Jerry French shares the intruder story and how the skagit spey lines and short spey rods came to be. We find out how the intruder drove the lines and rods and how Ed Ward Scott O’donnell and others created the huge change for steelhead fly fisherman.
Click below and listen to the Jerry French Interview:
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Show Notes with Jerry French
05:30 – George Cook was on the podcast in episode 131 and talked about NW Spey history, his connection within it and Jerry and the boys.
16:00 – The Wolf Craft adjustable boat that Jerry and the gang used up on the skeena basin.
17:20 – Robert the Robot from lost in space. Intruder Alert was the platform for the fly patterns.
32:00 – Jerry was an original founder of OPST and was all about getting Ed Ward paid for his contribution for it all. The ultra compact heads was a big part of what Jerry and Ed developed.
35:20 – Joseph Rossano was on the podcast in episode 136 and talked about steelhead fly design.
40:00 – The Dirty Hoh is a little different than an intruder.
47:00 – Jerry talks about his love for the color white and UV in flies.
54:30 – Geoff Peroway and Doug Brudicko were two people that helped Jerry get it going with his company.
1:13:45 – Jerry is hosting trips on the Grand ronde this year through the Grande Rond Angler here.
You can find Jerry at Jerry French Fly Fishing.
Resources Noted in the Show
Videos Noted in the Show
Read the Full Transcript with Jerry French:
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(Apologies for any transcription errors – this was generated automatically by Otter.ai)
Straight up, no question, always broadside. I call it controlled. It’s always a controlled broadside and it’s something that’s very, very achievable with a small line, the shorter line systems. I’m able to, like I do this tip out technique which once the flies on the inside where most guys are leading with the rod and the fly has lost all of its animation. It’s just literally sinking to the bottom and you’re dragging the thing to the inside to try to cover the inside lies.
Dave S 0:30
That was Jerry French telling us how he prefers to swing the fly. We get the intruder story directly from the man himself today on the wet fly swing fly fishing show.
Unknown Speaker 0:40
Welcome to the wet fly swing fly fishing show where you discover tips, tricks and tools from the leading names in fly fishing. Today, we’ll help you on your fly fishing journey with classic stories covering steelhead fishing, fly tying and much more.
Dave S 0:56
Hey, how’s it going everyone thanks for stopping by the fly fishing Show. I’m excited to Second podcast that could be a huge help for you. If you have a fly fishing business and want to improve your online influence, head over to outdoors online CO and listen to the show right now. And if you get a chance to be great if you could share it with one other person that you know who has a business. Jerry French is on the show today to give us the full story of how the intruder revolution came to be. We hear how the intruder drove the spade line evolution. What makes the intruder platform unique and what length is perfect for the fly. The chariot also tells a funny story about how early on during the boys had their intruder stolen multiple times right off their fly rods. A quick word from our sponsor got fishing calm is your trusted source of information with access to the world’s best fishing trips. You never pay a dime extra for the trip you book and in many cases less than advertised. Find out where got fishing could take you by heading over to got fishing.com today. That’s g ot phishing.com or reach them by phone at two 086303373 got fishing calm the easiest place to start your next fishing adventure so without further ado, here’s Jerry French from Jerry French fly fishing calm how’s it going Jerry? I’m very good how are you Dave? Great, great well I might as well as we could be a current situation we’re still at the lockdown so this is this will probably publish in a month or two. So hopefully by that time we’ll all be out fishing and on the rivers again, but yeah, how are you hanging in there?
I’m hanging in there. You know, I really want to fish I’ve tried enough flies and I’m ready to get out and you know, shoot some guns and swing some flies. So
Dave S 2:45
yeah, that’s awesome. We’re gonna jump in today to you know, of course the intruder and the sketches and everything that you’ve you’re known for, you know, your name is a pretty big name out there. Before we get into all that can just talk about how you first got into Fly Fishing then how you brought that into where you are today?
Yeah, sure, no problem. The Well, I was I had moved from my mom is terminally ill. And we live like the wilderness family in Alaska. And we lived way off the grid. And when my mom had to move closer to the hospitals, we moved to Arlington, Washington, and they took away all my guns and my mom got me a slingshot. And she went to Western auto and she bought me a wrist rocket. What a foolish maneuver, right? You know? Yeah, seriously, and so, but she bought me the slingshot and she bought me a literally, I think it was a Shakespeare starter kit, like a fly fishing starter kit. It was to Western auto. And so she brings this thing home and I’m like, well, this is really cool. You know, because I was used to fishing for really nice bows and stuff. It was a ride around Houston, Alaska is where we live. So I fished a lot on the little Sioux City and Big Big things and lots of big rainbows and so, you know the fly fishing thing really intrigued me and then you know then once I started fly fishing I realized the lineage that I lived between and the people that were you know on the Stila Guam and I became really good friends with Walt Johnson and you know efficient on this gadget I rubbed shoulders with you know, Harry, Lumiere and all those guys and then closer to my generation there was Ed Ward and Dec Hogan and Scott O’Donnell you know, and so it was like those guys there was this you know, this huge influence of you know, real prestige on the river and so I just, you know, I stayed super quiet and we you know, we had this I had this thing where it was like you earn what you learn kind of deal you know, we didn’t, I didn’t fish other people’s water, I just snuck onto the river quietly and I, I, you know, I, I took my lumps like everybody else did in the sport, just kind of waiting my way through with a single hand rod and then when the two handed rod came into the game, it Really, it really fired up the whole angle you know, I wasn’t I wasn’t as intrigued by casting far as I was about fishing better you know that was really the beginning of the whole thing and you know like once I was bit that was the end of it and then you know a few years later was probably five or six years later edit I met at board became good friends with tech Cogan and then med board.
Dave S 5:21
What year was that? Jerry? What year are we talking here now? But it
was I think it honestly it was the early 90s and and I’m not really good at dates, because everything kind of messes together. But it really it’s like, you know, if you asked me when Doug and I first started this business, I’d be like, uh,
Dave S 5:40
and I asked that I asked that only because I just had George cook on recently and he he was breaking down kind of the Northwest spay history and I just wanted to put you plug you in there because we talked your name came up but we didn’t dig into a lot on the intruder. So I just want to make to plug that real quick.
Yeah, no problem. It was it was it was it was I would say was, you know, the early 90s, maybe as late as 95. It feels earlier than that, because I was only out of high school, I graduated in 84. You know, I’ve only been out of high school a few years and I was you know, I’d basically become a full blown steelhead bum. And then I met Dec. I’m, you know, I knew of Dec and Ed long before I actually became friends with that, you know, I’d see them on the river, we’d pass in the woods, things like that, you know, but once I became friends with that, then this whole Pandora’s Box opened up, you know, and that was, it was it was pretty much endless pursuit. You know, Scott Hall was part of our little crew and then one other buddy who just kind of vanished, but still fishes very hard. I just never see him again Tucker English. And so that group of guys was, that was the new keyless of the intruder and all the evolutions that we were and it was, it was no one person you know, and it is this brilliant man and so You know, and so Scott and so is, you know, Tucker and Tucker was this beautiful caster and great fly tire and Scott was just this Terminator fish angler with lots of ideas and skills. And, you know, once you put us all together, the evolution of the ideas and concepts were, they were very rapid, you know, it was like, make a new line every night tie a new fly, you know, it just went on and on and on. And there were all these heads hyper focused on the same outcome. You come up with some pretty cool stuff really quickly. So, you know, that was that was really where we’re at. But I would say, you know, the early 90s, you know, early to mid 90s, we all kind of jelled and then carried on from there.
