Living a lifestyle that most folks just hope to enjoy a week or two each year is pretty sweet. We answer hundreds of emails and phone calls each winter from excited anglers planning adventures to our “back yard”. What’s the weather look like? Any hatches expected? Which rods should we bring? Will the water be clear? Huh? We are fishing guides not fortune tellers! “Just get here – it’ll be great.”. As hard as we try to avoid the trap of complacency, our proximity to the nation’s finest trout streams lends itself to tripping headlong into it.
When we decide to float a river or walk a bank planning typically happens the night before or more likely, an hour out. Travel consists of a short drive out of town or even walking out the back gate, Gearing up equates to throwing tackle in the boat from its home in the truck. There is little time to get excited about the prospect of going (we do still get psyched about the actual fishing as we are able to do less every year).
I write this while Terri pilots our rig across the Wyoming plains headed to Denver to see relatives and then on a plane to Belize for the holidays. Visions of tailing bonefish dancing in my head… I am that angler mentioned above.
BugsRodsReelsTippetGoProsLeaders…my kind of gear!
Do I have all the right flies – color, size, weight? We packed 9 rods/reels, 6wt-10wt, floating, sinking and intermediate lines, leaders for tarpon, permit, snook, bones and even cuda – feeling pretty good about the terminal tackle. Where in the hell is my Orvis order? New flats booties, coupla pairs of shorts and a Galeforce back and chest pack … Looks like our friends leaving later will have to bring ‘em for me. Scouring google earth produced some new flats and lagoons to explore, can’t wait to see what they hold! Will Hill be bartending at The Tackle Box Sea Bar? How many other anglers will we see? Are those local tarpon going to have lock jaw again? Is Dawson’s casting up the challenge? What will the weather be like?
This is great, this is exciting! No wonder we field so many questions, they are what transform a trip into adventure. I remember again the feeling of a youngster on Christmas Eve … Oh yea, I’ll be calf deep in turtle grass on Christmas Eve ; )
Senator John Tester with Simms' marketing director Diane Bristol
I grew up in a town of less than 4,000 in central Colorado – stunning scenery, good fishing and hunting, and 2 hrs away from the hustle of Denver. No complaints there, simply an amazing place for a kid like me. But now boasting a population of over 5,000,000 (yep that’s six zeros behind the 5!), I can’t explain how fortunate we are to live and raise our kids in Montana – population knocking on the door of 1 million. A difference of 4 million people not only makes Montana more desireable for those venturing to the rivers and forests, by definition a single voice is stronger in Montana. Couple that with the accessability of our elected officials and even a fishing outiftter can make an small impression on a national stage.
Last week Senator John Tester was in Bozeman for a few meetings and heard that Simms was putting on their annual guide event so he dropped in to shake a few hands, say a coupla words and listen to concerns of his constituents. This is the fourth time I have had the honor of speaking to Senator Tester face to face at various gatherings. Always impressing upon him the importance of clean clear rivers, healthy forests, and public accessibility to those resources to our businesses and families.
This kind of personal connection to our national representatives might happen in Colorado but I doubt it. Just one more reason that Montana is a great place to live. Thanks Senator Tester, for taking the time out of your busy schedule and hanging with some fly fishing guides. We appreciate it no matter which side of the aisle we fish.
Last known photo of John Herzer
For those of you not currently using the Facebooks, we thought we would pass along this photo from the Simms Ice Out guide event this weekend. But, before we get to that, you seem to be a savvy internet user. Why no Facebook? Are you worried about somebody stealing your identity? Let’s face it, you are sitting around reading a fishing blog. Nobody WANTS your identity. Come check us out and join the fun. We will be happy to loan you our identity. Fair warning- we are all in some pretty serious debt.
The General, Bobby Knight, was a featured speaker at the event. He has been guided all over the world and gave a speech from this perspective with his own unique style. In true Bobby Knight fashion, he appears ready to climb through the camera and murder us all. The Simms Ice Out included a tour of the Simms factory, guide olympics, product demonstrations, a few drinks, etc. John spent the last few days in Bozeman at the Ice Out and we await a report upon his return. We have already cleared a spot at the shop for the 1st place trophy from the guide olympics. You won, John, didn’t you?
I started fly fishing over 25 years ago in my boyfriends old neoprene waders – huge, leaky, bit smelly and from the second I put them on I couldn’t wait until I could take them off. Waders have certainly traveled an evolutionary path over the years – culminating in Simms $700.00 “state of the art” man wader with accommodating fly zipper. Now don’t get me wrong, but how about showing a little love toward the ladies wader?
Throughout my fly fishing years, I have experimented with and owned many different types of waders – neoprene boot foots (warm, but almost always too big and incredibly difficult to walk any distance in), neoprene stocking foots (one “word” – blecht!) , chest waders – both neoprene and Gore-Tex (always too big in either the feet or length or both)….I even tried “hippers” once - I know…..Right? Finally Simms produced waist waders – I LOVED these…the feet fit perfect and since I never waded up to my chest (really, who does that???) they were perfect. What’s not to love about a wader that fit like almost like my comfy jeans while making much easier to pee outside too (that’s a whole other post)? After a few years of wear, my “waisties” finally started leaking and I think my “waist” also might have expanded a bit (shame they don’t make ‘em with that “room to grow” system that are in my kid’s pants). I needed new ones, but Simms stopped making the damn things……Seriously?
In the approximately five years since the demise of my beloved waders I still haven’t really found a pair that I cherished like those. I have a new pair of Simms womens G-3 waders with only a few days on them so the jury is still out. I must express my disapointment that Simms again builds a “waistie” (the G-3 Guide Pant), but they don’t have a woman’s taper and unfortunately their sizing continues to match the increasing size of the average American male’s waist line. I just wait for the powers that be in the wader world to come up with a GREAT pair of women’s waders. Real fishing women don’t want them pink, or lavender - no need for frilly bows or fancy webbing details – just a nice pair that fit properly and keep me dry….oh, and maybe make it easier for us to pee in the woods? Just sayin…..