103 Comments
Apr 7, 2021Liked by David Coggins

David - First, the podcast has been especially excellent the last few episodes. Thanks for continuing to put out such a good hour every week.

I was in Big Sky/Bozeman back in March and was blown away by the Western Cafe. Do you have favorite restaurants/bars/cafes to get the latest conditions, swap tales tell, and/or have a frosty beverage after a day on the water? Montana or otherwise...

Expand full comment
author

Thanks! The Western is the best. If I am coming out of the Park or the spring creeks in Paradise Valley I try to stop at the The Old Saloon. Pretty good spot!

Expand full comment
Apr 7, 2021Liked by David Coggins

The Old Saloon is a great spot. The newish Sage Lodge, just up the hill, has a pretty impressive view of Emigrant Peak for cocktails at sunset. We always try to get a good soak in at Chico Hot Springs which has somewhat surprisingly great food. Plenty of great stuff in a 2 mile radius there.

Expand full comment

As a man of rules, I was surprised to read your position on brown oxfords. As someone indoctrinated in the London City uniform of navy suit, black shoes, white shirt, I cannot contemplate any alternative. (BTW I love your conversations with Michael)

Expand full comment
author

Well that's the irony: The English make the best shoes but have the strangest shoe rules! I personally don't even wear black shoes. Brown suede year round. Or brown leather. If they must be worn I don't understand why they have to be worn with a blue suit. Only English bankers do this. Then the question is how badly do you want to look like an English banker?

Expand full comment
Apr 7, 2021Liked by David Coggins

Fair point! In fact, I was working for a bank in London at the time this rule became ingrained and so my business work uniform perspective may be more situational than universal.

Expand full comment

Jumping on this thread to get clarification: if I’m wearing grey and black tweed slacks, brown shoes work? What color socks? And socks are a must, I work in an office and I’m not as cool as you are!

Expand full comment
author

Yes, the work perfectly well. I would wear dark brown shoes. And dark brown or dark grey socks. If anybody gives you a hard time just tell them you're following the sartorial tradition of the Duke of Windsor. Even if you don't follow his politics.

Expand full comment

David, I pre-ordered the Optimist and eagerly await my copy.

A bit of a philosophical question today: As fly fishing seems to be having a surge in popularity these last couple of years, is it better for the sport to see as many new anglers as we can get, or should we be jealously guarding our passions?

Recently the hunting & fishing platform Meateater published a controversial opinion piece critical of the R3 movement (recruit, retain, reactivate) in the hunting world, which seeks to get as many hunters as possible participating in the sport on the premise that more participants equals more conservation funds and more access. The flip side, of course, is that more people using a resource can deplete that resource.

I've noticed that I have to drive much further into the Driftless from Minneapolis to beat the crowds these days, and many favorite spots are unfishable on the weekends. That being said, I will always take a friend who asks to learn, and more fly anglers mean more success for my favorite fly shops.

Expand full comment
author

Big question. I am for people fishing even if it messes with my equation sometimes (I just avoid popular rivers on Montana). More anglers mean more people who care about conservation and in the big picture who care about the environment. So I'm all for it. Even if it means we have to drive a little further to get where we want.

Expand full comment

David, any tips for fly fishing with a guide? How to avoid the awkwardness? Anything you've found to make it a good relationship?

Expand full comment
author

This is an important issue. I think the first thing you can do is be honest: Tell the guide how much you've fished before and what you are hoping your day will be like. Do you want to try to catch a fish on the surface (if that means fewer fish)? Is there a certain strategy you don't like (fishing with nymphs). I think you want to be realistic. Guides can help with all of that, that's their job and why they're good. I think you want to remember that the guide wants you to succeed. So they will do all they can to help you do that. Which is another way of saying: don't blame the guide! I also tell guides that I am happy for their suggestions and advice. I always try to learn something if I'm with a true expert. I think those are some ideas to keep in mind. It will be great!

Expand full comment
Apr 8, 2021Liked by David Coggins

There was a good Orvis podcast episode on this topic from a couple years back, with Orvis' COO Simon Perkins, who was a guide himself before joining the family business: https://news.orvis.com/fly-fishing/podcast-how-to-be-a-great-fly-fishing-client-with-simon-perkins

Expand full comment

What’s your strategy for dealing with rain and wind at the same time?