Dave S 7:41
Okay, cool. And can you maybe take us back to the I don’t know wherever you want to start with the very beginning of the intruder idea. And then and I’m not sure where you guys were the lines and the different lines. Was that all in the same party? You know, the evolution?
Yeah, absolutely. One drove the other and believe it Not the fly drove all the fly design or byline design because right there were no lines for casting what it was we were creating and the creations were the creation just starting with the creation The idea behind the intruder was is that because we live on the coast and because we have this affliction and love for these coastal rivers and super bright steelhead that just came in off the tide kind of thing. And so we were trying to create this conditioned response and I was, you know, there was, pardon the expression but there were all these parts sniffers that would just sit on the beach and just sit there and geek out on their boxes and make no mistake I geeked out on my box. I started tying you know, spray flies and all the classic stuff and and you know did to give credit where credit’s due all of that classic information and passion for classic flies and in space lies is what drove the intruder. Right. We all stuck within that Same love have long wiggly hackles like there were on SIDS spay flies, you know, and so on. And so, you know, if you look at it, it’s like the intruders just a mega version of these classic space, but in a way that was very, very castable. And we started to get into, I mean, imagine trying to use a double taper and cast a six and a half inch or even five inch intruder, you know, and even if it had a single clean front station, and a single clean back station, it was still a nightmare to cast these things. And so the evolution of the, you know, the fly lines was it was just it was very, very, it was simultaneous for sure. You know, it was like we were and the short rod the short rod became a really big part of our game. We were always hunting for shorter rods. You know, it gave us the way we looked at it as we looked at it like Special Forces fishing. You know, you were We were fishing the high bank sections and off the bars. We were we were working The plugger guys work you know that we were with the big rocks on the high bank stuck in the bushes and the big rods didn’t work there. And so you know the evolution of the shorter rods, shorter lines and these bigger wiggler flies were all basically simultaneous let’s go and what was
Dave S 10:15
the short rod back then what would you consider when you guys first word Oh, it was
like the Greenie you know 13′ 6″ was considered short and and think and you know I credit George cook because during the early days George cook sent us a quiver of these 11 foot rods that were basically marketed in Europe for fishing the locks drifting the locks and they were all 11 feet long and there were I think he sent four of each initially there was a six way to seven weight and an eight weight and they were all 11 feet long. And I don’t remember what grafite series they were but they were pretty fast. And either way what we ended up doing is we we were already in the cutting up, you know 12 weight 13 weight double tapers And making these shooting heads out of it and it turned into this. Okay let’s let’s add a foot to this 11 footer and make it a 12 foot seven weight and then let’s make this a 12 foot six inch eight weight you know and we were taking other broken rods and just adding to the bud sections and then building the handles over and then so and then taping the reels to them of course so you can find this ideal location for the reel and I still have one of those rods made into a bait caster and unfortunately all the others some most of them got stolen and then the ones I actually still had got broken. So it was kind of a you know, as it goes right the thing you really love this snap can’t get that again. Oh, yeah, that’s where that ended up. Cool. You know that it certainly was a fly driving the lines for sure. And the technology
Dave S 11:51
it was okay and and so you know, it’s funny because you mentioned that the the short or you know, shorter rods and stuff and I think in my experience up and firstly experience in the skeena You know, it was kind of the same thing. I mean, I picked that up and I remember I was on these tight banks and because I brought a spay rod I had never really used one before I was able to fish some great water. And my buddies who didn’t have right they had that single head of rods they weren’t able to get out there. So is this crazy thing but you know, I remember hearing a story about you guys back in the in the Ford Explorer, right three of you packed in there could you know Could you take us to that tight because it reminds me of our story. Like we call it the like 10 days of stinky guys on the river because we floated the bat bean and stuff. But you know, what was that like? For you guys? Because you were This is when you were cutting lines and develop and asleep in the back of car. What were you doing back then?
Well, we were guiding in Alaska. And we would you know, we’d be tying flies all summer long and talking trash about you know what was going to go down when we got home and we get home and my birthday was close to that. And initially we would wait around until September 28 like right after my birthday and then we would hit the road. And we passed the Thompson that was a hard thing to do. And then just blaze straight up. And you know, initially we went to the Maurice, we we’d end up there because it was closest and we driven a long ways. And, you know, we’d load up the Ford Explorer. And, you know, eventually that turned into bringing a boat with us because we were, you know, we were foot warriors for a long time. And then we’d bring the drift boat and then the drift boat eventually turned into a jet boat. Oh, and the camping kit. Yeah, the camping kit got a little bit more pimp.
Dave S 13:31
What was the for what we’ve already got? I just want to paint the picture. But what year was the Ford?
The Ford was I think it was like an 89 maybe, you know, it was like it was first year second year the the vehicle came out I got one I was like, that’s gonna be a great fishing vehicle, you know, and all I looked at is how much stuff I could put inside of it. Now really, the fact that it sets six inches off the ground, you know, and so, the week, you know, pick up Scott and Ed and I will It trek up load up and then head up there and you know, Scott Scott was going to college at the time. And so what he would do is he, he was his, his fruitfulness and his commitment to that was literally mind boggling. I mean he would we’d be driving from spot to spot and Scott would be eating raw potatoes and putting Johnny seasoning salt on him. Oh my gosh and eating tuna no joke, no joke, and you can only imagine the gas that man Oh my god, right bro. It was. It was it was epic. And I don’t use that word very often but it truly was. He would he would like leave. You know like a scum on the windows after a night of sleeping in the car. We slept in the back of the Explorer, head to foot like sardines. And it would be like you know add on when windows Scott in the middle and me on the other window. And it was you’d wake up in the morning and we all smells so bad. It was like a garbage can I mean it was literally like we were sleeping in a garbage can and Scott had this old bag, this old army sleeping bag it kept him really warm. And you know he had to warm after running around with no toes on his boots all day and so on. You know he was the first guy out of the truck and the last guy back every day but the whole explorer thing kind of I mean the thing got stuck so many times that eventually I just ended up getting a toy to pick up and you know, tricking that thing out from top to bottom to be able to accommodate you know me and Ed to Scott was kind of his on its own
Dave S 15:32
on his own program. That’s awesome. And then and then so that’s pretty cool then you the evolution then so drift boat and then sled So where were you guys taking that sled out there? I I haven’t really been on a bulk week on the ballclub Yeah, that’s right. The bulk.
