I even tied on a 6/0 NYAP; it got destroyed. This is an absolute blast!!! If you have not experienced this, then I must say, get around it; you will not be disappointed.

“What we encountered in Puerto Rico was absolute gluttony”

When you are getting several blowups in the one retrieve or jumping one only to connect with another fish a few strips later it’s mayhem! We had this madness for the first 3 days. After that, we settled into a more orderly routine with jumping a few.

According to Barrett, this was normal, especially more so as the weather was warming and the sargassum weed started arriving. I have experienced sargassum weed in Cuba, and we had some hot tarpon fishing then too.

No easy shot

Another great moment was on the last day. It was one of those classic tarpon cast-and-eat-scenarios, one that stays with you for a long time, that you sit and yarn about years later, and it reminds you of why you fly fish.

I was fishing with my good mate Frank; Frank was up on the bow and ready. It had been a slower-than-normal morning, and we were concentrating on looking for bigger fish on the outside.

Matt was pushing us down an edge; we had good sun but a steady 15kts of trade wind across us. We came to a big sandy patch; we staked out for a moment. If any fish were to push over the sandy patch, it would stand right out against the sand after coming off the turtle grass.

Before too long, Matt calls, “good fish coming at 11 o’clock.” This was no easy shot for Frank; he had the wind in his face, and Matt had to hold the boat long enough for Frank to get one shot before the wind would push us off.

Matt spun the boat slightly to give Frank a better shot. Frank held his nerve, Matt called “make the shot,” Frank made the cast, and a bloody good shot around 50 - 60ft into the wind!! (That does not sound that exciting or difficult, but put yourself in that position, two sets of eyes watching you, the guide has one chance at giving you the optimal shot before the skiff gets blown out of position, 50ft cast is easy in the park, but put a 60lb tarpon closing in on you fast, suddenly a bit of pressure is mounting. Sure, a keys veteran would do it in their sleep, but we are all not keys veterans spending 100 days on the water, now are we?) But one thing Frank does do is before each trip, he puts in some solid hours getting his casting in saltwater form, and on this day, it showed, and Frank crushed it.

“Matt’s instructions: ‘Wait, waiiit, wait, strip, strip, strip, set, set, set—stick him!’ That poon was all over that fly like a pig on a truffle hunt. Frank got a solid hook set and cleared the line, surviving the first of the tarpon dance where it’s all over the water like an out-of-control Polaris missile.

“The poon was all over that fly like a pig on a truffle hunt”

In good time, we had her boat side, some solid fist pumps, high fives, a few grip-and-grins, and then we watched her swim away. Well played, Frank. Well played!!!

PR permit

We also chased some PR Permit, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s real in-your-face fishing. You are on foot on the reef with waves crashing all around you, stumbling over rocks and coral.

From a distance, it must look like you have just come out of the pub after necking pints for 8 hours. It’s great visual fishing as you get very close to the perms, but getting a fly in the zone is not easy. But if it were easy, then you probably would not be holding a fly rod to start with. If you are lucky enough to connect with one, then it’s a whole different ball game that’s very likely to end in tears and an empty bottle of rum.

No Name Lodge

No Name Lodge is a great little operation. Matt is a fantastic manager/host who runs things well, and he has a good bunch of guides from Florida who are dialed into the fishery. No over-the-top egos here, just down-to-earth fishy crew that all have the same sickness as you or I.

If you’re after a Tarpon fix and looking for something a little different away from the Keys or Mexico and want shots at some serious numbers of fish, especially if it’s your first time fly fishing for Tarpon or even if you’re a seasoned hand, plus for the real sickos out here, the chance to dance with the black-tailed devil, then I recommend putting PR in your travel plans.”

For more info:

The Beautiful Struggle ICELAND

Fly fishing isn’t always rosy and butterflies… but isn´t this exactly what we´re looking for? The extraordinary. The tad bit out of the comfort zone? Isn´t that what makes us feel alive?

8 weeks of solo travel in Iceland.

8 weeks living in my van. Well, let´s say Iceland was an experience. I´d be lying if I said that the trip was just “awesome”. It wasn´t exactly like what you get to see on Instagram daily. No, travel is a constant up and down, especially when you travel alone. Rain was pounding sideways for weeks. Always being wet, always cold. The moisture in the van turning into ice at night. But there´s also beauty in it. I like to call it “the beautiful struggle”. You learn, you grow every day with every challenge and when waking up to a beautiful sunrise in the middle of nowhere it all feels worth it. It all makes sense again.

Trips like the one to Iceland make you return to yourself, open your senses, help you focus and reassess.

Why Iceland? Well, I wanted to get to know the island since I´ve never been there AND I did want to catch a proper fish. The kind of fish Iceland is known and famous for.

Home waters

I come from 4wt waters where we mostly catch 30cm browns and occasionally grayling. If you´re lucky and know the water well, you might catch a 40-45cm fish but nowadays this is rare and very special. I fish 99% of the time with dry flies, usually something around #20 CDCs.

The last two years I basically spent both full summers in my home waters in the Ore Mountains in Germany. I got injured while skiing and fishing was basically the only thing I could do without a whole lot of pain. So, I picked up a rod and, similar to everything else I do, it was all or nothing. I went all-in and became a little bit of a nerd. I spent almost every day in the river and well… loved it!

Fishing felt like this little getaway, a break from daily life, just very calming. It helps me find the balance, it teaches me patience and I´ve found this great connection to nature that I find in skiing too but in a very different way. The two simply move at a different pace and so do I.

Plans form

I felt I was ready and hungry for a new fishing experience. I had big expectations and zero plan. I hopped on the boat from Denmark to Iceland relaxed and knowing that I would have to spend the next 3 days on the ferry with plenty of time to make a plan. Honestly speaking there wasn´t a real plan at all because I didn´t need one. Rather, I wanted to focus on the “here and now” and simply “go with the flow”, do whatever “floats my boat”.

The first couple of days were challenging. I found out how difficult and expensive it was do get permits. I then was told to try ring doorbells at the farms in closest proximity to the water I wanted to fish. I found it weird at first, but it seemed to be the way to do it.

Shortly after my arrival, I connected with Maros, (@jungleindatrout) who´s a guide in the Southern part of the island. Originally from Slovakia he decided to move to Iceland in order to chase (and of course catch) big trout. That´s what he does.

That´s what he´s good at - but hey, he´s a good human too. He helped me a lot, gave me advice and much needed beta.

A change of scenery – and weather

It had been super dry for weeks, but then it started pouring down just as I arrived. So, we basically went from no water to a lot of colored water and didn’t catch what we hoped for. I then went to the Southwest because I was lucky enough to connect with the local fishing club, SFVR, whose manager and guides were super helpful and happy to work together. I got to fish some of their truly magical rivers and, certainly, some of the most beautiful waters that I’ve ever fished. Such as the river Leirvogsa with its 30km long winding bends, rapids, and pools.

This river is located just outside the capital Reykjavik. It’s small enough that you can read it but holds incredibly big fish. I went there the day before to scout and get to know the river a little bit. For some reason, I put so much pressure on myself to finally catch THAT fish that I could barely fall asleep.

I woke up, being super nervous just like before a big competition.

“Calm TF down, Anne. It’s just fishing and it’s fun!”

The fishing trip begins I packed up and went down to the pool I liked the most when I walked by it the day before. I fished for approximately 30 minutes and got a first strike on a simple black and silver Sunray Shadow and heck, what a strike it was!

“He quickly turned and released himself from the barbless hook”

After fighting the fish for about 5 minutes it jumped and showed its full size and beauty. Holy crap! This was the biggest fish that I had ever seen… and hooked. My heart started racing. Since I was alone, I knew that the only chance to land this monster was to make him

tired but, obviously, I still wanted to make sure to do it quickly so I could release him as fast as possible. I fought the fish for about 20 minutes, and when I thought he was finally tired enough to land, I reached for his tail. He quickly turned, released himself from the barbless hook and managed to escape. Wow! Soooo fricking close! I had just lost the fish of my life and was in quite an emotional state of mind.

A 100 cm male salmon, as my friend and guide Arni (@icelandic_ troutbum) would call it, is a “fricking crocodile”. I couldn’t help it and cried like a baby.