I don’t like hoods, but they keep the rain out and they won’t blow away in the wind like a big hat or an umbrella would (I have a toggle jacket that works well).

P.S. I preordered the book! I don’t know a damn thing about fishing, but I’d like to, and I love the outdoors so I’m looking forward to it.

Expand full comment
author

Thanks Paul! If we're talking about what to do while I'm fishing then I wear a baseball hat and hood. If it's in the city then a rain coat, close fitting hat and umbrella. Always a balancing act.

Expand full comment

Congratulations on your latest book! I'm the proud owner of a new Stetson Stratoliner hat. Now I'm wondering how best to travel with it on an airplane. Keeping it in my lap doesn't seem practical for very long, nor does stowing it away in the overhead bin. Any tips?

Expand full comment
author

I think there are two stages of hat ownership: When you are afraid what happens to it and then when you don't. At first I am careful (naturally) and put on top of my bag under the seat in front of me. Then at a certain point I stop paying attention.

Expand full comment
Apr 7, 2021Liked by David Coggins

Got it, thank you!

Expand full comment

Which cultural tribe do you foresee dominating fly fishing/the fly fishing industry 10 years from now? I.e. if the old Gilligan hat gent is on his way out, who fills that void? Will there be a trout bum/bro type crowd? Perhaps a more outdoors/hunting oriented crowd? - is FF style/fashion going to precede and lead the way?

Expand full comment
author

Well that's a good question. I think there will be different factions and that those factions will evolve as they age. But there will always be a sort of older gentleman, a younger surf/ski type, a serious outdoors hunter/angler (that you mention). I think some people who come to it because it's a fad will probably leave it. I think an interesting newer group are what might be called mindfulness anglers--people who really want to escape online life, who love to be outside, who might care about wellness. Many in this group are women. And it will be interesting to see how that evolves. I think that's a good sign.

Expand full comment
Apr 7, 2021Liked by David Coggins

love it - thank you. makes sense.

Expand full comment

Best resources to learn nuance in fly fishing for someone who didn’t grow up doing it. Pretty decent with the basics already. Thank you!

Expand full comment
author

Well, I would try to find a place where you can fish for two days. The first day with a guide and then the second day on your own. That way you can use what you learned, and the guide will give you suggestions about where to wade and how to fish. If you're really ready for the next level then you do two days with a guide, ideally one day floating, so you can really cover a lot of water. Guides are expensive, but I wish I had hired them when I was younger I could have advanced a lot more quickly. I also make sure the guide knows that I am comfortable being taught on the water, then he's more likely to show you a specific cast or mend or whatever. Good luck!

Expand full comment
Apr 7, 2021Liked by David Coggins

Thank you, have a great day!

Expand full comment

Hi David, I live in a pretty good fly fishing area in Western NC, I’m about 5 minutes away from the Tuckasegee river. I don’t fish near as much as I’d like to but each time I go out I always see people kitted out to the max... chest high waders in knee high water, wading pole, huge vests that have every conceivable tool and fly possible. I’m more interested in the less is more approach and I’m curious in your, “I’m only fishing for an afternoon” gear list. I know location and time of year would play a factor here, so let’s say it’s mid April, 3pm, and you have the rest of the day to yourself.

Expand full comment
author

Oh I am a minimalist when it comes to fishing. Definitely have fly boxes for every situation (nymphs, dries, large dries, etc.) but otherwise some tippet, a leader, nippers, fly dressing, and that's about it. Don't need much more than that. *Beer in vehicle.

Expand full comment
Apr 7, 2021Liked by David Coggins

I also keep a flask of bourbon in my fishing bag.

Expand full comment

David, would appreciate your thoughts on knit ties. I have several, many even from reputable brands seem to have, almost a crease, down the middle.

Is that common? How do you get ride of it? Do you?

Favorite colors for knit outside of the standard navy?

