IT STARTED WITH A CAST, an offering, that didn’t get hooked in the willows behind you or the pine tree overhead but instead sailed out above the water and landed near the intended zone, near enough anyway, that something took it. Whether or not a fish was hooked matters little. It was a proposal, and was accepted, drawing you across a threshold of gratification from which you would never fully return.
This publication aims to reacquaint you with those feelings you had when it was first learned that a hook and some feathers, properly presented, could indeed fool a fish. We wish to remind you that the soul of fishing is found not only in the posh accommodations of a fly-in Alaskan lodge, but also in the cramped quarters of some 30-buck-a-night, whiskey and beer-stained, paint-peeling hell-hole tucked away in a back alley of Bozeman or Bend. Around when the ’80s gave way to the ’90s, a certain movie helped romanticize an already mystical sport, giving folks who’d never before dreamed of holding a fly rod a sudden longing to flee the city streets for the shores of Montana. But while the film may have helped fly fishing make its quantum leap to the riffled waters of the mainstream, neither the sport nor the state cornered the market on “being discovered.” Consequently, these pages will not indulge those who whine incessantly about flyfishing having long since passed the saturation point. Rather, it will deal with the reality of the day – namely, that there are just too damn many people, period, no matter where you are, so if you want solitude with your fishing you’re better off fighting for the expansion of wild places than striving to eliminate others from your secret hole.
The Drake is founded on the principle that too much contemporary outdoor writing gives away all the answers to people who never learned what the questions were. This magazine is less about fishing than it is about fish. We ask that you have faith in the joy of the journey – in creating the humble foundation of skills upon which a successful day outdoors is built. Remember that much of the fun still lies in discovering places on your own, in pulling over during a long road trip to fish a stream you don’t know the name of and never knew existed until it suddenly appeared next to you at dawn. While this publication may not actually help you catch fish, it may help you understand why you want so badly to try in the first place.
David Letterman had Tom Brokaw on his show once last winter and they were discussing the subject of flyfishing. “A lot my friends do that,” Letterman said. “But I just don’t get it. What is it with that sport?”
What it is, Dave, is alpenglow and brookies for breakfast, the smell of desert sage after a rainstorm, the haunting screech of a redtail hawk, the sight of a 20-inch cutty sipping blue-wings from the surface and the spirited fight of a brown trout in October. It’s the simplicity of a riffle, the frustration of a spring creek, the small talk of side channels, the serenity of a mist covered lake at dawn and the collective anticipation that fills a boat when we push off into the current with eyes on the far bank and hoppers in the air.
This is our world, welcome to it.
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.