I get that most people won’t understand, and that’s okay. But for me, in that moment… well, it plain sucked! And with the fishing that was under way for me, it would suck gradually more and more…

Time passes

The last couple of days were tough, physically as well as mentally.

I had crazy bad weather for two weeks straight. Still, I tried hard, and I must’ve made at least 10.000.000 casts trying to catch THE fish. But it felt like nothing was coming together. I had nothing to show for my efforts. However, despite the shitty weather and conditions, I kept going.

“I must’ve made at least 10.000.000 casts trying to catch THE fish”

At some point I started feeling like it was me there was something wrong with. I had put quite a bit of pressure on myself, and it just did not work out in my favor. After the huge one that morning, I fought two more really good fish. The 2nd one jumped and ran like crazy. Beauty of a fish, bright silver! My leader broke.

The 3rd one took a lot of line raging upstream. Then it swam into some rocks, my tippet got stuck and the fish broke off. “Well, f*** that sh**!” I was tired and sad. These fish were just too big to land by myself I thought. Assistance required But then I finally managed to catch my first two salmon thanks to my friend Arni, who joined at night and helped netting. These two salmon were both on the small side and nothing compared to what I had experienced earlier, but hey – salmon are salmon.

Thinking about the monsters I had lost it was all very bittersweet. But at least – I figuredI must have done something right.

In summary

Apart from fishing, this is how I’d sum up the trip to Iceland. I met more sheep than people, got to see the most mind-blowing places, experienced winds so strong you couldn’t open the car door, visited a gazillion gorgeous waterfalls, hiked up to mountain tops that came with stunning views down to the deeply cut fjords.

I fished perfect waters, watched the Northern Lights sitting in a hot spring. I went up Fagradalsfjell, the active volcano, 5 times, until I finally got to see the lava flowing. And damn! - what a feeling that was! Like having a one on one with nature, feeling the forces, so rough, so pure, so fierce.

I like giving myself the time and really diving in with what surrounds me. This is where photography comes in for me. It gives me that extra purpose, that reason to push a little harder, experience a little more. I use fly fishing in a similar way too. Similar but different. It slows me down. It gives me this physical, tangible connection to the water, to nature, that’s unmatched by anything else.

Adding that little extra I think by adding extra pursuits into your exploration of the world, you create a far more compelling and fulfilling connection with the outdoors. It puts you in places you otherwise wouldn’t reach and grants perspectives that could simply slip you by.

I experienced a place that’s still so wild and vast. The kind of place that makes you feel small and humbled. A place that doesn’t compare to anything that I have ever seen before… And the thing is, I more than experienced it. I felt it. The extraordinary and the butterflies.

“The beautiful struggle”.

The Brand Buffet

Popping Time:


If you’re looking for the best of the best saltwater flies; patterns that will effectively turn fish heads, you should check out commercial fly tyer Rupert Harvey. Residing in the UK, Ru Harvey ties flies full time based on private orders. We’ve fished his Alphlexo Crabs in the Seychelles and on our recent trip to Astove, we got our hands on a selection of Rupert’s Reaper poppers. These flies are works of art with elaborately paint-brushed and coated popper heads and a bullet-proof construction. But most importantly, these poppers really POP! Fished on an intermediate fly line, they pop and gurgle even more – and they drove the Geets on Astove crazy. Check out for more information. Highly recommended!



When Patagonia says waterproof they mean it. The Patagonia Guidewater Hip Pack is a lightweight fully submersible hip pack that keeps gear dry, organized and close at hand. The Guidewater Hip pack is made from tough 100% recycled nylon fabric. Completely submersible for an extended period this pack really really is waterproof. IPX-7 rated it keeps your gear bone dry at depth. For more info, please refer to:


Named after a deepwater strait with incredible history just 30 minutes outside of New Orleans, Rigolets means trench in French. Complete with vented, sun blocking side shields and ergo rubber details in all the right places, these full wrap shades also feature Bajio’s polarized, blue light blocking lenses with LAPIS™ technology for crisp, clear fish spotting vision. For more info, please refer to the European distributor –


Tie realistic, anatomically correct crayfish patterns with ease. The included Fish-Skull Crawbody exoskeletons are made of nearly indestructible, ultralight synthetic suede that cannot be bitten off, will not shrink, and provide lifelike texture and movement when wet. This Fly Tying Kit contains everything you need to tie 8 Fish-Skull Crawdaddy flies, including step-by-step tying instructions, to make it easy for you to get your hands on the various needed fly tying materials all in one place. For more information:

The Brand Buffet



Built with mobility in mind, the Grundéns Vector Stockingfoot Wader is designed to maximize movement so that you can fish harder and adventure further both in and out of water. Featuring proprietary Grundéns wading mobility patterning for ease of movement when navigating your river of choice, Vector doubly focuses on best-in-class ruggedness and durability with an all-new puncture resistant 4-layer wader laminate that won’t beat up the way we know you beat up your waders. Complete with anatomically shaped, size specific, warming stockingfeet and fishing-focused features a-plenty, the Vector StockingFoot Wader paves the path for a truly better wading experience. For more info:

Costa del Mar :



Say hello to Salina, hearkening to the salty surf in tropical locales – the perfect place to make memories. This newest beach lifestyle frame for women is built for sunny days spent on the sand or out on the sea or flats spotting fish. Seaworthy interior sculpting details on our Bio-Resin™ frame make it easy to look good and play hard no matter your plans. For more info,


Are you frustrated with your expensive fly rods being disorganized and in disarray? Lone Bison Fly Tables has the perfect solution. Thier Rod Tube Display Tables hold up to 6, 8, or 10 rod tube cases in stunning hardwood tables that will not only organize your collection but also add sophistication and refinement to your tying space. Made from carefully selected Oklahoma hardwoods that possess unique colors, grains, and patterns, and sometimes even insect holes, Lone Bison sources much of the material from trash piles, barns, garages, and sawmill scrap piles. For more info:


This bag offers plenty of room for essentials and everyday belongings, when on the move. It’s made from durable recycled nylon ripstop so doesn’t need to be handled with care. Moulded shoulder straps, a padded back panel and its FlexVent™ suspension system, it’s comfortable to carry - even when fully loaded. The 30-litre volume is made up of a large main compartment, a front compartment with a padded laptop sleeve. Removable waist belt, sternum strap and two external water bottle pockets comes in pretty handy, too. For more info, please refer to

Fly Skinz:


These are perfect for a swimming crab pattern but mostly designed for the making Flexo Crabz! If you’re like us and want a simpler way of doing things, then these are for you! There are enough bitz to make 6 crabs per pack. This size is best paired with the 1/4” tubing. We’ve fished Dabber Crabs in the Seychelles, and the fleeing motion has proven great for triggerfish and big, single bonefish. For more info:


We fished the new Lamson Liquid Max fly reels in the Seychelles not long ago, and were excited about the low weight, the compact large-arbor reel design, and the trusty Cobalt brake system. The Cobalt Drag System is a fully U.S.-made, stopanything drag system with proprietary Teflon alloy drag cone, Carbon PEEK thrust washers, custom self-lubricating seals and a Certified IPX8 waterproof rating. Lamson has housed this drag in a pressure cast and machined frame and spool, with features that include Ultra Large Arbor, integrated reel foot and pocket spar frame and spool design that maximizes strength-toweight ratio. For more info, please refer to the European distributor, Flyfish Europe –

Loon Outdoors: BENCH BOSS

A huge step towards streamlining your fly tying station. Gone are the days of tying flies being synonymous with playing hide & seek with favorite tools, resins, beads, and hooks. The Bench Boss offers a sturdy solution to misplaced tying necessities, ensuring that your time at the vise is spent tying, not searching. Dimensions are 21 x 18.5cm. For more info, please visit For more info: www.flyfisheurope. com/loon/

The Brand Buffet

JMC reviewed:

