Fly Fishing's 10 Commandments



          1.) Thou Shalt Not be a Narcissistic Boorish Snob….. No matter how good you think you are as a Fly Angler, I can assure you there is someone better. Trust me on this one. My wife just proved it to me on a recent Northern Pike trip to Canada. Great Anglers on a Fly should be humble and above the fray of perceived competition. We all know that’s not how it goes. The Foul Hooked Whitey has observed hundreds and hundreds of interactions between grown men in a Fly Shop and those moments can be as catty and bitchy as two chicks going at it at their Senior Prom. Fly fishing is full of Anglers who like to take the Fly Fishing Enhancement Pill called “Trout Agra”. This medication gives a Fly Angler an EXTRA HARD boner for the sport. You can always tell when a customer has taken a “Trout Agra”. They come into the shop all cool. All puffed up. Talking a million miles a minute about how they are “living the dream”. Ready to tell anyone who will listen how skilled an angler they are. I know this snobby ass dentist for example. One busy Saturday morning in the shop, “old snobby ass” sees another Angler he knows and before the two could get within 10 feet of from each other and exchange pleasantries “old snobby ass” had to tell this other angler how he’s going to Christmas Island next week and then BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. For all the other Angler knows, Christmas Island is located at the North Pole and outfitted by Chris Kringle for Christ’s sake. Fly Shops are an excellent cross section of personalities in the sport. Angler’s that come into the shop under the radar, never drawing any attention to themselves, buying their small assortment of goods consisting of Angel Hair, Variegated Chenille and Tungsten Putty are the most Bad Ass and Legit in our sport. The Angler that wants everyone within 15 feet of where they are standing to know where they are fishing, how they are fishing, and how many fish they caught are the Least Bad Ass and Legit in our sport.


          2.) Though Shalt Not Knowingly Fish a Spawning Bed…..This isn’t The Foul Hooked Whitey’s typical rant against Egg or Bead angling. No this is much more serious rant. It’s a rant rooted in the same principle of not walking into your parent’s bedroom without knocking on the door after bedtime. In other words, there could be some fucking going on in there and it’s not the fucking you want to see. Your parent’s bedroom is just like a Spawning Bed, a place not to fish. I am certain that even the most challenged and hard up Angler doesn’t want to walk in and witness his parents getting it on in the Spawning Bed. I mean let’s face it, the Angler that targets his parent’s bedroom with a Fly is one twisted son of a bitch. So, the next time you’re thinking about running up to the Big Horn or Madison Rivers and fish the Fall Brown Trout Spawn, just think back to when you were ten years old and your Dad use to fake a yawn while winking at your Mom about “being tired and ready to turn in a little early”. That was your Dad’s way of saying to your Mother in Spawning Code; “Honey grab your Trout Beads and Glo Bugs and meet me in the Spawning Bed for a little staging and fertilizing”.


          3.) Thou Shalt Not Support Big Box Over a Fly Shop…..I’ll never forget this Big Box Stooge coming into the shop and taking beef with a certain Fly Shop Owner over the alleged production of a Scheels Sucks sticker. While sitting there for 5 minutes and giving this Big Box Stooge his say, The Foul Hooked Whitey’s mind wandered off not listening to a single word he said. The Box Store intrusion in our sport has been both damaging and laughable. Damaging in that Box Stores have infiltrated smaller to medium size markets in the Rocky Mountains and successfully competed with Fly Shops, and Laughable in that no matter how good a Big Box Fly Fishing Department is, that Big Box Fly Fishing Department can’t hold a quality Fly Shop’s jock strap. Fly Shop’s don’t get a Free Pass just because they’re a Fly Shop. Nope! Fly shops must continue to earn their customers business through good hours of operation, above average customer service and frankly, “ballsy” merchandising. I still hear a lot of complaints about Fly Shop’s being pretentious and more full of themselves than President Trump standing naked in front of a mirror just before a tanning session. In order to beat Big Box, Fly Shops must be better than Big Box. If you’re a Fly Shop that bitches about Big Box competition but closes its doors at 5:00 PM then you don’t have anything to complain about. If you’re a Fly Shop that complains about Big Box but your shop’s inventory and merchandising looks like a bag of “seed and stem”, you don’t have anything to complain about. If you’re a Fly Shop that doesn’t make every customer that walks through your door and their business a priority, then you don’t have anything to complain about. Keeping your customers engaged and excited about shopping in a Fly Shop, is a lot like finally getting to bang that really, good-looking girl. After that, the work just gets tougher in keeping her happy, content and satisfied so you can keep banging her. If Fly Shop’s keep that same mentality, they’ll compete with Big Box just fine.


