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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Selling Flies?

Can you make money in fly-eat-fly world?

Low Fat Minnow - Perch Flavor


Here is a question that I want you to keep in mind as you read this, and I ask you all because I have heard this debate a million times.

Can you make money selling flies?

Uncle Ken's famed Fatty Longtail
The answer is yes and no depending on how you look at it...  The idea for this article came because I just got a bunch of spam comments in our Instagram feed from an account that was offering "top quality" "hand-tied" (that one always gets me) flies.  It wasn't even the Kenyans this time!!!  I always click on the profile link to see what kind of "top quality" we are working with here.  Well, their version of quality was certainly their own opinion, and the flies looked like they had been lashed together Uncle-Ken style with Mee-Maw's sewin' thread.  That's all fine and good, and I appreciate his fervor for being fly tying entrepreneur, but he probably won't sell many flies.  

I started selling flies about 12 or 13 years ago, and I would let them go for $.75 each to an end
"Yes, I'd like 4 dozen muddlers for $36.."
customer, and I'd sell them much cheaper than that to the local Orvis shop that would cycle through some of my favorite stillwater patterns.  I could replenish my supply of hooks and hackle enough to keep the hobby going strong so it was kind of a way to keep the fishing funds separate from the mortgage/family funds.  It got to the point where I was starting to get overwhelmed with orders so I thought I'd be bold enough to raise my prices to $1 per fly.  Long story short, I realized that I was going to set my prices at the point where it was worth it for me to sit down and tie and my prices have gradually gone up as I have gotten more busy.  The most I have sold a single fly for was $27, and it was worth every penny for both me and the customer.  As a custom fly tyer, it's important to realize that you shouldn't be trying to compete directly with a shop, and your prices should be based on your own personal factors.

Lunch Ladies - Not cheap to tie or buy
Last year I was sitting at a fly tying expo, and I was putting the finishing touches on a Lunch Lady streamer pattern when a young guy offered to buy the fly from me.  He knew that I was tying it as part of an order that I was filling so he at least offered to buy it from me instead of just walking off with it... I told him that the fly was $10, and he said "Uhhh, no - I only need one of them."  When I told him that the fly was $10 each, he was completely blown away and almost wanted to argue with me.  He said "Well what makes that fly so expensive??"  Luckily I didn't have to respond because the other guys at the table kindly "educated" him.  Another customer who was communicating through email was somewhat baffled by a quote that priced some specialty nymphs at $3.25 each.  He asked "So how am I supposed to save any money by buying flies from you?"  I was probably too diplomatic in my reply.  Custom tyers aren't there to save you any money or to provide a discount.  They are there to give you a custom, durable, and tested fly that most likely can't be found anywhere else.  Buying custom flies is kind of walking into a car dealership and asking for the decked out Escalade with custom interior, audio video equipment, rims, etc. -  yet expecting to pay the same price as a Kia Santa Fe.  Hey a car is a car right?  I'm typing this out right now because I have had to explain this on more than one occasion (As you read above). A fly is a fly right?  Say this to Brent Dawson and then hold the phone away from your ear whilst in-taking a steady voluminous stream of profanity...  (You know we love you Warpath)  Guys like Brent Dawson of Warpath Flys, Nick Davis of 239 flies, Pat Cohen of R U Sperfly, Rich Strolis, and Mike Schmidt of Angler's Choice Flies are guys who can offer these Escalades through years of tying experience and research.  Their experience and research 100% warrants the price they reflect because these guys are the top of the line tyers in our industry. 
*I undoubtedly left off a lot of great tyers from this list...  Please reprimand and correct me in the comments below.  

So now that I have derailed - let me get back to the question at hand.  Can you make money tying flies?  Yes!  if you go about it the right way.  There is a reason why these custom guys burn up hours on the vise, and it's not for that "feel good feeling" that they get from other guys catching fish on their bugs.  It's because they can make money.  I have heard lots of guys talk about how hard it is to make any money tying flies, and that the best you can expect to make per hour tying is between $5 and $6.  Sure, if you are tying Prince Nymphs and Pheasant Tails for you local shop for $9 per dozen.  If you are serious about making fly tying a reliable source of income it really pays to find a network of customers that you can sell to directly, or a shop that will pay you what your flies are worth because they have customers who will pay an appropriate markup in price.  Whether through social media, a website, or flyers on telephone poles, you need to have a network of people who will buy your flies.
#32 Bunny Midge in Abe's nose
 The other kicker is that you have to give them a reason to buy from you and not the local shop or another tyer.  Again, the Prince Nymphs and Pheasant Tails probably won't get you very far in this arena.  You need to sell your own special sauce that they can only get from you.  When I first started selling flies, everyone knew that I tied proportionate midge dry flies down to #32.  I tied those things until my fingers bled, and that was really the first time I started thinking outside the box.  While it wasn't the most complicated fly to tie, no shops sold them and fish ate them like crazy.  Win for me.  The mighty Bunny Midge opened the door for all the whacked out stuff that you see me sell today.

