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Fishing and Conservation, with Garden & Guns David DiBenedetto

Description: This week, my guest is Dave DiBenedetto, Editor-in-Chief of Garden & Gun Magazine, who is a lifelong fly fisher. If you read the magazine, you can see that they frequently publish fly-fishing stories, and also that they stress conservation. In their latest issue, they make public their Champions of Conservation Awards, which go to people who are making a difference at the grassroots level in all areas of conservation. Recipients range from Capt. Bennie Blanco in the Florida Everglades; to Savi Horne, who works to keep agriculture sustainable for Black farmers; to Dr. Jennifer Rehage, who has discovered shocking levels of pharmaceuticals in Florida's bonefish population—and seven other fascinating individuals who have made a difference. We also talk fishing, from marsh redfish to small-stream trout in the mountains of the South.
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Podcast Transcript:

Tom: Hi, and welcome to the "Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast." This is your host, Tom Rosenbauer. And my guest later in the podcast is David DiBenedetto. Dave is the editor-in-chief of "Garden & Gun" magazine, which is a terrific magazine. Don't be scared by the title. It's a really cool magazine. Dave is a lifelong fly fisher, and he's worked before for "Field & Stream" and "Men's Journal." And we're going to talk a little bit about some conservation awards that they recently gave out in the current issue, which, I think, is a fantastic assortment of kinda everyday people who have made a difference in conservation. And also, we're going to talk about fishing. We're gonna talk about redfish and small stream trout, and things like that. So I think you'll enjoy David's great interview, and I enjoyed very much talking to him.
But first, the Fly Box. The Fly Box is where you ask questions, and I try to answer them. You can send me your question at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and you can either just type your question in the email or you can attach a voice file, if you want. I read them all. I don't answer them all. So let's start.
The first one is an email from Stephen. "I found the Orvis podcast about a year ago and was pleased to hear about the Fly Box question section. I have a couple of questions. My first question is, what is your take on kayak fishing for smallmouth bass in creeks and small rivers? I found this to be a complete game changer in my fishing hobby. My second question is, what is the best way to travel with a fully assembled 9-foot fly rod? I'm a tad annoyed hearing my rod tips tap the windshield of my Jeep."
So, Stephen, regarding your first question, you know, you said that fishing from a kayak for smallmouth bass in creeks and small rivers is a game changer for you. So, obviously, you've found a great way to do it. I think it's a terrific way to do it because you can get into places that might be a little bit too deep to wade but a little too small for a conventional-sized boat. So you can get to places where some of the big bass boats can't get. But my take on fly fishing from either a canoe or a kayak, both are kinda interchangeable, is that I won't fish from one unless I can stand up in it, you know. I have a canoe and a kayak. My canoe has these little pontoon stabilizers on the side, and actually, good size people can stand up and fish from this canoe at the same time. The stabilizers are made by a company, Spring Creek Manufacturing, and you can find those online, but they work very, very well.
And then I have a new kayak, and it's a motorized kayak. It's an Old Town with a Minn Kota motor on it, and it has Spot-Lock. And unfortunately, I haven't been able to use it yet because I had to put it together. I had to put a trailer together. And I've been traveling, and I haven't had time. So it's brand new. But I'm going to have an expert kayak angler on the podcast a little bit later in the year, and we're going to be talking about this boat and my experiences in it and then his experiences in it. So stay tuned for that. But, you know, again, I can't stand fishing sitting down in a kayak. I'm way too low in the water, I can't see anything, I have trouble with my casting, and I just don't care for it. So as long as you can stand up on a kayak, in my opinion, I think it's a great, great craft to fish out of.
Regarding your second question, there's a couple of things that you can do, Stephen, to keep that rod tip from tapping on the windshield, and I do this as well. I have a 4Runner, and I just stick my fully assembled rod in the car. There's a couple of things you can do. One is what I've seen some people do is to get one of these kind of reusable rubber-coated twist ties, the kinda heavy-duty twist ties that you can wrap around stuff, and you can attach one of those to your rearview mirror and then make a little loop out of it and put your rod tip through there. The twist ties are rubberized, and so they'll protect your tip, and then it'll keep it from tapping on your windshield.
The other thing you could do is you could attach a small piece of foam to your visor on the passenger side and then just close your visor on your rod tip. And it'll be held in place by the foam, and it shouldn't tap so much on your windshield. You may have to fold it in against the roof, or you may have to fold it forward against the windshield, in which case, you could just double-sided tape or Velcro a small piece of foam onto that to keep it from tapping on your windshield. So those are a couple of ways to do it.
Here's an email from Diether. "I live just south of Springfield, Missouri. I feel like I'm living in a fishing paradise. I fish Taneycomo, often, but I also love our state parks and our smaller streams, including Crane Creek. And I'm less than two hours from the White River in Arkansas. I fish Taneycomo from a boat, but truth be told, I really love wading more. I'm proud to say that my 21-year-old daughter has been fly fishing with me lately, and this weekend, she caught and released three rainbows on a dry dropper with an Adams Parachute and a zebra midge. This was her only or second time fly fishing. She's also a better golfer than me. I'm embarrassed to say how many times I went before I ever caught a trout on a fly rod. Here's my question. How versatile is a 10-foot 3-weight rod? I tried some tight-line nymphing with my 9-foot 5-weight, with very limited success. I keep breathing and hearing how effective the Euro nymphing is, and I don't want to give up on it. I'm considering getting a Euro nymphing rod, but some of the places I fish are more suited to dry droppers and/or nymphing with an indicator. Are Euro nymph rods usable for these applications as well, or would I be better off sticking with my 9-foot 5-weight? This is assuming I'm taking only one rod with me when I wade. Thanks to the podcast. You made my drives much more enjoyable and educational."
All right, Diether. So I think this is the last time I'm going to answer this question. I have answered this question I don't know how many times in the past year, but I'm obviously not getting through to people with my answer. So here it is. Yes, you can fish a dry dropper or a nymph with a small indicator or just a dry fly with a 10-foot 3-weight Euro rod, at least the Orvis ones. I haven't tried other brands of Euro nymphing rods, so I can't speak for those, but I do it myself with both the 10- and the 11-footer 3-weights. And I'll fish dry flies, and I'll fish nymphs, you know, with a standard fly line, with and without an indicator, and sometimes small dry dropper. That being said, you do need to get yourself a tapered 3-weight line, because, when you're Euro nymphing, you might be using a level Euro line, and those don't cast very well. So you do need to get a 3-weight weight-forward floating line for that rod. But yes, it can be used for those other applications, and it works quite well. The casting motions are a little bit slower, a little bit more relaxed, but it's a lot of fun to fish with that long, light rod, with just standard dries or dry droppers or nymphs.
