About eight years ago, when working for a popular fly fishing magazine, I was tasked with working on a piece about the best fly fishing blogs. At the time, I was repulsed. Blogs?! With my nose up, I insisted that blogs were the lowest form of fly fishing media and only a step above a web forum post. I resented the project and disliked the feature. My, how things have changed.
It turns out that blogs have tremendous value. Often, such sites provide an important voice for the fly fishing community. Frequent content feeds anglers hungry for more and more when it comes to everything from tips to stories to news to photos and videos. And often, blogs operate relatively free from advertising that might sway viewpoints and create bias. For this, anglers often trust their favorite blogs.
The Venturing Angler has been at it for a number of years now, and we’ve noticed two constants about the fly fishing blog world:
- The great sites keep getting better.
- New unoriginal copycat sites seem to emerge daily.
While The Venturing Angler likes to generally focus on destinations and related gear, the greatness of the great sites and the lameness of the copycat sites are encouraging an out-of-the-ordinary post to revisit what I was once tasked with years ago for the magazine: a look at the best fly fishing blogs.
So, what makes a good site? Just like this list, it is subjective. From this point of view, a great site needs to have a strong voice and unique character. Great writing is important. But mediocre writing can be overcome with personality or a valuable perspective on the sport. And there might always be better-looking sites, but to be one of the greats, the site has to be original.
Beyond the list below are some other sites that are excellent in their own right. For example, some manufacturers and fly shops have some outstanding blogs. However, the list below deserves its own separate recognition.
MidCurrent has been a force for a long time. Almost reading like a newspaper, MidCurrent is packed with content that ranges in everything from gear reviews to personality profiles to art features. MidCurrent has something for everyone, and a lot for everyone at that. It’s relatively easy to get lost on this site for hours, and new content appears on MidCurrent at a high rate.
Gink & Gasoline
Gink & Gasoline provides anglers with regular content that helps advance the sport. Kirk Deeter (of the FlyTalk blog) recently gained praise for arguing that fly fishing needs more three knot anglers. Gink & Gasoline serves the angling community by ensuring there are more three knot anglers and more. An angler who visits Gink & Gasoline every day can grow as an angler, picking up a wide-range of tips to grow skills and knowledge. When it comes to frequent original content, these guys get a high five. And G&G has great photography as well.
Moldy Chum is one of the originals. What is great about Moldy Chum is that it is like a potpourri of fly fishing goodies. When visiting Moldy Chum, there is a feel similar to the American Pickers television show. Imagine walking into an old barn full of “stuff.” There’s all sorts of stuff in there. Some of that stuff is great for some, and other stuff is great for others. And for everyone, there is always a great find. It’s simply fun to see what Moldy Chum uncovers in the fly fishing world.
Hatch Magazine is named well. This site provides everything that a magazine offers — tips, reviews, photography, and more. Hatch Magazine has a wealth of original content, and each article is coupled with great photography. What one finds in Hatch Magazine is what we crave from newsstands but in an easy-to-read (and green) online medium.
FlyTalk is the fly fishing blog offered by Field & Stream by way of Kirk Deeter and Tim Romano. The content ranges from tips to humor to destination photography. What stands out the most on FlyTalk (aside from strong content): personality. FlyTalk is simply fun.
Fly Fish Food
Fly Fish Food is phenomenal. Fly anglers ought to be fanatics about flies. Fly Fish Food is a site that feeds fly obsessed anglers and scans every detail about flies and tying. The site is focused: It’s about flies. And it is excellent in its focus.
Orvis Fly Fishing Blog
The Orvis blog is an Orvis fly fishing news site that offers photos, videos, tips, tutorials, and the Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast with Tom Rosenbauer. Orvis provides a large amount of regular goodness that is diverse while also helpful. From tying videos to photos of impressive fish, Orvis provides a great feed of content.
Le Mouching has undergone several changes over the years. In its newest form, Le Mouching is an attractive French fly fishing site that offers so much content from around the fly fishing globe that it is hard to imagine the authors sleeping at night. And like FlyTalk, Le Mouching is rich with personality.
The Fiberglass Manifesto
The Fiberglass Manifesto is truly one-of-a-kind, and Cam Mortenson deserves great recognition for what he does. Not only is The Fiberglass Manifesto as original as it gets, this site has started a movement. #glassisnotdead and glass lovers can credit this site a great deal for that. Also worth noting, Cam tells it like it is, and this something rare in any web, magazine, or other media venue. Hats off to The Fiberglass Manifesto.
Vagabond Fly Mag
Vagabond Fly Mag is an attractive South Africa-based blog that offers high-quality feature stories that capture the culture of fly fishing and many of the sport’s most intriguing personalities. Vagabond captures the essence of fly fishing and offers tips, reviews, and stories of experience on the water.