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Ryan Sparks

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Protect Ya Rod! How to Build Bulletproof Fishing Rod Tubes for Under $20

Gear

Protect Ya Rod! How to Build Bulletproof Fishing Rod Tubes for Under $20

We’ve all been there. You try to sneak in a couple hours of fishing after work, but in the rush to get to the water your rod gets slammed in the car door, a guide breaks from bouncing in the truck bed, or your reel picks up a few new dings. For less than $20 you can build a durable rod tube that...
Hidden Honey Holes: How to Hunt and Fish the Margins

Freshwater

Hidden Honey Holes: How to Hunt and Fish the Margins

“You can’t understand wilderness unless you’re familiar with the 40-acre wood lot.” -Jim Harrison Marginal, small, under-the-radar patches of habitat offering fantastic hunting and fishing opportunities exist across the continent. These places often go unnoticed, hidden in plain sight. Hunters and...
No New Nose Piercings: How to Fly Fish in the Wind

Fly

No New Nose Piercings: How to Fly Fish in the Wind

Wind is one of fly fishing’s biggest challenges. Whether fishing fresh or saltwater, the breeze make casting difficult and at times impossible. With spring on its way in many parts of the country, fly anglers are eager to get outside, but howling spring winds cause many of them to compulsively check...
Restore Cork Handles and Bring New Life to Your Fishing Rods

Fishing

Restore Cork Handles and Bring New Life to Your Fishing Rods

Dirt, fish slime, blood, sweat, stink bait— chances are your fishing rod’s handle has all those things rubbed deep into the cork. Throw in hours of sun scorching, slamming in rod holders and beach spikes, occasional drops, or perhaps the teeth of a new puppy, and it’s easy to see why the cork is...
How to be a Fish Bum: Lessons from the Best

Freshwater

How to be a Fish Bum: Lessons from the Best

“If you’re too successful to fish whenever you want, one could argue that you’re not really a success.”  -John Gierach John Gierach coined the term “trout bum” in his 1986 book of the same name. He used the phrase to affectionately refer to hardcore anglers who devoted all their time and money to...
How Not to Act Around Someone Else’s Bird Dog

Upland Birds

How Not to Act Around Someone Else’s Bird Dog

I grew up around bird dogs. As a kid, my dad bred and trained English pointers. We had anywhere from five to 10 dogs at a time, and I’ve had a dog of my own since the fourth grade. Having a good bird dog is like owning a boat or a prime whitetail lease—you get to pick who tags along. I’ve hunted...
The Future of Mom-and-Pop Fishing Shops

Freshwater

The Future of Mom-and-Pop Fishing Shops

I’ve always loved hometown tackle stores. The kind of places with “Beer, Bait, Ammo” advertised in neon out front. Some of them stick to the basics: hooks, sinkers, bait, and licenses. Others are highly specialized tackle warehouses with unique lures for local waters and up-to-date intel on what’s...
Stop Using the Word “Gamey”

Cooking Techniques

Stop Using the Word “Gamey”

My wife and I rarely buy meat from the grocery story, instead opting for the variety of game meat and fish stored in our freezer. When we have people over for dinner, we might cook quail, deer, duck, goose, pheasant, some of the fish we’ve recently caught, or any number of wild things most Americans...
Make Your Own Damn Lures

Freshwater

Make Your Own Damn Lures

When I moved to Ontario, our neighbor’s teenage son helped us unload boxes. Spying copious boxes labeled “fishing,” the boy looked at me with excitement. He said he had been fishing almost every day that summer, and I told him to pick out something as a gift for helping us. He was a little confused...
How Fly Fishing Made Me a Worse Fisherman

Fly

How Fly Fishing Made Me a Worse Fisherman

Bowhunting sparked my interest in fly fishing. When I first picked up a bow as a teenager, it brought a new set of challenges and added depth to a sport I already loved. When I bought my first fly rod some years later, I knew absolutely nothing about fly fishing, but assumed it would be the...