Another critical part of selling flies is to have a goal in mind.  Why do you want to sell flies?  Is it to pay for gear? Is it to pay your mortgage? Is it for the satisfaction of other people using your flies?  What non-tyers sometimes don't realize is that tying flies for hours and hours is very draining!  Rewarding and fun, but it takes the wind right out you so, in my opinion, there better be a significant reward at the end of it.  I think I have fallen into each of the above categories at one time or another, but having a goal really helps me be motivated to tie, and it also helps me set my prices accordingly.  

Grumpy Frumpy - Fish and bin appeal
Quality is king.  Back to the ads on my Instagram account that pitched poorly tied flies.  I hear guys say all the time "but they catch fish."  Well... lots of flies catch fish.  Remember that you have to give the end user a reason to buy from you and not from a shop.  If your Wooly Buggers are tied with the hackle backward, and a trimmed tail - sure they will catch fish, but they probably wont catch fishermen.  There I said it.  Your flies need to put an awful beat down upon any fish that dares show his face in the presence of your fly, BUT, it also needs to have "bin appeal." Yes, bin appeal is what catches fishermen, and in other words, that is what makes them buy your fly instead of others.  Tying a nice looking, well proportioned fly usually also means that the fly is well tied and won't unravel after a few casts.  So yes.  Tie good looking flies.  As Charlie Craven said once when I was watching him give a presentation, "If it were only about catching fish, why not just throw wads of cheese," or something to that effect.

Another way to monetize your tying is to work with a fly manufacturer who will mass produce and copyright your flies and pay you a royalty.  This really won't make you independently wealthy, but the more patterns you can get in with a company, the better your chances of making more serious money.  This usually involves sending samples to the manufacturer and hoping that your stuff is unique enough to make it through the selection process.  Then, depending on how much following your pattern has, it takes a while for your fly to gather traction.  It's kind of cool see your flies being sold across the country, but it's even better to get a check for work that you did literally 10 years ago - even if its not ever going to get you to retirement status.

The main point that I wanted to get across with this post is that you absolutely can make money selling flies, and it's something that you should at least try out if you have been pondering what it would be like.  Don't listen to the naysayers that tell you that you will only ever make $5 per hour and that the IRS will come haunt you in your sleep because you didn't have your taxes set up correctly.  Chances are, if you try it for a while, you will quickly realize if it's worth the time and effort to slave your life away at the vise to make a couple bucks.  If anything, you will have a better appreciation for the prices that custom fly tyers demand.

~ Cheech


Monday, January 26, 2015

Hooks - A Video Review

It's all about that point boss

The Allen J100BL on the "Snorkel Stone"

Some of the most common questions we get are about hooks and why we choose one over another.  Also, there are a lot of questions about the Allen hooks that we use quite often, specifically about how the quality is.  We decided it would be best to do a video review to explain it all...





Thursday, January 22, 2015

If Flies Were Football Players

Starting Lineup




I'm a huge fan of Football, and Curtis and I always talk about our flies as "starters" vs. "JV players."  Now that that football season is coming to a close, we can go back and reflect how the season played out and how our teams need to adjust to be better next year.  I'm a Raider's fan so I'm pretty much hosed any way I look at it.  BUT... If flies were football players, which ones would be your starters?

Here's my list

Offense:

Grumpy Frumpy
QB:  Grumpy Frumpy - (tutorial here) It's a flashy fly that is the highlight on my box, and most of the attention goes to it when I show my box to someone.  It by far is the most developed pattern I have, and a lot of effort went into getting it where it is.  I can also imagine it taking control of a box and bossing everyone around.

