47 Comments

Many of us would probably be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect! Great read Matt!

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Matt, I watched “I’m Still Here” last night based upon your recommendation. I thoroughly hated it. Every minute of it. I will ignore all future (and any past that I may stumble on) movie recommendations from you. Sad. But I still love you.

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Well, you can't win 'em all. I hear "Barbie"'s good.............

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OK, Matt. Sorry I’m late to the party, and I hope you’re enjoying It’ly. We have a toddler halfway through a two week course of steroids (Thanks, Doc!), so I’ve been tied up lately. I’ll read the article shortly (between laps of the downstairs and maniacal laughter chasing the dog), but I have one point and one question. First, the Amalfi Tourist Board must be burning through cash with wedding planners; this is the third Amalfi wedding I’ve heard of this year. Second, where in the heck did you find those fine Pyrenean Mountain Jams? Toby is telling me that I need a pair stat, so I can catch this amphetamine-fueled toddler.

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Jul 23, 2023·edited Jul 24, 2023

Alright. This installment’s musical interlude hit me right in what the kids these days call “tha feelz.” Been experiencing a lot of loss recently, and I highly approve. Matt, if you like that piece, you may like the instrumental works of Ola Gjeilo. He’s a Finnish composer living in New York City now, and a lot of his work is choral, but it has a similar, albeit different, sound. I figured I should offer you a musical recommendation for once, since I’m always taking yours without returning the favor.

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Love your swim trunks! You will definitely be an influencer!

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Perfecto!

Nothing matches the feeling of releasing that great catch on that #1 lure. Catch & release for another days catch experience. I joined B.A.S.S. When I was probably 12 years old. Their philosophy was always catch & release, which I wanted to be a good steward of the bass world at an early age. Now 64, never any regrets. Fish still can be caught in those same spots on Perch creek that I fished as a boy.

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Study this Italian man's craft and you can build your own fly rod: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdXIHsGgIQM Of course, you will need to get your hands on some horsehair.

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Dear Matt,

If you don’t mind me asking, could you recommend a beginner’s fly rod and reel set-up? I am very interested in learning to use one and am trying to prevent myself from walking into my local Orvis and spending the equivalent of a small Honda automobile. It would be used mostly for lake fishing in Missouri, with some streams thrown in as well.

Thank you so much for the wonderful pieces you write, and have a terrific experience in Italy!

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Jul 11, 2023·edited Jul 11, 2023Author

Thanks, Joshua. And sure. When I first started out, I bought an LL Bean Streamlight outfit. An outfit means they not only throw in the rod, but the reel and the line as well. I've bought too many rods since then. But their standard issue click and pawl reel ended up being my favorite of all-time. (You do not need to spend a lot on reels no matter what kind of rod you get. Anyone who tells you you do is lying. Unless you're going for big game where reel mechanics become more important.) I still use the old Streamlight reel to this day (even though the original rod snapped in an unfortunate accident). The finish has worn off, like an old favorite toy. And if I could lay hands on a couple more of that particular model from way back when, I would. But seems like they don't make them anymore. Just checking now, and it seems like the LL Bean Streamlight outfit has climbed up in price since my rookie days. The lowest end one looks to be about $269. Which isn't crazy, but still........https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/120617?page=llbean-streamlight-ultra-2-outfit-9-9-weight&bc=&feat=streamlight-SR0&csp=a&searchTerm=streamlight&pos=5 If you really wanna shave the price down, Cabela's sells an outfit for just 79 bucks. https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/100861280-white-river-fly-shop-dogwood-canyon-fly-outfit-100861280 Not a bad deal, to allow you to see if you take to the sport. From there, you'll probably end up buying way too many overpriced rods, like I did. Which, as they say, are usually used to catch fishermen as opposed to fish. But fly rods come in different weights, and for your purposes, I'd suggest a 6 weight. A good middleweight rod/one-gun-solution for most of your fishing needs. You can catch everything from bluegill to trout to bass to smaller stripers with that. Plus, it's a good weight to learn how to cast on. Ask the fishing techs/phone support guys wherever you buy it what else you need. Everything from tippet to leaders to flies, which takes more explaining than I can do on the run or in a comments section. Most fly fishing shop rats are very good about showing the ropes to newbies. They tend to be good people as a breed, who like to share knowledge. Or else just write me on the side with questions (askmattlabash@gmail.com), and when I get back from Italy, will dig out the multi-page form letter I often send to new adherents explaining the basics of everything. And don't skimp on youtube for instructional videos. They can teach you a lot. And it's not hard to teach yourself. Just takes practice and a little attention to detail.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to answer. I greatly appreciate the recommendations. Thanks as well for offering to answer more questions - I probably will have scads of them!