Yeah, the boat he became the boat, he became our love. I mean, it was, you know, the schema whenever the schema was fishable but the bulk we was that was our place, you know, especially the whole scope stretch trout Creek, trout Creek in this Esquire area. They would you know, we can put the sesqui launch quite often and then just put the jet boat in there and run up river. We also had these little blue cataracts long before the we boats were really popular and those things were, you know, super super capable. They were built by Wolf craft and we turn them into they were an adjustable boat that you could either make into a kayak a pontoon kayak, or it could be this very low seated very whitewater capable small kayak at nine foot 10 inches was a pontoon like so it was, it was a real real formidable and we use those for real stealthy missions. And we floated in those as much as we did anything else. Honestly. As long as we had a place to drop it off the high bank that was the cool part. It could be put in and taken out anywhere. So it was Yeah, you could go out with our kids for sure. But yeah, the the exploder is what we call that the smoker Yeah. Yeah,
Dave S 16:58
go right. So yeah. And let’s go back to the intro because I want to maybe start off just a little bit on that and you know there’s probably some people that maybe don’t know exactly the you know the definition of the intruder but can you just talk about describe to some newbie what the intruder is and what what defines an intruder
okay the the name came from a very simple session on the river actually testing a fly in Alaska that walked down and you know, stuck it in the water and it was like the super wiggly thing. And if anybody remembers the series lost in space, there was a character or a feature on the show called Robbie the robot. And he would, he would just do this Intruder alert thing and swing his arms around. Okay. And so and and I was always cracking that up as much as I could crack up anybody and, and I did that. And he we looked at each other and we were like, well, there’s the name. You know, we’re just going to call this platform, just that a platform there is no pattern. You know, it’s a platform because we just A variety of types throughout the years. And you know that if I’ve been asked that question a lot, and the definition of that really is, you know, a large fly tide as sparse as possible. And if you were to give it a specific intruder name, it would have to be two stations. It’s not it’s not a rabbit strip lie, it’s an ostrich fly, you know, and that’s where it came from, you know, and like my dirty Whoa, the dirty hoe is just an evolution of that idea because of my love for string leeches. And it has a fairly robust shoulder front hackle and which allows it can’t be too robust because it’ll actually stifle the swim and pull the tackle tips in behind the way in behind the shoulder. But nevertheless, the intruder was it was two very trim stations. His trim is we could tie him and a long, beautiful section in the middle. And that beautiful section in the middle of originally was always tensile. And there might be a little bit of polymer over that tension. But the reason for that was we were using polar bear and seal hair almost exclusively then. And so it created this very illuminated interior part of the fly. So what we were trying to do was to create a conditioned response from the fish and we know for a fact that our steelhead eat big wiggly flies, and there are, you know, you get into this inner desert area or places where they’ve traveled, you know, six 800 miles or further, they will eat smaller stuff, but they didn’t go from small to adult by eating, you know, green Highlanders. They got that way by eating big wigglies. And so those big weeklies were We were just trying to emulate that, you know, and, you know, and it’s not i’m not talking any trash about beautiful flies and tying beautiful flies and how great it feels to make those flies but for us it was about improving our our performance and productivity period. It was a super selfish pursuit of just You know, catch more fish see how big a fly they’ll actually eat? You know, can I cast this damn thing and how long can I and that evolved the fly lines you know? So the intruder that was a it was a platform period it was tight on a shank. Initially they were they were all tight on Shanks they were touching so the loop in the back with the lid mana rig through and then the hook and a piece of speaker wire installation. That’s exactly how the thing was built. Yeah, and eventually there’s now you know, it’s like my junction tubing, my Ultra rig tubing, you know, after years of dug, researching tubing for me, I actually found the ideal jumps into me, you know, and it fits on the backs of the Shanks perfectly and it stays secure hook up or down however you pursued. And then when you hook a fish, it pops loose, you know, and, and the more elastic version of that turned into the ultra rig kit, you know, because I was I was having problems with breaking wire in Alaska and those things evolved into the altering kit, you know, so it was, you know, it’s just like this natural evolution, it’s it’s necessity, you know. And that’s where everything came from. And if if there was some young guy who wanted to tie an intruder, you know, there’s a billion videos and books out there now, and I didn’t write or make half of those. And I think that’s a be I do, I think it’s a beautiful thing. It’s like, we never in a million years would think that it would have become what it became, when it was so selfish and self centered in the beginning, you know, and we kept it secret. We kept it. I mean, we walked around with the flies in our hands and or buried under our real cases. You know, it wasn’t we didn’t share this with anybody It was the first one was actually stolen notes and that’s where it did it was stolen. And that’s where Ed decided that we better take credit for it, but for someone else takes credit for it.
Dave S 21:52
Sorry, I started right there. Like stolen. How does that happen to like,
how did you like well on the river? Yeah, on the River Road. or excuse me, Scott had a rod stolen in BC with his frickin boob lay on it, bro. No kidding. Needless to say, yeah, right so he had a bootleg the dude stole the whole rod. And I don’t know if it was for the boob layer there. Why? Because Scott was crushing it when he was out in the Queen Charlotte. I mean crushing it. Yeah. And so someone snatched the rod, the reel and the fly right off his boat on the river holy and I had come back to my boat. From fishing, we would park the boats and then go for walks, fish a whole run. And then you know, this gadget or the sock specifically is where this happened. You would, you’d fish a piece of water and then you’d see another piece of water and before you knew it, you were a mile and a half two miles away from your boat, you know, and by the time I get back to my boat, the fly has actually been cut off my other rod setup. And I was like, holy crap. No one. They didn’t take the rod. They didn’t steal that note. They took the fly and the fly had been literally the real case had been opened up. The Fly had been taken off the crossbar and cuts straight off right at the front end of the mono. Yeah, I was like, I was like, look at this Ed and he goes, Yeah, I’ve seen that rod before and I’m like, No What’s missing? And it was like, holy crap. Someone’s told the intruder. Wow, we were like, okay, we had an idea who it was because there were some people that kind of spied on what we were doing. You know, our names started to carry some weight. Yeah, you know, there were wondering what was up with our success and you know, it really, it really did it. There was a time when we first started doing the intruders that we had a secret weapon. Yeah. And, and, and we all felt that way. I mean, we knew we did. We knew we were onto something. As soon as we started using it in Alaska, we started catching kings on the swing and we started catching way bigger rainbows. No kidding. And and it was, it was like, Okay, this is real, you know, and that came from talking with my scientist buddies that are all biologists professors up at Western And, you know doing studies on anatomist fish and, you know, they all talked about what they ate and what they consumed and you know, we would sum to the books and look at frickin you know, saltwater flies and see things that were all big and ugly and be inspired by that and but then we were all still bound to this classic appearance that we’d love so much from our history as fly fisherman steelhead fly fisherman so it was you know it was that is the spawn of that critter that’s uh that’s it
Dave S 24:30
and so yeah new so that point when you knew this thing was gonna be a game changer. What was when was that point what did you remember that exact point when you’re like, Okay, this intruder is going to change the game.