          4.) Thou Shalt Buy American Made….. Right off the bat, and for clarification purposes the line in the song is “Knocking Me Out With Those American Thighs”. With all the Hoot’n and Holler’n out there to Make America Great Again, I sure see a lot of Good Ole Fly Fishing Folk buying imported rods and reels these days. A lot of my fellow countrymen talk a big game regarding Retail Patriotism, but in the end, they’ll settle for a Chinese made Galvan knock off that breaks easier than a Jihadist getting some good old-fashioned water boarding. The Foul Hooked Whitey is not saying that imported equipment isn’t quality because a lot of it is. Here’s the point. If an American Angler walks into a room and there are 10 smoking hot women standing there and only one of them is an American, odds are pretty good the American girl is the first one he is going to talk too. It’s the same with rods, reels and waders produced in this country. You give the hard-working American Manufacturer’s in our sport your attention and hard-earned money first. If they don’t deliver the “good’s” then go ahead and give your dough to the Korean, Chinese or European rod, reel and wader producer’s. I’ll never forget a wanna be industry representative bringing into our shop a relatively popular Chinese made reel line. When I asked this “wanna be rep”, why I should carry a Chinese made reel when I sell similarly priced reels that are made in the USA, the “wanna be rep” replied by saying “cause their better”. Excuse me? So, the next time all you good Retail Patriot’s out there talk up Nationalism, America First, and all that Red White and Blue love, look down at what your holding in your casting hand and see if your walk’s as legit as your talk.


          5.) Thou Shalt Practice Catch and Release…..I know this is a tough one for a lot of Sportsmen and women out there. The idea that someone would tell you not to bang that Trout’s head on a rock and prevent you from enjoying a Rocky Mountain “cold water steak” is outright Hippie Pinko talk. I can hear the entire Fly Fishing Dukes of Hazard Clan lifting their Bass Pro Shop #5 weights with rage. “How dare this Sombitch tell me not to enjoy my delicious Trout”. First of all, this “Sombitch” isn’t telling you not to eat Trout. What this “Sombitch” is telling you not to do is harvest Trout, then store them in your freezer until your wife gets tired of looking at them and finally throws them out. This “Sombitch” is also telling not to harvest Trout that are mature and a vital part of that fisheries spawning population. And finally, this “Sombitch” is telling you that if you harvest Trout, harvest the Trout that are primarily stocked like those in alpine lakes as opposed to the wild trout populations in Montana’s Rivers and Streams. As a Fly Angler, your goal should be the preservation of Trout populations in our fisheries, NOT whether to bake them in garlic, butter or both. We are all hunter’s in our sport. It’s understandable to want to harvest the success of a hunt. The difference in Fly Fishing is that a whole bunch of us in the sport manage to Catch and Release a “cold water steak” and yet still feel fulfilled and accomplished after the hunt. Fly Angler’s that harvest Trout in the modern era of Fly Fishing are as yesterday as automatic reels and buckskin rubbers. So if you got to eat a Trout, earn it and hike your ass up to alpine lakes to feast on those delicious, stocked Brook Trout that were put there to be caught and enjoyed. In the meantime, Catch and Release this “Sombitch’s” Trout found in Montana Rivers and Streams.


          6.) Thou Shalt Not Use a Spin Rod…..The Foul Hooked Whitey needs to be perfectly clear here. The following Commandment is not directed at those whom consider themselves a Spin Rod fisherman. Hell, we all started out with a Spiderman or Barbie pole. The Sin in the Spin is when an angler comes off as a committed Fly Angler, but quickly switches back to casting a Rapala when the fishing and catching gets tough. You know the excuses, “it was too windy to cast a Fly”, “I brought along a Spin Rod just in case” as well as the ever popular “all we could get them on was spinner’s”. If you are dedicated Spin fisherman these comments are your truth. If you are a dedicated Fly Angler these comments are your lie. I see this all the time, Anglers coming into the shop and showing off pictures of particularly nice fish. If the Angler or fish in the picture seems suspiciously amazing, I further inquire if “that fish was caught on a Fly?” More times than not, the angler’s body language sags as they admit “No I caught it on a spinner”. All fish caught on a Spin Rod is Legit if you are an Avid Spin Angler. No fish caught on a Spin Rod is Legit if you are an Avid Fly Angler. At some point in our angling experience we all decided to take up Fly Fishing. Not because we would necessarily be more productive as Fisherman, but because we yearned for the challenge of duping a Trout on a Fly. Once an avid Fly Angler reverts to the occasional “Spin”, that angler loses the mystic and angling persona that comes with exclusively being a Fly Angler. I’ll have to leave this subject to the iconic gutter comic known as the Dice Man to summarize the grey area of a Fly Angler that wants to cast a Spin Rod when “all they were hitting on is spinner’s”. In describing the human behavior of male bisexuality, the Dice Man crudely stated “What’s with this bisexuality stuff, hmm? You either suck dick or you don’t suck dick! OH!” In the sport of Fly Fishing, you either cast a Spin Rod, or you don’t cast a Spin Rod! OH!