RB: Bling Leech - (tutorial here) The name of the game for this fly is to have more bling and flash than the rest of the flies in your box... and the element of being a very effective fish slayer - enough to piss off ninjas everywhere.  This is a quick tie with maximum flash that will bring fish out of the depths to try to stop it in it's tracks.  Just don't ask it to talk to the media - it's "all about that action boss."

WR:  Aero Baetis and Chimera - (tutorials aero, chimera) The sleek and fast Aero Baetis is my #1 reciever because there is
Brookie and Chimera
nothing about this fly that says "slow" and the fish come out and slam it because it will be gone in an instant.  My slot receiver is that damn Chimera that Curtis is so deadly with.  This fly really shouldn't work due to it not really looking like any food source, but it is effective over and over again, and it pisses me right off... Just like Wes Welker.  I hate you Wes Welker.

TE:  Masked Marauder - (tutorial here) This dude is a piece of art, but still big and tough enough to punch a big ol' brown trout in the mouth.  It has enough finesse to work on picky slack water fish, and enough brute strength to piss off a bank feeder waiting for something meaty.  I can't guarantee that this Tight End won't go to a night club, take off his shirt, and act like a total D-bag...

Petite Sirloin Stonefly
OL: Petite Sirloin Stonefly and Blingnobyl Ant - (tutorials petite, blingonbyl) These stoneflies are much bigger and fatter than they ought to be, but they are vital weapons for making sure that every fish in the stretch gets caught.  The Left Tackle is actually the Blingnobyl Ant because it's more effective than the Petite Sirloin and it knows it.  Kind of a diva... A very large, overpaid diva.

FB: Bead Head Hare's Ear - (kicked up tutorial here) This fly has no frills, no fancy legs, glitter, or epoxy.  This fly has paved the way for many other nymphs, and it can plain punch a fish right in it's fat face.  When the Hare's Ear comes in to the game, you know it's good for at least a couple fish.

Defense:

Alpha Predator
DE: Alpha Predator - (tutorial here) This fly is larger in size than your run-of-the-mill baitfish pattern, and can be tied to hunt down and punish everything from slow moving dumb fish to the fastest fish in saltwater.  It will chase them all down and put a serious sized piercing in their lips.  Big, check.  Fast, check.  These are the freaks of the bench.

DT: Lunch Lady - (tutorial here) The Lunch Lady never was a kind creature.  This bug is chunky in the front, chunky in the back, and has the disposition of a hungry grizzly bear right after hibernation.  The last fish I caught with it got stomped on with both hooks so I had to suspend it for two trips.

Cutthroat that KILLED a Sick-ada
LB: Sick-ada - (tutorial here) This bug has the agility to fly through the air and float on top of the water, but it still maintains it's solid construction to make a heavy meal for a hungry trout.  This bug has extra layers of armor and beady eyes that make it look evil, so it enjoys pain and causing pain to others.

SS: Mailman Green Drake - (tutorial here) This one does a good job of surveying the river to make sure that each fish in the run has paid the price.  It will either cover ground, or make the fish cover ground to come eat it.  What's that fish?  You want to get punched in the face?  Much obliged.

FS: Low Fat Minnow - (tutorial here) Now the Low Fat Minnow isn't quite on the scale of meanness as the Alpha Predator or the Mailman, but it cleans up any of the fish that the first two couldn't stop.  The Low Fat Minnow is a sleek chunk of protein that covers water very quickly and effectively.  As one of the most effective flies in the universe (except for maybe parts of Mars,) this is the bug that you need playing rover for you.

CB: Ninja Pupa - (tutorial here) This one is a complicated creature that can be a bit hard to understand.  As  full
Ninja Pupa
fledged ninja, it can sneak up on any fish and pick em' off right in their own house...  The issue I have had with this fly is that it has emotional outbursts at the end of fishing season, but it always backs it up the next year.

Special Teams:

P: Griffith's Gnat - (article here) You know this bug.  EVERY single fly rotation has to have one because if all of your other stuff doesn't work you know that your GG has a slim chance to get you back into the game.  It's not the most durable fly in the world, but it's probably worth having in your box.

Bonneville Cutthroat with an appetite for Fripples
K: Fripple - (tutorial here) This fly looks out of place in a fly box full of other nice and well proportioned flies, but it definitely has it's place.  It's pretty delicate and might not be able to take the beatings the other flies can, but it secretly leads the whole box in scoring.  It's dead effective and you can't leave home without a few.

Long Snapper: Wooly Worm -  This bug is basically just a glorified Griffith's Gnat that is a little bit tougher.  It's usually just sitting the sidelines for show, but can come in handy at certain times during the trip.