Unfortunately, I don’t remember that exact point. But what I do remember is I do remember situations like okay, it’s third or fourth trip to British Columbia and and I are walking up opposite sides of the river, and I would look across the river and Ed was hooked up. I walked down river and every single Possible fishy spot. I got a fish. No kidding. And no kidding. I mean, it was just like, it was almost like you could call it. It was so weird that when we entered run that hadn’t been fished by anybody else. And even if it had been the numbers of fish I caught behind people on intruders was absurd. I mean, it was just you started to feel bad. You know, I mean, it was like, okay, we can’t do this dude. Yeah, we can’t do this anymore. We can’t because those people would charge up and be like, what are you using? What are you doing? And then then we then we have to be dicks because you don’t want to share them with anybody, you know? So it was like, it was a thing that it was it was a really weird time. You know, and I would say that it took it was probably maybe three years total from the invention of the first to two stations to being absolutely certain that what we had created was huge. This was a legit game changer. And then you know, things evolved in Alaska to it made it made it possible to go up there. And actually have a legitimate swing fishery for kings exactly you know and and people were using more two handed rods and people were tying more in true to relooking flies you know the giant string leeches like mole leeches and stuff like that kind of were the very first part you know, you know camp flies that we were using because tying intruders was almost taboo and most people made them way too damn big for any client to cats you know and so you know the evolution took a little while to get to the point where you know, like I’ve landed on two and a half three inch flies now and they worked exceptionally well and you know, I caught a caught lots of steelhead on a on an intruder almost seven inches long. But here’s the problem with that is not not only is it a nightmare to cast, but it only appeals to so many fish and that two and a half three four inch fly it appeals to the larger variety of them or majority Have them for sure. You know, lots more dollies. I mean we go out at night had this little competition we called Dolly fest. That was one of the I mean one of the funnest parts of all the river swamp and was Dolly fest going out and just literally destroying Dolly numbers and that’s what it was all about was numbers. It wasn’t about size or anything I I carved this trophy out of a piece of soapstone and he and I would pass it back and forth living in the same house you know it just and and that that also led us to a larger understanding of the fish themselves and where they sat and you know what they were like and when they first came in and you know the difference between like fish in this gadget during ages and the Olympic Peninsula drainage is you learned there were these these vast differences between these two things, these two River drainage is in the same state. You know, the where the fish held, the way they ate to fly the way they moved up the river. I mean, it was all of that Fly made that possible so the guesswork was in the mystery was way less you know we were we were really learning you know just exponentially every single time we fished as a group there was this huge massive learned you know we go up to the marine section fish a little intruder and by the end of the day you know between me Scott Ned the numbers were just ridiculous you know compared to our old days of doing this I mean Pew
Dave S 28:27
so in that so in that good day you’re out there with the interior things are just rocking it well what is a good day on the river up there on the Murray syrup on I mean
it morning fish I mean morning fish. I remember there was a morning bird between Ed and I there was I know that I hooked in landed property six and I lost like 12 Wow. And add landed every single thing he caught. And Scott Scott would leave. Scott would leave before sunup pretty much every day. And there were some days we’d fished together but most days that dude was on foot just terminated. Yeah, and he would come back afterwards. And his toes would be sticking out of his Danner boots all bloody and hammered. And that dude, he landed 15 fish, you know, and we would, we would talk about him, you know, we talked about every single one of them. And the you know, there was always a point where with Ed and I and Scott even to Scott, you almost, you know, we jokingly call them the Terminator light. You know, too much was never enough for that guy. But it’s not true because there was a point where we were like, Okay, this is, you know, we became way more laid back and way more focused on the way that we fished. And if we went out at first light, Ed and I would crash up in the trees just beyond the bar, and we’d sleep for most of the day or we go back to camp and, you know, talk shit, no timer flies and take a big long nap and then go out for the evening session. It really, it really mellowed out our pursuit and and our in it, really, it put a sharp sharp point on our focus and intention, you know, and so it’s It was, you know, it was it kind of it didn’t make it easy, but it made it more understood.
Dave S 30:05
And what mellows you out you’re saying the just the intruder or what, what? meld you guys out there,
the confidence. Yeah, the confidence behind it. The confidence behind it is what really took the intensity out of it. Make no mistake, we still fished really hard in one to see if we could catch more fish in more places more ways, but the level of confidence that you had when you flip that thing into the water was it was crazy talk. You know, we all knew, like I said, we knew that we had something we literally had a secret weapon. It was like I would watch guys fish down to run and watch them walk away and then I would step into the top end of that run. And inevitably, something would come from there. You know it whether it was me or at or thought you knew it, you knew it damn well, you were just like, okay, the fish that didn’t like what they offered is definitely going to eat what we do. You know what I mean? And and it just turned into that You know, and then eventually once it became that, and everybody was fishing to handers, it, it really changed the trajectory of the whole thing you know, but it was, it was also very inspiring and satisfying to see that, you know, the to know that, you know that our little tiny, we were, we were called the testosterone game because of how, you know, intense we were about it by all our peers and a lot of our peers believe that steel heading was a badge of honor. And, you know, it only took it wasn’t until later in life that I realized that this was some this was a form and an idea that had to be shared. And it had to be shared very, you know, intensely and coming from us. So everybody who was had been bitten, like we had been bitten, we could change that learning curve and then minimize that mystery a little bit, you know, because the pursuit is a big part of that for everybody. We didn’t want to take it away. We just wanted them to be more confident in their pursuits, you know, gotcha.
Dave S 32:03
Gotcha. So, so when did the I’m not even sure on the PST the sketch at that brand. Seems like that came out a little later and you weren’t you involved early on that.
Absolutely. Yeah. And and I started the company and, you know, I was the very first person that they brought on board after I met the partners and it uh, you know, and and I, it was, it was a vision and opportunity to create all this stuff we had in our heads. And potentially, I mean, honestly, for me, it really was more about getting Ed paid for the contributions overall into the industry and his true understanding of what we were doing. You know, because like the compact, the ultra compact heads that came out of PST, those were things that we’d been building for years. And, and the idea behind them, you know, these these hydrometer low length lines They create the surface tension on the water. And when you combine that with the tip, that’s how the whole thing was thought of as the entire casting package, this short head, and then the tip section was your total casting package. And that whole thing, if it sat really low in the water, it created free load. And that free load meant that you could fish these much more compact units, and make the rod, you know, load and recover in a really high performance way. And it would still work extremely well under the trees and stuff like that. So that was the idea behind that. And it was, it was an opportunity to create this, this wine that the world just didn’t know they wanted, you know, and I mean, then there were so many people that were, you know, I get it. There’s a lot of people that there’s a lot of followers, and then there’s a lot of there’s a very small amount of people that are actual creators. And so for us, it wasn’t, it was more like Like I said before, it was about it was about going look at this and look at how much easier This is for you. It’s like as a guide, I’ve taken 10 and 15 year old kids who have never touched a two hander stuck a commando in their hands with one of my Renegade rods, and that kid is fishing in the morning. So you know what I mean? And that, that, to me, that carries more weight than all the fish I’ve ever caught. You know, it’s just like, look at this this kid is bit and he’s loving it and he’s actually doing it well, you know, and it’s not it’s not a badge of honor. It’s a you know, it’s a gift if you get to go out to the river and swing flies. Well, good on you, you know, because you’re you’re bit by something that is freakin beautiful in a beautiful place. And the outcome matters to everybody differently. But it really matters, you know, and whether you get something or not, it’s there still the outcome. You spent a beautiful day on the river and hopefully you learned something and evolved a little bit bit, you know, totally,
Dave S 35:01
totally. Yeah, that’s Yeah. I was thinking the example of you guys developing that line, you know, giving the people what they want or what they didn’t know they when I think of the Ford, right Henry Ford example, what’s the only code if if he would have listened to the people, we’d still be driving buggies and wagons. You know, he basically had this idea that nobody thought would would even right and he just came up with this thing. Same thing with Apple. I mean, nobody thought the iPhone was going to be this thing but jobs knew it. He had this idea. Yeah, exactly. You guys are kind of saying I mean, you had this thing and you knew it because it was working and it’s kind of a similar deal. I mean, what I think of I you know, Joe, Joseph Rosana was on recently he was talking about the history of the evolution of steelhead fly design and, and I asked him, I asked him in that interview, I said, I said what is you know, the most important you know, in steelhead fly design over all the years right and he stayed on he said, he said the intruder You know, he said it was the number one thing so when you look back at it other than the intruder, you know what What other major steelhead fly design Do you see back in history? I’m not sure if you’re a steel or a history buff, but what would you look at?