John: Hey, Tom. This is John from Toronto, Canada. I've got two questions for you and one tip for your fly-tying listeners. The first question is about scissors. Underneath all the bits of fur and garbage I have on my very disorganized fly-tying desk, there's probably three to four pairs of old fly-tying scissors that just don't cut it anymore. So I moved on to a new fresh, sharp pair. I've sharpened large scissors, but I've never sharpened tiny, little fly-tying scissors. Do people do that? Are they just kind of disposable, or is there a way, maybe a service that sharpens small scissors like that or a way of doing it yourself?
The next question is about kind of trout health and trout behavior. Generally, when I'm fishing for trout in our rivers here in Ontario, generally, I try and get the fish in as quickly as possible, fish the heaviest tip that I can, and often, you know, we'll be able to get even decent-sized fish in in less than a minute. Often, when I net the fish, the fish will have so much energy, it will be thrashing everywhere, and I worry that they're losing a little bit of slime on my net, even though it is rubberized, one of those softer materials. Do you think it's better to fight the fish a little longer so it's really tuckered up before it gets into the net, or should I be just pulling them in as quickly as possible and, you know, unhooking them quickly and not worrying too much about the thrashing that they do in the net?
Lastly, tip for the fly tiers out there. When I do fish streamers for trout, I like to fish articulated flies. I like the movement that they have. I find I get a lot of short strikes, so I tend to tie not with a head hook but just with a series of shanks and then a very small barbless circle hook at the tail. And I attach that on with a four-millimeter split ring, kind of one of those keychain-style rings. A couple advantages to this. I use a very light wire hook at the end, and that keeps the motion and the movement in the fly right. If you use a really heavy hook, it won't wiggle as much in the water. But the bigger reason I use the light wire, small circle hook at the end is I know these flies that take me, you know, an hour to tie sometimes, when I chuck that thing into a log or, you know, a rock, fishing anything better than a 10-pound tidbit. I know I can pull on the fly, straighten out the hook, get my fly back, pop it off the split ring, put on a new hook, and keep my fly. And they're still plenty strong for trout.
Yeah, that's my tip. Tom, thanks so much for all your time and your generous teaching and advice for all of us.
Tom: So, John, I have heard scissors can be resharpened. Personally, I have had very poor luck trying to resharpen scissors. I've had people send me emails about how they resharpen their scissors, and it doesn't work very well for me. So, you know, what I do is I replace scissors once they get too dull. And there are services that can resharpen scissors. I don't know any that I can recommend, but I've heard that there's local services that can resharpen scissors. So I guess it can be done. I haven't been able to do it successfully. And so, you know, if you take good care of your fly-tying scissors and you don't cut the wrong thing with your very fine scissors, they will last a long time. In other words, don't cut wire, don't cut heavy tinsel or, you know, heavy bucktail with your fine pointed scissors. They're going to last a long, long time.
Regarding playing a fish, you really wanna get that fish in as quickly as possible, and there's a couple of tricks to keep the fish from struggling in the net. One is to gently turn them upside down. When you turn a fish upside down, they generally don't struggle as much. They get temporarily disoriented. And you can even keep them in the water and turn them upside down, and that's gonna slow them down.
Another thing that I've learned recently from a guy friend, BJ Gerhart, at Three Rivers Ranch is to cover their eyes. Just put your hand over their eyes for a second, and by doing that, they will temporarily really, really settle down. I don't know, again, if it disorients them or what, but try putting your hand over their eyes while you're removing the hook, and you might find that they struggle less.
And that tip of yours sounds really good, and I think that you're on the right track. You know, your flies are gonna last longer because you can just replace the hook. And getting it out of a snag or a log is a really good idea. So I like that tip. I'm gonna try it myself.
Okay. Let's do another email. This one is from Austin. "I started fly fishing two years ago and ended up selling most of my conventional gear to fund my new passion. This podcast has been very helpful in my learning so far, and I thank you for it. I'm slowly making my way through the archives and tumbled across an interesting question in one of the Fly Boxes. The listener was asking you what would be the ideal rod collection for someone interested in going after pretty much everything that swims. I found myself in a similar situation, having targeted many species of with spinning and bait-casting outfits and now intending to do the same with a fly rod. When you answered the listener, you ended up proposing between 7 and 10 outfits. I would also like to build a well-rounded rod collection, however, although I really fell in love with fly fishing, it's just not realistic for me to own that many fly rods. This leads me to my question. What is the minimal amount of rods one should own in order to fish the most diverse situations and species? What is essential, if there's such a thing as an essential fishing rod, and what is not? I understand that such a collection is unlikely to be as versatile as one with 10 rods, but it seems much more accessible to me."
Yeah, Austin, that's a great question. And I can answer it by telling you what the two most popular fly rods in the world are, and that is, number 1 is a 9-foot 5-weight, number 2 is a 9-foot 8-weight. You can do almost anything with those two rods. A 9-foot 5-weight, you can fish anything from small streams to large rivers, anything from small dries to moderately sized streamers, and even big streamers if you cut your leaderback and you kinda open up your casting loop. And then the 8-weight is a great rod for bass, for all but the largest pike, for shad, for carp, for inshore saltwater fishing for, you know, smaller fish up to maybe 10 or 15 pounds. So that would include, you know, bonefish, smaller permit, redfish, sea trout, snook.
You know, the only time that you would want a bigger rod would be if you're going for something like either giant tarpon where you really need something like an 11- or 12-weight to be able to land the fish, you need enough butt section to be able to land the fish, or muskies. Although muskies aren't the most voracious fighters in the world, you're usually casting big flies, and the 8-weight just isn't going to do it on most muskie flies. So unless you're getting real specialized with some of those bigger species, you can do nearly everything you want to do with a 9-foot 5-weight and a 9-foot 8-weight.
Now, you're going to want more rods eventually, because you're gonna want a 7 for fishing streamers, and you're gonna want a 408 for a little bit more delicate stuff. And the list goes on and on. But, you know, if you want to limit yourself to 2, 905 and 908, you're gonna be able to do most of the things you wanna do.