Returner: Foamerger - (tutorial here) This fly is the fastest tie that we have on the bench, and you can do a dozen of them in record time.  If things line up just right, it is also a bona fide assassin on the river.  This unsuspecting fly in a small package can put fish on the board in a hurry.

Please comment if you have any flies that you would like us to consider for a starting spot.

~Cheech

Monday, January 19, 2015

Saltwater Gurgler

Topwater fish magnets




If you are a topwater fan you should pay attention to the simple gurgler patterns that are so popular with saltwater anglers.  I have dabbled with Gartside Gurglers and other variations of mice tied in "gurgler" style, but it wasn't until I started seeing the awesome patterns out there that I really focused more time on them.  If you are on Instagram do yourself a favor and go follow Nick Davis with @239flies.  His flies are some of the cleanest and most innovative flies I have seen for a while, and they can be modified for application for multiple species.  This gurgler is tied "gangster" style, and no doubt I got a lot of inspiration from Nick on this tie.  One of the key components that I use on this is Maradub dubbing for the body of the fly.  This dubbing is a great way to create just the right amount of bulk, yet leave lots of squiggly squirmies (marabou) coming out of it.  

The cool thing about gurglers is that they have a very distinct action in the water, and they can be tied in thousands of color combos and configurations.  Some of the gurglers I have been playing with are:

White/Blue

Hook: Daiichi 2546 #4-2/0 BUY HERE
Thread: MFC Premium 3/0 - White BUY HERE
Tail: Extra select craft fur - Kingfisher blue/white BUY HERE
Body1: Palmer chenille - Pearl BUY HERE
Body2: Schlappen - White BUY HERE
Body3: Salty snack dubbing - white BUY HERE
(alternate for Body3: Maradub - Polar bear) BUY HERE
Foam: Two-tone fly tying foam - White/blue BUY HERE
Head: Bruiser blend dubbing - Sky blue BUY HERE




Tan/Orange

Hook: Daiichi 2546 #4-2/0 BUY HERE
Thread: MFC Premium 3/0 - Light brown BUY HERE
Tail: Extra select craft fur - Tan/orange BUY HERE
Body1: Palmer chenille - Root beer BUY HERE
Body2: Schlappen - Tan or Fiery Brown BUY HERE
Body3: Salty snack dubbing - Tan BUY HERE
(alternate for Body3: Maradub - Tan) BUY HERE
Foam: Two-tone fly tying foam - Tan/orange BUY HERE
Head: Bruiser blend dubbing - Tan BUY HERE


Tie some up, and make sure you modify some for our freshwater friends too.

~ Cheech



Recipe for the fly in the video:

Tan/Pink

Hook: Daiichi 2546 #1/0 BUY HERE
Thread: MFC Premium 3/0 - Pink BUY HERE
Tail: Arctic fox tail hair - Tan BUY HERE
Hot Spot (spawn sack) - Cactus chenille - Hot orange BUY HERE
Eyes: Epoxy mono crab eyes - Tan BUY HERE
Body1: Palmer chenille - Pink BUY HERE
Body2: India hen cape - White BUY HERE
Body3: Maradub - Bonefish betty BUY HERE
Foam: Two-tone fly tying foam - Tan/pink BUY HERE
Head: Ice dub - UV tan BUY HERE


Thursday, January 15, 2015

5 Steps to Fly Box Organization Zen

Get Your Stuff Together!


Chironomids ready for action
I have a sickness. Up until two or three years ago, I would meticulously and, for the most part, needlessly re-organize my fly boxes and spend time filling the holes in the boxes so that, come spring, I'd be ready to roll with all parking spots filled, organized by types, colors, sizes, species and locations. If I had a row that had open spots, I'd tie to fill it. Can't have a box with open spots, as we all know. OCD, much? Uh..yeah.

When I ended up realizing my need to organize wasn't properly balanced with a need to purge my boxes, I came to the stark reality that carrying around 30 boxes wasn't very practical.

Then, as I wrote about here, I decided it was time to pare down the "varsity team" flies and stick with patterns I was actually using. That little article has some good information on how to successfully make the purge, however the focus here will be ways to effectively organize those flies once you've gotten control of them.

