We are doing a late winter, pre season sale on fly boxes here in the shop. If you’re looking for a smoking deal on a fantastic fly box, look no further. This is a buy one, get one free deal on select fly boxes only available online! Click here to view the boxes. There are some other great deals on fly boxes as well, so click around and check it. The Predator box from Tacky is available with free shipping, only available online!
The air was chilly and steam pushed out of my nose when I poked my head out of the sleeping bag. The last memory from the evening before was watching the fly tying scene in Dan Bailey’s fly shop from Rancho Deluxe on the canvas wall of our tent. Technology can be be a bitch, but projecting cult classics on the side of a wall tent forty miles from the pavement while chukar hunting is something to behold. Reaching down, I found my glasses lodged in my boots under the cot. They instantly fogged, the heat from the depths of my mummy bag had escaped. Our wood stove perished a few hours ago but the down filled bags kept us warm and the chilly air is not what woke me. I had to pee.
Slipping into my Crocs I walked outside for a few moments and took care of business. The sun was doing its best to peak down the canyon, but the walls were having none of it. After letting Stella out of her insulated kennel, we made our way back inside and she quickly crawled upon my cot and buried herself. Holden was deep in his bag, not to be seen and Willard, his three year old shorthair was balled up in blankets and semi dirty hunting garb beneath the his cot. Grabbing the axe I shaved off a few pieces of kindling and found a fist-full of dried out sage to start the fire. Peering into a rectangular metal box full of ash and burnt lodge pole I was reminded of just how important it was to unplug. The box was filled, lit and and as the fire began to crack I fanned the flames losing myself in the glow, warmth, crackle and flicker.
The day before, we were hiking in steep hill country full of stone buttresses, two mile vistas of creek bottoms dotted with juniper trees and stair stepping grasslands mixed with rocky reefs and pointing bird dogs. I had followed Stella out of sage brush flats and towards the rim. On more than one occasion, I watched a chukar, the masked bandits that they are, run the rocks and slip off the steep canyon walls at the rim top only to land 800 yards below me, flying like little fighter jets. An old friend once joked that chukar was an Afghanistan word for “rock runner”. Stella knew they were running circles around us hiding in the cliffs and rocky reefs. She pinned several birds and I was able to knock a few down, never shooting off the steep cliff walls. Years before, I had shot a flushing chukar and sent Huckleberry off the rim, down a rocky chute to the cheat grass some fifteen feet below me. Ten minutes later he appeared with a bird in tow, unscathed. I could have easy sent Huck to his death and vowed to never shoot another a bird off the rim. Chukar County is rough and desolate, wild as Claude Dallas and the Game Wardens who chased him down with sunsets that seem to last forever. This country is regarded as some of the most remote land in the lower forty-eight. We take extra precautions when traveling here; shovels, extra gas, tools, a mini floor jack, tow ropes, plenty of coffee, booze and cigarettes just in case things get dire. When it rains out here, you might spend an extra week, waiting for things dry out making the roads passable once again.
Stella had now made her way off the cot and was curled next to me basking in the warmth of the wood stove. Coffee and a smoke were in order; as luck would have it, we had a small kitchen a few feet to away. The stove heated our water and I pressed out some jet black fuel, mixed it with cream and honey and found my place next to Stella and the wood fired heater. The cast iron skillet, half full with bacon wrapped chukar balls filled with jalapeno peppers made its way back to the heat. Soon enough our little spot in the world smelled of coffee and pork fat, everything was right. Holden stirred and rolled his feet to the canvas floor. I handed him his coffee as he lit two smokes, handing one over. A rare cigarette for me, but coffee and a Camel is still hard to pass up in this setting. A few nights before we had erected a twelve by twelve wall tent equipped with a wood stove, pop-up kitchen with a three burner gas stove top, two cots and a bedside table deep in a place that will forever remain unnamed. We were in Chukar Camp, living out of Wally, as it was appropriately know by.