Here's an email from...oh, I didn't get the name. Sorry about that. "I have a question about leader-to-fly line connections. Recently, I put a new fly line on my 9-foot 5-weight, tied a new leader on using the loops on both the fly line and leader. The loop-to-loop connection gets slightly snagged when trailing through my guide. This wasn't a big issue until I hooked in a very nice cutthroat and had to reel the leader/fly line connection into the rod to land the fish. The fish went on a run and the connection was momentarily caught in the guide. I did manage to land the fish, but the experience made me nervous about the connection. Before this, I used the nail knot connection, and that has worked nicely with my rod. The downside to this is the connection is not quickly made like loop-to-loop connection. My question is, is there a connection that is less likely to get caught in the guides of my rod but still has the convenience of the loop-to-loop connection? I like the loop-to-loop connection for the ability to quickly change leaders on the go, but I don't find it worth it if there's a chance I'll lose the fish when it takes off and my line is stuck in the guide. Thanks so much for the excellent podcast."
So there is no method I know of that combines the loop-to-loop connection with someone that won't occasionally catch in the guides. You know, you can tie a nail knot on the end of your line and then tie a short piece of heavy monofilament and put a loop on that perfection and put your leader on that. But again, you still have a loop-to-loop connection that might get caught in the guide.
So there's a couple of things to do. One is that I've noticed that sometimes prepackaged leaders, when you get a prepackaged leader, the perfection loop is not trimmed closely enough. There's a little bit of a tag end sticking out. And if that perfection loop is properly tied, there's no reason to keep that tag end long. It's not gonna make the knot any stronger. So first of all, if you're tying your own perfection loops or if you're buying a pre-made leader, make sure that that tag end is cut really close to the loop. That's one thing. The other thing is that, and I do this all the time, I use long leaders. So regardless of the connection I'm using, when I'm landing a fish, I'm always bringing that line-to-leader connection inside my guides because I'm using 12-, 15-foot leaders quite often.
The trick here when you get a fish that runs is to quickly point the rod at the direction the fish is running. This is going to virtually eliminate the loop-to-loop connection getting caught in your guides if you point it right at them. If you had the rod up in the air, yeah, that connection can stick or catch on a guide, but if you point your rod tip at the fish when it's running, you're gonna be pretty safe. And not only can you break off a fish doing that, but you could theoretically break the tip of your rod if it gets caught. So those are my recommendations. If you really worry about it catching in your guides, then just nail knot your leaders on, but then you'll lose the convenience of that loop-to-loop connection.
Scott: Hey, Tom. This is Scott from Downingtown, Pennsylvania. I have a question for you. Just like with a golf swing, I think there's many options to critique the fly cast. And I wanted to get your thoughts on whether there are any apps to record your fly cast technique and/or if you have any suggestions for how to set up cameras to record various aspects of your fly cast strokes or motion in order to be able to visualize the movements more to try to understand ways to improve the casting process.
Tom: So, Scott, I don't know of any app that analyzes fly casting techniques, but you know, a lot of people use just their normal smartphone, and they set it up know, you can buy a little tripod for your phone that you can set up somewhere, you know, like the GorillaPod. You can even wrap them around a tree or something. And the slow motion video on smartphones has gotten really, really good. And so the best thing to do, in my opinion, is to just take your smartphone, set it up so that you can see, you know, either most of your cast from quite a ways away, or if you wanna get a close look at what you're doing with your elbow and your wrist and your forearm and your shoulder, set it up a little bit closer, and then put it on slow motion, and shoot a video. And then you can analyze your technique. Or you could even, you know, send it to a casting instructor or take it into a fly shop and ask them to critique your technique. But you may be sounds like you're able to analyze it yourself. So I would just use a smartphone with the slow motion function.
Here's an email from Henry from Fayetteville, Arkansas. "Hi, Tom. Thanks for your recent podcast about how water temperature affects trout behavior, and I learned lots about fish handling. This prompted my question. I decided to look through the Keep Fish Wet website that was mentioned on the air, and it seems like much of the information is veered toward trout. But what about other non-salmonid fish? Should we be practicing the same steps toward warm water and saltwater fish? Do we need to be careful to even make sure that bluegills caught on barbless fly shouldn't be removed from the water? If so, then bass anglers must really need to quit landing fish by the mouths if they want their fish to survive. Thanks for this fantastic podcast. It really rivals any other comprehensive source of fly fishing knowledge. And have a nice day."
Well, thank you, Henry. I actually did a podcast a couple of years ago with the people from Keep Fish Wet about other species and about warm water species. And basically, you don't have...trout are a little bit more sensitive to that kind of stuff, and you don't seem to have the same kind of risks with things like bluegills and bass as you do with trout, because they can tolerate a lot warmer water temperatures. I think that it's said that, you know, unless water gets into the 90s, you're not going to affect the fish by quickly releasing them. But you know, the other things still hold true. Play the fish quickly, keep them in the water, and minimize your handling time. Unfortunately, there hasn't been any...there hasn't been the same kind of studies done on other species as there has been on trout and salmon. In particular, landlocked salmon and trout, they've done some exhaustive studies, but not so much on some of the other species. So, you know, if you play them quickly, keep them in the water, limit your handling time, you're gonna be doing everything you can to help those fish get a head start and release them safely.
Here's an email from Kevin from Portland, Maine. "Thank you for the podcast and all the diverse topics. Great listening while driving in the early morning hours to regional streams. My question pertains to Euro nymphing and, specifically, Euro-nymphing leaders. Admittedly, I am new to this style. I've watched George Daniel's videos on constructing a leader and purchased, started reading "Dynamic Nymphing," which is George's book. If the multi-colored sighter portion of the leader remains largely out of the water, why not use a multi-colored fly line that might be easier to cast and provide more wind resistance? I've found, even a little wind can blow around the sighter and make keeping a tight connection difficult. Will there be anything wrong with adding color to the last 9 to 10 feet of the Scientific Anglers Euro nymphing kit fly line and then attaching a short leader butt section with a tippet ring and then the tippet? Thanks for any advice."
So, Kevin, I haven't tried that, but the main reason that you use a multi-colored monofilament sighter is that it doesn't sag. The problem with Euro nymphing, any time you have a regular fly line outside the rod tip, is that it will sag because it has a little bit more mass, and gravity comes into play, and you can't keep that straight line connection to the fly as easily. Now, if you got a really long rod, you know, a 10- or 11-foot rod, and you're fishing just under the rod tip, then, yeah, you could do what you're saying. But if you have any kind of an angle at all, if you're casting, you know, a little bit longer distance, you're gonna have trouble. You're gonna get line sag, and you're gonna have trouble keeping control of those nymphs. So I think it's worth a try. I think you should try it and experiment with it. But I think you're gonna find that the line sag is just gonna come into play by using a shorter leader.
