And The Winner Is…

Ken Tanaka!

Ken pulled out a come-from-behind victory in the voting for our 2nd annual Sweetwater Fly Shop short fly fishing video contest. Ken takes home the grand prize, a Sage 4200 series reel. Check out his prize-winning video:

Our other finalists, Kevin Inui and AJ Scaff, both submitted great videos (as did all of our contest entrants) and both won over a healthy number of voters. There could be only one grand prize winner, but Kevin and AJ will not go home empty handed. We’re still working out the details on the runner-up prizes, but we can say this. Kevin, you’ll have something nice to donate to Beyond Pink. And AJ, you’ll have a reel to give to your son.

Thanks to everyone who entered videos, attended our viewing party, and voted for our finalists. It’s been a whole lot of fun again this year! Start filming for next year!


You Decide – A Video “Shootout”

As we recently announced, we had a 3-way tie for first in the viewing party voting for the winner of our 2nd annual Sweetwater Fly Shop short fly fishing video contest. How to break the tie? We’ve decided to let you, the viewing public, help us make the determination.

Vote for your favorite video by leaving a comment on this blog or on our Facebook page. And please let your friends and family know about the contest. The more votes we get in, the better! We’ll give you a week to get your votes in, until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 23.

By the way, we have only one grand prize to give away, but we’ll be sure to rustle up some schwag for the runners-up. And a little something for each of our worthy entrants (please do take a look at the other entries; all of our entrants put a lot of hard work into their videos and they’re all worth a viewing).

Here are our 3 finalists, in no particular order:

From AJ Scaff:

From Kevin Inui:

From Ken Tanaka:

Let the voting begin!

The Results Aren’t In!

We have a tie!

We held the viewing party for our Sweetwater Fly Shop short video contest last night. Despite sound issues, the nice-sized crowd at Katabatic Brewing in Livingston had a great time watching all of the entries (the delicious beer didn’t hurt). When the results were tallied, however, a clear winner failed to emerge (when we recounted the votes, we in fact had a 3-way tie). We hadn’t planned for that! Now we need to come up with a tie-breaker. Hmm…, what to do? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, let’s post all of the video contest entries for everyone to see (and hear, this time). Which one is your favorite? Leave us a comment.

Before we begin with the videos, a big “Thanks!” goes out to Katabatic for hosting last night’s event. And thank you to all who attended in support of the Joe Brooks chapter of Trout Unlimited (and a special thanks to those of you who made donations).

Let’s start with a video sent to us by Tom Herr. It’s technically too long (over 5 minutes), but well worth watching. Tom is heavily involved in Project Healing Waters and made the video to honor combat veterans.

Tom Herr sent us another video, which we accepted for the contest. It nicely portrays the joys of a good fishing dog. Gotta love the cane rod!

Here’s a stirring video entered by Henry Emack. It’ll inspire some big fish envy.

Kevin Inui, last year’s winner, submitted a video again this year. Looks like he had another year filled with fishing memories.

Joshua Johnson entered this fun video of high-country small stream angling. Look for the great underwater shot of a dry fly take.

Ken Tanaka threw his hat in the ring again this year with this video that clearly shows that fly fishing is a lot of fun!

AJ Scaff submitted this nice video of his son Trey experiencing the joy of a day on the water.

Last, but certainly not least, Chip Gerber submitted this video from his fly fishing trip to Alaska with his father:

There you have it! Quite the lineup this year! Thanks to all who entered their stellar videos! Now to come up with a fair way to decide the grand prize winner….

Deadline Extended – Sweetwater Fly Shop Short Video Contest!

k6075874We’ve decided to give you a little more time to submit your video entry to the 2nd Annual Sweetwater Fly Shop short fly fishing video contest. Entries are now due by midnight on January 12, 2015. Submit your video for the chance to win a brand new reel! Any genre of fly fishing related short (5 minutes max) video will be accepted. For submission instructions, just send us an email. From the entries we’ve received so far, it looks like it’ll be a tight contest, but you won’t win if you don’t throw your hat in the ring. All videos will be posted to our Sweaty Waders blog and will be shown at a public viewing party (co-hosted by the Joe Brooks chapter of Trout Unlimited) at Katabatic Brewing Company here in Livingston, Montana on the evening of January 15th (you need not be present, or even in the same state, to win). Showcase your videography talents!

12 Days of Christmas Gift Ideas – Sweaty Waders Style – Day 12

Give the Gift of a Guided Trip

Stefan 2We’ve saved perhaps our best gift for last. It’s a gift that would be truly appreciated by any fly fishing angler, beginner, intermediate, or expert. It’s the gift of a guided day of fishing on a stream whether local or distant. And most guided trips are for 2 anglers, so invite yourself along for the ride! How’s that for a gift that gives back?

My wife used to think that guided fishing trips were only for the most experienced anglers. That is, until she went on one herself. In truth, they’re great for anglers of all abilities, even those who have never fly fished before. The majority of guides are excellent instructors who love to spread their enthusiasm for the sport to anyone who’s brave enough to give it a try. Never cast a fly rod? No matter. Before you shove off from the boat ramp, the guide will have you casting well enough to have a fighting chance at catching some fish. An intermediate or expert angler? The guide will provide tips and helpful suggestions to improve your casting and fishing prowess.

