Fly fishing community

While the Internet may certainly be a used as a tool for endlessly bashing meaningless opining on ignorant and trite opinions into your grey matter, every now and again it is true that you may find a few “unplucked gems” out there. It is easy to find so much apathy, negativity and narcissism on the web and yet it is also still true that the internet is a great tool for building communities and sharing information.

I feel like the fly fishing community and its shared values are under attack from many fronts, with the people who want to exploit everything within it for money, those who refuse to understand what fly fishing can represent, and the very fish themselves that in many cases we are wondering if we will see wane into memory in the coming decades. I think we need to celebrate what we have while we still have it, and that we have more in common than we like to think.

If you like coastal sea run cutthroat or any number of other briny species and the pursuit of them with a fly rod, the saltwater section of Washington fly fishing forum is a largely positive forum on what is a typically wildly negative topic (anadromous fisheries), and let’s be honest right about now, negativity is something we’ve had just about enough of lately.

(The fly tying section is pretty good too)

If you like sea run cutthroat, take a look at one of the larger ones you will ever see…



Now as you may have heard we have been experiencing exceedingly high temperatures in conjunction with very little rainfall or snowpack this spring/summer on the west coast. Many rivers and some near shore estuaries are warm and in many cases will only increase in warmth over the summer and into the fall. Adult Summer steelhead, trout of various life histories, and summer returning salmon as well as fry and parr are very vulnerable in these conditions. Warm water and exhaustion kills salmonids, so please realise it hurts absolutely no one and nothing to leave those canyon bound island summers and Cowichan trout alone.

Undoubtedly our salmonids are resilient and have lived through what must be beyond countless droughts long before the Internet and self righteous bloggers such as myself, however there are many alternative and important activities to playing steelhead to death. Join a conservation group. Volunteer. Whack and stack some perch. Perch are a horrible invasive species that are very dumb and very tasty, and they live in many waters they have no business being in. The same is true of many bass and sunfish populations. Carp fight far better than any summer you’ll ever catch. Halibut are a strange, tasty and hard fighting fish and there is still low impact salmon fishing (wet wading pinks from the beach on the fly amongst others). Black rockfish and greenling from a kayak with a fly rod are a blast. Better yet go pull invasive plant species, God knows there’s enough ivy, broom, or blackberries out there along the stream sides of the world.

It’s the summer time, get out there.



Cheap and awesome

There are many things about the image of fly fishing that make it seem like some kind of yuppie, eurotrash ski chalet douchebag nightmare, but at the end of the day remember it is still just a way of going fishing.

Sages, CND’s, boo, longbellies, Meisers and Hardy’s are cool. So are Jw Youngs, Echos and Amundsons, flannel shirts from a secondhand store, lucky lager (or for my American friends PBR), cheapo wading boots, not fishing the Dean and Thompson rivers, $20 fiberglass single hand rods and medalist reels, sleeping in your car by the river, mac n cheese, whatever stinking “lucky” hat you insist on wearing, yer goreleak jacket that smells like cat piss cause you own satan cat but you still wont get rid of, Jamieson’s, mustads, pheasant instead of BEP, ostrich instead of rhea, waders that are more glue than wader, neoprene, whatever POS rust bucket that gets you to the river for 10 bucks on a paved road so you can park beside the guy with a brand new 4×4 Toyota tundra.

See the biggest fallacy about this sport is this implicit idea that you are lesser if your gear isn’t the right type or expensive. There are many in this sport who would advance this inaccuracy. Many people simply don’t have the money to buy thousand dollar spey rods and the like, it doesn’t make them a worse or less knowledgable angler if they have an Echo rod with a Lamson reel in their hands. That doesn’t mean that the top end gear isn’t good either, I would love to have a bunch of bamboo rods and classic reels, and an Olson is a masterpiece compared to a sage 1880. The ownership of fine tackle can enhance the experience for some, but not all. Of course I don’t think that many will debate that high end tackle performs better, but conversely it also takes perspective to understand and appreciate just how lucky we are and how much fun it is to even have a day on the water with a $20 fiberglass rod. People are also on different paths within the world of fly fishing, some seek enlightenment, while others seek thrills, or just a chance to unwind after a long work week. There is a lot more to skagit casting than it just being “so easy a caveman could do it”, disrespecting other fly fisherman advances or improves what exactly? As long as you respect your resource and other anglers there is no difference between tipping back Macallan on the banks of the Bulkley with your golf hat, top end Simms waders, Hardy perfect, long belly and a 1500 dollar spey rod as the dude with a greasy mustache swinging flies with a echo switch rod, skagit short, neoprene waders on some steep coastal river with an intruder.  They are both good, and especially more if you are having fun. I’m not just saying it, it’s true. We all love fishing, and we are also all basically the same so stop using gear as a way to create the perception that you are better than anyone else.