Here's an email from Andy from Northern Virginia. "I've enjoyed fly fishing the beautiful small streams of Shenandoah National Park for the past year or so. My dad taught me how to fly fish as a kid over a decade ago, but I only recently became enamored with it this past season. After several years of being chained to a cubicle, made me realize there's more to life than having the soul sucked out of your lifeless husk that was once a man. Go figure. Anyhow, I have two questions and one suggestion for your eminency and the rest of the listeners today.
Question one. On a recent multi-day trip to a well-known hatchery-supported technical trout river in New England, I encountered many picky trout taking only blue-winged olives and size 20 or 22 or smaller, but my hands just can't tie that. The service was absolutely boiling with trout of many sizes, and it was amazing to see. However, when the light got low to the point of not being able to really see my fly, I made one last-ditch effort and switched to a size 14 elk hair caddis. For some reason, the fish were absolutely slamming it. Common sense says to go down in size when having difficulty, but in this case, they seemed to ignore the 22 and go for the 16. Any insights? Could this be low light? Last push to the finish line for gorging trout?
Question two. On said trip, we hired a guide who taught us the basics of Euro nymphing, and we had a blast. I typically use a 7.5-foot 3-weight clear water rod to deliver dry flies to brook trout in Shenandoah National Park, and I've never really had any luck on the nymph half of the dry dropper rig. I was wondering about the utility of adding a Euro-style indicator leader to the end of my regular floating line to deliver weighted flies into some of the plunge pools that are surprisingly 6 to 10 feet deep. I know I'd get more out of a longer rod, but I'm looking to maximize what I already have. Is this a dumb idea worth trying, or am I better suited to sticking with the dry and dry dropper?
Finally, the suggestion. I'd love to echo what a previous listener requested regarding a podcast episode on everything blue lining and small stream fishing. Particularly in Shenandoah, if possible, this could cover a range of unique topics, including use of thrust reels and nymphs, tips on maintaining stealth over tough terrain, safety considerations and conservation issues as they relate to brook trout, specifically. Loving my clear water 3-weight. I've literally fallen on top of it while hiking some probably unsafe terrain, and there are many scratches and dings on the reel and rod base. Signs of character and use but also quality, which I appreciate. I really appreciate this podcast as a way to learn about this relatively unique hobby while driving into work each day. It genuinely brings my mind right back to the stream and sets the tone for my day. Thanks for continuing to put these out, and keep up the great work."
Well, thank you very much, Andy. Regarding your questions, number one, there's a couple of things that could have happened. One thing is that maybe some larger flies started hatching or some caddisflies started hitting the water, laying eggs right before dark. That often happens, and that may be why they took that elk hair caddis. But also, it just could be that you're right, and it could be low light, you know. I was fishing Henry's Fork a few weeks ago, and I ran into an incredible spinner fall in a very heavily fished part of Henry's Fork. And I couldn't catch, I couldn't buy a fish. I tried everything and I just couldn't hook a fish.
And as the light got lower and lower and the sun went down, I thought, "Okay. Now I'm gonna get one," because they're gonna make a mistake. They lose their caution. They start to feed a little heavier right as the sun goes down. And, well, guess what, I didn't catch one. But I expected to. And it usually works that way. Usually, if you got a lot of fish feeding right at last light, right at the end of things, they can get a little easier, and they might take a bigger fly. In my case, they didn't. But it usually does happen. So it could have been a different bug hitting the water, or it could have been just the low light.
On question two, yeah, you know, a lot of the regular anglers in your part of the world, Shenandoah National Park area, have been fishing what is more or less Euro nymphing technique for decades and decades and decades, long before any of us ever heard about Euro nymphing. And they would just throw a nymph upstream, keep the rod high, and then watch their leader as it comes back to them. So, yeah, you can do that. I think that it's very difficult in those small streams to get sideways to the fish. You know, you normally get kinda opposite the fish when you're Euro nymphing. And that's not going to work that well. But you can do it upstream quite well.
So I would just, you know, use your shorter rod, you're not gonna be able to lift quite as much line off the water, but use a long, long tippet, throw it straight upstream, keep the rod high, and you know, put a little piece of sighter on there, and watch the leader. It should work for you. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work. And you're right, that'll get you deeper easier than putting a long, long, long dry dropper rig on. So I would give it a try. I think it might work.
And finally, yeah, I've gotten some requests for blue lining. And although I do a lot of it myself, I wanna get somebody maybe from the Southern Appalachians to talk specifically about blue lining in that part of the world. So I will look for somebody to have on as a guest.
And here's an email from Mike from Scottsville, New York. "Hello, Tom. My son and I are avid listeners of your program, and we thank you for being a primary mentor of his generation of outdoor enthusiasts. I'm proud to say that my son learned to fly fish with me when he was young, now in his 20s, has taken to tying and fishing exponentially more than I have in my 30 years of doing it. And because of his higher enjoyment of it, he definitely outfishes me. Whether we are hunting, backpacking, canoeing, conventional fishing, or fly fishing, I have always tried to take the minimum amount of gear while my son has always been more of a be-prepared-for-anything outdoorsman.
For example, while spring fishing a local stream for trout, smallmouth, etc., I may opt to take a 5-weight rod and reel with a 5-weight-forward line, an extra reel with a 6-weight nymph line, 1 fly box, a spool or 2 of tippet, sunglasses, nippers, hemostats, and maybe a bottle of water, all in one vest or hip pack, whereas he'll take at least 2 rods and reels, and then stuff his Orvis sling pack with multiple fly boxes, tippets, lines, water and snacks, rain gear even on sunny days, and sometimes a hammock and packable cook stove with freeze-dried camping food." Wow.
"I have a question for you. Please take it sort of tongue in cheek, though. I'm not asking what you think is right or wrong, because neither is either, but could you discuss what you would take on a similar afternoon fishing trip at a minimum and also at a maximum? And yes, being the minimalist, there is a strong advantage to fishing with someone that brings extras of everything, whereas the inverse wouldn't necessarily be true."
So, Mike, yeah, I guess I'm kind of a minimalist/maximalist angler myself. I do it both ways. If I'm fishing somewhere that I know the water really well and I know exactly what flies I'm gonna need and exactly what hatches are gonna occur, I'll take a waist pack with a fly floatant, one fly box, hemostats, nippers, and tippet. And that's about it, you know, because I know exactly what flies I'm gonna need, and I don't need a lot of extra gear.
