Stream spring fly-fishing: first-rate fun
by Brock Ray, the Interstate Sportsman, and Don Kirk
There is something about the arrival of the spring and an outdoorsman’s need to go fishing that escapes easy explanation. Springtime fishing is an almost involuntary body function that must be squelched in order for many people to keep a proper perspective on life in general, which is the key to being a healthy, safe professional driver. For the driver, no form of angling is better suited to their tight time budgeted lifestyle than fly-fishing. It is the quintessential, on the go, in-a-knapsack sportsman’s pastime.
Fly-fishing differs mainly from other types of angling such as bait casting and spinner-fishing in the way lures are presented. Nearly all other types of fishing tackle rely on the weight of the lure or bait being cast out to carry these thin threads of line that are connected to the rod and reel. With fly-fishing, the opposite is true. A much thicker, braided line called the “fly line” is used in a whip motion fashion to carry forth a single hook to which feathers, yarn and hair are attached by wraps of thread.
This need to “whip” around the heavy fly line is why fly rods are typically longer and thinner than other fishing rods. Generally, fly rods are usually 8 to 9.5-feet long and are much more flexible than spin and bait casting rods that are typically 5 to 6.5-feet long. Also, flies are generally quite flexible and willowy. Bass casting rods have considerably more “backbone” to make them stiff for setting hooks and casting power.
Modern fly rods are constructed of lightweight, space-age composites such as graphite and boron. They are engineered to allow even novice anglers to cast 20-yard distances with relative ease. Additionally, great advances in fly line construction have resulted in a diverse group of highly specialized lines. Depending on the density of construction of the fly line, fly rodders can fish everywhere from the surface film to 20-feet deep in everything from streams and rivers to lakes and salt water.
While fly-fishing at ponds, lakes and coastal areas continues to grow in popularity across the country, streams and rivers remain the top spring destinations. The most popular moving water quarries are trout and smallmouth bass. These highly sought game fish are rarely more active in moving water than in the spring, and they remain so well into mid-summer in most locales.
Rainbow, brown and brook trout can be found in moving water throughout the Northeast, Rocky Mountains states and much of the Midwest and Southeastern highlands. When pushing your rig over a mountain pass, be it in northern Georgia, Montana or New Hampshire, the odds are good that those splashing creeks that parallel the road are holding trout.
The lower reaches of waters where trout are found often hold smallmouth bass, a fish that likes cool water, but not so chilly as that required by rainbow, brown and brook trout. Great roadside, smallmouth bass fishing is available in those ambling waters you drive be- side in Wisconsin and those rough and tumble roadside flows throughout Kentucky.
Four things make spring and summer stream fly-fishing ideally suited for professional drivers. Tackle needs are simple and compact. A versatile, all-round four-piece fly rod and reel, fishing vest with a half-dozen boxes of flies and a set of thin chest waders and wading boots will fit neatly into a bag smaller than most people take to the gym.
When you are on the road, fly-fishing gear can be with you all of the time. Unfortunately, it is impossible to take along a bass boat and the necessary tackle when you are on the road. As if cost and portability weren’t enough to make fly-fishing the trucker’s best friend, access to an almost infinite amount of water is one of the perks of being an over-the-road driver.
Thousands of great trout and smallmouth bass fishing waters are crossed daily by millions of truckers. Unlike non-resident hunting licenses that can cost hundreds of dollars, non-resident fishing licenses for one to three days usually cost under $20. It can be a hassle getting one each time you stop, but Walmarts offer non-resident fishing licenses in their sporting good departments.
The last bonus which fly-fishing has going for it in regards to trucking is the exercise and mind mending time it provides in big doses. Standing knee-deep in a body of water like the Susquehanna River for a couple of hours casting Muddler Minnow streamers to smallmouth bass is great medicine for recovery from the Pennsylvania Turnpike-quitters.
Below are five items field-tested by the Interstate Sportsman:
Cabela’s Wind River 865-4 Fly Rod
Cabela’s Wind River 865-4 Fly Rod is perfect for those who want to use a top-quality, economical combo that’s ready to fish. All you have to do is tie on a fly and start casting. Versatile, these rods feature IM6 graphite blanks, aluminum real seat and a cocobolo wood insert. The four-piece breakdown feature makes the Wind River 865-4 perfect for stowing away when driving through fishing country.
Cabelas’s Three Forks Reel
Cabelas’s Three Forks Reel sports a large arbor design and has a high-density graphite construction that reduces weight, while maintaining strength. The Rulon disc drag has a large range of smooth braking power and the knurled drag knob makes drag adjustment easy.
Simms Fishing Rivershed Stockingfoot Waders
Simms Fishing’s new ultra-lightweight Rivershed GORE-TEX® waders are perfect for the on-the-go angling trucker. They feature three-layer GORE-TEX® Performance Shell fabric technology with five-layer front leg panel for additional durability. The design features articulated knees for more comfortable wear, and they convert into waist-high waders.
Simms Fishing 3XDRY Big Sky Shirt
Simms Fishing’s new 3XDRY Big Sky Shirt is a technical fishing shirt inspired by the classic western style of Bozeman, Montana. Its UPF 30 offers all-day sun protection, while the fabric features a special silver-based nanotechnology providing an effective anti-odor treatment that lasts the lifetime of the garment.
Native Eye Wear Bolt Sunglasses
Native Eye Wear’s new Bolt sunglasses are rugged enough for fishing action and stylish enough that you’ll never want to leave home without them. Bolts feature a Snap-Back interchangeable Lens System, Rhyno-Tuff Air Frames, Cam-Action Hinges, Mastoid Temple Grip and Anti-Ocular Intrusion System. Native Eye Wear’s polarized lens technology removes glare from sun-washed stream surfaces and the highway with equal ease.