Tag Archives: February

Fish Hard, Pack Well

Our annual fishing trip to the North Platte River occurred at the end of March.  I am always thrilled to join my friend Chad Butler and his famous father, Joe Butler, on a journey to rainbow trout paradise.  I make certain to bring a good bottle of scotch along with some tasty cigars; key assets that ensure the yearly invitation.

Fly fishing this world class fishery just outside of Casper, Wyoming is the type of vacation you begin dreaming about just hours after you leave the prior year.  We begin planning the journey just before the New Year.  In February, each person purchases 50 flies that replicate the 50 flies you bought the prior year.  The five hour drive to Wyoming from Colorado is spent talking about strategy, fly selection, river flows and the opportunity to hook into a 25”+ fish.  The weather is volatile; sunny and 60 one day, 32 and snowy the next.  The only thing that is consistent is the ever present wind that blows hard from dawn to dusk.  We faced a new challenge in 2011; a river constantly flowing at 3,200 CFS.  This is ten times the normal surge from the dam, and we worried about the impact on the fish and our ability to get to them.

Packing properly is critical when preparing for a multi-day adventure.  We fish all day, every day so you have to be equipped to endure all weather conditions.  For me this includes bringing:

2 pair of Under Armor ColdGear Base Legging
2 pair of Nike Pro Gear Base Layer Shirt
2 pair of  Smartwool OTC Extra-Heavyweight Hunting Socks
1 William Joseph Runoff Jacket
1 Sage Skagit River Softshell Jacket
1 Simms Gore-Tex ExStream Hat
1 William Joseph Access Chest Pack
1 Pair of Orvis River Guard Easy-On Brogue Boots
1 Pair of Cabela’s Gold Medal Dry Plus Waders
1 Pair of Lucky jeans with an assortment of tee shirts, sweatshirts and boxers
2 Elkhorn Rods

  • 1 Joe Butler Series (9 foot, 5 and 6 weight)
  • 1 Traveler Series (9 foot, 5 weight)
2 Elkhorn Reels

  • T2 Series

This year I purchased William Joseph Odyssey travel bag to carry everything listed above.  Here is my review:

Criteria Thoughts
Date Purchased March, 2011
Price Paid $199.95
Manufacturer Description Finding the perfect Honey Hole often requires a fair amount of mobility. The Odyssey is flagship of our new series of “get you anywhere and throw in anything travel bags”. Willy J has now brought carrying your gear to far off destinations easier than ever. The Odyssey has enough room for multiple rods, reels, waders, boots, clothing, etc. Add in a telescopic handle and some wheels and you are rolling- no really.
Looks Not that it matters, but the bag is sharp.  I like the olive and tan colors with the dark grey highlights.  You won’t be embarrassed when the Odyssey works its way around the baggage carrousel.
  • Construction is solid.  Reinforced stitching binding together durable material makes the bag extremely rugged.  This bag will last for years.
  • The telescopic handle, roller wheels and hand straps are useful when lugging around a ton of stuff.
  • There are many zippered compartments that can be utilized to store almost anything, and these pockets allow me to stay organized.
  • There is a lower section that is separate from the main compartment and holds my waders, boots, rods and reels.  I can put wet stuff in this partitioned area, and it will not drench my dry clothing
Would I Buy it Again? Absolutely.  The Odyssey works for me.  I threw 5 days of clothing and gear into the bag then tossed it in the back of my buddy’s truck.  It snowed on the way home, and my stuff stayed dry.  I travel often and can say that the Willy J Odyssey is a great piece of luggage.

The 2011 North Platte fly fishing trip was an unmitigated success.  Apricot and green eggs along with a trailing flashback pheasant tail (or flashback hair’s ear) were the flies of choice.  We all caught a ton of big bows, some 25” and larger.  I can’t wait until next year.

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