Now, on the other hand, if I'm fishing a river where either I've never fished before or there might be multiple hatches that I'm not familiar with, such as when I go to the Western United States, I fish the Henry's Fork or the Madison or the South Fork, or something, I'm gonna pretty much take everything I got. So I'm gonna take two nymph boxes, two dry fly boxes, a streamer box, lots of different tippet. I don't carry a lot of gadgets, but I'll always have hemostats and snips and fly floatant. But I'll take strike indicators too. I draw the line at a cook stove and freeze-dried camping food, you know. And that's in a big waterproof sling bag. So I do it both ways, and as you said, there's no right or wrong way. And you know, whatever works for you and whatever gives you pleasure is the way to do it.
Brandon: Hi, Tom. This is Brandon from Pennsylvania. Thanks so much for your podcast. I'm a relative newbie to fly fishing, and so your podcast has been very helpful to me. I got a quick question for you on zebra midges. So here, at a few of our local streams, often, a go-to fly is the zebra midge. And somebody suggested, recently, fishing thinner-bodied zebra midges. Usually, we fish size 18, size 20. And since fishing the thinner-bodied zebra midges, I've been catching a few more fish. And so I'm wondering if you think that's a coincidence or if there really is something to the thinner-bodied zebra midge at some streams, if that could be imitating some of the nymphs in a little bit better way. So we'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks so much again, Tom, and take care. Bye.
Tom: So, Brandon, yeah, I absolutely think that tying thinner-bodied zebra midges is the way to go, and it is not a coincidence. Some of the zebra midges you might see sold commercially are a little bit too heavily dressed, and there's two reasons for tying them as thin as you can possibly get them. One is that they're going to sink better. You know, a zebra midge isn't very big, and you generally want to fish it fairly deep. And the thicker the body, the more resistance it's going to present to the water and the slower it's going to sink. So that's one reason to tie thin zebra midges. The other reason is that what you're trying to imitate, which could be either a midge larva, could be a midge pupa, or could be a small mayfly nymph, all of those things have really skinny bodies. So not only is your fly gonna sink quicker, but, also, it's going to look more realistic to the fish. So I would absolutely fish thinner-bodied zebra midges. I think that's a much better way to go.
All right. That is the Fly Box for this week. Let's go talk to Dave DiBenedetto about all kinds of things related to conservation and fly fishing. My guest today is my good friend, Dave DiBenedetto, and Dave currently is editor and publisher, right, of "Garden & Gun" magazine.
David: Actually, just editor-in-chief.
Tom: Editor-in-chief, okay.
David: Yeah, not the publisher. I don't deal with the money, just the work.
Tom: That's good. And, Dave, you've done some wonderful things with "Garden & Gun." It makes me wish I was a southerner, you know. The magazine is just...I love it. My wife loves it. You know, the food stuff, the drink. You do a lot of sporting stuff in there. You've always had great taste in music and literature. If you haven't seen "Garden & Gun," even if, you know, it's really a southern magazine, but even if you don't live in the south, you'll enjoy it. It's one of the best magazines out there.
David: Wow, I should call you more often. [inaudible 00:40:45].
Tom: And you have had a long career in journalism. You started out at "Sports Afield," right?
David: Well, no. I started out at "Men's Journal" in 19-...
Tom: Okay, it was "Men's Journal," you started.
David: Yeah, "Men's Journal" in 1995, which is when I met you back then. So we do have a long friendship. And I'd gone to school at the University of Vermont. I'm from Savannah, Georgia, but I'd gone up to Vermont to experience all that great state has to offer in the winter. And started at "Men's Journal." So, you know, that is a little different now but was more of an adventure magazine. And it covered a lot of fly fishing.
Tom: A little different. A little different. It's never been the same since you and Sid Evans left.
David: Yeah. It's fly fishing. You know, it was all, you know, a lot of stuff I love to do. And then, from there, I went to "Field & Stream." And then, from there, I was the editor-in-chief of "Salt Water Sportsman." All of this happening in New York City, and then this opportunity to get to a magazine called Garden & Gun" came up. And, I mean, at first, I laughed at the name and thought, you know...and I was New York media-centric, right? I thought, "All the great magazines had to come out of New York City," even though I'm a southerner. And I got a hold of it, and I looked at it, and it was in its first year of publication at the time. This was 2007. And I thought, "Wow, there's a ton of potential here." It was neat. It was, like, I could go here and live in Charleston, South Carolina, in the low country, which I love, and write up or edit about the things that I love. Like you mentioned, the food, the booze, the music, and the sporting, such a big part of this magazine, and fly fishing, upland hunting. You know, living the dream really.
Tom: You got some great writers. I mean, I think one of the best pieces on the Everglades that has ever been done was the one that Monte Burke did for you guys about the Everglades. That was just a great case.
David: Yeah, absolutely. Monte is a tremendous writer. And conservation, that's another, you know, pillar of this magazine. It's just so important to who we are. I mean, so much of the southern lifestyle is connected to the land, whether that be land or water. And you know, you can't take a stance, right? You can't just go enjoy it. You got to care about it. You got to fight for it, and you know, that's what we're all about.
Tom: Yeah. And that's kinda why we're talking today, because you guys recently instituted some awards. And I wanna hear all about how you started that and who judged the awards. And talk about the people who won these awards. I think it's just a great thing that you guys did.
David: Yes. So we launched this Champions of Conservation. And essentially, we wanted to shine the light on folks across the south who were doing things to preserve, conserve, save, you know, the environment. And you know, we had our idea of who these people might be, but we said, you know, "Let's call in some other folks, a panel of folks, to not only help us think about who these folks could be that we nominate, but also, you know, get into a discussion about what it means, what it means to be a champion of conservation." And those people ranged from Durrell Smith, who's, you know, the great Georgia-based bird-dog trainer, podcast host. He's the guy who founded Minority Outdoor Alliance. I mean, Durrell, just tremendous, right? You know, you would know this guy, Simon Perkins. He was obvious, right? I mean, we were looking for folks who knew the space and could bring some new ideas to us. And Simon was, you know, one of our first calls to say, "Will you join this panel?" Carol Denhof of the Longleaf Alliance.
So we had a number of folks on that panel who then we just got on a couple of calls and really hashed out what it means to be a conservationist. And we didn't look for folks who already had the attention, who already had the money, right? We wanted folks who were on the ground level doing things that this magazine could bring attention to and help them in their cause.
Tom: Help them and inspire other people to do the same kind of thing. Yeah.