Expand full comment
author

The crease! Not much to do about it, I'm afraid (other than steam it). I think a little wear on a knit tie is fine, which is very different than a printed silk tie. I am all over variations of brown. And dark green and olive green. Working my way toward lighter caramel and cream, but haven't gotten into that space yet.

Expand full comment

When nymphing, if it’s something you choose to do, indicator or dry dropper? My eye sight isn’t great so I struggle with using a dry as a strike indicator- but using cork or a Thingamabobber feels wrong.

Expand full comment
author

If I'm nymphing I generally start with a dry-dropper. Usually a large fly that floats well. I am a big fan of the Chubbie Chernobyl (terrible name!) or a large Stimulator. Then if we're really going to get down and dirty with a double nymph rig then I'll use a little plastic bobber, unless the water is wildly clear and then I'll use yarn.

Expand full comment

Thanks! I’ve mostly been tying a nymph to my dry setup (a decent sized Caddis or whatever). I haven’t gotten into some of the foam drys but will try as I’m sure they’re easier to see.

Expand full comment
author

Foam is very good. A little gnarly but very good.

Expand full comment
Apr 7, 2021Liked by David Coggins

Hi. I suffer from the same issue regarding seeing the indicator, and find that foam hoppers work really well. Buying (or tying) a variety of ones that have different color sighting dots or wings really helps me as the sun shifts overhead and. Changes the way you perceive the water color. Also I often get as many hits on the hopper as the nymphs.

Expand full comment

Awesome. Thanks!

Expand full comment

It's a Friday evening in April and you are sitting in your apartment in Brooklyn watching tightlines YouTube videos and you are desperate to go trout fishing on Saturday (yes, even though it will be crowded everywhere). Where do you drive?

Expand full comment
author

Livingston Manor. Try the Willowemoc or the Neversink. Good luck and get up early!

Expand full comment

Very excited about the book. Especialy the audio version's afterward... Spent last year getting obsessed about fly fishing. Drove across the country listening to John Gierach audiobooks and the Orvis podcast and mostly not catching fish.

I like my 6wt set up. But what should be my next set up?

I am in Sonoma County, California and am planning trips up to the Shasta region, Yosemite, Tahoe, etc. Would like to get home to to upstate and fish there again. My gut says something a little smaller for the smaller creeks and brooks.

Thanks again for all the fun things to listen to (I do enjoy CD and read during the pandemic.

Expand full comment
author

Thanks Tim! I think definitely something smaller. Like a 8' or 8'6" 4wt. That is lighter, but not so light you can't use it on most streams. I think that's a really good rod to have.

Expand full comment

Heading to Whitefish, MT in July for a week. Will be camping and hiking in Glacier for 3 days, but any tips on places to bend a rod? Beginner fly fisherman here (by beginner I mean I took a two day course and practice casting occasionally), but I've been a spinfisherman my whole life

Expand full comment
author

Hi Matt, that sounds really fun. That's further north than I fish when I'm in Montana. I wish I'd been up there! I would look around for some cool fly shops in Missoula and see what they recommend. They will have the best sense of where to fish and what's going on with water levels and hatches. Will be great!

Expand full comment
Apr 7, 2021Liked by David Coggins

Give Lary's Flies in Columbia Falls about 15 mins from Whitefish a call . They can set you up with a float of the Flathead or point you to some places you can wade yourself.

Expand full comment

Any idea how to get a copy of The Optimist in Spain/Europe? I ordered my copy already but I want to gift one to my brother in Barcelona....no luck on Amazon.es. Thanks!

Expand full comment
author

Oh let's see. First of all: Thanks! I would get in touch with a bookstore and see if they'll ship it internationally. Also Amazon UK might do it. Appreciate it!

Expand full comment

I preordered my copy and cannot wait to read it. I really liked the unofficial commandments, especially the one about beer tasting better after catching a fish.

My question is to ask for your permission/blessing to quote you in our fly fishing club’s manifesto?

I’ve been tasked with writing it and would love to quote you. Once we get a New Amsterdam Fly Anglers hat made I’ll be sure to send you one!

Expand full comment
author

Of course. I'm flattered. Thank you!

Expand full comment