So like I said, I was a serial re-organizer. As I did this for years and years, I came up with some things I would consider and that ended up working for me. Everyone will be different, but here are the top 5 things I'd recommend you focus on:

Dry fly "hatch" box
1. Group by Fly Types - not insect or baitfish species. Out of all the methods to organize flies, I think the most useful is to think about your boxes first by fly types instead of just insect or baitfish species as is often a common practice. This helps in a few ways. First, it helps you pick the best type of box for the situation. You might find dry flies fit into a better box than your nymphs or your streamers need a different box than your buggers. The biggest advantage is that you'll be forced to cut down on the number of patterns per pattern type but be able to cover more bases with fewer boxes focusing on the most effective patterns. When I had a Baetis, PMD, Caddis and Midge box separately, I had more styles of patterns than I needed because I'd fill them all up. Then, I'd ultimately find a day when I saw a caddis hatch and only had my midge box. Now, I have a nymph box for hatches and a dry fly box for hatches -- they both include a limited number of pattern types to cover species, color, size etc. If I'm on a river or a lake and there's any insect activity, I'll be covered with only two boxes, as opposed to 4 or 5. Sure, I have to cull the herd every now and again, but those flies are the varsity team for sure.
Stillwater Nymphs

2. Group by Water Type. This is related to the previous item, but more specifically, you can further break down the organization by fly types and then into where you'll be fishing those flies. You might have nymph patterns for rivers and then nymphs for stillwater. Or you might have surf baitfish patterns vs flats baitfish patterns. That doesn't mean you need separate boxes, but if you're going to spend a day out on the lake, you might not need your Baetis nymphs, but you'll need some damsel or callibaetis nymphs. When I organize it by water type, I can make that call on what boxes to bring depending on where I'm going to fish that day.

3. Label Your Boxes. Definitely not a novel concept, but besides sticking some labels on your boxes or writing on them with a sharpie for quick identification, you can also tack on your name and phone number in case they get lost.

4. Spend the time to organize and fill. Regardless of how you organize the boxes, you need to plan and spend time actually organizing and re-filling them. For me, this usually happens during the cold days of winter. Either way, you can make "to tie" lists and set aside the time to tie and to organize the boxes or it won't get done. On the back end, it's also a good idea to note down, while on the water, any holes you have in your boxes. I had a day where my yellow sally patterns weren't quite cutting it, so the next year, I came prepared with a new section of new flies in the box for those specifically.

5. Create "Overflow" boxes. If you're like me, you still have trouble narrowing down patterns to fit in your go-to boxes. In order to satisfy my fear that I'll be on the water and not have the right fly, I'll carry a few over-flow boxes that contain extra varsity patterns as well as more of the one-off patterns that I tie just in case. I don't usually carry these on the water with me but rather keep them in the car or a bag in the tent etc. Worst case scenario, I at least have them available should I run out or need something I don't have. Truth is I rarely use these boxes but it's nice to have them just in case.

And I'm sure next year, my approach could be different, but I must admit this methodology has held really firm for the past five or so years, so maybe I've settled down going forward. In any case, find what works for you and hopefully these suggestions will come in handy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Murica Merkin

Made in 'Murica

Murica Merkin


Alright.  Living in Utah doesn't provide much opportunity to fish for saltwater species, but my vise sure has an appetite for stainless hooks...  Merkins and toads have become a very entertaining style of fly to tie, but the technique was frustrating at first because I kept binding down the clumps of material together.  I also realized that this style of body can be tied out of a variety of materials to get some really cool effects, and I have successfully tied them with EP fibers, congo hair, bruiser blend, and our new salty snack dubbing.  In this video, you will see a very cool technique that helps keep the bundles out of the way while tying other bundles and legs into the fly.  You'll have to watch it to see.  The other tidbit on the video that you will find useful is how to separate and color the claws.  It's a very easy process if you use Loon clear UV resin.

We posted this color combo merkin on our Instagram feed, and one of the comments was simply "Murica."  That's where the name comes from.

Recipe:
Hook: Daiichi 2546 #2 BUY HERE
Thread: UTC 140 - tan BUY HERE
Eyes: Bead chain eyes - large black BUY HERE
Body1: Palmer chenille - root beer BUY HERE
Body2: Salty snack dubbing - crab tan BUY HERE
Legs: Round rubber - tan BUY HERE
Weed guard: 25lb. mono
Coating: Loon UV clear fly finish - flow BUY HERE

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Brothers Hike of 2004

Meet the Schaefermeyers


Curtis and I camp in style.  It wasn't always this way.


