THE EDDY LINE
Explore Big Sky
Dec. 13-26, 2013 53
The fly fisher’s holiday wish list BY PATRICK STRAUB EXPLORE BIG SKY FISHING COLUMNIST
The gift-giving season is upon us. Among Christmas strolls, tree cuttings, office holiday parties, occasional early season powder days, and a few hours on the stream, many of us spend time finding gifts for the important people in our lives. Here’s a little help for those who want to buy anglingcentric gifts, but know little about fly fishing and what will help us enjoy it even more. The gift of gear. With some due diligence, finding the gear your angler wants is easy, it just takes a little recon. Either ask friends in secret, or better yet, find a Montana’s Smith River is a world-class angling destination and the trip of a lifetime. PHOTO COURTESY OF GALLATIN RIVER GUIDES convenient time to visit a local fly shop together and pay attention. This can be hard even nearby ones such as Montana’s Smith River if you typically don’t visit fly shops as a team. If you don’t have the time for a recon mission, find canyon, see if you can make it happen. Fishing travel The excuse of a mutual “gift-finding mission for your angler’s gear stash. Make some notes – models is not cheap, but the memories last. My wife and I friends” is a good one. Once in the shop, observe of rods and reels, waders, boots, rain jackets, fly reminisce often about the first bonefishing trip we your angler. If he or she spends a good bit of time boxes, etc. – enough to get a rough idea of the items’ took together, and a photo of our sun-tanned toes in checking out a new wader model or the hot new conditions. Next, call your local fly shop for advice the foreground, the setting Bahamian sun behind, rod … hint, hint. on what to purchase as a gift. The more information hangs in our bedroom. On the day we took that about their current gear situation you can obtain, the easier it will be for the shop folks to assist you. Have a budget in mind, enjoy the purchase, and be ready to be Santa of the Year. Instruction and knowledge. Money spent on instruction is never misspent. Our area is home to dozens of fantastic guides and outfitters. Your angler will learn something new about our local waters and gain some valuable personal time with a guide or outfitter who can assist with his or her fishing. For anglers who live here but who don’t fish as much as they’d like, spending a day or two with a local guide gives them a resource down the road. Travel. One of my go-to Key West guides once told me – after he and I spent a fruitless day of pursuing permit – “At least the fish we pursue live in beautiful places.” That certainly rings true here in Big Sky, and we’re very fortunate to live in this beautiful place. But sometimes it’s nice to get out of town once in a while.
Instruction is a great gift to give. In the short term your angler will learn; in the long-term they may gain a friend and a valuable local angling resource. PHOTO COURTESY OF EAGLE EYE EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY
If the angler in your life peruses websites for far-off fly-fishing destinations, or
picture, we each caught 10-pound-plus bonefish and went to bed punch-drunk and giddy. Time to fish. As our lives become more hustled with jobs, kids and responsibilities, time simply may be the best gift of all. Any way you choose to do it – a gift certificate for a fishing weekend or a coupon book of “get out of the house to go fish” cards – acknowledging your angler and giving him or her time to fish is a perfect gift. Hopefully, gift giving is enjoyable and not burdensome. For the angler in your life, the challenge may lie in learning what he or she really needs or wants, as is the case in my house, where things usually unfold like this: “What do you want for Christmas this year?” my wife asks. “Nothing really,” I respond. “Just time with you and the family. I’ve got most everything I need.” But there are a few more things on my wish list in addition to family time, like a week in Mexico chasing tarpon out of Campeche, and a week pursuing steelhead in the coastal streams of southeast Alaska. After that the Seychelles to hunt Giant Trevally, with a jaunt to New Zealand to sight-fish trophy brown trout, rounding out the trip by adding a stopover in Chilean Patagonia where two-foot browns eat hoppers all day long on poorly presented drifts… Pat Straub is the author of six books, including The Frugal Fly Fisher, Montana On The Fly, and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Fly Fishing. He and his wife own Gallatin River Guides in Big Sky.
Published on Dec 13, 2013