Sam 4But what if you don’t live near a fly fishing mecca? Why not plan a fishing trip? Or “piggyback” a day of fishing on a family vacation. For example, take a day off from your visit to Yellowstone National Park and let us float the whole family down the Yellowstone River. Kids as young as 8 or 10 can learn to cast well enough to catch fish, and even the younger ones often enjoy the boat ride. Maybe make it a half day and ask your guide to pull into a couple of beaches where the little ones can search for pretty rocks while the adults do a little wade fishing. Fun for everyone!

If you are lucky enough to live near good fly fishing, a guided trip is a great gift for a distant relative or friend. Give them a little extra incentive to come for a visit.

Yes, guide trips are relatively expensive. The cost varies a great deal depending on location, but here in Montana a full day trip for 1 or 2 anglers goes for around $500. A guide day is very taxing on the guide, something I didn’t fully appreciate until I began guiding myself. When you also figure in that most guides have to make all of their money for the year in a period of just a few months, it helps to put that cost in perspective. When you’re pricing out a trip, be sure to ask whether the flies you’ll use and any equipment you’ll need are included in the trip cost; it varies between different fly shops and outfitters.

Not ready to settle on a date to make a reservation? No worries. Simply buy a gift card for the amount of a guided trip and let the recipient make his or her own plans. Do warn them that things can get busy and fill up during the prime fishing season, so a reservation should be made as soon as possible.

Well, that’s it! 12 days of fly fishing gift ideas for anglers of all abilities and gift givers on any budget. Hope we’ve been helpful. We’ve certainly had a lot of fun putting together this gift guide. Happy holidays from all of us here at Sweetwater Fly Shop!

12 Days of Christmas Gift Ideas – Sweaty Waders Style – Day 11

Disposable Items

We’ve discussed a lot of possible gift ideas so far, but what if you’re still just not sure what to get. Maybe you don’t know the best size for shirts, shoes, waders, or boots. Or maybe you’re afraid that you’ll buy your special angler a rod or reel that they already have.

I have a suggestion that is a sure-fire hit. The one thing you can purchase that every fly fisher definitely needs; items they surely want. In fact, they already have most of these things, yet these items are so important that you can never really have enough. Most of them are inexpensive and can be bundled into a big present or sparsely gathered and placed in a stocking.

What are these magical presents? They are disposable items–leaders, tippets, split shot, indicators, floatant, and flies. Items that you must have to go fishing, no matter what. These items get used-up. They get lost in fish, trees, or riverbeds. Some of them get old and should be replaced each season. But every fisherman would be glad to see them under the tree. They’re going to have to buy them anyway.

hmscuo7dd2mk7lnnaoeeLets’ start with leaders and tippets. If you’re buying presents for a trout fisherman, you absolutely cannot go wrong with 7.5′ and 9′ 5x leaders. They are the standard used by trout fisherman around the world.

You can pair those leaders with some spools of tippet. 4, 5, and 6x tippet should suffice. There are two types of tippet: nylon and fluorocarbon. You can always get one of each type, in each size. It’ll get used.

Split shot, little weights that attach to the leader for nymph fishing, are in nearly every trout fisherman’s vest. So are strike indicators (fly fishing’s bobbers). So is a bottle of Gink dry fly floatant and a powder desiccant like Frogs Fanny.

Yeager's 409

Yeager’s 409

Flies are always an excellent idea. This is one item that a fly angler has to have, above all others, unless they are really good at lassoing fish with just a leader. If they are, please call me. I’d really like to watch that.

Streamers, dry flies, wet flies, and nymphs–most anglers fish with all of them at some point during the season. If you’re not sure what flies to get, give us a call. We’d be happy to put together a fly package from just a few, to a whole bunch, of patterns.

We can make fly selections that come inexpensively in a little plastic cup, or ones that look very fancy in neat, soldier-like rows within a fancy fly box. And there are lots of options between those extremes. We’ll have a pretty good idea of what flies to choose just by telling us where your present-receiver plans to fish.

So spend a little, or spend a lot, but if you want to pick one type of present that’s sure to get a smile on Christmas morning, then go with the disposables. Your significant-flyfishing-other will remember you all year long as they’re using your gifts!

12 Days of Christmas Gift Ideas – Sweaty Waders Style – Day 10

The Humble Gift Card

Fly fishers can be a difficult group to shop for. The longer they’ve been in the sport, the more gear they’re likely to have. Which is not to say that they don’t want more (they really, really do), just that knowing what they might lack can be tough. Maybe you’ve been lucky; maybe they’ve been dropping hints for the last couple of months. But even then, getting just the right gift can be a minefield. Say they want a new rod. What weight? Do they prefer a fast-action rod, or one that’s got a little more flex? Do they like a softer tip on their rod, or not? Which rod would fit best with their particular casting style? You get the picture.

Genuine Brown Trout Skin (ok, not really)

Genuine Brown Trout Skin (ok, not really)

Don’t throw up your hands in frustration. There’s nothing wrong with resorting to the confused shopper’s best friend, the gift card. Yes, it’s fun to have something tangible to unwrap on Christmas morning. And most fly shops will happily make exchanges if you didn’t choose just the right gift. But why not give your angler the enjoyment of shopping for exactly what they want the most. Your average angler is going to jump at the chance to hang out in a fly shop and peruse all of the goods, especially with “money” to burn in their pocket.

Beginner, intermediate, expert. Any fly fisher would appreciate the thoughtful present of a gift card at his or her favorite fly shop.

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