Blog

Bike-Camping is the fusion of a love of riding bikes and a lifetime of exploring wild places. I have always had a restless spirit and down-time has never been my forte. A number of years ago fly fishing caught my attention as an exciting and different way add purpose to my vagrant ways. Fly fishing was immediately the perfect pairing with the backroads and remote cycling trips on my list.  

I think that most would agree that the common denominator for two-wheeled travellers is that it gets you outside, slows you down, thus allowing us to see new place and meet new people with a refreshing openness.

2016_Swift_Stargazer_05_27_0056

I discovered that fishing is extension of these notions, and more. Learning to fly fish is a process of cultivating patience. As it turns out, fish don’t just come to your beckon call, and the best anglers seem to approach fishing as an inter-disciplinary art. Much like on bike trips you need to slow down and step back to observe the place you are. I love the concentric circles of observation required by fishing: reading the river, theorizing and learning what is at work under its surface, and walking the length of stream or river to trace a less conventional path away from camp. One’s curiosities need to touch on fish ecology, learning where they live, what and how they eat, and when they might be around.

Then, of course, there is casting–a process of precision, fluidity and adaptation according to the conditions of each body of water one explores. Casting a fly rod is not rocket science but does require practice and research

Hone your skills at home! Head to a park with a good open space on grass and get a sense for the motion and rhythm of casting. Don’t use a fly with a hook to practice–you don’t want to snag a curious kid or dog. Casting lessons have been really valuable as I’ve learned how to fish, and the interweb is loaded with expertise.

Fly fishing is overflowing with theory, methodology and equipment that stem from different regions and approaches all over the world. Sure, that diversity can make for an inundation of information, but it’s also the really intriguing result of local knowledge and age-old practice.

2016_Swift_Stargazer_05_27_0058

I discovered a Japanese style of fly-fishing called Tenkara, which is a little easier to learn than a traditional Western style rod. It was love when I realized that Tenkara’s minimal set-up is perfect for bike-fishing. The rods are telescoping and work by simply tying the appropriate line and fly to the end of the rod. Here’s what I take along for Tenkara fishing:

 

Tenkara Rod

Fly line and Tippet

Flies

IMG_2982

You’re probably most used to a traditional Western fly rod set-up. The anatomy of the Western set-up doesn’t deviate much and always includes a rod, reel, and corresponding line, leader and tippet. It’s the length, the amount of flex and the weight of the rods that differ according to what you are fishing for.

My Redington 5wt, 6 piece Classic Trout Travel Rod is my set-up of choice on bike-camping and hiking trips. This model breaks down smaller than other rods, making it easier to carry in a pack or on your bike. In addition to the rod, pack a variety of flies, extra tippet, and forceps for removing and crimping the barb on your hooks.

When getting started you will probably be fishing in the summer making wading in the water easier without waders and boots. All you need is some footwear you don’t mind getting wet. If the water is really cold, which it often is, you can carry a pair of neoprene socks to help keep your feet warm.

 

Parts of a Western Rod Set-Up:

Rod

Reel

Fly line, Leader, Tippet

Flies

IMG_2986

What’s in my universal kit?

Forceps

A small fly box

Extra Tippet

Extra leaders

Floatant

Fishing License 

 

Now that we’ve covered some basic set-ups, the natural next question is about how to select flies. One chooses flies according to what variety of fishing you’re after, the river and region you’re in, and the season when you’re fishing. While you’ll begin to recognize some of the most versatile flies by name, there is no complete and failsafe kit that covers every river’s bases.

Your local fly shop, or the outfitters where you are travelling, are the best resources for flies. Don’t be shy–the most experienced anglers know to ask for tips from fellow anglers. Expect to bring a variety of flies on any outing and swap them out to feel out the river.

Witnessing your first insect hatch usually opens the rabbit hole to discovering your inner entymologist. Fly fishing is greatly aided by understanding insect life cycles and the variety of edibles that catch a fish’s eye.

14915285920_2143b8988d_o

You’ll see a variety of great bike-fishing set-ups. The Zeitgeist Saddle Bag is a nearly perfectly adapted fly fishing bag, and coupled with a front basket or Ozette Rando Bag you’ll be able to explore forest service roads and trails to access peaceful and remote sections of your local rivers. Follow along as Russ and Laura of Path Less Pedaled hone the ultimate bike-fishing configuration on their new Rod and Road feed.

15078927306_1799fa1d6f_o

Fly fishing is a really exciting way to extend your adventures while biking. By keeping it simple you won’t add a lot of weight or bulk to your bike-camping set-up. Enrich your lunch breaks or campsite time by exploring creeks, rivers and lakes while you travel.

Tag your photos from Swift Campout with #BikeFishingCampout to enter to win rods from Redington and Tenkara Rod Co.! Your photos don’t need to be fishing-specific. Any of your Solstice weekend photos are perfect submissions. We just want to make sure that this amazing gear ends up in a bikefishing-curious home.

Are we reeling you in? We’ve got you covered in our Adventure Store! A selection of Tenkara Rod Co. goods are in stock and ready for your next trip. Once you’ve got your bikefishing kit, check out our favorite online resources for beginner anglers:

We think that our neighbors at Redington nail the basics of fly fishing with their New To Fly? series! 

Then, catch up with our friends at Tenkara Rod Co. for a quick guide to their set-up. It really is this easy:

 

You’ll recognize the name Orvis! They have great resources and a killer podcast that keeps me learning with Tom Rosenbauer who is the official podcast host voice in our kitchen most winter evenings. How to fly fish

Good Friends Russ and Laura of Path Less Pedaled have been bike traveling and fly fishing for a while now. Check out there helpful how-to’s on their blog.

 

You’ll recognize the name Orvis! They have great resources and a killer podcast that keeps me learning with Tom Rosenbauer who is the official podcast host voice in our kitchen most winter evenings. How to fly fish


Join Swift Industries, Path Less Pedaled and Tenkara Rod Co. for a day of Bike Fishing at the Stay Wild Expo in Portland Oregon this August! Click below to learn more and to register.

1446676385944

and! many thanks to Tenkara Rod Co and Redington for supporting Swift Campout with prizes!

Tag your photos from Swift Campout with #BikeFishingCampout to enter to win rods from Redington and Tenkara Rod Co.! Your photos don’t need to be fishing-specific. Any of your Solstice weekend photos are perfect submissions. We just want to make sure that this amazing gear ends up in a bikefishing-curious home.

SocialSwiftCampout1