PERFORMER 10,9’ #3/4

We spent a great deal of last summer nymphing for trout and grayling and had the chance to test the new JMC Performer 10,9 #3/4 rod, which comes with a clever balancing system. We had no problems balancing the rod with the different reels we tried, and overall was super-impressed with both the design and fishability of the rod. It feels light, responsive, and forgiving and it offer precision as well as fish-fighting finesse – something that’s pivotal when fishing small nymphs and hair-strandthick tippets. A highly recommended product that’s thought-through and dependable; not surprising coming from French nymphing connoisseurs, JMC. For more information, please refer to



The SL53UAP is a 3X long, looped tapered up eye, forged, single salmon hook for both modern and traditional patterns. In the smaller sizes, it is an ideal low water hook. Fitted with the new TitanX matte gun metal finish for reduced reflected glare and increased stealth. For more info, please refer to:


Scientific Anglers have used naturally buoyant polymers to create their new range of clear floating fly lines for tropical scenarios. The lines are enhanced with EST+ slickness additives and come with Shooting

Texture that reduces friction and delivers longer casts. We’ve fished the lines on a recent trip to Astove Atoll and found them to be game-changers for weary schooling fish such as bonefish and milkfish. Long-casting, memoryfree, and stealthy as can be, these lines are definitely worth checking out if you’re into tropical sight-fishing. For more info:


There’s always excitement in the air, when Simms announces a new iteration of their award-winning G4 waders. The new release features: Simms’ most durable 4-layer GORE-TEX Pro lower and 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro upper; Patented compression-molded stockingfeet for enhanced comfort and improved boot fit/lace bite; Extended YKK waterproof zipper for quick relief and easy on/off; Dual zippered stretch woven chest pockets for quick access to fishing necessities; Zippered, high-pile fleece lined handwarmer pockets for storage and warmth; Dual interior waterproof zippered pockets for totally submersible protection; Low profile, adjustable spacer mesh suspender package; and patented front & back leg seams for enhanced mobility and increased durability. For more info, please refer to the European dealer:

Whiting Farms:


Whiting Eurohackle Saddles boast exceptionally lengthy feathers, ideal for crafting parachutes and palmered patterns (including bombers and stimulators) ranging from sizes #10 to #14. Renowned for their superiority in larger western dry fly designs, Euro Saddles offer remarkable barbule density and feather length, enabling the creation of 3-4 flies using a single feather. Lots of colours to choose from. For more info, please refer to the European dealer:



When soaring mercury takes centerstage, SolarFlex® Cooling Armor is the tech-equipped answer for hardworking, heat-beating comfort. The shirt’s cooling fabric tech is complemented by mobility boosting stretch, maximum UPF50 protection, and a hood/ integrated gaiter design that covers all the angles. For more info, please refer to:

The Brand Buffet



Session rods are high-performance hand-crafted fly rods that blend some of Scott’s most acclaimed design approaches with their latest materials and technologies. This combination creates rods that bring together high line speed and exceptional loop control with a light and lively feel in the hand. These traits have become known as Scott’s signature fast with feel action. The Session Series comes in 11 different models ranging in length from 9 – 10´ and sizes ranging from 3 –8. For more info:

Smith Creek: ROD RACK

The Smith Creek Rod Rack™ is the heavy-duty universal fishing-rod rack for SUV’s, Station Wagons and Vans. The innovative and patented racking system holds seven rod and reel combinations overhead out of the way. Easy to use locking shock cord holders secure and support rods without rattles or damage even on the roughest roads. For more info:



The Smith Creek Tippet Holder™ keeps your tippet spools right where you need them. These rugged tippet holders are individually machined from marine grade aluminum. After precision milling, each unit is bead blasted and then anodized in color for a beautiful surface finish that will last for years. Fitted with a push-button plunger cap, the Tippet Holder is easy to open when needed, but stays securely fastened when closed. Stainless steel plunger components and a zinc carabiner won’t rust. The floating washer design has a recessed silicone o-ring, so you can quickly snug it down against your tippet spools. Available in two colors (burnt orange and metallic gray). For more info:

Smart Watch:


With its durable build and water-resistance, this smartwatch is perfect for any outdoor enthusiasts. The Galaxy Watch6 offers a range of features tailored for fly fishing, making it a reliable companion for your fishing trips. It provides real-time weather updates and its GPS tracking feature helps you navigate to your fishing spots with ease. The watch also offers a barometer to monitor atmospheric pressure, which also comes in quite handy. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Watch6 is a top choice if you’re looking for a reliable and feature-packed smartwatch to wear while fishing. More information can be found at

Book review :


Very personal yet universally relatable, Marina Gibson’s new book, Cast Catch Release, is a lyrical memoir about a life increasingly dedicated to fly fishing – and everything that comes to revolve around it. Well-written and with rare emotional depth and honesty, this collection of essays will touch anyone with even half a heart, and for those of us whose hearts beat unwaveringly for the wonderous world of fly fishing, it will provide a much-welcome female perspective to the works of heralded authors likes John Gierach, Thomas McGuane, and Ian Niall. More info:



The monster Peacock Bass of the Rio Marie in Brazil

The morning was overcast but warm when we left the mothership, although certainly not uncomfortable and more a contrast to the air-conditioned comfort of life within! Guide introductions done, rods and gear onboard, one by one the 6 skiffs peeled off from their moorings and headed forth, destination unknown! The Rio Marie was glassy smooth and although much of the rainforest on either side is relatively non-descript the journey was mesmeric, the skiff seemingly hovering over the water despite the speed at which the 90HP outboard propelled us at.

Such are the endless meandering curves of the Rio Marie, that apart from the knowledge we were travelling against the flow, the direction you are going in, without the benefit of the sun, is almost totally indeterminable.

We drove upstream for just about one hour with the wind speed resulting in a slight chill to the skin, the greyish skies on this first morning adding to the sensation that we were in a cooler more temperate climate. As we slowed the chill immediately dissipated. With the front mounted electric outboard engaged we glided the final 100 meters into one of the canals that punctuate the sides of the main stem of the river.

9-weights rigged and ready

Under the tutelage of our Brazilian guide Rubinho, Hideko and I rigged up two rods, myself with a 9wt with a sinking line and Hideko with an 8wt float/clear intermediate tip. Rubinho did the usual guide thing, picked up, inspected, and then put back in the box my selection of primarily giant trevally flies, before se-

lecting two of the lodge purchased streamer flies, 6 inches long and with a mylar cone head so that the flies pushed more water. The technique was simple although requisite of a degree of accuracy.

Cast towards the banking, try to get your fly as close to the structure, branches, or bankside features as possible and strip it back, alternating speed but at a casual pace as opposed to the more frenetic stripping employed when fishing for saltwater predators.

Before I had even got remotely into the nice steady rhythm that most fly-fishers know only too well - the one where your casting rhythm is balanced between anticipation, expectation but also repetition, allowing your mind to wander ever so slightly…Vroompth!

A muddy vortex of a swirl appeared beside where my fly should have been. As much due to instinctive muscle memory as opposed to a pre-determined action, my stripping figure locked the line tight and

the rod was viscerally wrenched by a terrific force, unlike any I have encountered whilst fishing in fresh water. The line scissored this way and that leaving a seething line of bubbles in its wake. From the reaction of Rubinho I knew that somehow, just 15 or so minutes into the first morning of the trip, I had hooked the sort of fish that had inspired me to travel what can only be described to any outside observer as a ridiculous distance across the globe.

Aerial displays

Twice it launched itself into the air, enough to confirm to the uninitiated that this was indeed a proper fish! The fight was fast and furious, similar to the sort of scrap you would have when fighting a juvenile Tarpon in the mangroves… except with a freshwater fish.

The tannin-stained water allowed little visibility below the very immediate surface and with it all the uncertainties and unknowns of hidden obstacles that would be the most likely cause of its victory over me, regardless of the 50lb tippet and

incredibly tough, GT approved, 4/0 Gamakatsu hook that I was using.

The fight was intense and done at maximum pressure. Absolutely no thought was given to getting the line on the reel. Apply pressure, apply more pressure, strip in line, and only give line when absolutely necessary. With a deft sweep of the net, Jairo our native guide, had the fish secure.

