The weatherman finally got it right, and conditions are absolutely dreamy for fly fishing – full sunshine with light and variable winds. The trek across the first flat of the day commences, spotting coppery tails in every direction. I, being a known knee shaker, am full of adrenaline as I’m lined up for cast numero uno  – an upper slot redfish grubbing down in some widgeon grass at 11 o’clock.  I let go of the second false cast, arguably leading the tailer by a hair too much, but he still sees my fly and begins to swim towards it, gills flared.

“Eerrrrkkkkkeerkk!!” “Skipperrrrr!!”

Skipper had decided to change up his sleeping position; grinding his nails on the Awlgrip at the exact moment the hefty tailer was about to demolish my fly.  I watched the missed opportunity swim away at warp speed, laughed, shrugged it off and then proceeded on to the next victim.

There’s generally no shortage of moments like these when you mix fly-fishing and dogs.  That being said, the choice to fly fish with a dog is driven more so by the type of person than the behavior of the dog. If the size and number of fish caught is how you measure your day on the water, you should probably leave your pup at home.   If you’re still on the fence about inviting your four-legged best friend on your next fly-fishing adventure, here are five reasons why you MUST give that wild little ball of fur a chance.

  1. Instead of being left at home, they get to enjoy a day full of adventure and you, in turn, get to fish longer and more often.  Their happiness is our happiness. Everybody wins!

  1. Fishless days happen more often than we’d like to admit.  A dog’s presence on the skiff softens the blow of the “skunk.”  Does missing a nice fish raise your blood pressure, cause you stress, or even make you cry a little?  They’ve got you covered.

  1. And if you do land a fish, they will be the first to congratulate you – and the fish.  Who doesn’t love their number one fan?

  1. Your pup is just as satisfyingly tired at the end of a long day of “fly fishing” as you are.  (I wish we had fished today because as I’m typing now, I have to bat away a tennis ball that keeps mysteriously making its way across my keyboard.)

  1. Grip n’ grins are a thousand times better with a smiley fur baby.  ‘Nuf said.

Few things in this world make me happier than a sleepy, salty, crimpy Skip curled up behind me on the bow of a skiff.  So, embrace those “fly line wrapped around the front paw” moments.  Meet up with your friends and their skiff dogs.  Drink beer and shoot the shit while your dogs run wild.  When the beer runs out, try your hand at catching a fish or two.  If you’re successful, it’s just a bonus.  

Be sure to follow along on Instagram with @brewilliamsonfly and @skiptheskiffdog on their adventures all along the gulf coast!

Photos courtesy of Gary Gillet (IG: @garylgillett) and Bre Williams