I would still say the intruder Yeah, I mean, the thing is, is that people were dabbling. People were dabbling people were trying things and then giving up on them and and you know, there were guys like, okay, Bob made the big Marabou spiders, that that was the beginning of an idea with the wrong materials. You know what I mean? Marabou is just this destructive material. Yeah. All right. Read in the water one time. Yeah, exactly. The popsicles and john Farrar. Those guys were fishing these really fishy flies. Granted one fish would eat them in the thing would just be you know, dropping pieces all over the place. But it was and that was the thing about the ostriches the ostrich for us, we realized its durability. And so that became the fly, you know, that became the material to use for that fly specifically, you know, the turkey flanks and all that stuff. That was all So part of the game, but it was just about the way those things looked. And that was a buggy feature that couldn’t be ignored. You know, because we were still very buggy in our heads, right? Everything had to be buggy. And so now I hardly ever use it. You know, because I’m and I do I do for my own flies in my composite loop site. I throw some turkey flats and flank feathers and stuff in there. But I don’t really for production stuff with guide plies, things like that. But it I would have to say the intruder the intruder was the effect of that fly was literally worldwide in a way that I couldn’t even explain as a guide. I got to see it ever evolve every single year. And watch these dudes come from Europe and Great Britain with intruders tied on tubes or on Shanks, the classic style and I was just like, I can’t believe this, you know, and then I guided people on the OP much later in my career after the intruder was worldwide. And guys were asking me the same thing. questions you’re asking me? Yeah, you know what I mean? It was just like, How did this happen? Why did this happen? What what are you using? Why are you using this stuff? You know, and it was just like an all they, they it was just curiosity they needed to know more, you know. And so for me, it just opened up this Pandora’s box of creativity after a time that there was a lot of rules and fly tight. You know what I mean? there were all these rules and things that you had to have the tinsel had to be like this, and it had to be done this way. Or it’s not this pattern. And, you know, the fish don’t get, and I’m out there for the fish. I’m not out there for you to like what I do. I’m out there to take all this in. I’m out there to make contact with these beautiful creatures, you know, and so that’s where that was all at and the effect that the intruder had, once the intruder became known, was it was exponential and it was frickin mind boggling to us. You know? And we were like, there it is. We did do something good. You know, there are so Big super good here. Everybody knows about it. So let’s just, you know, let’s just keep it going and let them all wallow in it, you know? And, and like I said, there’s, I can’t that. I mean, the proudest days for me are like thumbing through my Instagram feed and seeing the creations that these guys make. And it’s just like that, that influencing people that way, whether they know it or not, it makes me super freakin happy. You know, I’m always a little bit annoyed when someone calls my dirty Whoa, I’ve been sitting down time, and they’ll walk up and they’ll go, that’s a nice intruder. And I’m like, No, man. Yeah, that is not you know, that’s not an interior, that’s a dirty house. You know, it does a different thing a different way. And it’s an evolution of an idea. You know, it’s another platform, and I don’t, you know, none of them are patterns, do whatever you want on the platforms, but try to be at least slightly, you know, respectful to the platform in the idea and the name You know you can do whatever you want inside of that but those three things were there was a lot of heart and soul by a handful of dudes a gang a tribe if you will that really put their lives in their thinking and you know everything they had into those ideas so that that’s you know that’s a big thing the
Dave S 40:20
the the dirty hell can you describe briefly for somebody who maybe hasn’t seen that fly how that platform all
it is yeah all it is is a solid front shoulder that I started doing the composite hackles or you know the the composite loops on because the the the intruder platforms that to this day they still take me close to 20 minutes to tie the real deal. And when I started tying the the dirty whoa that was that was after fishing for years and years with Ed and Ed fishing a very simplified a porker in a very simplified, streamlined version that I gave him a lot of money. up about because that is one of the most gifted fly tires you’ll ever meet in your whole life. I mean, if you see the guy spin deer hair, you’re just like, what the hell, dude, you know, and, and this was like up in Alaska when we tie walks and stuff out of exclusively deer hair and edge shaving them with a face shaver and a razor blade instead of using scissors, like using rough cut, just cut these things down quickly, and then finish them with a face shaver and a razor blade. It was just, it was ridiculous. And you know, Ed would have a whole box of walks just poof right off the bat, you know, and so I gave him a lot of crap about that. That silly little string leech that caught everything. You know what I mean? And it was skinny. It appealed to the fish in size, but I mean, he would fish some of these things were six, seven inches long, and he caught everything that was in the river, and I was just like, okay, you know, and I had always had a love for string leeches, but they’re always way too heavy. And originally when I first started tying the dirty hose, they were a regular occurrence. quarter inch strips split with the razor blade. So I could minimize the volumes. Right. And then once you know once Sanyo came out with the frickin, you know the micro strips, I was all over those things and pints Squirtle absolutely love pints, girl mink, all those really thin durable strips. Rabbit hair strip, I think there’s very few things in the world is wiggly as a rabbit hair strips and so, you know, the twisted hitch actually rigging the hook or attacking the hook to in a removable replaceable manner to the rabbit strip really kind of made that platform and it carried the swing weight of the hook the way that it swung in very current speeds across the column of water. Everything about that fly and its cast stability, I could hand it to an absolute beginner and they could cast that fly. You know, it’s like a bullet to bullet fly into the air. It’s a bullet sink and in the column and they swing really easy. They rise and sink very predictably, which was a really big deal to me because the intruder with the dumbbell eyes that fly continually dug in, it just dug in and dug in and dug in and being able to drive that fly over the big rocks without jamming it down in the transition was was pretty difficult you know and you would end up kind of compromising your penetration or where you were how you’re how you’re fishing the fly would just get jammed down inside of the transition between the substrate and these big boulder or but the dirty hoe was something Yeah, absolutely. It was something that would drive you just a little bit of tension on the flightline and you would drive it over the boulder because the fly being tied with the with the cone, it would actually start to lift very nicely and it would rise right up over it and as soon as I dropped my rod tip back in its sink right back. Yes. You know that they had to drop in and it seemed like a bullet and get back into the zone where the dirt you know the intruder the dumbbell eyes, they’ll rise and fall a little bit Once that fly is dug in trying to get a dumbbell to rise up and rise up rapidly or in a controlled fashion is almost impossible. You know it’s very very different and once I started guiding I really started to study side by side case study like a guy fish in a dirty Whoa, a dude fishing intruder walk in the high bank watching these dudes fish down through these bolder gardens. And like keep track of how many times the dude with the intruder was snagged. And of course, these guys had to be pretty equal in ability for that to have any, any merit at all. But once I got those, those combinations, I would always do these little case studies and, you know, learn as much as I could from that and watching the way they swam, and so on and so forth. You know, and eventually the dirty hoe became literally the driving force behind all my time. Nice, nice, nice and
Dave S 44:51
I had a question Jacob bargo from the Facebook group had a question about kind of flight choice in different conditions and he was asking You know, that’s one thing I guess, how do you change depending on conditions and the other part of that was do you do swing it butter broadside on the swing?
