Cutthroat Chronicles: Introduction

I’m very excited to start working with Fishwest on a regular basis. I seem to have convinced the powers that be at Fishwest that I can not only write well, but deserve to get a special column and press release all about it. I’m not quite sure how I pulled this latest stunt off, but as with all the other opportunities I’ve had with fly fishing writing, I’ve stumbled headfirst into something good. Here’s to hoping I can act like I know what I’m doing until I actually figure it out.
All tongue-in-cheek joking aside, this is a very exciting opportunity, not only for myself, but for the readers of Fishwest’s already excellent blog. With my addition to the writing stable, we’ll be able to deliver even more fly fishing content than ever before. In this case, the phrase, “Too much of a good thing,” doesn’t apply, simply because there’s never enough fly fishing writing.

So what can you expect from this column? Well, I used to work in the NBA as a feature writer, and that job pushed me to discover the stories behind the millionaire athletes I was getting paid to write about. That job really sparked my passion for storytelling and for exploring people and places. When I left the NBA behind for the dim lights of a deserted trout stream, I carried that storytelling desire with me.

I’ve since had the opportunity to write about my fly fishing experiences for myriad publications, including my monthly ‘Trout Bum’ column for the Standard-Examiner, as well as contributing on a semi-regular basis to Hatch Magazine.

I plan on telling stories here at Fishwest as well. Stories about why we fish, about big fish, about new fish, and about the lifestyle that fly fishing inspires.

Storytelling won’t be the only thing you’ll see in this column, however. I’m the proud owner of a ridiculous collection of fly rods (currently sits at 10, with two more to be added once they’re finished being built in March of 2016) reels, and piles of other gear I’m not sure I actually need, but at the time I bought the stuff, I was pretty sure I wanted it.

A good portion of my gear collection was acquired through doing gear reviews, and I’m going to be doing plenty of those in this column. I go through a lot of gear each year, and I’ve become a serious gear junkie. I’m by no means an “expert” on gear (that term applies only to the folks who make the gear, in my opinion) but I know good gear when I use it. Most importantly, up until the past six months or so, I’d been fishing with very modest, budget-friendly gear.

My first rod was a $70 Redington Crosswater (I still use it to this day – it’s a fabulous nymphing rod, actually) and I just pulled the trigger on paying a four-figure amount for a rod built by the master himself, Tom Morgan. I point this out not as an act of snobbery, but to illustrate that I know both ends of the gear industry very well and can help provide insight to both the budget-conscious and budget-neglecting anglers.
So between gear reviews and stories (and probably a few how-to posts) this column will hopefully be an enjoyable, regular read for those of you who frequent Fishwest’s blog. Again, I’m very excited (and grateful) for this opportunity, and look to start this column in January.

Spencer is a fly fishing writer based in Utah. His writing has appeared in Hatch Magazine,’s outdoors section, On The Fly Magazine, The Orvis Fly Fishing Blog, and in the Standard-Examiner. If he’s not on the river, he’s at home tying flies or writing. Connect with him on Twitter or Instagram

Check out more photos from Ryan Kelly by visiting his Instagram. (Photo Credit)