“The rod was viscerally wrenched by a terrific force”

It measured 78 cm and weighed 16 ½ lbs. To me, on my first encounter with a big Peacock Bass it looked and felt like it was a world-record contender. Catching my first decent Peacock so early on in the day, let alone the trip, I had not really had time to assimilate my good fortune, to weigh it up against the typically innumerate casts that you make on a fishing trip hoping for such a specimen.

The fish was measured, length and girth, weighed, tagged, photographed, and released. Amazing! Maybe no more than 5 casts later and an equally ferocious flight I was holding a fish of 15 lbs, and before the clock had hit 10.30, after just 1 ½ hours of fishing, I had another of 13 1/2 lbs. Although they fell short of the magical 20 lbs, the benchmark Marie Gigantes, I was well and truly hooked on these absolutely stunning fish!!!

The Rio Marie

The Rio Marie is a tributary to the Rio Negro which then flows into the mighty Amazon. Manaus, the largest city of the Amazonas, which used to be known as ‘Heart of the Amazon’ and ‘City of the Forest’, is the access point for almost all Brazilian trips into the Amazon, whether fishing or otherwise. Once the wealthiest city in South America, the opera house is now the standout cultural edifice that tells the tale of the city’s past.

From Manaus, anglers take either a direct flight on a float plane to the mothership, or via the small airstrip at Santa Isabel with a follow on transfer via floatplane. Either way it is a flight of

over 3 hrs. In itself this might be considered a crazy distance to travel, let alone run a fishing operation, were it not for what you find when you arrive.

The mothership, Untamed Amazon, may not have the sleek looks of an oligarch’s yacht, and certainly do not expect gold trimmings, but it is a supreme logistical feat that allows anglers to enjoy the week in exceptional comfort. Aircon throughout, hot water for showers in unlimited quantities, a filtration system that provides potable water without the mountains of plastic bottles that would otherwise be required and solar panels covering almost all electricity use during the day.

As a deeply passionate angler, it can be easy to push superfluous creature comforts to one side, in pursuit of a quarry and an adventure, but neither am I ashamed to appreciate it when it is on offer. Chugging upstream, lying on crisp linen sheets after a good shower and a fulfilling day, looking out at the river through ceiling to floor windows under the golden glow of the evening sun is a surreal, unforgettable and very special experience.

Things to come

My first morning was an exceptional start to the trip and certainly should not be taken as a template for a typical day, but equally it was certainly not to be the best of the week amongst our team by a very long shot!

“Fishing a large popper takes a degree of commitment”

At the start of the week, we were faced with higher than average water conditions, although with the water slowly dropping the prognosis was promising. The Rio Marie goes up and down throughout their fishing season as part of the continual ebb and flow of life in the rainforest. Very little fishing takes place in the main-stream of the river. The bulk of the fishing is spent in the back-waters, feeder streams, lagoons or pretty much anywhere out of the main river flow.

In high water conditions you will be blind-casting for the better part of the day. It is, however, important to quantify this as you will always be seeking out the best and most likely holding spots, nooks, and crannies in the banking, sunken branches, anywhere that might constitute an ambush or a hiding point.

The more precise your casting, the closer you can land your fly to a likely holding spot, whether it be a small break in a reed bed, no more than a foot across, or a slim channel, the better your chances.

By Day 3, the water had dropped a significant amount, and this heralded a quantifiable change in both the fortunes of our group and fishing methods, using surface poppers as well as sight-fishing.

Fishing a large popper takes a degree of commitment, it is hard work and for it to be truly effective a good technique is essential. The bigger the ‘pop’, the better the chance of a reaction but when that reaction comes… Wow!

Endurance is key

When fishing with a heavier than normal rod and indeed a large fly I am always aware that no matter the reward, endurance is a key consideration and with 3 more days to go, straining wrist and hand muscles to the extent that your ability to cast is compromised is an important consideration. Mindful of this, but equally confident in the area we were fishing, Charley, our guide for the day, had encouraged me to persevere with the popper rather than returning to the relative comfort of casting a 6-7 inch streamer!

It is common practice for the guides to use small bait casters with hookless teasers to stir up the fish. On occasion, reputedly, this will induce a Peacock to take the teaser. A follow up cast with a fly, whether a popper or a streamer, then gives a very good chance of a hook up. Despite some serious exertion with the teaser, and indeed over the previous 3 days, there had been absolutely no indication that this yielded any results. Equally I assumed that my popper would come second fiddle, so whilst

going through the motions, my efforts were more focused on my casting than a fish.

“The take, when it came, was as violent and explosive as you could wish for”

The take, when it came, was as violent and explosive as you could wish for. With no warning, there was a terrific surge towards my fly, a Double Barrel GT popper with a 8/0 hook that had last seen service in the Seychelles, which was demolished amidst a geyser of water and spray. Mindful of the sanctuary of the reed bed, which seemed the likely route of escape, but equally to give line when necessary (the previous day I had lost two good fish in successive casts that had both snapped my 50lb leader and I had subsequently upgraded to the recommended 60lb tippet) the fight commenced.

Hard, fast and brutal, punctuated by searing runs that will definitely result in some feisty line burns on your stripping fingers unless they are adequately covered. The Peacock, when tamed was a resplendent 84 cm in length, well within the 20lb length range, however accurately weighed it ended up tipping the scales at 17 ½ lbs.

Returning to the mother-boat that evening, with a tale to tell, and a fish that felt as if it should beat all, I was happily put in my place to discover that I had been trumped by not one but two fish of over 20lbs, one of 21 lbs caught by Jeff which was also on a popper. This really heralded the start of the big fish as by the week’s end, no less than 8 leviathan fish of over 20lbs had been caught, including a 2nd fish by Jeff which stands to claim the IGFA world Record for the largest Peacock Bass landed using a 20lb tippet with a length of 89cm.

More ferocity

Our groups improved fortunes over the 2nd half of the week coincided with the continued drop in the water level. Lagoons and the semi-re-

dundant meanders in the river, now almost cut off from the main stem provided excellent opportunities to sight-fish. Peacock Bass pair up when mating, creating nests for their eggs and larvae when they hatch. They then guard with ferocious determination before they are big enough to be carried within the mouth of an adult fish. With the lowered water levels and good light, spotting fish now became possible, aided by the use of the otherwise redundant poling platforms on the skiffs.

Casting over the nests, typically with a streamer of some description, and then retrieving is an incredibly effective way to trigger a reaction. Accuracy and patience are required. Sometimes a single cast would get an immediate response, on others, multiple fly changes were required. For one fish caught by Rodrigo (a 21lber no less) it required 7 fly changes and the better part of half the afternoon session. Whilst I was fishing with Hideko, we spent at least an hour targeting two fish, one huge, the other smaller with cast after cast before finally she achieved success.

When Peacocks are guarding a nest, they will resolutely defend it to the extent that they are virtually unspookable. The biggest risk is typically to the angler’s heart-rate, watching one of the veritable leviathans follow, swipe, nip, swirl, circle, and generally tantalise!

By way of a footnote to the above, if it sounds like some sort of ungentlemanly ambush on a creche, it is worth noting that on release the guide would ensure that the fish was returned in very close vicinity to the taking point. The Peacock could be seen to immediately swim back to the nest to join its partner. Within a minute the two would be back in position, on guard, seemingly oblivious to recent escapades. It is also worth noting that the tagging program that has been in place since 2018 has over 5,000 fish duly recorded with a recovery rate of approximately 1-2 %. Given the length and volume of the river that is impressive in itself.

Species diversity

There are multiple species of Peacock Bass. Our primary target and the largest was the Cichla Temensis, distinctive for its three very distinct

vertical bars down its flank. These are actually its spawning colours, when the fish are heavier and deeper bodied, almost exclusively caught in the still water of the lagoons and called Paca in Brazil. In its non-spawning form the bars almost disappear, the whole fish taking on an altogether transformative hydrodynamic shape with a darker colour punctuated by white spots. Whilst the Temensis are the trophies of a week on the Rio Marie, the Butterfly Peacocks are the appetizers. For the most part they are numerous and can grow to about 10lbs, although a 6lb fish would be considered a good one and provide the sort of continual action throughout the day that keeps you hungry for more. They can take with almost the same power as their larger cousins, although on a heavier rod and 50-60lb nylon they can be tamed quite quickly. They also are what I would consider the best eating of all the Amazonian fish we encountered. We ate them both during a group lunchtime barbecue on one day and again as ceviche for supper on another. In both instances delicious, although the ceviche was a triumph!