Straight up? No question, always broadside. I call it controlled. It’s always a controlled broadside. And it’s something that’s very, very achievable with the small lines, the shorter line systems, I’m able to, like I do this tip out technique, which once the flies on the inside where most guys are leading with the rod and the fly has lost all of its animation. It’s just literally sinking to the bottom and you’re dragging the thing to the inside to try to cover the inside lies. Well, what I do is I take the rod tip and once once I’ve started to lose my forward momentum inward towards the beach, I drop the rod tip in the water and start pushing it out towards the middle of the river, and that creates a sail the wind is the river. Your line is the sale and that’s what I’ve always told my clients and so what you want to do is sell your fly across the The column in a controlled fashion from where it lands to where I say it’s done. And where it’s I say it’s done is where the fish is going to actually lay, you know, and those are, the fish sit on the inside way further in most cases will walk and right through where they want to be. And so I want to fish all that first exceptionally well. And so the tip out technique is what allows me to do that. So when conditions as far as fly choice on conditions, I’m always fishing broadside. It’s controlled, it may not be hard, hard, full broadside, but the fly is always in a sideways animated condition. And then as far as flight choice and conditions, that really has to do with your individual confidence, what you feel good about fishing, but what I look at now is more as much as anything else is how the fly the presence of the fly in the conditions and in the column. Like you know, guys talk about dark day dark fly I have never been onto that because it’s tribal knowledge. And I have this problem with tribal knowledge because it’s, I’ve seen it happen. I’ve may not. I’ve seen guys on the river one day start to talk about something. And then next year at the lodge, guys are talking about it. Like it’s some kind of rule. You know what I mean? And it’s just like, No, that’s not what it is. I mean, I’ll be honest, one of my favorite, favorite flies of all time is white. And it always will be and it comes from watching old timers, fish, white flies, and completely blown out conditions and railing on dollies and steelhead. And I started going What the hell is going on here. And that also goes back to my my love for you know, UV materials because this ultraviolet the most reflective thing in the column is white and it doesn’t matter how dirty it is. The most present color is white, and it doesn’t matter how dirty it is. The black fly Yeah, it’s present. It’s okay. You know, it’s, it’s got this in dirty water. Yeah, you can see that. But what’s the most reflective thing we can fish white. And so when you put a white fly in any condition, that fly is illuminated, and they’re completely aware. And here’s the other side of it, it’s that this is where the big movie really came into play. His vision was less of a factor than the lateral line. Because as conditions change for those creatures, and because of the way their eyes are set, they need they use they rely on their lateral lines, their pick up a vibration and just the movement of water as much as they do their ability to see it. You know, does that make sense? Yeah. So being able, being able to like fish something across the column that is moving water, that is wiggling like crazy. That is animated once they actually They feel it before they see it. And once they see it, they want to eat it. And that’s where I’ve always been super hyper focused on that, ever since the, you know, the intruder became, you know, a known pattern that we knew that it worked and then the evolution of all these other ideas and platforms, they all came from that you know, so it’s in conditions there is possible it is possible to fish too big into clear conditions of course, you know, and it’s and it’s possible to fish too bright in those conditions. But, you know, I’ve seen the contrary so many times like, you know, the boba show river in the summertime out on the Olympic Peninsula. The thing is gin clear. I mean, it’s literally gin clear and we fish down through this lie with these nice beautiful little intruders and little white summer, intruders that I call them and they were just you know, those are coastal fish that are six eight miles from the from the salt they just wrote in on the tide. These things hurt. gamer’s right. And some dude finds this huge orange intruder and decides to fish it. And I’d fish through the run a couple other guys of fish to the run. And then I hear Whoo hoo behind me now, that fish could have just moved in, or nothing we had appeal to him. And this giant orange fly. This thing looked like a fire truck rolling down the river. I mean, it was so out of place. It was fun to realize. I mean, it was just offensive, you’d see it land and you’d see the refraction of that fly all the way across the column. And the fish ate it. So it’s, you know, it’s really is it to answer your question, those things are really all about your confidence, you know, what you what you believe in, you know, and what you believe in what you have confidence in what in your box produces for you, you know, but, you know, there there are no rules, that’s the best part of it, right? So try everything, give it all and go you know, and and and walk around. You know, that’s great. Yeah, I was just thinking back again to that George conversation I asked him what one of his butterfly boxes look like and he was talking about how he had a lot of reds in it and we kind of joked about it but what if we look at your fly box right now for winter steelhead does it What does it look like is it have a huge variety and and it that’s and that’s because I guide people that have zero confidence in anything unless it’s black and blue. And when I fish black and blue, it’ll be Jim clear. And I’ll fish black and blue and slightly off colored water, but I lean way more towards it when it’s clear, and that’s only because of my personal experience and success. Fishing that fly in June Clearwater, right? So that’s where it goes back to that confidence thing. But it mine is a variety of colors. And me personally it’s it’s very natural tones, and lots and lots of white variations of white and orange, white and all of white and black. Right, orange, red, you know, so but it’s in, you’d probably be like, if I opened my guide box, it’s all dirty hose and ultra squids because they are super client friendly as far as casting and their ability to hook the fish properly. And the higher odds of them landing them, you know, because the thing about the intruder was is that unless it was built, specifically old school style where the hook pop loose, you lost a lot of fish on that fly. If it’s tied with wire, it might as well just be this giant lever. You know, I can’t even count how many fish I watched jump and spit that fly out, you know, big dumbbell eyes on the front. You know, it’s like a hammer swing, you know, it’s just a lot of leverage.
You know, you had to try to up this, you know, up this productivity level, and that’s where a lot of that evolution came from. That’s it.
Dave S 52:55
That’s it cool. Well, as we, you know, try to wrap this thing up here pretty quick. I just You know, I want to touch on a little bit you have, you know, you’re selling some raw and you have some stuff going, can you just talk a little bit how you you know, the transition from not sure if you’re still guiding now but transition from when you’re at the O PST to now with the company you have going, can you talk a little about what you have going these days?
Um, okay. Yeah. Good question the, the that evolution was a matter of when I left that company, and I left that company for just, you know, differences in professionalism and direction. And, you know, ad EDS participation. It’s not like you sitting at a desk inside that company ads, ads in the Great Lakes taking care of his mom, you know, it was in Wisconsin, and for me, I wanted dad to get paid. And that was my whole goal in that situation. And I just wanted to truly take our ideas and bring them to market
and make as much money as we could to get Ed paid and potentially, I could actually have a job doing Something providing, you know, my ideas and the things I love to the masses. Well, that didn’t work out. And it was really unfortunate To me it was I gave my heart and soul to that I tried everything then within my quiver to make myself fit within that picture that the owners wanted. And, you know, the business partners that they wanted. And so I bailed out. And once I bailed out, I just believed with all my heart that, you know, the reality of the fishing industry was pretty cutthroat. There’s, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of that’s a great idea. Let’s steal that. Okay, no, so I didn’t, I didn’t want to be part of that. That’s not who I am. And Doug bruco approached me. You know, I reached out to my friend, Jeff pure way and said, Hey, dude, let’s build a rod. And Jeff reached out to Doug and then Doug reached out to me, and Doug is Doug is. I mean, Doug brought my face back, you know? I believe in people again, I believe in how good people can be. Doug is such a legit human being. I’m proud to be part of the Aqua fi brand. And I’m also he’s the only reason that all these ideas of mine have come to fruition for the masses. Because, you know, he, he makes sure that he does all the legwork I design, I do the, you know, I come up with the concepts, the ideas, and Doug does all the legwork, and he invests in, you know, does all that stuff to make that stuff come true. And so, Doug bruco took my idea that I was hoping for a PST and made it a reality, you know, and, and the rods that I was designing with pure way. I wanted to be able to create this ultimate fishing tool lineup that literally was a casting partner, not something that you had to go out and buy a line and then be educated by the people who designed it to be able to use it. It was Something that was your casting partner they loaded easy and they had a fast recovery and they were in this ideal length and wait