          7.) Thou Shalt Not Be a Social Media Fly Fishing Little Bitch…..As the sport we love becomes more and more entangled with Social media, it has become increasingly important to separate the many benefits of Fly Fishing social media from the increasing number of Social Media Fly Fishing Little Bitch’s in our sport. Who are these Social Media Fly Fishing Little Bitch’s? You know who they are. They are the Angler’s that use their keypad on their phone to Troll other Anglers in our sport. Whether it’s aggressive male Anglers approaching lady Anglers on social media to discuss “how long a Leader they have”, or just your typical Social Media idiot who desperately feels the need to express their opinion about your fish size, where you fish, how you fish and of course their passive aggressive opinion about why you fish. A big time Wyoming Guide I know recently commented about how he needs to start putting a “time stamp” on the client pictures he posts because “trolls think I post the same pictures everyday”. These “Li’l Bitch’s” act this way because they don’t actually fish very much, but rather sit around with their hand-held device eating Cheeto’s, drowning in self-pity, all while being chock full of Fly Fishing Envy and the intense longing to have a little game when casting a Fly Rod. Social Media Fly Fishing Little Bitch’s don’t stop there. Theses “Li’l Bitch’s” also want you to know what their brazen political leanings are as well as their empty and unfulfilling lifestyle. So, the next time you come across a Social Media Fly Fishing Little Bitch on line, just spend a minute on their Social Media home page. You will find that most of these “Li’l Bitch’s” have Tiny Peckers. No Attractive Physical Features what so ever. No Friend’s, and most importantly, No Angling Game or Experience what so ever.


          8.) Thou Shalt Not Be on a Pro Staff When Thy is not a Pro…..The biggest joke in Fly Fishing is all the supposed “Pro’s” in our sport. There are more “Pro’s” in Fly Fishing than Chinese Made product on a Cabela’s salesfloor. The term “Pro” in Fly Fishing is as sketchy as TV preachers who accept donations with your credit card. Some Fly Fishing vendors have no criteria for who’s on their Pro Staff. I’m amazed as a retailer in the sport how many top tier vendors let anybody on their Pro Staff. There’s this reel company I do business with. They put this dude I call “The Shady Ass Bug Dealer” on their Pro Staff. To the best of The Foul Hooked Whitey’s knowledge, “The Shady Ass Bug Dealer” has rarely fished outside of Yellowstone or Big Horn Counties here in Montana. In fact, as an Angler, “the Shady Ass Bug Dealer’s” claim to fame is a few oversized Big Horn River Trout caught on a steel worm. Wow, with all that angling pedigree and history, I am sure that Lee Wulff is saving a special spot in Fly Fishing Heaven for “The Shady Ass Bug Dealer”. That spot is right between the Angler that invented the sport’s first Tenkara rod and the Angler that invented the Flat Bill Trucker Cap. How this reel company determined that “The Shady Ass Bug Dealer” was truly skilled and experienced enough as an Angler to be on their pro Staff is as confusing and kooky as some of our seated President’s cabinet appointments. So the next time you see a Fly Fishing Company’s “Pro” staff roster don’t be too impressed. Though there may be plenty of quality and credible professionals on that vendor’s “Pro” roster, rest assured there are just as many Amateurs on that list as well.     