Tackling peacock bass

We fished floating, float/intermediate and sink lines during the week with the excellent Jungle Tip lines by Scientific Angler which were designed specifically for this environment. The sink lines were certainly effective during the earlier half of the week, although the float/ intermediate lines are the standard goto line for everyday use.

The floating lines were mainly used with poppers. 8-10 weight rods are the preferred rod sizes, and I would stress that whilst reels are not a key component beyond acting as a line store, a modern lightweight rod absolutely is! You will make an awful lot of casts over the week and stamina is more important than distance or power. A 9wt rod seems to be a good compromise as it can handle large flies, but strong and light would be my over-riding tip.

The amount of water that we covered over the week was, by any normal comparison, colossal. From the beginning to the end of the week Untamed Amazon our mother-boat, travelled approximately 125 miles upstream, mooring at 4 different locations along the way.

Each day when we set off in the skiff, we would travel between 30-90 minutes. Despite the seeming uniformity of the surroundings, the areas we were assigned to fish each day are carefully zoned, the ever-changing water levels producing quite different conditions from day to day. All in all, the operation covers some 600 miles of exclusive water, part of a joint venture with the local indigenous community.

Great company

Amongst our group we were joined by fishing legend Chico Fernandez, one of the founding fathers of saltwater fly-fishing, a gentleman as humble, approachable, and skilled as you could ever wish to meet and unsurprisingly one of the deserving captors of a 20lb fish. Equally we had the company of Rodrigo Salles, one of the founders of Untamed Angling and the brainchild behind this venture, one of the most audacious and well managed fishing operations I have had the pleasure of visiting. He in turn was accompanied by his charming wife Pam, in her 7th month of pregnancy and a fishing

tour de force to rival any of us men! A fabulous artist and textile designer, she has produced a range of sporting clothing that is more than a match for any clothing you might find by some of the more major brands. Watch this space and watch out Simms!!!

The ‘new’ opportunities that jungle fishing in the Amazon has created is truly eye-opening and although there are certainly bigger species that can be caught on fly, the staggeringly huge Arapaima being the obvious candidate, fishing for the huge Peacock Bass of the Rio Marie has well and truly opened my eyes and captivated me in equal measure.

Peacock Bass are clever, protective, and cunning. Given the opportunity to sight-fish for them, it reveals an otherwise hidden layer to their multiple attributes, demanding absolute respect from the angler in how to tempt, tackle and ultimately protect these wonderful fish.

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PRAWNThe Joint Pop-Up

With just the right amount of weight and buoyancy, the jointed Pop-Up Prawn is designed to be fished on (or near) the bottom coming alive with even the smallest twitches. It’s a fly that works equally well for European species such seatrout, seabass, and brackish perch and tropical saltwater fish such as permit, bonefish, and triggerfish.

There are thousands of different shrimp species to be found across the globe - in both freshwater- and saltwater habitats. Some of them are the size of grown men’s hands, while others are so small, they’re hardly visible. Some come in the most vivid of colours, while others blend stealthily in with their surroundings. Some of them live in the cold and dark depths of the ocean, while others cling to shallow, sunlit flats and shallows. What all of them have in common, however, is that they’re vibrant, fluttering crustaceans perfectly adapted to their local habitats, high on protein, and - not least - a highly sought-after prey item for a myriad of different predatory fish species.

Some of the pickiest saltwater fish on the planet, including triggerfish and permit, eat shrimp. And so do more homely species such as seatrout, brackish perch, and seabass. I have targeted them all and have found that, sometimes, these predators get very selective and particular when it comes to shrimp. And when they do, your fly - and how it moves and fish-

es, becomes the difference between success and failure.

For lethargic brackish perch clinging to the bottom during the winter months, a life-like shrimp pattern crawling along the bottom can be deadly. And the same goes for tailing permit, bonefish, and triggerfish on the sun-bathed flats of the Indian Ocean.

The Joint Pop-Up


n is designed to sink and crawl along the bottom with a front body - legs, antennae, head and all - that pops up and flutters. It’s tied using a small shank, precision-weighted with a pair of dumbell eyes, and a small saltwater hook mounted with buoyant foam that makes for an upside-down fly that doesn’t snag unto bottom structure.

The fly has great movement due to the jointed construction and the very lively materials; the CDC feathers and spey hackles. And as a result - and much because of its realistic looksit can be fished very slowly across the bottom and still be deadly efficient. It even fishes when you long-pause

your retrieve as the foam joint and materials will keep pulsating with the turbulence of the water.

Obviously, the fly can also be fished pelagically - for seatrout, seabass, and other saltwater predator fish. When fished on a floating line with aggresive, short pulls, the fly will danse and flutter - legs, feelers, and pinchers bouncing and wiggling enticingly all over the place.


Hook: Light saltwater hook, Ahrex 280 or similar (#6-10)

Thread: Veevus G02 100D, White

Feelers/Antennae: Salmon-coloured spey hackle + Tan Crystal Flash

Legs: Centipede Legs, speckled white-brown

Claws: Tan CDC Feathers

Body: Tan STF Dubbing

Body Hackle: Salmon-coloured spey hackle

Shell: Salmon-coloured foam + Pro Sportfisher

Shrimp Shell, Gen-II

UV-resin: Thin Loon UV-resin

Shank: Spawn Super Shank 9mm

Weight: Presentation Dumbell Eyes 1/50oz, XS

Step 1

Fasten the hook securely in your vise.

Step 4

Tie in a salmon-coloured grizzly spey hackle feather.

Step 7

Use two tan CDC feathers to make pinchers. Tie them in on either side of the hook.

Step 2

Secure the tying thread and wrap it all the way to the hook bend.

Step 5

Do a couple of wraps with the spey hackle. Then tie it firmly in place.

Step 8

Tie all materials backwards, including the spey hackle and any excess CDC fibres.

Step 3

Tie in two strands of tan Crystal Flash, 6 - 8cm in length.

Step 6

Now, tie in two Centipede legs on either side of the hook. The legs should be 4 - 5cm in length.

Step 9

Dub the tying thread with tan STF Dubbing.

Step 10

Dub the whole hook shank, leaving a little space in front of the hook eye.

Step 13

Take the hook of the vise and thread the foam onto the hook. Then reinsert the hook in the vise.

Step 16

Pull the hook onto a small shank, and insert the shank in your vise.

Step 11

Step 12

Now wrap the spey hackle along the full body length of the fly. UV-glue a tan Shrimp Shell onto a piece of 3mm salmon-coloured foam.

Step 14

Secure the shell/carapace with a few, careful wraps of tying thread.

Step 15

Now, trim all the excess foam and whip finish the fly.

Step 17

Firmly secure the shank, and make a solid base of tying thread.

Step 18

Now, tie in the dumbell eyes. They need to be tied firmly in place.

Step 19

Wrap the tying thread to the back of the shank and tie in a salmoncoloured spey hackle. (Smaller than the one previously used).

Step 22

Wrap the spey hackle and secure it firmly behind the shank eye. Trim all excess and whip finish the fly.

Step 20

Dub the tying thread with tan, STF Dubbing.

Step 21

Then, wrap the dubbing all the way to the dumbell eyes at the very front.

Step 23

Using velcro or a dubbing tool, brush the dubbing and hackle, and force all the fibers downwards.

Step 24

UV-glue the head and the fly is ready to find you a fish.


Kim Mäki


Fooling Mother Nature with Kim Mäki.

With a passion for crafting intricately designed flies and a deep appreciation for the artistry and science behind fly fishing, Kim Mäki has become a respected figure in the fly fishing community. In this interview, we delve into Kim’s journey into the world of fly tying, exploring the motivations, inspirations, and creative processes that drive this captivating pursuit. Join us as we uncover the secrets behind some of Kim’s favorite fly patterns, the philosophy that shapes their designs, and his love for the majestic brown trout.

