SmithFly Stream Team Growing by leaps and bounds… here are the new additions.


So after the AMAZING response from my partnership with the The Fiberglass Manifesto for the Stream Team giveaway, we thought there were some more people, in addition to Grand Prize winner Mr. Nick Bertrand, that we would add to the list of ambassadors on the Stream Team.

So without further adieu, I am pleased to announce the new additions to the SmithFly Stream Team.

Brent Wilson – Uprising Blog
Chase Hundley – Feathers and Scale
Geoff Pratt – Global Fisher
Henry Jackson – Flint River Kayak Fishing
Jason Tucker – Fontinalis Rising
Jay Eubanks – The Naturalists Angle
Brian Kozminski – True North Trout
Mike Sepelak – Mike’s Gone Fishing… Again.
Dave Zielinski – The Happy Trout Chronicles
Rick Mikesell – Trout’s Fly Fishing

Please pay a visit to their sites and read up.

It’s all good stuff!

Thanks guys.

A Deliberate Life

As a small start up company SmithFly doesn’t get the opportunity to really “support” much of anything. So when Matt Smythe aka fishingpoet and founding member of Silo4 approached me about helping out with a film project they were working on, there was an easy answer, “Hell’s yeah.”

It helped that the very premise of the work is exactly the same point of origin that compelled me to put needle to fabric and start making some stuff.

To live deliberately.

This is just some truly spectacular work going into this and I’m honored to be mentioned in there along with some other great brands providing support.


SmithFly 2X Pouch to the rescue

New Stream Team member Henry Jackson sent a note about how he is using his 2X pouch this weekend.

A delayed departure for a four day backpacking trip had me looking over my gear, scratching my head over what could be left behind or rearranged, and after making a few modifications I was relatively satisfied with everything but my medical kit. That’s not unusual, as a Wilderness-EMT I’m quite picky about my medical gear and am never happy with the mass produced first aid kits out there. Then I noticed my 2x Pouch peeking at me from across the room and the idea hit like a rock to the head; it’s the perfect med bag for a short backpacking trip! I know the tough material won’t give out on me, the large center pocket holds all manner of trauma pads, gloves, moleskin, ace bandages, and rolls of tape, and the outside pouches are perfect for stuffing full of standard over-the-counters. Better yet, the fastening straps on the rear of the 2x Pouch allow me to strap it to the outside of my pack where it’s quickly accessible, much better than having to dig it out from the bottom of a 65-liter pack while a buddy is bleeding. Now fully satisfied and quite pleased with myself, one last stroke of brilliance snuck out of my brain. If the El Poquito will hold pliers, I bet it would hold trauma shears too….yep, perfect fit. And, better yet, it straps directly to the front of the 2x so my shears will be in easy reach should the need to expose an injury arise.

The versatility of SmithFly gear is insane and I’ve never been happier with mine! With a little thought and some ingenuity this gear can do anything and it’s made-in-the-USA toughness can be counted on not to let you down! Whether your totin’ fly boxes, lunch, medical supplies, or any of your other gear, SmithFly has got you covered!

We are very excited to have a quite a few new additions to the Stream Team ranks and unfortunately I’m sadly delinquent in announcing those.
I’ll get those posted in the next few days.


SmithFly Stream Team TFM contest winner announced.

Despite the recent lull in activity here at the Fiddle and Creel, I have been REALLY busy with a ton of stuff and the time is really flying by.

Outside of a heavy workload at the day job, manditory overtime, Karate and flag football for the youngster and a quick trip to Steelhead Alley for the Central Basin Steelhead show, I’ve been busy with an inbox stuffed to the gills with responses to The Fiberglass Manifesto’s SmithFly Stream Team Contest.

All I can say is wow, I’m humbled at the level of interest and quality of submissiosn that came in. THANK YOU soo much to everyone that submitted, it’s great to see such excitement and enthusiasm for the SmithFly products. Initially we thought there would be only one winner, but there were a handful of submission that we thought good enough to land folks a spot on the on the team in addition to the winner. So while they may not get the whole bag and kit etc,  they deserve a spot on the team. Look for a post in the next few days  with the details on all that. The Stream Team is growing by leaps and bounds!

Nick’s submission is below as it appears on the Fiberglass Manifesto. Thanks to Cameron for running a great give away! Good work.

The winner is…

SmithFly Stream Team Winner

Nick Bertrand of Siren Flies was chosen as the winner, not only as a fly angler but also the work that he does as a fish biologist.  Congrats.

Angler and Biologist

Here is Nick’s submission for the SmithFly Stream Team…

Dear Ethan,

I’m seeking to join your SmithFly Stream Team for two reasons.  First, I am an avid fly fisherman and fly tyer developing a blog centered on Texas Fly Fishing and Fly Tying. The second, and I feel more vital reason I am seeking your aid, is my profession as a fish biolgist.  I am finishing up my Masters of Science at Texas A&M University.  My thesis is a description of the evolutionary patterns of heterodonty in fishes.  Heterodonty is the presence of more then one tooth type in the jaws of an animal.  Humans like most mammals are heterodonts.  However, this character has been very poorly studied in bony fishes.  My research has shown there are atleast fifteen tooth types in fishes which is immense compared to the four tooth types mammals possess (molars, canines, incisors, and premolars).  Preliminary results of my evolutionary study of teeth shows that the different types of teeth as well as the different combinations of teeth have evolved multiple times in very distantly related groups of bony fishes.