David: Exactly. You know, like, one of the winners is Jennifer Rehage, and she's a researcher with Florida International University. And you may have heard of...I'm sure you probably heard of this, but she led the study with the Bonefish& Tarpon Trust, looking into what pharmaceuticals, what drugs that we take existed in bonefish. So this is all in South Florida. They tested for 104 different pharmaceuticals. So they caught 93 fish, and they tested each one of those for 104 different pharmaceuticals. Every single fish was positive for at least one pharmaceutical, but the average was seven. So we're talking about antidepressants, blood pressure meds, opioids. And it wasn't that these fish tested were, you know, sitting right out in front of a water treatment plant. It was urban and rural areas down there.
Shocking, you know. And that study is just an eye-opener, right? Like, people either flush their drugs when they're done, or if you take them, your body doesn't process all of them. So when you're taking a whiz and you flush it, some of your drugs are going out to, you know, the water treatment, and they're not built to remove them. So here was this, you know, cold, harsh reality, like, "Wow. Okay. Something's got to change." Although, maybe if there were a few more bonefish on antidepressants, I could catch a few more.
Tom: Antidepressants and opioids, you know, happy undepressed bonefish might be a good thing. But it doesn't do that to bonefish, unfortunately.
David: No, no, no. So anyway, she was one of our winners. You know, of this group of 10 that we had, a few of them were very fish-oriented, and maybe that's why I'm biased. But Benny Blanco. Do you know Benny?
Tom: I know Benny. Of course, I know Benny, yeah.
David: Yeah, yeah. Guy down in South Florida, of course. He's got his fishing show, "Guiding Flow." I mean, here's a guy that had never gone to speak on behalf of the environment or ever stood in the State Capitol. And you know, in 2015, he saw, I think it was 50,000 acres of Florida Bay seagrass just die because of the high salinity that had to do with the water flow from the Everglades or lack of. And he went to Tallahassee, and he got there and realized, you know, "This is what I'm going to do." And he's a natural, I mean, and he's passionate. And he has this ability...I met him in person at an event we had after the magazine came out, and he makes you wanna get on board, you know, when you hear him talk. No pun intended, he makes you wanna get on board and fight. And you know, he spends a lot of time and loses a lot of money, because he's not guiding, and he could be booked as much as he wants, but he knows, again, that if we're gonna enjoy it, we gotta protect it. And he's doing it, yeah.
Tom: Yeah, he's the star of the film we made on the Everglades, "Follow the Water."
David: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's such a great flick, yeah, yeah.
Tom: Yeah. So who else? Let's talk about some of the other people. Maybe not fishy people, but you know, we can digress a little bit on this podcast.
David: Oh, he might be fishy.
Tom: I can do whatever the hell I want on this podcast, Dave. Nobody listens to it at Orvis. My boss doesn't even listen to it. He'll probably listen to this one.
David: We should talk about chanterelle hunting.
Tom: Yeah, yeah.
David: All right. So there's this guy, Jaret Daniels, right? He's an entomologist in Florida. He single-handedly saved a species of butterfly that had six, I guess you could say members, six specimens left. I mean, imagine that, like, you know. And he talks about how incredibly nerve-racking it was to handle these butterflies because he knew the species could disappear.
Tom: Wow.
David: And when I heard this story, I thought, "Wow," you know. There are folks that do important things. To me, that is just, you know, just so, so crazy and cool. And I know you love...I love pollinators. I'm sure you love pollinators.
Tom: If you don't love pollinators, there's something wrong with you.
David: So, yeah, he was a good one. Let me think about who else here is kinda on top of the list. Okay, there's a Cherokee biologist who is an Oklahoma native and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. So he realized that the Cherokee had a terminology, had their own, you know, language for these different animal species. So he's not only conserving, preserving, you know, working on conservation of these species, but he's learning the dialect and the language that they used to speak about them, you know. He realized that that's just as important, right, to keep this culture alive, is to remember terms that were used to talk about these animals. And again, that was know, that's when you realize you're just a small part, right? This is a big, cool universe, and I think we can sometimes feel, you know, a little too self-centered. And you read about that, and you're like, "Wow, okay, I get it." That's important work, linguistic preservation, you know. So, you know, that was another favorite.
There's also the guy...have you heard, the Alabama River was damned for their 2 dams that were built, I think, 5 decades ago, and they're 60 miles apart. And they basically made the river...I mean, they just made it into almost like a lake, and there's no real movement of water. So there's all sorts of silt. And the Alabama River is one of the most biodiverse on the planet, and that includes mussel species and fish, and here I go talking about fish again. But this guy, Jason Throneberry, he was with Nature Conservancy, and he is leading the charge to make these two dams passable. They're bypassing one. They're gonna do a rock passage arch for another, with the hope that not only the Alabama sturgeon, which no longer come up that river, but the shad, the mullet, and anyone else who spawns in that river system.
And you know, tributaries are where a lot of these fish go, these tiny streams that kinda we love. And so while this work, which is slow to be done, is being done, they're also working on the banks of these tributaries, you know, and the rivers themselves so that they're ready when the fish come up. It's a long-term game, right? Conservation is not, you know...I love that about what he's doing. It's not like, "Oh, let's just fix the passageways." It's like, "Okay, well, if we fix the passageways, we gotta make sure the rivers are ready, you know, for the fish when they get there." And it's also about hope, right? I mean, you gotta have hope.
Tom: Yeah. Those are some amazing people. Tell me about some more.
David: You want more?
Tom: Yeah, I want more.
David: You want more.
Tom: Oh, by the way, people can read this online, but which issue of the magazine was it in? Just for people who wanna read the hard copy.
David: Oh, yeah, right. This is the October-November issue, which will be on the newsstands until the end of November. And then they're always available at, you know, Garden & Gun. The article itself is on, or you know, you can buy back issues.
Tom: There are people who like to read print magazines, David.
David: I am one of them. I am one of them.
Tom: I am, too. I am, too.
David: And I'm counting on them. So there's another woman, Hallie Shoffner. Excuse me. And again, this is surprising, right? Here's a woman who...I think she's a sixth-generation family farmer in Arkansas, and this is Big Ag, right? And she is on the forefront of fighting climate change, right? Most people don't think about Big Ag as caring too much about the environment, right? We like our small farmers and things like that. She is trying to teach Big Ag about doing things that won't destroy the environment. And she's had, in her lifetime, she's had these extreme weather events that have ruined her crops, which have been induced by climate change. So she's a vocal climate activist, and she's leading the charge in these practices on her large-scale farm not only to make a difference but then to also show other Big Ag farmers, "Hey, we can't just sit around, right? One, we can be part of the change, and two, if we sit around, our livelihood is going to be gone."