Full name: Kim Patrik Mäki

Home country: Sweden


You’re a well-established fly tyer with a great following in Scandinavia. How did you initially get into fly tying?

An addiction to fooling Mother Nature with stuff you made by yourself is quite a good feeling, isn’t it? So when I received my first fly rod from my father when I was about 10 years old, it didn’t take long before I got myself a starter fly tying kit... The rest is history.

What is it about fly tying that you like so much?

I think the fly itself is not only for the fish; it’s also for the fisherman. You have more confidence in the fly if it appeals to the fisherman too. It’s also a way to be creative and make your imitation as good as possible. And as I said, it’s a pretty good feeling to catch- or see someone else catch fish on your flies.

What kind of flies do you most enjoy tying and why?

Deer hair flies, and of course, balsa pupas. But preferences come and go; a couple of years ago, I was all into vinyl. Vinyl makes stunning bodies for mayflies and caddis pupas. But they are kind of fragile... I must figure out some way to make them more teeth-resistant. Haha.

What are the most important/determining factors when you design a new fly pattern?

I would say the profile from the fish’s point of view. Isonychia nymphs and deer hair sculpin (cottus gobio) are great examples. Of course, the choice of materials is important when it comes to big streamers and similar flies. But I would say that the silhouette/profile from the fish’s point of view is most important for me.

What’s your favorite fish species to catch and why?

Brown trout; just look at them. They are the most beautiful fish in the world. I grew up and still live by a river with pretty decent-sized brownies. They can be picky feeders on small caddis and mayflies, but they can also be brutal predators by night and chase sculpins like there’s no tomorrow.

They can live in saltwater and look like silver chrome arrows, and they can live in freshwater and look like golden bars. What’s not to love? Haha.


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”Must Watch” VIDEO


A Not Too Steady Flow Of Mayflies is fly fishing tale from the season of 2023. I filmed a lot with the fly fishing superstars Håvard Stubö (jazz and fly fishing) and Markus Lemke (Lemmelkaffe), then I also filmed by myself, some of the footage is included in the vlog series ”Kokkaffe Diaries”. Håvard a also filmed some by himself in the secret rivers of Norway. Other than that it’s the usual stuff, dry flies, coffee, a few arctic char, tiny forest trout and this time also big trout. Thanks for watching!

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Jim Klug of Yellow Dog Fly Fishing


Founder and CEO for Bozeman, Montana-based Yellow Dog Flyfishing (, Jim Klug began working in the fly fishing industry at the age of 14. Over the years, he has worked as a guide, sales rep, travel coordinator, and as past National Sales Manager for Scientific Anglers. He’s guided extensively in Montana, Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon, and has fished throughout the world in over 60 different countries.

Pictures: JIM KLUG

In 1999, Jim founded Yellow Dog – a trip booking and travel company that has grown to become one of the largest and most recognized entities in sporting travel. Yellow Dog currently represents and books more than 250 lodges and outfitting operations in 39 different countries. In 2022, Yellow Dog expanded operations with the acquisition of one of the largest fly shops in Montana, as well as the launch of a full-service e-commerce retail platform.

As Yellow Dog’s CEO, Jim spends a lot of time scouting and researching destinations throughout the world. Aside from his ongoing work with Yellow Dog, Jim is also the co-founder of Confluence Films, a film production company that created the fishing movies DRIFT in 2008, RISE in 2009, CONNECT in 2011, WAYPOINTS in 2013 and PROVIDENCE in 2016. In 2019, Jim launched the popular fishing podcast, WAYPOINTS, a program dedicated to fishing travel, adventure, and exploration.

In 2017, Jim was awarded the American Museum of Fly Fishing’s “Izaak Walton Award,” given out once a year to honor and celebrate individuals who live by the Compleat Angler philosophy. The award recognizes “a passion for the sport of fly fishing and involvement in the angling community that provides inspiration for others and promotes the legacy of leadership for future generations.” In 2018, Jim was the recipient of the “Lefty Kreh Industry Leadership Award,” presented to one individual each year by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA).

Jim’s writings and photos and appeared in numerous magazines and publications, and his photo work and galleries can be viewed at Fly Fishing Belize (released in October 2014) was Jim’s first full-length book project. Jim lives in Bozeman, Montana with his wife Hilary and children Carson, Finn and Gus.

We’ve been fortunate enough to sit down with Jim for a chat about his life in fly fishing

How did you get started fly fishing and why?

I started working in the fly fishing industry when I was 14 or 15 years old. Like most young people, my first job was working in a fly shop – stocking inventory, sweeping floors, bagging fly tying materials – doing whatever was required while trying to learn everything I could about the sport.

“I had the chance to guide and work throughout the US west during my 20s, and those were fantastic years”

I am not sure I have ever loved this sport – or been so excited about fly fishing – as when I was working in that shop as a kid – when everything was new and exciting, and when I was obsessed with learning as much as possible, as fast as possible. At that point in time, far off destinations and exotic species were nothing more than wish-list adventures I would read about in magazines, but still I wanted nothing more than to plan my life – and certainly every day – around fishing. I joke with a lot of my industry friends that those ear-

ly years definitely led me down the road to ruin, and instead of a job in finance or law or something else respectable, I stayed focused on fly fishing and really never left the industry.

Working as a kid in that fly shop eventually led to rowing gear boats for a steelhead outfitter during my summer months in high school, which then led to full-time guiding. I had the chance to guide and work throughout the US west during my 20s, and those were fantastic years. After that I became a sales rep in the Northern Rockies territory (Montana, Idaho and Wyoming) for a number of different tackle brands and manufacturers, before ending up as Sales Manager for Scientific Anglers. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in the fishing industry since I was a kid, and I’ve been able to work my way through a lot of different roles and positions – learning every step of the way. I would have to say that this industry has been very good to me over the years, and overall, my life in fly fishing has been a hell of a lot of fun.

What is it about fly fishing, specifically, that fascinates you?

I would say that any time spent on water is always going to be fascinating – be it a small stream or river close to home, or distant flats halfway around the world. The number one most fascinating thing for me, however, always relates to the places that fly fishing takes me.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world and see a lot of unique locations in my years with Yellow Dog, and while the fishing is usually the “reason” for making these trips, the take-aways always revolve around so many things other than the fishing.

What characterizes the most special and memorable moments in fly fishing?

That’s actually a great question, because there are a lot of memorable moments that accumulate over the years. I would have to say it’s the camaraderie that is so often involved in fishing and certainly in fishing travel. Whether its time spent with friends at a lodge, the connection you make with a specific guide, time on the water with your kids, or the conversations and laughs you have with a buddy when you’re sharing a skiff on a difficult and fishless day, most of my fondest memories revolve around the people I’ve been fortunate enough to fish with. Landing a beautiful fish or bringing something huge to the net is of course memorable, but over time, the things you remember most always revolve around people.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned along the way as a fly fisherman?

No matter where you are or what’s happening, remember to relax. The reality is that great fishing moments (or the “perfect” trip) will always involve the law of averages. If you do six destination trips to far-off places, expect two of them to be great, two to be varied on conditions and weather, and two to be downright challenging. We still haven’t figured out how to guarantee great weather and conditions, so every trip is always a bit of a gamble.

We all want smooth travel, on-time flights, ideal weather, and cooperative fish with every trip, but we also can’t control the uncontrollable. And … if you can’t deal with those odds and roll with the punches, then fishing may not be your thing. (Perhaps a round of golf on a course close to home is a better option … where the ball is always right there … waiting to be hit ...)

When you travel to fish, you have to stay positive and recognize there are things you simply cannot control. Fishing takes to us to amazing places, so do your best to remember where you are and why you’re out there in the first place. I have also learned that the more you stress out while fishing, the more likely you are to continue making mistakes, missing eats, and having problems. It’s no coincidence that the most laid-back, easy-go-lucky anglers are always the ones that seem to catch the most fish!

What is it that motivates you and drives you towards new fly fishing adventures?

The feeling of experiencing something for the first time. That is true with travel in general, but it is especially true with fishing. Visiting a river you’ve never before fished and stepping into a run that you know – just by looking at it – has to hold good fish is always going to be motivating factor! Or heading out from the dock in the morning and racing across glassy flats in a skiff in search of tailing fish.

