Flymen Blog

  • Back to the Future of fly fishing.
  • Post author
    Paul Beel
  • fly fishing

Back to the Future of fly fishing.

A couple of weeks ago on October 21, 2015, it was Back to the Future day, otherwise known as the day Marty McFly arrived in the future in the 1989 movie Back to the Future II.

This got me thinking – what if I were able to call up Marty McFly and ol' Doc Brown and they agreed to let me take the DeLorean for a spin?

The first thing I'd do is go 30 years into the future to see what kind of cool new toys they have in fly fishing and fly tying.

I imagine it would go something like this...

I jumped in the DeLorean with the Flux Capacitor humming behind me, blasted off into the year 2045, and zipped over to the nearest river, being careful to stay under 88 mph. When I arrived, I was super pumped to see a drift boat on the water. Except, as I stepped closer, I noticed the boat wasn't really on the water.

“It's a little shocking to see that, coming from 2015, huh?”

I looked over and, to my surprise, saw Matt Grobert of Caddis Chronicles and Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions fishing from the bank.

My look of shock.

“What're you doing here?!” I asked.

Tim, in his usual suave fly tying video voice, said, “Well, Doc Brown took us here in the DeLorean for some fishing last week, and said he'd send someone back to get us today. So Paul, before we head back, I know you're wondering what kind of far out fly fishing stuff they have around here. I'll do a brief rundown for you."

Drift boats

Art by Eryck Webb.

“That drift boat out there is a freakin' hover drift boat. The oars still go in the water, but the boat never touches. We're talking about major improvements, from taking the boat off the trailer and into the water, to stealth, no need to worry about low water, and no need for a spotter down river. Way cool!"


"They have little waterproof microchips now that cause the fly to twitch. You just tie that into your fly and it does the rest.

"For traditionalists who turn their nose up at synthetics, they've now bred the Jackalope. Yeah, no joke; it has some crazy fur! You get a mix similar to rabbit and deer all on the same animal. I guess they're crazy to hunt. You better be wearing some protective gear because those suckers will tear your leg off!"


Art by Eryck Webb.

"Check out that guy wading over there. See those funky looking waders he has on? They act as a life preserver, fully inflatable and, you guessed it, they are accompanied by self-lacing wading boots."

Fly rods & reels

"They have a new meaning to Switch Rod around here. These fancy new fly rods can be switched from fast action to slow action with the push of a button.

"Believe it or not, traditionalists still use fiberglass rods. That crazy Fiberglass Manifesto guy still has a following. All his groupies call him Old Man Mortenson these days.

"Reels have a mix of click and drag. You can push a button to turn on a clicking sound, but you have a drag system made out of a new synthetic cork that eliminates the wear and tear on natural cork, but has the same properties to allow terrific functionality."

Fly Lines

"Where's my line? Anyone see my line?"

"Fly lines are extra stealthy. They are still colored, but when they hit the water, they turn clear. No need to worry about the fish seeing them. Not to mention how silky smooth they slide through the guides. I tucked some in my pack to bring back to the past because you won't believe how well they turn over a streamer."


"You had to know this was coming, a one button operation fishing net. One button expands and collapses. Fast and easy. Boring...am I right?"

Fly tying

"So that sums up the equipment on the water, how about the fly tying bench? First, the voice recognition vise. It's kind of like Siri back in 2015. You can ask it a fly tying or fly fishing question and, get this, its name is Lefty! 'Lefty, what's the standard material list for Russ Maddin's classic streamer, the Circus Peanut?' Now that can come in pretty darn handy.

"I guess for a while they had switchblade bodkins, but it's a disappearing fad. The multi-fly tying-tool is now making an appearance. Scissors, bodkin, hackle pliers, bobbin threader, and leg puller all available in one Swiss Army tying tool. I tried it out this week and wasn't a fan."


"Hooks have gone completely barbless with new strict regulations on the handling of fish. With this comes some very interesting hooks in odd shapes and construction. But really, hooks haven't changed all that much.

"Well, that's about it. If you haven't noticed, they concentrate on a lot of one-button technology. Can we get going? I hate to say it, but I'm slightly homesick and Matt and I are tired of hearing about the Detroit Lions. You won't believe this, but they won the dang Superbowl. It's getting too loony around here for me!”

What do you think fly fishing will look like 30 years from now?

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About Paul Beel:

Paul is owner, writer, and fly tier of FrankenFly, a website and fly tying business. He pursued his passion of fishing after watching his grandfather create homemade lures as a kid. He felt he could continue in his grandfather's footsteps as a fly tier. Paul specializes in modern streamers for smallmouth and largemouth bass and ties classic Michigan dry flies for trout. He is an Orvis Fly Designer and a Fly Tier Associate for Flymen Fishing Company, as well as a member of the Regal Vise Pro Staff, Partridge of Redditch Pro Team, and Deer Creek Pro Staff.

  • Post author
    Paul Beel
  • fly fishing

Comments on this post (3)

  • Jan 13, 2016

    I’d take the Delorean BACK to the early 1600’s and hit it with my current gear. I’d need a spotter to watch out for predators though. Would love to see what the Susquehanna held back then!

    — John Gooderham

  • Nov 07, 2015

    We all know that technology can be good and it can also be bad. It is relatively easy to think of examples of both. The direction of our sport = $50. nippers, $500. plus reels, $700. plus rods. Is that good? I’m just asking. Then again, I still like marching bands at half time of a football game.

    — Tom Cole

  • Nov 06, 2015

    I really do hope that we draw a line with technology and fly fishing . Are the trout going to be genetically modified to make them harder to catch . Or do we just use our “latest technology” against them . Do we need to ? Just sayin. :-)

    — Paul Rankine

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