Fish Teeth

I’m sure your wondering what kind of game fish are heterodonts.  Just name a few…redfish, grouper, surf perch, and sheepshead are all heterodonts.  Additionally, my written contribution to the dental systems of fishes will be the largest review of the topic since 1845.  To put that date in context, Sir Richard Owen, who wrote the last major work, literally had tea with Charles Darwin.  The data for this research is driven by two sources.  The first source is active collection of fish specimens from the wild.  Such field work requires a mobile means of transporting equipment from site to site and an efficient way to organize it to specific field research needs.  SmithFly gear offers an excellent means to organize and keep my field gear mobile.  As just one example, often genetic samples are taken along with preservation of the whole specimen.  The two samples require different chemicals and different tools to take the sample.  This means I carry two different tool sets for each task with me on the water.  For genetic samples we often carry many small tubes and keep them on our person in case something unexpected shows up in our nets.  The second way I acquire information about the teeth of different species is to visit research collections in Museums.  Last year I was awarded a grant to visit the Smithsonian and I have applied to visit the American Museum of Natural History in New York this year.  These trips are actually more intensive in terms of the equipment I must have on my person.  When working at museums out side of Texas I have carry all the dissection equipment I could possibly need such as photography equipment and all my data recording devices (laptop,notebook, etc).  In places like Washington D.C. and New York public transportation means that I carry everything on my person everyday to and from the museum.  Additionally I have two more planned trips to make to museums in Texas.  Thus the SmithFly gear will aid in visits to both the field and research collections. 

The modular system your equipment provides will allow me tailor my bags for each kind of trip and organize the many different items I need for my research.  I have attached my CV and photo of some various fish teeth. I have begun a fly tying blog as well. I would be happy to review any gear you provide on here and I could also review it in terms of scientific use in light of my research. 

Beaver Island Trip Report

As I wrote in my little manifesto last year for Gray’s,  fly fishing to me, is in large part a pursuit of perfection. Not really an achievable goal, but none the less, generally what we are after when we are out there.

The perfect conditions, the prefect light, the perfect hatch, the perfect fly, the perfect drift, the cast, the fish, take, eat, run, fight, release.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Beaver Island, Michigan is a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of it’s perfect parts. I’m not sure what makes it such a special place butI’ll try to elaborate a little. I fished two days with Steve Martinez of Indigo Guide Service, the only way to go, and well worth it.

The first day of fishing my 7 year old son came along and the next day the venerable Jason Tucker author of the Fontinalis Rising blog joined me. You’ll see Steve, my son and Jason in the pics below.

Cameron Mortensen of TFM did a spectacular job on an overview of Beaver Island so I won’t go into to much of that, I’ll try to cover the more tertiary stuff in a sketchy form.

The island is equal parts Northern Exposure and Bahamian Dreamscape.

The town, calling it that is a stretch, it’s more like a hamlet nestled comfortably into the landscape around a protected harbor. One grocery store, a couple places to eat, a hardware store owned by the island’s veterinarian. A medium sized dock, a couple boat ramps, a ferry landing and a few small boats bobbing in the breeze.

Once out of the town all roads turn to gravel quickly and the cottages become more widely spaced. The dense north woods fills in the gaps between the houses and keeps the sun hidden for the most part. It’s a sandy existence with a dense cover of ferns on the floor. For being so near to the mainland and my house, I was surprised at the level solitude. It’s only 8 hours from my house in the heart of overpopulated southwestern Ohio, but it feels like another planet.

While walking on the beach we usually only saw one other person the ENTIRE day. More deer, turkeys, and pine squirrels than people. Thankfully, the people seem to have respect for other’s desire to be secluded, which makes for an even more secluded feeling, bonus.

And then there’s the Beaver Island car wave. We took our car over on the ferry. Be prepared, everyone waves at you when you pass them in another car. It took me a few dozen times to figure out they weren’t just mistaking me for someone else. Everyone just waves to other drivers, like a Jeep wave for everybody. It’s that kind of place. Not like any other place on earth.

Knee deep crystal clear water extending as far as you can see. Big carp, willing to eat a fly and take you for a ride. Affordable rentals.  Graylight 4:30 am. and 11:00 pm. Solitude. Smallmouth. Pike. Deer. Turkeys. Loons. Ferns. Sand.

What’s not to like, or love even.

My wife and I spent an entire week on Beaver Island with two sets of grandparents and two young boys and we are already trying to figure out how to do two weeks next year.

I’ll post a more scenic pic set later after I edit those.

A podcast interview with yours truly on Midcurrent about SmithFly, check it out…

The podcast interview I did with Tim Romano for Midccurrent is up over here. Check it out…

Ethan Smith gives MidCurrent the skinny on his new fishing gear company SmithFly Designs and why he chose to go with a modular system that is made completely in the US.

Ethan—whose career as a very successful graphic artist gave him the visual tools but not all of the the hands-on experience—says, “I started sewing prototypes myself and sorta had my mother-in-law help me out and show me how to sew, then started talking to contractors and just took it from there”

“The only sewing left in the US are military-based contractors and they are sewing for the government,” he continues.  ”It was sort of a natural fit that when I started looking for contracts here in the US that the modular system just seemed to go along with what those guys were doing….”

I’ve been off the grid fishing carp on Beaver Island, will post a trip report here soon.

Switch Belt Video – Modular Fly Fishing Gear, Made in the USA

I hit the water this afternoon and got into some good smallmouth action. The inner tube hatch was in full force, so in between drunken yodels and splashing events, I did manage to have some fun.

Before we hit the water I had the boys shoot some video of me getting ready to demonstrate the Switch Belt. I edited it together this evening see below.

My wife was surprised not to see any “on the water” actual fishing footage of 3lb smallies crushing poppers, but you don’t think I’m giving away my honey holes in video format do you? Of course not! Dream on.

You want to see where I fish, you can find me on the river.