for the purpose you know because I don’t go to the Grand Ron with a 15 foot five weight no you know or even a 12 foot five weight I go there with a short five wait and when I go to the Grand run now I finished my six because my six is the perfect rod for that pursuit all those fish fish fit within that, that rods abilities and all the casting distances that I fish are also within that, you know, I’ve never been a caster Bader for lack of a better word is it’s on the other side of the river we’ll go fish that next fish what’s in front of you? Well, and that’s just the way I looked at it. I outgrew that casting far thing a very long time ago. And the efficiencies of angling were much more important than how far I could cast. You know, and, and but I admire the dudes that can Hawk mega. I really do. Always have, and I always will. I’ve never looked down on them. That’s their prerogative. And that’s the beautiful thing about our pursuit. It’s all about you, you know, you be you and you have a great time. But if you sit in my boat as a guide, and no, I’m not guiding anymore. I retired a few years ago in a pursuit of trying to the it had become very competitive here in the wintertime. And to the point where a lot of the people that most of my client were 90% they were 90% returned, and I didn’t have to advertise at all. And I wasn’t able to give these people the experience they were paying me for, you know what I mean? And so it turned into a thing where I would much rather just do this for myself and not take their money. And I know that all of these people have learned enough from me that they’re more than self capable. You know, I know that every single person who sat in my boat except for a very small percentage over and over over the years, are they can go out by themselves and be successful. You know, and it really boiled down to a lot of the people that came back. We just wanted to spend time together and they became really good friends of mine. So it was, you know, that was that was that part and coming back to, you know the transition between Oh PST and Jerry French fly fishing. The you know, Doug was a big fan and a believer in what I was doing. And so you know, he took it upon himself to make a platform for me to do what I do, and that’s what Jerry French fly fishing is it’s there’s no gimmicks they’re just real products that I use. He let me design a new fly or a new hook. He let me design new Shanks my Shanks are the Shanks that I want to tie on. It’s not just a shank and they’re all beautiful, you know, the upturn dies. All of the returned I hooks are tapered, they’re tapered shank so you can tie a beautiful intruder with a small head. It’s not going to cut your thread and it is a beautiful Hook, and the round eye hooks are all for your beat applications, you know, up and down the gamut from trout size all the way up to mega cones, you know. So they’re all there in a variety of lengths. The Ultra rig are for those real discerning clients, the real discerning people who have had a lot of really bad experiences with wire, and they, they want to finish a rigid hook rigging rigid yet flexible hook rigging that is not going to break and it will work the same every single time. If you use it right or do it right, it’s going to be you’re going to end up with this beautiful hook right in the corner of the mouth and that you’re not going to lose them. The Fly has, you know, that has the same playability as it would if it had just a Dacron loop back there. You know and the combination of the Dacron and very flexible tubing over the top created this ideal condition of a rigid application with all the flexibility you would ever want. Once you hook a fish, you know, and it’s not gonna break. I mean, I can’t even count how many books I’ve lost on that on a wire application. So there was something in my book that had to be changed. And so, you know, Doug doing all the work, and I get in a reality to a royalty check. And, you know, we talk a lot on the phone, and, you know, we’re constantly, you know, blah, blah, but he’s, he’s been incredibly good to me and made this really easy for me to do. And that’s really what I was looking for. And so, you know, I, every day I sing his praises, and I, you know, I work very hard for that guy. So it’s cool. No, it sounds like a amazing and I think,
Dave S 1:00:40
yeah, we ran into each other just briefly at IFTTT, but you know, I’ve been seeing your name out there and stuff and obviously, you know, your name is a big David, you know, I could I could ask this next question to you just as easy but I’ll I’ll kind of pointed towards Ed because ed is a pretty seems like a hard guy. He’s a pretty quiet guy, you know? Um, what do you think? You know, what do you think people get wrong about Ed?
There, there might be this thinking that ad is arrogant, and is one of the most generous, caring human beings I’ve ever met my life. It’s just a matter of and it goes for me too. I have a lot of acquaintances in life, and a very small core group of friends. And I’m, that that’s who he is to add is, it is he doesn’t have an arrogant bone in his body. He’s incredibly confident. He’s incredibly humble, and, and incredibly skilled and intelligent. I mean, I’m all constantly blown away by the things that will tell me and I’m just like, How in the hell do you know that? You know, and he’ll tell me what I was in the Navy. I studied it. I’m just like, dude, that’s so damn cool. You know, and it was just, he, he’s his influence. Once you get to know And his influence and his true understanding of so many things is really kind of mind boggling. I don’t, there’s in my lifetime if I tried as hard as I could, I couldn’t hold a candle to the type of person and how much he knows, you know what I mean, his experience and the way he sees things, Ed, like Ed took notes of stuff and was committed to a concept like the whole ultra shortline concept. That that is all add. Now my understanding of it is, is as I would say, as in depth as his but his the he was literally the driving force behind that he could see before it even was a thing, what it was and what how capable it was. And so as we moved into the shorter rod world, Ed never fished anything over 13 feet and was fishing shorter and shorter rods all the time. I mean, I wouldn’t say he fished anything over 12 feet. He was fishing shorter. Shorter rods all the time building a new line almost every single night, he would we’d come home, and he would sit down and make some adjustment on a fly line or build an entirely new one, and then go out to the river The next day, and fish that thing and be like Dude, cassis and you just be like what, you know, easy, it’s ridiculous, you know? And he was like, Yeah, but look how look at the line speed and the tightness of the loop and, you know, all that stuff, it would all just, you know, exponentially build up. his commitment to that idea was, was what really made me commit to the idea as well. You know, it was obvious that it was that was the way to go, you know, shorter shorter rods, ultra short line systems, and the whole outcome was a much more fishable package. That was easy. For you know, for the end game. Let’s say it was super easy to teach. You know, really,
Dave S 1:03:56
I think the biggest thing I think that’s what you guys were a part of what you did You know, and you already said it, but that was one of the biggest thing it took steelhead fishing, because I remember I was always a single hand caster. And, you know, it was just sometimes it was a struggle and you guys made you just like you said, you can take that kid and within an hour or whatever, he could be catching steelhead and and I mean, that’s as big as anything. That’s what you guys did. You made it for almost you made steel fishing for the masses pretty much.
Absolutely. I mean, you know, I’ve heard people say you could never guide people into steel head without the CAD SketchUp concepts. You know what I mean? You just you couldn’t do it. And but you could, but it would take a much larger learning curve, you know, for sure. It’s like, you know, it’s those. And it started as a super selfish pursuit and then became entirely by the people for the people. You know what I mean? It’s and that’s a beautiful thing. It really is and it and I can’t, like I said, I can’t be prouder than I am to see, you know, I just got an email from a guy who has his entire quiver. Are all Renegade rods and it’s because that dude’s drank the Kool Aid, you know, he’s and he he gets to go out and every, every, every place he uses those rods whether he’s fishing for kings on the Skinner in Alaska, he my Renegade is working for him, you know, and he knows that and feels that and appreciates that it it fights fish really good because of the flex of the rod. I mean, it just goes on and on that dude, he drank the Kool Aid. And he just he just wanted to he just did the last email was like dude, I need a five Wait, and I’m thinking about your four year five. And I’m like my five Wait, you want my five wait for what you’re what you’re describing. That is the rod, the length, the weight of the rod. If you you know if we ever get around to making a legitimate fighting handle or a two handed handle for that thing, which I believe Doug is trying to do, or was trying to do before this craziness hit the handles on my single handed rods are all removable and If, and I only cast those rods, I cast them single hand style because they’re a single handed rod and I can cast as far as I want, and casting him with the two hands is just not biomechanically efficient. So it’s like, I don’t I’m not concerned with casting it with two hands, but there are other people that do. And so we’re trying to make a three inch but for that rod, and that way guys can screw out the little fighting butt and literally put in a second handle on the bottom, you know, so they can cast those rods two handed style, you know, and, and when I do cast them two handed style, I just call it the two finger but and I use two fingers on them because it it doesn’t take a whole lot of bottom hand to know make that thing hook, you know. So that’s where I’m at with that. Yeah, but primarily, it’s, you know, it’s all single hands gadget stuff. That’s it. That’s it.