Any time you’re seeing and experiencing a location and a fishery for the first time, that excitement and motivation is always there. If the chance to fish new waters doesn’t make you feel like a kid on Christmas morning, you might have to ask yourself what exactly it is you’re doing.

What’s your favorite species of fish to target – and why?

That’s a hard question to answer. Kind of like, “what’s your number one favorite destination?” or, “which one of your three kids is your favorite?” I can easily come up with a “top ten” list of favorite species (golden dorado, steelhead, wild rainbow trout, tarpon, bonefish, GTs … certainly a few others) but picking just one is hard.

“I can easily come up with a “top ten” list of favorite species”

Most of the time, I would have to say that permit would probably be at the top of the list – largely due to where they live and also the challenge they consistently present. They are rarely easy and never foolish, but when you do come tight on a permit and eventually bring a fish to hand, it is a pretty special feeling. And honestly, bonefish would be a close second, as they are arguably the greatest fly rod quarry in all of fishing. It’s almost as if bonefish were designed with fly anglers in mind, and when I hear an angler say, “I’m over bonefish … I’ve caught plenty,” it honestly makes me question that person’s character.

Bonefish are an awesome species, and – as a spooky, hyper-alert creature – the challenge is always there. But they’re also an honest fish. When you do your job, they usually do theirs, and a good cast, a well-presented fly, and a proper retrieve and strip-set will usually be rewarded.

What’s your dream destination and why?

For me, it is a destination that makes you feel like you are seeing a place in its absolute prime and at it’s very best. We’ve all grown up hearing about the way “things used to be.” And we’ve all heard old-timers talk about the “good old days” – when a fishery or a location was as its peak. When you can visit a destination and feel like you are literally fishing “the good old days” at that exact moment – when it is still incredibly pristine, productive, and healthy – to me that is the dream destination. Those places are of course getting harder to find, but they’re still out there!

What’s been your most memorable fly fishing trip/experience so far?

That one is hard to pin down. I think the most memorable trips – the ones that really stick out over the past 30+ years of traveling – are usually the ones that generate the best stories. But of course, those are the ones where things usually went wrong. Accidents, hurricanes, injuries, arrests, geopolitical events that shut down the borders … those kinds of things tend to stick in your memory bank.

The “happiest” memories and trip experiences I’ve had probably involve fishing and traveling with my kids – especially when they were really young and still new to fishing. Watching a five-year old catch their first trout, or a ten-year old land their first bonefish is pretty cool. Those are moments in my life I will never forget, which I guess lands them squarely in the “most memorable” category.


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Salmon fishing in Iceland

Where to start?

The Atlantic salmon is one of the most highly sought-after game fish in the world. Iceland, with its fascinating extremes and great runs of salmon, is the dream destination for most anglers chasing freshwater silver. After many requests about salmon fishing in Iceland, here is a guide aimed at preparing you better for a great fishing trip to the land of fire and ice.

Cutting through Iceland’s jagged, glacial, and volcanic landscape are a great variety of superb first-class salmon rivers. These rivers are world-famous for their gin-clear water, abundant wild salmon populations, and opportunities for visual fishing. However, they are also known for primarily hosting grilse/small salmon.

I have often encountered the misconception that salmon fishing in Iceland is only “Put & Take.” There are truths and myths surrounding this notion, but let’s break it down and consider what to think about before booking your fishing trip.

“Iceland offers everything you can dream of”

Indeed, we have some of the finest salmon rivers in the world, which can offer the intense, delicate sight fishing we envision. However, our best river statistically is a massive glacial river with water visibility of around 5-10 cm. Despite this, the numbers of wild salmon running here are impressive, and they are only improving after the removal of local farmers’ nets, thanks to the outfitter. However, if you have been drawn to Iceland by the visual fishing and the jaw-dropping fantasy land pictures circulating the inter-

net, this river may not be where you want to go. Here, you will need a worm forced to the bottom by three sinkers (lead) if you want a chance to catch anything.

However, if you are primarily interested in numbers, this may be a perfect solution for you.

Size of the river

Do you prefer a small, medium, or largesized river? Single- or double-hand rods, or a combination of both? We have rivers with enough variation for both single- and double-hand rods. However, the majority of them are best fished with single-hand rods and floating lines. It’s surprisingly effective, but – most importantly – it’s more fun!

Gin-clear, picture-perfect water

Not all rivers are gin-clear, but the majority are. Generally, Icelandic rivers are outstanding fly fishing waters with great variation, mostly fished with small flies on floating lines. If God were a fly angler, Iceland would be his masterpiece. From fast-flowing stretches to beautiful waterfalls and long pools, Iceland offers everything you can dream of.

However, to avoid disappointment upon arrival at your destination, consider whether your dream is to see the salmon chase your fly before finally breaking the surface for “that pull” that makes the world stand still for a moment.

Many anglers enjoy “the classic swing,” blind fishing, and being pulled out of wonderland by “that pull” breaking the peace. We have it all in Iceland; just make sure you are clear on what you are signing up for. To avoid possible disappointment, consider the visibility of glacier rivers and adjust your expectations accordingly.

Fly, lure, or bait

Most salmon rivers in Iceland are “fly only,” with several high-end rivers banning the use of big, weighted tubes and sink tips. Be aware of this when narrowing down options for selecting a river. Big tubes may spook salmon in smaller rivers; delicate fishing with small flies or micro tubes is often more successful. Some rivers still allow fishing with lures and worms, such as Leirvogsá just outside Reykjavik, which permits worm fishing but not lures.

Size of fish

Iceland is mostly known for grilse/small salmon, with small salmon being up to 65 cm in length. Western rivers are particularly known for small fish. While an 85 cm salmon is considered good everywhere in the country, it’s exceptionally large in small fish rivers. Most rivers produce fish up to just over 90 cm, with some exceeding 100 cm. The river Laxá í Aðaldal/Big Laxa is known for producing the biggest fish, with salmon up to 120 cm. However, this river is challenging, with fewer fish compared to smaller rivers. Determine whether you prioritize big fish, quantity, or something in-between.

Catch numbers, what to expect

Every salmon caught in Iceland is registered in a national database, with statistics accessible to the public on the website These statistics can provide insight into catch numbers, though fishing outcomes depend on various factors. Nonetheless, average catch statistics can be useful when booking your fishing trip.

The river ranked #1 at the top of the official catch list on does not necessarily indicate it is the best river. The ranking does not consider the number of rods fishing the river or the number of days the river is open for fishing. To determine the best river catch-wise, it is necessary to calculate the number of salmon caught per rod over the duration of the season on a given river. Some rivers have only 2 rods fishing, while others have 18. Another important factor is that natural/wild salmon rivers are only allowed to be fished for up to 90 days, while artificial rivers have 120 days, which affects the total catch number. For example, the Rangá is often touted as the top river in Iceland based on overall catch per season. However, it is fished with over 20 rods for 120 days. Rivers like Miðfjarðará, Haffjarðará, and Laxá á Ásum produce much more fish per rod. Laxá á Ásum, for instance, was until recently only fished with 2 rods and once produced 1,800 wild salmon in one season, making it arguably the best salmon river in the world in terms of salmon per rod.

Below is an example of the top three natural/wild and fly-only salmon rivers in Iceland from 2021 (Source: MBL/Sporðaköst). This serves as an illustration, despite it being a slow season in Iceland.

River Salmon Rods Per rod Per day Miðfjarðará 1.796 10 180 2,00 Laxá í Dölum 1.021 6 170 1,89 Haffjarðará 914 6 152 1,70


On most rivers, you are obligated to take full-board lodging along with the fishing license. Iceland is not exactly famous for being the cheapest place to find accommodations, so this adds to the cost. There are still a few self-catering lodges available for those preferring privacy and a more affordable option. Unfortunately, it seems bleak for these anglers, as outfitters are focusing more on full-service lodging. As far as I am aware, no salmon river in Iceland offers camping.

Fishing guides

Do you want to challenge your fishing skills on your own or have a guide help you get into some action? Having a guide has some clear advantages: Local know-how, experience under different circumstances, and the right technique can be crucial. The guide has a car, saving you money on a rental car, which is very expensive in Iceland. Additionally, it is a convenient luxury to have a chauffeur after celebrating a landed fish with a single malt.