If you read this and at no time did you think “hey, I am special, I have a hardy perfect” then you may enjoy Hank Patterson’s brand of humour

Mystic 9’3 6 wt M series fly rod review

It is suprising to me that many people haven’t heard of Michigan based Mystic fly rods, as every one of their rods I have cast have been exceptional and have great value.

Antihype disclaimers

*Always try casting a rod before you buy it, with the lines you plan on using, because nothing is less indicative of a rods performance than wiggling it at the fly shop rod rack. You will end with a rod you want (whether a Mystic or not) not a rod that you thought was something but different when you are actually fishing it on a river or beach*

* This rod (and no other either…yeah I’m talking about you sage one) is not the second coming of fly rods, it will not make you cooler, disappear your paunch or halitosis, make you more interesting, nor can you name drop Mystic. This rod however is a fun to fish 6 weight fly rod with very good value for the money*

I have used this rod, side by side with my trout switches (including a really light Mystic 4 wt switch rod) for much of the year targeting sea run cutthroat, browns, rainbows, and even occasionally coho both in the salt and fresh water on Vancouver island. It is the best by far out of the bunch of 6 wts I have owned for what I use it for which is small to large streamer fishing for aggressive trout from 12-24 inches. The cork after about a year of straight up salt and freshwater abuse DSCF7209

It is a medium/fast action four piece fly rod with a nice cordura tube (built in inserts no sock) with an understated grey/black/silver pinstripe appearance. It has a very strong tip, now no one is going to call this rod a “lightsaber” or moon unit or any other stupid name, it’s a simple rod, which I like. It has good quality cork, a nice decorative reel seat, the best shaped handle I’ve ever used, quick recovery, alignment marks and a small fighting butt. Two quad leg titanium stripping guides and stainless steel snake guides and tip round it out. Listed at around $450 off of the website I would say the comparative value of this rod is significant. I have used this rod in the salt for a season and there isn’t any sign of corrosion or performance issues related. Of course I do rinse it after every trip. DSCF7201 This rod is a powerful medium fast rod better suited for streamers, however with a nice double taper line, some fairly delicate presentations are possible. However it is however a six weight, not a spring creek buggy whip


Recommended overhead lines: Snowbee XS XD 6 wt line (excellent for both roll casting and distance casting, handles mono and small polyleaders very well) matches the best of any line I have tried with it.

A 6 wt scientific anglers GPX, or Rio gold will cast just fine on this rod.

Recommended single hand spey casting lines:

Beulah elixir 245 gr. head a scandi head that touch and go casts small flies very well on this rod, less clunky than the snowbee, pairs well with mono or 7′ poly leaders.

Beulah tonic 300 gr. head (skagit) for single hand skagit, will turn over heavy poly leaders (10′ 5.6 ips and 10′ 7 ips) and smaller sections of T8, fun in tight brushy spaces. This line casts very well and accurately on this rod, which can mange distances of 80′ in tight spaces, an impressive pairing.

Snowbee 250 gr switch line (25 ft head) good all around line, it will cast large flies but is more clunky than the other lines mentioned, pairs well with 7-10’poly leaders

Other lines in the 250 to 300 grain range should cast well on this rod, such as the 240 or 270 airflo compact scandi, or any of the light skagits from rio or airflo, my favorite lines are the beulah and snowbee’s.

What it’s good for: Trout between 14″-25″, can distance cast well, light saltwater use for sea run cutthroat and coho jacks, windy conditions, single hand spey casting, stripping flies, overall a forgiving and easy to cast, versatile trout rod.


I wouldn’t recommend: Larger coho and other salmon, summer steelhead, while it could handle smaller specimens no problem, I think a ten pound coho or summer would have it’s way with this rod.

As far as I know the only shop that carries them here on the island is the Nile Creek Fly Shop up in Bowser, but many shops carry them in the east. If you are looking for a new rod, check them out and give them a try, I highly recommend them.