Dave S 1:06:50
Well, one last big one for you here, Jerry. You know, I’m not sure if it sounds like you’re maybe in your mid 50s. Now somewhere in that range as far as 3535 perfect. So when you look back at your 25 year old self, and I’m not sure where you’re at in this evolution of everything here, but would you have any words of advice for that 2025 year old kid back Back in the day, knowing what you know now?
Yeah, I would be like, keep your mouth shut. Right, you know? Yeah, I would I would be I would be way more. I would probably be more secretive, in the sense that there’s probably more we could have learned and shared later. But I’ve, I’ve always been very like, people, okay. People would always say, Tell us how you really feel Jerry. That’s that was what was known about me. I’ve always been the kind of person that if I had a problem with you, you absolutely knew about it. And I was more than happy to attack you and tell you how I actually felt and that was, that’s a product of where I come from the way I was brought up and so on, but the And then a lot of negative stuff have has evolved from me being that way. Okay, so I would just be more like just be keep it to yourself and be Keep your mouth shut. Because I’ve always been super humble. And I’ve always been generous. And so it was, you know, I didn’t, I wasn’t arrogant about my shit. I just was very vocal about it. And so, and you know, and it sometimes could be violent, it depended on the scenario, but it the bottom line was, is it would just be keep my mouth shut, and just be quiet. You know what I mean? Just carry quiet confidence instead of being who I was when I was 25 you know, I was, but when I was 25, I was very, very hyper focused on fishing. And within the fishing world is where I existed. I rub shoulders with people, you know, on the lateral parts of the world, you know, that I, you know, I had opinions about and things I said and Things I wish I didn’t say so, you know, that’s, that’s where I’d be it would just be, you know, be quiet and do more listening, less talking.
Dave S 1:09:09
How would you say this is kind of a big question we probably can’t dig all into it, you know, but you, you know, you’re an industry. You’ve been in the industry. And so I mean, what what would you change about the industry? You know, the fly fishing industry? I mean, it sounds like there’s some good and bad Of course, there’s lots of great people and stuff, but anything come to mind that you Oh, yeah,
yeah. There’s, there’s so many great people and but it you know, that’s, that’s a really, really hard question. I mean, I could, I would probably need a lot more time than we have to be able to give you a legitimate answer, but it the evolution of, Okay, I like to tell my clients that for 30 years, we’ve been hyper focused on the same thing. And the industry is coming up with something new for you to buy every year. Right. And that that’s really how I feel about that. It’s like, I’m not I don’t have anything negative to say about the industry and the people in the industry, because most of these people are my friends. You know, and they evolved in that direction. And, you know, there’s guys that are the high ends of things. And it’s like, you know, I feel like, I kind of feel like as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been excluded from things because of the whole social media thing and how much I’m involved in it, but the reality of it is, I’m still as innovative and creative as anybody, you know, and I, and I know that because I’m applying myself to it, you know, and I and I spend times with the younger generation, and everybody’s feeding off of everybody else. They’re not innovating, they’re just copying, you know, and so it’s like, and a lot of it’s not beneficial. I mean, it’s, it’s really not a lot of it is just, it’s like trendy, that just goes from year to year and disappears, you know, so it’s like, you know, just some more reality, some more hyperbolic Focus on really helping the people and not so much helping yourself. You know, if I had to really put a point on it, you know, I’ve been, I’ve been so hyper focused on in my latter years once I realized what we had to share as much as I could and to minimize the learning curve and mystery for those that came to me for help. And anybody that was interested, you know, and then I think that that’s where, that’s the beauty of what we do. And I really hope that, you know, the, my willingness and my giving this would translate into loyalty and following, you know, but that’s not really how it works. It doesn’t and so I’m okay with that. I really am. I’m okay with that. And if you climb on board, if you drink the Kool Aid, then we’re in the same tribe. You know, and we speak the same speak, and we’re, you know, we’re getting along and there’s a lot of people in this world and that are just trying to sell you something and don’t have an original thought to save their lives. You know what I mean? So it’s like, that’s where I’m at. And and I’m happy being that guy that is. I mean, if we were better businessmen, we would run this industry, or so if we were better businessmen. But we’re not. We’re fishermen. We’re innovators. That’s where it came from. I mean, that’s why Doug makes all the decisions about things. Yeah. You don’t ask me. Where’s the better place to sell stuff? No, I don’t. I’ve never put any thought to any of that. But I’ll I’ll talk about fly concepts and hook angled designs, and, you know, Rod blanks and all that stuff all day long. But don’t ask me anything about business. You know, I mean, I don’t know, lodge in Alaska, and I’d be really worried about my summer season right now. But I’d be stoked that I owned a lodge in Alaska. You know what I mean? So, but it’s just the way it goes. And I’m super happy to be here. Make no mistake. Yeah. And that
Dave S 1:12:54
that’s been reinforced by other guests we’ve had on this show, you know, when we’ve talked about that before. I think I just think back to one I think echo. Um, I can’t remember it’s we’ve had a couple of echo, you know, conversations, but I think they talked about that, you know, where they don’t necessarily make a new rod every single year, you know, they kind of have their line and right and they’re sticking with it and there’s no reason to come out with a brand new rod every year. So I think yeah, that’s been reinforced for sure. So I appreciate that.
Yeah, I mean, it’s you know, you have concepts you believe in and you need to push those concepts you know
Dave S 1:13:30
well, Jerry, we’re we’ve definitely had a we’ve pushed you here on time. We’ve covered some stuff left some stuff on the table, I’m sure but in the next you know, six to 12 months anything you want to know coming up with them you know, obviously we got this craziness with a lockdown. But after that anything with your, your company, you want to give us a heads up or anything you have going personally?
Well, if anybody’s you know, what I would like to bring up is if it actually comes to fruition, I’m going to be hosting trips for Troy dedmon no grand right. angler Ron the grand lon River. Yeah. And if you want to come and you know, I’ll, I’ll share everything I can with you. And if you want to float one of the most beautiful river valleys planet, yes. It’s like, I mean, there’s wildlife everywhere and super good conversation is going to be amazing food and awesome, you know, and Troy’s a glorious human being. So yeah, I pushed that. And if you know if you want to just go to Troy’s website, the grand Ron angler and sign up for my week and I’ll I’ll we’ll have a great great time. I promise, man. Yeah, that that anyway, super great to talk to you, man.
Dave S 1:14:36
Yeah, it’s been it’s been fun. Jerry, Hey, I just wanted to let you go get out of here. Just want to you know, thank you, obviously, you know, you’ve been you’ve influenced me and you know, like so many people out there. So, you know, I think that like you said in the industry that the fact that you’ve got all these new people into fly fishing, I just think it’s such a good thing because you know, in the steelhead, right because that one person that caught their first deal. Why because they used an intruder. Shorter rod, you know, I mean that person is going to give back to, you know, steelhead for years and years to come. So yeah, just want to thank you for everything you’ve done.
My pleasure, man. Absolutely.
Dave S 1:15:11
So there you go. If you want to find all the links and all the show notes we covered today go to wet fly swing comm slash 139 a reminder on the new podcast that’s out now, outdoors online CO, the marketing podcast to help elevate your outdoor business online. It’d be great to have you over there to check out if you haven’t had a lesson yet. Thanks again today for stopping by looking forward to catching up too soon. Hope to maybe see you online or on the river.
Unknown Speaker 1:15:37
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Conclusion with Jerry French
Jerry French tells the story of why the intruder came to be and how they developed the fly, rods and specialized lines that revolutionized steelhead and salmon fly fishing. The Commando line is still one of the most popular and easiest to start with.