Be aware! If you choose to invest in a guide, make sure that the guide has plenty of fishing and guiding experience from the location you plan to fish! Ask how many years the guide has been fishing and guiding on the river you intend to fish. Unfortunately, I have experienced quite a few anglers going home disappointed from their fishing trip, partly because their guide had no fishing experience on the visited river. It takes many years to learn how a river works

under different water levels, temperatures, weather pressures, seasons, and, of course, what triggers the bite. You are paying a lot of money for local experience and assistance, so asking questions is not too much. We have plenty of great guides with many years of hard-earned local experience here, who are highly motivated to give you the trip of a lifetime. Note, some rivers have made it obligatory in recent years to have a guide.

Natural/wild salmon: A sensitive subject

Today’s focus on environmental issues has led to a growing awareness among anglers toward protecting our wildlife, which is where our passion primarily lies—fishing. In Iceland, we have strict policies and rules to protect our unique country’s sensitive wildlife. However, salmon farmers have successfully spread out over our coastal lines with symbolic open cage sea pens. They are breeding salmon from Norway, a foreign species, which is not allowed by law, except for this industry. No need to delve into the devastating consequences of that now, but this also applies to releasing foreign fish into our rivers. Scientific proof is available, proving that releasing smolts (baby salmon) from other salmon stocks than the river’s own can be disastrous. In Canada and the US, it started as a genuine helping hand to restore rivers where the fish farming industry destroyed the wild salmon stocks. However, releasing smolts turned out not to be the solution; it only made matters worse. Today, many scientists and anglers believe in keeping the salmon rivers wild and keeping species that do not belong there away.

The reason I bring this up is that we have a few artificial rivers in Iceland with salmon genetics from all over the place. Famous among them are the two Rangá rivers, which have an intense smolt release program into ponds along the rivers before eventually being released into the river itself. While these rivers are very productive, to many anglers, this equates to Put & Take fishing rather than fishing for wild salmon. Fish taken from other rivers and artificially raised under human housing for their first years of life may not align with the expectations of those devoted to wild salmon. Furthermore, the absence of natural salmon stocks raises significant questions about why this is allowed in Iceland.

From a fishing perspective, some anglers might not find it very charming that the majority of the fish are caught outside the release ponds on the river, even though there is a lot of action. So, some anglers may not have their best fishing trip if dropped off at an artificial river. I have come across debates both online and offline, so just to avoid possible conflicts between clients and outfitters, it’s important to consider this aspect.

For your information, the majority of Icelandic salmon rivers are natural. Some have had a little help with eggs taken from female salmon, fertilizing them before burying them in the riverbed on location. The Icelandic salmon rivers are well managed, with the biggest threat to our salmon stocks currently being the intrusion of the open cage salmon farming industry.

Catch & Release

Some rivers have full C&R policies, while most allow you to take one small salmon measuring under 70 cm per day. Some very productive rivers even allow more without being a threat to the stock, of course.

Note that most salmon rivers also have trout and arctic char, and in most cases, no C&R policy applies. Sea-run arctic char is considered the best fish to eat in Iceland.


You can be on the riverbank just one hour after walking out of Keflavik International Airport. Alternatively, it can take 8-9 hours to drive from the airport to East Iceland, which can be shortened via domestic flights. If location matters to you, it’s worth taking into consideration.


The first rivers open in early June, with the majority opening around June 20th. Prime time is mid-July to early August. Most rivers close in mid to late September. As mentioned earlier, rivers with wild salmon stocks are only allowed to be open for up to 90 days, while artificial rivers have 120 days, giving the two Rangá rivers fishing time until October 20th.

I hope these pointers of consideration can help you plan a successful fishing trip withoutdisappointments within our reach.

But we can’t control the weather or these fish, can we?

Fly Fishing in the of Genghis

We have been fly fishing in Mongolia for three decades. We established these operations eries. Now, both of our operations, Mongolia River Outfitters and Fish Mongolia, leadership. Our taimen conservation programs and remote fly-fishing camps //

Fishing the Land Genghis Khan

for the specific purpose of protecting Mongolia’s wild rivers and fishMongolia, are recognized for outstanding service, wonderful fishing, and conservation provide access to and help protect hundreds of kilometers of taimen habitat. //


The Birth of a New Community

As someone who loves to fly fish, but also design and code, Joost set out to build an online fly fishing platform. In 2022, was launched. In this edition you’ll see an advertisement for the FlyFish Circle Boutique. This is the latest addition to FlyFish Circle: a platform where you can buy flies directly from fly tyers. We thought it would be interesting to interview the person behind FlyFish Circle and the Boutique to give you a peek behind the scenes.

How did FlyFish Circle start?

It really was born out of personal frustration. When I went abroad I noticed it was often difficult to find the right information about licenses, insect life, fish species and more. Next to that, there was no good place online to find fly fishing guides across the world. As a digital maker, my mind instantly went to: let me build this myself. There are many ways to describe what I do: entrepreneur, solopreneur, digital maker. They all boil down to the same thing: you define, design, code and grow something of value, by yourself, and make it available to others.

There are many fly fishing websites available, how is FlyFish Circle different?

First of all, I think there will always be a place for multiple fly fishing websites. I spoke to founders of other websites, and each has a unique vision which is great to see. Fly fishing enthusiasts are generally very open and friendly and I don’t really see this as competition.

For my own vision: FlyFish Circle is meant to be informative, beautiful, unique, and usable. There should be things to discover that you can not find anywhere else. And what’s very important to me is that I don’t want it to be plastered with ads up to the point that it feels completely unusable. I spend a lot of time on the design to make sure that it’s a nice place to browse around.

How do you build all of this by yourself?

The process of creating and building to me is equally fulfilling to fly fishing. Combining them just makes me very happy! And if you do something you love, everything becomes much easier. And the way I work is pretty simple: I don’t look at the huge mountain of work that is ahead, because otherwise I would probably never start. I just start building, and piece by piece everything comes together.

Where did the idea of the Boutique come from?

When I started being more active on Instagram with FlyFish Circle, I noticed that there are many fly tyers that make beautiful and unique flies. But I realized that you need to be lucky to stumble upon these flies. And for the fly tyers: many put ‘DM me for orders’ in their bio, which means they’re dependant on the Instagram algorithms for their content to reach fly fishers. And they have to handle marketing, international payments, order flow, and more.

The Boutique aims to solve the problems for both. For fly fishers, it’s a place to discover unique and well crafted flies, may of which you can not find anywhere else. For fly tyers, it’s a place where you have your own shop to sell your flies, with an audience of fly fishers coming to the website every day. All the marketing, payments, and order flows are taken care of for you.

Anything that you can tell us about your plans for the future?

I have so many! For FlyFish Circle, the focus is on expanding the content available. Country information, location information, but also articles in the Library are all

things I want to grow. For the Boutique there is a list of functionality on the fly tyer side that I’m working on, as well as functionality for fly fishers browsing the website. For instance, at some point it would be useful to ‘follow’ fly tyers so that you can get updates when there are new flies available.

The relationship between fly tyers and fly fishers is something that I actively want to develop, as this is something of value to both fly tyers and fly fishers, as well as something that is unique in the world of buying flies online. And last but not least: I’m always onboarding fly tyers so if you feel this is something for you, visit for-fly-tyers for more information.

The New Fish

Eat more fish, the doctors say. But is the salmon you are consuming really healthy? What happens when you create a new animal and place it in the sea? This book will tell you the answer.



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Get Involved

Get Involved

Join the fight to protect our oceans, lakes, and rivers, the pristine aquatic ecosystems across the globe and thei precious fish stocks.

Join the fight to protect our oceans, lakes, and rivers, the pristine aquatic ecosystems across the globe and thei precious fish stocks.

It’s an acutely important battle - and one that we simply cannot afford to lose!

It’s an acutely important battle - and one that we simply cannot afford to lose!


Nor th Atlantic Salmon Fund


Nor th Atlantic Salmon Fund

#intheloop We’ll keep you
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