Gink & Gasonline: Giving Scott Some Love

Gink & Gasoline has praise for Scott Fly Rods – discussing the new Scott Tidal and the Bamboo SC rods in a video interview with Jim Bartschi, Scott Fly Rods President and their chief designer.

I’ve cast the Tidal on the lawn – very smooth and easy casting. I’m still considering adding an 8-weight for local salmon and that’s in the running with the Scott S4s. I’ll let you know what I decide.

You can hear the interview here.

Yvon Chouinard: Finding Perfection in Fly Fishing through Simplicity

Chouinard Tenkara

The latest issue of the Big Sky Journal has an interview with Yvon Chouinard. The focus on the interview is on Tenkara fishing and finding simplicity in fly-fishing.

Read any of what he’s written or said, and it always comes down to the guiding principle for Patagonia from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in Wind, Sand, and Stars, “In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.”

He has embraced that through his love of Tenkara fishing. As he says in the interview, “the more you know, the less you need.” Tenkara, if you’re not familiar with it, is an import from Japan that involves only a telescoping rod, a line, and a fly.

Beyond his love for Tenkara fishing, he had something interesting things to say on the rest of the fly-fishing industry: “Fly fishing has built itself into a corner,” he reflects. “There’s a dad with so much gear, the kid looks at it all and goes ‘forget it.’ The daughter looks at macho fly-fishing magazines and doesn’t want to do it. It’s a dying sport, dying so fast you can’t believe it.”

And later, “The industry survives by convincing consumers the only way to catch the fish of a lifetime is to buy more stuff. When did fishing become less about spending time outside, feeling the sun on our faces and the water swirling around our legs, and more about one-upping the guy downstream?”

Some might think that’s too cynical, but his insights have changed the face of the outdoor industry.

Not everyone can use Tenkara gear. Fishing in saltwater (either cold or fresh), chasing steelhead and salmon – regular fly fishing gear with reels and backing is mandatory. In fact, if you’ve seen Buccaneers and Bones on The Outdoor Channel, he’s using a bonefish-weight rod and reel like everyone else.

But principle is the same – take only what is mandatory; the rest is distraction.

You can read the interview here.

Steelhead: As Hatchery Fish Go Up, Wild Fish Go Down

I came across an article about a presentation last December by Dylan Tolmie, sponsored by Emerald Water Anglers, about the threat posed to wild steelhead by hatchery steelhead. Dylan Tolmie is an environmentalist, Patagonia sponsored athlete, and former guide, who lives north of here on Bainbridge Island.

There’s been a lot written about the threats to wild steelhead here in the Northwest. Given the magnitude of the problem, it’s nowhere near enough. Tolmie introduced his topic by saying, Are you guys ready to get pissed off? Because I’m pissed about this. The more I’ve found digging deeper and deeper, the more upset I get.” The specific incident that drove that question was the closure of the Nooksack River due to lack of hatchery steelhead eggs needed for production quotas.

As in everything, economic needs, e.g., “production quotas” drive everything.

To those who would ask why protecting hatchery steelhead poses a risk to wild steelhead, Dylan has the ready answer. A wild steelhead is an example of survival of the fittest – even those smolts making it from their spawning beds out to the ocean have gone through a natural selection process. Hatchery steelhead have not faced the same challenges, being raised in production facilities. The sheer numbers released means they out compete for food.

The hatchery system is paid for by taxes – taxes that could be used for better purposes; certainly better purposes than reducing fragile stocks of wild steelhead.

You can read the article here.