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Definitely spend some time in your local Orvis store Joshua. You may not buy anything but a few flies and some other assorted tools, but the guys there will love to talk with you about fly fishing, and share stories and suggestions, or info on local waters, etc. I even took a few free fly tying sessions at my local one.

Tight lines Joshua!

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How many devoted Wilson Phillips fans do you figure are reading Slack Tide (regardless of chomosomes) anyway? 2?

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Best comment ever...laughed out loud. Thank you

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Well, there's Trosino and Balestri for sure.........

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Just got here, but I'm a bit late to this Get Together and you're likely Already Gone. So, I'll just leave a message:

Give It Up, Matt.

God Only Knows that I can be Impulsive at times, but I ain't fallin' for this bait.

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Old crushes die hard.

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Yep. The Dream Is Still Alive.

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Jul 10, 2023·edited Jul 11, 2023Author

I once did a profile of Billy Baldwin at the Democratic convention in LA, circa 2000. While hanging with him, who did he speak with on the phone? His wife, Chynna Phillips. The hottest member of Wilson Phillips. If I'd known you then, I could have put you on with her.........She would have told you to hold out for one more day, things will go your way.

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this is the shitpost-iest reply possible. I'm super impressed!!

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I live to please.

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I probably would have blubbered something inexcusable, giving Billy no choice but to punch me out.

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Not for the first time have I found myself clicking on a Matt Labash hot link to check out, at least to me, an anonymous exemplar of contemporary feminine pulchritude. Olivia Dunne? Who knew? Not I. And she vacations in Italy as well. I don’t know how you keep up with them all, Matt. Anyway, thanks for the reprise of “Release Me.” As the late, great Lee Wolff observed, “A trout is too valuable to be caught just once.” Enjoy your vacation in Italy but, if it were me, I’d be heading way up north. There must be trout in the Alps, aren’t there?

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Thanks, George. Just so I don't seem like a total perv, Olivia isn't really my type. (I'm guessing creeper middle aged guys in dog drawers aren't her type either.) I like them more magical and mystical - Paz Vega, Penelope Cruz. But in fairness to Olivia Dunne, she's not just famous for being famous. She's also a gymnast. Though there's a lot of gymnasts who don't show up in every other clickbait story on bikini/Amalfi shots. Mostly, it's a hard life in the gym, competing against Russian women who've been taking testosterone supplements since they were seven.

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Great swim suit!!

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Jul 10, 2023Liked by Matt Labash

Amalfi Coast wedding and delicious food! What could be better…..tossing little drys to big brown’s on the Henry’s Fork for birthday weekend…maybe

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I would easily trade for Henry's Fork, Rebecca.

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Matt, good evening. Kind of long time subscriber and first time poster. We live near the Amalfi Coast (I work for the US Navy here in beautiful Napoli), let us know if you have any time, would love to host you for a drink or dinner.

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Very kind, Phil. Appreciate the offer. And good assignment draw on Napoli! My pop used to be in the service, dragging us all over the place, and we only went as exotic as Germany. Land of constant rain and breaded pork and cabbage. I have a pretty packed itinerary, though, and very limited transportation, since they make it damn near impossible to drive around those parts. But if a big unexpected hole opens up, might ring you for Negronis..............

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Matt-

Taking my 15-year-old grandboy to Rome and Amalfi Coast later this month. Summer would not be my choice for this trip but between baseball showcase tournaments and school schedule, there’s not much choice. As for “destination weddings”, I subscribe to the Larry David approach; don’t go but send a nice gift at a fraction of the travel costs.

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Your 15-year-old sounds like a lucky kid. Not the least of which is because his grandad is a Larry David fan. Mrs. Labash and I are currently re-watching all Curb Your Enthusiasms since the beginning. It never gets old.

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Jul 10, 2023Liked by Matt Labash

Lovely column. It was new to me so I'm glad I got read it. And the bonus track was, well, a nice bonus (both the imagery and the music).

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I hope you get to fish in Italy!

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Don't taunt me, Kevin. Can't bring the fly rods for logistics reasons. It hurts.

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If Jack Hemingway can parachute behind German lines in France with a fly rod & gear, I don’t think you can use the logistics excuse.

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Enjoy your family, good food and scenery.

It is good to hear from you Matt. As always I have no profound words.

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Just saying "I have no profound words" is its own kind of profundity, Loren. How many people just outright admit it?

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