An hour and half later our boots were laced up and the light fog from the night before had lifted. We loaded the Germans in the Chevy and headed down the gravel road making our way towards to the top of the canyon. Sturgill played, one song after another, as we drank our coffee and bounced along without a word spoken. Sage brush and rolling hills of grass lie before us along with a walk through public land in one of the most pristine settings you could only imagine. Millions of years ago, this volcanic land had been shaped by heat and water, some 2000 miles below, Yellowstone’s hot spot had made its mark. We slung on our packs, grabbed our weapons and took off walking with two happy dogs to chase the red legged little devils. These are the days afield I look forward to the most. There’s no connectivity to the outside world, no light pollution in the sky from a near by city, just endless miles all around, unplugging to the beat of chukar camp one step at a time.
Editors note: We find ourselves not only fishing, but hunting, skiing, hiking and exploring the natural world. From time to time, we will write about our other exploits, we hope you enjoy it all. Many of you have met our bird dogs in the shop and often ask about them. They are not just tools of the trade, rather they are part of family and make us whole.
The 12 days of Christmas finishes up today! Stay tuned for more gear reviews this winter here on the Blog and a huge shout out to all those folks who participated thus far in our online fly shop, thank you very much.
The Simms Taco Bag is one of those simple pieces of gear that often gets over looked. Wader bags have been around for a really long time and once you’ve had one and used it, you’ll never leave home without it. While hosting and guiding in Patagonia, we move gear around from truck to boat, boat to truck and truck to lodge, that’s a lot of bags. Most of the rigs we roam around in are Toyota Hilux pickups with no topper; therefore having your waders and boots in one complete package is ideal, the plus side is that your waders don’t find their way out of the truck in that crazy Patagonian wind. You don’t have to travel to South America to see the benefits of the Simms Taco Bag, lots of our clients bring them to Montana on their fishing trips. Another upside to the taco bag is that your gear doesn’t get confused with your fishing buddy’s. We’ve all been on trips where everybody is rolling their Simms waders, boots and gore-tex jacket; a mix up is bound to happen. We love the fact that the Taco Bag doubles as a wader mat, protecting those neoprene feet from sharp rocks, making your investment in quality waders last a little longer. In the end, keeping your gear organized generally leads to catching more trout!
Check it out online.
The glass for the angler who can’t have glass. You know they guy, or gal, who just has that uncanny knack for dropping things. Why spill your beer and break the glass? You don’t have to any more! The only problem is that you’ll have a hard time getting this away from your kids or fishing buddy, therefore you’ll need to buy at least three of them. These make great gifts for the college kid, grade schooler or that fishy friend who knocked your glass to the ground way too many times.
Check them out in the online fly shop
Each year we get asked for streamer patterns that we personally like, flies we fish with and have success with. It’s no secret that Kelly Galloup’s flies work and their bin appeal is second to none. Kelly has spent a ton of time at the vise and at the river testing these patterns out, which is what every fly tyer should do before offering them to the public. A couple of winters ago I was down at the Slide Inn hanging out for little bit and watching KG tie. He was working on a new pattern and when he was done, we took our beers outside and he worked this fly through a pool. No shit, he smacked a fish on the first cast. Maybe it was because he was fishing the fly, maybe it was the fly itself. None the less, it was super cool to watch his process of tying and testing. We got excited when he finally came out with the mini versions of the Sex Dungeon and the Bangtails. These two patterns have fantastic profiles in the water, their articulation and movement in the water is life like, they push just the right amount of water and they cast super well compared to their larger cousins. A bonus of the mini versions is that the size of the fly pattern still triggers large trout to eat. In Yellowstone National Park, the law says that the lure must have only a single barbless hook. So our solution is to cut off one of the hooks. But…which one? Well, we debate this to no end here the shop and what we have come up with are two theories.
- When water temps are dropping or have been cold for quite some time (think mid October, November and most of the winter when swinging flies) we cut off the the front hook and leave the back hook. We like having the hook as far back as possible in cold water as fish tend to nip at the back of the fly and having the hook in the back will give you more successful hookups.
- Throughout the rest of the season (May, June, July, August and Sept), we cut off the back hook and leave the front as we believe when big fish are hunting in warmer water, they focus on the front of the fly and maybe even focus on the eye of the baitfish. We even go as far as oversizing the eye on our custom tied flies for South America.
Check it out on our online fly shop!
This selection Includes:
Free BSA Fly Box
8 x Mini Dungeons
4 x Mini Bangtails