Fly fishing is harder from a kayak. Or is it?

Fly fishing is harder from a kayak. Or is it? Photo by Ben Duchesney

Fly Guy: Degree in Difficulty
By Ben Duchesney

"Fly fishing is no different in a kayak," I told my buddy. I was sitting in the parking lot trying to get off the phone so I could go inside the tackle shop. I needed to replace half of my fly box lost to pesky bluefish. "I'm telling you it's not that hard. No listen, I'll show you when I get there. Bye."

I walked into the tackle and saw the shelves loaded down with big tackle, big rods and huge bass plugs. I walked up to the counter, hoping for a long shot. "Hi, do you guys have any white buck tail?" I asked.

"For fly fishing?" the counter man answered.

No for taping it to my butt and prancing around town. "Yes sir."

"We might have some out back, let me look."

I paced the front of the store until a groove worn itself into the floorboards. This was the only store on the way to the next fishing hole. The vise duct taped to the dash of my truck was waiting for more. The frantic tying sessions in between fishing always produced my best work.

"This what you're looking for?" said the counter guy carrying a single milk crate of random bags and boxes.

I blew a foot of dust off the top and dug in. I scoured through the mother lode of hooks, chartreuse and marabou. Buck tails were a few layers down. I found a single white buck tail, crumpled and folded at the bottom.

"How much?" I asked.

"You can just have it, you're the only one who's bought fly tying stuff here before."
"Seriously? Thanks," I said, turning to run before he changed his mind.

"Wait, where you going," he said, I knew it was too good to be true. "I meant do you want the whole thing?"


Inside I was doing back flips and a little jig, but I played it cool on the outside. "You fly fish from shore or a boat?" he asked.

"A kayak," I said.

"Seriously?" he asked. "Do you do it upside down too, because that'd be easier?"

What do you say to that? "Yes?"

I picked up the milk crate and walked out the door. I could feel the sand and dirt from the bottom of the milk crate and maybe a spider crawling across my fingers. I walked a little faster to the truck and put the crate in the front seat. I checked the straps holding the kayak in the truck bed and climbed in.

Off to the next parking lot, this one in front of a sprawling ocean. I could hardly wait to fire up the vice and shoe away onlookers as I waited for my buddies to arrive. "You actually fly fish out of that thing?" the passersby would ask.

"Why yes, I also do it standing upside down."