Dave Speak

Dave's Bio

I grew up in Los Angeles and my fly fishing addiction began at the age of 14. Through my teens and early 20's, I fly fished places like Piru Creek, San Gabriel River, Bear Creek, and the LA River; but also made frequent fishing excursions to the Sierra's, Northern California, Idaho, and Montana. I finally went away to college..... then completed my undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1989 with a degree in Physical Anthropology.

It was at that point, that I strived to become a crime scene investigator; so, I moved to Michigan to attend graduate school at Michigan State University, where I was in the PhD program in Forensic Osteology (with an emphasis in Human Anatomy). Following roughly 3 years of research and field work, which included many hours in the morgue, I began to wonder if I was really cut out for that line of work. I enjoyed my research, immensely, but I didn't enjoy seeing bodies rolled into the morgue on a daily basis.

I understood that fly fishing was my real passion but often wondered how I could make a career out of my hobby. My primary line of work throughout undergraduate and graduate school was guiding and working in fly shops; therefore, in my mind (I believed) I knew the world of fly fishing and how fly shops worked. With this in mind, I decided to quit graduate school and move to Montana. Those were the days. The fishing was superb (better than superb), and I alsorealized that the fly fishing industry was a tough field to make a living in; long hours, relatively little cash, women, and a lot of booze induced nights. You know the story....

Almost 16 years after that decision to quit graduate school, and years of struggles and unbelievable experiences with the fly rod in places like Montana, Colorado, Michigan, New Zealand, Mexico, and Christmas Island, I'm finally where I dreamed I would be. Making a living, as meager as it may be, in the fly fishing industry and loving every minute of it. The struggle part is in every individuals life, no matter what we do. Regardless, I'm glad I decided to go with my passion. I know, it sounds corny.


Invasive Species, Felt Soles, and the Future

Invasive species are a real threat to our fisheries across the globe and it’s encouraging that all companies that manufacture wading gear are looking at alternatives to felt soles and other fabrics that help these aquatic hitchhikers from moving from one place to another. Orvis is working on this problem from many directions, and below is an explanation and clarification of their position on the subject.

Are felt soles becoming obsolete? Will I have to throw away my felt-soled wading shoes? Should I even buy a pair of felt-soled wading shoes or waders?

There is no doubt that felt, along with porous fabrics in wading shoes and laces, help transport invasive species without proper care. However, if you always fish the same watershed, felt soles are not a problem. Aquatic birds and mammals transport far more spores that you can on your felt soles. Thus, you can keep your felt-soled waders reserved for a specific watershed. In addition, with proper care, you can greatly minimize the threat by cleaning, drying, and inspecting your felt soles after each fishing trip. Trout Unlimited has called for a ban on selling and producing felt-soled wading shoes by 2011 but it’s doubtful that we’ll see a wholesale, government-regulated domestic ban on felt soles like the ban New Zealand has implemented, anytime soon. So, if you are used to the idea of wearing felt soles and will use them on the same watershed, rest assured your current or future felt-soled wading shoes won’t be obsolete.

What does Orvis sell right now in rubber-soled waders and wading shoes?


Hot New ZG Helios Switch Rods

Switch rods are a new type of fly rods that are lighter and shorter than traditional twohanded rods, and thus can be used in places where delicacy and accuracy are paramount, while still employing the advantages of two-handed rods. They can be used with a traditional overhead casting style, where their length allows longer casts and much greater line control on the water, yet can also be used with Spey casting styles where lack of back cast room, wind, or just a tired angler makes two-handed casting more desirable.

Switch rods are excellent for nymph fishing with or without an indicator, long-line dryfly fishing, stillwater fishing, and salmon and steelhead fishing during low water conditions. Some fly fishers even use them in the surf to get long casts over the last wave without false casts.

The main drawback to conventional switch rods are that they are heavy, and when constantly mending line or high-stick nymphing the caster’s arm can get very tired holding a rod that weighs almost 6 ounces high above the water all day long. With Helios technology, our exclusive aerospace-derived graphite resin systems allow us to build switch rods lighter than any other.


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