Tom: What kind of things is she doing? What kind of things is she instituting?
David: Let's see. So she's got a couple of things.
Tom: Sorry to put you on the spot.
David: Yeah, yeah. Well, you did. So, yeah, you might have to ask me that again. All right. So she does a number of things. So she's cutting back on tillage. She's swapping out synthetic fertilizer for chicken litter. And she's substituting in electric water pumps for diesel, right? All of that cuts emissions, and all of that is counter to everything the Big Ag does.
Tom: Right, right.
David: And you know, she admits she's not, you know, changing the world, but she's showing folks that they can make a difference. And I thought that was pretty cool, especially, like, a sixth-generation farmer. You know, that's just changing the way it's been done for a long time.
Tom: Amazing and awesome.
David: And then the last one is Chris Crolley. He runs Coastal Expedition Foundation here in Charleston. And you know, it's ecotourism, but Chris, he is a guiding light for...he's a perfect example of, if we go out there and we use the resource, then we got to care for it. And he started the Coastal Expedition Foundation, which we pours money into conservation efforts, and one of which, the newest of which, is, in Charleston Harbor, we had a place called Crab Bank, and essentially, it was a three- or four-acre island right in the middle of the harbor that, even at high tide, just sand, no coverage or anything, just sand, and it was natural, and it was a bird nesting hotspot. I mean, all the seabirds, they were there. And in the last five years, I mean, we had hurricanes, we had king tides, and they basically washed it down to nothing. And in high tide, water would run over it. So it was no longer a place where birds could nest. The thing about it, what's out there in the harbor was protected from any predators, I mean, besides that they can fly, you know. And it was the perfect place.
And Chris and the South Carolina DNR and a couple of other folks, but mainly led by Chris, they figured out a know, there's dredging that goes on here all the time because of the port. And he just said, "Well, why can't we take some of that dredge instead of dumping it offshore or on a spoil island? And let's just start pumping it right on the Crab Bank, and let's build it back up again." And they built Crab Bank back up again. And you know, this year, this summer was the first season that it was viable in terms of not being flooded anymore in high tide. And there, I mean, the videos of the skimmers and the pelicans and the terns out there nesting, you know, it's like, "Wow, wait, you know, Chris made..." he made a huge difference, and he didn't have to. I mean, he started the whole thing out by getting a bunch of folks to go out there in their kayaks at high tide, and they were able to, like, ring it with their kayaks, you know. It wasn't that they had hundreds and hundreds. He was just pointing out, like, how small this little thing had become. That was one part of this harbor and how rising tide, you know, back to climate change, rising seas had washed it away.
Tom: Well, those are some...
David: Two people. These are the people that make you feel like you're doing nothing.
Tom: Yeah, yeah. Well, and make us feel like we should be doing something more. So we all need a kick in the butt to start doing more, and those are great, great examples.
David: Well, I appreciate it. Those are the types of pieces that you do as an editor that just...yeah, they're just great, you know, that they give you...I don't know. There's a sense of accomplishment there that you might be making a change. That's special. That's rewarding. And so those are, you know, like the Everglades feature. I mean, you know, if you can just inform and get the spotlight on a few of these issues, and if a few more people care, that's what Benny was talking about when he was at our event. He was like, you know, "The fishermen care." You know, what he's trying to do is get other people to care, right? And you know, Garden & Gun speaks to 400,000 people, and you know, if a few of those start to care, then we made a difference. And that's pretty darn rewarding.
Tom: Awesome. So what are you doing for fishing these days? What kinda...?
David: So, yeah, I know, let's see. I have a 21-foot boat. I keep it at Marina on the Charleston Harbor. So I mean, I'm in the saltwater the majority of my time, mostly coastal or inshore or near shore, and we're talking redfish, trout, you know, of course, flounder, and things. And then offshore, everything from Spanish mackerel to even bottom fish. I am a fisherman who loves to fly fish, you know. So I'll fish anyway. I can catch fish. And the coolest thing I did there with my fly rod, recently, and you were part of this inspiration, was I went up to Lake Toxaway in North Carolina, and a good friend of mine named Travis Falk...I followed his lead. I had always wanted to go fish these tiny, little streams for native brook trout. To me, that's like, "Wow, that's our most wild fish." And we hiked in...we'd go on a hiking trail, and we'd bushwhack off. And we had our topo maps, and we'd get down to one of these tiny, little creeks and just work. I had always wanted to do it but had never done it. And I've been able to fish a lot of places in my life, and I've been very fortunate for that. But you know, catching those little brookies was about as rewarding to me as it gets, you know. It just felt, like, elemental.
Tom: Yeah. And you think that maybe nobody fished this creek, you know, this year or maybe in the past five years. And you never know if there's gonna be brook trout in there or not, right? So that's exciting.
David: Right, exactly. You know, we talked about that. We talked about...two days out of the three, we did not see another fisherman, right, because we weren't taking the trail to the river. We were taking a trail, you know, and then hiking our own little path, or not a path, but we were getting, you know, down a go trail, down to where we needed to be. And you're using all your senses, you're listening for the river, you're watching the topography, the land, to see how the river might be falling below you. And, gosh, it was pretty cool. The first one that I caught, the tiniest little guy. I mean, you would have thought it was a monster. But you know, you told me, you said, "Don't be afraid to use big patterns." And you know, that was new to me. I assumed, going in there, that they wouldn't be big patterns.
And my friend Travis who I mentioned, he's a great fly fisherman, very much a purist. He was using an ant. And I had this thing on we call the big nasty. It looked like a cross between a hellgrammite and a grasshopper that, you know, got into a nuclear bath or something. And we were laughing about it, but I was like, "I have a feeling about this." And, man, it worked. Both those flies worked, but the big nasty became quite the fly for that day. But you know, that's just kind of the fly fisherman I am. I get it done. I like to get it done. I'll never be the best caster, I'll never know every fly in the box, but I love to fish in a level that's hard to match, I think. And, you know, just, I get it done. Not gracefully, but I get it done.
Tom: Oh, I'm sure it's graceful. I've watched you cast. That was a long time ago, and I'm sure you're better now.
David: That was a long time ago. I have improved, thank God.
Tom: Yeah. Well, you were pretty good then. So don't be so modest. Now, how big was that big nasty? What size was it? Do you remember?
David: I'm gonna give you a pause here. You're gonna have to ask me that question again. Well, [inaudible 01:05:16] when I told you I don't even know all the specifics. Like, what's a big hopper size?