Here is a little gem that I posted on an old blog that I used to keep.  This trip is still talked about at family dinners and get-togethers all the time.  Sorry for the grainy pics on this one...  I was running solo with a Nikon Coolpix 3.2 MP camera.

~Cheech


The crew with dinner
The famous “Brothers Hike” of 2004 was set, and through research, my father in law and his wild bunch of brothers remembered a place up in the hills that would make a great base camp with close fishing opportunities.  Last year we decided to go explore the Timothy Lakes because everything looks good when you are just looking a squiggly contour lines on a topo map.  The most important things I learned that trip were that the maps we had used 40' countour intervals, and that there were a lot of lines that were really close together. We didn’t want to go back to the Timothy lakes because we found out that the destination was really 10 miles as the CROW flies… That’s the last time we let uncle Robin play with the GPS. 14 miles later I found myself too tired to fish for the first time in the history of sliced bread.


The Brother’s Hike is an event in which the crazy Schaefermeyer family delves deep into the woods for a few days to remember the good ol' days of gallivanting
Uncle Mike and his Zebco 33
through the Uinta mountains. It’s a great group to spend a few days in the backcountry with, and there is usually an inappropriate story told by Uncle Neal around a campfire big enough to heat a small skyscraper. There are 6 crazy brothers who used to do this all the time back when they weren’t so… well, OLD. The eldest brother happens to be my father in law - the one who first stuck a fly rod in my hands.

Now that I have FULLY explained that, The 2004 trip was all planned out, and I was along for the ride.  My father in law had a 2WD Ford Ranger that had the ground clearance of a Yugo.  I know this because the trail coming into the meadow where we set up camp was full of oil pan rattling boulders and sink holes of mud that were not Yugo friendly.  We got a late start that day, I ended up walking in front of the pickup at 11:30 at night feeling around for oil pan eaters.  Long story short, we ended up sleeping in the back of the truck halfway down the trail that night until reinforcements arrived the next morning. The camp took place close to where I grew up on a chain of lakes that we will call lake X, Y, and Z. I usually don’t have any problem listing names, but these are true gems that held HUGE fish. Not just huge fish, but huge
4WD is a MUST
BROOK TROUT. You will have better luck getting me to wear a pink dress fishing than getting the names of these lakes.  The best part about this trip is that we had no idea how big the fish really were because none of them had fished it for over 20 years.  We were expecting the normal run-of-the-mill 6 to 10 inch brookies that make excellent camp table fare.

The grueling hike up to the water from the base camp tested my ever fit and trim 6’5” 250 pound frame because it was straight up the side of a mountain with no trail, but an abundance of Volkswagen sized slide rock and downed timber.  What a great day to hike up it in shorts and Tevas. I came around the final corner wanting to sit on a rock, eat some jerky, and pound a Mt. Dew and I heard Uncle Greg yelling to see if I had a net. I thought, “why in the world would you need a net for 6” fish?” I looked and saw a MONSTER! Big brooks! I strung my rod as fast as I could and proceeded to get skunked for the next hour as I flogged the water, casting for distance, changing flies... etc. Then logic hit and told me to start fishing them like smallies.  I really like chasing smallmouth bass, and I think that brookies and smallies have kind of a similar "hide in the rocks and ambush" mindset.  The whole lake was lined with boulders, so a few parallel-to-the-shore casts later, I saw my first red flash. It was BIG. 19.5” is what my
I ate this sucker
tape told me. The fly-o-day happened to be a plain jane brown conehead bugger.  The fishing wasn't fast and furious by all means, so we moved from lake to lake trying to find a pattern that was consistent.  One lake shined above the rest, and that's where I spent most of my time chasing smallies but landing brookies. My father in law caught a fish that was just .25" smaller than mine, and I was sure to let him know that. Of course, I was the one driving the measuring device...

I’m usually a C&R fisherman, but this was the Brother’s Hike for Pete’s sake. We’re eatin’ fish (which explains the fingers in the gills and the pic of trout on a stringer).  These trips create memories that will never be forgotten, and over the years we have reminisced many times about the surprise of big fish, the stories around the campfire, Bill Jr. disturbing the ecosystem and our eyes by trying to bathe in the crik, and me escorting a Yugo pickup through enemy territory.  These are the trips will forever be in my memory, and are a vital part of the fishing journey for me.

~ Cheech