          9.) Though Shalt Not Talk Out Both Sides of Thy Ass When Discussing Thy Habitat, Thy Environment, and Thy Public Lands ….. This a tough one for the Foul Hooked Whitey. Discussing politics is as nasty as washing a baby’s shitty diaper that’s been sitting in a hot car in Eastern Montana for a week. The political discourse in our country has probably never been worse. The most recent political lightning rod in our sport is Public Land and its potential privatization and sell off. When you hear the supposed benefits of privatizing Public Lands, it’s usually not the “Lefties” proposing such a scheme but rather the “Righties” in our government. The subject of Public Land privatization since last Fall’s election has created a Public Land paranoia that has become the new frontier in Sportsmen and Women’s public access rights. As avid Angler’s we should do whatever we legally and peacefully can to both secure AND expand our Public Land’s. Public Land should be an issue that both “Lefties” and “Righties” agree on, and that includes who they vote for at the ballot box. The Foul Hooked Whitey interacts with literally thousands of different anglers a season. A lot of these Angler’s like to make in known where they stand politically in the shop and let’s face it, some of these Angler’s seem to have a disconnect about who they vote for and how that vote is going to affect THEIR families access to Public Lands over the next generation or two. Though it is absurd to ask any Sportsman to Vote at the ballot box without their heart. It’s just as absurd to ask any Sportsman to Vote at the ballot box without their brain as well.


          10.) Thou Shalt Not be a Poser…..The term “Poser” in Fly Fishing can be one of the most disrespectful labels in our sport. It is the ultimate dis in describing a fellow Angler. Being called a Fly Fishing “Poser” is tantamount to calling a male Angler a “pussy”, or “bitch”. The True definition of “Poser” in the sport of Fly Fishing is simply an able-bodied Fly Fisherman that doesn’t ever fish. Take it from a Fly Fishing Retailer that has personally sold thousands of Fitz Roy Trout Trucker Hats, The Foul Hooked Whitey knows a “Poser” when he sees one. Being a “Poser” in Fly Fishing is a lot tougher than people think it is. In order to be a Fly Fishing “Poser”, the “Poser” must do everything a REAL Angler does except fish of course. “Posers” talk non-stop about the subject of Fly Fishing. Some “Poser’s” are even excellent Fly Tier’s. I know a “Poser” that has tied tens of thousands of Flies that will never be fished. There are “Poser’s” in our sport that buy a tons of quality gear, and then never fish the gear they buy. Interestingly, Fly Fishing “Poser’s” are usually very connected to their local Fly Fishing communities. This includes hanging out at their local Fly Shop as well as attending their local TU Chapter meetings. It is common knowledge that a lot of Trout Unlimited meetings have an above average “Poser to Actual Angler Ratio”. Unfortunately, “Poser’s” believe they can live this experience that we all love in the pages of a Fly Fishing magazine, or on a You Tube video, or at the counter of a Fly Shop. If you know a “Poser” who is worth saving. Get together with some other area Angler’s and provide a Fly Fishing “Poser Group Intervention”. Your “Poser Intervention Group” will need to abduct the “Poser” and physically takes them to an area stream and forces them to fish. Kind of like splashing water in a sick dog’s mouth to get them to drink. If there worth being saved, this is the only way to Truly save a Fly Fishing “Poser”.


          -The Foul Hooked Whitey


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  • Foul Hooked Whitey
Comments 5
  • AT

    You’re like my girlfriend. I agree with 55% of what you’re saying.

    That’s enough to keep loving you.

    2018 Eddie is awesome, by the way.

    Please keep XL tees and stickers in stock!

  • Ben Kershner
    Ben Kershner

    Absolutely love your commandments Rich! Just wanted to say I think you missed another very important issue we face every day is the dwindling of etiquette on our rivers. There is a serious problem I see all over our state with too many anglers that are either ignorant or just don’t care at all about etiquette. Thanks for telling it how it is we need more of it in fly fishing these days.

  • Chip O'Brien
    Chip O'Brien

    First of all, love your name. In fact, chances are I’ve foul hooked you myself since I tend to catch every whitefish within a ten mile radius. Secondly, you get a “high five” for tight writing. (I notice things like that.) Lastly… American made: What about hooks? Tiemcos are hard to beat-

  • peter

    unfortunately fly fishing is a " want to be " pleasure . if you have fished and grown with it , you are quick to spot a phony, and avoid them like T/U people. I have pontoon kick boat fished the west for 20 + years . there is nothing like a Kamloops trout tow in fading light, in Montana. seek your own way , do what you enjoy. practice being happy, it works.

  • COdyWoodBZN

    gray area
    My Martin 81 is both American made and old news. Still a lot of fun. :)

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