Tom: Well, like an 8 or a 10.
David: Yeah, like an eight, yeah. So if you wanna ask me that again, I'll...yeah.
Tom: No, that's okay. We can roll with it.
David: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So anyway, it was like an eight, yeah. I mean, it was big and nasty and had all the legs and the colors. And it just worked, you know. They come up, and yeah, they're aggressive.
Tom: Well, you know, those little brook trout, they're amazing because they can survive in an environment that no other fish can because they're able to just take advantage of every little bit of food that comes by. And that's why they're so aggressive is because they don't know when their next meal is coming. You know, there's few aquatic insects, and they gotta hope that a beetle or a hopper or an ant falls in the water or a moth, and they're gonna grab it. So you don't need to go small.
David: Yeah, yeah. Right, right. And the other thing that I didn't do but I realized, and you had mentioned this too, that would have been with the dropper, the idea of the dropper.
Tom: The nymph dropper, yeah.
David: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then the other thing I learned was, and again, this is probably obvious to most of these people that listen to this, most of your listeners, but it was funny. We'd get out early, right? We were up there at the lake, and both of our families were there. We have kids so that means we need to get out way well before the sun's coming up, just for one to escape the house and to get some time to fish before we were due back, right? But it took those fish a little while to warm up, you know. This is still summer, but it was interesting to see how, you know, they started rising, certainly, you know. They're just a little more active as the sun got up, you know.
Tom: Yeah, that's the neat thing about brook trout fishing, even in the south, is that it's a mid-day thing.
David: Yep, that's exactly right. And it proved itself, you know, three days in a row.
Tom: Yeah. Well, they're cold-blooded. They're regulated by water temperature. So, makes sense. Makes sense.
David: A lot of it does. A lot of fishing does, you know. Sometimes I think we overthink it. People overthink it sometimes.
Tom: Oh, yeah. All of us, myself included, for sure.
David: Yeah, right. Our big brains are working too hard.
Tom: So you also have done a lot of striped bass fishing. In fact, you wrote a book about the fall run of striped bass. Do you wanna talk about that? I think it's its 20th year in print, right?
David: Yeah. So 2023 will be its 20th year, which is amazing. Still in print. It's in paperback. You know, you can get it on Amazon and the beast that Amazon is. And so, yeah, I wanna talk about the ultimate boondoggle.
Tom: You better tell people the title of it because they're gonna ask me.
David: Okay, yeah. Sorry. On the Run: An Angler's...
Tom: On the Run.
David: Yeah, "On the Run: An Angler's Journey Down the Striper Coast." And I was working at "Men's Journal." I lived in New York City. And fishing is what I did on the weekends. I mean, I was lucky. I had an uncle that lived out in Port Washington, which is Long Island South. And really '95 was when I was introduced to striped bass, and I decided to come up. I'd lived a youth in Savannah of fishing, and you know, I need it, or I don't make it. And I found the striped bass. And who would have thought in New York City, you know? And so I became enamored with this fish. And I'd go out to Montauk and fish them.
And the fall run, the fall migration is always the best time to go stripe bass fishing. I mean, those fish are feeding. You know, they're congregating and they're feeding. And that's what we want. We want hungry happy fish. So I had this idea, "Well, what if I went from Maine? What if I started in Maine, the farthest most reach, essentially, where the migratory striped bass goes? And if that's where they end up in the summer, that's where some of them end up, I mean, not all of them, but the farthest reach of them. And I traveled from September through December and ended up on the Outer Banks where a large majority of most of them, if not all, are wintering, feeding off the coast.
So I pitched that idea and sold it as a book. And off I went. And I had an old Explorer filled with more fly rods. You had helped me meet a lot of the people. This is back when email was still kind of fresh, you know, and I'm emailing, calling people. I did this in 2001, and what I did was I would fish a lot on my own, but I would meet with guides. I would pay for gas and say, "Hey, if you got a free couple of hours, I'd love to hear what you do, talk about your fishery. And let's fish a little." I fly-fished with some amazing fishermen. I spent time with Jack Gartside, you know, of the Gurgler, right? You know. Talk about, you know. I think the last he said of him, that his paint don't dry. I mean, I knew Gartside. Gartside is gone now, but what a character.
Dave Skok, you know, of Mushmouth fame and more. There was a time he lived in Boston. And when I met him, he was very much...I mean, out of college, but still pretty darn new to this whole tying thing. And I spent a night with him and his roommate, Chris Ryan, another great fisherman. And I remember waking up, like, 3 a.m. to, you know, just go get a glass of water or something, and Skok is sitting in his kitchen table with, like, one bare lightbulb hanging on top of him. And he's smoking like a fiend and just, you know, tying fly, you know, just obsessed. And even Bob Popovics, you know. Riding down the beach in New Jersey with Bob and his van, you know, was...yeah.
So when I say it was the ultimate boondoggle, it was terrific. It was cool. I met some of the most amazing folks, you know. Some of those are gone. John Cole, a number of these folks, like Gartside, are gone. I was lucky enough to be able to document what it was like to be with them, to fish with them, and also just to, you know, write sort of a love letter to the striped bass.
Tom: You may have to do a new chapter because, you know, the striped bass populations in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia just exploded probably because of climate change.
David: Yeah, yeah. I mean, absolutely. I've been following that. It's amazing. Because when I was researching the book, you know, it wasn't unheard of that you might catch a couple up there, but, yeah. I mean, there's significant numbers there now. And it is. It's our warming water. I mean, the same way that the right whale is moving that far up north to feed where it never had, you know, where it used to hang off Massachusetts and whatnot, you know. It all has a consequence.
Tom: Yeah, yep. Well, it has been such a pleasure talking to you, David. This has been great catching up. And I wanna thank you for everything you do, particularly for those conservation awards and really spotlighting these heroes, these local heroes. And it's a great thing.
David: Well, I appreciate it. It is fun to reconnect with you. I brag about our relationship to a lot of folks and say that "I've known Rosenbauer since '95." So it's a pleasure to know you, to be able to come on here, and talk a little fishing, you know. As you can tell, I'm just obsessed with it. And I wouldn't be where I am without it. So you know, anything I can do to help fish and the sport, I'm always all for it.
Tom: Well, thank you. We've been talking to David DiBenedetto, editor-in-chief of "Garden & Gun" magazine, author of...
David: "On the Run."
Tom: "On the Run."
David: "On the Run."
Tom: "On the Run." David, thank you, and I hope to talk to you soon.
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